Birding Longcanggou, Sichuan once more (however perhaps 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 very least as birding is worried.

Longcanggou has two primary 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 acquired in there anyway. Immediately, 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 site visitors and the individuals, it’s not a very good place for birding.

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

So, perhaps this was the final time I birded Longcanggou – a considerably unhappy story that’s more likely to repeat itself at many different Chinese language birding places as nicely. Right here’s what birders may miss sooner or later (worst case), or share from afar with 1000’s 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 chook combating in Guizhou Province, China (supply). It even appears that the pliant researchers not directly assist the combating (although it has led to the species being some of the hunted ones in that province) by creating a fast technique to determine the intercourse of the chook (the males transform 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 method that Ashy-throated Parrotbills apparently make the most of is to diversify – some females lay white, some blue eggs. So to keep away from prompt 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 fashion gurus attest male Blyth’s Shrike-Babblers to be “well attired”.

The females are described as “rather more pale” (perhaps from the home tasks?).

The HBW truly (fairly 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, based on Wikipedia, he had a psychological breakdown and needed to be saved in a personal asylum, he later took to consuming, and he was as soon as held for assaulting a cab driver. However haven’t all of us finished these items?

The Eurasian Wren isn’t truly a very particular chook to Longcanggou – I’ve seen it in my mother and father’ 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 “fairly mouselike, creeping in brambles and understory” (eBird).


Completely different from many people, they are typically fairly well mannered – in a research, male wrens averted overlapping their very own music over the playback of one other male by timing the beginning of their music 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 pictures) responded rather more to mobbing calls of nuthatches than to that of wrens (supply). Nonetheless, as a substitute of a tit joke, some wren pornography.

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

Whereas it’s certainly a forktail, the tail will not be notably forked (it is just too brief for that). eBird mercilessly highlights this, doing the species’ self-confidence no favor: “the smallest of the forktails and the one one missing an extended tail”. In consequence, many (notably male) Little Forktails work very arduous of their careers, exhausting themselves within the ambition to purchase an costly sports activities automobile that may compensate for his or her brief 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 individuals had been extra versatile then.

In what looks as if 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 automobiles – 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 totally different foraging methods and totally 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 most important of all barbets. The busybodies of eBird (who presumably spend lots of time doing sports activities) describe the species as sluggish – however then once more, in addition 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 pictures 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 someway it pulls off with out trying gaudy. Respect from an individual who normally thinks one shade (black) is adequate.

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

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

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

A pleasant drawing of the chook will be discovered right here.

The HBW part on distribution states that the chook is “typically fairly unusual to pretty widespread”. I suppose in the event that they had been to problem climate stories, they might give forecasts resembling ” typically wet to pretty sunny”.

As talked about, the Golden-fronted Fulvetta apparently additionally will not be an actual fulvetta (I additionally heard it was born in Kenya), however sadly, totally different from the Golden-breasted Fulvetta, it’s listed as Susceptible, largely resulting from its very restricted vary.

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


The third fulvetta at Longcanggou that based on Wikipedia will not be an actual fulvetta is David’s Fulvetta. Presumably, in Russia, all these species are referred to as “particular operations” lately.

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 “lively and social small chook” and thus (at the very 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”. Really, I believe it’s fairly simply seen. Perhaps they simply wish to deter some birders.

It appears this species often moonlights as a flower pollinator, at the very least in components of India and at any time when the cash is especially tight (supply).

eBird disparagingly calls the Yellow-browed Tit a plain yellowish chook – it appears they don’t admire subtlety a lot. I believe it’s fairly a gorgeous chook although.

Perhaps 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 at first of this publish. Certainly, not all the things is nice at Longcanggou. Not all the things you see here’s what you wish to see. As everyone knows, among the many animal courses, mammals are those liable for the most important variety of wars. American Civil Warfare? World Warfare 1? World Warfare 2? All brought on by mammals. A superb cause solely to take some fast pictures of the Longcanggou ones however in any other case ignore them.

Mammals – Worst. Animal Class. Ever.



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