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Everything posted by Antee

  1. 20. Chinese serow Another goat-like mountain dweller. Not very easy to see. Spending their days on higher ground they come down in the valley at night. I managed to see a few of them on long distance. 21. Reeves muntjac Together with Takin this is the most easy to see animal in Tangjiahe. Alot of them more or less everywhere. 22. Hog badger I saw 3 of them during my stay but they always have their snout in the ground. Always. Not a single time I saw the face of them.... so you have to google it if you want to see a proper picture. 23. Tibetan macaque On a short walk behind the hotel I came across a large group of this macaque who is common here. Females have a distinct red face. 24. Mainland Leopardcat A Very lucky encounter and a real highlight in Tangjiahe was a fantastic close up sighting of this cat. Recently split from Sunda Leopardcat which you find on Java, Borneo, Sumatra, Phillipines - this version is now it´s own species and a lifer for me. I had only seen the Sunda version before. Spent about 10 minutes with it before it decided to disappear. 25. Wild boar No pictures but were seen on two different occasions around the hotel. Shy. 26. Confusian niniventer Alot of rodents running over the road at night. Hard to identify without picture but at least some of them must be this species according to size and overall look and as they are the most common one around in the area. Some more cool birds around. Temminck´s tragopon , The male is outsanding beautiful! With bright colors and a bluish tone that is amazing. Unfortunateley he didn´t stay for long. He was not a gentleman either as he left his girl all alone... The river valley is also home to some resident Tawny fish owl which we saw now and then. Both day and night. Probably the same individual. Of course there is alot of smaller ones as well but I didn´t care so much about them... Like this Red Billed Leiothrix This is what I saw in Tangjiahe. 3 nights is enough in the area because the road network is very limited so you always go to the same places. But there is alot of biodiversity here and it´s a very healthy park. One of my goals didn´t showed up... Golden snub nosed monkey. They are usually in the core area of this park which you can not reach without being a researcher. But they travel the valley now and then so there is a chance for them. Unfortunateley not this time... A discuss with the guide, some re-planning and one extra day put into this tour and our next destination will be Foping nature reserve in Shaanxi province. A long, long drive but they have habituated Golden snub nosed monkeys here, so more or less a guaranteed sighting. They are endemic, this is my only chance - maybe ever - to see them. Yes, it´s worth it... towards Foping! Other stuff that I missed: Asiatic black bear. Not a surprise as you need a hell of a luck. But there was a fast glimpse of a female with cub one morning during my stay. Yellow throated marten. This one continues to elude me Tufted deer. Maybe the most notable dip down. We searched alot for them in our scopes on the hillsides but not this time. Rhesus macaque. Small population lives here and they are seen quite often. Not this time. Next post from Foping!
  2. Wild China Wild Sichuan This will be a trip report in almost the same way as I did with my Mongolia trip report: 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...
  3. First time in Africa and to keep the cost down then the answer is easy: Namibia. The most extraordinary landscape on our planet.
  4. Good or bad?? Well... that´s depend on the lodge price.
  5. @lmSA84 Yes, some world class sightings. And it´s not over yet @offshorebirder Well, I know this is a sought after bird amongst birders, like most other species of pheasants. They are common in Tangijiahe so it´s just to visit and collect them Almost... @Dave Williams Well, China can be crowded, polluted and busy... but only if you go to the "wrong" places The country is big and they have an astounding amount of wildlife with 560 species of mammals. Third in the world. 1300 birds recorded. Eight in the world. 15% of China is nature reserves. And there is huge wildernesses in Qinghai, Xinjiang, Inner mongolia and Tibet. So it´s only a matter of where you go actually.
  6. Sorry for the delayed posts. Holidays and traveling come in between... but now I´m ready to take this trip report forward again My next stop is Tangjiahe reserve. A very different area from the grasslans with different habitat and different animals. This is a very well protected area among mountains and valleys. Too protected for my taste as most of the road network is closed and you can only do spotlighting and wildlife watching along a 3km road. We did some walking along the other roads and along paths as well. Takin and Snub nosed monkey was my big target here. With some extraordinary luck also the possibility to see Asian black bear. But the area has many other mammals as well... I stayed 3 nights here. The misty mountains of Tangjiahe! The hotel we stayed at in the middle of the reserve was...hmm...BIG and scary. Something straight out of a horror movie. Nothing wrong with it. The room is very nice and clean, the food also very good. But it was empty... totally empty. Still Tv screens outside is switched on, the HUGE reception area where 3 people is working (unclear with what as the hotel was totally empty) day and night in total darkness was weird. Like someone still believed there is 100 of guests here... If you imagine a horror movie where all the guests have been killed and vanished, this is the hotel where it has happened... A huge hotel complex with absolutely nothing inside. It was weird but also very good as that means more space for me in the nature. Scary lifeless hotel. In beautiful surroundings. Along this river valley most of the spotlighting and mammalwatching took place. 15. Takin This huge, weird goat-like animal is very common and easily seen. We saw alot of them every day. Conservation status is Vulnerable but here they have a real stronghold. They can be dangerous so it is important to keep your distance and be aware of their behaviour. They have a reputation of when they start running they don´t stop for anything. And I mean anything... not even a car, a wall or you... For me this sounded very weird as they must have eysight but one morning we scared a Takin with our car. He didnt saw us behind a sharp bend on a parking spot near the entrance of the park and he got terrified and start running... BOOOM... straight into a fence made of steel. This thick steel-poles bent like nothing from this powerful animal. Well, this was a lesson that the rumours were true. The Takin probably still have headache. Maybe this is what happend to this one horned Takin 16. Chinese Goral Another goat-like ungulate who is easy to see in Tangjiahe. Seen on all my days here. Also vulnerable status due to overhunting. He is a very good climber and not afraid of heights. 17. Masked Palm Civet 12 of them seen during my stay on all nights. Some animals probably the same individuals as we spotlighted the same area. Nocturnal and only seen during the night. 18. Pere Davids Rock Squirrel Endemic to China. Can be seen jumping along the rocks on the ground as they have their burrows inside the rocks. I had to search for a while but ended up with 3 individuals in total. Fairly common here. 19. Korean field mouse One of many rodents running over the road in nighttime. Hard to identify them but I am pretty sure that this is Korean field mouse. Not to forget some notable birds from this area... Eurasian Sparrowhawk was seen daily but the only photo opportunity came during the night. The beautiful Crested Kingfisher were seen along the river every day looking for food. But the highlight among birds and even an interesting find for a non-birder like me, Golden Pheasant. Next time we continue the count from 19 to upwards
  7. As far as I know there is only a few sightings every year of Puma in Yellowstone. Despite 4 million visitors and the worlds most watched slopes... There is far better places if you want to see Puma.
  8. This will be a fairytale. A story about two places. Far between. But connected in the way of wildlife and for some rare sightings. Part one will be a story about Marrick in South Africa and my search for the shy nocturnal animals who is roaming these lands. Was the reputation true? What did I find? Part two is a story about some characters in Okavango delta in the very high season when the flooding make the life easy for many animals. Not all, some of them will have a hard time. My story will tell... This part take place in Khwai Concession. In Marrick I stayed at Marrick lodge. Trevor Datnow and his crew make this to an exceptional place to stay. In Khwai I used WalkBotswanaSafaris and Gareth Flemix as a guide. Wild camping. Very luxury though with an attached toilet and shower built in the back of my tent. Even a proper bed and staff who make excellent food all the way. This was the real deal. I was there for wildlife, not sitting around in a lodge and spend most of the time to find a sunset point for a Gin/Tonic. Such a waste of time for the most perfect conditions for wildlife and photography. I can drink at home and I can hang around in a lodge at home. But I can definitely never ever photographing "African animals" in the sunset at home... WalkBotswanaSafaris fulfilled all my expectations. So let me introduce the stars of the show. These characters is where the most action were. But there will be others as well... First out, Marrick. My most sought after creature here was of course Black footed cat and Aardvark. We found alot of other things as well... African wildcat! I will tell you more day by day in my next posts. I had three nightdrives and one daytrip to Mokala NP. Oh hell... I almost forgot the Meerkats! There are alot of them around Marrick and also Mokala NP. Nice and cute family. Khwai Concession in Botswana is another story. About a Leopard family... The cub is around 3 month old. A Lion family... With cubs in most ranges... A Wild dog family. On the hunt... And 12 days old puppies who sees the sky for the first time in their life. Especially one of them who got lost and a very rough start (and maybe end) of his life... Here he is. A story about very rare sightings... ...and creatures who have some problem with all the water to collect food... ...while some others have more than enough and take full advantage of the pantry. African darter and Dwarf bittern. Now when the stars are introduced. We can start from the beginning in Marrick on day 1. To be continued...
  9. Slender Mongoose killing an Elephant Shrew is crazy! Woaoow.
  10. Truly excellent photos!
  11. 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...
  12. 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??
  13. To bad that a car was the reason for the death of the young Eland. I hope he had the off road permit...
  14. 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.
  15. 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´s still not very well known for wildlife outside this "hardcore mammal"-geeks
  16. 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.
  17. 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...
  18. 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!
  19. As always very nice photos!
  20. As always when you are involved. A hell of a sightings and very nice pictures! Once again... Thanx for sharing.
  21. Geeez, this is more action than a Steven Seagal movie! Absolutely stunning! Thanx for sharing.
  22. He can import DONALD TUSK , the president of the European council. We don´t need him in Europe.
  23. And not only the Loita migration will be in Ol Kinyei in February. I am also doing my migration here in February This is way more cheapier option than Ndutu but also smaller number of Wildebeests.
  24. @xelas No idea yet. Besar seems to have best snorkeling from the beach but Kecil more "fun in the evening". We will see what I decide for when it comes to booking this.
  25. @xelas Hehe... no, just to relax some days in between mammalwatching in Sri Lanka and more mammalwatching in Borneo, Vietnam or Sulawesi @kittykat23uk and @serendipityntravel Thanx alot for suggestions. I do have my plan more or less sorted out in Sri Lanka and also the operator/guide

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