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


Sure, I do know. It’s form 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 are not any birds …

As by now normal for me, the journey was finished with Alpinebirding, which helped cut 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 in all these posts. A transparent battle of curiosity, when you 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 didn’t get good pictures of the moderately secretive Firethroat

… and the male Chinese language Monal.

Nevertheless, I take it as a praise to my very own masculine enchantment that the feminine Chinese language Monals had been way 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 loss program 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 straightforward shot, I principally blame all of the dangerous pictures on my digital camera.

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


… and feminine.

On a constructive notice, in one examine, when small swaths of dense bamboo had been lower and cleared for an unrelated examine, these had been utilized by small insectivorous species together with the Golden Bush Robin for foraging. People aren’t at all times dangerous for birds, solely about 95% of the time.

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



Frequent Rosefinch


… and Chinese language White-browed Rosefinch.


The Housemartins had been a Hull, Uk based mostly band energetic round 1983-1988, with some nice pop singles similar to “Rise 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 in the present day” – the form of lyrics I favored as an impressionable younger man) and “5 recover from excited“.

To honor the band, a number of chicken species had 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 point out up one thing to do within the meantime – like watching the shift change.

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

The Lengthy-tailed Minivet is one in all quite a lot of similar-looking minivets through which the males are scarlet and purple 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 in all 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 chicken names, the species is known as after a comparatively inconspicuous a part of its general look.

To me, at first look, the Latin species title schisticeps – from “lapis schistos”,  fissile stone, and “caput”, head – doesn’t make way more sense, as fissile signifies {that a} stone is simple to separate moderately than having a selected shade. A chicken 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 analogous idea, for instance, by excluding US Supreme Court docket Judges from following pesky guidelines concerning the declaration of presents.

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

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

Provided that another bush warblers such because the Manchurian Bush Warbler have an analogous look, I’m not positive 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 Purple-flanked Bluetail

… and the Olive-backed Pipit. Nonetheless, good to be taught the place they spend their summers. I agree that it may be too sizzling in Shanghai then. Additionally, there are not any orchids there, and a number of the extra unusual flowers within the tunnel space are good to take a look at, too …



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