Brown Bush Warbler at Emei Feng – China Birding

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Although the Zootherabirding tour to Southeast China last month featured a lot of very colourful and rare birds one of the species I was most keen to see was one of the brownest of “little brown jobs” – Brown Bush Warbler. One might ask why a skulking brown bush warbler would be high on my list of priorities? Well, I find Bush Warblers an interesting group of birds as they are a real challenge to even see let alone identify, plus the fact that as someone who does most of their birding in Thailand this is the only Bush Warbler on the Thai list that I had not previously seen. Fortunately, at Emei Feng, in China Brown Bush Warbler proved fairly easy to see at the higher altitudes in open habitat and its amusing skulking “peek-a-boo” behaviour delighted everyone in the group and was definitely one of the highlights of the day and for most of us it was one of the more memorable birds of the trip.

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Brown Bush Warbler was quite easily located by its buzzing song in small bushes within open, grassy, upland habitats at Emei Feng and we saw our first one just outside our accommodation on site. However, typically for a Bush Warbler, it was not keen to emerge from its shady perch within the vegetation, although it was much more confiding than many other Bush Warblers and as it hopped around the few of us present got good views. However, as many of the group were busy in their rooms we took another walk to look for this species again later in the day after lunch.

At Emei Feng there is a temple near the accommodation area with a track that goes uphill to a radar station and this area was excellent for finding Brown Bush Warbler (as well as Buff-throated Warbler). The birds were always given away by their song and they usually revealed themselves reasonably readily giving everyone excellent views. It was really nice to be able to watch this skulking bird at length and it was amusing to see how it would look at us from behind a leaf before singing away again. From time to time one of the three birds singing around us would jump out on top of a small bush to give us a perfectly clear view.

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One thing I have learned is that all birds are interesting and attractive when you are able to see them properly and watch them go about their business.

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