Today, your AlpineBirding bird guide or driver will meet you once you arrive at Kunming Changshui International Airport. After checking in the hotel nearby, we will go birding around if time permits. At dinner time, we will have the first chance to savor the Yunnan dishes together and get to know our adventure crews.
Day 2: Kunming to Gaoligong Mountains.
Before we complete our journey to Gaoligong, we can visit the Kunming Botanical Garden for some urban species including Red-tailed Minla, Blue-winged Minla, Red-billed Leiothrix, Japanese White-eye, Black-breasted Thrush, Blue Whistling Thrush, Black-headed Greenfinch, Crested Finchbill, Brown-breasted Bulbul, Long-tailed Shrike, and Spot-breasted Scimitar Babbler. Upon arrival at Gaoligong, we will check in our lovely guesthouse, then go out to search for our first parrotbill, the Spot-breasted Parrotbill.
Day 3: Gaoligong Mountains.
Located on the western side of Yunnan Province, the Gaoligong belongs to the south end of the Hengduan Mountain Ranges, the elevation changes sharply from 650 meters at the bottom to 5,128 meters at the peak. As a result of its 7 complete vegetation types, Gaoligong Mountains have been rated as one of 36 hot spots for biodiversity by Conservation International. So far, around 525 bird species have been recorded here, accounting for 43.3% of the total in Yunnan Province, in which around 40 bird species are under national protection.
Winter is the best birding time in Yunnan to look for parrotbills, as they move to lower altitude where is warmer and has more food available. Besides, all the birds tend to stay as flacks in winter which maximizes our opportunities.
We will spend one full day in the Baihualing area, the core area of the Gaoligong Mountains. Our focuses here are three adorable parrotbills namely Spot-breasted Parrotbill, Brown-winged Parrotbill, and Grey-headed Parrotbill. Besides, we can expect to get some other excellent birds including Silver Pheasant, Mrs. Hume's Pheasant, Hill Partridge, Mountain Bamboo Partridge, Rufous-throated Partridge, Slender-billed Scimitar Babbler, Red-tailed Laughingthrush, Chestnut-crowned Laughingthrush, Blue-winged Laughingthrush, Scarlet-faced Liocichla, Grey-winged Blackbird, Long-tailed Thrush, Wedge-billed Wren Babbler, Grey-bellied Tesia, Slaty-bellied Tesia, Chestnut-headed Tesia, etc.
Besides, during our exploration in the dense virgin forests, we will also look for Mountain Imperial Pigeon, Great Barbet, Golden-throated Barbet, Blue-throated Barbet, Broad-billed Warbler, Bay Woodpecker, Greater Yellownape, Red-tailed Minla, Scarlet Finch, Whiskered Yuhina, Rufous-vented Yuhina, Striated Bulbul, Flavescent Bulbul, Beautiful Sibia, Long-tailed Sibia, Large Niltava, Rufous-bellied Niltava, Golden Bush Robin, Snowy-browed Flycatcher, Rusty-fronted Barwing, Short-billed Minivet, Scarlet Minivet, Yellow-cheeked Tit, etc. In addition, we can expect some beautiful sunbirds including Fire-tailed Sunbird, Black-throated Sunbird, Mrs. Gould's Sunbird, Green-tailed Sunbird, etc.
There are a lot of "bird hides" built in Gaoligong thanks to the fast development of bird watching and bird photography. These hides give us more opportunities to see the above-mentioned species.
Day 4: Gaoligong Mountains to Tengchong.
We will spend some time birding on the mountain foot area before we drive to Tengchong. Along the way, we can stop in another important park in the Gaoligong Mountains, the Gaoligong National Park. After spending a couple of hours birding in this park, we drive on to Tengchong where is famous for its mild climate, ancient volcanoes, and geothermal springs.
Day 5: Tengchong to Yinjiang via Laifeng Mountain.
In the morning, we drive to Laifengshan Park, the largest park in the city. We should get a better chance to try the Brown-winged Parrotbill, other birds we can expect here including Silver Pheasant, Black-breasted Thrush, Slender-billed Oriole, and Maroon Oriole. After a short birding in the park, we will complete a 2-hour journey to Yinjiang, a small county border with Myanmar.
we will mainly focus on the reed marshes and benchland of the Dayingjiang River this afternoon. If we are lucky, we may seek out several River Terns although it can be difficult as there are only around 10 terns that visit this area every winter. Other species we hope to encounter this afternoon including Indian Spot-billed Duck, Small Pratincole, River Lapwing, Little Ringed Plover, Temminck's Stint, Coppersmith Barbet, Alexandrine Parakeet, Red-breasted Parakeet, Blossom-headed Parakeet, Striated Grassbird, Rufescent Prinia, Grey-breasted Prinia, Grey-throated Martin, Asian Barred Owlet, Dusky Warbler, Collared Myna, Great Myna, Citrine Wagtail, Paddyfield Pipit, Little Bunting, etc.
Day 6: Yinjiang & surrounds (Sudian Township).
Today we will drive along a valley towards the Sudian Lisu Township, we will spend the whole day searching for the elusive Black-throated Parrotbill, but we need to be very fortunate to encounter it. Other parrotbills we expect here are Grey-headed Parrotbill, Rufous-headed Parrotbill. Additionally, we can expect other species including Black-crested Bulbul, Red-vented Bulbul, Flavescent Bulbul, Sichuan Leaf Warbler, Rufous-backed Sibia, Pied Bushchat, Green-tailed Sunbird, etc.
Day 7: Yingjiang to Hornbill Valley.
If needed, we can visit Sudian again to try our luck for the Black-throated Parrotbill, otherwise, we drive to the Hornbill Valley.
Day 8: Hornbill Valley.
We will spend at least a day in the Hornbill Valley, an up-and-coming birding site that is renowned for being the best place to see hornbills in China, in addition to a big variety of pheasants, laughingthrushes, and flycatchers. We will slowly explore the forest and look for Rufous-headed Parrotbill again, we also have good chances to see Grey-headed Parrotbill today.
Other precious birds we could expect including Great Hornbill, Oriental Pied Hornbill, Wreathed Hornbill, Grey Peacock Pheasant, Red Junglefowl, Kalij Pheasant, White-cheeked Partridge, Green-billed Malkoha, Crested Serpent Eagle, Jerdon's Baza, Collared Scops Owl, Spot-bellied Eagle Owl, Brown Boobook, Red-headed Trogon, Blue-bearded Bee-eater, Blue-eared Barbet, Greater Flameback, Lesser Yellownape, Great Slaty Woodpecker, Collared Falconet, Oriental Hobby, Long-tailed Broadbill, Blue-naped Pitta, Black-hooded Oriole, Greater Racket-tailed Drongo, Collared Treepie, Sultan Tit, Striated Swallow, Black-crested Bulbul, Grey-eyed Bulbul, Pin-striped Tit Babbler, Red-billed Scimitar Babbler, Coral-billed Scimitar Babbler, Large Scimitar Babbler, Spot-throated Babbler, Rufous-chinned Laughingthrush, Greater Necklaced Laughingthrush, Streaked Wren Babbler, Nepal Fulvetta, Velvet-fronted Nuthatch, White-rumped Shama, White-tailed Flycatcher, Lesser Shortwing, Blue-winged Leafbird, etc.
Day 9: Hornbill Valley to Ruili.
We will continue our exploration in Yingjiang this morning, then we drive to Ruili, our last destination in the Yunnan section.
Day 10: Ruili & surrounds (Nanjingli & Moli Tropical Rain Forest).
Ruili is one of these few places in China where has a relatively intact tropical rainforest system, thus, Ruili is renowned for being one of the best places to see tropical birds in China. We will spread our time into two places, Nanjingli, and Moli Tropical Forest. While in the lush bamboo bush and dense forest of Nanjingli, we will mainly look for Pale-billed Parrotbill, Grey-headed Parrotbill, Rufous-headed Parrotbill, we can also expect Golden Babbler, Rufous-backed Sibia, White-browed Piculet, Long-tailed Broadbill, Black-eared Shrike Babbler, Mountain Tailorbird, Spot-winged Grosbeak, etc.
While birding in Moli Tropical Rain Forest, we will put our effort in search of Rufous-headed Parrotbill, Pale-billed Parrotbill, Mountain Hawk Eagle, Streaked Wren Babbler, Dark-sided Thrush, Long-tailed Broadbill, Silver-breasted Broadbill, Red-headed Trogon, Coppersmith Barbet, Rosy Minivet, Large Woodshrike, Common Iora, Grey-bellied Tesia, Yellow-bellied Warbler, Rufous-backed Sibia, Rufous-chinned Laughingthrush, Rusty-flanked Treecreeper, Little Forktail, White-crowned Forktail, Black-backed Forktail, Slaty-backed Forktail, Spotted Forktail, etc.
Day 11: Ruili to Mangshi, then fly to Chengdu.
After breakfast at our hotel, we drive to Mangshi Airport to catch our flight to Chengdu.
Day 12: Chengdu to Labahe Nature Reserve.
We will have a short visit to the Chengdu Botanical Garden before driving to Labahe. Chengdu Botanical Garden is considered one of the best city parks for birding due to its big diversity of floras and high forest coverage. We can find some urban and special resident birds here, including Vinous-throated Parrotbill, Chinese Bulbul, White-browed Laughingthrush, Red-billed Leiothrix, Japanese White-eye, Chinese Blackbird, Chinese Grosbeak, Collared Finchbill, Long-tailed Shrike, Fork-tailed Sunbird, Hoopoe, etc.
Followed the exploration, we will complete a fairly long (around 4 hours) journey to Labahe. Upon arrival, we will go birding around the hotel to look for some low elevation species, including Red-billed Blue Magpie, White-capped Water Redstart, Plumbeous Water Redstart, Collared Finchbill, Elliot's Laughingthrush; we may encounter our first mammal, the Tibetan Macaque. After dinner, we will go out to look for nocturnal creatures such as Masked Palm Civet, Red and White Flying Squirrel, Sambar, etc.
Day 13: Labahe Nature Reserve.
Lying deep in the Hengduan Mountain Ranges, a significant wild panda habitat, Labahe is by far one of the best locations in China to see Red Panda. The mixed alpine forests and dense bamboos understory make an ideal habitat for the Red Panda, though it will still require a good amount of hard work and patience to find one. In addition, Labahe is a very good birding site. We will walk on the paved road and search both sides and the rugged mountains surrounded carefully. We will likely encounter a variety of interesting species including Brown Parrotbill, Fulvous Parrotbill, Lady Amherst's Pheasant, Temminck's Tragopan, Sichuan Treecreeper, Speckled Wood Pigeon, Spotted Nutcracker, Yellow-browed Tit, Coal Tit, Pere David's Tit, Black-browed Tit, Brown Bush Warbler, Aberrant Bush Warbler, Yellowish-bellied Bush Warbler, Chinese Cupwing, Pygmy Cupwing, Ashy-throated Warbler, Sichuan Leaf Warbler, Grey-hooded Fulvetta, Golden-breasted Fulvetta, Stripe-throated Yuhina, Black-faced Laughingthrush, Rufous-gorgeted Flycatcher, etc.
Day 14: Labahe Nature Reserve to Longcanggou.
We will spend the morning in Labahe to search for our targets again. After that, we will drive on and finish our 3-hour journey to Longcanggou. We should have some time birding around the guesthouse looking for Ashy-throated Parrotbill, Hwamei, Red-billed Leiothrix, Oriental Greenfinch, etc.
Day 15-16: Longcanggou National Forest Park.
Located on the western edge of the Sichuan Basin, Longcanggou is in the core area of the transition zone between the basin and the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau. The special location makes the geological structures here very diverse. In the lush bamboo forest of high elevation, we will look for Great Parrotbill, Brown Parrotbill, Three-toed Parrotbill, Grey-hooded Parrotbill, and Golden Parrotbill.
Despite this, the densest subtropical evergreen broad-leaved forests are home to a lot of range-restricted and endemic species including Temminck's Tragopan, Lady Amherst's Pheasant, Grey-hooded Fulvetta, Golden-breasted Fulvetta, Red-winged Laughingthruhrush, Spotted Laughingthrush, Black-faced Laughingthrush, Darjeeling Woodpecker, Vinaceous Rosefinch, Coal Tit, Ashy-throated Warbler, Sichuan Leaf Warbler, Emei Leaf Warbler, Large-billed Leaf Warbler, Yellowish-bellied Bush Warbler, Aberrant Bush Warbler, etc.
In the lower-elevation area, we will look for Gold-fronted Fulvetta, David's Fulvetta, Crimson-breasted Woodpecker, Speckled Piculet, Yellow-browed Tit, Yellow-bellied Tit, Black-throated Tit, Sichuan Bush Warbler, Pygmy Cupwing, Black Bulbul, Emei Leaf Warbler, Chestnut-crowned Warbler, Brownish-flanked Bush Warbler, Rufous-capped Babbler, Red-billed Leiothrix, Red-tailed Minla, Blue-winged Minla, Ferruginous Flycatcher, Snowy-browed Flycatcher, Taiga Flycatcher, Brown Bullfinch, etc.
Day 17: Longcanggou to Chengdu.
Continue our exploration in Longcanggou this morning. In the afternoon, we will drive back to Chengdu.
Day 18: Departure from Chengdu or join the Eastern Parrotbill Extension.
Following a lovely breakfast at the hotel, you will be transferred to the airport to depart from Chengdu or join the 4 Days "East China Parrotbill Extension". This will conclude the services for this scheduled itinerary from the AlpineBirding.