Photos with this report (click to enlarge)
Map of Gaoligong NP
Having lived and worked in Beijing for a year from 1993 to 1994 — unfortunately before my serious birding days — this trip was also a chance to catch up on 12 years of change in China. I guess I could probably write a book on the subject since in so many ways China has transformed itself beyond recognition. The transportation and tourist infrastructure have vastly improved and getting around on public transport, even to remote areas, is now very easy. As a result, travelling times published in guide books are often reduced by a few hours – the most dramatic example i can give is that according to our guide book it was supposed to take 6 days to travel the mountain route from Zhongdian to Chengdu via Litang, whereas it now only takes 3 days. Of course, these "improvements" have come at a great cost to the country’s wildlife and seeing some shy species such as Chinese Monal and some of the grazing mammals are much harder to see. Since i speak Mandarin, i never had any problems getting information on site, but even without a word in any of the Chinese languages it should be easy to get almost anywhere provided you know where you want to go. To get to certain sites early in the morning does require hiring a car and driver but i only did this on a few occasions because it is expensive (you should always bargain hard in these situations and remember there are always plenty of other options – don’t let them think that you need them to get to a site or the price will go through the roof). By sticking mostly to the public transport system, I spent less than US$500 for the whole time in China.
Traveling to southern China in July and August proved to be the worst possible timing, although it could not be helped at the planning stage. Firstly, this period is the rainy season and it rained 41 of the 45 days I spent in China (by the end of the trip i had moss growing out of my ears and nothing i owned was dry). Secondly, my visit coincided with school summer holidays and the more popular destinations were absolutely crammed with noisy Chinese tourists. Thirdly, many of the key species were no longer vocal (especially in August). June is probably the ideal time to visit, while May would produce more migrants but some of the key species such as the robins might be a little tougher.
For most of this trip, I was accompanied by my wonderful wife, Youn-Young Park, who is not a birder. The itinerary therefore reflects our joint interests and some sites would not be recommended for those on a strictly birding trip, e.g. Tiger Leaping Gorge. As it turned out, we concentrated on submontane and montane regions so I did very little birding below 1200m, which no doubt lowers the trip list but the majority of my main target species were up high anyway.
The state of national parks and protected areas in China is rather poor. The habitat in most of the areas i visited was very fragmented, littered, abused, over-developed and financially exploited. On numerous occasions i found spent shells and there is often signs of livestock grazing well into the forest – e.g. at Goaligong NP, on more than one occasion I crashed in a fair distance to check out a noise in the leaf litter only to find a domestic water buffalo. The expanding population and rapid pace of development is putting enormous pressure on the countries few remaining wild areas. With such a huge population, many Chinese living in their crowded cities seem to like to use their summer holidays to "taqing" (meaning to visit an area of scenic beauty or to escape the city – literally = "step on green"). The Chinese government has learnt how to exploit this and the entrance fees to the most popular destinations are simply extortionate. The rich Chinese pay these prices for a bit of green while other are rioting in the street that they cannot make ends meet (it was truly scary to hear of such riots and to learn that in a country where the quality of life was once reasonably similar for most, there is now a considerable discrepancy between rich and poor). Many tourists from abroad also baulk at the prices for entrance into famous scenic areas such as Jiuzhaigou, where the cost of admittance for two adults and a child is now more than the average monthly wage! I met at least a dozen travelers who had scrapped Jiuzhaigou from their itinerary when they learnt of the recent price hikes. The situation was the same everywhere i went, from Gaoligong, where the usual entrance fee is US$100 / day (but see below) to trying to get to see Crested Ibis near Xi’an, where the only agencies that can give you a permit also charge more than US$100 / day (in the end i aborted my plans to try for this species). Other sites such as Laojunshan in southern Sichuan — a key site for Golden-fronted Fulvetta, Sichuan Partridge, and Streaked Barwing — are extremely expensive, especially if you are traveling alone (cost prohibitive for me plus i ran out of time for the extreme southern Sichuan sites). I had planned to try to meet some members of the Beijing Birding Society, and wanted to discuss the situation with them. We had organized a day trip to look for Ibisbill a couple of hours (150km) from the city by email but at the last minute, after having traveled to Beijing early, I was suddenly (no mention in any previous emails) told it would cost 500 yuan (US$65) for gas — more than 10 times the price of gas for that distance (at the time of writing on average 4 yuan per litre). Needless to say, i was disgusted by the deception and appalled to learn that the birding community too had fallen into the exploitative mindset preferred by their government. In reality there is nothing remotely communist about China – it is very much a capitalist country now – felt a little like Russia in the early 90s to me…
At least one thing hasn’t changed in China though — there is still no concept of "service" and most tourists find the Chinese to be very rude "behind the counter". Complaining about a product or a service in most parts of China is not likely to result in anything more than a heated argument and direct insults on your person. If you visit Tibetan areas, you’ll likely become even more sensitive to this upon your decent from the plateau because the Tibetans are extremely polite and respectful and contrast strongly with the more abrupt style of the Han Chinese. On the positive side, there seems to be an enormous relaxation with regards to freedom of speech and on train and bus journeys i enjoyed long and thought provoking conversations about subjects such as Tibetan independence, which were a very strict taboo 12 years ago. One of the many quotes i remember from these conversations comes from a Naxi driver who accurately stated "the real meaning of the Chinese word ‘fazhan’ (literarily ‘development’) is destruction".
From the birding point of view, the biggest problem in visiting China is that there is still no good field guide. Of course, every birder will carry Mackinnon and Phillipps’s 2000 OUP publication BUT this is the worst modern field guide i have ever seen! It is absolutely atrocious — so many of the birds are unrecognizable from their pathetic illustrations; others are only illustrated in black and white and hidden in the text, not on the plates; the text is ripe with errors and glaring contradictions between text and illustration abound to the point where you don’t know what to believe; many juvenal plumages are not illustrated or described; certain distinctive subspecies are not illustrated and/or poorly described; information on range /distribution is often inaccurate; and it is needlessly bulky because of a poor layout. It is therefore vital to carry supplementary reference material such as Inskipp et al.’s Birds of India or Robson’s Birds of South East Asia. For me, especially in August, some warbler identifications were tentative when they didn’t provide vocal clues – even some photographed birds have me scratching my head and many (perhaps mostly juveniles?) had to be left frustratingly unidentified. Some of the Dendrocopos woodpeckers at Wawushan and Emeishan had rather odd crown patterns — perhaps juveniles although they did not give this impression overall — but i could not find any information on this, so i would be interested in hearing from anyone who made a similar observation.
There are many other trip reports available on the net which give a summary of the birds possible, e.g. Frank Rheindt’s excellent reports but since many birders now hire expensive private vehicles or use custom-tour packages, i have included some logistical information for those on a cheaper budget!
Undoubtedly, four sightings of Red Panda at Wawushan, especially the one feeding in a low fruiting tree for 20 – 30 minutes (it was still feeding when i turned around and walked away!) takes the top prize, but a very brief glimpse of Asiatic Golden Cat is also a special moment. Among the 15 species from Phasianidae, the most memorable was prolonged looks at a male Temminck’s Tragopan feeding on a white fungus right on the main trail at Wuyipeng less than 10 metres away. I also enjoyed great looks at Chestnut-throated Partridge, Lady Amherst’s Pheasant, Blood Pheasant with young, Chinese Grouse, Tibetan Snowcock, juvenile Golden Pheasant, etc. A pair of Sichuan Jays in the primeval forest at Jiuzhaigou was a special treat, while Tibetan Partridge and Yellow-legged Buttonquail at Balangshan were most unexpected. Fantastic memories and photos were offered by 9 amazing parrotbills including stunning looks at the globally vulnerable, range-restricted Grey-hooded, the bizarre Three-toed, and the just plain weird Great; 9 cheeky Alcippe species, 7 yuhinas, 3 minlas & Green Shrike-Babbler were just part of an amazing babbler show; a pair of Eurasian Eagle Owls at dawn and a roosting Oriental Scops - highlights of the 5 strigids seen + 3 heard; the newly described Sichuan Treecreeper was one of an amazing 5 treecreepers (where else on earth can you see 5 treecreepers?); 11 charismatic woodpeckers; 11 stunning Rosefinches plus a classy male Crimson-browed Finch, as well as 3 Grosbeaks; at least 14 delightful Laughingthrushes plus a brief but tantalizing glimpse in the rain at what was probably a Grey-sided Laugher, a male Rufous-headed Robin and a male Indian Blue Robin despite the fact that none were calling; an exquisite flock of the seldom seen Derbyan Parakeets at the birdy Meili Xueshan, where a Chestnut-headed Tesia popped up right under my nose; White-tailed Rubythroat & White-browed Tit Warbler within ten metres of each other; a dozen beautiful thrushes including my lifer Kessler’s down to about 4 metres plus many flycatchers, bush robins, etc., a family of Blue Sheep; Lammergeier over my head & a nose to nose encounter with an enormous Himalayan Griffon that was riding the ridge and was shielded from view until it emerged right in front of me and cleared my head by a mere 10 metres as i was scanning near a cliff edge; magnificent Black-necked Cranes right beside the road with a downy young as well as Hume’s Groundpecker, Grandala, Tibetan Snowfinch, 4 accentors, & 4 larks as part of the fascinating high altitude set; and many more magnificent creatures seen despite the appalling weather conditions and crowds — 382 species seen & over 100 photographed, much higher than i anticipated.
Of course, as with any trip, there were also misses and disappointments. Although i managed a brief look at a female Chinese Monal, i was disappointed not to see a male despite 5 days of scanning the mountainside in hopeless conditions. This species is starting to get tough at Balangshan as is Blue-eared Pheasant at Jiuzhaigou, which i also missed. Silver Pheasant tantalized me at Gaoligong as i kept finding feather including two magnificent outer rectrices but the bird itself remained hidden. I desperately wanted to see Sichuan Wood Owl and even tried owling in the rain, which was useless, but i never got a clear night and my day search in the "primeval forest" only produced a week-old pellet. I was also sorry to dip Firethroat but they simply weren’t calling, had no luck with Brown Parrotbill despite spending a lot of time in bamboo, & dipped Spectacled Parrotbill too. Slender-billed Scimitar Babbler is found in Gaoligong but though i also invested time in bamboo at suitable altitude there i just didn’t manage to find it. On the other hand, i didn’t spend enough time at lower elevations to find Golden Parrotbill, Rufous-faced Warbler, etc. (i had planned to bird the lower portions of Emeishan more extensively but was driven away by the crowds). I was secretly hoping for a few others such as Bar-winged Wren-Babbler and Coral-billed Scimitar Babbler but no joy there either. A ticking call at Gaoligong that i believe was made by a Gould’s Shortwing could have produced a major highlight but alas it simply refused to show and i gave up after half an hour as the rain got heavier, though i regret not sticking around longer in retrospect.
Site Descriptions and logistics:
Balang Shan: Key site for many high altitude species but increased human presence means that they are getting harder and harder to find. It is possible to hitch up from Wolong (aka Sawan) but the only easy way of getting here is to hire a car in Wolong (180 yuan from Wolong to the pass). I stayed with a Tibetan family near the kilometre 100 marker – only 30 yuan a day for full board, and although the conditions were primitive they did have electricity.
Dali (Cang Shan): Walkable from Dali Gucheng (old city) and quite birdy but not really worth making a special trip for, although i managed Lady Amherst's Pheasant and others have seen Bar-winged Wren-Babbler here. The rope way to the top only opens at 8am (60 yuan return) but the lower slopes are also quite birdy — good looks at Spot-breasted Scimitar Babbler, Black-breasted Thrush, etc.
Emei Shan: Several direct bus options from Chengdu. There is a direct daily bus from Emei Shan to Wawu Shan in the early morning, otherwise via Gaomiao. DON’T go in late July or August when it is packed to the rafters & accommodation (in monasteries, etc) often fully booked! Emei Shan is a victim of its own fame and the officials are determined to destroy it with never ending construction and "fazhan" (development). The tourists and vendors who pack the trails have no respect for anything and litter and noise pollution abound! The so-called "Monkey Mountain" area is a disgrace – with thousands upon thousands of people cluttering the gorge to harass the Tibetan Macaques — a very ugly scene! With the exception of the lower elevation specialties like Ashy-throated Parrotbill, Hwamei, and Rufous-faced Warbler, most species are easier at Wawushan.
Gaoligong Shan: Few birders manage to get to this prime site these days but the Gaoligong range is a major suture zone between the Eastern Himalayan, Burmese, and Southern Chinese regions and holds a number of rare and challenging specialties such as Sclater's Monal, Ward's Trogon, Gould's Shortwing, Slender-billed Scimitar-Babbler, etc. It may have been my ability to speak Mandarin that enabled me to negotiate with the official government office by email (Li Song at firstname.lastname@example.org or Li Zhengbo at email@example.com ). Normally they charge an extortionate US$100 / day (inclusive of transport, accommodation, food, guide, etc.) however, because i am a student in a related field i was offered, after several months of emails, a chance to visit for US$20 / day. The greatest disappointment came however when i learnt upon my arrival in Baoshan that i would not be permitted to cross the eastern ridge due to the risk of mud slides, etc. I instinctively felt that this geographical limitation would prevent me from finding the megas listed above, since most of these are at the eastern periphery of their distributions here. Avifaunal clues that suggest the importance of crossing the pass (3000m) include the fact that while most birders report Rufous-vented Yuhina at Tengchong (further west), the areas i visited only held Whiskered Yuhina. Grey Sibia is also reported from the Tenchong area but i did not find it at Baihualin. Unfortunately my four-day visit was greatly hampered by constant rain though, and i missed some regular species as a result. Who knows what a longer visit could produce, especially if you can make a 2 –3 day hike over the ridge and/or bird the more northern sections of the Gaoligong range (access much more difficult but greater potential for Sclater’s Monal).
The official office is in Baoshan (web page http://www.glgs.gov.cn/jt/index_jt.htm mostly in Chinese) and you need to get a permit from there (no idea what would happen if you tried to get in without a permit). From Baoshan several buses run daily to Mengkuai and you can alight at Gangdan, where you will be met and driven to Baihualin. Habitat to and around baihualin is very degraded but the trail from Baihualin upward is wide and easy to follow and after a few kilometres or two the forest starts to become primary. The section from Ertaipo to Guqiao runs through some truly magnificent broadleaved evergreen moss forest and because it is flat makes for exceptional birding. Although there is some grazing in the lower sections, human litter found throughout, and some collecting of medicinal herbs in the national park (probably some illegal hunting too), this is the most "intact" forest i saw anywhere in China. Since the Baoshan office did not have a trail map, i have included my attempt at a hand-drawn map (not to scale and not completely accurate) with gen on some of the key species on the next page.
Tiger Leaping Gorge: From Lijiang take bus to Qiaotou and then ask for the trailhead. This trail is full of tourists and the habitat very degraded. In truth, pretty much a waste of time for birding in tourist season, although i saw a trip exclusive Chestnut-eared Bunting and 2 flocks of Brown-winged Parrotbill.
Jiuzhaigou: Famed for its beauty, Jiuzhaigou is another example of "they paved paradise...". There are boardwalks and bizarre human structures everywhere and the whole "scenic area" has a very artificial feel. This fact coupled with the enormous crowds that swarm around every waterfall and lake leaves you with a sick feeling. It must have been beautiful 30 or 40 years ago but it is now totally spoiled. Like Emei Shan, summer holidays are NOT the time to visit Jiuzhaigou, but at least here it is a little easier to escape on side trails. The Kezegou trail, c. 5km from the junction along the road to Long Lake is an excellent bet (i saw Chinese Grouse, Rufous-headed Robin, Spotted Bush Warbler, etc here & other have seen Blue-eared Pheasant at tree line) although the drivers and officials will tell you that it doesn’t exist or is closed to the public – NONSENSE (btw – this type of misinformation abounds in China, so learn to be wary of it)! Another option is a trail behind the toilet block at Pearl Shoals. Up in the primeval forest, if you ignore the signs asking you to keep to the "plank path", there is an excellent trail up through a gulley, which eventually goes up beyond tree line — i found a pair of the difficult Sichuan Jay on this trail and many other good birds. Several daily buses from Chengdu's Chadianzi Bus Station, takes 10 - 12 hours, or several daily buses from Songpan. Despite what they say at the gate, it is easy to stay overnight in Zechawa (the Tibetan village at the junction) so leave you big pack in one of the hotels near the main entrance. At the time of writing the entrance fee is 310 yuan for two days, which includes the "green buses" (they don’t check your ticket when you get on the bus so it ought to be possible to stay more than two days if you do not exit the park). The earliest bus up is now at 7am (ticket office opens at 6.40) but this goes to the primeval forest (first bus to Long Lake not until 8.30 so stay in Zechawa and walk or organize a ride up early). Don’t worry about catching the last bus back to the entrance either — the lower valley offers good birding (Sooty Tit, Snowy-browed Nuthatch, etc.) and the kind Tibetan locals (in sharp contrast to the park officials, which are a breed from hell) will stop and offer you a ride if they see you walking along the road. Curiously, i believe i heard a White-eared Pheasant (NOT Blue-eared!) near the main gate, which ought to be out of range — others have heard Chinese Tawny Owl here too.
Lijiang (Yulongxue Shan):Another site that is fast becoming a victim of its own fame. The authorities are hell-bent on more destruction by development. Nonetheless, Yulong Xueshan still offers excellent birding and a key site for Yunnan and Giant Nuthatches (i only saw the former). I also saw Rufous-tailed Babbler (Moupinia) and a bunch of other goodies. There are public minibuses from Lijiang for 7 yuan but you have to pay 120 yuan for the entrance fee — it is much cheaper if you approach from the Tiger Leaping Gorge side. Worth staying over night to cover the area (which is vast) but the only accommodation at the tourist compound is expensive. I hitched a ride out since last minibuses leave early.
Litang area (& Tuer Shan): Easily reached by bus from Daocheng or Xiangcheng to the south or Kangding to the east. The town is well above 4000m in a populated grassland valley but there are some coniferous forests en route and several high passes above 4500m. I tried birding around Tuer Shan at about 80km from Litang (pass at 4690m), on a slope above the "upper monastery (20km from town on the road to Xiangcheng), and a little time around the monastery in town (lower monastery). There are Black-necked Cranes in the area and i found a feather that probably belonged to a Chinese Monal — which suggests that there is greater potential if you can get good gen. If you spend a night at Daocheng on the way, i heard (too late) that there are some rather tame White-eared Pheasants around the monastery there.
Meilixue Shan (and Deqin): A most interesting area with fairly intact forest. There is a daily bus at 1pm from Deqin to Xidang. You can stay in Xidang and hike up the next day to Yubong. It is easy to stay in Yubong (very birdy) and there is a good selection of trails further into the mountains from there – some of which will take you up to 4300m or more (a young couple showed me a trail map they had printed from the web) The only problem with this site is that it is time consuming to get in and so an alternative is to approach the glacier from the other side (though i think this may be crowded with tourists in season). Among the many trip exclusives i saw here, Derbyan Parakeet was probably the most exciting.
Wawu Shan: A fascinating and highly recommended site. It does not have forests over the same altitudinal range as Emei Shan but with the exception of the lower altitude species, i found most of the Emei specialties much easier to see here. You can stay either up on top (Xianger Village Hotel Complex), where the cheapest dorm bed was 40 yuan a night; or at the lower cable car station or at the base (22km below lower cable car station), where a 2-bed room costs 120 yuan; or in the village just below the entrance gate ( i paid 30 yuan a night after bargaining). I would recommend staying up top at least one night because there are few people around in the late evening and early morning and this is when i had 4 sightings of Red Panda, 6 flocks of Grey-hooded Parrotbill, the newly described Sichuan Treecreeper and many other goodies, including more bush warblers than you can poke a stick at. The road to the cable car station is very birdy too, especially in the early morning, and here i found trip exclusives such as Chinese Babbax plus a bunch of the "Emei" specialities such as Emeishan Liocichla – not to mention a total of 6 Lady Amherst’s Pheasants. The easiest access by public transport is from Hongya (daily buses from Ya'an) although you might have to take a taxi for the final few kilometres (depends whether the bus you get is going only to Wawu Station or not). There is also a daily direct bus from Emei Shan in the early morning but it means traveling in peak birding time.
Wolong and Wuyipeng: The hillside above Wolong village is well known as a stake-out for Golden Pheasant and Slaty Bunting. The scrubby, steep hillside is tough to bird though. The trail that starts near the Sitongyuan Hotel now has 4 houses at the start of it, although you can go beyond them to the "big tree" and from there up onto the higher ridge. I found a better trail to be the one that starts behind the Huifeng Hotel (directly opposite the Tianlong Hotel) although it is tricky to find the trailhead – to do so you have to walk around behind the building and jump up onto a stone wall, where you’ll see the trail that leads up to a run down wooden pagoda converter into a compost heap and the trail up the slope from there. It was on this trail i finally connected with Golden Pheasant and most of my Slaty Bunting sightings were here too. This trail emerges on the top ridge near an abandoned shack (saw Koklass Pheasant in the scrub beyond the shack) and you can walk along the ridge and down to the "big tree" to connect with the other trail down to the Sitongyuan Hotel. There are at least two other trails up – one behind the Wolongshanzhuang (the ugly white compound that dominates the town) and one from behind the Aniang Hotel (further on past Huifeng Hotel). Since i had seen Moupinia in Yunnan, i didn’t try looking for the Sea Buckthorne scrub area. Birding is generally tough here but then again, the Golden Pheasants still seem to be breeding. There is a daily bus at 11.40am from Chengdu Chadianzi station.
Wuyipeng is a research centre just up the road from Wolong. Take a taxi to the trail head (15 yuan) from where it is a 60 - 90 minute hike uphill to research station (you can hire a porter in the village if you have a lot of gear). I had no problems showing up on their doorstep and was charged 60 yuan per day for very comfortable accommodation since I had brought my own food (80 yuan without food). A phenomenal site, where i saw many trip exclusives despite abysmal weather and enjoyed superb views of several Temminck’s Tragopans. Worth a four day stay or longer in my opinion.
Zhongdian A few sites around town such as Shoudu and Napa Lakes (the latter holds a small wintering flock of Black-necked Cranes) but really not worth making a special effort to get to in the summer. If you do have time to kill in Zhongdian, try to get a "baoche" (hire car and driver) in front of the main bus terminal (keyunchezhan). Also known as Shangrila (Shanggelila) after it won a competition run by the Chinese government, Zhongdian has now become one of the ugliest cities in Yunnan thanks to the absurd development that was the prize (price) of being a winner! We got on the earliest bus to Deqin we could (but still had to stay overnight in Zhongdian twice).
June 30th - July 1st: Arrive Beijing airport in evening - Common Swift around terminal. Flight to Kunming delayed by 6 hours, bus to Dali, brief evening birding at foot of Cang Shan in light rain.
July 2nd: 6 - 8am Dali Cang Shan at base then 8.30 cable car to top, where crippling views of male Lady Amherst's Pheasant, Black-breasted Thrush, Spot-breasted and Streak-breasted Scimitar-Babblers, etc. Afternoon local bus to Xiaguan then bus to Baoshan where met Gaoligong Shan reps and organised next day birding. Tried birding from 6 - 8.30pm in Taibao Shan Forest Park, in town, where first Brown-winged Parrotbill, Black-headed Sibia, White-browed Laughingthrush, Black-browed Tits of trip.
July 3rd: Took 9am bus from Baoshan to Mengkuai, alighting at Gangdan, where met and driven to Baihualin, seeing Barred Buttonquail en route. Afternoon birding in rain around Baihualin: Silver-breasted and Long-tailed Broadbills, Yellow-eyed Babbler, etc.
July 4th: Birding (with guide) 6am - 8pm from Baihualin (c. 1500m) - Jiugaizi (c. 1800m) - Dalu chang (c. 2000m). Rained all day, hard in morning, light in afternoon. Highlights Mountain Bamboo & Rufous-throated Partridges, Black-throated Tit, Black-backed Forktail, Rusty-fronted Barwing, Red-tailed Laughingthrush, Long-tailed and Pygmy Wren-Babblers, etc.
July 5th: Birding (with guide) 6am - 8pm from Baihualin - Jiugaizi - Dalu chang - Jinchang (c. 2300m). Rained most of day, especially afternoon. Highlights: Black Eagle, Black-faced Warbler, Rusty-flanked Treecreeper, Grey-headed and Black-throated Parrotbills, a probable Grey-sided (but not tickable) and Chestnut-crowned Laughingthrushes, etc.
July 6th: Birding (with guide) 6am - 8pm from Baihualin - Jiugaizi - Ertaipou (c. 2100m). - Guqiao (c. 2000m). Rained most of day, especially morning. Highlights: Temminck's Tragopan, Maroon Oriole, Chestnut-bellied Nuthatch, Grey-headed Parrotbill, a possible Gould’s Shortwing heard only…
July 7th: Trail between Baihualin and Wenquan (hot springs) from 6a - 10am, Transport to Gangdan then bus to Baoshan then bus to Xiaguan then bus to Lijiang. Highlights: Orange-headed Thrush, Slaty-bellied Tesia, Streaked Wren-Babbler, etc. Raining in evening
July 8th: 6 - 10am birding in Yulong (Jade Dragon) Pool Park where little of interest. Afternoon birding in light rain at Yulong Xueshan until around 7.30pm, when no public transport but luckily given a ride by a kind-hearted Naxi. Highlights: Yunnan Nuthatch, White-bellied Redstart, Golden Bush Robin, Giant Laughingthrush, Moupinia (Rufous-tailed Babbler), plus a surprise Meadow Bunting.
July 9th: 6am bus to Qiaotou, where left backpacks and started walking Hutiao Xia (Tiger Leaping Gorge) trail. Some rain in afternoon. Stayed at Half-way house overnight. Very few birds but highlights included: Speckled Piculet, Brown-winged Parrotbill, etc.
July 10th: 6 - 11am birding from Half-way House down to road, where narrowly missed only daily public bus at 11am so had to hire car for 50 yuan back to Qiaotou. Little of interest except a trip exclusive Peregrine Falcon. From Qiaotou bus to Zhongdian then in afternoon hired car for 80 yuan to take us to Shoudu Lake and back but only managed a few hours birding in light rain before light faded. Highlights: Northern Goshawk, Grey-headed Bullfinch, etc.
July 11th: 6.30am bus from Zhongdian (Keyun Zhan) to Deqin (Deqen). This route goes over the superb Baima Pass at 4300m but no way of stopping. 1pm bus from Deqin to Xidang (Meili Xueshan) where stayed in guesthouse and i squeezed in an hour or two's birding in light rain along trail to hot springs. Highlights: Hill Pigeon, Spotted Nutcracker, Tibetan Siskin, Brown Bullfinch, etc.
July 12th: Heavy rain in early morning delayed our start on trail to Yubong. Birding along this trail & around upper Yubong in afternoon/evening excellent despite constant rain. Highlights: Rufous-bellied Woodpecker; Derbyan Parakeet; Speckled Wood Pigeon; Yellow-bellied Fantail; Chinese, Chestnut, and Scaly Thrushes; Rufous-gorgetted and Slaty-backed Flycacthers; Vivid Niltava; Chestnut-headed Tesia; Black-faced, Spotted, and Elliots Laughingthrushes; Yellow-bellied and Fire-breasted Flowerpeckers; Vinaceous Rosefinch; Spot-winged Grosbeak, etc.
July 13th: Rain on and off throughout day. Took trail from Yubong back to Xidang. Highlights: Beautiful Rosefinch, and many of same species as day before.
July 14th: Heavy overnight rain meant road closed and so had to walk 10km with full packs across various mudslide zones from Xidang to Meili Xueshan gate. From gate, we eventually got a taxi that ploughed through a few rough spots while work to clear the road continued all around. We arrived in Deqin around one, having missed the last bus of the day back to Zhongdian at 12.30. Not wanting to lose a full day, we walked to edge of town and tried hitching. By sheer luck we soon got a lift all the way to Zhongdian with a China Post van driver (and thus beat the afternoon rain), who didn't even ask for a single penny (he was part Naxi and his fiancee was also Naxi) and took us right to the bus station although it was out of his way. We got to Zhongdian in evening and bought tickets for next morning's 7am bus to Daocheng in Sichuan. Highlights: Nesting Eurasian Crag Martins.
July 15th: 7am bus from Zhongdian to Daocheng. Bus route follows Mekong gorge for some time. Arrived in Daocheng in evening and bought tickets to Litang for following morning. I tried to squeeze in some birding on scrubby hillside above town but it poured rain and i had run back down to hotel, getting thoroughly soaked. Highights: Black-winged Cuckooshrike from bus!
July 16th: 7am bus from Daocheng to Litang. This route crosses several high passes above 4500m and some good-looking coniferous forest but again no way to stop. I birded around temple in Litang in afternoon but constant rain kept me close to shelter. I had no information on birding around Litang and did not manage to connect with right person who could suggest sites to visit. In evening i tried to arrange a "baoche" (hiring car and driver) for next day but could not agree on price - gas is expensive up on the Tibetan Plateau! Highlights: Himalayan Griffon; Upland Buzzard; Hume's Groundpecker; Red-billed Chough; Tibetan Snowfinch; Twite; Pink-rumped Rosefinch, etc.
July 17th: From 5.30 - 6.30 tried to find a car but again could not agree on price so took 7am bus to Xiangcheng and got off at the Tuer Shan (Rabbit Mountain) Pass at 4670m. Unfortunately bus is slow and pass is 80km from Litang so i did not arrive until 9am. Birded across scree slopes in morning and then in afternoon down the road; however it started raining heavily so i hitched a ride with a Chinese (Han) who demanded 20 yuan. Rain eased a little so got off at monastery about 20km above Litang. In evening i started walking back to town and got a free ride by monk on motorbike. Highlights: Lammergeier; Kessler's Thrush; White-tailed Rubythroat; White-browed Tit-Warbler; Upland Pipit; Brown & Rufous-breasted Accentors; Beautiful, White-browed, and Common Rosefinches, etc.
July 18th: Early morning hitched to temple 20km above Litang but it took a while to get a lift and the habitat proved to be much more fragmented than it first appeared from the road. It also rained throughout afternoon. Highlights: White-eared Nuthatch; Chinese Bush Warbler; Long-tailed Thrush; White-throated and Hodgson's Redstarts; Giant Laughingthrush; Maroon-backed Accentor; Pink-rumped Rosefinch; Crimson-browed Finch; White-winged Grosbeak, etc.
July 19th: 7am bus to Kangding. Heavy rain in afternoon prevented birding. Night in Kangding.
July 20th: Early morning bus from Kangding to Ya'an in rain and then 2pm bus to Hongya and finally, after changing bus stations in Hongya, caught last bus to Wawu Shan station. Heavy rain had caused mudslides and main road was blocked. I only made it to Wawushan thanks to a group of locals who had hired a car to take them round the obstruction on a muddy mountain road - we stopped several times to remove rocks and clear the road. I arrived around 10pm, having paid 15 yuan for the driver to take me the last 4 or 5km to the Wawu Shan Hotel but it was ridiculously overpriced so i found a room in village just below. Little en route but first Collared Finchbill & Light-vented Bulbul of trip.
July 21st: I set off at 4am to hike the 22km from the Wawu Shan Hotel up to the lower cable car station - this road was very birdy despite constant rain. Since the road in was still blocked, there were few people around. I took cable car up around noon and stayed at hotel in Xianger Village on top overnight (40 yuan for dorm bed but noone else in dorm). Great birding up top in afternoon although the rain hardly let up except for brief periods. Highlights: 2 sightings of Red Panda - one in a low fruiting tree permitting photos; 4 male Lady Amherst's Pheasants in early morning; a stunning male Temminck's Tragopan in tree up top; Sichuan Treecreeper; Darjeeling Woodpecker; Golden Bush Robin; Ferruginous and Dark-sided Flycatchers; Yellowish-bellied, Brownish-flanked, Chestnut-crowned, Aberrant, & Grey-sided Bush Warblers; Rusty, Barred, and Black-faced Laughingthrushes; Emei Liocichla; Chinese Babax; Grey-hooded & Fulvous Parrotbills; Dark-breasted & Vinaceous Rosefinches; etc.
July 22nd: Early morning on top Wawu Shan, took cable car down in late morning and birded slowly back down to Wawu Shan Hotel but much quieter than previous morning, although had prolonged views of 2 juvenile Lady Amherst's Pheasants. Rained on and off throughout day. Highlights: 2 more Red Panda plus a weasel-like mustelid which i have yet to identify; Lesser Cuckoo; White-throated Needletail; Rufous-bellied Niltava, Buff-throated Warbler; Spotted and Brown Bush Warblers; etc.
July 23rd: Had planned to owl up road but this plan thwarted by rain so in early morning birded side road at Wawu Shan. At 8am caught shared taxi to Wawu Shan station then caught Hongya bus alighting at Zhaohe, where i got on a bus to Gaomiao after about a 25 minute wait then caught 1pm bus to Emei Viallge. I should have alighted at the park gate or at Wannian Monastery but i didn't realise that there was a bus from there to Jieyin hall so instead i got off at the intersection and caught local bus to BaoGuo Temple. This mistake wasted many hours as first i had to retrace my steps to get to the "Keyun Zhongxin" (tourists' centre) where i left my large pack after negotiating a price for 6 days (they charge by the hour) and then get on a bus to Jieyin Hall (actually the bus stops at Leidongping which is about 1.5km below Jieyin Hall and you have to walk up the last section). On the bus i realised that i was going back the way i came for well over an hour. It was nearly 5pm when i reached Jieyin Hal and the place was absolutely crawling with noisy Chinese tourists. I couldn't find a room and in the end was put up for free by one of the government offices in Leidongping. I tried birding above Jieyin Hall in the evening despite the large number of people on the trail. Highlights from morning at Wawu Shan included Brown Dipper; Black-chinned Yuhina; Collared Finchbill; Yellow-bellied Tit, etc. Birds around Jieyin Hall included Crimson-breasted Woodpecker; Blandford's & Vinaceous Rosefinches; etc.
July 24th: At 5am walked up to lower cable car station but people everywhere & spent next 2 hours in queue while dozens of rude Chinese push past me in line & my protests to the officials fell on deaf ears. At the top people were absolutely everywhere and construction on a new monstrosity of a tourist's monument added to the noise. Every 20 feet there were stalls with aggressive salespeople trying to shout in customers and the ground was absolutely covered in litter. I tried desperately to avoid the crowds but the little trail that leads to the monorail track through an area of dwarf bamboo where birders usually look for the parrotbills was blocked off and no longer passable. I tried unsuccessfully to find another means to get to monorail track but due to the soaking wet, overgrown vegetation i failed to get through. I tried to get some peace on the trail to the dump but few birds anywhere. So i gave up on the summit area and tried birding the trail down to Jieyin Hall but it was chock-a-block with more tourists and stalls. Immensely discouraged i birded the trail down from Leidongping to Xianfeng Monastery but this was also crowded (though a vast improvement on the summit area) and there were many food stalls along it with more aggressive vendors and porters whose shoulders were so calloused carrying up trinkets and trash that it made you want to cry. Light rain throughout the afternoon didn't help my desperate situation either. In the evening i birded around Xianfeng Monastery, in particular the trail to the cave, and stayed overnight in the monastery. Few birds all day, most notable were Oriental Cuckoo and Himalayan Swiftlet, but at dusk a large reddish brown cat snuck across the trail and disappeared into a thick patch of bamboo. Later, after checking photos, i realised it must have been the endangered Asiatic Golden Cat (Felis temmincki).
July 25th: I birded around the cave and the monastery in the morning then took the trail downhill. The morning produced the only few hours of peace and productive birding i had at Emei Shan. My plan was to bird down to Wannian Monastery but what i didn't know was that by doing so i would go right past the so-called "Monkey Mountain". This was an absolutely disgusting sight as thousands of tourists crammed into a narrow gorge to harass the Tibetan Macaques while more construction crews worked on building a new trail about 15 feet from the old one. Monkey Mountain made me sick to my stomach, especially when i saw a young boy feeding cola to a macaque while his parents looked on laughing. The din of thousands of people shouting and tormenting monkeys was too much for me and so i tried to plough through the area toward Wannian Monastery as quickly as possible but more and more bus loads of people kept pouring in and more aggressive vendors crowded the trails, while the "huage" (a stretcher-like carrying devise with which two porters carry a person in a semi-seated position) kept pushing past everybody shouting at the top of the lungs. Throughout the entire section from Monkey Mountain to Wannian Monastery i did not see or hear a single bird! After checking in at the monastery i escaped the crowds by slipping along the pipeline trail behind the monastery (follow monastery wall counter clockwise around to the back) but it soon began to rain in earnest. Highlights: Grey-headed & Darjeeling Woodpeckers; Asian Barred Owlet; Collared Scops Owl seen at dusk in pouring rain; Red-winged & White-throated Laughingthrushes; Dusky & Grey-cheeked Fulvetta, etc.
July 26th: I squeezed in some birding in the early morning on the trail down from Wannian Monastery and on side trails off through tea plantations but by 7.30am it was becoming so crowded i gave up and, totally dejected and disgusted, i decided to leave Emei Shan and go to Chengdu for the 11.40am bus to Wolong. I caught a bus back to the tourists' centre and got my pack and got on a bus to Chengdu but it didn't go to Chadianzi bus station and having to change bus stations in Chengdu took up too much time so i missed the only daily bus to Wolong by 25 minutes. Not wanting to hang around in Chengdu and, after the torment of Emei Shan, not in the mood for birding a tourist site like Dufu's Thatched Cottage, i instead got an afternoon bus to Yingxiu (the town at the intersection where the road to Wolong comes off the main road to Songpan) and from there negotiated a price of 60 yuan with a local driver for the 44km to Wolong village. It was almost dark when we got to Wolong but after checking into a cheap hotel i looked around (in light rain) for a suitable trailhead that would take me up the slope behind the village the following day. Highlights Emei Shan included Asian Koel; Ashy-throated Parrotbill; Hwamei; White-browed Laughingthrush; Blue-throated Flycatcher, etc. In evening a single female Slaty Bunting.
July 27th: Predawn start and whole day birding in rain on hill above Wolong Village. The first trailhead i tried near Sitongyuan Hotel went up through houses but with some directions i found a way up to the ridge (getting thoroughly soaked on damp vegetation of overgrown trail). I found a better trail down (though still overgrown in parts) that came out, behind the Huifeng Hotel (trailhead is very inconspicuous and you have to jump a wall). Very few birds all day and little of note except another female Slaty Bunting and a Chestnut-flanked White-eye amid a flock of Japanese White-eyes which seemed to be an extremely early migrant. Also: Brown-breasted Flycatcher, Dark-rumped Rosefinch, etc.
July 28th: Predawn start on slope above Wolong - more rain but also more birds. Afternoon took taxi to Wuyipeng trail head and hired porter to carry up big pack to Wuyipeng. No problem staying at the research station (60 yuan / day). Afternoon and evening birded in the rain at Wuyipeng - owling plans cancelled due to heavy rain at dusk. Highlights from the morning at Wolong included a male Koklass Pheasant up in a scrubby area on top ridge and a female with two juvenile Golden Pheasants on the way back down. A family of Slaty Buntings put on a great show (finally i had a good look at a male) as did a Giant Laughingthrush feeding young. At Wuyipeng Rusty-breasted Tit, Spotted Laughingthrush, etc.
July 29th: Whole day at Wuyipeng in more or less constant rain. Day got off to a great start with a male Temminck's Tragopan feeding in a tree near the main trail (in the evening i would see another male and a female on the trail and get frame-filling photos despite having to shield the camera from the rain) and two coveys of Blood Pheasant with juveniles. Also: Spotted and Red-winged Laughingthrushes, etc.
July 30th: Another whole day at Wuyipeng in more or less constant rain. Highlights included Two more sightings of Temminck's Tragopan, Green Shrike Babbler, Great and Three-toed Parrotbills, etc.
July 31st: A third full day at Wuyipeng, once again in constant rain. Highlights: Temminck's Tragopan, Barred and Spotted Laughingthrushes, Indian Blue Robin in scrubby area (was most disappointed it was not a Firethroat, which i would end up dipping on), good fun watching Golden-breasted Fulvettas at nest. A Tawny Owl was heard only, a small vole and several bats seen.
August 1st: Birded Wuyipeng in the rain until 1pm then walked back down (had planned to stay longer but the constant rain was proving too much to fight) and hitched a ride to Wolong, where still raining so i didn't bird but rather took time to organise a ride up to Balang Shan for the following morning. Nothing much of note though only Snowy-browed Flycatcher of trip and more Spotted Laughingthrushes with young teasing me as i could not take camera out in rain.
August 2nd: Driver was nearly an hour late so left Wolong at 4am but we managed to get up to km marker 92 on Balang Shan just before dawn where i soon heard Wood Snipe and had brief views of a flying bird in fog. Also heard White-eared Pheasant which remained hidden. I made arrangements to stay with a family around km 100 (they make a living by adding water to overheated radiators) in a tiny hut/tent. Heavy fog in valley meant that little chance of finding Chinese Monal so i went up to the pass and birded back down slowly until the rain became so heavy and the fog so thick that i couldn't se my own had held out in front of my face and had to give in for the day. Around the pass i saw a covey of Snow Partridges, Snow Pigeon Yellow-billed Chough, Grandala feeding young, Alpine Accentor, Brandt's and Plain Mountain Finches, Beautiful and Red-fronted Rosefinches, etc.
August 3rd: Departed at 4am for Pre-dawn effort for Wood Snipe but once again only flight views. More rain and fog but nonetheless tried in vain to find Chinese Monal. Most unusual sighting was a Yellow-legged Buttonquail at 3000m, which may be a new altitudinal record for the species. Also: a flushed Koklass Pheasant, Lammergier, Common Rosefinch, Kessler's Thrush, etc.
August 4th: A repeat of previous day's plan. Better weather in morning although the rain began in earnest in afternoon. Wood Snipe heard only but fantastic start to day when 3 Chestnut-throated Partridges came out onto the road shoulder less than 20m away from where i was standing. Shortly after i had a brief and rather distant look at a female Chinese Monal walking across a small clearing. I continued scanning the area but had no further views so i tried hiking up the hill behind me and soon found three White-eared Pheasants. Himalayan Griffons were all around me, sometimes offering spectacular eye-level views and many other raptors such as Golden Eagle, Black-eared Kite, Northern Goshawk, Eurasian Sparrowhawk, etc. were also up in the air as it seemed to the first morning in weeks with any sun. This didn't last though and the afternoon rain slowly got heavier and heavier and the fog once again rolled in and took over the valley. Other highlights included Spotted Bush Warbler feeding young; Brown Bush Warbler; Giant Laughingthrush; White-browed, Common and Beautiful Rosefinches, etc.
August 5th: Departed at 3am for pass hoping to find Himalayan Snowcocks and then bird down the other side to look for the Monal. On the way up it started raining before dawn and when i got to the pass at 6am (having walked 13km uphill) it was still raining lightly. Trekking across a scree-slope i soon found 6 snowcocks but was frustrated that i could not photograph them in the rain. One glided down from a cliff a sailed right by me landing on the slope 25m above me offering fantastic views. A covey of Snow Partridges also flew in and a juvenile Alpine Accentor took to following me. Unfortunately however the rain got heavier and turned to sleet and the other side of the pass was totally fogged in. I aborted plan A and tried birding back down to my lodgings but i could scarcely see a thing in the biting rain and eventually resorted to hiding under a hanging rock and scanning the rhodedendron covered slope opposite but not a sniff of a monal in the whole afternoon and nothing else of note. The family had told me of a trail to the other side of the valley which started behind some houses known as Tangfang at km 101 so i located the trailhead in preparation for an ascent early the following morning.
August 6th: I got on the trail behind Tangfang before first light in light rain and in spent the whole morning searching for the monal without success. I did however find an unexpected Tibetan Partridge and the only Plain-backed Thrushes of the trip. By late morning the rain had become so heavy i decided to go back to my lodgings, change out of my wet clothes and wait until it got a little lighter. In the afternoon i hitched a ride to Beimuping (the huts around km 90) and birded down to km 82 hoping to find Spectacled Parrotbill and/or Firethroat but dipped on both. There was little birding in the activity in the rain and the only bird of note was a trip exclusive male Spot-winged Rosefinch. In the late evening i hitched back uphill and scanned for the monal again in vain until darkness fell.
August 7th: I had hoped to bird beyond the pass and so set out at 3am but heavy rain and dense fog once again caused me to beat a retreat by 7am at which point i decided that with no end in sight to the rain and fog it was time to leave Balang Shan. I was bitterly disappointed about leaving without seeing a male Chinese Monal but there seemed no chance in the abysmal conditions. Having been told that hitching over the pass to Xiaojin and from there onto Maerkang would be difficult (kind people are perhaps a little over-protective), I hitched a ride to Yingxiu with the intention of catching the afternoon bus to Maerkang. When we got to the intersection the driver asked if there was a bus that day and the answer came back "tomorrow only" so he offered to take me all the way to Chengdu for a little extra money (total 80 yuan from Balang Shan to Chengdu) from where i could buy a ticket and be assured of a seat rather than risking watching the bus fly by (as they do when they are full). I later discovered there was an afternoon bus to Maerkang. I got to Chadianzi bus station around 4.430pm where i got a ticket on the 7am bus the following morning to Hongyuan. In the evening i changed money & tried to dry a pack full of wet clothes rather than birding around the city (as a result missed chance to bird Dufu’s thatched cottage).
August 8th: Got on 7am bus and enjoyed an interesting chat about the environment with a Tibetan school teacher. The bus broke down twice and it was late evening by the time we got to Hongyuan. I went looking for a "baoche" for the following day and after rejecting the first driver's prices found a much more reasonable offer of 200 yuan for a full day's birding along the Songpan and Zoige (Rouergai) roads. Little of note except a trip exclusive Little Ringed Plover when bus broke down.
August 9th: My driver was only 5 minutes late and treated me to a take-out breakfast. He had brought along his son to practice English with me - i was not too happy but didn't protest. We drove out of town at half-light and less than 15km from town i spotted a Eurasian Eagle Owl in flight. I soon noticed a second bird perched on a pole and asked the driver to pull up beside it. The huge owl proved very cooperative as i took photos. From Waqie we turned right towards Songpan and in a wet grassy area 7km from the intersection found a pair of Black-necked Cranes with a downy young feeding close to the road – more photos. Walking across the grasslands i eventually located four species of lark (Oriental Sky, Horned, Tibetan, and Hume's), Hume's Groundpecker and a stunning male Streaked Rosefinch. Further along the road we pulled up beside one and then a second cooperative Little Owl. We drove back to Waqie for lunch and then birded the road north to Zoige (Rouergai) which produced a trip exclusive Chinese Grey Shrike, more cranes, and a few water birds, terns, etc. In the evening we birded the scrub outside Hongyuan where a male Common Pheasant of race suehschanensis through me for a loop at first with its purplish head and lack of neck ring. Other good species seen included Upland Buzzard, Plain Laughingthrush, Azure-winged Magpie (common!), Chinese Fulvetta, and a surprise Dusky Warbler. Really my only birding days with no rain! Driver was friendly and treated me to a nice evening meal.
August 10th: Caught 6.30am bus to Songpan, seeing a Black-necked Crane from the bus. From Songpan took 1pm bus to Jiuzhaigou arriving at 4pm when not permitted entrance into park because of late hour so tried birding scrubby hillside thinking that maybe i might find Gansu Leaf Warbler, Slaty Bunting, or Spectacled Parrotbill but extremely quiet and nothing of note seen or heard.
August 11th: Having left my pack at the hotel lobby, at 6am, even before the ticket office opened, i was at the gate heard a pheasant calling from a hillside which to my ear sounded identical to the White-eared Pheasants i had heard at Balangshan even though in theory it should not be in the area. I caught the first bus up which was supposed to be at 7 but didn't leave until 7.15. Since it was going to the so-called Primeval Forest, i got off at the intersection and started walking up towards the Kezegou trail head (which most park people said didn't exist, one claiming that it was no longer in use). A bus came with staff and i tried to flag it down but the driver swerved into the wrong lane to avoid me so i walked right out in front of him and forced him to stop. He looked incredulous as i got on and got a lecture on safety from an overzealous employee (i let her know how arrogant she was lecturing me when the Jiouzhaigou drivers don't give a damn about safety). About 5km up the road i asked to be let off to more astonished looks. I soon found the Kezegou trail and birded up it getting brief looks at a male Rufous-headed Robin at around 8.30am. The birding was extremely slow though and it began raining. I stayed in the area all day and in the evening had fantastic looks at a pair of Chinese Grouse and an Indian Blue Robin. At dusk i saw the only Grey Nightjars of the trip & managed to get a bed in Zechawa village for only 20 yuan. Not much else except four Blue Sheep, Chinese Thrush, Slaty Blue Flycatcher, Spotted Bush Warbler, etc.
August 12th: My original plan was to leave at 2am to hike up to the so-called "Primeval Forest" (actually somewhat disappointing forest) for dawn but at 2am it was pouring rain and i waited until 4am by which time rain somewhat lighter — no owl calls. Unfortunately, first bus up beat me to the primeval forest and so i wasn't first on the trail. To avoid the crowds i hiked up the gully trail from the primeval forest until heavy rain forced me back down. In the late afternoon i got a bus back to the intersection and birded slowly back down road to main gate. I could have stayed an extra day but wanted to get to Beijing to meet Liu Yang- a frustrating error of judgment! Few birds seen in tough conditions but highlights were a most unexpected pair of Sichuan Jays from the gully trail in the primeval forest + Eurasian Three-toed Woodpecker & Collared Grosbeak. The weather improved after 5pm or so and i found Sooty Tit, Chinese Nuthatch, Crested Kingfisher and Brown Dipper in the lower valley in the evening.
August 13th & 14th: 6am bus to Chengdu arriving at 6.30pm - luckily got "yingwo" (hard sleeper) berth on 838 train to Beijing. August 14th - whole day on train - little of note
August 15th: Arrived at 6am in Beijing, when tried to find internet cafe to check email from Liu Yang from Beijing Birding Society. Unfortunately our pre-departure plans to look for Ibisbill at Miyun or Xiangshuihe (Perfume River) in Huairou district a few hours from Beijing fell through as out of the blue he asked for an exorbitant 500 yuan for transportation. After getting a hotel and taking a quick nap, i got a bus in the sweltering heat to Yiheyuan (the Summer Palace) to try to salvage something from the wasted plans. Yiheyuan was jam-packed with nosy tourists and i was sweating buckets trying to find a quiet corner. In sheer frustration, i picked a small quieter area by a backwater and lay down on the grass to contemplate a better birding strategy when i noticed a "strigidesque" lump in the willow above me which proved to be a roosting Oriental Scops Owl! Soon after it began pouring rain.
August 16th & 17th: In the early morning took public buses to the Beijin Zhiwu Yuan (Beijing Botanical Gardens) but it rained all day and i found very few birds, the only one of note being a female or juvenile male Yellow-rumped Flycatcher. August 17th - Early am flight to Seoul.
B = Beijing
Bl = Balang Shan
BS = Baoshan (Taibaoshan Forest Park)
C = Chengdu area
D = Dali (Cang Shan)
E = Emei Shan
G = Gaoligong Shan
H = Hongyuan area
Ht = Tiger Leaping Gorge
J = Jiuzhaigou
K = Kunming
L = Lijiang (Yulongxue Shan)
Lt = Litang area (+ Tuer Shan)
M = Meilixue Shan (and Deqin)
W = Wawu Shan
Wl = Wolong
WP = Wuyipeng
Z = Zhongdian
br pl breeding plumage
1. Lerwa lerwa Snow Partridge BL: 6 on 02/08, 8 on 05/08
2. Tetrogallus tibetanus Tibetan Snowcock BL: 6 on 05/08 ph
3. Tetraophasis obscurus Chestnut-throated (Verreaux's Monal) Partridge BL: 3 on 04/08 ph
4. Perdix hodgsoniae Tibetan Partridge BL: 1 on 05/08
5. Arborophila rufigularis Rufous-throated Partridge G: several coveys daily ph
6. Bambusciola fytchii Mountain Bamboo Partridge G: 1 on 04/07
7. Ithaginis cruentus Blood Pheasant WP: 1 m + 2 j + 1 f on 29/07 ph
8. Tragopan temminckii Temminck's Tragopan G: 1 f on 05/07; W: 1 m on 21/07; WP: 4 m + 1 f on 29 - 31/07 ph
9. Pucrasia macrolapha Koklass Pheasant WL: 1 m 28/07; BL: 1 m on 03/08
10. Lophophorus lhuysii Chinese Monal BL: 1 f on 04/08
11. Crossoptilon crossoptilon White-eared Pheasant BL: 3 on 04/08, also heard other days + at Jiuzhaigou main gate
12. Phasianus colchicus Common (Ring-necked) Pheasant H: 1m suehschanensis 09/08; J: 1f en route; B: 1m 16/08 + heard D, etc. ph
13. Crysolophus pictus Golden Pheasant WL: 1 f + 2 j on 28/07
14. Crysolophus amherstiae Lady Amherst's Pheasant D: 1 m 02/07; W: 4 m 21/07 + 2 j 22/07 ph
15. Tetrastes sewerzowi Chinese Grouse J: 2 on 11/08 ph
16. Tadorna ferruginea Ruddy Shelduck H: 2 on 09/08 ph
17. Anas platyrhynchos Mallard J: common, B: few at Yiheyuan
18. Mergus merganser Common Merganser H: 2 on 09/08
19*. Turnix tanki Yellow-legged Buttonquail BL: 1 on 03/08 at c. 3000m (high altitude!)
20. Turnix suscitator Barred Buttonquail G: 1 Baihualin entrance road 03/07
21. Picumnus innominatus Speckled Piculet Ht: 1 on 09/07
22. Dendrocopus canicapillus Grey-capped Pygmy Woodpecker B: 2 at Zhiwuyuan on 16/08
23. Dendrcopus hyperythrus Rufous-bellied Woodpecker M: 1 on 12/07 and 13/07 ph
24. Dendrcopus cathpharius Crimson-breasted Woodpecker G: 1 on 04/07 and 06; E: 2 on 23/07; WP: 1 on 31/07 ph
25. Dendrcopus darjellensis Darjeeling Woodpecker W: 1 on 21/07, 2 on 22/07; E: 2 on 24/07, 2 on 25/07 ph
26. Dendrcopus leucotos White-backed Woodpecker E: 2 on 24/07, B: 1 on 16/08
27. Dendrcopus major Great Spotted Woodpecker L: 2 on 08/07; H 1 on 09/08; B: 2 on 15/08 and 1 on 16/08 ph
28. Picoides tridactylus Eurasian Three-toed Woodpecker J: 2 on 12/07 and 12/08 ph
29. Picus chlorolophus Lesser Yellownape G: 1 on 04/07 and 05/07
30. Picus canus Grey-headed Woodpecker E: 1 on 24/07; B: 1 on 16/08
31. Blythipicus pyrrhotis Bay Woodpecker G: 3 05/07 (many heard); E: heard 24/07
32. Megalaima virens Great Barbet G: 1 05/07; E: 1 24/07 (others head) ph
33. Megalaima franklinii Golden-throated Barbet G: several daily (+ many heard)
34. Megalaima asiatica Blue-throated Barbet G: 1 on 07/07
35. Upupa epops Common Hoopoe D: 5 02/07; WL: 2 27/07; BL: 2 on 05/08; H: 4 09/08; B: 1 15/08 (more en route) ph
36. Harpactes erythrocephalus Red-headed Trogon G: 1 m near Ertaipo on 04/07
37. Alcedo atthis Common Kingfisher L: 1 09/07; B: 1 15/08 Yiheyuan
38. Halcyon smyrensis White-throated Kingfisher G: 1 en route to Gangdang 07/07
39. Megacerle lugubris Crested Kingfisher J: 1 lower valley 12/08; 1 train Shanxi ph
40. Merops philippinus Blue-tailed Bee-eater G: many Nu Jiang (Salween River)
41. Hierococcyx spaverioides Large Hawk Cuckoo G: 1 on 03/07; others heard
42. Cuculus canorus Common Cuckoo BS: 1 on 02/07; Lt: 7 @ monastery on 18/07; H: 5 perched on wires 09/08 ph
42. Cuculus saturatus Oriental Cuckoo E: 2 24/07; heard WY & elsewhere ph
43. Cuculus poliocephalus Lesser Cuckoo W: 2 summit area on 22/07
44. Eudynamys scolopacea Asian Koel E: 1 m on 26/07 (2 more heard)
45. Psittacula derbiana Derbyan Parakeet M: 8 on 12/07
46. Collocalia brevirostris Himalayan Swiftlet E: 28 on 24/07 & 25/07 ph
47. Hirundapus caudacutus White-throated Needletail W: 4 on 21/07, 28.07; BL: 2 02/08 ph-rec
48. Apus apus Common Swift B: 25 on 30/06
49. Apus pacificus Fork-tailed Swift many L: 09/07; Ht: 10/07; M: 11 & 12/07; Z: 15/07; Lt: 16 & 17/07; E: 25/07; WL 28/07; BL: 06/08; J: 11 & 12/08; ph
50. Apus affinis House Swift K: 16 on 01/07; BS: 30 03/07 ph-r
51. Otus sunia Oriental Scops Owl B: 1 roosting in willow @ Yiheyuan on 15/08 (somewhat rufous) ph
52. Otus bakkamoena lempiji Collared Scops Owl E: 1 dusk @ Wannian Monastery on 25/07; heard only G, W
53. Bubo bubo Eurasian Eagle Owl H: 2 at dawn on 09/08 ph
54. Glaucidium cuculoides Asian Barred Owlet E: 1 by daylight on 25/07 ph
55. Athene noctua Little Owl H: 2 by daylight on 09/08 ph
56. Caprimulgus indicus Grey Nightjar J: 2 at dusk on 11/08
57. Columba livia Rock Pigeon feral (?) throughout
58. Columba rupestris Hill Pigeon M: 6 on 11 & 13/07; en route Litang ph
59. Columba leuconota Snow Pigeon BL: 6 - 12 daily ph
60. Columba hodgsonii Speckled Wood Pigeon M: 2 - 12 daily ph
61. Streptopelia orinetalis Oriental Turtle Dove common at most sites in open areas
62. Streptopelia chinensis Spotted Dove common around human settlement
63. Macropygia unchall Barred Cuckoo Dove G: 2 on 04/07, heard on other days
64. Treron sphenura Wedge-tailed Green Pigeon G: 2-8 04 & 05/07, many heard ph
65. Ducula badia Mountain Imperial Pigeon G: 2 in flight on 05/07
66. Grus nigricollis Black-necked Crane H: 3 pairs each with 1 young 09/08 ph
67. Amaurornis phoenicurus White-breasted Waterhen D: 1 en route 01/07
68. Gallinula chloropus Common Moorhen 1 from train Shanxi; B: 2 Yiheyan 15/08
69. Gallinago nemoricola Wood Snipe BL: 1 on 02/08 +4 on 03/08
70. Tringa totanus Common Redshank H: 40+ on 09/08 ph
71. Tringa glareola Wood Sandpiper H: 1 on 09/08 (early migrant?) ph
72. Actitis hypoleucos Common Sandpiper H: 1 on 09/08 ph
73. Charadrius dubius Little Ringed Plover H: 1 from bus near H on 08/08
74. Sterna hirundo Common Tern H: 35+ on 09/08 ph
75. Childonias hybridus Whiskered Tern H: 2 on 09/08
76. Elanus caeruleus Black-shouldered Kite D: en route D, BS, G, 01/07–03/07
77. Milvus lineatus Black-eared Kite LT: 5 17+18/07; BL: 3+ daily; HY: 8 ph
78. Gypaetus barbatus Lammergeier LT: 1 on 17/07; BL 1 on 03/08 ph
79. Gyps himalayensis Himalayan Griffon LT: 1 on 16/07; BL 8 on 04/08 ph
80. Accipter trivirgatus Crested Goshawk G: 1 on 04/07
81. Accipiter badius Shikra G: 1 on 03/07 ph-rec
81. Accipiter gularis Japanese Sparrowhawk B: 1 in Zhiwuyuan on 16/07
83. Accipter virgatus Besra E: 1 on 25/07 ph
84. Accipter nisus Eurasian Sparrowhawk WY: 2 j daily; BLS 1 on 16/07
85. Accipter gentilis Northern Goshawk Z: 1 on 10/07, BL: 1 on 04/08 ph
86. Buteo hemilasius Upland Buzzard LT: 1 on 16/07; H: 13 on 09/08 ph
87*. Ictinaetus malayensis Black Eagle G: 1 in flight on 03/07 & 04/07 (range?) ph
88. Aquila chrysaetos Golden Eagle BL: 1 on 04/08
89. Falco tinnunculus Common Kestrel LT: 3 on 16/07
90. Falco subbuteo Eurasian Hobby D: 1 en route 01/07
91. Falco peregrinus Peregrine Falcon Ht: 1 on 10/07
92. Tachybaptus ruficollis Little Grebe few en route D, BS, G, 01/07 – 03/07; B: 1 15/08
93. Egretta garzetta Little Egret many seen en route to sites
94. Casmerodius albus Great Egret W: 1 en route 20/07
95. Ardea cinerea Grey Heron B: 1 on 15/08
96. Ardea purpurea Purple Heron 1 in flight from train in Shanxi
97. Bubulcus ibis Cattle Egret W: 7 en route 20/07
98. Ardeola bacchus Chinese Pond Heron B: 26 on 15/08
99. Nycticorax nycticorax Black-crowned Night Heron B: 1 on 15/08
99. Psarisomus dalhousiae Long-tailed Broadbill G: 1 in mixed flock on 03/07
100. Serilophus lunatus Silver-breasted Broadbill G: 2 in mixed flock on 03/07
101. Chloropsis hardwickii Orange-bellied Leafbird G: 4 on 06/07 near Jiugaizi
102. Lanius schach Long-tailed Shrike very common open areas Sth Yunnan
103. Lanius tephronotus Grey-backed Shrike very common Tibetan plateau sites
104. Lanius spenocercus Chinese Grey Shrike H: 1 on 09/08 ph
105. Perisoreus internigrans Sichuan Jay J: 2 primeval forest 12/08 (!!)
106. Urocissa erythrorhyncha Red-billed Blue Magpie G: daily forest edge; L 6 on 08/07; M: several daily; W: 4 on 21/07, 6 on 22/07, 4 on 23/.07; E: 2 on 25/07; Wl: several daily + juvs; B: 2 zhiwuyuan 16/08
107. Cyanopica cyanus Azure-winged Magpie H: many 09/08; B: very common ph
108. Dendrocitta formosae Grey Treepie G: 1 on 04/07 near Baihualin
109. Pica pica Common Magpie very common Tibetan plateau sites & north
110. > Pseudopodoces humilis Hume’s Groundpecker (taxonomy?) LT: common around temple & valley (juvs); H: 6 on road to Songpan 09/08 ph
111. Nucifraga caryocatactes Spotted Nutcracker 2 en route to Deqin in Baima forest 11/07; M: 2-4 daily; WL: 8 28/07, WP: 2 30/07, + heard LJ on 08/07 ph
112. Pyrrhocorax pyrrhocorax Red-billed Chough LT: 2 near monastery ph
113. Pyrrhocorax graculus Yellow-billed (Alpine) Chough BL: 8 at pass 02/08, 2 at pass 05/08, 2 trail behind Tangfang 06/08
114. Corvus dauricus Daurian Jackdaw Z: several large flocks en route; LT: few large flocks in valley ph
115. Corvus macrorhynchos Large-billed Crow very common almost everywhere
116. Corvus corax Common Raven LT: common; BL: several daily ph
117. Artamus fuscus Ashy Woodswallow Z: one on route to Deqin 11/07 (range?)
118. Oriolus traillii Maroon Oriole G: 1 06/07
119. Coracina melaschistos Black-winged Cuckooshrike W: 1 on 23/07; 1 en route Daocheng 15/07
120. Pericrocotus roseus Rosy Minivet BS: 4 on 02/07 ph
121. Pericrocotus solaris Grey-chinned Minivet G: flocks on 03/07 & 06/07. Some other unidentified minivets may’ve been this sp
122. Pericrocotus ethologus Long-tailed Minivet G: flock 03/07; E: flock 24/07; WL: flock 28/07; WP: 2 flocks on 30/07 & 01/08
123. Pericrocotus brevirostris Short-billed Minivet G: small flock near Baihualin 06/07 ph
124. Rhipidura hypoxantha Yellow-bellied Fantail G: 1 near Guqiao 06/07; ML: 1 near Yubong 12/07 ph
125. Rhipidura albicollis White-throated Fantail G: several daily
126. Dicrurus macrocercus Black Drongo common open areas – often seen from bus!
127. Dicrurus leucophaeus Ashy Drongo BS: 12+ hopwoodi 02/07; G: few daily near Baihualin ph
128. Dicrurus annectans Crow-billed Drongo G: 1 Baihualin 07/07; L: 2 Yulongchi ph
129. Dicrurus remifer Lesser Racket-tailed Drongo G: 2 on 04/07
130. Dicrurus hottentottus Spangled (Hair-crested) Drongo E: 2 near Xianfeng Monastery 25/07 ph
131. Cinclus pallasii Brown Dipper WW: 1 23/07; E: 1 below Wannian 26/07; J: 1 lower valley 12/08 ph
132. Monticola rufiventris Chestnut-bellied Rock Thrush BS: m en route 02/07; W: f + 2 juv below lower cable car 21/07 ph
133. Monticola solitarius Blue Rock Thrush Ht: pair 10/07 ph + very commonly seen from bus, especially along Mekong
134. Myophonus caeruleus Blue Whistling Thrush eugeni – D: 1 upper cable car 02/07; G: 1 or 2 daily; H: pair 10/07; M: 1 - 2 daily ph caeruleus – W: 1 on 21/07; E: 3 24/07, 2 25/07; WP: 1 on 01/08 ph
135. Zoothera citrina Orange-headed Thrush G: 1 trail to hot springs 07/07
136. Zoothera mollissima Plain-backed Thrush BL: 2 trail behind Tangfang 06/08 ph
137. Zoothera dixoni Long-tailed Thrush LT: 1 18/07 ph
138. Zoothera dauma Scaly Thrush LT: 1 on 18/07, WY: 1 on 31/07 ph
139. Turdus dissimilis Black-breasted Thrush Da: 4+ on 02/07; LJ: 2 on 08/07
140. Turdus merula Eurasian Blackbird Z: 1 on 15/07
141. Turdus rubrocanus Chestnut Thrush few @ all sites Nth Yunnan & Sichuan ph
142. Turdus kessleri Kessler’s (White-backed) Thrush LT: 12+ 17/08, 8 18/08; BLS: few daily ph
143. Turdus mupinensis Chinese Thrush ML: 1 on 12/07; J: 1 on 12/08 ph
144. Brachypteryx leucophrys Lesser Shortwing G: 1 on 03/07 + others heard
145. Brachypteryx montana White-browed Shortwing G: 1 on 05/07 + others heard
146. Muscicapa sibirica Dark-sided Flycatcher W: 1 on 21/07, 3 on 22/07
147. Muscicapa muttui Brown-breasted Flycatcher WL: 2 on 27/08, 1 on 28/08; WP: 1 29/07
148. Muscicapa ferruginea Ferruginous Flycatcher WW: pair + young Xianger village 21/07; EM: 1 juv 23/07pm; WY: 1 29/07 ph
149. Ficedula zanthopygia Yellow-rumped Flycatcher B: juv male or female Zhiwuyuan 16/08 ph
150. Ficedula hodgsonii Slaty-backed Flycatcher M: 2 m 12/07
151. Ficedula strophiata Rufous-gorgetted Flycatcher M: 2 m 12/07, 1m 13/07; W: 3m + 2f 21/07, 2m 22/07; E: 1f 12/07; WY: 2m 31/07 & 1 juv 01/08; J: 1m on 12/08 ph
152. Ficedula hyperythra Snowy-browed Flycatcher WY: 1m on 01/08
153. Ficedula tricolor Slaty-blue Flycatcher L: pair 08/07; WY: 1m 01/08; J: 1f on 11/08, 1m on 12/08 ph
154. Ficedula sapphira Sapphire Flycatcher G: 1m near Baihualin 03/07
155. Eumyias thalassina Verditer Flycatcher G: 1f 04/07
156. Niltava grandis Large Niltava G: 1 or 2 daily incl. juvs; ph
157. Niltava macgrigoriae Small Niltava G: 1 or 2 on most days ph
158. Niltava davidi Fujian Niltava E: 1m + juv 25/07 ph
159. Niltava sundara Rufous-bellied Niltava W: 1m 22/07; WY: few daily incl. juvs ph
160. Niltava vivida Vivid Niltava M: 1m on 12/07
161. Cyornis poliogenys Pale-chinned Flycatcher G: 1 on 04/07
162. Cyornis rubeculoides Blue-throated Flycatcher E: 1f on 07/07; WL: 1st year m 28/07
163. Cyornis banyumas Hill Blue Flycatcher G: 1m daily near Baihualin
164. Muscicapella hodgsoni Pygmy Blue Flycatcher G: 1f near Dalucheng on 04/07
165. Culicicapa ceylonensis Grey-headed Canary-Flycatcher few daily at G, M, W, E, WY
166. Luscinia pectoralis White-tailed Rubythroat LT: 2m, 3 juv 17/07 ph
167. Luscinia ruficeps Rufous-headed Robin J: 1m Kezegou valley 11/08 (not calling!)
168. Luscinia brunnea Indian Blue Robin WY: 1m in secondary scrub 31/07
169. Tarsiger cyanurus Orange-flanked Bush Robin WY: pair 31/07 & 01/08; J: 1m 11/08
170. Tarsiger chrysaeus Golden Bush Robin L: pair + juv; W: 6-8 daily incl. juvs; E: 4 on 24/07; WY: few daily; ph (surprisingly common & conspicuous)
171. Tarsiger indicus White-browed Bush Robin WY: 2m 31/07, 1 juv 01/08
172. Copsychus saularis Oriental Magpie-Robin common open areas southern Yunnan
173. Phoenicurus ochruros Black Redstart LT: pair + chick near town monastery ph
174. Phoenicurus hodgsoni Hodgson's Redstart LT: 1m upper monastery ph
175. Phoenicurus schisticeps White-throated Redstart LT: 2 pairs, one feeding juv 18/07 ph
176. Phoenicurus auroreus Daurian Redstart D: pair feeding young 02/07; common Ht, M, Z, J, etc. ph
177. Phoenicurus frontalis Blue-fronted Redstart LT, B, H: common alpine areas, + juvs ph
178. Chaimarrornis leucocephalus White-capped Water Redstart common @ altitude Sichuan (from bus) ph
179. Rhyacornis fuliginosus Plumbeous Water Redstart common many sites, + from buses
180. Hodgsonius phaenicuroides White-bellied Redstart L: pair with juv08/07; WW: 1 m 22/07 ph
181. Myiomela leucurum White-tailed Robin G: 1 or 2 daily around Jiugaizi
182. Grandala coelicolor Grandala BL: m + f feeding juv @ pass 02/08 ph
183. Enicurus scouleri Little Forktail G: 1 entrance road 07/07; W: 2 21/07 ph
184. *Enicurus immaculatus Black-backed Forktail G: 1 same creek below Jiugaizi on 05/07 & 06/07 - some recent range expansion east?
185. Enicurus maculatus Spotted Forktail G: few daily ph
186. Saxicola rubicola (fr: torquata) Common Stonechat L: 2 08/08; Ht: few daily; H: common ph
187. Saxicola ferrea Grey Bushchat L: several pairs + juvs @ Yulongchi ph
188. Sturnus malabaricus Chestnut-tailed Starling 1 en route from BS to G
189. Acridotheres cristatellus Crested Myna common around Chengdu
** Sturnus sp Starling sp E: perched on open snag near Jieyin on 23/07 – distant photos – possibly juvenile Red-billed or White-shouldered?
190. Sitta europea Eurasian Nuthatch J: 1 top Kezegou 11/08
191. Sitta nagaensis Chestnut-vented Nuthatch common G, L, M, W, WY, etc. ph
192. Sitta castanea Chestnut-bellied Nuthatch G: 1 near Guqiao 06/07 (range?)
193. Sitta villosa Snowy-browed (Chinese) Nuthatch J: 1 lower valley 12/08
194. Sitta yunnanensis Yunnan Nuthatch L: 8+ on 08/08 ph
195. Sitta leucopsis White-cheeked Nuthatch LT: 2 on 18/07 behind upper monastery ph
196. Certhia familiaris Eurasian Treecreeper L: 3 on 08/08; ML: 2 on 13/07; W: 1 on 21/07 & 22/07; J 2-3 daily ph
197. Certhia himalayana Bar-tailed Treecreeper G: 1 on 04/07
198. * Certhia nipalensis Rusty-flanked Treecreeper G: 1 on 04/07 range?
199. Certhia discolor Brown-throated Treecreeper G: 1 on 05/07 & 2 on 07/07 ph
200. Certhia tianquanensis Sichuan Treecreeper WW: 3 on 21/07 & 22/07; WY: heard ph
201. Troglodytes troglodytes Winter Wren ML: 2 on12/07, JZG: 2 ad + 1 juv 12/08 ph
202. Poecile hypermelaena (palustris) Black-bibbed (Marsh) Tit LJ: 6 on 08/07; M: 2 on 12/0
203. Poecile (montanus) weigoldicus "Sichuan" Willow Tit ML: 4 on 12/07; LT: 6 on 17/07
204. Poecile davidi Rusty-breasted (Père David’s) Tit WY: 2-6 daily ph
205. Parus rubidiventris Rufous-vented Tit LT: 4 on 18/07; W: 3 on 22/07; E: 5 on 24/07; WL: 2 on 28/07; BL: 2 on 03/08; J: 12/08 ph
206. Parus (ater) aemodius Coal Tit L: 4 on 08/07; W: daily; E: 5 on 23/07 ph
207. Parus venustulus Yellow-bellied Tit W: 6-8 daily ph
208. Parus dichrous Grey-crested Tit L: 14 on 08/07; Z: 2 Shoudu Lake10/07; M: 4 12/07; LT: 5 18/07; WL: 2 27/07 ph
209. Parus major Great Tit subtibetanus: common D, BS, G, L, Ht, M tibetanus: Lt, H; minor: E (lower) ph
210. Parus monticolus yunnanensis Green-backed Tit G: 1 Jiugaizi 05/07; M: 3 on 13/07; W: few daily; E: few daily; WL: 4-6 daily; WY: 2 on 30/07; J: 8 incl juvs on 12/07 ph
211. Parus spilonotus Yellow-cheeked Tit G: 7 on 03/07; 2 on 05/07; 4 on 06/07
212. Sylviparus modestus Yellow-browed Tit E: 4 on 23/07 ph
213. Aegithalos concinnus Black-throated Tit D: 5 on 02/07; 15+ incl juvs 02/07; G: 4+ 05/07 & 06/07; M: 5+ 13/07; E: 2 26/07 ph
214. Aegithalos bonvaloti Black-browed Tit L: 6 + juvs Yulongchi, 4+ Yulong Xueshan 08/07; Ht: 2+ 09/07; M: 3 on 12/07 ph
215. Aegithalos fuliginosus Sooty Tit J: 2 in mixed flock in lower valley 12/08
216. * Riparia diluta / riparia Pale / Sand Martin (Bank Swallow) Lt: 2 en route along Mekong 15/07
217. Hirundo rupestris Eurasian Crag Martin common all along Mekong — nesting @ M
218. Hirundo rustica Barn Swallow common open areas throughout ph
219. Hirundo daurica Red-rumped Swallow common open areas throughout ph
220. Hirundo stiolata Striated Swallow few birds at BS appeared to be this species
221. Delichon dasypus Asian House Martin common (open + high) LT, BL, WL, J ph
222. Regulus regulus Goldcrest J: 1 on 12/08
223. Spizixos semitorques Collared Finchbill W: 2 en route 20/07 & 123/07; E: 1 en route 23/07 & 2 on 26/07 ph
224. Pycnonotus striatus Striated Bulbul G: 1 on 05/07
225. Pycnonotus jocosus Red-whiskered Bulbul BS: 1 en route to G on 03/07 E: 2 on 26/07
226. Pycnonotus xanthorrhous Brown-breasted Bulbul v. common most low altitude sites ph
227. Pycnonotus sinensis Light-vented (Chinese) Bulbul very common around Chengdu
228. Pycnonotus cafer Red-vented Bulbul G: 2 Baihualin 04/07, 1 on 06/07
229. Pycnonotus aurigaster Sooty-headed Bulbul 1 en route to G on 03/07
230. Pycnonotus flavescens Flavescent Bulbul G: 2 on 03/07
231. *Hemixos flavala Ashy Bulbul BS: 1 on 02/07 (altitude?)
232. Hypsipetes (Ixos) mcclellandii Mountain Bulbul G: 2 on 07/07
233. Hypsipetes leucocephalus Black Bulbul common Ht, M (black-head, some with hints of white) ph, E (white-head) ph
234. Prinia criniger Striated Prinia common @ D, BS, Ht ph
235. *Zosterops erythropleurus Chestnut-flanked White-eye Wl: 1 in flock of Japanese White-eyes 27/07 – extremely early migrant??
236. Zosterops japonicus Japanese White-eye common (open + low) D, BS, G, W, B ph
237. Tesia castaneocoronata Chestnut-headed Tesia M: 1 on 12/07 & 13/07; WY: 1+ 31/07 ph
238. Tesia olivea Slaty-bellied Tesia G: 1 on trail to hot springs 07/07 ph
239. *Cettia sp Bush-Warbler sp D: 1 lower slope Cangshan 02/07 looked like Pale-footed but out of range?
240. Cettia fortipes Brownish-flanked Bush Warbler G: 1 on 05/07; W: 2-3+ daily; heard W ph
241. Cettia major Chestnut-crowned Bush Warbler W: 1 on 21/07
242. Cettia flavolivacea Aberrant Bush Warbler G: 1 on 06/07; W: 1 on 21/07 ph
243. Cettia acanthizoides Yellowish-bellied Bush-Warbler W: 1+ 21/07; E: 1 on 25/07; J: 1+ 12/08 ph
244. Cettia brunnifrons Grey-sided Bush Warbler W: 2-3 daily, some feeding juvs ph
245. Bradypterus thoracicus przevalskii Southern Spotted Bush Warbler W: 2 on 22/07; BL: pair feeding young 04/08, J: 1 Kezegou trail 10/08 ph
246. Bradypterus luteoventris Brown Bush Warbler W: 1 on 22/07; BL: 1 on 04/08 ph
247. Leptopoecile sophiae White-browed Tit-Warbler LT: 6 – 8 daily ph
248. Phylloscopus fuscatus Dusky Warbler H: 1 on scrubby hillside 09/08
249. Phylloscopus affinis Tickell's Leaf Warbler common Lt & Bl; several W, J ph
250. Phylloscopus subaffinis Buff-throated Warbler W: 1 on 22/07 (other probables)
251. *Phylloscopus amandii Yellow-streaked Warbler D: 1 lower slope Cangshan 02/07 (range?)
252. Phylloscopus pulcher Buff-barred Warbler common Lt, W, E, J
253. Phylloscopus maculipennis Ashy-throated Warbler W: 1 on 22/07
254. Phylloscopus forresti (> P. chloronotus) Lemon-rumped Warbler few daily @ Lt, W, WP, J ph
255. Phylloscopus yunnanensis Chinese Leaf Warbler J: 2 on 11/08
256. Phylloscopus humei Hume’s Warbler BL: 1 on 06/07 (other probables)
257. Phylloscopus trochiloides Greenish Warbler regular (high) Lt, Bl, J ph
258. Phylloscopus magnirostris Large-billed Leaf Warbler pr. commonest Phylloscopus @ most Sichuan sites ph
259. Phylloscopus emeiensis Emei Leaf Warbler W: 1 on 22/07
260. Phylloscopus claudiae Blyth’s (?) Leaf Warbler 1 - 2 @ W, E, J (recent split)
261. Phylloscopus r. reguloides Blyth’s Leaf Warbler M: 1 on 12/07 (pr. nominate race?)
262. Phylloscopus ogilviegranti (> P. davisoni) White-tailed (?) Leaf Warbler E: 1 on 25/07 (other probables)
263. Phylloscopus davisoni White-tailed Leaf Warbler M: 1 on 13/07
264. Seicercus tephrocephalus Grey-crowned Warbler D: 1 on 02/07 (?); J: 1 on 12/08
265. Seicercus soror Plain-tailed Warbler E: 2 on 25/07 (W: ?)
266. Seicercus omeiensis Emei Shan Golden-spectacled Warbler E: 2 on 24/07 (W: ?)
267. Seicercus v. valentini Bianchi’s Warbler common G, L, M, W, E, J ph
268. Seicercus affinis White-spectacled Warbler G: 1 on 05/07
269. Seicercus castaniceps Chestnut-crowned Warbler G: 1 on 05/07
270. Abroscopus schisticeps Black-faced Warbler G: 2 on 05/07 & 06/07 ph
271. Garrulax albogularis White-throated Laughingthrush E: 4 – 6 Xianfeng 25/07 ph
272. Garrulax davidi Plain (Père David’s) Laughingthrush H: 12 - 15 on scrubby hillside 09/08 ph
273. Garrulax lunulatus Barred Laughingthrush WY: 2 on 31/07 & 01/08 ph
274. Garrulax maximus Giant Laughingthrush regular M, Lt, WL (feeding young), Bl ph
275. Garrulax ocellatus Spotted Laughingthrush M: 1 on 12/07; WY: daily – 3 pairs feeding young ph
*? Garrulax caerulatus Grey-sided Laughingthrush ? glimpse @ G 05/07 poss this sp but range??
276. Garrulax poecilorhynchus Rusty Laughingthrush W: flock of 18+ 21/07 + 2 singles
277. Garrulax canorus Hwamei E: flock of 6+ below Wannian 26/07 ph
278. Garrulax sannio White-browed Laughingthrush comis: BS: 2 on 02/07 ph oblectans: E: 1 below Wannian on 26/07
279. Garrulax elliotii Elliot’s Laughingthrush most common Laughingthrush in various habitats all sites from L northward ph
280. Garrulax affinis Black-faced Laughingthrush M: 1 on 12/07 ; common summit W ph
281. Garrulax erythrocephalus Chestnut-crowned Laughingthrush G: 2 on 05/07 & 4 on 06/07 ph
282. Garrulax formoslus Red-winged Laughingthrush E: 3 Xianfeng 25/07; WY: 5 on 29/05 ph
283. Garrulax milnei Red-tailed Laughingthrush G: 1 – 2 flocks most days (esp. Jiugaizi) ph
284. Liocichla omeiensis Emeishan Liocichla W: 2 –3 daily ph
285. Pellorneum sp Babbler sp G: 1 on 03/07 in secondary scrub near Baihualin looked like Spot-throated babbler but out of range
286. Pomatorhinus erythrocnemis Spot-breasted Scimitar Babbler D: 2+ 02/07; L: 2 on08/07 ph
287. Pomatorhinus ruficollis Streak-breasted Scimitar Babbler v. common almost all sites ph
288. Napothera brevicaudata Streaked Wren-Babbler G: 1 on trail to hot springs on 07/07
289. Pnoepyga pusilla Pygmy Wren-Babbler G: 1 – 2 daily incl juvs; W: 1 on 21/07; WY: 1 juv on 30/07 ph
290. Spelaeornis chocolatinus Long-tailed Wren-Babbler G: 1 on 04/07
291. Stachyris ruficeps Rufous-capped Babbler W: 4-5 21/07 ; WY: 2 on 31/07 ph
292. Stachyris chrysaea Golden Babbler G: 2 – 3 on 03/07 & 04/07
293. Chrysomma sinense Yellow-eyed Babbler G: regular scrub / edge around Baihualin
294. Chrysomma poecilotis Rufous-tailed Babbler (Moupinia) L: 1 on 08/07 scrub below cable car
295. Babax lanceolatus Chinese Babax W: 4+ (+ juvs?) below cable car 21/07 ph
296. Leiothrix argentauris Silver-eared Mesia G: common ph
297. Leiothrix lutea Red-billed Leiothrix common W, E ph
298. Pteruthius flaviscapis White-browed Shrike-babbler W: 1 on 22/07 in mixed sp flock
299. Pteruthius xanthochlorus Green Shrike-babbler WY: 1 on 30/07 in mixed sp flock
300. Actinodura egertoni Rusty-fronted Barwing G: 2 – 6 daily ph
Actinodura sp Barwing sp G: 04/07 like Streak-throated but range?
301. Minla cyanouroptera Blue-winged Minla BS: 2+ 02/07; G: common ph
302. Minla strigula Chestnut-tailed Minla G: 2 – 5 on 05/07 & 06/07 above Dalu ph
303. Minla ignotincta Red-tailed Minla G: 2 – 4 on 04/07, 05/07, 06/07 ph
304. Alcippe chrysotis Golden-breasted Fulvetta common G, W, E, WY, ph
305. Alcippe castaneceps Rufous-winged Fulvetta G: few daily ph
306. Alcippe vinipectus White-browed Fulvetta few daily D, L, M ph
307. Alcippe striaticollis Chinese Fulvetta H: small flock scrubby hillside 09/08
308. Alcippe ruficapilla Spectacled Fulvetta D: 2 on 02/07 only sighting!
309. Alcippe cinereiceps Streak-throated Fulvetta common W, regular E, WY ph
310. Alcippe brunnea Dusky Fulvetta E: 2 in mixed sp flock behind Wannian
311. Alcippe dubia Rusty-capped Fulvetta G: few daily ph
312. Alcippe morrisonia Grey-cheeked Fulvetta G: common, EM: few flocks Wannian ph
313. Heterophasia desgodinsi (>H. melanoleuca ) Black-headed Sibia BS: 6-8; G: 3 near Baihualin 05/07 ph
314. Heterophasia pulchella Beautiful Sibia G: regular ph
315. Yuhina castaniceps Striated Yuhina G: common near Baihualin ph
316. Yuhina flavicollis Whiskered Yuhina G: few daily in mixed flocks ph
317. Yuhina gularlis Stripe-throated Yuhina G: 12+ Jinchang 05/07; WY: 2 on 29/07 ph
318. Yuhina diademata White-collared Yuhina v. common almost all sites ph
319. Yuhina occipitalis Rufous-vented Yuhina M: few daily in mixed flocks ph
320. Yuhina nigrimenta Black-chinned Yuhina W: 2 flocks 23/07; E: 4+ 25/07 ph
321. Yuhina (Epornis) zantholeuca White-bellied Yuhina (Epornis) G: 1 – 2 daily
322. Conostoma oemodium Great Parrotbill WY: 2 on 30/07 & 31/07 ph
323. Paradoxornis paradoxus Three-toed Parrotbill WY: 1 on 31/07 ph
324. Paradoxornis gularis Grey-headed Parrotbill G: 1 near Baihualin 06/07
325. Paradoxornis webbianis Vinous-throated Parrotbill B: 2 Zhiwuyuan 16/08
326. Paradoxornis brunneus Brown-winged Parrotbill BS: 2+ 02/07; Ht: 12+ 0/07 & 10/07 ph
327. Paradoxornis alphonsianus Ashy-throated Parrotbill E: flock of 12+ below Wannian 26/07 ph
328. Paradoxornis zappeyi Grey-hooded Parrotbill W: total of 6 flocks + juvs 21 & 22/07 ph
329. Paradoxornis fulvifrons Fulvous Parrotbill W: total of 5 flocks + juvs 21 & 22/07 ph
330. Paradoxornis nipalensis Black-throated Parrotbill G: 2 flocks above Jinchang on 05/07 ph
331. Melanocorypha maxima Tibetan Lark H: 2 along road to Songpan 09/08
332. Calandrella acutirostris Hume’s Lark H: 1 vocalising on road to Zoige 09/08
333. Alauda gulgula Oriental Skylark LT: common; HY: abundant 09/08 ph
334. Eremophila alpestris Horned Lark v. common LT & HY ph
335. Dicaeum melanoxanthum Yellow-bellied Flowerpecker M: 1m on 12/07 near hot springs
336. Dicaeum concolor Plain Flowerpecker G: 1 below Baihualin on 03/07
337. Dicaeum ignipectus Fire-breasted Flowerpecker M: 1m & 2 f on trail to Yubong 13/07 ph
338. Aethopyga gouldiae Mrs Gould's Sunbird regular G, L, M, Lt, Bl, W, E ph
339. Aethopyga nipalensis Green-tailed Sunbird G: 2m + 1f Jinchang on 05/07 ph
340. Aethopyga christinae Fork-tailed Sunbird E: 1m 25/07
341. Arachnothera magna Streaked Spiderhunter G: 1 near Baihualin on 03/07
342. Passer rutilans Russet Sparrow v. common settled areas Ht, en route > ph
343. Passer montanus Eurasian Tree Sparrow abundant around human settlement ph
344. Montifringilla adamsi Tibetan Snowfinch LT: few pairs feeding young, monastery ph
345. Motacilla alba White Wagtail abundant D, BS, Wl, Bl, J, B > en route ph
346. Motacilla citreola Citrine Wagtail Lt: 2 on 18/07 ; H: 1 on 09/08
347. Motacilla cinerea Grey Wagtail W: common road to cable car; Bl: few ph
348. Anthus hodgsoni Olive-backed Pipit L: 1 on 08/07; Lt: 2 on 18/07; E: 1 on 25/07; Bl: 3 on 05/08 ph
349. Anthus roseatus Rosy Pipit Bl: common ph
350. Anthus sylvanus Upland Pipit Lt: 1 – 2 daily ph
351. Prunella collaris Alpine Accentor BL: 2–5 incl juvs @ pass 02/08 & 05/08 ph
352. Prunella strophiata Rufous-breasted Accentor regular Lt, B, E incl juvs ph
353. Prunella fulvescens Brown Accentor Lt: 2 @ Tuer Shan pass 17/07 ph
354. Prunella immaculata Maroon-backed Accentor Lt: 1 on 18/07; BL: 2 feeding young 03/08; J: common ph
355. Carduelis ambigua Black-headed Greenfinch common D, BS ph
356. Carduelis tibetana Tibetan Siskin M: small flock on 11/07
357. Carduelis flavirostris Twite Lt: few pairs feeding young, monastery ph
358. Leucosticte nemoricola Plain Mountain Finch Bl: v. common (some feeding young) ph
359. Leucosticte brandti Brandt’s (Black-headed) Mountain Finch Bl: 2 on 02/08 @ pass
360. Carpodacus rubescens Blanford’s (Crimson) Rosefinch E: 2m, 2f near Jieyin 23/07
361. Carpodacus nipalensis Dark-breasted Rosefinch W: 2m, 1f summit 21/07, E:2f 24/07 ph
362. Carpodacus erythrinus Common Rosefinch regular Lt, Bl ph
363. Carpodacus pulcherrimus (< C. davidianus) (Chinese) Beautiful Rosefinch M: 1m on 13/07; 1 – 4 daily Lt & Bl ph
364. Carpodacus eos Pink-rumped Rosefinch Lt: 1m on 18/07 + other pr females
365. Carpodacus vinaceus Vinaceous Rosefinch M: 1m on 12/07; W: 2m, 1f on 21/07; E: 2m near Jieyin on 23/07 ph
366. *Carpodacus edwardsii Dark-rumped Rosefinch Wl: 1m on scrubby ridge above Golden Pheasant slope (unexpected?)
367. *Carpodacus verreauxii (
369. Carpodacus rubicilloides Streaked Rosefinch H: 1m on road to Songpan on 09/08
370. Carpodacus puniceus Red-fronted (Red-faced) Rosefinch BL: 1 – 3 @ pass 02/08 & 05/08 ph
371. Pinicola subhimachalus Crimson-browed Finch Lt: 1m below Tuer Shan on 18/07
372. Pyrrhula nipalensis Brown Bullfinch M: 2+ below Baima pass (bus stopped) on 11/07; Bl: 2 below white monument 06/08
373. Pyrrhula erythaca Grey-headed Bullfinch regular - common Z, M, W, E, WY, J ph
374. Mycerobas affinis Collared Grosbeak J: 1f primeval forest on 12/08
375. Mycerobas melanozanthos Spot-winged Grosbeak M: flock of 6 – 8 below hot springs + 1m near Yubong on 12/07 ph
376. Mycerobas carnipes White-winged Grosbeak Lt: pair in conifers above upper temple on 18/07 ph
377. Latoucheornis siemsseni Slaty Bunting Wl: 1 – 5 daily incl pair feeding young
378. Emberiza godlewskii Godlewski’s Bunting v. common throughout Yunnan; few Lt ph
379. * Emberiza cioides Meadow Bunting L: 1in open grassy/scrub area (range?)
380. Emberiza fucata Chestnut-eared Bunting Ht: 1 near start of trail ph
381. Emberiza elegans Yellow-throated Bunting D: 2 base Cangshan 02/07; L: 1 on 08/07; M: 1–3 daily ph
1. Arborophila torqueola Common Hill Partridge G: 03/07
2. Cuculus micropterus Indian Cuckoo G: 03/07; E: 25/07
3. Cacomantis merulinus Plaintive Cuckoo Ht: 09/07
4. Otus spilocephalus Mountain Scops Owl G: 2 on 03/07 (not responsive)
5. Strix aluco Tawny Owl WY:31/07
6. Glaucidium brodiei Collared Owlet G: 07/07; E: 25/07
7. Garrulus glandarius Eurasian Jay J: 11/08
8. ? Brachypteryx stellata Gould’s Shortwing G: a ticking call in wet glade between Ertaipo and Guqiao on 06/07 was probably this species but not tape responsive and no views obtained despite time invested
9. Tesia cyaniventer Grey-bellied Tesia G: 04/07, 05/07