Tour Reports
Reports By Destinations: Qinghai & Tibet
2014 July 13-31 Sichuan,Qinghai and Tibet Lhasa

13-31 JUly 2014    5 UK birders plus Tang Jun as the local bird guide

13 July 5 UK birders arrival at Chengdu, we did some city park birding and add all necessary birds at Chengdu area include Vinous-throated Parrotbill,White Browed Laughingthrush,Chinese Grosbeak(Yellow Billed),Magpir Robin and other  birds
14 JUly we took the first flight to Xining about 2 hours flew and after met with Mr Zheng and his 15 seats nice van, we start out real birding at the high plateau, we drove to Xishan for st for the Paled Rosefinchm then drove furth north to Yaozigou or named Dongxia, where we saw all our target birds include: Gansu Leaf Warbler, Chinese Nuthatch,White-cheeked Nuthatch,PlainMountain & Elliot's Laughingthrush,Sibrian Rubythroat. After a lunch at the nearby town named Datong, we drove to Huzhu Beishan for overnight, and 30km before out hotel, we scan the hills and saw 2 Blue Eared Pheasant which can save us more time at the coming next day.

15 July We start early and packed breakfast,check the first valley for most of the morning for the Chinese Grouse. And afternoon spent at another valley for The Chestnut-throated Partridge,both we can not found today but saw lot of other birds

16 June before we drive to Kor Kor Nor,we spent another 3 hours at the first valley and at last saw 1 Chinese grouse mum with 5 chicks. Then we carry on to Kor Kor Nor and stop at a spot where saw the Small Snowfinch(Per David's) and other shore birds at the east part of the lake. We drove another 90km and stay at Heimahe Qinghaihu Lake hotel

17 July we spents almost all day at the Rubber Mountain area for the Pink-tailed Finch and other birds include Alpine & Smoky Warbler,Robin & Brown Accentor,lots of Ground Tit,Wallcreeper,Saker Falcon etc. We drove back to Heimahe for a lunch then carry on to Chaka, and about 30km before Chaka, we spent some time look for the Mongolian Ground Jay and Pallas's Sandgrouse, but can not. Stay at Qingyan HOtel which a good one

18 JUly We drcided to drive further to west forst as worried about the weather to the Ala Shan Redstart spot, luckly we can drove till the entrance of the vally and normally if rain will be very muddy and impossible to drive. So we saved at least 1-2 hours if have to walk. We walked into the valley and climbing up slowly,we got the Redstart and very good view and other birds. After that we drove back to Chaka, and looking for Mongolian Ground Jay at the other side of Chaka, we luckly saw 2 just beside the main road.Back to after a good day.

19 July we drove to another valley area only 27km away,but we spents all the morning  by climbing up the hill side for the Rusty-necklaced Partridge and Himalayan Snowcock, we got the partridge but no luck on the snowcock which I saw 4 flew into the same area for feeding at the slope area in JUne.By drove back to Chaka in the afternoon and we spent at the desert area and saw the Pallas's Sandgrouse,Mongolian Lark,Mongolian Finch and the Plain-backed Snowfinch which I missed last trip.

20 July today we start early and drove 180km to the next big town where had a good breakfast at local hotel, after some shopping and birding around the town,we carried on to Wenquan and did some birding at Er La Shan pass (4500m), and drive down to the small village and stay at basic but clean guesthouse which no private toilet available in the room.
21 July morning drove back to Er La Shan pass and start the difficult trip for the Tibetan Rosefinch & Sandgrouse. Ver luck and at the beginning of the hard trek,we saw the Rosefinch and then slowly walked up to the summit area of the mountain (nearly 5000m), we spent long time for the Sandgrouse.But the ends was excellent and a couple Sandgrouse walked around for a long time and except the good view,very good photo chance. Except birds, about 100 Blue Ship at the summit when we climbed up. After walked down and jump into out bus, we carry to next good accommodation at Maduo where is 180km away.
22 July we birding en route and nice view of Ibisbill * Mongolian Sand Plover and stay at Yushu for overnight,nice hotel.

23 July morning birding with packed breakfast,Great Spotted Rosefinch and other target birds, we arrive at Nangqian
24 JUly full day at Kande Shan pass for the Tibetan Buntings,easy!!! and other birds today include: TIbetan Barbax,Buff-throated partridge,TIbetan Partridge,REd-fronted & Pink-rumped Rosefinch,Snow Pigeon and others.Stay at Nangqian Longzhu Hotel

25 July we drove into Baizha forest but be honest,not a very good day,we did not saw our target Blood Pheasant and Created Tit Warbler, birds we saw include; Chinese Fullvatta,Greenish,HUme's,Sichuan Leaf and Buff-bared Warbler are most new of today.
26 July
27 July two mainlly driving days all the way back to Xining from Nangqian total 1000km. We jump into the overnight train to Lhasa,soft sleepers and 4 passenger in one cabin.
28 July full day at the train overland to Lhasa and we saw lots of Tibetan Antilopes and other mammals,  met by guide at Lhasa train Station and check in the good hotel located at the old Lhasa town.
29 July we do too early drove to Xiong Se Valley and very nice day and saw allllll target endemic birds and good photo chance. Back to Lhasa earlier afternoon and good rest.

30 July morning did some culture things at and drove to Lhasa airport, and before boarding the plane, we had a special lunch at airport twon: Xi'an style break and Yak soupe. Arrival at Chengdu,had another special Sichuan hotel pot and stayied at hotel for some drinkings. Chengdu is hotttt!
 31 JUly 5 UK birders flew back to UK via departure at 0820am.

Feedback from a couple of the trip:

Dear Tang Jun

We arrived home safely and even managed to make the connection in Hong Kong after the flight delay in Chengdu. Graham is now working on his life list in order to add all the new birds!
We want to thank you for organising the tour and for looking after us so well. We shall have many happy memories of our time in China.
We enjoyed your company as well as that of our great driver, Mr Ching. (Is that his correct name?!)
Thank you for giving us so many variations of meals and introducing us to the local cuisine. Also, we shall never forget the magnificent scenery, as well as those fantastic birds!

All Good Wishes
Mary and Graham

Report from Chris:

Although we have operated a number of tours in China in the past, this was the first Birdwatching Breaks trip to the Tibetan plateau, covering the well-established itinerary in the Chinese province of Qinghai and finishing with a few days in Lhasa. The tour was a great success with a succession of very special, highly localised and often rare birds being seen. In the north we enjoyed nice views of Blue Eared Pheasants, a host of Phylloscopus warblers that included Gansu, Hume's, Chinese and Large-billed Leaf, plus Yellow-streaked and Greenish. We had some stunning views of Siberian Rubythroats and also found White-winged Grosbeaks, Slaty-backed Flycatcher and Chinese Grouse. At Rubber Mountain the highlight was the Przevalski's Finch (aka Pink-tailed Bunting), but the supporting cast also featured White-browed (Severtzov's) Tit-Warbler, Hume's Ground Tit and Rufous-breasted, Robin and Brown Accentors. The Chaka area provided us with Przevalski's (Ala Shan) Redstart, Przevalski's Partridge, Mongolian (Henderson's) Ground Jay and Pallas's Sandgrouse. The high mountain pass at Er La was perhaps the most demanding day of the tour but Roborovski's Rosefinch and a stunning performance by Tibetan Sandgrouse plus an excellent array of other high altitude species made it very much worthwhile. In SE Qinghai we enjoyed superb encounters with Ibisbills, White Eared Pheasant, Kozlov's (Tibetan) Babax and Kozlov's (Tibetan) Bunting. All these wonderful species had a supporting cast that involved all seven available species of lark, six species of snowfinch, eight species of rosefinch, Black-necked Cranes and a host of other memorable species. As if that wasn't enough, mammals included Wolf, Tibetan Fox, Tibetan Gazelle, Tibetan Antelope and Wild Ass and all of this was seen amongst a variety of jaw-dropping landscapes, typically with huge skies and stunning mountainous vistas.

With the exception of one particularly basic hotel, the accommodations are improving throughout this itinerary and the road network is also rapidly developing, so the deprivations traditionally associated with this part of the world are receding and it is becoming easier to enjoy what this wonderful region has to offer

Thanks to Tang Jung for all the ground arrangements and acting as local guide. Thanks also to our ever helpful and popular driver for most of the trip, Mr Zhen a man seemingly known by just about everyone in Qinghai province (including influential members of the local constabulary) and finally thanks also to driver and guide in Lhasa.

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