31st March, there was a flood of ppl infront of the Dali old town(Xiaguan) railway station. A 30 minute journey in Bus 8 to the Dali old town.A pleasant ride, with Cangshan on the western side runnin north-south overlooking the Erhai lake on the east. Long-taile Shrike(ssp. Tricolor), Pied Bushchat, White-throated Kingfisher were the bus ticks. The plan was to stay @ the Higherland Inn. The cable car which was operating at the northern end near the Zhonghe temple is not functional now. One option is take the cable car at Gantong temple and walk to the zhonghe temple on the Cloudy tourist walk or take the hiking route @ the Zhonghe village. Pony’s are also available (140 RMB). The lady at the Higherland Inn suggested a hike which would approximately take two hours but I took 5 hours to reach the Zhonghe temple ofcourse birding on the way. The first bird of the day is a flock of “Spot-breasted Parrotbill” just near the entrance of the Zhonghe Village. Little buntings, Siberian Stonechat were plenty in the corn fields past the Zhonghe village.

Spot-breasted Parrotbill Spot-breasted Parrotbill Stonechat,Siberian_001 Brown-breasted Bulbul

Zhonghe Village in morning

Villagegully ZhongheVillage

Mother&Son Zhonghe_Kid

Pony&owner Pony

Now, up on the moutains

TVtower CangshanCloudytouristwalk2

Chairlift1 Chairlift

Cloudytouristwalk TVtower2

Black-headed Greenfinch, Black-browed Tit, Green-backed Tit, White-browed Fulvetta, White-collared Yuhina, Chestnut-tailed Minla were common along the hiking path.
As the cable car is not functional, the cable car station is deserted except for a lonely guard. Green-backed Tits, Great Tits, White-collared Yuhina were nesting in the bamboo thickets. The highlight was a pair of Rufous-capped Babblers, very active in nest building. The northern side of the “Cloudy tourist walk” above the Zhonghe temple is now out of bounds. As I was living in Higherland Inn, there is a small track goes down past the Fire wardens cabin. Best place for the Lady A’s chicken. The southern side has lot of walkers, especially playing songs in loud speakers. I hardly saw birds on the southern side except for a flock of Fork-tailed Swift.
Green-backed Tit Green-backed Tit
Black-browed Tit Black-browed Tit
White-collared Yuhina White-collared Yuhina
White-browed Fulvetta White-browed Fulvetta
Rufous-capped Babbler Black-headed Greenfinch
The last 250m to the Higherland Inn from the Zhonghe temple nearly killed me. I was totally out of breath when I reached the inn. There were lot of recommendations for the place but it was bit out of shape, half of the time I was searching for the inn keeper and foremost, the food was terrible @ the small temple restaurant. Even in a city like Shanghai, a simple Chicken dish will not cost 65RMB. So, I would not suggest staying up on the mountains unless you have packed your own food for couple of days. The air was clean and the silence around the place is remarkable but the rent and the food are overpriced. I was initially planning to spend two nights up on the moutain but cut it into one and decided to descend down n enjoy a travellers day in Ancient Dali. Took the trail near the phoenix cave, did not see any remarkable birds except for thousands n thousands of graves. Bird life was active at the cable car base of Gantong temple.
Grey-headed canary flycatcher, Blue-fronted Redstart, Black-streaked Scimitar Babbler, Yellow-throated Bunting, Little Bunting, Ashy Drongo were the highlights.
Elegant Bunting Elegant Bunting Elegant Bunting Little Bunting
A 10 minute horse-cart ride to the west gate of old Dali. Quick chat with a local for accomodation. She recommended a hotel opposite to the west gate. One of the best accomodation of the trip came for a 70RMB price. Quick check-in and I saw myself in the Foreigner’s street to enjoy the local cuisine.
Restaurant  Arch3 Dali_street_1 Dali_street_2  Dali_street_4 Dali_street_6 Dalitruck Operaplace Souvenir Dali_street_3
April 1st started as a local sight-seeing, went to Shaping, famous for the local market where the farmers gather on to sell their harvest. Upon arrival, a local person told market is only on Monday’s. Got into a bus which was returning from Eryuan to Dali, today’s bus tick was a hovering Black-winged Kite. Got down at the east gate and took the other bus to Caicun village, a brief 5 minute ride towards the shore of the Erhai lake. Clamarous reed warbler were plenty in the small wetland park, a pair of hoopoe’s were feeding along the gravel path. A shrike at a distance told me it’s not the Long-tailed, I moved in to find out it’s the Burmese Shrike. The Reeds along the lake shore had a Citrine Wagtail, Chinese Pond Heron, Plain Prinia, Common Kingfisher. There was a sudden influx of tourists and I moved to the northern side of the Village. Lot of hotels were in construction. A White-breasted Waterhen slowly disappeared in the reeds. A brown object was floating bit far, could not key-in the ID with the binocs and a record shot. I kept walking towards the brown object and now the number has been increased to 7 and it was the Ruddy Shelduck. Few Brown-headed Gulls in breeding plumage passed through the village.
Chinese Pond Heron Citrine Wagtail
Ruddy Shelduck Ruddy Shelduck
Brown-headed Gull Waterhen,White_breasted_001
End of birding @ Dali.
Now off to Tengchong, 12 hour horrible bus ride awaits.