I had a wonderful eight-day birding trip in Sichuan with Philip in October 2020.
Despite some unique travel challenges stemming from the COVID-19 pandemic, Philip and his associates pulled off the entire trip smoothly, and we ended up seeing almost every one of my target birds (as well as a number of unexpected ones), increasing my China bird list by more than 50 species. We visited Longcanggou first, followed by Erlang Shan. Despite some high-elevation fog, we found a flock of blood pheasants at Erlang Shan, and a very nice range of passerines along the old Erlang Shan Road and in the surrounding forests, including golden-breasted fulvetta, gray-crested tit, white-winged grosbeak, and golden bush robin.
We then visited a lovely and little-known spot outside of Kangding, where Philip all but guaranteed we would see Lady Amherst’s pheasant, and we were not disappointed! We also saw Chinese babax at that site (another of my target birds), along with local endemic rufous-tailed babbler. That same day, we drove on up to the beautiful Tibetan Plateau above Kangding, and saw a wonderful array of birds, including Himalayan griffon vultures, red-billed choughs, white-browed tits, robin accentors, twits, and even an ibisbill!
After a day off in Chengdu, Philip took me to Wolong Sanctuary and Balang Mountain for three days, where I saw a marvelous array of new birds and other wildlife. Unfortunately, on all but one day, the famed “Tunnel Trail” on Balang Mountain was fogged in, but on the single day that the weather at that elevation was clear, we saw a magnificent flock of white-eared pheasants, a couple of Chinese fulvettas, some rufous-vented tits, and even a Chinese goral grazing quietly on the hillside above us. During repeated visits to Balang Mountain pass, we found some excellent alpine birds, including upland buzzard, snow pigeon, bearded vulture, white-browed tit-warbler, white-throated dipper, and snow partridge. We also saw a herd of blue sheep and numerous Himalayan marmots. In some alpine scrub forest just below the pass, I had superb views of a trio of usually furtive giant laughingthrush and a Sichuan tit. At lower elevations, we made two visits to the wonderful Lama Temple area and saw golden pheasants both times, in addition to very large numbers of other fantastic birds, such as streak-throated and white-naped yuhinas, gray-hooded fulvettas, and sooty tits.
Those eight days were one of the best birding and wildlife excursions of my entire life, set against a backdrop of world-class, spectacular mountain scenery. My guide Philip was always courteous, helpful, and accommodating, and I hope to travel with him again in the future. I wholeheartedly recommend the services of AlpineBirding to anyone who truly wants to become acquainted with Sichuan’s incredible birdlife and scenery!
Steven Bonta / Western Sichuan October 10, 2020
Wonderful Birding trip with AlpineBirding
On November 2019 we had an amazing birding trip to Sichuan area with AlpineBirding.
We went for 6 days to Wolong, Longcanggou and Labahe, and thanks to Shay, our guide, we manage to see many beautiful birds in an incredible scenery.
One of the highlights were 4 different Red Pandas that gave us amazing view!!!
You can't go wrong with AlpineBirding and I can highly recommend to travel in Sichuan and china with them, and I hope to do that again myself.
Yohay Wasserlauf / Western Sichuan October 13, 2019
Birding in Wuhan
I was in Wuhan for work and knew I would have a free weekend, so I wanted to arrange a birdwatching tour of the environs of the city.
I searched online and found Alpine Birding. Bella, who arranged the whole thing, was extremely diligent and efficient and responds very rapidly to emails. Unfortunately, I speak no Mandarin and the guides in and around Wuhan speak no English, but we managed with the help of a field guide and translation apps. Li, the guide, brought his wife - also a birder - and they were both lovely and took me to four different locations.
Saw many great birds, including black-crowned night heron, long-tailed shrike, black-winged stilt, ashy drongo and masked laughingthrush. Would definitely recommend them.
Helen S / Wuhan Weekend Birding May 26, 2019
The Birds of Balang Shan
My husband and I are just returned from an amazing and very professional Birding Tour by Alpine Birding in the Wolong Preserve/Balang Shan area; Western Sichuan Province. Gorgeous forests and alpine landscapes, the dividing line between the Sichuan Basin and the Qinghai Plateau. Awe-inspiring views!
We had a 1 1/2 day experience, all inclusive with a private driver (to and from and during the location), delicious meals and snacks and water provided, a room for the overnight stay, and our extraordinary Birding Guide Shay who showed and instructed us on far more birds than we could've hoped to see had we been on our own! He generously shared his superior equipment and bird identification field guide, and went above and beyond our expectations in stopping at many many locations to look for birds! We were impressed by his knowledge of bird identification and his deftness of scoping! Attention to detail was one of the hallmarks of our experience; We felt very well taken care of:)
While our trip was of necessity a simple overnight/daytrip, I highly recommend a longer excursion; We will definitely do another AlpineBirding tour in the future:)
Alice and Silas / Balang Mountain Excursion May 25, 2019
I had 2 day trip from Nanning and AlpineBirding suggested Nonggang Preserve. It was 3+ hour drive but we stopped on the way to see the White-headed Langur monkeys and got within 20 meters for pic.In the reserve we saw the rare Nonggang Babbler very close (5 meters) at feeding station. Also photos Collared Owlet and many songbirdsHotel OK for rural China and food typical for same
David Mcdonald / South China (Guangxi) April 06, 2019
Awesome fun birding in TibetWe decided to visit Tibet for birding and contacted Alpine Birding for itinerary recommendation. The suggested routing is interesting and their staffs were highly efficient in arranging the land transfer and accommodation for us.
Philip, our guide is an exceptionally competent knowledgeable birder and photographer. He was quick to spot the birds and seemed to know all the best spots to see them. He was eager to help us to get a good spotting on different spectacular feather creatures through our binoculars. Even though many of the birds were well hidden and moving from tree to tree, he would quietly tracked their movements and swiftly showed us the direction.Through his passion, we were able to see the winter migratory birds in Tibetan region. We were successful at seeing flocks of impressive species, such as the Black-necked Crane, Himalayan Monal, Tibetan Eared Pheasant, Blood Pheasant, Lord Derby’s Parakeet, Snow Pigeon and some waterfowls. All these could never have even glimpsed on our own.Philip was a great birding companion, he has given us a great deal of information concerning the behaviours of those birds that we have encountered. We felt at ease with him as he patiently showed us the specific cues in bird photography. He even offered his professional telephoto lens to us to enhance our photos presentations which obviously was the icing on the cake.We place a very high value on the professional guide we had in Philip especially because of the high altitudes in our birding trail. The tour was well thought out and executed. He is reliable and will deal with all details in advance. Hot tea and snacks are always available which were soothing and recharging when the outdoor temperature was freezing. The pace was comfortable and we never felt rushed or inadequate during birding. Philip always concern about our responses to the environment and would refine the itinerary according to our physical conditions and preferences.We have experienced a safe and enjoyable Tibetan Plateau birding tour and see a different facet of Tibetan nature. The landscape was breathtaking, it was such a pleasure to see stunning snow-capped mountains, beautiful lakes, forests and wild animals throughout the whole adventurous trip. Besides, we have tried stone claypot chicken hotpot (shiguoji), the soup was super delicious and welcoming especially after a long excursion.All in all, the entire tour was full of positive experience and invaluable memories. Philip is superb and well acquainted with the nature ecosystem. We really appreciated the time he took to share with us about the birdlife, local culture and no need to mention the tremendous photos we took. We will never forget this fabulous experience and feel so fortunate to see all these wonderful flying creatures under his guidance. Certainly, it was clear that how much he loved what he does and we did learn a lot in this trip.We cannot recommend his services enough and have no hesitation in recommending Philip for his birding skills, his determination to find beautiful birds and his pleasant character.
If you have any interest in birds or even just want to take a walk through some incredible forest or wildlife related travel with a guide there to teach you something new, this is the company for you! We think you will be as pleased as we have been and want to go somewhere new as soon as you return home.Esther and Rick / Qinghai-Tibet Plateau February 03, 2019