Zhaga, Western Sichuan – 10,000 Birds

Zhaga monastery is a Tibetan monastery constructed on prime of a considerably distant mountain close to the city of Yajiang. It had a little bit of a determined really feel to it to me – nearly no monks seen, lots of the buildings crumbling or already abandoned, and the observe of feeding pheasants apparently already discontinued. So, perhaps not be the very best place to go to for monks affected by melancholy. But it surely appears the birds like this habitat, in all probability as this can be a uncommon extra open space on these in any other case principally closely forested hills.

The monastery is kind of giant in comparison with a hen information (Bella from Alpinebirding on the left-hand aspect). And in comparison with birds, for that matter.

It’s also simply attainable to take images of the monastery that don’t present any hen information. Nor birds.

Pool and a few residing quarters (I fastidiously chosen the least crumbling ones, I feel – the quarters, not the pool). I don’t know whether or not the pool has any spiritual significance however I suppose so.

White Eared-Pheasants have been alleged to be on the monastery, however didn’t present up there, presumably due to the discontinuation of feeding. Fortuitously, they did present up on the way in which as much as the monastery.

By far the very best hen on the monastery is the Blood Pheasant – or extra exactly, a largish flock of them. A hen that must be far more celebrated than it’s. I used to be instructed that apparently, laughingthrushes are far more well-liked with hen photographers than this pheasant. Possibly these individuals like challenges – not less than right here on the monastery, getting good photographs of this species is kind of simple. Me, as a administration marketing consultant, I generally must faux to love challenges however in fact, I might fairly have some simple duties.

One other species apparently having fun with the proximity of a monastery is the White-winged Grosbeak. One other hen title derived from what appears nearly the least fascinating facet of its look.

The Latin title of the Eurasian Wren is Troglodytes troglodytes. (So good they named it twice, anybody?). A troglodyte is an individual who lives in a cage, and likewise a fairly good insult (“You troglodyte”). As on this quote by Mr. Andrew Breitbart: “Liberals in blue states simply assume that they’re on the best aspect of historical past, and anyone that disagrees with them must be a troglodyte or a neanderthal.” Humorous how he aimed to point out off his mental credentials through the use of the phrase troglodyte whereas on the identical time denouncing intellectuals.

This wren is just not answerable for Mr. Breitbart although.

Being a polymer chemist by background (although now principally working as a marketing consultant), I used to be intrigued by a line from a tune by the Parquet Courts (in “Tenderness”): “Nothing reminds the thoughts of energy than a budget odor of plastic”. No concept what which means, however nonetheless … Completely no connection to birding or birds, so far as I can see, however that has not stopped me from including hyperlinks to good songs previously.

A Lengthy-tailed Minivet fastidiously hiding his lengthy tail. From the monks, perhaps?

Completely different from the final time I noticed it, this time the Rufous-vented Tit was far more prepared to point out its “vent” (an ornithological phrase basically which means “ass”). It’s certainly rufous-ish.

My intensive birding expertise permits me to be very assured that the hen under is a Rosefinch. Please seek the advice of your individual hen information for extra particulars.

For some purpose, Wikipedia has a number of semi-relevant data on the Crimson-billed Chough. A few of these associations are fairly constructive:

“In keeping with Cornish legend, King Arthur didn’t die after his final battle however fairly his soul migrated into the physique of a red-billed chough, the crimson coloration of its invoice and legs being derived from the blood of the final battle and therefore killing this hen was unfortunate”

Others much less so:

“As much as the eighteenth century, the red-billed chough was related to fire-raising, and was described as incendaria avis, “oftentime it secretly conveieth hearth sticks, setting their homes afire”. I suppose the invoice seems to be a bit like a hearth stick, in case you have an excessive amount of creativeness and spend a whole lot of your spare time burning witches.

Uninterestingly sufficient, a day after I wrote the above, I learn a brand new novel by Ferdinand Mount (“Making good”), a guide that appears to borrow fairly a bit from Evelyn Waugh’s “Scoop” (which is acknowledged even in an current evaluation of this guide within the Economist) and much more (however not talked about by the Economist) from Ross Thomas’ “Seersucker Whipsaw” (which in my view is the higher guide of the 2, or not less than positively the extra enjoyable to learn, in my thoughts). And in “Making good”, I learn the next sentence:

“In a while, we walked alongside the cliff in the direction of Dingle Level, hoping to listen to the croak of the chough …”

Strolling again dwelling after setting a hearth someplace.

Not a lot mythology associated to the White-browed Fulvetta, not less than to my information. The preliminary eBird description as a “chunky Fulvetta” is just not very flattering – ought to the poor hen go on a weight loss program? – however regularly will get extra favorable as “placing and unmistakable”. So, perhaps no want for a weight loss program in spite of everything.

Within the non-breeding season, Widespread Merganser all look just about like females. Not a foul look although – extra engaging than the male breeding plumage, I feel.

Carrion Crows like to think about themselves as very fashionable birds. To boost this picture, they very very similar to to pose on energy traces. Not very delicate of their self-presentation, these birds.

The Black-rumped Magpie is likely one of the 4 new species that have been break up from the Eurasian Magpie in 2018. It may be about time for HBW to doc this break up as properly … unsure why they don’t replace this. Possibly they don’t seem to be that a lot into birds?

For a mediocre birder like me, it’s fairly unattainable to differentiate this species from the Oriental Magpie that’s widespread in Shanghai. One thing in regards to the rump being blacker however this solely being seen when the hen is in flight? Or the Black-rumped being a Sagittarius whereas the Oriental is a Pisces?

On the way in which from the monastery to our subsequent vacation spot, we picked up a monk hitchhiking again to his monastery. He was from the realm however had apparently been touring to India to see the Dalai Lama. Upon studying about my background, he requested me whether or not now we have Yaks in Germany.


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