Birds and animals on Erla Shan 鄂拉山

Following the itinerary given by Paul Holt, we arrived at 730am at the bottom of Erla Shan pass(鄂拉山) after a tedious 3 hour drive from GongHe. I was very much driven by the thought of the birds that I will see at the summit which is at 4800m!

It was good to start early as the mild wind and cluttered clouds made the walk enjoyable; with every step I took, I could hear my heart thumping hard. There is no trail to follow, but I found my way up stepping on stones, gravel and giving myself a little goal ,which big stone to stop and catch my breath.

Along the way, we had breathtaking views of the mountains and saw blue sheep, tibetan wolf and even Kam Dwarf hamsters! These cuties are endemics to Western China and Qinghai and can be found on high altitudes! It never occured to me that I’d see a hamster on a mountain…these little rodents made me smile, how cute is that? 🙂

kam dwarf hamster

Kam Dwarf Hamster found on Mountains- erla shan

It took me 1.5 hrs to get to the summit- though the base of Erla Shan was 4400m and only 400m to climb up the summit, it wasnt easy at all! But I was rewarded with the magnificent views of the mountains surrounding Erla Shan. And as I catch my breath,  very soon one of the star birds came close- Tibetan Rosefinch, 藏雀!

tibetan rosefinch-male

Tibetan Rosefinch on summit of Erla Shan. 藏雀

The weather at the summit changed dramatically- from sunny, it became misty and we were careful not to fall off the mountain as the visibility was very low. I wanted very much to see the Tibetan Sandgrouse but couldnt find them. :-/

Nonetheless, I saw other birds including the Plain Mountain Finch (林岭雀), Tibetan Lark (长嘴百灵), Brandt’s Mountain Finch (高山岭雀) and some sort of Gerbil!

It was a good climb and I’m glad I did it. We’re very lucky with the weather – as soon as we popped back into the car- thunder and lightning rolled in!

tibetian lark

Tibetan Lark at Erla Shan

plain mountain finch-female

Plain mountain finch seen on way up to the Erla Shan summit

brandt's mountain finch- female

Brandt’s mountain finch on summit


unknown colony of gerbil on base of Erla Shan

Birding in Xinjiang Day 8- 乌鲁木齐南山观鸟

Yippee, I am finally onto the write up of the last day of birding in Xinjiang! As always, I love adventures and as I write, I couldn’t help but grinned at the funny incidents; and all these great moments will go down memory lane.  I am no author nor do I have talent in writing, so thank you for visiting my blog! 😛

We made a day trip to the Xinjiang Southern Mountains, aka Nanshan! As part of Tien Shan, the mountain stretches deep into Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan. The landscape was just way beyond awesome!

breathtaking view of Xinjiang Nanshan!

breathtaking view of Xinjiang Nanshan!

It was a windy day again, and we later regretted not waking up early as it seemed the winds took up speed by late morning- Climate change expert said that it has to do with landscape! Anyway we have some good finds…below’s the list and some of the photos taken! 🙂

Red-fronted Serin- 金额丝雀

Common Rock Thrush-白背矶鸫

Plain Mountain Finch-林岭雀

Eurasian Nuthatch-普通鳾

Common Linnet-赤胸朱顶雀

European Roller-蓝胸佛法僧

Rock Sparrow-石雀

Wheaters, Shrikes, Ravens and more!

From left-Rock thrush, Rock sparrow, Red-fronted serin in Xinjiang, Nanshan

From left-Rock thrush, Rock sparrow, Red-fronted serin in Xinjiang, Nanshan

However, the highlight was finding a pair of Blue-capped Redstart (蓝头红尾鸲)! This male looked pretty handsome! Another lifer for me! 🙂

blue-capped redstart in Nanshan

blue-capped redstart in Nanshan

It was an awesome trip in short! We saw over 160 species of birds, and many were lifers for me! Of course, I couldn’t have seen as much without my eagle-eyed partner.. Well, enough of birds…! Here’s more pictures of Nanshan to end my chapter of Xinjiang birding! 🙂 It’s a brilliant place, and I’d definitely visit again!

On the way to Nanshan, just had to stick my head out!

On the way to Nanshan, just had to stick my head out!


Chinese funny!

Chinese funny!