Thursday, 16 May 2013

CHINA - Day 7 - Chengdu

Red-billed Leiothrix
Today I headed to the outskirts of Chengdu and walked around the Giant Panda Research Centre which was a real haven for birds as it was for Panda's. They actually seem to have realised here that to provide vital habitat for Giant Panda's they can't actually build everywhere and then plant pretty bushes and flowers and everything will be ok!

Collared Finchbill
As I walked through this fantastic bamboo forest the birds were very easy to hear and not very easy to see thanks to the density of the plantations. As a result I quite often found myself on my hands and knees trying to see into the open spaces on the ground! Every so often however there were birds that were clearly oblivious to my presence such as the stunning Red-billed Leiothrix and this male Collared Finchbill which was actually singing at me!

White-browed Laughingthrush
Further round the reserve I found a large flock of White-browed Laughingthrush. These were the commonest laughingthrushes I saw in China and were often quite approachable. Finally I managed to locate a few of the celebrities and they put on a lovely show. It was amazing watching these stunning animals.

I headed back round the reserve towards the aptly named 'Swan Lake' and saw my only Common Pheasant of the entire trip! It comes it when I have them in my garden in England but to see a real one was a difficult task! As I was approaching the lake I came across a flock of Parrotbills I could not find anything unusual in amongst them and they were all Vinous-throated Parrotbill.

Vinous-throated Parrotbill
Then I saw a pair of parrotbills collecting nesting material. They were taking it in turns, whilst one was stripping back the bark of small twigs the other bird kept watch. Then once the striping was done returned to the piece of material and then the other bird did the same. I was very surprised when I got a good view of them that they were in fact a pair of Ashy-throated Parrotbill. Which I believe is quite a scarce species in the Chengdu area.

Ashy-throated Parrotbill
Finally I reached the Swan Lake and had a look at some of the ornamental birds they had on offer. I also added Moorhen to the trip list! The area where you are allowed to feed the waterfowl also attracted a number of Tree Sparrows and White-rumped Munias.

White-rumped Munia

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