Wednesday, November 28, 2012

white-front invasion

Finally surfaced today after a bit of a lie-in, the kids were on a day off today so we headed out to Klarningen for forty minutes before going swimming. Alright for some I guess...

Klarningen was rammed with geese, even the kids commented on the number of birds rising up in front of us as we drove up the access track. Many dropped back in on the pools and we had a chance to go through them all. Amazingly there were 84 white-fronted geese hidden in amongst the 400+ greylags, easily the biggest flock recorded in BK for some time. Also here at least 14 rossicus bean geese and a pochard (only my 15th record in BK and second this year). Nice welcome home.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Postcard from Tikal

One of the highlights of Tikal was the pilgimage to Temple IV to visit one of the more reliable orange-breasted falcon sites in the world. It did not disappoint. Thanks go to John Cahill for securing access to the back of the temple for these views.

 We worked hard for ocellated turkey in the Yucatan in 1999, at Tikal in 2012 things got ugly on every lawn...

 Collared aracari.

The outstanding highlight of the Tikal leg of the tour was the ease with which we could get good views of pheasant cuckoo. We were put onto this bird initially by John Cahill and it was superbly entertaining over the next three days.

Keel-billed toucan.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

song of the siren

There are only a few wildlife-related things on my bucket list, but seeing a sirenian was on there till today when this West Indian manatee popped up for a breather in Placencia lagoon (Belize). Just superb.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

clocking off the nightshift

 Pauraque posing

Just finished a night session in Belize. Plenty of pauraque on the roads, plus black-and-white owl and striped owl (both new species for me!). More later.

This black-and-white owl was seriously obliging. Sadly the striped owls encountered later in the session were flightier.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Postcard from Sichuan

The main target of our three days at Laba He was red panda, it took just one hour to see our first one and we had at least five individuals in the first two days. A great mammal.

Laba He

 Not sure which silk-moth this is yet. Anyone? [it is Rhodinia jankowskii btw]

Three-banded rosefinch - a great bird to finally see.

Long-billed plover on the river in Chengdu.

Postcard from Qinghai

We saw both the resident giganteus and the nominate subspecies (as above) of the Chinese grey shrike.

My last redstart - the lovely chaffinch-like pastel shades of a male Przewalski's redstart.

A walk in the Dulan Mountains was fantastic for rutting kansuensis red deer, the roars of the males providing a memorable soundtrack to the day.

Our big day walk for Pallas' cat - it produced the goods, Jesper spotted one on a nearby ridge that gave great 'scope views as it looked out over the pika colonies below us.

A new family! Przewalski's pinktail (Urocynchramus pylzowi) - just amazing and worth the price of admission alone.

 Robin accentor


 Black-necked crane - a much-wanted tick for me. We saw over 90 of these superb birds.

Glover's pika - a cute denizen of rocky cliffs and scree slopes on the plateau.


The Tibetan plateau is hooching with lammergiers - we watched birds dismantling skeletons and flying away with the bones carried fore-and-aft (like an osprey with a fish).

Tibetan wolf sightings were one of the highlights of two weeks on the Tibetan plateau. We saw 11 individuals in five contacts.

Stolizcka's tit-warbler - I never did get a photo of a male...

Henderson's ground-jay - one of the most-wanted birds for the birders on the tour and it did not disappoint.