Foggy day at Lingshan 秋天灵山观鸟

Well, weather forecast said the day would be sunny and windy and so we decided to head to Lingshan, about 3.5 hours drive from the Capital! In summer, the area is pretty much alive with motels and restaurants opened for business and tour buses packed with tourists. But in winter, Lingshan is closed! The mountainous region is pretty much deserted or rather like a ghost town! But that’s probably best for birding!

Alas the weather wasn’t what the forecast predicted! It was very windy on the mountain top and instead of blowing away the fog, the wind blew more in! :-/  The foggy weather however brought much joy to the common pheasants who roamed freely! This is probably the best picture I have taken for a common pheasant- taken in the car..! 🙂

Common pheasant roams freely on a foggy day at Lingshan

Common pheasant roams freely on a foggy day at Lingshan

Having driven so many hours to the foggy mountain, we decided to walk in the fog. We were lucky enough to see some birds which included-

Pallas’s Rosefinches 北朱雀

Guldenstadt’s Redstarts 红腹红尾鸲

Chinese Hill Warbler 山鹛

Silver-throated Tits 银喉长尾山雀

Chinese beautiful Rosefinches 红眉朱雀

But wind was just too strong, we had to retreat to the car. My legs were pretty stiff, luckily not frozen but I couldn’t pull myself together to walk anymore! In the end, my partner had had to bird on his own…sorry! :-/

Guldenstadt's Redstarts arrived in Lingshan in late Oct.

Guldenstadt’s Redstarts arrived in Lingshan in late Oct.

Pallas's rosefinch and Beijing Babbler (Chinese hill warbler) came out on a foggy day

Pallas’s rosefinch and Beijing Babbler (Chinese hill warbler) came out on a foggy day

I’m pretty sure Lingshan has much more to offer on a sunny day than a foggy day, nonetheless it was a fun day just hanging out…! Can’t wait to go there again..

Summer birding at Lingshan- Version with accomodation

Nothing is more enjoyable than birding on high altitude that exudes cooler weather in hot summer! We made visits over 2 weekends, but with a very different approach!

Version 1: The first weekend visit with accommodation

Having packed sausages and sandwiches for lunch ,we left in late morning. The drive from Beijing to Lingshan was approx. 2hrs, but as soon as we approached the outskirts of Beijing, the mountain drive towards Lingshan was breathtaking..!

My mind soon wondered what it’ll be like in winter with snow-capped mountains. 🙂

On the way to Lingshan, testing my GoPro camera!

On the way to Lingshan, testing my GoPro camera!

We saw some birds along the way, but the main highlight was the birds and wildlife at Lingshan! At the top, we saw Hill Pigeons, Common kestrel and Large Billed Crows! We  parked the car and took a walk along the trail near the horse-riding area. Already at the beginning of the trail, we were greeted by Silver-throated Tits, Songar tits, etc that pranced about in the bushes. Suddenly, I spotted something moving in the grass right in front of me! I held my breath and hoped for a clearer view. “A snake”? I thought to myself, sending shivers down my weak spine. Very quickly, it revealed itself- its a Weasel!! I almost squealed with joy when it stood up and looked at me, we were both in shock to see each other! Its my first ever Weasel and I couldn’t be happier!! 😛 😛

Our attention soon turned to a delightful bird’s call that was apparently never ending! Its the Manchurian Bush Warbler! Wow, another lifer for me!

manchurian bush warbler in Lingshan

manchurian bush warbler in Lingshan

We drove to the nearby village and checked ourselves into a 80 yuan room with no flush and blankets! But we comforted ourselves with a good meal and stargazing with scope! It was awesome to see Saturn with rings and tried to identify all other planets but we were no experts! The night was complimented with nightjar calls but it was too dark to see it! It was a fulfilled day and we couldn’t wait for dawn! 🙂

The early bird gets the worm! An early dawn walk downhill from the village was surrounded by early chirpees- Rock buntings, Claudia’s leaf warbler, chinese beautiful finches, russet sparrows, just to name a few!

As always we love to explore! Instead of taking the usual route back, we took an off trail route that lead us to Hebei region! On our way back, we saw a Northern Wheatear, apparently a gd find in summer! It was a gd weekend trip…almost as good as the next weekend trip to the same area but with no accommodation, which I will soon write! Stay tuned! 😛