October 8, 2015: Balang, China — Gideon and I visited Hlawga Park, a five-square-mile patch of forest outside Yangon, and saw a few more birds (highlighted by Racket-tailed Treepies) in a good three-hour session this morning. Rhesus macaques watched us while we watched the birds, and the birds watched everyone.
A week in Myanmar sure passed in a hurry! This has been an interesting leg. Tourism only really took hold in Myanmar in the past three years or so with recent governmental changes (though adventurous birders have been coming to Myanmar since about the mid-90s), so it feels a bit raw and unspoiled. There are very few local birdwatchers in Myanmar even though the country has 50 million residents. Gideon and his brother Moses are former hunters who played in a rock band for a while before getting hooked on birding, and they know the country’s avian life as well as anyone; Gideon is a great guide and wonderful company in the field. (You can reach them through Thiri at Wildbird Adventure Tours, who helped set up my visit: wildbirdadventure.com).
So, onward! I landed in Chengdu, in China’s Sichuan province, early this evening, where a birder named Sid Francis picked me up. In a heavy drizzle, we drove several hours into the night to reach Balang, in Sichuan’s western mountains, by midnight. And now, as they say, for something completely different…
New birds today: 9
Year list: 4701