Sichuan Trip Synopsis – Pika ID
I just came back from a Sichuan trip with Roland Zeidler (guide), which was both very exciting and frustrating. Main annoyance was the fact that Labahe was closed (they wouldn’t let us in when we showed up). This meant no Red Panda (or even Giant Panda) and potentially missing out on a lot of other interesting mammals. We also tried Longcanggou for the panda but no joy.
Balangshan/Wolong produced Blue Sheep, Sambar, three Hog Badgers! and a good selection of pheasants, Tibetan Snowcock at about 30-40 meters plus crippling views of a male Temminck’s Tragopan.
Tangjiahe: about 15 Takins, (at least) 3 Serows, several deer species and both Tibetan and Rhesus macaque. Very nice was a Yellow-throated Marten somewhere en route.
Ruoergai was superb with about 15 Tibetan gazelles, about 8-10 Tibetan Foxes, two sightings of single wolves. No luck with Pallas’s Cat, but instead we got a Chinese Mountain Cat!!!!
In total about 22-23 identified mammal species and another 5-10 that couldn’t be brought down to species level.
Full trip report will follow, soonish I hope.
Finally, a question. We saw this rather small pika (definitely not a Black-lipped Pika) in Baixi, the mountainous forest area near Ruoergai. I thought this was a Moupin Pika based on the Mammals of China book drawing, but Richard Webb mentions in his trip report that Gansu Pika occurs here as well. I think these two are the most likely candidates. The animal was uniform sandy/golden brown except for a (off-)white/paler belly and darker breast patch (see photo). Lips were pink definitely not black.The animal was seen in a transitional area of scrub at the edge of some forest on one side, and fields, corrals and grassland on the other side. Anyone an idea which species this is and how to distinguish the two species?