Birding in Wuerqihan Part 2

The visit this time to Wuerqihan, Inner Mongolia in November yielded as much surprise as last winter if not better! At -32c last year, we missed the grouses but apparently this is the best time to see the grouses plus the owl I missed last year- Ural Owl.

The dark was setting in when we had just seen a raccoon dog! Still thrilled with the raccoon or dog lifer, our car stumbled upon a rock that was in the middle of the road. A close look- Ural owl – one i had missed last winter, so it’s a thrill to see it at close distance too!

Ural owl on the road

Ural owl on the road

Of course the usual owls were there too- Great Grey and Hawk Owl. 😛

Hawk owl is very common in Wuerqihan

Hawk owl is very common in Wuerqihan

greatgrey

Great grey owl wasn’t fussed about us

And of course, the grouses and the rare Black-billed capercaillie were seen this time. Hazel grouses were plentiful- male looked especially stunning with red eyelids. When winds picked up, it was a funny sight to see the Black grouse swaying on the thin stems of the trees!

black billed capercaillie is a MUST SEE in Wuerqihan

black billed capercaillie is a MUST SEE in Wuerqihan

Hazel grouse wears furry boots all year round.

Hazel grouses wears furry boots all year round.

Black grouse on a tree!

Black grouse on a tree!

Other birds seen included the Black woodpecker, three-toed woodpecker, lesser spotted woodpecker, Eurasian Jay, Siberian Jay, Nuthatch, Willow tit, Azure tit, and also loads of ravens, crows, and long-tailed tits! At -10c, and not too windy, the weather was gd for the 3.5 days birding. But as the snow hasn’t filled the holes on the road, the car ride was slow and bumpy! Nonetheless, I hope to visit this magical forest again in Spring, hopefully see a lynx and some more rare birds. 🙂

willow tit in Inner Mongolia

willow tit in Inner Mongolia

lots of long-tailed tits here!

lots of long-tailed tits here!

And of course I have to post the raccoon dog! 🙂

Raccoon dog seen in the fields at Wuerqihan

Raccoon dog seen in the fields at Wuerqihan

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..

Jay Birding around Kansai- Nara 奈良赏鸟

Waking up early on a cold cold morning was not easy at all for a birder! By 7 am, I was already waiting at the platform for the train heading towards Nara. My place of destination- The Nara Park! 😛

When I arrived at the park, I was quickly greeted by hungry deers-not one, but a huge number, all wanting a piece of the biscuit I bought! 😛 Perhaps it was a mistake to buy them biscuits as they followed me everywhere!

deers in Nara Park

deers in Nara Park

Well, no matter how cute these deers looked, I still had to look for my birds! There were more species here than in Osaka, and despite the cold weather they came out for their breakfast! As I walked towards Todaiji Temple in the park, a flock of tiny birds caught my eye. I tried to chase them down…while deers chased after me (still)! These Long Tailed Tits were fast moving, but I eventually took some photos of them..!

Long tailed tits

Long tailed tits

long tailed tit

long tailed tit

As the Long Tailed Tits roosted on a tall tree, I saw something on the tree trunk, slowly moving up. I held my breath and sneaked closer…its a Japanese Pygmy Woodpecker! I just can’t believe my luck! 😛

japanese pygmy woodpecker

japanese pygmy woodpecker

japanese pygmy woodpecker

japanese pygmy woodpecker

Some green backed tits and Varied tits soon came along to join the party! It was a lovely morning walk, and as I headed back to the main street for my tofu lunch, snowflakes came down and the view was a blanket of mist! That awesome moment felt like kisses sent down from the sky! hehe!

Varied tit

Varied tit

Nara park trees in winter

Nara park trees in winter