Given our packed lunch, we were all set to go birding on a forest canopy located at Sinong, (斯农) close to the glazier..! Passing through a small town nestled with Tibetan temples and lodges in Shangri-La, we had brief views of Snow Pigeons (雪鸽 ) and a Pink-rumped Rosefinch (曙红朱雀) , the former seen briefly on a slope, while the latter came close the roadside! Both lifers for me! :)
As we continued our journey, the Meili Snow Mountains (梅里雪山) revealed its grandeur as the valleys and canyons undulated before us…! The road was manageable despite a few loose stones here and there, but as we moved on to get to the forest canopy which was at 4500m, I realized we’ve headed for the scariest ride of my life! Below is a short video of the ride! >.<””””
It was a hairy hour ride! We thought we had enough excitement and decided to walk instead! But with such altitude and little air, we’ve exhausted ourselves after only 3 “twills” up the mountain, and there was still no sign of the forest!! Luckily, our driver came to our rescue! “Phew” I thought to myself!
After another 10 minute ride, we’ve finally reached the forest canopy! Though it was already mid noon, birds seemed active at this altitude! A pair of Koklass Pheasants were seen on slope, and further moving into the forest trail- Elliot’s laughingthrush (橙翅噪鹛), Grey-crested tits (褐冠山雀), Rufous-vented tits (黑冠山雀), Black-browed tits (黑眉长尾山雀), nuthatches, White-browed Fulvettas, etc!
We moved on to find a village right on top of the mountain..! We’re just as surprised to see them as they were surprised to see us! We were told that flocks of Lord Derby’s Parakeets (大紫胸鹦鹉) would breed there every summer! After a brief stop, it was time for us to head back, and once again, we embraced ourselves to the scary ride downhill! >.<”
By the time we got to our hotel, Songtsam Meili, the entrance gate at the base was locked and we had to hike up to our hotel, carrying our belongings and the teapot and cups given to us by the hotel as part of our packed lunch! The day was such a thrill- filled with hairy moments, birds, and laughter! I wouldn’t want my adventure any other way! :P
And last but not the least, the lovely view from our hotel, Songtsam Meili.