Birding Balangshan (tunnel space) in June 2023 – 10,000 Birds

Sure, I do know. It’s sort of unappealing to see weblog posts with extremely particular and moderately boring-sounding titles similar to this one. However then, birdwatching is boring more often than not, too – all of the intervals when there aren’t any birds …

As by now ordinary for me, the journey was performed with Alpinebirding, which helped scale back the time spent not seeing any birds. And sure, they’re nonetheless providing me free beers on future journeys if I point out them positively in one among these posts. A transparent battle of curiosity, for those who ask me.

Birding the tunnel space (and a few locations at roughly the identical degree) was a little bit of a disappointment this time as I did not get good pictures of the moderately secretive Firethroat

… and the male Chinese language Monal.

Nonetheless, I take it as a praise to my very own masculine enchantment that the feminine Chinese language Monals have been rather more accommodating. I nearly satisfied myself that females are extra enticing than males anyway …

The Chinese language Monal is assessed as Susceptible, and local weather change is predicted to cut back its vary additional because it shifts to greater elevations (supply).

There are scientists who have a look at what Chinese language Monals eat, although the strategies employed sound considerably disagreeable, as indicated by a paper titled “Seasonal differences within the plant weight-reduction plan of the Chinese language Monal revealed by fecal DNA metabarcoding evaluation”.

Persevering with with the theme of disappointments, I took about 200 or 300 pictures of Himalayan Griffons in flight, of which precisely one turned out to be serviceable (sadly, my suggestion to Alpinebirding to place a human or animal corpse someplace to draw vultures was not taken up).

Naturally, like a soccer participant accusingly his footwear after lacking a simple shot, I principally blame all of the unhealthy pictures on my digital camera.

Nonetheless, compensation arrived within the form of Golden Bush Robins – each male …


… and feminine.

On a constructive be aware, in one examine, when small swaths of dense bamboo have been lower and cleared for an unrelated examine, these have been utilized by small insectivorous species together with the Golden Bush Robin for foraging. People will not be all the time unhealthy for birds, solely about 95% of the time.

The tunnel space can also be place for attending to know completely different rosefinches: Darkish-breasted Rosefinch



Widespread Rosefinch


… and Chinese language White-browed Rosefinch.


The Housemartins have been a Hull, Uk primarily based band energetic round 1983-1988, with some nice pop singles similar to “Stand up off your knees” (with lyrics similar to “Some personal pennies in a jar, some personal oil tankers” and “Don’t shoot somebody tomorrow which you can shoot right now” – the sort of lyrics I preferred as an impressionable younger man) and “5 recover from excited“.

To honor the band, a number of fowl species have been named after it, together with the Asian Housemartin.

They breed within the tunnel space, giving these birdwatchers anxiously ready for the Chinese language Monal to indicate up one thing to do within the meantime – like watching the shift change.

Apparently, Chestnut Thrushes with bigger head volumes usually tend to study a novel talent than people with a smaller head quantity. Sounds a bit like some bizarre Nazi eugenics experiment to me, however I assume it’s simply science.

The Lengthy-tailed Minivet is one among a lot of similar-looking minivets wherein the males are scarlet and pink whereas the marginally much less attention-grabbing females go for yellow and black.


The HBW grumbles that the Lengthy-tailed Minivet can solely be “distinguished with issue from different red-and-black minivets” – a little bit of a aid, I assumed this was simply me.

Anyway, one among my favourite pictures of the journey.

There are two redstarts with “white” of their title within the tunnel space. One is the White-throated Redstart.

As typical for fowl names, the species is called after a comparatively inconspicuous a part of its total look.

To me, at first look, the Latin species title schisticeps – from “lapis schistos”,  fissile stone, and “caput”, head – doesn’t make rather more sense, as fissile signifies {that a} stone is simple to separate moderately than having a selected coloration. A fowl with an easy-to-split head?  

The opposite – extra generally seen alongside rivers within the mountains – is the White-capped Redstart.

It typically shares rivers with the Plumbeous Water Redstart (not proven) however spends extra time on the river margins whereas the Plumbeous Water Redstart focuses on the central areas (supply). Biologists – or as Ze Frank would say, the Science Hippies – name this ecological segregation (e.g., right here). People typically use an identical idea, for instance, by excluding US Supreme Courtroom Judges from following pesky guidelines concerning the declaration of items.

Not on the heart of the river (by no means thoughts that that is only a puddle on the highway).

There appears to be some consensus concerning the usually boring look of the Aberrant Bush Warbler, with the HBW calling it “a nondescript, olive-brown, insectivorous fowl” and eBird going for “small shy warbler. Boring brown …”

On condition that another bush warblers such because the Manchurian Bush Warbler have an identical look, I’m not certain what the “aberrant” (“departing from an accepted normal”) refers to. Does anybody know? Much more boring look even by the low accepted requirements of bush warblers?

Birds that I didn’t come to Balangshan for – as they spend the winter in Shanghai – included the Pink-flanked Bluetail

… and the Olive-backed Pipit. Nonetheless, good to study the place they spend their summers. I agree that it may be too sizzling in Shanghai then. Additionally, there aren’t any orchids there, and among the extra strange flowers within the tunnel space are good to take a look at, too …


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