China - Summer 2004

Published by Surfbirds Admin (surfbirds AT

Participants: Matt Bartels


Introduction: I spent 6 weeks in China this summer, half of which was dedicated to birding. Although I’ve made many trips to China over the past 15 years, this was my first experience birding there [I know, I know]. As such, I was constantly aware of how many birds were slipping by me unidentified because of my unfamiliarity. I did a lot of prep work before going, pouring over trip reports and studying my China field guide, but even with that prep I faced a steep learning curve. I really didn’t know how many birds I’d find, and once found how many I’d be able to confidently id. As such, the trip proved more successful than I’d hoped. It was summer, rainy most days, and I was a China bird novice. But after the 3 weeks of solid birding, I was getting the hang of things and found my trip list at 152. Because I speak Mandarin and have been to all the locations previously, travel logistics were pretty easy for me. As such, I haven’t included much information on logistical details but would be happy to pass on advice to anyone planning a trip. For nearly limitless suggestions on good birding spots in China, I’d definitely recommend going through the trip reports compiled at

[*=new bird for the trip]

Part 1: June 16-July 8 (The non-birding portion of my trip)

June 16 - July 8: Pacific Village Institute China trip.
Because my first 3 weeks of this trip were not a birding trip, my records are only occasional and not that relevant. For this period, I was leading a small tour group of high school students and teachers and was usually too busy to pull out the bins. Nevertheless, I did have a few hours here & there where I could sneak off and start looking at birds.

Birdlist for 6/16-7/8

*Cattle Egret (Dali, Yunnan 7/4)
*Chinese Pond Heron (Great Wall at Jinshanling, Beijing/Hebei border,6/20)
*Mallard(Taoranting Park, Beijing, 6/19)
*Common Kestrel (Great Wall, 6/20)
*Rock Pigeon (Taoranting Park, 6/19; Great Wall 6/20)
*Common Swift (Forbidden City, Beijing, 6/18; Taoranting Park, 6/19; Great Wall, 6/20)
*Fork-tailed Swift (Tiger Leaping Gorge, Yunnan 6/27)
*Common Hoopoe (Temple of Heaven, Beijing, 6/19)
*Grey-backed Shrike (Zhongdian, Yunnan, 6/28)
*Azure-winged Magpie (Taoranting Park, 6/19)
*Black-billed Magpie (Temple of Heaven 6/19; Great Wall, 6/20)
*Daurian Redstart (Great Wall 6/20)
*Plumbeous Water Redstart (Lijiang, Yunnan 6/30)
*White Wagtail (Zhongdian, Yunnan, 6/28)
*Meadow Bunting (Great Wall, 6/20)
*Eurasian Tree Sparrow (Forbidden City, 6/18; Taoranting Park, 6/19; Great Wall, 6/20)

Part 2: July 9 - July 28: Birding portion of the trip:

After the rest of the tour group had returned safely to the US, I began birding in earnest. After a day to rest in Shanghai, I flew to Chengdu on July 10. My plan was to spend most of my time in a couple spots in Sichuan and Yunnan provinces, with a goal of moving slowly enough to avoid feeling rushed.

Chengdu, Sichuan

July 10: Chengdu, Shinanjiao Park in afternoon.
Today I flew from Shanghai to Chengdu, arriving mid-day. By chance, my hostel was directly across the street from one of the city parks I’d seen mentioned in previous trip reports: Shinanjiao Park. I spent the afternoon trying to find shady and uncrowded corners of the park to sit in as I slowly got my first taste of the local birds. The park itself [next to Wuhouci, a place marked on more maps] is a nice city park with enough quiet areas to keep me busy, even on a weekend. Most numerous were Light-vented Bulbuls, Oriental Magpie Robins & Eurasian Tree Sparrows, but there were many White-browed Laughingthrush near the tea house where old men sit with their caged birds, Yellow-billed Grosbeaks, Eurasian Blackbirds & Spotted Doves mostly in the SW corner, and Ashy-throated Parrotbills along the western edge. (Bird list below after July 11 entry)

July 11: Chengdu, Giant Panda Breeding Research Center
I could have used more time at this large park on the outskirts of town. After enjoying the antics of Giant and Lesser Pandas with the crowds of visitors, there were still huge sections of the place to explore that were relatively quiet. The main lake had a large rookery that included Grey Heron, Black-crowned Night Heron, & Little Egret. Elsewhere in the park I saw my first confirmed Common Kingfishers, as well as Asian Paradise Flycatchers, Great & Black-throated Tits, a small flock of White-rumped Munia, and Gray-backed & Long-tailed Shrike.

Chengdu bird list 7/10 (Shi Nanjiao Park), 7/11(Giant Panda Breeding Research Center), &7/15 (Dufu’s Thatched Cottage Park)
*Gray Heron (11th)
*Little Egret (11th)
*Black-crowned Night Heron (11th)
Mallard (11th)
*Spotted Dove (10th, 11th)
*House Swift (10th)
*Common Kingfisher (11th)
*Long-tailed Shrike (11th , 15th)
Grey-backed Shrike(11th)
*Red-rumped Swallow (10th , 15th)
*Great Tit (11th)
*Black-throated Tit (11th, 15th)
*Collared Finchbill (15th)
*Light-vented Bulbul (10th, 11th, 15th)
*Oriental Magpie Robin (10th, 15th)
*Asian Paradise Flycatcher (11th)
*Eurasian Blackbird (10th, 11th , 15th)
*White-browed Laughingthrush (10th, 11th, 15th)
*Vinous-throated Parrotbill (15th)
*Ashy-throated Parrotbill (10th)
White Wagtail (11th, 15th)
*Plain Flowerpecker (15th)
*Yellow-billed Grosbeak (10th)
Eurasian Tree Sparrow (10th, 11th)
*Whited-rumped Munia (11th)

July 12 — 14 Emei Shan, Sichuan Province
It would be easy to spend ages checking out the various elevations of this mountain, just waiting for all the hidden birds to show up. Tourists were present most of the time throughout my visit, but not oppressively so, except at the relatively new Monkey Preserve between Hongchao and Qingyin. Tapes would have helped immensely, especially with all the different warblers that skulked. Though only occasionally would the trees be ‘thick’ with birds, most of the time there were at least multiple species singing or calling within earshot.

My 3 days were apportioned as follows: Day 1: Leave Chengdu early morning, travelling to Emei Town by bus (about 3 hours). Then from Emei Town I took bus rides & the cable car all the way up the mountain to the Jinding summit. After a short while around the peak area, I worked my way down to the Jieyin Dian [lower end of cable car] and the hotels at the parking area below it. Day 2: I began just before daybreak with more birding above the parking area, then worked my way down hill to Xianfeng Monastery, stopping en route at the Xixiang Chi area to wait out some of the heavier rain. Day 3: Downhill mostly, from Xianfeng to Wannian Si, via Hongchunping, the Monkey Preserve, & Qingyin Ge. From Wannian Si, I took a bus to the town surrounding Baoguo Si, and a bus from there brought me back to Chengdu that night. It rained off & on throughout the 3 days, sometimes hard.

Peak Area: [3077m] I didn’t spend long because I had much hiking to do, and didn’t have a sense of the travel times ahead. But birds in this area came in packets — Other reports recommended the trash dump, which I was unable to locate.

Jieyin Dian [2540m] — Parking Area: I took the road rather than the trail down through this portion and found it to be one of the birdiest parts of the trip, and not very peopled. Even car traffic was light. In the early morning, the owls were calling up a storm in this area.

Parking area [<2540m] — Xixiang Chi (Elephant Bathing Pool)[2070m]: Rainy for me, with few birds noted

Xixiang Chi: [2070m] Even in rain, birds popped up the longer I waited. Speckled Wood Pigeons & Wedge-tailed Green Pigeons were in the tree tops, as promised, and Verditer Flycatcher, Gray Wagtail, and various warblers were closer in, around the temple grounds.

Xixiang Chi [2070m] — Xianfeng Si[1752m]: This portion was good in spots, but sometimes quiet too. At the second river crossing [near Xianfeng] I saw my first forktail (a pair of Little Forktails) and a Slaty Bunting.

Xianfeng Temple:[1752m] The cave nearby was full of nesting Himalayan Swiftlets, and the path to and from it was very birdy. The woods in either direction from the temple were also pretty active with such birds as Emei Liochicla, Rufous-bellied & Vivid Niltava, Chestnut-crowned Bush Warbler, Ashy-throated Warbler, Omei Golden-spectacled Warbler, Red-winged Laughingthrush, Gray-headed Canary Flycatcher, Ferruginous Flycatcher, Chestnut-vented Nuthatch, Gray-crested & Green-backed Tits, and Darjeeling Woodpeckers.

Xianfeng Si [1752m]— Hongchunping[1120m]: This leg of the hike down is 6 km, not 15 km as some signs indicate. In addition to being unsure of the length, this portion is very steep, so I ended up spending more time focused on walking than on birding. It seemed to hold lots of great areas with potential for good birds. The highlight for me came early on, just a bit beyond Xianfeng, and after the first food stop option as the trail curves around a wide valley. A family of Temminck’s Tragopans appeared, close to the trail! Mom, dad, and juvenile all moved from a tree on one side, to the path, and then to bushes on the other side, all at close distance to me. Gorgeous birds!

Hongchunping[1120m] — Qingyin Ge[710m]: First part of this trail close to the river was great for riverside birding — Forktails, Blue-whistling Thrush, Brown Dipper all appeared off & on. But then came the Monkey Preserve, with hordes of tourists crowding the trail & riversides. After fighting through the crowds for an hour or so, I turned around at Qingyin and headed back up to the quieter areas to take advantage of the portions of the river that were so much more peaceful.

QingyinGe [710m] — Wannian Si[1020m]: Uphill hiking through good-looking open forest. Spangled Drongos & Eurasian Jays were my only new birds here, but I was moving a bit fast to get back to Chengdu by night. In addition, the walk from Wannian to the bus-stop likewise looked promising but wasn’t well covered by me.

Baoguosi Town:[550m] While waiting for the bus back to Chengdu, I checked along the river bank through town and had White-crowned Forktails, a Brown Dipper, and many Light-vented Bulbuls and White-browed Laughingthrush.

Emei Shan Bird list [7,12, 7/13, 7/14]
*Temminck’s Tragopan (14th)
*Speckled Wood Pigeon (13th)
*Wedge-tailed Green Pigeon (13th)
*Collared Scops Owl (13th)
*Himalayan Swiftlet (13th)
*Crimson-breasted Woodpecker (12th)
*Darjeeling Woodpecker (12th ,14th)
*Eurasian Jay (14th)
*Long-tailed Minivet (12th, 13th)
*Spangled Drongo (14th)
*Coal Tit (12th, 13th)
*Grey-crested Tit (14th)
*Green-backed Tit (12th, 13th,14th)
*Chestnut-vented Nuthatch (14th)
*Winter Wren (12th)
*Brown Dipper (14th)
Light-vented Bulbul (14th)
*Chestnut-crowned Bush Warbler (13th)
*Aberrant Bush Warbler (12th)
*Buff-throated Warbler (12th)
*Ashy-throated Warbler (12th, 13th ,14th)
*Emei Leaf Warbler (12th)
*Large-billed Leaf Warbler (12th)
*Plain-tailed Warbler (14th)
*Emei Golden-spectacled Warbler (13th,14th)
*Bianchi’s Warbler (12th, 13th)
*Rufous-gorgeted Flycatcher (12th)
*Verditer Flycatcher (13th)
*Rufous-bellied Niltava (13th)
*Vivid Niltava (13th)
*Ferruginous Flycatcher (13th)
*Little Forktail (13th ,14th)
*White-crowned Forktail (14th)
*Spotted Forktail (14th)
*Grey-headed Canary Flycatcher (13th)
*Blue Whistling Thrush (14th)
*Moustached Laughingthrush (14th)
White-browed Laughingthrush (14th)
*Elliot’s Laughingthrush (12th)
*Red-winged Laughingthrush (13th)
*Emei Liochicla (13th)
*Red-billed Leiothrix (13th)
*Grey-cheeked Fulvetta (14th)
*White-collared Yuhina (12th, 13th)
*Rufous-breasted Accentor (12th)
*Grey Wagtail (13th)
*Slaty Bunting (13th ,14th)
*Blandford’s Rosefinch (12th)
*Vineacous Rosefinch (12th)
*Gray-headed Bullfinch (12th)

July 15: Chengdu, Dufu Thatched Cottage Park
After returning to Chengdu from Emei Shan, I had one final day in Chengdu and headed for Dufu’s Thatched Cottage Park. I had less luck finding quiet spots here than I did at Shinanjiao or the Panda Center. There was a lot of construction underway and most every part of the park had something that drew in groups of people. That said, the Vinous-throated Parrotbills were easy to find in the bamboo. Other good birds I ran across in a morning of birding included Collared Finchbill [1 or 2], Plain Flowerpecker [1, pecking at a flower, appropriately enough], more White-browed Laughingthrush, LV Bulbuls, & Eurasian Blackbirds.(Bird list included above with the rest of Chengdu, after 7/11 entry)

July 16: Chengdu to Lijiang: Just a brief note of a couple en route birds. I took the overnight train from Chengdu to Panzhihua, on the Sichuan-Lijiang border. From there, it was a day’s bus-ride into Lijiang. While waiting for my bus, I saw my first *Hill Pigeons of the trip, along with House Swifts and Oriental Magpie Robins.

Lijiang, Yunnan [2400m]
July 17: Lijiang, Yunnan, Black Dragon Pool Park,
7:00-4:00. Light rain most of the day
Black Dragon Pool Park[BDP Park], with the hills that rise behind it is a great in-town place to spend a day birding. The lower area around the pools is pretty crowded all day, but the numbers thin out dramatically as you ascend the 2 hills behind. Down by the pools, I saw several Plumbeous Water Redstarts, Brown Breasted Bulbul, Eurasian Jay, Long-tailed Shrike and some of the several tit flocks I’d see throughout the day. These flocks included Green-backed, Great & Black-throated Tits, though the latter were most numerous. Up higher, where the hills also serve as a cemetery, I had a couple flocks of Rufous-winged Fulvetta and 2 or 3 Rusty-capped Fulvetta that confused because of their large size [not indicated in the field guide illustrations]. Along the ridge-line between the 2 peaks, I had good looks at Godlewski’s Bunting, a female Gray Bushchat, a noisy bunch of Ashy Drongo, Bianchi’s Warbler & Tickell’s Leaf Warbler. Up above the hills, several Eurasian Crag-martins hawked insects from time to time. [for bird list, see 7/21]

July 18: Lijiang, Wanggulou Park 6:00 — 9:00. Before leaving for the Wenhai Ecolodge, I spent the morning in Lijiang’s Wanggulou Park. This is a small hilltop park located just behind old-town Lijiang. It’s a good spot for short visits before or after other plans, but probably not a place to prioritize on a birding itinerary. Birds seen this morning included, Black-throated Tit, Rufous-winged Fulvetta, Elliot’s Laughingthrush, Godlewski’s Bunting, and a Eurasian Cuckoo [finally saw one after hearing them for ages]. [for bird list, see 7/23]

July 18, 19, 20: Wenhai Ecolodge: The Wenhai Ecolodge, located at 3100m elevation on the edges of Jade Dragon Snow Mountain, is a joint project funded by the Nature Conservancy, the Japanese Government, and local government & non-governmental groups. More information is available online at: The lodge itself was basic but very comfortable, with clean rooms, great local food, and friendly staff. Lodging [w/ food] cost 100rmb/day, and guides cost 60rmb/day if desired. Although my days here were hindered by heavy & near constant rain, I believe the possibilities for great birding are extensive. Local guides & others affiliated with the Ecolodge seemed focused on winter birding possibilities here, when Black-necked Cranes & a variety of waterfowl arrive, but I think the year-round potential is high, and I would recommend checking this area out to any who have time & energy. Getting there requires a several hour hike from one of several trailheads near Lijiang. Once at the lodge, I just randomly took trails up the hills to see what was around. Because it was rainy season, these trails were extremely muddy, and in one case included many many small leeches.

*Black-eared Kite (19th)
*Brown Shrike (18th)
Grey-backed Shrike (19th)
*Large-billed Crow (19th ,20th)
*Oriental Skylark (20th)
Barn Swallow (20th)
Great Tit (20th)
Green-backed Tit (19th ,20th)
*Black-browed Tit (20th)
*Giant Nuthatch (19th)
Brown-breasted Bulbul (18th,, 20th)
*Sooty-headed Bulbul (20th)
Aberrant Bush Warbler (19th)
*Blyth's Leaf-warbler (19th ,20th)
*White-tailed Leaf Warbler (20th)
*Fujian Niltava (19th)
Daurian Redstart (18th)
Oriental Magpie-robin (18th , 20th)
*Common Stonechat (20th)
Elliot’s Laughingthrush (18th ,20th)
*Red-faced Liocichla (19th)
*Spot-breasted Scimitar-babbler (18th)
*Chestnut-tailed Minla (18th ,19th)
*White-browed Fulvetta (18th ,19th)
Grey-cheeked Fulvetta (20th)
White-collared Yuhina (18th ,19th)
*Rufous Vented Yuhina (18th)
White Wagtail (20th)
*Mrs.Gould's Sunbird (18th ,19th)
*Yellow-bellied Flowerpecker (18th)
*Fire-breasted Flowerpecker (18th, 19th)
Godlewski’s Bunting (19th)
Eurasian Tree Sparrow (20th)

July 21: Lijiang, Yunnan, Black Dragon Pool Park, 9:30 - 7:00. Rainy most all day
I returned to BDP Park for another day and found it again quite enjoyable and rewarding. In addition to seeing many of the birds I first found here on the 17th, I had several new ones. In the main part of the park, around the pools, the additions I saw included Japanese White-eye, a juvenile Lesser Cuckoo, a Black-winged Cuckooshrike, Black Drongos, and 2 apparently out-of-range Tiger Shrikes. One was an adult, and one a juv., and both stuck around long enough that I could double check my id - The adult [m] had no rufous wash on the sides, a thin black stripe over the bill, faint barring on the brown back. The juv had barred flanks and a faint face pattern. Up on the hills, I saw 2 Spot-breasted Scimitar Babblers, Streak-throated & Spectacled Fulvettas [mostly in the transition area between the mid-alt conifers & the higher scrub brush], a Chinese Thrush, and a Gray-winged Blackbird. The best part of the day was spent on the ridge line looking down to the valley on the backside of the park. Several waves of birds flew by down below and made me wish I had more time to head down and explore that area. I couldn’t id much from the distance, but there were minivets flying about, 2-3 different raptors, and other glimmers of birds that tantalized.

Black Dragon Pool Park Birdlist for 7/17 & 7/21:

*Lesser Cuckoo — [juv] (21st)
*Tiger Shrike (21st)
Long-tailed Shrike (17th )
Eurasian Jay (17th )
*Eurasian Crag-martin (17th )
Barn Swallow (17th )
*Black-winged Cuckooshrike (21st)
minivet [sp] (21st)
*Black Drongo (21st)
*Ashy Drongo (17th, 21st)
Great Tit (17th , 21st)
Green-backed Tit (17th , 21st)
Black-throated Tit (17th , 21st)
Black-browed Tit (21st)
*Brown Breasted Bulbul (17th , 21st)
*Tickell's Leaf Warbler (17th )
Bianchi’s Warbler (17th )
Plumbeous Water Redstart (17th , 21st)
*Grey Bushchat (17th , 21st)
*Grey-winged Blackbird (21st)
Eurasian Blackbird (21st)
*Chinese Thrush 721 (21st)
Spot-breasted Scimitar Babbler (21st)
*Rufous winged Fulvetta (17th )
*Spectacled Fulvetta (21st)
*Streak-throated Fulvetta (21st)
*Rusty-capped Fulvetta (17th )
*Japanese White-eye (21st)
White Wagtail (17th , 21st)
*Godlewski's Bunting (17th , 21st)
Eurasian Tree Sparrow (17th , 21st)

July 22: Jade Dragon Snow Mountain: [3000+m - ?] Yet another rainy day. Nevertheless, I made it out on the mountain by 8:30 and arranged to be picked up at 4:00. I could have used more time and really should have arranged for a later pickup. I started at the parking lot where the shuttle buses ferry tourists up hill to the cable car. From 8:30 — 2:00, I worked my way up the mountain sometimes on the shuttle-bus road, sometimes on smaller trails. From 2:00-4:00, I hurried back down, pausing to bird when the rain eased off a bit. The habitat begins as open coniferous forests, where I saw many Yunnan Nuthatch & several mixed flocks containing most of the 6 species of Tits I found on this day. After some scrubby habitat, the area near the cable car station contains beautiful thick old-growth forest. I only wish it wasn’t pouring and the clock wasn’t ticking while I was up in this zone. Down at the parking area, I had my first Russet Sparrows [around the new resort area], a Golden Bush Robin, as well as most of the Red-billed Blue Magpies of the day.

7/22 Jade Dragon Snow Mountain bird list:

Grey-backed Shrike
*Red-billed Blue Magpie
Large-billed Crow
Long-tailed Minivet
*Black-bibbed Tit
*Rufous-vented Tit
Grey-crested Tit
Great Tit
*Yellow-browed Tit
Black-browed Tit
*Yunnan Nuthatch
Giant Nuthatch
*Pale-footed Bush Warbler
*Brownish-flanked Bush Warbler
White-tailed Leaf Warbler
Bianchi’s Warbler
*Golden Bush Robin
Chinese Thrush
Elliot’s Laughingthrush
White-browed Fulvetta
Rusty-capped Fulvetta
Grey-cheeked Fulvetta
White-collared Yuhina
White Wagtail
Godlewski’s Bunting
*Russet Sparrow

July 23, Morning: Lijiang, Wanggulou Park: Before leaving town, I spent 4 hours in the morning back at Wanggulou Park [see 7/18], mostly without rain. Near the pagoda at the top, I had three thrush species mixed together in a flock that also included my first looks at Scaly-breasted Munia [Nutmeg Mannikin].

Wanggulou Park bird list for 7/18 & 7/23:

Rock Pigeon (18th, 23rd)
*Eurasian Cuckoo (18th)
Common Hoopoe (23rd)
Long-tailed Shrike (23rd)
Black-winged Cuckooshrike (23rd)
Black Drongo (23rd)
Ashy Drongo (23rd)
Black-throated Tit (18th, 23rd)
Brown-breasted Bulbul (23rd)
Oriental Magpie-robin (18th, 23rd)
Common Stonechat (23rd)
Gray Bushchat (23rd)
*Black-breasted Thrush (23rd)
Grey-winged Blackbird (23rd)
*Dusky Thrush (23rd)
Elliot’s Laughingthrush (18th)
Rufous-winged Fulvetta (18th, 23rd)
Streak-throated Fulvetta (23rd)
White Wagtail (18th, 23rd)
Godlewski’s Bunting (18th, 23rd)
Yellow-billed Grosbeak (23rd)
*Scaly-breasted Munia (23rd)
July 23, mid-day: Lijiang, Lijiang Airport: I just spent a quick few minutes outside the airport before going through security. Best of all was my first look at a *Plain Prinia. Also in the area: Barn Swallow, Gray Bushchat White Wagtail, Scaly-breasted Munia.

Kunming, Yunnan [1890m]

July 23, late afternoon: Kunming, Yunnan Prov, Daguan Park:
After checking into my hotel, I spent the last couple hours of daylight at Kunming’s Daguan Park on the north end of Dian Chi lake. The park was pretty un-birdy, filled with crowds and lacking much decent vegetation. The one surprise was finding Black-backed Wagtails along some of the pools on the east side of the park.

7/23 Daguan Park Bird list:

Rock Pigeon
Common Hoopoe
Long-tailed Shrike
Barn Swallow
Brown-breasted Bulbul
Sooty-headed Bulbul
Plain Prinia
Oriental Magpie-robin
White Wagtail
*Black-backed Wagtail
Yellow-billed Grosbeak
Eurasian Tree Sparrow

July 24 & 25: Kunming, Western Hills (Xishan): The Western Hills, outside of Kunming, proved very enjoyable for the two days I visited. Best of all, the weather was sunny for both days! On both days, my strategy was to head directly to the top and work my way down. On the 24th, I took the cable car to the top and birded around the rocky area for a bit before heading down. On the 25th, I went from the cable car to the more touristy Longmen cliff grottoes. These cliffside grottoes were definitely interesting to visit, but didn’t offer much in the way of birds. As I worked my way down, I aimed for side paths and wooded areas away from the main drag. Even though my visits coincided with a weekend, it was still possible to find relatively quiet areas despite the weekend crowds. In particular, the area below the Huating temple, mentioned in other trip reports, proved most rewarding. Look for paths leading downhill from the area across the road from the temple & from a turn in the road a little ways beyond it. The paths descend into a small valley with a stream & a few different habitats. By sticking around each day for a couple hours here, I was treated to several nice waves of mixed-species flocks.

Western Hills Bird List: (July 24 & 25)

*Grey-capped Pygmy Woodpecker (25th)
*White-throated Fantail (24th & 25th)
Long-tailed Minivet (25th)
[minivet sp] (24th)
Great Tit (24th & 25th)
Green-backed Tit (24th & 25th)
Black-throated Tit (24th & 25th)
Chestnut-vented Nuthatch (25th)
*Crested Finchbill (25th)
Brown-breasted Bulbul (24th & 25th)
*White-tailed Robin (25th)
Grey-headed Canary Flycatcher (25th)
Oriental Magpie-robin (24th)
Chinese Thrush (25th)
*Streak-breasted Scimitar-babbler (24th)
Red-billed Leiothrix (24th& 25th)
*White-browed Shrike Babbler (24th & 25th)
*Blue-winged Minla (24th & 25th)
Spectacled Fulvetta (24th & 25th)
Rusty-capped Fulvetta (24th)
Grey-cheeked Fulvetta (24th & 25th)
White-collared Yuhina (24th & 25th)
Japanese White-eye (24th & 25th)
Russet Sparrow (24th & 25th)

Shanghai: July 26-28

July 26: Shanghai, Shanghai Botanical Gardens:
After arriving in Shanghai mid-day, I made a short [3 hour] trip to the Botanical Gardens. My main impression was of the heat — The weeks spent in cool mountain weather had left me unprepared for the regular heat & humidity of a Shanghai summer. The birds also seemed to be taking it easy in the mid-day heat, so my observations were pretty meager. Nevertheless, this park is a large and beautiful oasis in bustling Shanghai. It also was pretty devoid of visitors. Favorite bird of the day was an actual wild Hwamei — great to finally see one outside of a bamboo cage after seeing them regularly as pets everywhere in China.

July 27: Shanghai, Shanghai Zoo & Shanghai Botanical Gardens: I spent the morning in the Shanghai Zoo. For me, the Zoo wasn’t as good a birding destination as I’d hoped based on other trip reports. Part of this is definitely psychological — I’m just not a big Zoo person (especially zoos in China), and seeing all the caged animals detracted a lot from the experience. Nevertheless, between the crowds & the discomfort, I found a few decent birds, including my only Greater Necklaced Laughingthrush of the trip. In the afternoon, I decided I’d return to the Botanical Gardens rather than continue at the Zoo. Despite the heat rendering me again nearly immobile, I did manage to see my only shorebirds of the trip in the canal behind the gardens as well as my first Gray-capped Greenfinch.

July 28: Shanghai, Pudong, Binhai Golf course area: In the morning of my final day in China, I went on an all-out twitch. And it proved to be a pretty amusing fiasco. An online trip report I’d found gave good directions to a spot outside Shanghai, but not far from the international airport, where Reed Parrotbills might be found. I got to the airport early, stored my bag, and convinced a taxi to take me to the location. Throughout this trip, I’d had very little luck explaining the birding urge to Chinese I’d spoken with. Fortunately for me, my taxi driver on this trip was the one exception. When I discussed what I was up to he caught on and eventually became even more ambitious than me. We had trouble finding the correct location, and then found ourselves on extremely muddy side roads, unsure of where we were headed. After a bit of this, I was ready to call it a day and head back to catch my flight, but the cabbie convinced me to push on. When we finally found the correct location, I scanned for the parrotbill for a while and then decided again to call it a day. But the cabbie pushed me again to try just a little longer! [And all this despite the fact that we had agreed on a flat fee and neither extra time nor distance was earning him any more cash] Eventually, having failed to find the bird, the driver even seemed to understand my explanation that part of what makes birding so fun is the real potential to fail like this.

Shanghai bird list: [BG= Botanical Garden, Z= Zoo]

Black-crowned Night Heron 26(BG), 27(Z,BG)
*Green Sandpiper 27(BG)
*Common Sandpiper 27(BG)
Spotted Dove 26(BG), 27(Z,BG)
Common Kingfisher 27(Z)
Long-tailed Shrike 26(BG), 27(Z)
Azure-winged Magpie 26(BG), 27(Z,BG)
Barn Swallow 28th
Light-vented Bulbul 26(BG), 27(Z,BG)
*Zitting Cisticola 28th
Eurasian Blackbird 26(BG), 27(Z,BG)
*Greater Necklaced Laughingthrush 27(Z)
*Hwamei 26(BG)
Vinous-throated Parrotbill 26(BG), 27(Z)
*Crested Myna 26(BG), 27(BG)
Black-backed Wagtail 27(BG)
*Grey-capped Greenfinch 27(BG)
Yellow-billed Grosbeak 27(BG)
Eurasian Tree Sparrow 26(BG), 27(Z,BG), 28

Bird List for China trip June 16 — July 28

Gray Heron Ardea cinerea
Little Egret Egretta garzetta
Cattle Egret Bubulcus ibis
Chinese Pond-Heron Ardeola bacchus
Black-crowned Night-Heron Nycticorax nycticorax
Mallard Anas platyrhynchos
Black-eared Kite Milvus lineatus
Eurasian/Common Kestrel Falco tinnunculus
Temminck's Tragopan Tragopan temminckii
Green Sandpiper Tringa ochropus
Common Sandpiper Actitis hypoleucos
Rock Pigeon Columba livia
Hill Pigeon Columba rupestris
Speckled Wood Pigeon Columba hodgsonii
Spotted Dove Streptopelia chinensis
Wedge-tailed Green Pigeon Treron sphenura
Eurasian/Common Cuckoo Cuculus canorus
Lesser Cuckoo Cuculus poliocephalus
Collared Scops-Owl Otus lempiji
Himalayan Swiftlet Collocalia brevirostris
Common Swift Apus apus
Fork-tailed Swift Apus pacificus
House Swift Apus nipalensis
Common Hoopoe Upupa epops
Common Kingfisher Alcedo atthis
Gray-capped Pygmy Woodpecker Dendrocopos canicapillus
Crimson-breasted Woodpecker Dendrocopos cathpharius
Darjeeling Woodpecker Dendrocopos darjellensis
Tiger Shrike Lanius tigrinus
Brown Shrike Lanius cristatus
Long-tailed Shrike Lanius schach
Gray-backed Shrike Lanius tephronotus
Red-billed Blue Magpie Urocissa erythrorhyncha
Azure-winged Magpie Cyanopica cyana
Eurasian Jay Garrulus glandarius
Black-billed Magpie Pica pica
Large-billed Crow Corvus macrorhynchos
White-throated Fantail Rhipidura albicollis
Oriental Skylark Alauda gulgula
Eurasian Crag-Martin Hirundo rupestris
Red-rumped Swallow Hirundo daurica
Barn Swallow Hirundo rustica
Black-winged Cuckoo Shrike Coracina melaschistos
Long-tailed Minivet Pericrocotus ethologus
Black Drongo Dicrurus macrocercus
Ashy Drongo Dicrurus leucophaeus
Spangled Drongo Dicrurus bracteatus
Black-bibbed Tit Parus hypermelaena
Rufous-vented Tit Parus rubidiventris
Coal Tit Parus ater
Gray-crested Tit Parus dichrous
Great Tit Parus major
Green-backed Tit Parus monticolus
Yellow-browed Tit Sylviparus modestus
Black-throated Tit Aegithalos concinnus
Black-browed Tit Aegithalos iouschistos
Chestnut-vented Nuthatch Sitta nagaensis
Yunnan Nuthatch Sitta yunnanensis
Giant Nuthatch Sitta magna
Winter Wren Troglodytes troglodytes
Brown Dipper Cinclus pallasii
Crested Finchbill Spizixos canifrons
Collared Finchbill Spizixos semitorques
Brown-breasted Bulbul Pycnonotus xanthorrhous
Light-vented Bulbul Pycnonotus sinensis
Sooty-headed Bulbul Pycnonotus aurigaster
Pale-footed Bush-Warbler Cettia pallidipes
Brownish-flanked Bush-Warbler Cettia fortipes
Chestnut-crowned Bush-Warbler Cettia major
Aberrant Bush-Warbler Cettia flavolivacea
Tickell's Leaf-Warbler Phylloscopus affinis
Buff-throated Warbler Phylloscopus subaffinis
Ashy-throated Warbler Phylloscopus maculipennis
Emei Leaf-Warbler Phylloscopus emeiensis
Large-billed Leaf-Warbler Phylloscopus magnirostris
Blyth's Leaf-Warbler Phylloscopus reguloides
White-tailed Leaf-Warbler Phylloscopus davisoni
Plain-tailed Warbler Seicercus soror
Emei Golden-spectacled Warbler Seicercus omeiensis
Bianchi's Warbler Seicercus valentini
Zitting Cisticola Cisticola juncidis
Plain Prinia Prinia inornata
Rufous-gorgeted Flycatcher Ficedula strophiata
Verditer Flycatcher Eumyias thalassina
Fujian Niltava Niltava davidi
Rufous-bellied Niltava Niltava sundara
Vivid Niltava Niltava vivida
Ferruginous Flycatcher Muscicapa ferruginea
Daurian Redstart Phoenicurus auroreus
Plumbeous Water Redstart Rhyacornis fuliginosus
White-tailed Robin Cinclidium leucurum
Little Forktail Enicurus scouleri
White-crowned Forktail Enicurus leschenaulti
Spotted Forktail Enicurus maculatus
Gray-headed Canary-flycatcher Culicicapa ceylonensis
Blue Whistling-Thrush Myiophonus caeruleus
Golden Bush-Robin Tarsiger chrysaeus
Oriental Magpie-Robin Copsychus saularis
Common Stonechat Saxicola torquata
Gray Bushchat Saxicola ferrea
Asian Paradise-Flycatcher Terpsiphone paradisi
Black-breasted Thrush Turdus dissimilis
Gray-winged Blackbird Turdus boulboul
Eurasian Blackbird Turdus merula
Dusky Thrush Turdus naumanni
Chinese Thrush Turdus mupinensis
Greater Necklaced Laughingthrush Garrulax pectoralis
Moustached Laughingthrush Garrulax cineraceus
Hwamei Garrulax canorus
White-browed Laughingthrush Garrulax sannio
Elliot's Laughingthrush Garrulax elliotii
Red-winged Laughingthrush Garrulax formosus
Red-faced Liocichla Liocichla phoenicea
Emei Shan (Gray-faced) Liocichla Liocichla omeiensis
Spot-breasted Scimitar-Babbler Pomatorhinus erythrocnemis
Streak-breasted Scimitar-Babbler Pomatorhinus ruficollis
Red-billed Leiothrix Leiothrix lutea
White-browed Shrike-Babbler Pteruthius flaviscapis
Blue-winged Minla Minla cyanouroptera
Chestnut-tailed Minla Minla strigula
Rufous-winged Fulvetta Alcippe castaneceps
White-browed Fulvetta Alcippe vinipectus
Spectacled Fulvetta Alcippe ruficapilla
Streak-throated Fulvetta Alcippe cinereiceps
Rusty-capped Fulvetta Alcippe dubia
Gray-cheeked Fulvetta Alcippe morrisonia
White-collared Yuhina Yuhina diademata
Rufous-vented Yuhina Yuhina occipitalis
Vinous-throated Parrotbill Paradoxornis webbianus
Ashy-throated Parrotbill Paradoxornis alphonsianus
Japanese White-eye Zosterops japonicus
Crested Myna Acridotheres cristatellus
Rufous-breasted Accentor Prunella strophiata
Gray Wagtail Motacilla cinerea
White Wagtail Motacilla alba
Black-backed Wagtail Motacilla lugens
Mrs. Gould's Sunbird Aethopyga gouldiae
Yellow-bellied Flowerpecker Dicaeum melanoxanthum
Plain Flowerpecker Dicaeum concolor
Fire-breasted Flowerpecker Dicaeum ignipectus
Slaty Bunting Latoucheornis siemsseni
Meadow Bunting Emberiza cioides
Godlewski's Bunting Emberiza godlewskii*
Blanford's Rosefinch Carpodacus rubescens
Vinaceous Rosefinch Carpodacus vinaceus
Gray-capped Greenfinch Carduelis sinica
Gray-headed Bullfinch Pyrrhula erythaca
Yellow-billed Grosbeak Eophona migratoria
Russet Sparrow Passer rutilans
Eurasian Tree Sparrow Passer montanus
White-rumped Munia Lonchura striata
Scaly-breasted Munia Lonchura punctulata

Matt Bartels, Seattle WA USA