Friday, 21 December 2012

12th Nov 2012 Beijing Temple of Heaven and Summer Palace

 Our tour today  in perfect winter sunshine we moved through the city and approached an urban park
Birds of note were the now common Azure winged magpie,Tree sparrows,Chinese Sparrowhawk and
Daurian Starlings.
Leading up to the Temple  through the park there was Tai Chi,gambling and dancing on route.
As ever the achitecture and atmosphere was superb as we passed through the park.

A variety of games and  sport or just general socializing was all around us.
This magnificent structure was superb as we viewed it from the courtyard.
Internally painted and decorated too it was great here and not too many people.
We left this area watching locals and tourist mingle at this beautiful place.
We left 1000hrs for our rickshaw ride in Huadong province,the Beijing Old Quarter.
This ride proved interesting for the local people living in the old quarters along the riverside with
willow trees.
I liked it here watching the local people going about their buisness in this quiet alcove
away from the throbbing metropolis around them.
After lunch we headed for the Summer Palace,it was here the Emperor and Empress spent their
summers in seperate palaces.

On the lake a variety of birds showed at long distance of note Little grebe,Great crested grebe,Mergansers and Smew.

Wonderful sculptures and bridges with trees in autumnal colours enhanced this trip
today ,sadly the many tourists make it less peacefull ,as this is what it was intended for.

So ended our cruise /holiday in the far east what a wonderful experience with so much
time but only the tip of the iceberg and I  would like to personally thank Frank Wang.Zhao Hui
he was a superb guide and a credit to his country   Xie  Xie

Thursday, 20 December 2012

More rain so its Beijing NOV11TH 2012

o615hrs after a good nights sleep,Carol making tea in the room before another adventure.
Our tour after breakfast was in sunshine,but very cold as we moved through the city.
I saw our first Azure winged magpies the Chinese sub species I had seen its European
counterpart in the Coto Donana in the 80's,also there were lots of its commoner cousins
Magpie and the ubiqutous Tree Sparrow (not so in Britain).
First stop 0900HRS Beijing north suburb industrial  art factory,where some hand paiting was being
done.The painting of vases called Cloisonne Ware  also called Copper body.
This pottery was very popular as far back as Emperor Chingtai of the Ming dynasty.

Our main goal today was The Great Wall at Badaling,this was something special one of Chinas
heritage monuments,there were lots of tourists here but there was no rain too spoil our day.
This distant shot doe's not do it justice but it shows off the difficult terrain.
Carol and I climbed up to the second tower which was no mean feat considering the gradient.
The wind from Siberia  was freezing and not far off gale force as wrapped up against the cold
we commenced our descent.
Just a few crows and Azure winged magpies were the only birds of note,we made our way to the
tea room for hot choclate before heading back to Beijing.
On route back to Beijing we had a photo stop at the Beijing Olympic Park where I photographed
The Birds Nest.
Back at the hotel around 1600hrs I photographed the original Beijing city wall outside our

9TH at sea 10TH Nov Tianjin to Beijing

Hangover on the 9th too many Vodka Martinis,so on with the tour,Left the boat 0800hrs  at Tianjin,boarded our coach around 0830hrs.
We stopped at Meichang for a loo stop it was here I saw a an Amur falcon overhead it was cold overcast and windy.
Various other sightings  on route for eg red necked grebe,tree sparrows,magpies,black
headed gulls and a flock of Baikal teal.
Raining heavy now1030hrs not far from Beijing poor visibility.
Our guides name is Frank a very informative intellectual guy,heavy traffic rain easing.
First stop Tianamen Square was awesome even in the rain.

The largest public square in the world,capable of holding one million people.
A little further on the Forbidden City,we walked in the rain over a 250 acre site only sampling this
marvellous complex of palaces,pavillions and courtyards.
It was here ministers gathered to hear the edicts of the Son of Heaven.
The Emperor and Empress quarters or should I say staterooms were viewed but not entered as the
rain curtailed our visit.
A  final look across the Forbidden City around 1600hrs why did it have to rain here?.
We took our coach to the Marriot City Wall hotel,the lift proved claustrophobic for Carol
however our luggage arrived and all was well.
We ate in the hotel that night it was £90 for two of us in shock we had an early night.

8th Nov 2012 Busan South Korea

I t was sunny cool and clear as we arrived in Busan ,South Korea a local band welcomed us at
the port.Today I am visitng the Haedong  Yonggunsa temple,its much colder here at the
terminal at Yungdo. I catch the bus Carol said she has seen enough temples.
This temple is next to the sea I am hoping to see some birds but there is too many
tourists here in such a small area.
I climbed a 100 steps  up to the Buddhas noting a few woodpeckers and tits in the
Next we headed  back to Dongbaekseom  Island  where the stunning APEC house
held the economic leaders meetings.
The area is surrounded by Pine trees and on a stony beach frequented by Black tailed gulls.
In the trees I saw a few odd birds notably brown eared bulbuls,magpies,crows,Oriental turtle dove
and varied tit.
Next up Busan market where street cooking and Busan babes ended my short tour of South Korea.
Busan babes shopping in the local market.
So its back to the boat its Captain's night so I should see some penguins floating around.
Heres one shaken not stirred sub species bondi .

Friday, 7 December 2012

7th November Nagasaki Japan

Pre morning from the navigator after rounding the islands of Ioshima and Okinoshima we will make
our way to the harbour,this was the birthplace of the Diamond Princess.
After passing under Megami Ohashi bridge we will make our way to Masugae Quay
Got up 0535hrs  prepared for our trip inland on arrival Black Kites circle the harbour,crows
mobbed and Japanese wagtails obliged.
Boarded our coach  after finger printing formalities.It was60c around 0700hrs as we went through the
Nakao tunnel one of many tunnels on route passing through Isahaya.
Noting many birds on route and  at Ariake Bay an Osprey.
First stop was the historic town of Shimabara the "Bukeyashiki" Old Samurai Houses.
It was known as "Teppo -machi" gun town from the town houses of foot soldiers.
After leaving the Samurai houses we took the coach to Shimabara castle,formerley called
This large scale castle was larger than normal  for a feudal lord with revenues  of only
40,000 koku.Bird of note here was white throated rock thrush.
Next up was the replica village devastated by an earthquake Mizunashi Honjin. This small
village was buried by ash  during an eruption of Mount Fugen in 1991.

Around the site I noted the superb Daurian  redstart,this beautifully coloured bird posed
at some distance.
While using the loos I managed to see some more birds in the hedges and fields adjacent.
The striking Elegant bunting perched prominantly though distant and the Eurasian  Siskin in
the car park just before leaving.
The area is now a memorial site to the volcanic devastation. Lunch was Japanese at
Hotel Nampuro,the Miso soup was superb on the way back Isahaya and Ariake Bay confirmed
as great bird sites in Andrew Wrights blog.
We returned to the ship tired a band and local dancers bade us farewell playing 1 NIL to
the Arsenal a Wenger anthem as we cruised under the suspension bridge out of Nagasaki.