China: Sichuan & Qing Hai (7 - 27 July 2007)

Published by Vincent van der Spek (vincent AT

Participants: Vincent van der Spek (report), Roland van der Vliet, Chris Quispel


Maps (4), pictures and other reports at

Malaysia. Surinam or Brazil. No, wait, Venezuela. Definitely Venezuela. Well, after both (…) initial holiday partners found new jobs and were unable to get time off in summer, I ended up booking a ticket to Chengdu, China three weeks before departure. I hooked up with Chris Quispel and Roland van der Vliet. The prime target was birding the Tibetan Plateau at the Qing Hai province, though we also did some pine and subtropical forest birding in Sichuan. The itinerary was inspired by our friend Remco Hofland, who birded this area the previous summer. Jesper Hornskov has been leading tours here for many years. George Wagner (2005) and Hofland (2006) birded this area without joining his tour. As far as I know, we are the third team that ever birded the Tibetan Plateau independently. Most logistics were arranged in advance (car, driver and interpreter). Compared with Chris (CQ) and Roland (RV), I followed a slightly different schedule. We spent the first two weeks together. In the final week CQ and RV went to Lhasa to bird the autonomous Tibet, while I did some additional birding in Sichuan. On the plateau we generally did well: we saw most specialties. In Sichuan and the lower parts of Qing Hai we had very successful days, but also some ‘off-days’, sometimes due to circumstances not completely in our hands. For the first time in my life - apart from the time I quit smoking - I did see a species in Sichuan that made me shake all over: I observed a Red Panda for approximately an hour at Wawu Shan on July 22: the highlight of the trip. In all we recorded 253 species (excl. Lhasa).

July is not the best time of year to bird this area; May is probably best. We, however, had no choice as we all work for universities and have no other option than to take time off in summer. We saw most specialities anyway, so July is definitely not a bad time to visit these provinces. In May, when large parts of the plateau are still covered with snow, it must be easier to see high-altitude species like Tibetan Snowcock, Tibetan Sandgrouse or Snow Partridge, and migration is still in full force. A visit two weeks later (end of July, beginning of August) is apparently better for pheasants, as they have chicks to feed around that time. Hofland (2006; see literature below) for instance recorded many Blood Pheasants with chicks at several spots. During the second part of the trip I saw Ring-necked Pheasant and Temminck's Tragopan with chicks myself. To our surprise we missed Pallas’s Sandgrouse. Despite we searched for them from dawn to dusk, we did not witness a single fly-by of this species at the reliable stake-out at Chaka. Perhaps they are on the eggs around this time of year?

Three Temminck’s Tragopans, two Golden Pheasants, 13 White-eared Pheasants, Verreaux’s Monal-partridge (or Chestnut-throated Partridge), two Severtzov’s (or Chinese) Grouses, seven Black-necked Cranes, 14 Sakers, 250+ Upland Buzzard, 9 Lammergeiers, including a bird showing the typical feeding behaviour from start to end, four Himalayan Griffons feeding on a dead dog, four Henderson’s (Mongolian) Ground-jays, Firethroat, Indian Blue Robin, Himalayan (White-tailed) Rubythroats, all nine redstarts (including three Ala Shan’s), six Sichuan Treecreepers, nine tits (including two endemics), both Crested- and White-browed Tit-warblers, ten laughingthrushes (including Giant and the endangered endemic Emei Shan Liocichla), a Bar-winged Wren-babbler (probable new record for Wawu Shan), five parrotbills (including the endangered endemic Grey-hooded), six snowfinches, five accentors, ten rosefinches and six Slaty Buntings. Mammals: four Kiangs, many Tibetan Foxes and Tibetan Gazelles and, of course, the Red Panda.

Missed birds
Tibetan Snowcock, Chinese Monal (see notes on Balan Shan), Blood Pheasant, Lady Amherst’s Pheasant, Tibetan Sandgrouse, Pallas’s Sandgrouse, Three-banded Rosefinch, Emei Leaf Warbler.

Nick Anthenas (Tropical Birding) gave me some important, hard to find bird sounds. Very much appreciated! James Eaton (Birdtour Asia) emailed me additional comments for this report about Wawu Shan and Seicercus identification. Special thanks to Remco Hofland for making us enthusiastic for this trip in the first place. He provided many tips, sketched several maps and shared his bird sounds. He added some important information to this report and corrected some of the (inevitable?) dumb mistakes I made in the first draft.

Logistics & costs
A visa was arranged two weeks before departure, at the embassy in The Hague, The Netherlands (€ 35 for a single entry).
Most logistics in China were arranged by Sam Yue, a travel agent from Chengdu and owner of the backpacker friendly Holly's Hostal. Email:; tel 0086-28-85557359

We hired a minivan with driver (Mr. Whu) and translator (Leo) for the first two weeks. Leo can also arrange trips to the plateau and Sichuan himself, probably for a better price than Sam. His email:

In all I spent around € 2.100 for three weeks. Flight costs Amsterdam – Chengdu: € 925. I think KLM is the only company in Europe that has direct flights to this large city in Sichuan. For the driver, translator, gas, insurance and accommodation for the first two weeks we each paid around € 650. Food and drinks were not included. Mind that a minivan is really mini: we had far less space than we expected. Especially during the travelling days, when all luggage was stuffed in the van too, Chris, Roland and I, eh, really got to know each other well. Maybe there’s more space in the more expensive 4WD's that are also for rent. The roads at the plateau were very good, so in that sense a 4WD was not necessary. In the last week a driver took me to Wawu Shan (6 hours) and picked me up four days later for € 120. Once at Wawu, I arranged everything myself (food, accommodation etc). In three weeks I spent about € 400 on food, drinks, tips for the driver and translator, accommodation in the last week and some souvenirs.

Take cash along (euros or dollars), as it’s only possible to withdraw 5000 Yuen (about € 500) a day. As banks in Chengdu apparently do not change foreign currency in the weekend (?), we changed our money on the streets. Be careful doing this, as you can get ripped off.

The following trip reports were very useful. They were all downloaded from
* Björn Anderson, Wolong, Sichuan, July 2004
* Christian Atruso, Yunnan and Sichuan, July – August 2006
* Peter Collaerts, Sichuan, May – June 2006
* Remco Hofland, Tibet, Qing Hai and W Sichuan, July – August 2006
* Remco Hofland², Sichuan, May – June 2006
* George Wagner, Tibet, May – June 2005

Books :
* A Field Guide to the Birds of China – John MacKinnon & Karen Phillipps
* Pocket Guide to the Birds of the Indian Subcontinent – Richard Grimmett, Carol Inskipp & Tim Inskipp
* A Field Guide to the birds of South-east Asia – Craig Robson

Articles :
* Frank E. Rheindt (2006). Splits galore: the revolution in Asian leaf warbler systematics; pages ripped out of BirdingAsia 5
* Tim Worfolk (2000). Identification of Red-backed, Isabelline and Brown Shrikes. Dutch Birding 22:6

* Nelles Map, China North, 1:1,500,00 (2004)
* Nelles Map, Central Central, 1:1,500,00 (2004)

Both RV and I brought an MP3-player and speakers, for bird sounds and, at least equally important, good music. I had no problems with my iPod at high altitude, like Hofland (2006). At the plateau not many birds responded to play-back, though it was good to have a reference. At Wawu Shan things were different. Playing just a short part of a song was usually enough to lure most birds out immediately. CQ and I both brought a telescope (Swarowski and Zeiss respectively). I used a digital camera (Canon PowerShot A530) for some handheld digi-scoping.
lost in translation

Well, in China you are often lost in translation. Especially when travelling alone, it's fun trying to express what you want. But I got on the right train, got myself a room at Wawu, made clear I had a cold shower while I paid for a hot one, and in the kitchen of the restaurant I just pointed out what I wanted to eat. So basically, I survived. A good part of the fun travelling through China is the Chinglish. A lot of signs in China are translated. A very good effort, but the thing is: most translations are wrong and sometimes don’t seem to make any sense at all. So I started to collect funny Chinglish translations in my notebook. Before we get back to the more serious part, I will share a few ones with you:

Misspellings :
(at train station) Entrance of platform number tow
(on a t-shirt) Free your mind and thie res till follow
(in a restaurant) No smoding

Funny sentences :
(sign on the toilet door in the train) Be careful with filling your hands between the door
(in Remnin Park, at the water’s edge) Be careful to play with the water
(my favourite; also Remnin Park, on a steep stairway) Be careful with falling down

No clue at all :
(on a billboard) Green brought you will always be healthy flavor
(on a tree at Wawu Shan) Our samename is (wood), we fear most the fire


part 1 (with RV and CQ)

Sichuan province:
6 July 2007 evening flight Amsterdam – Chengdu
7 July 2007 arrival Chengdu; birded Du Fu’s Cottage; accommodation Chengdu
8 July 2007 Wolong; accommodation Wolong
9 July 2007 Wuyipeng & Wolong; accommodation Wolong
10 July 2007 Balan Shan; accommodation Maerkeng
11 July 2007 Mengbi Shan; accommodation Maerkeng
12 July 2007 traveling day; accommodation Ban Ma

Qing Hai province:
13 July 2007 Ma Ka He; accommodation Ban Ma
14 July 2007 traveling day; accommodation Maduo
15 July 2007 Maduo and Er La pass; accommodation Wenquan
16 July 2007 Er La pass, Gongehe; accommodation Gongehe
17 July 2007 Koko Nor ( Qing Hai Lake ), Rubber Mountain Pass, Chaka; accommodation Chaka
18 July 2007 Chaka; accommodation Chaka
19 July 2007 Travelling to Xining; Roland and Chris plane to Chengdu; accommodation Xining

part 2 (alone)

Sichuan province:
20 July 2007 Train Xining – Chengdu; accommodation was a hard sleeper in the train
21 July 2007 Chengdu – Wawu Shan; accommodation Gongtong Shanzhuang
22 July 2007 Wawu Shan; accommodation Gongtong Shanzhuang
23 July 2007 Wawu Shan; accommodation Gongtong Shanzhuang
24 July 2007 Wawu Shan; back to Chengdu; accommodation Chengdu
25 July 2007 Chengdu; accommodation Chengdu
26 July 2007 very early morning flight Chengdu - Amsterdam (via Bejing)

Birding spots

S= Sichuan
QH= Qing Hai

Chengdu: Du Fu’s Cottage and Remnin Park - 7 & 25 July (S)
We arrived in the early afternoon of July the 7th. There was no chance we could make it to Wolong straight away: due to road construction work, the road was closed for all incoming traffic after three o’clock. Du Fu’s Cottage is a good alternative for a ‘lost day’. It’s is a large park (entrance fee 60 Yuen) with cottages and pagoda’s in a green, park like area, where even large trees have survived the urban environment. Once in the park you’re away from the crazy traffic and noise from the city for a moment, though it's quite touristy. Every cab driver probably knows where to find it. During two hours of birding, we recorded no less than five trip exclusives, all lifers for me. Not bad for a day spent in the city. The best bird around is probably Vinous-throated Parrotbill. Right after the park's entrance, around the small lake with the large goldfishes, look for bamboo patches: the parrotbill is easy to find here. Other unique species seen in Chengdu were: White-browed Laughingthrush (common and showy; this must be the easiest laugher on the planet), Black-throated Tit (two large flocks found while walking around), Rufous-faced Warbler (two in a flock of Black-throated Tits) and a male Yellow-billed Grosbeak (high in a tree at the park’s edge). Red-billed Starling is occasionally seen here too, though we failed to find this one. Other birds in or around the park included Spotted Dove, Red-rumped Swallow, Barn Swallow, Blackbird, Oriental Magpie Robin, Light-vented Bulbul, Grey-cheeked Fulvetta (five in a bird wave) and the first Black-backed (White) Wagtails ssp. alboides (see note on wagtails below). On the last day of the trip I also birded Remnin Park in the late afternoon, in the hope to see Red-billed Starling or Tiger Shrike, birds that have been reported there in the past. There are many tea houses around here, and it was very crowded. Nothing much was seen here, just the regular Light-vented Bulbuls, Blackbirds, Oriental Magpie Robins and White-browed Laughingthrushes.

White Wagtails
The taxonomy of ‘white wagtails’ is complicated. In my opinion, the MacKinnon and Phillipps book only add to the confusion. First of all the plate of alboides at plate 117 is wrong. In real life, the head pattern of alboides is very similar to personata. Alboides is depicted correctly in the Grimmett, Inskipp & Inskipp guide. Some authorities have split off some black-backed forms within the white wagtail complex: Black-backed Wagtail. Both the races alboides (Sichuan and south Qing Hai) and leucopsis (roughly northern half of Qing Hai province) are placed within this new species. MacKinnon and Phillipps do recognise Black-backed Wagtail as a valid species, however, on the plate both alboides and leucopsis are included in White Wagtail, and not in Black-backed. Don’t follow the plates, but follow the text of the book: the species description is right. Still get it? Splitting in this complex taxonomic situation, where more research is needed, seems somewhat premature. Especially splitting this group into (only) two species seems very arbitrary to me.

Wolong and Wuyipeng - 8 & 9 July (S)
We spent two nights in Wolong. Facing Wolong’s Grand Hotel, there is an area with apartment blocks on the right side. The hill behind the hotel (‘Sawan’) is a good spot for, amongst others, the endemics Golden Pheasant and Slaty Bunting. Trails are often hard to find, but we managed to find a good one. There was one immediately right of the first flat next to the hotel. The start of the trail was somewhat indistinct. The first ten metres were rather steep, but it turned out to be a fine, and generally well-marked trail. I visited this spot twice: on 8 July with CQ (RV was ill) and on 9 July with RV. On both visits no Golden Pheasants were seen, but Slaty Bunting was rather easy to find. The first pair was already seen about thirty metres behind the buildings, the last male almost at the top of the hill. In all, I saw six individuals. Other birds seen here included the first Chestnut Thrush, an unidentified niltava (possibly a Rufous-bellied), several Ferruginous Flycatchers, the first Blyth ’s (according to Rheindt’s article: Claudia’s), Sichuan Leaf and Buff-barred Warblers and several Long-tailed Minivets. At the other side of town we found, amongst others, two Collared Finchbills, and more than ten Yellow-bellied Tits (endemic). The next day we went to the Wuyipeng Panda Reserve, a few kilometres north of Wolong. The walk up to the ridge takes about two hours. You will pass some good forest there. In a patch of pine forest we saw a splendid male and female Golden Pheasant on the trail. Other goodies on the way up included two Barred Laughingthrushes (endemic; more were heard at the ridge) and an alarming male Indian Blue Robin. The ridge is a famous stake-out for some good birds. The most obvious targets are Temminck's Tragopan and Firethroat. You can bird this ridge trail (and one side trail) for the first kilometre or so (this is a lousy estimation) before you reach the ranger station. You probably won't get permission to go further from there, as this is prime Giant Panda area. But I suggest you give it a try, you might get lucky. Quite soon I saw a beautiful male Temminck's Tragopan next to the trail. CQ unfortnately missed it, but he saw a breeding female along this same trail in May 2006. A Firethroat was heard singing in some scrub in the bamboo. After a lot of effort, I managed to get some side and rear end views of this skulking bastard. RV succeeded in getting some very good views on this one. Birds easily found included several Nutcrackers, a flock of 13 Speckled Wood Pigeons, Golden-breasted Fulvetta (common), Rufous-gorgeted Flycatcher (two), several Mrs. Gould Sunbirds and flocking warblers and tits. Unfortunately the slight drizzle turned into heavy rain, so at 14.00 we gave up birding. We saw the mountain's best birds, but other goodies can be found here too, including Spotted Laughingthrush, Scaly-breasted Wren Babbler and several parrotbills. After dinner it was dry again, which allowed RV and me to visit Sawan hill for an hour and a half.

Balan Shan - 10 July (S)
This day was a memorable one. CQ birded at this spot in May 2006 and saw most of this mountain’s specialties, including Tibetan Snowcock, Snow Partridge, White Eared Pheasant, Chinese Monal, Wood Snipe and Red-faced Rosefinch. Well, things were slightly different this time: road construction was being conducted, starting from Wolong, and ending right before Balan Shan top. Not bit by bit, no, all asphalt was removed at once. This did not only slow us down extremely, it also meant most birds at Balan Shan seem to have disappeared. Next to the (former) stake-out for Chinese Monal and White Eared Pheasant there was a large camp for road workers. I wouldn’t be surprised if the pheasants were already eaten before they were chased away in the first place. According to locals, the road work was scheduled to be finished somewhere in 2008. Who knows this might be a proper birding in the area in the future again. A few kilometres before the summit (ca. 4200 m ASL), the road was (suddenly) still surfaced. We could finally start birding here! This resulted in two Dark-breasted Rosefinches (a trip exclusive), the first Pink-rumped Rosefinches and Blue-fronted Redstarts, plenty of Rosy Pipits and the first Rufous-breasted Accentor. At a big distance, a flock of 400 unidentified passerines flew over the top. At the pass RV and I climbed up the rocks for an hour or so to try to find a calling Snow Partridge, but no luck there. Two Lammergeiers, five Himalayan Griffons and a Snow Pigeon passed by, 5-10 Alpine Accentors showed well. After climbing at such altitude I felt a bit funny, though I did not feel sick or anything. During this trip, none of us really suffered from altitude sickness. Once you pass the top, keep your eye open. As soon as the vegetation starts (only knee-high), get out of the car. This is an excellent area for Himalayan (or White-tailed) Rubythroat: we saw five in just a small area. Other goodies here included Pink-rumped Rosefinches and a Tickell’s Leaf Warbler. The rubythroats were not particularly shy: while I tried to make some pictures of a singing male, the bird flew straight towards me and landed in a bush three metres away from me! Towards Maerkeng (named Barkang on the Nelles map) we faced more serious road constructions and the first of three flat tires of the trip. Once you have passed two white stupa’s on each side of the road there’s a cliff behind you, as indicated by Hofland (2006). Here we saw our last two Snow Pigeons of the trip. The forced stop for the flat tire, a few kilometres further along this road, resulted in another Elliot’s Laughingthrush, the first Chestnut Thrushes and a male and juvenile White-throated Redstart. The next two nights were spent in a fine hotel at Maerkeng, where we arrived at 21.30. Today was also a memorable day for music too (in contrary to the birds, memorable in a good way), as it was the first time dj RV came up with the idea of playing Never marry a railroad man, from one of the finest Dutch bands ever, from my hometown The Hague: Shocking Blue. The band of the trip.

Mengbi Shan - 11 July (S)
Light rain most of the day. Without GPS it was hard to find Hofland’s exact localities. Park the car at the house near the summit. See Mengbi Shan map. Around the summit nothing much was seen. The trail through the rhododendron was actually rather boring. At the other side of the summit there’s a valley covered with rhododendron scrub, a few hunderd metres from the road. This place seems ideal to find a new stake out for Chinese Monal, though we did not bird there. Later, a Chinese birder I met at Wawu Shan, told me that local people claim to see monals from time to time around Mengbi Shan. Identifying Phasianidae did not seem to be a problem for these people. We were invited for tea at the house mentioned before. When we showed White Eared and Blood Pheasant in our books, their stories about these birds seemed to be reliable. RV even found a group of 13 White Eared Pheasants exactly at the distant hill indicated by the local family (see map). They were just there, out in the open, on a meadow near the forest's edge. Blood Pheasants unfortunately eluded us. I did, however, see Verraux's Monal-partridge (Chestnut-throated Partridge) at the side of the main road. If you walk down to the field behind the house (the field is fenced, so we asked permission to enter first), you cross a meadow with scattered bushes. This area was good for White-browed and Pink-rumped Rosefinch, Rufous-breasted Accentor and Tickell’s Leaf Warbler. A Giant Laughingthrush (what a bird!) was quietly foraging on the ground, allowing scope views for minutes. RV, to put it this way, is not particularly fond of laughingthrushes, but even he liked this one. Two Beautiful Rosefinches were seen as well. They sounded completely different than Pink-rumped Rosefinches: Pink-rumped has a call very similar to European Serin, while Beautiful, as indicated by Hofland (2006), indeed sounds somewhat like a sparrow. At first we could not find the trail mentioned by Hofland (2006). If you can’t either, walk or drive up towards the summit a bit and you will probably see it from the distance: that’s how we found it. RV and I (CQ was a bit ill and therefore stayed in the car) saw two Severtzov’s (or Chinese) Grouses along this trail. One was flushed, another one - a male - was seen foraging out in the open on the small meadow in this forest. Other good birds around were two Crested Tit-warblers, a Eurasian Treecreeper and a Maroon-backed Accentor. During some more road side birding we saw two Black Woodpeckers showing exceptionally well, several White-winged Grosbeaks, another two Crested Tit-warblers, two Yellow-streaked Warblers (lower down), several tits and more Giant Laughingthrushes, but not the hoped for Three-banded Rosefinch or Sichuan Jay. Common birds at Mengbi Shan included many warblers (see trip list for details), tits (Coal, Grey-crested, Green-backed and Rufous-vented), Streak-throated Fulvetta and Scarlet Rosefinch. Birds seen in lower numbers included Common Buzzard, Red-flanked Bluetail (6), Slaty-backed Flycatcher (2), Goldcrest (several), Elliot's Laughingthrush (5) and Winter Wren (3).

Download Mengbi Shan map at my website

Travelling day - 12 July (S – QH)
It took a day to travel from Maerkeng to Ban Ma, the village that should be close to the mysterious ‘Sichuan border site’ (see chapter below). We crossed the higher parts of Sichuan to reach Ban Ma, so this was the first day we saw parts of the Tibetan Plateau. The first Upland Buzzards, Rufous-necked, Tibetan and White-rumped Snowfinches, Hume’s Groundpeckers and Kessler’s Thrushes were seen. I don’t think many people watched birds at this part of the plateau, so it was a shame we did not bring a GPS to make way points of the spots for some special birds we encountered. We found a family group of seven White-browed Tits, a Ring-necked Pheasant was calling, we saw two Azure-winged Magpies (according to the field guide, this species does not occur in Sichuan), three Hodgson’s Redstarts, and best of all six out of a trip total of seven Ibisbills. A family of two adults and three juveniles was observed for quite some time and a calling bird was heard during a stop to check out our first snowfinches. RV played a fantastic Editors remix.

Ma Ka He, the mysterious Sichuan border site - 13 July (QH)
In the Qing Hai province, we tried to find Jesper Hornskov’s ‘Sichuan border site’. The exact location is kept secret for his tour groups. With the information we got from Chinese birdwatchers we, I think, got really close, though we did not find the exact spot. This site, which the Chinese refer to as Ma Ka He (‘Ma Ka River’), is comparable with Mengbi Shan. The forest, however, is much larger and as there’s no hunting pressure, Phasianidae are reportedly easy to observe and specialties like Sichuan Jay, Crested Tit-warbler and Three-banded Rosefinch are said to be relatively common. The chickens here are Verraux’s Monal Partridge, Blood Pheasant, Severtzov’s Grouse and Blue (so not White, like at Mengbi Shan) Eared Pheasant. The habitat we visited looked good - but not perfect - at several places. We found two bridges that allowed us to cross the river and enter the forest, about 30 km and 40 km south of Ban Ma. These sites did not match the description of ‘a forest station in the park’ we had. Some birds we found in the forest were promising, but we did not see any of the true specialties. We found White-throated and Hodgson’s Redstarts (both common), several Slaty-backed and Dark-sided Flycatchers, Songar Tit, Giant Laughingthrush (2), Maroon-backed Accentor and Grey-headed Bullfinch (5). A calling partridge was probably a Verraux’s Monal Partridge. A group of eight Tibetan Macaques plus a single individual were seen well. We came very close I guess, but we had no idea whether we were 10 km from the right spot, or 200. More time would have allowed us to search a bit longer, but our schedule was rather tight. Maxïmo Park on the stereo cheered things up a little.

Travelling day, 14 July (QH)
It took a day to travel from Ban Ma to Maduo, at the Tibetan Plateau. This was a very good day: I wish all travelling in my life was like this. Ibisbill number seven was seen north of Ban Ma, near a bridge called Ma Ka He bridge nr 1. Two Tibetan Partridges crossed the road near this place, while another one was calling from the nearby field. At the plateau, we were stunned by the great views. The first three Sakers, many Upland Buzzards (149 counted today), a Lammergeier, 10 Little Owls and the first White-winged Snowfinches, as well as several Tibetan Sand Foxes and a Pale Weasel were seen. A pair of Güldenstädt’s Redstarts and three Tibetan Larks were very welcome additions to the bird list.

Maduo 14 & 15 July (QH)
The 79 km stretch between the village Huashijia and Maduo, along highway 214, is very good for both birds and mammals. Both villages are on the Nelles Map, in the lower left corner. There are marshes north of Maduo, and large plains south of Huashija. We had no time to visit the marshes south of Maduo, a very good spot for Black-necked Cranes. We found a very distant pair of this endangered species just north of Maduo (about 2 km), and a single bird closer by, at km 462. Along the stretch between the two villages, especially at the plains south of Huashijia, we had no less than eleven Saker sightings, of at least nine (but possibly even eleven) individuals. Upland Buzzards are very common here as well. In the marshes we saw our first Bar-headed Geese (17) and the trip exclusive Hume’s Short-toed Lark (2). More common birds included Ruddy Shelduck, Common Tern, Brown-headed Gull and of course the inevitable Horned Larks, Rufous-necked and White-rumped Snowfinches and Hume’s Groundpeckers (all common species throughout the plateau). Waders were mainly seen at km p 465 (Hofland saw two cranes there in 2006) and included Common Redshank (5), Wood (3) and Green Sandpiper and Lesser Sand Plover (8). Another reason visit this area are the mammals. The most important one is the beautiful Kiang (Asiatic Wild Ass). The large plains south of Huashijia are best for mammals, but there are good numbers of animals around the marshes as well. We observed four Kiangs, Tibetan Gazelle is common (10s seen), as is Black-lipped Pika (common throughout the plateau), and we saw two Tibetan Sand Foxes and several Woolly (?) Hares. This looks like a great area for Wolves, but that one unfortunately eluded us.

Er La pass, 15 & 16 July (QH)
We birded the Maduo marshes in the morning and Er La in the afternoon and the next morning. This place, also situated along highway 214, can be reached from Huashijia in two hours. The stretch north of Huashijia, between the village and the large Ku Lake, was good for more Tibetan Gazelles and a Tibetan Lark. We slept in the sleepy village of Wenquan, just south of the pass. Both the village and the pass (km 319) are indicated on the Nelles map. Mind that this is very high altitude birding, at almost 5000 m, so it’s tough. Climbing up takes a long time, as you will be out of breath pretty soon. Er La is the place to find Tibetan Sandgrouse, though it's far from a reliable stake-out. The birds are around, but they are very, very good in playing hide and seek (they hide, you seek ...). This is a place where a tour group has an advantage: with 15 people on the pass, the chances of someone flushing a bird are much higher. We climbed up to the summit, starting at the pass. Once up there we walked and birded for some 2 km (south) and got down again. The bad news is: there are not many birds around. One of the rewards is Roborowski’s (or Tibetan) Rosefinch. We saw six to seven birds (and found a nest) during the climb from the pass to the summit. Robin Accentors were only seen at the hill side 2 km before the pass. Other birds include Horned Lark (common), Plain (10) and Brandt’s (8) Mountainfinch, the latter a trip exclusive, two Güldenstädt’s Redstarts and White-winged Snowfinches (common). Himalayan Griffons sometimes soar by, and a Lammergeier gave away a spectacular show. An adult landed about 100 m away from us, at eye level. It collected the pelvis of a yak carcass, walked uphill to gain height, took off, circled for a while and finally dropped the bone. At the summit two Tibetan Foxes and a herd of 44 Blue Sheep were seen. But our search for the sandgrouse remained fruitless.

Gongehe, 16 July (QH)
After birding Er La in the morning, we drove on to Gongehe, southeast of Koko Nor (about 4½ hours). Just south of Gongehe we stopped at km post 147. From there we walked up to the dry hills and scrub, as indicated by Wagner (2005) and Hofland (2006). You have to climb over a couple of fences to reach one of the gorges. In two hours we found, amongst others, Rusty-necklaced Partridge (heard only), Brown Accentor (common), Rock Sparrow (common), a male Mongolian Trumpeter Finch and a female Black-faced Bunting. No sign of Desert Whitethroat or Streaked Rosefinch. In the surrounding fields several Richard’s Pipits and Isabelline Wheatears were seen. In the pleasant town of Gongehe, two perched Desert Finches were found on a wire in front of our hotel.

Koko Nor ( Qing Hai Lake ), 17July (QH)
Koko Nor is a huge lake west of the city of Xining, and about an hour and a half north of Gongehe. The lake attracts a lot of waterfowl and waders. There are four main targets: Black-necked Crane, Pallas’s Gull, Mongolian Lark and Père David’s (or Small) Snowfinch. The gull is common. We visited two sites:

East Koko Nor
At the eastern edge of the lake, take the paved road to the north at kmp 2087.4 of highway 109 (and not km post 2088.4, contra Wagner). There’s a smaller (but still pretty big) lake along the shore of Koko Nor. Stop at kmp 2.0 of this road. The lake has a lot of waterfowl: Tufted Ducks, Common Pochards, Red-crested Pochards, Great Crested and Black-necked Grebes and Eurasian Coots are all common. Grey Heron (2) was a trip exclusive, and, like Wagner (2005) this is where we found another pair of Black-necked Cranes. Four young Tibetan men came to us and demanded a fee for parking along the road (40 Yuen). I was prepared to fight over this, but our guide Leo insisted on paying the ‘fine’ (as they called it). I hope things will not get worse in the future now they have succeeded in their attempt to rip off tourists. If it does, we fortunately found another spot for Père David’s (or Small) Snowfinch (see ‘Heimahe’). After this unpleasant break, we drove to kmp 6.3. On the west side of the road there’s a small settlement (with very curious, friendly people). At the right side of the road there’s a very nice marsh. In the dunes you should find Père David’s Snowfinch. We saw four birds, including a juvenile, west (left) of the road. At the southern shore of the marsh we found our only Mongolian Lark of the trip. In this area we also observed Black-winged Stilts (5), Common Greenshanks (2), Black-tailed Godwits (2), Lesser Sand Plovers (4), Whiskered Terns (2) and a female Citrine Wagtail.

Wagner (2005) describes a nice marsh at Heimahe. The village is situated at the southwest corner of Koko Nor, at km 2176. Here's is the junction to Rubber Mountain (see next site). The marsh is 700 metres northeast of Heimahe, at a side track along the main road in the direction of Niao Dao (Bird Island). If you have not seen Mongolian Lark yet, try Niao Dao (it's indicated on the map). Wagner reported this species to be common there. Along the track to the marsh, we were surprised to find an entrance gate where a fee was charged to get to the shore of the lake. This seemed to be something new, as it is not mentioned by both Wagner (2005) and Hofland (2006). We decided not to go any further, as we needed plenty of time for the next site anyway. We scanned the fields near this gate. The marsh seemed to have dried up and no cranes were seen. From a distance, Bar-headed Goose was seen in large numbers at the lake, as was Pallas’s Gull. A few Tibetan Larks were present in the fields, and a flock of 180 Black-tailed Godwits and two Greenshanks flew by. The best species here was a family of Père David’s Snowfinches (male and two juveniles) in a sandy patch next to the road about 500 m from the junction with the main road.

Rubber Mountain Pass (Xiangpi), 17 July & 19 July (QH)
It’s necessary to visit this excellent site for several specialties, with Ala Shan Redstart and Pink-tailed Bunting being the most important ones. We visited this site for 3½ hours in the afternoon of July 17, on the way to Chaka, and for 20 minutes on July 19. Go south at Heimahe (basically continue driving at highway 109). Rubber Mountain Pass is indicated as Xiangpi Pass on the Nelles Map. Get out at kmp 2189.5. Coming from Heimahe, there’s a (fenced) valley on your right. The (fenced) trail here will lead you through the valley. In the fields the familiar birds of the plateau occur: Horned Lark, Hume’s Groundpecker, Rufous-necked Snowfinch and Twite. On your left you will find some wooded gorges that hold all the goodies, the first one after a few hundred metres. See map for specific details. Blue-fronted Redstart, Robin Accentor and Tickell’s Leaf Warbler are common in all gorges. In the first gorge we found a surprise: a male Red-faced Rosefinch; rather low for this species. Brown Accentors were common. The second gorge was good for ca five Pink-tailed Buntings, a male Streaked Rosefinch (CQ), more Brown Accentors and two Siberian Stonechats. The male of the Pink-tailed Bunting has a beautiful display flight. The valley becomes narrow after the second gorge. On the left side we found the nest of the Red-faced Rosefinch: a narrow crevice in a ca 12 metres high crag, 2½ m above the ground. A nest of a Tibetan Snowfinch was found at the same spot. Other birds included several Crag Martins. At the other side, on your right, there are two very large crags. On of these held a large Lammergeier nest with a large chick. An adult was flying around as well. The last gorge we visited was excellent (there’s a fourth gorge, but this one was fenced). A Wallcreeper was singing here, but could not be located. Two Dusky Warblers were present in the first part of the gorge, where a male Tibetan Partridge showed well. Further into the gorge, on the left side, we climbed up a bit and found two White-browed Tits (endemic) and a female White-browed Tit-warbler in the scrub. While CQ and RV briefly saw a male tit-warbler, I saw a second female a little further away. At the end of the gorge one of the highlights of the trip was waiting for us. I found two fighting males Ala Shan Redstart, while a female witnessed this male chauvinistic bar fight. After the short territorial dispute, the winner was observed and photographed for quite some time. This was a big highlight for me, as this was the world’s only Phoenicurus redstart still missing on my life list. After seeing this stunner, we returned to the road. We birded at the other side of the road for 45 minutes. Both Siberian and Himalayan Rubythroat have been observed here in the past, but we didn’t find either one of these gems. Nice birds here included a Lammergeier, Siberian Stonechat (2), Kessler’s Thrush (2), Dusky Warbler (2, including a fledgling), Rufous-breasted Accentor (3) and a male Streaked Rosefinch (RV only). As I missed both Streaked Rosefinches, I birded this spot again at the 19th, while we were on our way to Xining. The weather was terrible that day, so I was the only one who got out of the car. I didn’t get to see much goodies, maybe apart from three Tibetan Snowfinches.

Download Rubber Mountain map at my website

Chaka, 17 & 18 July (QH)
After a long day on the 17th, when we left Gongehe and birded the spots around Koko Nor and Rubber Mountain, we passed the Chaka flats (easy to find on the map along highway 109) around dusk. No late evening fly-by’s of Pallas’s Sandgrouse. At the hotel in Chaka village there was a roost of about seven leucopsis Black-backed Wagtails. In this semi-desert, apart from the sandgrouse, the specialties are Henderson ’s (or Mongolian) Ground-jay and Blanford’s (or Plain-backed) Snowfinch. The next morning we started at the spot were both Wagner (2005) and Hofland (2006) were succesfull, at km 2238 of highway 109, 16 km (not 10 km, contra Hofland 2006) east of Chaka village. We looked for waterholes south of the road (the northern side is fenced). After three hours we’d seen about nothing. No sandgrouse fly-by’s, no other specialties. There were hardly any birds at all. After it got a bit warmer, the birds became more active. Eventually we saw Blanford’s Snowfinch (8) and, though it took a while, the very much wanted Henderson ’s Ground-jay (4). We saw one taking a small lizard, while the field guide mentions ‘invertebrates’ as a food source only. Other birds included Isabelline (common) and Desert Wheatear (5), Rock Sparrow (common), Twite (common) and several groups of Desert Finches flying by (3, 8 and 11). The waterholes held Green Sandpipers (7), a Lesser Sand Plover and plenty of leucopsis Black-backed Wagtails. Around noon we decided to have lunch first and try the flats west of town. Activity of Calandrella larks was high, but it was hard to find any birds on the ground. We saw two Asian Short-toed Larks perched on a wire. Another Calandrella lark sounded like a Greater Short-toed, but had an obvious primary projection. Therefore the bird remained unidentified. We decided to head towards the salt lake. We found two small fresh water pools near the lake that held some waders (including the only Common Sandpiper of the trip), two calcarata Citrine Wagtails (one male), and a family of ‘isabelline shrikes’: two juveniles and a female. These birds were very pale, the female hardly had a facial mask and the primaries seemed to be very short. These are all characters for arenarius ('Chinese Shrike'), but according to Worfolk (Dutch Birding 2000) this (sub)species only breeds in a small part of the Xinjiang province, west China. According to the map in this article, Daurian Shrike (isabellines) is the taxon of this region. Unfortunately we did not see the male, nor did I succeed in taking any pictures of the birds. At the shores of the salt lake we found our only Kentish Plovers of the trip. After an early dinner we did a last attempt to find Pallas’s Sandgrouse. We searched for hours, but the only notable bird was a Golden Eagle. It was un unexpected dip, as most people seem to observe this enigmatic bird. Maybe they were nesting at this time of year? Next morning the weather was very bad, so we decided to head for Xining straight away.

Bei Shan, 19 July (QH)
As said, this was a very rainy day. It took half a day to get from Chaka to Xining. Just before Xining, RV saw a male Ring-necked Pheasant in a field. This was our last day together: RV and CQ had to catch an early evening flight to Chengdu, and a flight from Chengdu to Lhasa the following day. After lunch the weather improved, so we decided to give Bei Shan hill a try. At the regular entrance there was some Buddhist procession going on. As a result, the hill was closed to the public. When facing Bei Shan, we turned right, passed a dirt track, turned left again, took a tunnel under the high way and found an alternative route to some hills. After the tunnel we entered a small outskirt of the city, with a stone factory on our left (Bei Shan is left of this factory) and some shops on the right. There was a very good road uphill, passing several small temples. We only had an hour and a half to bird here, which was way too short. The endemic Père David’s (or Plain) Laughingthrush was easily found (4) and several Manchurian Bush Warblers were heard and sometimes seen. Two Daurian Redstarts were nice, and a splendid male Meadow Bunting was seen among the more common Godlewksi’s. Ring-necked Pheasant, Daurian and Rusty-necklaced Partridge and Pale Rosefinch all occur here, but probably in the higher parts only. On the way to the airport we saw a female Ring-necked Pheasant with three chicks on the road. We listened to Shocking Blue's Love Buzz (covered by Nirvana on their first album) for one more time. We had our final dinner together and said goodbye (hugs but no tears). Then I went back to my hotel, where I had a few beers with the driver and translator. The next morning I took the train back to Chengdu (26 hours; 179 Yuen). Leo and Mr. Whu drove all the way back to Chengdu (three days).

Wawu Shan, 21-24 July (S)
In Wawu Shan there are three elevational levels that are good for birds, each with its own specialties: the lower parts (conifer forest, scrub and bamboo), the hotel area of Gongtong Shanzhuang (subtropical broadleaf forest, scrub and bamboo), situated at the end of the road, 29 km up from the entrance, and the plateau (pine forest, rhododendron and bamboo), reached from Gongtong Shanzhuang by cable car. There are hotels in the village just before the entrance, at Gongtong Shanzhuang and at the top.

Level 1: Wawu entrance & lower parts
I only birded around the entrance for about half an hour on July 24, while I was waiting to be picked up and brought back to Chengdu. Right after the entrance (the entrance fee for Wawu is 50 Yuen) there’s a road to the left. At the start I found a flock of six Black-chinned Yuhina’s. Further along this road Ashy-throated Parrotbill occurs, but I did not have time left to check this place out. For more specific directions for the parrotbills, see Hofland (2006²). The river holds Plumbeous and White-capped Water Redstarts, and other birders reported several forktail species here, as well as Brown Dipper. Raptor watching was good (I was here around noon): a Mountain Hawk-eagle was mobbed by two Eurasian Hobbies. Two Oriental Honey-buzzards came to check out what the fuss was all about, when suddenly a Crested Goshawk flew by. Four species within a few minutes!
Another very important spot is the area about 9 km up from the entrance. Get out in the area near the longest bridge in the park (see photo), about the third one from the entrance. The conifer forest here is good for two specialties. Especially late afternoon, Lady Amherst’s Pheasants often feed along (or cross) the road in the area two km up and down from the bridge. This is also the best area for a species that breeds in a very narrow elevational range: the Emei Leaf Warbler. As I had no transport, I couldn’t reach this spot early morning or late afternoon. As a consequence, I missed both prime targets; despite taping Emei Leaf Warbler for a long time after an early-afternoon hitch to the spot (I figured a warbler would be active during the day. The Large-billed Warblers were indeed…). Missing these two birds really felt like the dip of the trip. I encountered some other nice birds anyway: this area was good for Chinese Babax (6) and woodpeckers, with Grey-headed, Bay and Speckled Piculet (2). In the bamboo patches, Golden Parrotbills are possible. A very good bird I found between this site and the next, somewhere along the road, was a Bar-winged Wren Babbler that showed really well. This appears to be the first record of this species for this mountain – it has been observed at the nearby mountain Emei Shan (James Eaton and Hofland pers. comm). Around this spot I also saw both Little and White-crowned Forktail (sorry, I will bring GPS for exact locations next time). Several White-throated Needletails and Himalayan Swiftlets were seen. This little stretch is just one of the reasons I want to return to Wawu someday!

Level 2: Gongtong Shanzhuang
I hitched up to the hotel area of Gongtong Shanzhuang, where I booked a room for three nights. The hotel price was rather high for Chinese standards: 268 Yuen. At the second day, when I made clear my shower didn’t work, the staff moved me to a very luxurious bungalow for the same price. There’s a restaurant (that closes early!) and a shop, so getting food and drinks is no problem. As I got up early and came back late on two days, I bought instant noodles for both breakfast and diner (there’s a thermos with hot water in every hotel in China). The birding around here is good. Road side birding is easy. One of the prime targets of this mountain, the endangered range-restricted endemic Emei Shan Liocichla is common. Other common birds that are easy to see from the main road include Large-billed Leaf Warblers, Brownish-flanked Bush Warbler (easy to tape out), Green-backed Tits, Streak-breasted Scimitar Babbler (easy to tape out), Red-billed Leiothrix, White-collared Yuhina and Red-billed Blue Magpie. Bianchi’s Warbler is common along the road: the (sub)species at the lower parts of Wawu is what Frank Rheindt calls Marten's Warbler (James Eaton pers comm). The Seicercus at the plateau is Bianchi's Warbler. Both Pygmy Wren Babbler and White-tailed Robin were commonly heard, but they did not seem to respond to tape. I only got a rear-end view of the wren babbler and a brief view on a male robin. Many birds I only encountered occasionally or just once. See map for details, also for directions to the trail I found behind the hotel three hours before I left Wawu. John and Jemi Holmes found a pair of breeding Golden-fronted Fulvetta’s in 2006 here. At this trail I observed both Rusty and Spotted Laughingthrush (heard only), Darjeeling Woodpecker and Black-headed Sibia (two at the start of the trail; possibly also the first record of this species for this mountain, Hofland pers comm). In the hotel area I saw both Golden and Grey-headed Parrotbills (2) in the bamboo, both on one day only. Other goodies were a male Fujian Niltava seen around dusk two days in a row, and an alarming male White-bellied Redstart on an early morning. Along the road down, outside the ‘village’, I usually walked down until I reached the abandoned house on the left (about 2,5 km), or the indistinct vegetable gardens on the right side of the road (about 3,5 km down from Gongtong). Along the road, Rusty Laughingthrush was heard twice, Red-winged Laughingthrush more often. The latter species does respond to tape, but they are not easy to see (I saw four: two singles and a pair). Other birds I saw included Crimson-breasted Woodpecker (1), Lesser and Oriental Cuckoo (5 and 2, heard only), Mountain Hawk-eagle (1), Chestnut-crowned Warbler (1), Eurasian Nuthatch (2) and Little Forktail (1, at the waterfall just before the abandoned house).

Download Wawu Shan maps (2) at my website

Level 3: Wawu top
The cable car to the top opens at 8.00 and closes at 17.00. The price is 50 Yuen for a return ticket, and the ride takes about 25 minutes. Due to a lack of time, I only spent one day here. At 14.00 it started to rain for two hours, and at 16.00, when it was finally dry, thick clouds came in, blocking my view and therefore ending my birding activities. I think spending at least two days here is necessary to see most specialties. This plateau is an amazing spot. In Gongtong you're still in subtropical forest, but at the top, you suddenly enter a different world. The forest has large, old pine trees with bamboo and rhododendron undergrowth. To add a little more drama to the scene, it's often misty. Hello Mr. Frodo! Well, there are a lot of ‘precious’ things to see around here. This is where the endangered, range-restricted endemic Sichuan Treecreeper was first described, as recent as 1995. They are common, though I didn’t see as many as Hofland in May 2006. In all I saw three birds, including two at a nest, and heard three more singing. Hofland (2006²) reported about twenty; perhaps they are less active in the summer season. Be careful, as Eurasian Treecreeper also occurs here. Another reason to go to the top, is the abundance of parrotbills: both in numbers and species. No less than six species have been recorded at the plateau: Fulvous, Grey-headed, Grey-hooded, Great, Brown and Three-toed. With Golden and Ashy-throated occurring at the lower parts, the total number of parrotbills on this mountain is an amazing eight! Grey-hooded is a range-restricted, endangered endemic and Three-toed is apparently the rarest one around (very few reports). The paved trails on the plateau are well-maintained. See map for directions and specialties seen by me. Warblers were common, and involved Bianchi’s, Large-billed, Greenish, Buff-barred, Sichuan Leaf, and Blyth ’s Leaf (according to Rheindt: Claudia’s) Warbler. Ashy-throated Warbler occurs here as well, but was not seen by me. Tits are common, and the species I saw were Coal, Grey-crested and Rufous-vented. Another specialty of the plateau is the number (of species) of bush-warblers. Unfortunately not many bush-warblers were singing, though I did see many. Only Aberrant was vocally active. Furthermore Yellowish-bellied could be identified (only one singing bird). In spring it’s not uncommon to record five, six species here. Stripe-throated Yuhina was a common bird at certain parts of the forest (trail left of cable car; see map), and both Rufous-gorgeted and Ferruginous Flycatchers were regularly encountered. In all I saw 13 Great Parrotbills (very tape responsive; see map for spots), and one flock of fifteen Grey-hooded Parrotbills. The latter species was seen at a large open spot, covered with bamboo, along the trail indicated on the map. Furthermore small numbers of Speckled Woodpigeon (2), Lesser Cuckoo (2 seen, 2-3 more heard), White-throated Needletail (2), Elliot’s Laughingthrush (5), Vinaceous Rosefinch (4, see map) and Grey-headed Bullfinch (4) were seen. A female Temminck’s Tragopan with a larger chick was seen on the trail. One particular trail was very, very rewarding. This was actually a very small side trail (see map) that ends pretty quickly at a small water basin with a maintenance building. This is where I found the Red Panda. I observed the animal for over an hour at a distance of forty metres, while it was foraging on red berries in some small, broadleaved trees. And if that wasn't enough, two female/juvenile White-bellied Redstarts were agitatedly calling and two Black-faced Laughingthrushes showed well. What a day! Imagine spending at least one more day at this marvelous place! Maybe more parrotbills would have been seen by me, as well as for instance Golden Bush Robin. One of the Chinese birders I met, sent me an email later. They did not succeed in finding the Golden-fronted Fulvetta, but they did see two Blanford's Rosefinches at the plateau. On the way back in the cable car I noticed a very rusty car, already mentioned by Hofland (2006²), passing by on the other side. A magical moment, as I was listening to Eddie Vedder (Pearl Jam) at my headphone at that very moment: ‘All the rusty signs we ignore throughout our lives, choosing the shiny ones instead.’ Maybe he's right, but in this particular case I was glad I ignored that rusty sign. Wawu, I will return! What a trip!

Species Lists

Birdnames and systematics
Clements’s latest taxonomic update from December 2005 is followed. English spelling used (e.g. Grey instead of Gray). If a bird has more than one English name, I just choose the one I liked most: Blanford's Snowfinch sounds a hell of a lot better than Plain-backed Snowfinch, doesn't it? To avoid confusion, alternative names are given as well. Species split by others or potential future splits are mentioned.
The species that are threatened (Threatened Birds of the World, Bird Life International; are marked with the following abbreviations:

observation details per species at

NT= Near Threatened
VU= Vulnerable
EN= Endangered
CE= Critically Endangered

Verraux’s Monal-Partridge (or Chestnut-throated Partridge)
Snow Partridge
Tibetan Partridge
Przevalski’s (or Rusty-necklaced) Partridge
Temminck’s Tragopan
White Eared Pheasant NT
Ring-necked (or Common) Pheasant
Golden Pheasant
Severtzov’s (or Chinese)
Grouse NT
Bar-headed Goose
Ruddy Shelduck
Red-crested Pochard
Tufted Duck
Common Pochard
Common Merganser
Speckled Piculet
Bay Woodpecker
Crimson-breasted Woodpecker
Darjeeling Woodpecker
Great Spotted Woodpecker
Grey-headed (or Grey-faced) Woodpecker
Black Woodpecker
Black-capped Kingfisher
Common Hoopoe
Asian Koel
Eurasian Cuckoo
Oriental Cuckoo
Lesser Cuckoo
Himalayan Swiftlet
White-throated Needletail
Common Swift
Fork-tailed Swift
House Swift
Little Owl
Hill Pigeon
Snow Pigeon
Speckled Wood Pigeon
Oriental Turtle Dove
Spotted Dove
Eurasian Collared Dove
Red Collared Dove
Black-necked Crane VU
Common Coot
Black-tailed Godwit
Common Redshank
Common Greenshank
Green Sandpiper
Wood Sandpiper
Common Sandpiper
Little Ringed Plover
Kentish (or Snowy) Plover
Lesser Sand (or Mongolian) Plover
Black-winged Stilt
Pallas’s (Great-black Headed) Gull
Brown-headed Gull
Common Tern
Whiskered Tern
Oriental Honey-buzzard
Black Kite
Himalayan Griffon
Lammergeier (Bearded Vulture)
Crested Goshawk
Chinese Sparrowhawk
Eurasian Sparrowhawk
Common Buzzard
Upland Buzzard
Oriental Honey Buzzard
Golden Eagle
Mountain Hawk Eagle
Common Kestrel
Saker EN
Great Crested Grebe
Little Grebe
Black-necked Grebe
Great Cormorant
Chinese Pond Heron
Little Egret
Intermediate Egret
Cattle Egret
Grey Heron
Long-tailed Minivet
Blue Rock Thrush
Blue Whistling Thrush
Eurasian Blackbird
Kessler’s (or White-backed) Thrush
Chestnut Thrush
Red-flanked Bluetail(or Orange-flanked Bush Robin)
White-tailed Robin
Himalayan Rubythroat (or White-tailed Rubythroat)
Firethroat NT
Indian Blue Robin
Black Redstart
Daurian Redstart
White-throated Redstart
Blue-fronted Redstart
Hodgson’s Redstart
Güldenstädt’s (or White-winged) Redstart
Ala Shan Redstart NT (or Przevalski’s Redstart)
Plumbeous Water Redstart
White-capped Water Redstart
White-bellied Redstart
Grey-headed Canary Flycatcher
Ferruginous Flycatcher
Rufous-gorgeted Flycatcher
Slaty-backed Flycatcher
Dark-sided Flycatcher
Fujian Niltava
Oriental Magpie Robin
Little Forktail
White-crowned Forktail
Common Stonechat
Grey Bushchat
Pied Wheatear
Isabelline Wheatear
Desert Wheatear
Crested Myna
Tibetan Lark
Mongolian Lark
Greater Short-toed Lark
Humes Short-toed Lark
Asian (Lesser) Short-toed Lark
Oriental Skylark
Horned Lark
Pale (or Chinese) Sand Martin
Eurasian Crag Martin
Barn Swallow
Red-rumped Swallow
Asian House Martin
Citrine Wagtail
Grey Wagtail
Black-backed Wagtail
Richard’s Pipit
Water Pipit
Rosy Pipit
Olive-backed Pipit
Light-vented Bulbul
Black Bulbul
Collared Finchbill
Brownish-flanked Bush Warbler
Yellowish-bellied Bush-warbler
Manchurian Bush Warbler
Aberrant Bush Warbler
White-browed Tit Warbler
Crested Tit Warbler
Tickell’s Leaf Warbler
Yellow Streaked Warbler
Dusky Warbler
Buff-barred Warbler
Sichuan Leaf Warbler
Large-billed Leaf Warbler
Blyth’s Leaf Warbler
White-tailed Leaf Warbler
Greenish Warbler
Hume’s Warbler
Chestnut-crowned Warbler
Bianchi’s Warbler
Rufous-faced Warbler
Eurasian (or Common) Nuthatch
Sichuan Treecreeper VU
Eurasian Treecreeper
Coal Tit
Rufous-vented Tit
Yellow-bellied Tit
Green-backed Tit
Great Tit
Grey-crested Tit
White-browed Tit
Songar Tit
Yellow-browed Tit
Black-throated Tit
Humes Groundpecker (or Tibetan Ground Tit)
Père David’s (or Plain) Laughingthrush
Barred Laughingthrush
Giant Laughingthrush
Spotted Laughingthrush
Rusty Laughingthrush
White-browed Laughingthrush
Elliot’s Laughingthrush
Black-faced Laughingthrush
Red-winged Laughingthrush
Emei Shan (or Grey-faced) Liocichla VU
Streak-breasted Scimitar Babbler
Pygmy Wren Babbler
Bar-winged Wren Babbler
Winter Wren
Rufous-capped Babbler
Red-billed Leiothrix
Chinese Babax
Golden-breasted Fulvetta
Streak-throated Fulvetta
Grey-cheeked Fulvetta
Black-headed Sibia
Stripe-throated Yuhina
White-collared Yuhina
Black-chinned Yuhina
Great Parrotbill
Grey-headed Parrotbill
Vinous-throated Parrotbill
Grey-hooded Parrotbill VU
Golden Parrotbill
Mrs Gould’s Sunbird
Alpine Accentor
Robin Accentor
Rufous-breasted Accentor
Brown Accentor
Maroon-backed Accentor
Isabelline (or Rufous-tailed) Shrike
Long-tailed Shrike
Grey-backed Shrike
Eurasian Jay
(Red-billed) Blue Magpie
Eurasian (or Black-billed) Magpie
Azure-winged Magpie
Henderson’s (or Mongolian) Ground-jay
Eurasian (or Spotted) Nutcracker
Red-billed Cough
Yellow-billed Cough
Large-billed Crow
Carrion Crow
Eurasian Tree Sparrow
Rock Sparrow
White-winged Snowfinch
Rufous-necked Snowfinch
Tibetan (or Adam’s, or Black-winged) Snowfinch
White-rumped Snowfinch
Père David’s (or Small) Snowfinch
Blanford’s (or Plain-backed) Snowfinch
Grey-capped (or Chinese) Greenfinch
Plain Mountain Finch
Brandt’s (or Black-headed)Mountain Finch
Desert Finch
Mongolian (or Mongolian Trumpeter) Finch
Dark-breasted Rosefinch
Scarlet (or Common) Rosefinch
Beautiful Rosefinch
Pink-rumped Rosefinch
Vinaceous Rosefinch
White-browed Rosefinch
Streaked Rosefinch
Red-faced Rosefinch (or Red-fronted Rosefinch)
Roborowski’s Rosefinch (or Tibetan Rosefinch)
Grey-headed Bullfinch
White-winged Grosbeak
Pink-tailed Bunting (or Rose Bunting, or Przevalski’s Rosefinch)
Slaty Bunting
Godlewksi’s Bunting
Meadow Bunting
Black-faced Bunting

Milne-Edward’s (Tibetan) Macaque
Black-lipped Pika
pika spec.
pika spec. 2
Woolly Hare
squirrel spec.
Himalayan Marmot
Brown Rat
Pale Weasel
Red Panda
Tibetan Fox
Kiang (Asiatic Wild Ass)
Tibetan Gazelle
Blue Sheep