After raiding the stakeouts at Dongzhai and Lushan County(Pingdingshan), i had couple of days to spend at Luoyang which was ample enough to explore the North China food and the world heritage site of Longmen Grottoes. Luoyang was pretty much small and simple and all these places are covered by public transport.
For the Longmen Grottoes, there are public buses available from the bus station infront of the Luoyang Railway station. Just like any other 5A sites in China, the bus drops you at a far off place from the site, then a shuttle bus ride to the ticket office and a caddie raid to the main site.
The Longmen hill holds the vast amount of the rock reliefs, excavations and statues and the main grotto. The following wikipedia page has all the details of the site.
Spoiler Alert : Even though birding was fruitful, i wasn’t carrying my telephoto lens with me, so this post doesn’t have any photos of good birds seen in the site but rather some photos of the Grottoes and temples.
Birding was slow given that it was tourist attraction . A gliding female Eurasian Sparrowhawk along the Longmen bridge jump started the day. Few Plumbeous Redstarts along the west hill were first for the trip. The no of Azure-winged Magpies beat the competition for the Shanghai Population. Single Crested and Pied Kingfisher were busy establishing their territory along the Yi River infront of the Grottoes. Top bird of the day was just in the main Grotto. I was preparing to setup my tripod at the main Grotto, saw a bird flew out of one of the cave and started to creep on the wall. A flyby Sparrowhawk spooked the bird and in flight the brown birds bright red underwings were so obvious and thereby confirming that it was indeed a “Wallcreeper“.
The next day visit is to the historic and culturally rich White Horse Temple. It was bit out of the city, the bus ride took almost an hour but the terminus was at the temple, very convenient once again. Plenty of Mountain Bulbuls welcomed all the tourists and the pilgrims.
Most of the tourists where curious and were observing the prayer ceremony, a drumming and drilling sound attracted me to my first ever “Rufous-bellied Woodpecker“. The following wikipedia page covers the ancient history of the White Horse temple. In the modern era of buddhism, the temple grounds have an International cultural exchange area where they have built temples from the other Asian buddhist countries. They have brought architects, workers and even monks from the countries during the process.
Rest of the evening spent in the city ancient street exploring the food and the streets.
The next half day was spent at the Wangcheng City park which harbors a Peony Park and a small zoo. The Peony park is free except the Peony season in spring. I spent a morning in the Peony Park, the new birds for the trip included a Common Kingfisher, White-rumped Munia and a Oriental Magpie Robin.
The complete list for Luoyang is below.
|Common name||Scientific name||Location||Date|
|Grebes (Podicipedidae) – 1 / 23|
|Little Grebe||Tachybaptus ruficollis||Longmen Grottoes, Henan, China||12/15/16|
|Herons, Bitterns (Ardeidae) – 2 / 72|
|Great Egret||Ardea alba||Longmen Grottoes, Henan, China||12/15/16|
|Little Egret||Egretta garzetta||Longmen Grottoes, Henan, China||12/15/16|
|Cormorants, Shags (Phalacrocoracidae) – 1 / 41|
|Great Cormorant||Phalacrocorax carbo||Longmen Grottoes, Henan, China||12/15/16|
|Kites, Hawks and Eagles (Accipitridae) – 1 / 256|
|Eurasian Sparrowhawk||Accipiter nisus||Longmen Grottoes, Henan, China||12/15/16|
|Pigeons, Doves (Columbidae) – 2 / 335|
|Rock Dove||Columba livia||Wangcheng Park, Luoyang, Henan, China||12/17/16|
|Oriental Turtle Dove||Streptopelia orientalis||White Horse Temple, Henan, China||12/16/16|
|Kingfishers (Alcedinidae) – 3 / 93|
|Common Kingfisher||Alcedo atthis||Wangcheng Park, Luoyang, Henan, China||12/17/16|
|Crested Kingfisher||Megaceryle lugubris||Longmen Grottoes, Henan, China||12/15/16|
|Pied Kingfisher||Ceryle rudis||Longmen Grottoes, Henan, China||12/15/16|
|Woodpeckers (Picidae) – 1 / 234|
|Rufous-bellied Woodpecker||Dendrocopos hyperythrus||White Horse Temple, Henan, China||12/16/16|
|Shrikes (Laniidae) – 1 / 33|
|Long-tailed Shrike||Lanius schach||Wangcheng Park, Luoyang, Henan, China||12/17/16|
|Crows, Jays (Corvidae) – 2 / 131|
|Azure-winged Magpie||Cyanopica cyanus||Longmen Grottoes, Henan, China||12/15/16|
|Eurasian Magpie||Pica pica||Longmen Grottoes, Henan, China||12/15/16|
|Tits, Chickadees (Paridae) – 1 / 61|
|Japanese Tit||Parus minor||Longmen Grottoes, Henan, China||12/15/16|
|Bulbuls (Pycnonotidae) – 2 / 151|
|Light-vented Bulbul||Pycnonotus sinensis||White Horse Temple, Henan, China||12/16/16|
|Mountain Bulbul||Ixos mcclellandii||White Horse Temple, Henan, China||12/16/16|
|Leaf Warblers and allies (Phylloscopidae) – 1 / 77|
|Pallas’s Leaf Warbler||Phylloscopus proregulus||White Horse Temple, Henan, China||12/16/16|
|Sylviid Babblers (Sylviidae) – 1 / 70|
|Vinous-throated Parrotbill||Sinosuthora webbiana||White Horse Temple, Henan, China||12/16/16|
|Wallcreeper (Tichodromidae) – 1 / 1|
|Wallcreeper||Tichodroma muraria||Longmen Grottoes, Henan, China||12/15/16|
|Thrushes (Turdidae) – 1 / 166|
|Chinese Blackbird||Turdus mandarinus||Wangcheng Park, Luoyang, Henan, China||12/17/16|
|Chats, Old World Flycatchers (320) (Muscicapidae) – 2 / 320|
|Oriental Magpie-Robin||Copsychus saularis||Wangcheng Park, Luoyang, Henan, China||12/17/16|
|Plumbeous Water Redstart||Phoenicurus fuliginosus||Longmen Grottoes, Henan, China||12/15/16|
|Old World Sparrows, Snowfinches (Passeridae) – 1 / 51|
|Eurasian Tree Sparrow||Passer montanus||Longmen Grottoes, Henan, China||12/15/16|
|Waxbills, Munias and allies (Estrildidae) – 1 / 141|
|White-rumped Munia||Lonchura striata||Wangcheng Park, Luoyang, Henan, China||12/17/16|
|Finches (Fringillidae) – 2 / 219|
|Brambling||Fringilla montifringilla||Wangcheng Park, Luoyang, Henan, China||12/17/16|
|Chinese Grosbeak||Eophona migratoria||White Horse Temple, Henan, China||12/16/16|