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Birding Longcanggou, Sichuan once more (however possibly for the final time) – 10,000 Birds

The final time I birded Longcanggou, a nationwide forest park in China’s Sichuan province, was in November 2021. Now, 14 months later, the place has modified – sadly, for the more severe, at the least as birding is anxious.

Longcanggou has two principal birding spots – the precise nationwide forest park and one other, which I can sadly solely describe as “not the precise nationwide forest park”. Final time, the primary one was formally inaccessible to vacationers, however because of the native contacts of my information Bella from Alpinebirding, we obtained in there anyway. Right now, the nationwide forest park is open to vacationers – which in China means massive teams of individuals in equally massive buses. So, on the advice of a educated native, we needed to skip this half this time – because of the visitors and the folks, it’s now not place for birding.

The opposite half was nonetheless accessible and pretty empty, and that’s the place a lot of the photographs proven under had been taken. Nonetheless, apparently, from March 01 on, this half will probably be ticketed – and my guess is it’s going to quickly be too crowded for good birding as nicely.

So, possibly this was the final time I birded Longcanggou – a considerably unhappy story that’s prone to repeat itself at many different Chinese language birding places as nicely. Right here’s what birders would possibly miss sooner or later (worst case), or share from afar with hundreds of disinterested Chinese language vacationers who primarily come to take selfies of themselves in entrance of a mountain panorama (barely higher case).

Shockingly, the Ashy-throated Parrotbill apparently is a species closely hunted for chicken combating in Guizhou Province, China (supply). It even appears that the pliant researchers not directly assist the combating (regardless that it has led to the species being one of the vital hunted ones in that province) by creating a fast technique to establish the intercourse of the chicken (the males become considerably greater and thus presumably the extra coveted fighters). Disgrace on the researchers.

If being hunted by evil people was not sufficient, Ashy-throated Parrotbills are additionally hosts of the parasitic Widespread Cuckoo. Apparently, they use the presence of their very own eggs as a cue for recognizing parasitic eggs – so with out the presence of their very own eggs as a template they fail to acknowledge a parasitic egg. Some people even rejected their very own eggs once they had been within the minority.

One other strategy that Ashy-throated Parrotbills apparently make the most of is to diversify – some females lay white, some blue eggs. So to keep away from immediate rejection, the parasitizing cuckoo additionally must diversify and certainly tends to put eggs in host nests with eggs of the identical shade (supply).


The eBird model gurus attest male Blyth’s Shrike-Babblers to be “well attired”.

The females are described as “way more pale” (possibly from the house responsibilities?).

The HBW really (relatively clumsily) calls it the Himalayan/Blyth’s/Dalat Shrike-babbler, indicating a future cut up. I choose the “Blyth’s” title, for 2 causes: on the one hand, it permits me to namedrop one in all my favourite (and comparatively obscure) British bands, Blyth Energy.

The opposite is to say that the title commemorates Edward Blyth (1810-1873), who printed the primary description of the species. In his life, in line with Wikipedia, he had a psychological breakdown and needed to be saved in a non-public asylum, he later took to consuming, and he was as soon as held for assaulting a cab driver. However haven’t all of us achieved these items?

The Eurasian Wren isn’t really a very particular chicken to Longcanggou – I’ve seen it in my dad and mom’ backyard in Germany as nicely.

The tail of the wren can assume the place of a spoiler in a sports activities automobile for males with an exaggerated want to show their masculinity (and normally a beer stomach as nicely).

Relying on whether or not it’s in its manic or in its depressive section, it both “sings from a reasonably uncovered perch” or is “relatively mouselike, creeping in brambles and understory” (eBird).


Totally different from many people, they are usually fairly well mannered – in a research, male wrens prevented overlapping their very own track over the playback of one other male by timing the beginning of their track accordingly.

Sadly, another species don’t appear to take heed to the wren a lot. Nice Tits (sorry, no joke this time – these solely include photographs) responded way more to mobbing calls of nuthatches than to that of wrens (supply). Nonetheless, as an alternative of a tit joke, some wren pornography.

The HBW lists a complete of 8 species of forktails, 5 of which may be seen in China, so having two right here at Longcanggou isn’t dangerous. The Little Forktail isn’t named after Arthur D. Little, the founding father of a administration consultancy I as soon as labored for in a reasonably unsuccessful manner, however relatively for its smallish dimension – who would have thought?

Whereas it’s certainly a forktail, the tail isn’t significantly forked (it is just too quick for that). eBird mercilessly highlights this, doing the species’ self-confidence no favor: “the smallest of the forktails and the one one missing a protracted tail”. Because of this, many (significantly male) Little Forktails work very laborious of their careers, exhausting themselves within the ambition to purchase an costly sports activities automobile that may compensate for his or her quick tail.

The Latin title scouleri is derived from Prof. John Scouler (1804-1871), a Scottish surgeon-naturalist, botanist, and explorer. Curiously, shortly after he had settled down as a medical physician in Britain, he was appointed professor of geology and pure historical past and mineralogy and later (at one other college) of zoology and botany as nicely. I suppose folks had been extra versatile then.

In what looks like a reasonably pointless research to me, Little Forktails in Nepal had been discovered to forage round mid-river rocks 55% of the time, marginal rocks 29% of the time, and at different places 16% of the time (supply: HBW). The research doesn’t state the place the birds took their smoking breaks.

In distinction to the Little Forktail, the Noticed Forktail hardly ever lusts for sports activities vehicles – no want, as even the bored eBird reviewers are impressed by its “beautiful galaxy-like white recognizing on the again”.

And its tail actually is forked.


Sharing the identical river with one other forktail (the Little Forktail) is facilitated by each species having completely different foraging methods and completely different prey gadgets, as described right here. For instance, whereas a Noticed Forktail readily ate from the Snickers bar I handed it, the Little Forktail loudly requested a Mars bar (which sadly I didn’t have with me). This useful resource participation, because the ornithologists name it, permits for comparatively peaceable coexistence so long as each manufacturers of confectionary can be found.

Within the German language, the Latin species title maculatus (“noticed”) has a detrimental ring to it because the German phrase Makulatur describes waste paper consisting of nugatory printed paper. I’m certain you wished to know this.

Because the title suggests, the Nice Barbet is the biggest of all barbets. The busybodies of eBird (who presumably spend a whole lot of time doing sports activities) describe the species as sluggish – however then once more, additionally they state that it’s shy and “tends to stay to dense forest cover, the place it’s tough to see”, one thing that my photographs appear to not precisely illustrate very nicely.

The Latin species title virens (“inexperienced”) solely covers a small a part of the species’ shade spectrum – which by some means it pulls off with out wanting gaudy. Respect from an individual who normally thinks one shade (black) is enough.

Sadly for such a stupendous chicken, the one analysis paper associated to it was one with the relatively unappetizing title “Two new species of feather mites (Acarina: Psoroptidia) from the Nice Barbet, Psilopogon virens (Piciformes: Megalaimidae)”. Possibly it’s simpler to get grants for work on feather mites than on birds? Larger financial implications, e.g., harm to home chickens?

Sadly for birders who like a little bit of logic, neither the Golden-breasted Fulvetta (instantly under) nor the Gold-fronted Fulvetta (additional down) are a part of the genus Fulvetta, which includes 8 species (supply: Wikipedia).

This doesn’t maintain eBird from calling the Golden-breasted Fulvetta a “beautiful little chicken, extraordinarily brightly coloured for a fulvetta”.

A pleasant drawing of the chicken may be discovered right here.

The HBW part on distribution states that the chicken is “typically relatively unusual to pretty frequent”. I suppose in the event that they had been to problem climate reviews, they’d give forecasts equivalent to ” typically wet to pretty sunny”.

As talked about, the Golden-fronted Fulvetta apparently additionally isn’t an actual fulvetta (I additionally heard it was born in Kenya), however sadly, completely different from the Golden-breasted Fulvetta, it’s listed as Weak, principally as a consequence of its very restricted vary.

From seeing some flocks at Longcanggou, evidently the species likes to forage within the moss rising on tree trunks.


The third fulvetta at Longcanggou that in line with Wikipedia isn’t an actual fulvetta is David’s Fulvetta. Presumably, in Russia, all these species are known as “particular operations” today.

Sadly, because of the fog within the morning I photographed this Bay Woodpecker, the flame shade indicated within the Latin species title pyrrhotis was not that seen.

The Rufous-vented Tit is an “energetic and social small chicken” and thus (at the least because of the “social” half) not precisely my soulmate.

For the Stripe-throated Yuhina, eBird has the kind of ID trace birders hate: “Streaked throat is diagnostic however tough to see”. Truly, I feel it’s fairly simply seen. Possibly they only wish to deter some birders.

It appears this species sometimes moonlights as a flower pollinator, at the least in elements of India and each time the cash is especially tight (supply).

eBird disparagingly calls the Yellow-browed Tit a plain yellowish chicken – it appears they don’t recognize subtlety a lot. I feel it’s fairly a pretty chicken although.

Possibly they took a touch from the Latin species title modestus (“plain, modest, unassuming”)?

Lastly, the opposite dangerous half aside from the rising variety of vacationers as described originally of this publish. Certainly, not all the pieces is nice at Longcanggou. Not all the pieces you see here’s what you wish to see. As everyone knows, among the many animal lessons, mammals are those answerable for the biggest variety of wars. American Civil Battle? World Battle 1? World Battle 2? All attributable to mammals. A superb purpose solely to take some fast photographs of the Longcanggou ones however in any other case ignore them.

Mammals – Worst. Animal Class. Ever.



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