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Sichuan's Pheasants & Parrotbills Tour
This trip covers two of the most important birding sites in Sichuan, namely Balang Mountain and Longcanggou Forest Park. As one of the high mountains sitting at the edge of Qinghai-Tibet Plateau, Balang Mountain is home to a great variety of bird and plant species due to huge elevation differences from the mountain foot to the mountain peak. It is widely considered the best place to explore pheasant species among all the birding sites in China. It is conveniently suited to about a 4.5-hour drive away from Chengdu, the capital city of Sichuan Province. We can expect extraordinary bird species in the diverse habitats including Chinese Monal, Chestnut-throated Partridge, Snow Partridge, Tibetan Snowcock, Streaked Rosefinch, Dark-breasted Rosefinch, Dark-rumped Rosefinch, Crimson-browed Finch, Common Rosefinch, Grandala, Firethroat, etc.
 
Located in the center of the Rainy Zone of West China, an ecotone between Western Sichuan Plain and the Himalayans, Longcanggou is a very popular birding site in China. The dense subtropical evergreen broad-leaved forests are home to a lot of special species and some range-restricted species. Longcanggou has become more and more famous after the shutdown of the famous Wawu Mountain in 2008 as the resources it holds are as abundant as Wawu Mountain. Although now the Wawu Mountain has reopened again, the new constructions make birding there really prosaic. As it is, Longcanggou is the best option to try parrotbills on an excursion. Besides the possibility of seeing the 5 kinds of parrotbills, we can also expect some other interesting species like Lady Amherst's Pheasant, Emei Shan Liocichla, Gold-fronted Fulvetta, Hwamei, etc.
 

Tour Info Sheet

Highlight Birds
Snow Partridge, Tibetan Snowcock, Chinese Monal, White-eared Pheasant, Chestnut-throated Monal Partridge, Temminck's Tragopan, Lady Amherst's Pheasant, Blood Pheasant, Koklass Pheasant, Firethroat, Chinese Fulvetta, Chinese Rubythroat, Golden Bush Robin, Great Parrotbill, Brown Parrotbill, Three-toed Parrotbill, Grey-hooded Parrotbill, Golden Parrotbill, Vinaceous Rosefinch, Streaked Rosefinch, Dark-breasted Rosefinch, Dark-rumped Rosefinch, Crimson-browed Finch, Common Rosefinch, Red-fronted Rosefinch, Gold-fronted Fulvetta, Grey-hooded Fulvetta, Golden-breasted Fulvetta, Emei Shan Liocichla, Giant Laughingthrush, Red-winged Laughingthruhrush, Spotted Laughingthrush, Black-faced Laughingthrush, Darjeeling Woodpecker, Crimson-breasted Woodpecker, Speckled Piculet, White-throated Needletail, Coal Tit, Fire-capped Tit, Ashy-throated Warbler, Sichuan Leaf Warbler, Emei Leaf Warbler, Large-billed Leaf Warbler, Yellowish-bellied Bush Warbler, Aberrant Bush Warbler, Sichuan Bush Warbler, Pygmy Cupwing, Black Bulbul, Chestnut-crowned Warbler, Red-billed Leiothrix, Red-tailed Minla, Blue-winged Minla, Ferruginous Flycatcher, Snowy-browed Flycatcher, Taiga Flycatcher, Brown Bullfinch, Kessler's Thrush (White-backed Thrush), Rufous-vented Tit, Sichuan Tit, White-throated Redstart, Grandala, Lammergeier (Bearded Vulture), Golden Eagle, Alpine Accentor, Brandt's Mountain Finch, Snow Pigeon, Rosy Pipit, Chinese Grosbeak, Collared Finchbill, Fork-tailed Sunbird, etc.
Numbers of Species to Expect100100-150
Ease of Birdingmostly easy birding with a few tricky species
Highlight MammalsChinese Goral, Tufted Deer, etc.
Other AttractionsSichuan cuisine, Jiarong Tibetan culture
Photography Opportunitiesbirding focused but with very good photography chances
Habitats CoveredSub-tropical forests, alpine scrubs, meadows, alpine flowstone slopes
Expected Climatemostly comfortable, cold on Balang Mountain, rain is possible
Physical Requirementsmostly easy, but need to be aware of high elevation
Accommodationcomfortable

What makes this trip irreplaceable?
 
1. Visiting Balang Mountain, the "pheasant kingdom" and Longcanggou for some remarkable pheasant species including Chinese Monal, Temminck's Tragopan, Lady Amherst's Pheasant, Snow Partridge, Tibetan Snowcock, White Eared Pheasant, Koklass Pheasant, Blood Pheasant, Chestnut-throated Monal Partridge (Verreaux's Partridge).
 
2. Looking for parrotbills including Vinous-throated Parrotbill, Brown Parrotbill, Ashy-throated Parrotbill, Great Parrotbill, Three-toed Parrotbill, Grey-hooded Parrotbill, Golden Parrotbill, etc. 
 
3. The spectacular scenery of snow-capped mountains in western Sichuan.
 
4. Experienced guides who have great knowledge about local birds and rich experiences of guiding travelers from different countries. 
 
5. Short programs with more flexibility. This trip can be customized to your needs and preferences better.
 
6. Years of working as a local partner for some prestigious western companies specialized in birds and wildlife.
 
7. A strong logistic team in the office to ensure our trip goes smoothly and every participant has a comfortable and memorable journey. 


Dates & Prices

Dates Booking Status Price Single Supplement Group Size Guides
Jun 28 - Jul 5, 2022Space Available$2,150/pax$200/pax8Steve Potter & Local Guide
Slide the sheet to the left to see the full sheet if you are viewing it on your phone or tablet.
 
The cost includes the following:
1. Private transportation throughout the trip, including airport pick-up and drop-off in Chengdu; Internal flight as listed in the itinerary.
2. All meals from dinner on day 1 to lunch on day 8.
3. All the entrance tickets for places listed in the itinerary including cable cars and shuttle buses.
4. Hotel stays from the first day to the last day, two clients occupy one twin-bed room on a sharing basis at nice 3 or 4 star hotels in big cities and local best guesthouses in remote areas.
5. Bottled water and snacks throughout the trip.
6. Simple western breakfast whenever is possible.
7. Service charges of a professional western bird guide and an experienced local bird guide throughout the whole trip.
8. China domestic travel insurance.
9. Service of all logistic supports. 
 
The cost does not include the following:
a. Drinks during meals.
b. Extra charges due to change of itinerary from the client's side or factors beyond the control of AlpineBirding such as natural disaster or governmental policy change.
c. Discretionary tips to guides and drivers.
d. All personal expenses such as laundry service.
e. ANY AIRFARE except those stated in the itinerary.
f. Any program not listed in the itinerary.


Itinerary

Tour Map

Day 1: Arrival in Chengdu, China.
On the first day of the tour, a private guide or driver will meet you once you arrive at Chengdu Shuangliu Airport or Tianfu International Airport. After meeting your guide or driver, you will be transferred to the downtown hotel for one night stay. For early arrivals, we will go for a relaxing birding at a local park near the hotel. 
 
Day 2: Chengdu Botanical Garden to Longcanggou.
We will have a short visit to the Chengdu Botanical Garden before we start our drive to Longcanggou. 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 drive to Longcanggou. We normally have some time birding around the guesthouse looking for Ashy-throated Parrotbill, Hwamei, Red-billed Leiothrix, Oriental Greenfinch, etc.
 
Day 3-4: Longcanggou National Forest Park.
Located on the western edge of the Sichuan Basin, Longcanggou sets 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. One of the densest subtropical evergreen broad-leaved forests is found here and is home to a lot of range-restricted and endemic species. Temminck's Tragopan and Lady Amherst's Pheasant can be found here. Despite this, in the lush bamboo forest of high elevation, we will look for Great Parrotbill, Brown Parrotbill, Three-toed Parrotbill, Grey-hooded Parrotbill, Golden Parrotbill, Grey-hooded Fulvetta, Golden-breasted Fulvetta, Red-winged Laughingthruhrush, Spotted Laughingthrush, Black-faced Laughingthrush, Darjeeling Woodpecker, Vinaceous Rosefinch, White-throated Needletail, Coal Tit, Fire-capped Tit, Ashy-throated Warbler, Sichuan Leaf Warbler, Emei Leaf Warbler, Large-billed Leaf Warbler, Yellowish-bellied Bush Warbler, Aberrant Bush Warbler, etc. 
 
In the broadleaf forest of lower elevation, 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 5: Longcanggou National Forest Park to Wolong.
Continuing our exploration in Longcanggou in the morning. After that, we will drive to Wolong.
 
Day 6-7: Balang Mountain (Alt.: 2,000-4,484-2,000m).
We will spend two days birding on this fascinating birding site. Balang Mountain is the first high mountain standing between the Sichuan Basin and the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau, from the foot to the pass, the elevation rises sharply from 2,000m to 4,500m which provides a wide variety of habitats to support a lot of creatures. The mountain pass at around 4,500 meters is the highest point we will reach on this entire tour. Around the snow-line of the alpine flowstone slope, we will search for the scurrying Snow Partridge, Tibetan Snowcock, and Grandala. Other high altitude specialties we could see include Lammergeier (Bearded Vulture), Golden Eagle, Yellow-billed Chough, Alpine Accentor, Brandt's Mountain Finch, Snow Pigeon, Red-fronted Rosefinch, Rosy Pipit, etc. 
 
We will also spend some time at the lower elevations around the timberline where alpine meadows and scrubs carpet the snow-covered mountain. We will visit this area several times in search of birds including the endemic Chinese Monal, White-eared Pheasant, Verreaux's Partridge, as well as Blood Pheasant, Koklass Pheasant, Firethroat, Eurasian Sparrowhawk, Chinese Fulvetta, Chinese Rubythroat, Golden Bush Robin, Streaked Rosefinch, Dark-breasted Rosefinch, Dark-rumped Rosefinch, Crimson-browed Finch, Common Rosefinch, Kessler's Thrush (White-backed Thrush), Rufous-vented Tit, Sichuan Tit, Asian House Martin, Alpine Leaf Warbler, Giant Laughingthrush, White-throated Redstart, etc. We can also search for Chinese Goral and Blue Sheep in this area.
 
Additionally, we will visit broad-leaved forest and bamboo undergrowth lower down for Large Hawk Cuckoo, Himalayan Cuckoo, Eurasian Nutcracker, Green-backed Tit, Yellow-streaked Warbler, Buff-throated Warbler, Chinese Leaf Warbler, Sichuan Leaf Warbler, Martens's Warbler, Brownish-flanked Bush Warbler, White-collared Yuhina, Chinese Babax, Chestnut Thrush, Verditer Flycatcher, Daurian Redstart, Slaty Bunting, Yellow-throated Bunting, etc. Golden Pheasant's call normally can be heard here, but it normally hides in the bush, we may see it with luck.
 
Day 8: Balang Mountain to Chengdu, then fly to Xining.
We can spend the morning in Balang Mountain to search for our targets again. After that, we will drive back to Chengdu Airport to catch our flight to Xining for our 14-day "Wildlife Safari on the Roof of the World". This will conclude the services for this scheduled itinerary from AlpineBirding.


Guide(s)

Steve Potter
As early as in Steve's teenage, he already developed a passion for birds and wildlife while visiting his parents in central Africa. Since then, he spent over 40 years traveling and going to bird throughout Africa, Australia, South East Asia, UK, America, and the Middle East. 17 years ago, Steve decided to share all his birding experience and bird knowledge to the bird lovers and nature lovers by working as a birding guide. His previous experience helps him become an outstanding birding guide and tour leader. So far, Steve has been active as a professional bird guide throughout Australia and working as tour leader with local expert bird guides in South East Asia. Also, Steve has extensive interests in everything may show up during traveling including the mammals, cultures, he is willing to share all of it with the clients. 
 
Besides, one of AlpineBirding's local guides in Southwest China will participate in this trip to ensure a high-end birding experience.


Reports


We don't have a report available for this tour at this stage, please feel free to email us, we are more than happy to answer any of your questions and share the latest bird information with you.

Testimonials

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Kai P / Sichuan part of the Tibetan Plateau

Great Birding and Bird Photography on the Sichuan part of the Tibetan Plateau with AlpineBirding


Shay and Philip took a friend and me on a 10-day birding trip on the Sichuan part of the Tibetan plateau, including places legendary among bird watchers, such as Balangshan, Mengibshan, and Ruoergai.

While I was initially a bit skeptical about the nature of the tour (I generally do not like guided tours), it proved absolutely worth it to have both Philip (to drive and to deal with the occasional oversuspicious police) and particularly Shay (for finding and identifying birds) around. While Shay has probably seen every bird on the trip multiple times, he is not content with just finding it and showing it to you but tries to make sure that you can also get a good photo of it, should you want to do so. This goes to the point where - if a bird was difficult to photograph - it sometimes was me giving up rather than Shay.

In conclusion, I think I would not have seen half of the birds on this trip had I taken it on my own. Highly recommended.


Kai P / Sichuan part of the Tibetan Plateau July 14, 2021
Nichelle E / TangJiaHe, Sichuan

One of a Kind Birding Experience in TangJiaHe


Bella and Philip with Alpine Birding not only crafted a wonder trip to showcase the beauty of Sichuan but were able to navigate unexpected changes with ease and skill. They guided us to experience more than 70 kinds of birdsc including Collar Crow, Tremnick’s Tragopan, and Golden Pheasant, along with many species of mammals. They were also knowledgable about regional culture. If you’re looking for a guide that will give you a deeper understanding of the nature of Sichuan, look no further than Alpine birding.


Nichelle E / TangJiaHe, Sichuan May 28, 2021
Steven Bonta / Western Sichuan
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
Yohay Wasserlauf / Western Sichuan
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
Alice and Silas / Balang Mountain Excursion
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
Andrew / Balang Mountain & Chongqing
Balang Mountain / Chongqing
 
I contacted Alpine Birding last minute and they did an amazing job to set up 2 brilliant birding trips for me.

One around Chongqing city and one from Chengdu to Balang Mountain. I cannot fault them. Everything was brilliantly organised and the local knowledge of bird calls and many hidden birding spots was excellent.

I highly recommend this birding team.

 
Andrew / Balang Mountain & Chongqing July 17, 2018
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