Friday, 4 May 2018

Birds of Yunnan talk


Talks by Bird Club member, Jeff Blincow are for me, one of the
highlights in the calendar and this talk, looking at his three-week
winter trip to Yunnan, lived up to expectation.

In birding terms, Yunnan is not very well known, so this was a bit of an expeditionary birding trip made with his regular comrades Bob Bullock & Nigel Goodgame. They met up with a Chinese guide from Chengdu & then over the next few days drove south to Yunnan, a province in south-west China that borders Laos & Myanmar (Burma).

Jeff explained, that like most countries, China's landscape & wildlife has suffered from human activities such as deforestation & hunting, but pockets of good habitat still exist and are now protected. Within these parks, a number of species can be found. Some, like the Dusky Warbler, White's Thrush & Red-flanked Bluetail were familiar as they occasionally turn up in the UK, but many others like the Rusty-fronted Barwing and Scimitar Babblers are unique to Asia.

Seeing birds in lowland forest, with bamboo thickets can be hard work, so it was good to hear that the locals have seen a business
opportunity and set up feeding stations & hides. Where, for a small
fee, you sit & wait quietly and can get great views of a variety of
forest species that you would struggle to see, let alone photograph if you were walking the trails. The fact that the locals are involved
gives hope that these remaining forest areas will be well looked

Judging by the number of quality photos of species such as Pheasants, Babblers, Bulbuls, Barbets, Flycatchers, Laughing-thrushes, Minlas, Sibias, Leafbirds, Sunbirds & Thrushes it looked like the hides were well worth the £5 a day fee!

As with all of Jeff's talks, it was interesting, educational & not all
about birds. There were a variety of other species thrown in, Trees,
Fungi, Dragonflies and by visiting a local museum, even managed to include Dinosaurs!

But birds were the main theme and as well as discussing migration
routes, taxonomic splits and the identification of Phylloscopus
warblers, there were some gripper photos including Ibisbill,
Forktails, Chinese Rubythroat & Red-headed Trogon to name a few.

All in all, I thought this was one of Jeff's best illustrated talks
yet, which is remarkable considering he didn't even take his camera!

Mark Williams

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