Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Dasyueshan (4) - Swinhoe's Pheasants

adult male (with mammalian sidekick)

So this is why we got up at 4 a.m.... about a halfway up the mountains, there's a certain place by the side of the road that, if you're lucky, is frequented by Swinhoe's Pheasants - at least, when the mood takes them.

We arrived just as the sky hinted strongly at sunrise, and took up our positions by the roadside. Aware of the odds, it's fair to say we were somewhat taken aback just ten minutes later, when a stunning adult male waltzed casually into view....

.... satisfied with excellent views in the half-light and having watched him wander off, we were even more taken aback when a loud rustle behind us turned out to be a convoy of four Swinhoe's - the adult male, two females and a young male - which passed within touching distance of our quivering fingers, and put on a show to remember.

That we had no such luck with the equally sought-after, equally endemic Mikado, no matter; that we were so spoiled with Swinhoe's will live long in the memory - and that any shots came out in the dark forest dawn is a miracle.