Probably a bit loony to go birding on the coldest, iciest time in Heilongjiang, but hey, life’s about adventures, right??
On the Christmas day of 2013, joined by 2 students from Harbin Forestry University, we took an early train to Mao Er Shan! A pre-arranged taxi was already at the station waiting for us, and soon we were on our way to the Ringing station! It was a beautiful day, and as the car forged towards the famous mountain, we were captivated by the stunning views of the snowy landscape as it undulated before us!
Mao Er Shan, Heilongjiang
With window screens rolled up, we couldn’t hear birds sing! But compensated by sharp-eyed birders in the car, I don’t think we missed any bird when driving along! As soon as we entered the road that leads to the ringing station, we saw some very interesting birds- Hazel Sandgrouse on a tree, Ural Owl on a lamp post, some Marsh Tits etc!
When food is hard to find in cold, icy weather, dumpster sites are favorite hangouts for residents! Eurasian nuthatches, Eurasian Jays, Marsh Tits were some of the birds that frequented the area!
Marsh Tit staying close to the dumpster site
Eurasian Nuthatch, a fast and furious bird!
Long Tailed Rosefnch and Eurasian Jay outside the ringing station!
As we walked along the road, we also had good views Japanese waxwings mixed with a few Bohemian Waxings, Pallas Rosefinches that flew by!
During winter, the ringing station is closed, but as “VIPs” we could still go in and warm ourselves from the cold brutal weather! Having filled our hungry tummies with packed lunchbox (sandwiches actually, and we left 1 in the car! @_@), we decided to move on to the next location…Whilst waiting for our taxi (the same one, and our missing sandwich still there!), we saw a red colored little bird! A Long-tailed Rosefinch! “What a beautiful bird!!” we all exclaimed!
Japanese waxings and Marsh tits
By the time we reach the next location, it was already 3pm, and the sun sets at 4!! >.< Luckily, we saw a White-backed Woodpecker busy pecking away! As the day darkens, and we were heading towards the train station, an Eurasian Eagle Owl was spotted standing on a lamp post!! I couldn’t see the bird as I was blocked in the car…but luckily, it flew to another post, and I finally saw it! Better than nothing!!
Other birds seen when driving along included the Rough-legged Buzzard, Meadow Buntings, and Bull-finches! And with no signs of human trekking on deep snow, animal and bird imprints were seen…a marvelous sight indeed! What’s a better way to spend Christmas? hehe!
Eurasian Eagle-Owl and Bullfinch!
Animal footprints- a Hare?