Antee

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Antee last won the day on January 11 2016

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  1. Slender Mongoose killing an Elephant Shrew is crazy! Woaoow.
  2. Truly excellent photos!
  3. 11. Sika Deer Two individuals seen in a forest area called Baixi, close to the grassland. Long distance and very early in the misty morning. So, another proof shot only. 12. Chinese mountain cat Also called Chinese desert cat. Endemic to western China and a big target for me as this would be my 13th species of wild cats in the world. The first photographs of a wild Chinese mountain cat were taken by camera traps in May 2007... Now these grasslands seems to produce regular sightings since a few years back. Since one known quarry for this cat was destroyed, our chances had decreased a bit and no mountain cat our first night. The second night we tried a road that we knew had some sightings a few weeks back and I managed to find one with my spotlight. Just a very quick look of a cat head in the thick bush. We stopped the car and tried to sneak upon it but it was gone... At least it was a mountain cat but only a brief glimpse and not very satisfying. The next evening we went to the same area. Put ourselves on top of the ridge, behind some rocks and start scanning the area. Nothing the first hour. Nothing the second hour. The third hour I was so freezing cold I could barely hold my binocular anymore. Nothing... A huge dissapointment. On our way back, approximately 4-5 kilometer from this area my companion found some eyeshine with his spotlight and YES! It was a Chinese mountain cat! Totally chaos in the car while the cat ran away. This was probably the same cat we had a brief sighting of yesterday. Now 4-5 kilometers away from the area we had been freezing on for hours... Not much is known about this cat, not even what they feeding on, but they have quite a big territory. Not a wild guess that they feed on rodents and Pikas though. But they are much more nocturnal than the Pallas cat and Pikas are sleeping during the night so who knows what they searching for during the night. This time, the cat stopped and thought he was invisible in the bush... I sneaked closer to him. He was still thinking he was the invisible-man... Hmm, where is the cat? I was just a few meters from this elusive cat! Unbelieveble sighting of a cat no one have photograph in the wild before 2007. If the Pallas cat is cute and have a friendly look. This one is much rougher. Not very friendly looking. But who can blame him? A spotlight right in the face... He decided that this is enough. No more close to humans. Time to flee. This is a big male. Short legs, short tail, compact body and quite thick fur. This big male disappeared in the dark. My 13th species of cats was now a fact and I were very satisfied. No... I was freaking happy 13. Irenes mountain vole A small rodent we saw running on the road one night and before any pictures it was already inside his hole. 14. Chinese zokor How to see this underground living rodent?? Their mounds are basically everywhere on the grassland and there must be "millions" of them underground. Well, we found a way. You need a shovel. Then just dig away one mound so that you can see the hole. Step back a few meters and wait 5-10 minutes... The Zokor will come and repair the broken entrance Probably to much fresh air in the home... Unfortunateley no pics as I was to close for my big lens. Summarize 14 species of mammals on these grasslands and managed to see all our important species. Success! Some more birds. Another rodent hunter in the air, Steppe eagle. This is also a home for the "vulnerable"-status Black necked cranes. They should be gone by now from the Zoige area as they spend the winter on much lower heights. But a few couples with their young ones was still there. They must have been very, very late born or something. These birds don´t like humans. They don´t let you come close and always walk away from you when you approach them. Time to leave Zoige after 3 nights. The next night was a bit different one. We stayed in a place we can call Panda valley. A very rarely visited area and our guide, Roland´s second time here only. The rumour is that this place have a few Giant Pandas. As you can´t see them easily anymore in China as they have closed all the easily available areas. Nowdays you more or less need 4-5 days trekking to have a fairly good chance for them. However, we were told that we had about 20% chance for one if we did a day-hike in these mountains. And so we did. But it was crazy steep, muddy and the conditions was miserably with fog and rain. The Giant Panda loves this conditions. I don´t. We didn´t reached the top of the hike, the conditions was too bad. No Giant Panda but a nice misty bamboo forest. We stayed in this homestay. Next post we will be in Tangijiahe reserve for completely other species. Stay tuned...
  4. Could the tortoise be African helmeted turtle , also called Marsh terrapin ?? If the size fit... and if they were in a more marshy area rather than in a dry??
  5. To bad that a car was the reason for the death of the young Eland. I hope he had the off road permit...
  6. 7. Siberian roe deer 7 individuals seen in a nearby valley one night and 1 individual seen in another valley on the day of departure. You have a fair chance for them if you look in more forest/bushy areas. They are not on the grassland. Just a quick proof shot. Totally burnt out from my flashlight. Tried to save it in Lightroom and at least I got something identifiable... 8. Tibetan gazelle Another target species for me and another quite easy one for us. They are not always easy to see here as this is on the very outskirts of their range. They are in far bigger numbers in the province of Qinghai for example. But we were lucky and saw them everyday. Small numbers but a herd of 15 gazelles on our second day. Like most animals here they are very skittish and aware of you. People are still illegally hunt them and they don´t let you come close. If you take one step closer, they take two steps away... I do recommend at least 600mm lens if you go here. You rarely see bigger herds than this in Sichuan. 9. Wolly hare Surprisingly hard to see. I thought they would be an easy task but it lasted until the second night before we saw our first Wolly hare. I saw totally 3 of them. Two at nightime and one very early in the morning. 10. Tibetan wolf Target species for me. We knew they were around but we also knew that it is a hit or miss as they roam huge areas. Big numbers of herders in the area maybe had scared them away. However, on the second night, actually on our way home, quite late. I picked up an eyeshine from my spotlight and my guide shouted quickly: "Wolf, it´s a Wolf..." The Wolf looked at me from a gully close to the road. He/she wasn´t very relaxed, walked back and forth along this gully. It was quite obvious that something attracted him in this gully as he refused to leave even though he was not comfortable with our presence. The tail between the legs is a clear sign of concern. Down again... He started to dig in the mud. Something was in there... He dug deep and suddenly a big piece of meat came up. This was why he refused to leave this gully... food Very nice sighting of this Tibetan Wolf who is slightly bigger and with thicker fur then the ones we have in Europe. It´s the same species though. After around 15 minutes we left and let him be more comfortable again in the vast darkness of these grasslands. This was the only sighting of Wolf we had but a very good one though. A few birds as well, to round off this third post. Sichuan have their own Lilac breasted roller (as everyone in Africa knows about). Here, it is the Crested tit Warbler. A hard to see bird and my guide was lyrical about this male. Me? I thought the wolf was far better One of two vultures present is Himalayan griffon. Which is in good numbers here. The other one, Lammergeier, we only saw a few. Next time the final post and more species from these grasslands before we move off to another area.
  7. The fox is quite big but the fence is huge. I decided to go to China for mammalwatching simply because they have such a biodiversity and alot of interesting animals. Many endemic birds and mammals. I also want to be the swedish person who have seen the most cats in the wild and I wanted to add the Chinese mountain cat to my list... Also very keen on photo Pallas cat and I knew this was one of the best places in the world for them. Sichuan have been famous for great birding for long time and my guide is a well known birder. Recent years they also do mammalwatching as the demand for this kind of tour is getting bigger and bigger. But yes...it´s still not very well known for wildlife outside this "hardcore mammal"-geeks
  8. 3. Asian badger Unexpected sighting during my first morning. A family of 3 Asian badgers. Very long distance but could see them very well in binoculars as they searched for food on the grassland. They can be a hit or miss here as they are not very easy to see. This was the only sighting. Not very pleased with my picture on a VERY long distance but a lifer for me, as so much else on this trip. 4. Tibetan fox Another target species on this trip and an easy one. Very abundant on the grassland and I can personally give you an 100% Tibetan fox guarantee if you go here. The very hard thing is to get close to them though. They are skittish as hell. Hunting pressure for the fur has caused them to associate people with evil and they run away as soon as they detect you. We saw around 10 of them every day and night and tried hard to get close but in the end I must say the Tibetan fox is the winner It´s a beautitul fox with a square head. In the first picture you can see the railroad construction work in the background. Straight over the grasslands and all the animals... You can see the Pika´s on their lookout for this furious predator. Day as night, equal common. Maybe this one could come a little closer. At least he walked straight towards me... Nah... this was enough for the Tibetan Fox... he was thinking "one step closer and I may end up as a fur on the wall". Better run instead... 5. Red fox Almost as common as the Tibetan fox is the Red fox. Also a guarantee here on the grassland. We saw many of them every day and night. The same problem here, very skittish for the same reason and I actually ended up with only two pictures of them. 6. Himalayan marmot Another alpine grassland dweller. Saw them everyday close to their burrows. Very often, they crept into the hole before I got the camera but this one was cooperative. And this one was late for home. Actually they are quite big. As a big house cat. Stand off between a Tibetan fox and Himalayan marmot. The marmot probably knew that he is too big for the fox. Some birds as well, to round off this second post. By far the most numerous predator bird in this area is Upland buzzard. This one have just made a Pika - kill. Another very numerous bird, who seems to share the space with the Pika´s is the White rumped snowfinch. For some reason they love to take mud batch in the Pika burrows. Next time we continue the mammal-list and add some more birds.
  9. Yes, this is a world class area for Pallas cat. The question is for how long though?? As the herders getting more and more in numbers and now they even started a railroad construction work straight over the Pallas cat area...
  10. Wild China Wild Sichuan This will be a trip report in almost the same way as I did with my Mongolia trip report: http://safaritalk.net/topic/16850-wild-mongolia-journey-into-the-unknown/ Where I am going to list some animals and where/when you can see them rather than doing a day by day report. Okey, let´s go. I started and ended this trip in Chengdu in the Sichuan province of China. I started my trip 4th October and was out in the field for 10 nights + 2 nights in Chengdu before and after the tour. My original plan was to spend all the time in 3 locations in Sichuan but I ended up in Shaanxi province as well. What to do when the animals don´t cooperate More about that later. This is my 3 locations for this trip and my target species: * Zoige grassland At the very edge of the Tibetan plateau towards Qinghai province. This is quite high altitude with elevation between 3000-3500 meters. My targets here is two rarely seen cats, Pallas cat and Chinese mountain cat. I have seen Pallas cat before in Mongolia but this time I was looking for better pictures of this elusive cat. Also Tibetan gazelle, Tibetan fox and Tibetan Wolf was at the very top of my wish-list. * Tangijiahe This is a protected reserve and it is in a much lower altitude. A forest mountain area where you can look for animals along the roads who follow the valleys and gorges. My target here is Golden Takin and Golden Snub nosed monkey. This endemic beautiful colored monkey can be a hard one here but we will try. I also very much hoped for Asiatic black bear who is seen very irregular but there is a chance. * Labahe A private protected area who have been closed for some time for construction work but now reopened. Same habitat as in Tangijiahe with forest mountains and valleys. This is the place to see Red panda. At least that was my goal... My guide for this trip is Roland Zeidler. Originally a birder but nowdays doing alot of mammalwatching trips as well. He is from Germany but lives outside Chengdu since long time ago and he speaks fluent chinese which is a huge benefit in this country where people still can´t say "hello" in English... So... we start with... Zoige grasslands I stayed 3 nights in the dusty Zoige town which is the place to stay if you want to explore these grasslands. The main area where we spent most of our time was 1-1½ hour drive from the town. So it´s a quite long drive there and back. Therefore we spent all of our time on the grassland, from early morning until almost midnight. All time out in the field or spotlighting from the car. Breakfast we had in the car and lunch/early dinner in local restaurant on the grassland. The first thing you will see when you enter this plateau is unfortunateley wolf skins... This is Zoige grassland, this is how it looks like. Some areas are a bit more mountainous than others. This is the area where we searched for the Chinese mountain cat. Me, looking for... I don´t know. The sunset maybe Time to jump to the exciting part, what is lurking around in these grasslands. What did I see during my time here. 1. Plateau Pika (or black-lipped Pika) is by far the most common mammal you see here. Probably also the first and last you will see. These guys are the heart of the grassland. This is the reason why this area has so much biodiversity. They are eaten by almost everyone and everything from mammals to birds and without them this area would be almost like a desert. Their numbers are incredible and they running around everywhere. Not that easy to come close though. They probably know that they are on everyone´s meny 2. Pallas cat Already on our first morning here we went to a quarry where my guide used to see this elusive cat. HUGE disappointment when we found out that they just started a railroad construction work!! straight thru the grassland and of course straight over this quarry... no more quarry and of course no more Pallas cat. He did knew another quarry, which is a good place to look for Pallas cat as they can hide among the rocks but still hunt very easy on the grassland. We made some distance to the quarry and set up our scope and start to scan the quarry. The top of the stones. The Pallas cat use to come out in the morning sun to warm up. It didn´t take long for Roland to find one! No... he found two actually! A mother and a almost fully grown kitten. Can you see him? So what to do to come closer? Hmm... rememeber this is a very elusive cat and if it´s run away into the rocks it will be gone for a couple of hours at least. My plan was to sneak closer and use the rocks as shelter and hiding behind. Just like the Pallas cat, I tried to become one A little closer... the cat is still unaware about me. I knew that the cat could be gone in any second but I still wasn´t very pleased with the distance and tried to sneak even closer... Oh shit... I have been discovered. The cat was now very aware of me and stared at me. But still not moving. This is the almost fully grown kitten and maybe he/she was a little curious about me as well. I took a chance and more or less crawled behind some rocks and I could only keep my fingers crossed that the cat would still be there when I peeked up with my camera. YES! The Pallas cat was still there and I got the shots i wanted! Such a cool looking cat with flat ears for more easy sneaking on Pikas. The next second it was gone. Obviously I have intruded to it´s comfort territory We returned to this quarry two more times and we saw the small family everytime. Couldn´t get this close anymore but amazing to watch them thru binoculars as well. Here is the mother from another angle another day. Tried to sneak on them from behind but a pair of Pallas cat eyes dedecting everything If you look really close you can also see the head from the kitten just above the mother. The huge dissapointment with the railroad work and the first quarry who were gone... turned into a big success. Very pleased with this sighting from one of my main targets of this trip. This grasslands are a really stronghold for them. The question is for how long? Until next post...
  11. Just for the record. The Hare was African Savannah hare and not a Scrub hare Sorry... I know I am a species-geek Great stuff, keep going this record-in-kill-report!
  12. As always very nice photos!
  13. As always when you are involved. A hell of a sightings and very nice pictures! Once again... Thanx for sharing.
  14. Geeez, this is more action than a Steven Seagal movie! Absolutely stunning! Thanx for sharing.
  15. He can import DONALD TUSK , the president of the European council. We don´t need him in Europe.

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