Just back from probably the last known place of serenity and haven on Earth, Shangri-La, China! Getting there is not as easy as it seems, you’ll first need to survive a scary plane ride that flew over tough terrains! >.< My plane ride was turbulent and constant announcements were made to comfort passengers “We are experiencing turbulence, but it is normal, please do not worry…” =_=” Luckily, my plane landed safely at Deqin, Shangri-La, an altitude of 32oom! Little did I know that this wasn’t the scariest ride I would encounter in this trip…well, more on that later!
People easily suffer from acute mountain sickness with symptoms of headache, fatigue, etc, when they land on high grounds! But I was very lucky as I feel even fitter in the mountains than in the concrete jungle! No signs of sickness for me…hehe! 🙂
Plane arrived at Shangri-La
From our hotel, Songtsam Shangri-La, we headed to Lake Napa (Napahai，纳帕海), before enroute to the spectacular Meili Mountains, close to the Tibet Autonomous region! Driven by driver, Mr Li and his devoted wife, we soon spree to the magical lake!
Napa Lake, Shangri-La, heaven for water fowl!
It was a clear, blue sky with pleasant temperature that made birding very enjoyable! With endless supply of food, this piece of wetland is truly a paradise for waterfowl! There were no shortages of the variety of waterfowl in the lake-Ferruginous Ducks, Ruddy Shelducks, Mergansers, Teals, Mallards, Black Stork, Great cormorants, etc! I was especially thrilled to see the Bar-Headed Goose (斑头雁) and Black-necked Cranes (黑颈鹤) which are both lifers for me! 🙂 In particular, the Black-necked Crane is classified as a Class-A endangered species under the state protection and also listed as “Vulnerable” in the IUCN list. The Black-necked Cranes, endemic to the Tibetian Plateau is also a symbol of peace and regarded as holy birds by Tibetan Buddhists for centuries! How interesting! 🙂
Where there are waterfowl, there are raptors! As we drove along the lake, small groups of White-tailed Eagles (白尾海雕) nestled comfortably on rocky boulders, kept a watchful eye for the next ill-fated duck!
bar-headed goose at Napa lake!
Black-necked cranes at Napa Lake!
white-tailed eagles keeping a watchful eye at Napa Lake!
As parts of this landscape is farmed, there are no shortages of local animals- yaks, pigs and horses grazed while wild birds seemed to get along with these roaming livestock! Red-billed Choughs, Skylarks and White Wagtails were seen roaming along the fields.
Livestock are friends with birds
It was a great birding morning, and we fervently wished to stay on a bit longer…but we have a long drive through the Baima Snow Mountain (白茫雪山) to get to our destination, Meili Mountains (梅里雪山)! Here are some spectacular sceneries along the way!
Scenery along Shangri-La
Yangtze River running through Shangri-La