Grey-sided Thrushes at Wulingshan

One of the best places on the planet to see GREY-SIDED THRUSH (Turdus feae) is Wulingshan, a stunning mountain park just across the border from Beijing Municipality in Hebei Province.  For birders, it’s a brilliant location in late spring and summer.  As well as breeding Grey-sided Thrushes this site also hosts Green-backed (Elisae’s) Flycatcher, White-bellied Redstart, Siberian Blue Robin, Koklass Pheasant, Grey Nightjar, White-backed and Japanese Pygmy Woodpeckers and a plethora of leaf warblers including Claudia’s, Hume’s, Yellow-streaked, Chinese Leaf and Large-billed Leaf.  Perhaps even more exciting is that it is said to still be home to Leopard.

The location of Wulingshan (red marker) in relation to Beijing.

The location of Wulingshan (red marker) in relation to Beijing.  Using the Jingcheng Expressway (G45) the drive to the north gate takes about 2.5 hours, traffic permitting, with a further 30 minutes to reach the peak.

At the weekend, I visited the mountain with Marie and, despite many birds having stopped singing by mid-July, we had a great time and were very fortunate to see one of our target birds – the GREY-SIDED THRUSH – so well.   This thrush, classified as “Vulnerable” by BirdLife due to its restricted range, breeds here in reasonable numbers.  We saw at least 8, including 3 juveniles – the first time I had seen this plumage – and early on Sunday morning we enjoyed prolonged views, allowing me to capture some video of an adult and a juvenile.

The views are incredible and the sunsets are also spectacular if lucky enough to coincide a visit with a smog-free day.

It's possible to drive to the top and walk a few hundred metres to the 2,118m peak.

It’s possible to drive to the top and walk a few hundred metres to the 2,118m peak.

The view to the northeast from the peak at Wulingshan.

The view to the northeast from the peak at Wulingshan.

Miyun Reservoir can be seen to the southwest on a clear day.

Miyun Reservoir can be seen to the southwest on a clear day.

Sunset at Wulingshan, Saturday 12 July 2014.

Sunset at Wulingshan, Saturday 12 July 2014.

Another photo of the sky just after sunset, Wulingshan, Saturday 12 July 2014.

Another photo of the sky just after sunset, Wulingshan, Saturday 12 July 2014.

 

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About Terry Townshend

I am a British birder living and birding in Beijing from August 2010 until 2015. Through this blog I hope I can convey a sense of what it is like to live in this thriving, confident and contrasting city and the birdlife that can be found in its environs. I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I enjoy writing it! Terry Townshend, Beijing September 2010
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10 Responses to Grey-sided Thrushes at Wulingshan

  1. John Holmes says:

    Great shots… fine scenery AND a very desirable bird !

  2. Andrew says:

    I remember photographing a distant thrush in Sai Kung a few years back and people got very excited thinking it might be GST. Final conclusion was Pale Thrush 😰. Looks a great location.

    • It’s a lovely place to spend some time in the heat of the summer (it’s a much more pleasant temperature than central Beijing’s 35+ degrees Celsius, with daytime temperatures in the low 20s) but with a 120 Yuan per person price tag for entry and an additional 60 Yuan for a vehicle, it’s not cheap! I hope you find a GST in HK one day!

  3. Mike Kilburn says:

    No records . . . yet! I dream about finding HK’s first either at the Magic Roundabout or on Lantau. It’s heat to see video to get a sense of how it might appear on that magical day . . .

    Cheers
    Mike

    • Thanks Mike.. I guess the route from the breeding grounds to its winter quarters doesn’t take it past HK.. but I am sure a vagrant will be found one day.. and it’s good to be prepared! Good luck!!

  4. Gretchen says:

    Nice video of the thrush – great to see adult and juvenile so well! Beautiful scenery shots too. Thanks for mentioning the price tag as that is a factor. Are there somewhat recent records of leopard there or just rumors or historical records?

  5. Hi Gretchen. I am not sure of the status of Leopard at Wulingshan. I have heard of sightings about 10+ years ago and it appears on the species list of the official Wulingshan website. But I have no information about recent sightings.. I suspect it is very rare, if it is still present. However, Leopard was recently camera-trapped to the west of Beijing, just over the border into Hebei at Xiaowutaishan… so it is possible that it is still present at Wulingshan.

  6. Jocko says:

    …and not to forget Zappey’s FC is also there…!

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