photos & text by Don Roberson

This short trip to the Qinling Mts in Shaanxi, central China, was primarily a mammal trip. Indeed, some participants weren't even birders at all! [shock]. Organized by Indri Tours and led by Simon Bellingham, it was a focused effort to find Giant Panda Alluropoda melanoleuca. Others saw and photographed the panda, and also the wonderful Red-and-white Flying-Squirrel Petaurista alborufus. But we all saw some other species as well.

Primary among those was the huge Golden Takin Budorcas taxicolor (right). We observed two in Changqing Nature Reserve: this old male at rather low elevation and along the main entrance road, and another was scoped from a long distance at much higher elevation. This was the first time this Indri trip had gone to Changqing, and primarily for Takin. This rare beast also occurs at Foping Nature Reserve — the Panda spot — but is much harder to find there. [Yet, on an "off" day after the rest of the group had seen a panda, participant Dominique Brugiere hiked to high elevation at Foping, and saw a Takin there also.]


Pere David's Rock Squirrel Sciurotamias davidianus (left) was reasonably common at all sites visited in the Qinling Mts.; photo'd here at Da Ping Yu. Wild Boar Sus scrofa was seen by all at Changqing (ran across the road, no photos), and some saw Chinese Muntjac Muntiacus reevesi enroute to Foping.

The other important mammal sought out and seen was Golden Snub-nosed Monkey Pygathrix roxellanae (below). The site is a tourist spot not far from Foping town called Da Ping Yu, and here a habituated group of snub-noses are fed at mid-day. The attitude of the rangers who threw out vegetables was appalling — they threw rocks at the monkeys to get them to more quickly move to the food — but the primates themselves were impressive, as shown in this gallery.

Continue to pages on . . .
Return to Introduction page
page created 18 Dec 2010
© Don Roberson 2010