Fantastic Fuzhou Forest Park, but frustrations in Nanping

01/12/2014 – Fuzhou forest park

 

Today a relaxing stroll through Fuzhou Forest Park was on the agenda. A stroll with a tricky target: White-necklaced Partridge, a vulnerable China endemic…

When we arrived at the park – situated on the forested slopes west of Fuzhou city – it was raining, so we decided to have breakfast first. While we enjoyed our now familiar noodle soup we could already hear Partridges calling uphill. Good news! Even better news was that the rain made way for a slight drizzle so we decided it was time to tackle that bird!

 

Chestnut bulbul by Garry Bakker

Chestnut bulbul by Garry Bakker

 

 

Brown fulvetta by Garry Bakker

Brown fulvetta by Garry Bakker

 

We walked uphill constantly running the tape for Spotted Wren-babbler, another local specialty. We heard at least 3 birds calling, but none of them could be tempted to come into view; too bad, but we were here for a Partridge, so we decided to continue to the denser forest further along the trail.

 

Fuzhou forest park by Garry Bakker (2)

Fuzhou forest park by Garry Bakker

 

 

Fuzhou forest park by Garry Bakker

Fuzhou forest park by Garry Bakker

 

We proceeded slowly, checking the trail ahead around every corner, but the Partridge proved far trickier to find than we originally thought. A nice distraction along the way was our second species of Parrotbill for the trip: Grey-headed Parrotbill, a lifer for all of us! Just as we were about to turn around and walk back down again – where frustratingly enough a partridge started calling from an area we passed half an hour earlier – I suddenly saw a small game-bird creeping uphill: White-necklaced Partridge! The first bird was followed by a second one that allowed good views, before it disappeared over a small ridge. Bingo!

After the partridge-cleanup we now had the whole afternoon to look for thrushes and other migratory birds in and around the botanical gardens near the entrance of the park. We were hoping to find at least one new thrush, but what happened next was totally unexpected…

 

First we saw a couple of Oriental Blackbirds and Pale Thrushes (both seen previously already), but soon after we discovered a large flock of Thrushes feeding on berries above our heads. The flock mainly consisted of Eyebrowed Thrushes, but soon we found a cracking male Grey-backed Thrush quickly followed by a Dusky Thrush and an immature Red-throated Thrush. The best however was yet to come when Bas suddenly said: ‘Japanese Thrush!’. I could just get my bins on it before it vanished in the canopy but most of the group was not that lucky. Japanese Thrush is a rare winter visitor to eastern China and a much wanted bird to all of us; so a very welcome bonus indeed!

 

Japanese thrush by Garry Bakker (1)

Japanese thrush by Garry Bakker

 

 

Grey-backed thrush by Garry Bakker

Grey-backed thrush by Garry Bakker

 

 

Japanese thrush by Garry Bakker (2)

Japanese thrush by Garry Bakker

 

Luckily half an hour later I found a second bird that allowed prolonged views and excellent photo-opportunities and while looking at this stunning bird we also found two unexpected Flycatchers: a nice blue male Verditer- and a female Blue-and-white Flycatcher; both species should have already been in southeast Asia by now.

Fuzhou Forest Park was unexpectedly good to us and a place I would recommend to every birder visiting Fuzhou!

Good Birding!

 

Greater necklaced laughingthrush by Garry Bakker

Greater necklaced laughingthrush by Garry Bakker

 

 

Species list day 11 (underlined are LIFERS)

 

  1. White-necklaced Partridge pair
  2. Chinese Bamboo Partridge 3
  3. Grey-capped Pygmy Woodpecker
  4. Common Kingfisher
  5. Pied Kingfisher
  6. Greater Coucal
  7. Spotted Dove
  8. Oriental Turtle Dove
  9. White-breasted Waterhen
  10. Little Ringed Plover 2
  11. Black Eagle 1
  12. Eastern Buzzard
  13. Little Grebe
  14. Little Egret
  15. Chinese Pond Heron
  16. Grey Heron
  17. Orange-bellied Leafbird
  18. Long-tailed Shrike 1 melanistic color morph
  19. Red-billed Blue Magpie
  20. Grey Treepie
  21. Scarlet Minivet
  22. Grey-chinned Minivet
  23. Blue Whistling Thrush
  24. Grey-backed Thrush 3 males
  25. Japanese Thrush 2 1st winter males
  26. Oriental Blackbird
  27. Eyebrowed Thrush 30
  28. Pale Thrush 15
  29. Red-throated Thrush 1 1st winter
  30. Dusky Thrush 2
  31. Red-flanked Bluetail
  32. Daurian Redstart
  33. Verditer Flycatcher male
  34. Blue-and-white Flycatcher female
  35. Slaty-backed Forktail 2
  36. Crested Myna
  37. Cinereous Tit
  38. Black-throated Tit
  39. Red-rumped Swallow (Japonica)
  40. Red-whiskered Bulbul (escape)
  41. Chinese Bulbul
  42. Mountain Bulbul
  43. Chestnut Bulbul
  44. Black Bulbul
  45. Collared Finchbill
  46. Manchurian Bush Warbler (Borealis) 1
  47. Yellow-browed Warbler
  48. Pallas’s Warbler
  49. Common Tailorbird
  50. Greater Necklaced Laughingthrush
  51. Lesser Necklaced Laughingthrush
  52. Hwamei
  53. Grey-sided Scimitar Babbler heard
  54. Streak-breasted Scimitar Babbler
  55. Spotted Wren Babbler 3 heard only
  56. Rufous-crowned Babbler
  57. Dusky Fulvetta 2
  58. Huet’s Fulvetta
  59. Grey-headed Parrotbill 1 flock
  60. Fork-tailed Sunbird
  61. Fire-breasted Flowerpecker
  62. Japanese White-eye
  63. White-rumped Munia
  64. Tree Sparrow
  65. Grey Wagtail
  66. White Wagtail (Ocularis, Leucopsis)
  67. Olive-backed Pipit
  68. Buff-bellied Pipit
  69. Tristram’s Bunting 5
  70. Black-faced Bunting

 

02/11/2014 – Nanping Reserve

 

We made an enormous detour from Fuzhou to Shanghai via Nanping. This mend first 6 hours by night-train from Fuzhou to Nanping; all for a bird barely 10 cm in size: the Short-tailed Parrotbill.

So after a short night we woke in a watery-cold Nanping; it turned out that the temperature had dropped more than 10 degrees overnight in the whole of eastern China; what a contrast to birding in our shorts and T-shirts on the mudflats!

We drove up to the scenically very pretty Nanping reserve, but despite the stunning scenery and mature forest all around us, there were very few birds around. This was probably due to the temperature drop; we could feel the cold in our bones and the birds could probably too!

 

Hill forest at nanping by Garry Bakker

Hill forest at Nanping by Garry Bakker

 

Lunch spot at Nanping by Garry Bakker

Lunch spot at Nanping by Garry Bakker

 

The whole day we grinded through bamboo forest in search for the Parrotbill, but to no avail; our first true dip – the rail at Poyang was already thought to be nearly impossible – was a fact…

We did see a beautiful Slaty-backed Forktail foraging on the road and on our way back to the railway station – to catch the night-train to Shanghai – we stumbled across a family group of no less than 4 females and a male Elliot’s Pheasant; a nice compensation to an otherwise fairly bridles day…

 

 

Species list day 12 (underlined are LIFERS)

 

  1. Chinese Bamboo Partridge heard
  2. Silver Pheasant 4 males 4 felmales
  3. Elliot’s Pheasant 4 females 1 male
  4. Grey-headed Woodpecker
  5. Asian House Swift
  6. Spotted Dove
  7. White-breasted Waterhen
  8. Common Moorhen
  9. Crested Goshawk
  10. Little Egret
  11. Great Egret
  12. Intermediate Egret
  13. Chinese Pond Heron
  14. Black-backed Night Heron
  15. Orange-bellied Leafbird
  16. Long-tailed Shrike
  17. Red-billed Blue Magpie
  18. Grey Treepie
  19. Grey-chinned minivet
  20. Oriental Blackbird
  21. Red-flanked Bluetail
  22. Daurian Redstart
  23. Slaty-backed Forktail 1
  24. Oriental Magpie Robin
  25. Stejneger’s Stonechat
  26. Collared Starling
  27. Crested Myna
  28. Japanese Tit
  29. Yellow-cheeked Tit
  30. Red-rumped Swallow (Japonicus)
  31. Mountain Bulbul
  32. Chestnut Bulbul
  33. Chinese Bulbul
  34. Yellow-bellied Prinia
  35. Brownish-flanked Bush Warbler
  36. Yellow-bellied Bush Warbler
  37. Yellow-browed Warbler
  38. Pallas’s Warbler
  39. Rufous-faced Warbler
  40. Grey-sided Scimitar Babbler
  41. Dusky Fulvetta
  42. White-bellied Epornis
  43. Fire-breasted Flowerpecker
  44. Fork-tailed Sunbird
  45. Scaly-breasted Munia
  46. White-rumped Munia
  47. Tree Sparrow
  48. Elegant Bunting
  49. Black-faced Bunting
  50. Tristram’s Bunting male

 

Tristrams bunting by Garry Bakker

Tristrams bunting by Garry Bakker

 

Slaty-backed forktail by Garry Bakker

Slaty-backed forktail by Garry Bakker

 

Lunch break at Nanping by Garry Bakker

Lunch break at Nanping by Garry Bakker

 

Happy birding!

 

 

Arjan Dwarshuis
Arjan Dwarshuis
birding@arjandwarshuis.com