Odyssey into Tibetan Wilderness II
Day 5 Into the Wilderness on Qinghai Tibetan Plateau
Today we planned to drive from Maqu to Baiyu in Jiuzhi near Nianbaoyuze national nature reserve. Just before we start, we heard an exciting news that in one of the local village which we would drive by, a Snow Leopard sneaked in at night and ate one goat. That area is very famous for scenery and Snow Leopard. Here lies one of the most important holy mountain peak in this area, Nianbaoyuze of Animaqing Mountain Range. We saw less yaks and tents on our way but more snow-capped mountain ranges. I stopped several times to photograph those beautiful tent under snow-capped mountains with yaks grazing by the side of a river. The road was also under construction. I can tell that once the construction was complete, the new road will be much better and wider here.
Pastoral scenery on the Tibet plateau
yaks grazing by the side of a river
We stopped by the village where the local Tibetan family lost their goat. I scanned the mountain peaks very carefully with my binocular. It was not an easy job to find a snow leopard in such a short time. I can imagine, the chance will be pretty high if we set up a camping site at the mountain foot and keep searching.
The site itself is quite a scenery---Snow-capped mountains with large area of bare rocks around. Below the rocks there is a vast area of ancient ice cap. There were boulders here and there, in between, you can find lots of blooming flowers, Yellow Poppies, Lily, Blue Poppies, and numerous unknown yellow flowers. Here I also saw White-tailed Rubythroat, Rufous-breasted Accentor, Tickle’s Leaf Warbler, Saker Falcon and Black Redstart.
Tickle’s Leaf Warbler
We arrived at the little small Tibetan Town called Baiyu in early afternoon, this town is most famous for the gigantic Buddhist Monastery and Tibetan Bunting. After check in at our hotel, we immediately set out to search for Tibetan Bunting and Pink-tailed Bunting. We went to the targeted valley and started our search. The habitat looks just perfect. We searched and searched on the mountain slope. Unfortunately, we did not find the birds but we saw countless Kessler’s Thrush, Robin Accentor, and Eurasian Cuckoo. I got more flower photos and even very nice photos of Streaked Rosefinch. It is getting dark, we decide to call it a day and spend the next morning continue our search.
Neillia thyrsiflora D. Don
In the evening, we were invited by an official from Nianbaoyuze Nature Conservation Society to visit their very cozy Tibetan-style office and had very nice talk with him and his monk colleagues.
On our way returning to our hotel in this starry night, we saw a monk sitting quietly by the side of a table. He suggested us to feel the tranquility of the night and listen to the murmuring of the nature, the flow of water, the sound of insects and our own inner world. I feel the power of belief because of this kind of attitude. Tibetan people can really live in such a great harmony with nature and appreciate everything they could get from nature. This attitude also helped us to be able to appreciate this untouched paradise for the wildlife on the roof of the world.
Day 6 Through the Wilderness
At 6:00 a.m, we left our hotel to search for Tibetan Bunting and Pink-tailed Rosefinch within a limited time period. We arrived at the site and started our thorough search in the concerto of bird calls. The search proved to be very difficult. We had so little information about the actual location of the birds, only a general direction. We searched in different slops just for these two lovely rare birds but we still could not find it. We had to leave this work in the future when we get more time.
There were several houses at the mountain foot. The house is pretty small compared to the gigantic houses in my hometown. The house is always surrounded by a black path made of yak shit. Here people use yak shit for fuel, especially in winter, they warm up their little house with this special but abundant resources on Plateau. Even the wall of the Yak shit was made so artistically that the wall itself is a piece of art work.
Tibetan folk house. The fence was make of yak dung
Art has been deeply sowed into the heart of Tibetan people and has become part of their blood. No wonder when people travel in Tibetan area, they are always impressed how artistic are Tibetans even in their daily lives, their house, costume, hairstyles, cars, their horses or yaks, not mentioning those well-decorated monasteries, those are just treasure house of all kinds of arts.
After breakfast, we drive on to our next destination along the Animaqin Mountain Ranges. The road work made our driving time longer than usual. But the roadside scenery is still very beautiful. The habitat looks pretty good and we saw quite a number of raptors souring in the sky or perching on the top of post.
When we spotted a Saker Falcon on the top of a telephone line post, we parked our car by the road side and enjoyed the wonderful moments given by this elegant bird. The birds seemed quite happy being viewed and photographed, sitting in different posture.
In the bushes around, I found some very beautiful flowers. I took this chance and photograph them before I went back to my car.
A juga lupulina
Around 4:30 p.m, we arrived in Dari for the overnight. I searched the local best hotel and got their contacts. With a very beautiful sunset, we called it a day.