My first trip birding abroad was pretty much a total success if you take out the flights to and from China everything went to plan and I managed to get most of my target birds. What I hadn't accounted for was the vast size of the place and the distances you need to travel between decent bits of habitat. In total I saw just under 140 bird species of which 103 were new birds for me.
I had many highlights on the trip and you have to bear in mind when reading the trip report that the main reason for visiting China was to see my brother not solely birding. My top five birds of the trip were as follows:
1) Grandala - Truly stunning species and in wonderful scenery.
2) Temminck's Tragopan - Only a single male seen but what a bird and what an experience
3) Little Forktail - An enigmatic species capped a wonderful excursion to the mountains
4) Golden Parrotbill - A very scarce and unexpected bird which showed ridiculously well
5) Short-billed Minivet - The only bird of this family seen and simply incredible plumage
It was a fantastic opportunity to get to grips with some of the Asian bird families and I was pleased to be able to identify most of the birds that I saw. With the exception of some of the leaf-warblers (which I knew would be tough) I have managed to sort out 99% of the birds seen.
It was really good to see my brother Nathan, and I must thank him for all his help with the language and for putting up with me staying in his flat for a few weeks. It was brilliant to see him and meet his friends etc. And to see the Chinese lifestyle which in some cases was a real eye-opener however nowhere near as bad as the western society would have you believe.
I managed to see a number of endemic birds which were more by chance than real planning and it was brilliant to get a few. I must also thank Sid Francis and Zeng Zhang for their guidance in the mountains around Balang, Wolong and Qingcheng.