Of course this wasn't a birding holiday, but we took our bins and the 'big' lens for the camera in high hopes that along the way we might pick up some birds, especially on the Yangtze and Li Rivers, but I have to say it was very disappointing on that score. The holiday was brilliant don't get me wrong, but you always hope that where ever you go and what ever you do, you will find some birds.
The cities were particularly bad, and speaking to our local guides this is a deliberate policy by the Chinese government to keep birds out of the towns.... no birds, no poo!!
One bird that seems to buck this trend is the Magpie! Both the Eurasian Magpie and the more local Azure Winged Magpie:
There was one other bird that seemed to turn up everywhere, the Eurasian Tree Sparrow:
So Beijing was a let down we only added a Spotted Dove to the very short list. So on to Xi'an, again Magpies were seen and in the gardens at the Little Goose Pagoda we came across our first Chinese (or Light-vented) Bulbul. We did see the odd bird of prey but usually very high. This I think is a Sparrowhawk:
However during a tour of the dam, we were lucky to find this hopping around the bushes:
As we cruised along the Yangtze only White Wagtails were added to the list:
We disembarked from out cruise at Chongquing (population circa 34 Million! more than half of the UK, staggering!) and went to the airport via the zoo, to see the Pandas. I know they aren't wild but worth adding to the post..
The river still had a few surprises up its sleeve though and we did catch fleeting glimpses of birds in the trees and could hear them all the time, but they were very camera (and binocular) shy. One bird that teased us constantly (well every half hour or so) was the Slatey-backed Forktail it would fly through and disappear into the trees immediately, so no photos of that one.
We were surprised to see this Greater Coucal wandering along the shore:
Finally another record shot:
I though I might just indulge myself now and add a couple of scenic shots from the Li River, it was amazing......
So that's it Shanghai didn't trouble the scoreboard and from there it was the long journey home.
Next stop.... the far east again...... Norfolk!