Tour Reports
Reports By Destinations: Qinghai & Tibet
2013 14 July to 5 Aug Sichuan,Shanxi and Qinghai birding tour report

Sichuan,Shanxi and Qinghai/Tibet Plateau Birding Trip

Participants: Craig, Jennifer,Polly  Time: 14th July to 5th Aug 2013  Reported by Tang Jun.

Craig came to China in 2008 had a short birding together and decided come back again.

Itinerary(total 23 days):

Day 1 14th July arrive at Chengdu from Beijing at 14:30 (1:30 PM) on Air China Flight. Met at Chengdu airport then we drove to Wenjun Hotel for check in and had a light birding at the park just beside the hotel.Dinner we tried Sichuan Hot Pot which is very good.

Day 2 15th July We drove toward Wawu Shan and passed Ya’an City 10km where is a spot we birding for quite while for some good birds, then de get to Longcanggou and check in the hotel.Before our dinner,we drove up to the mountain for a quick look.

Day 3 16th July we departure about 0530am and drove up to the mountains,but bad day due to heavy raining and we did not managed to see any birds but the Tragopans. According to forecasting, this area will be raining for about 3 days, then we decide carry on and back to this spot early of August before the tour ends.

Day 4 17th July Today is a long drive and total we did 680km all the way to Yangxian where is the hometown of Crested Ibis.One long day drive and raining most of the day.

Day 5 18th July Good luck a little bit raining in the morning,we saw the target birds and then after a quick lunch we drove to Xi’an city where we staied a good hotel for two nights.

Day 6 19th July we did a culture tour to the Terra-cotta Warrorors & Horses

Day 7 20 July this was a another long day drive, start at Xi’an at 6am acrossed Shanxi,Gansu and Qinghai provinces, at last in later evening,we got to Datong county for overnight.

Day 8 21st July Early drive to Dongxia forest for birding mainly for the Gansu Leaf Warbler then drive toward Kor Kor Nor Lake and stayed at Heimahe Hotel which is a new one and very nice.

Day 9 22nd July Birding at Rubber Mountain and very good view of the Pink Tailed Buntings and other birds,plus many interesting plants, we drove to Chaka where stayed 3 nights.

Day 10 23rd July Today we drove about 90km west of Chaka where found A La Shan Redstart in the morning and back to Chaka looked for the Mongolian Ground Jay, but showed it was a pretty difficult bird.

Day 11 24th July we went to another mountain where took a nice trekking and saw Himilian Snowcock and about 90 Blue Shipsplus the Rusty Necklaced Partridge. We got back to Chaka and look for the Pallase Sandgrouseund and the ground jay again, at last we had a nice view of the ground jay but no sandgrouse showing up.

Day 12 25th July we spent some time looking for the Sandgrouse again but still can not find it, then we decide carry on to Wenquan and today pretty bad weather. We found another small hotel about 35km before Er La Pass which is better then the guesthouse we planned to stay at Wenquan village, we drove to the pass to had a quick look and very surprised, we got the Tibetan Rosefinch and other snowfinches just near the pass.

Day 13 26th July we start quite early and drove up to the pass and 2.5 hours,we climbed up to the summit area look for Tibetan Sandgrouse. It was windy,snowly and cold up there and total we only stayed 2 hours at the summit and tried very hard but can not get the Sandgrouse. We have to decided to walked down to the main road and warmed up. We give up try the bird again and drive toward Sichuan and stayed at a county named Tongde.

Today although without Sandgrouse but we bought some fresh yellow mushrooms from the grassland and found a restaurant cooked for us which was so tasty.

Day 14 27th July another full day toward Sichuan and we got to Ruoergai wetland in later evening.

Day 15 28th July Full day birding at Ruoergai and mainly at Baxi for for the Blue Eared Pheasant, Chinese Grouse etc. We saw the grouse but tried hard for the pheasant and still not succeed, we could not heard any call from the birds.

Day 16 29th July we tried again at Baxi forest for the pheasant but still could not get it, as we have another 350km, so we had to moved on.

Day 17 30 July birding at Mengbishan where we got Crested Tit Warbler, Three-banned Rosefinch etc. then we drove to Rilong for overnight.

Day 18-19 31 July and 1st Aug We had an excellent birding at Balangshan mountain although was quite late of the season. We saw most the birds we wanted at this area include 5 male Chinese Monal and difficult Firethroat. We had another chance for mushroom fist at the hotel as well.

Day 20 2nd Aug Because of the flooding in July and earthquake in April, we had to drove quite far west first to get to out next destination. But scenery is nice and had another good view of the Ibisbill. We stayed at a small town named Lengqi for the next morning the difficult Lady AM Pheasant.

Day 21 3rd Aug We spent the whole morning at Erlangshan mountain where good forest and habitat, but we still could not find the pheasant which was quite strange whereI saw it 5 time of males in one day in May 2013.We had to drive to Longcanggou again and this will be our last chance for this pheasant.

Day 22 4th Aug we drove up to mountains and luckly today was a nice weather,but in the mountains is so quiet and warm,we could not managed saw some birds, looks August is late for Sichuan birds. We have to go down and we bought some bamboo shoots and had a very good lunch at the hotel restaurant. Drove back to Chengdu later afternoon where is warm about 38℃.

Day 23 5th Aug morning flight to Beijing 08:00 (8:00 AM) on Air China Flight 4113.

Total we see about 230 species and heard about 20 species and some good mammals include Red Panda. Drove 6300km in 23 days.

Craid,Jenny and Polly agreed this is an excellant trip not only for birds,but also for plants,mammals,food, nice scenery and different cultures.

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