The Overview of this trip will tell you the following information:
This trip covers almost all kinds of habitats in Sichuan, we will visit some very popular birding sites such as Wawushan or Mt. Longcangou, Balang Mountain, Wolong Nature Reserve, Mengbishan, Flower Lake, Baxi Village and Jiuzhaigou, just to name a few here. The closing down of Wawu Mountain has disappointed many birders. Just in case we still can’t go there, we go to Longcanggou instead, which is located on the other side of Wawu and has similar environment as Wawu. By concentrating on China’s endemics, this 18-day Sichuan Birding trip is absolutely an ultimate chance for endemics in China. Though some parts of this trip are quite strenuous due to climbing or walking in high-elevation areas, we will be rewarded by not only some rare endemics but also the beautiful sceneries and rich ethnic minority culture.
• Trip Duration: 18 Days from May 25th to June 11th
• Difficulty: mostly moderate, demanding on certain parts
• Number of bird species expected to see: 250~300
• Trip Cost: 4980USD/pax
• Single Supplement：560 USD/pax
• Deposite: 500USD/pax
• Trip Size: 6~8 birders
• Space: Open for booking
The cost includes the following.
1. Transportation throughout the Sichuan Birding trip, include airport pickups and drop off at Chengdu International Airport.
2. Meals at local popular restaurants labeled as BLD in the itinerary.
Classic Sichuan Tibetan Areas Birding Trip
Day 1 (May 25th) Arrival in Chengdu
With a history of over 3000 years, Chengdu is the provincial capital of the “Land of Abundance”- the Sichuan Province. The special location of the city and nice environment here has made this city an important site for birding. Each year during migration time, lots of rare birds including Blackthroat have been spotted on their way to the mountains in western Sichuan. Depending on your time of arrival and your personal interests, we can arrange some easy birding in the local parks or a city exploration on the first day of our China bird watching tour.
Overnight: Ane Grand Hotel or similar Meals: D
Day 2 (May 26th) Chengdu - Xiangling mountain
In the morning we will drive to Chengdu Botanical Garden to search for some local birds such as Chinese Bulbul,White-browed Laughingthrush, Spotted Dove, Chinese Blackbird, Chinese Grosbeak, Collared Finchbill, Vinous-throated Parrotbill and Black-crowned Night Heron.Following lunch at a local popular restaurant, we will drive towards the Xiangling mountain.
Day 3-4 (May 27th-28th) Xiangling mountain
Xiangling mountain is a very important birding spot for parrobills, fulvettas, laughingthrushes and babblers. We will spend two days here searching for these birds including star birds such as, Lady Amherst’s Pheasant, Temminck’s Tragopan, Emei Shan Liocichla, Golden-fronted Fulvetta, Golden-breasted Fulvetta, Ashy-throated Parrotbill , Grey-hooded Parrotbill, Gold Parrotbill, Great Parrotbill, Three-toed Parrotbill, Red-winged Laughingthruhrush, Indian Blue Robin, Vinaceous Rosefinch, Red Crossbill, Slaty Bunting.
Day 5 (May 29th) Xiangling mountain-Erlangshan
Before our departure, we will have a short morning exploration around our hotel. After that, we will drive on towards Erlangshan, the watershed of Dadu River and Qingyi River which are two important river system in Sichuan. We will go to the mountain area and spend some time birding there before we check in our hotel in a nearby town.
Day 6 (May 30th) Elangshan-Baoxing
We will depart early with box breakfast and lunch with us and spend most of the day in this recently discovered birding stop. The dense forest and lush bamboos make it a good site for residents and summer breeders. We will start our searching around the pass to try the Lady Amherst's Pheasant, Temminck's Tragopan. Besides, we will slowly walk along the road and paths to try other species including some very rare and tricky birds like Firethroat, Rufous-tailed Babbler, the endemic Barred Laughingthrush, Streaked Barwing. Other species we can expect in this area are Brown Parrotbill, Great Parrotbill, White-browed Fulvetta, Grey-hooded Fulvetta, Black-browed Bushtit, Fire-capped Tit, Grey Crested Tit, Chestnut-flanked White-eye, etc. In the late afternoon, we will drive to Baoxing to stay the night where many type specimens were collected including the Giant Panda, it is also the place where westerner firstly spotted a wild panda.
Day 7 (May 31th) Baoxing-Rilong
We will depart early this morning and drive deep in Qionglai mountain, the second largest wild panda habitat. After a scenic driving along Baoxing river, we will across a bridge where the following winding road will take us to a majestic snow-capped mountain. We will spend some time at the mountain area in search of some species indeed. Upon arrival in Rilong, we will drive to the lower elevation area of Balang mountain in search of the birds like Blood Pheasant, Crested Tit Warbler, White-winged Grosbeak, Chinese Fulvetta, Sichuan Tit, Wall Creeper, Chestnut Thrush, Kessler's Thrush, White-throated Redstart, Daurian Redstart, Common Rosefinch, Chinese Beautiful Rosefinch, Chinese White-browed Rosefinches, Pink-rumped Rosefinch, etc.
Day 8-9 (June1st-June 2nd) Balang Mountain
We will spend two days birding in the most fascinating birding site in China – the Balang mountain. Balang mountain is the first high mountain standing between the Sichuan Basin and the Qinghai Tibetan Plateau. It serves as a demarcation line ethnically and, due to the change in topography, has rich flora and fauna resources. So besides seeing different birds here, we can also see lots of alpine flowering plants. Our search for alpine birds start after we cross the mighty Balangshan Pass where will spend time around the summit which, at just over 4500 meters, is the highest point we’ll reach on the entire tour. Here we will search for scurrying Snow Partridge, Tibetan Snowcock, Blood Pheasant and Grandala. Other high altitude specialties could also include Lammergeier (Bearded Vulture), Red and Yellow-billed Chough, Alpine Accentor, Brandt’s Mountain Finch and Red-fronted Rosefinch. We will also spend some time in the lower elevations, searching for birds including the endemic Chinese Monal, White-eared Pheasant, and Dark-breasted Rosefinch, Crimson-browed Finch, Common Rosefinch, Kessler's Thrush (White-backed Thrush), Chestnut Thrush, etc.
Day 10（June 3rd）Rillong-Mengbishan-Maerkang
We will continue our exploration at Balang mountain area searching for birds we may have missed in the previous days. In the afternoon, we drive on to Maerkang, the capital of Aba Tibetan and Qiang Autonomous Prefecture. We should arrive Mengbi mountain area around the evening golden hours that give us some time to do a warm-up birding in this area before we head on to Maerkang.
Day 11（June 4th）Mengbi Mountain
Standing between Xiaojin County and Maerkang, Mengbi Mountain is another important birding site that we visit in this trip. With significant differences in elevations along with well-protected virgin forest, abundant flowers and few people has made this site a paradise for birds, including endemic birds like Chestnut-throated Monal Partridge (Verreaux’s Partridge), the rare Sichuan Jay, as well as the shy Chinese Grouse. In the early morning, we will drive to the top of the mountain, standing at 3900 meters, and either walk or drive slowly down the mountain to search for birds. We will spend the whole day birding in different elevations of the mountain looking for the endemic targets and other fascinating birds like Blood Pheasant, Crested Tit Warbler, Chinese Fulvetta, the range-limited Crimson-browed Finch, Three-banded Rosefinch, Przevalski’s Nuthatch, Goldcrest, Rufous-vented Tit, Grey Crested Tit, Hodgson’s Treecreeper, White-winged Grosbeak, Spotted Nutcracker, Grey-headed Bullfinch and Red Crossbill, etc.
Day 12（June 5th）Maerkang-Ruoergai
Today we will enjoy ever changing views. Once we leave our hotel and drive towards Ruoergai, the high mountains on the both side of the road will become lower and lower, and eventually become small hills. We’ll stop in the forest area that borders the Tibetan plateau and search for birds like Pink-tailed Rosefinch (Przevalski's Pinktail), Durian Jackdaw, White-browed Tit, Plain Laughingthrush(Pere David's Laughingthrush), Elliot’s Laughingthrush. Once we get into the eastern edge of the Tibetan Plateau, we will have a good chance to see the important summer breeder, the Black-necked Crane. We will also stop in a couple of places to search for birds along the river including the rare Ibisbill, along with a variety of residents and summer breeders like White-browed Tit Warbler, Horned Lark, Azure-winged Magpie, Oriental Skylark, Carrion Crow, Eurasian Hoopoe, Grey-backed Shrike, Twite, Rock Sparrow, Siberian Stonechat, Citrine Wagtail, etc.
We should also keep an eye on the plateau mammals, the adorable pikas always bump out from its nest and feed on the grassland, while another easy-spotted one is the Himalayan Marmot that always lay flat on the land when it is feeding. Other possible mammals like Sika Deer, Grey Wolf and Hog Badger are more sensitive to be found. After a productive afternoon, we drive to Ruoergai to have 2 nights stay. As the largest wetlands in Sichuan province, Ruoergai Grasslands have been famed as the ‘lungs of Sichuan’. With few people living in the area, the abundance of lakes and the huge number of grazing animals provides a paradise for birds and birders.
Day 13（June 6th）Flower Lake & Baxi Forest
We will spend the day searching for birds in different habitats. Our morning time will be spent in the mountain with virgin forests at the edge of the plateau provide good habitats for forest birds such as the rare Chinese Grouse, Blue Eared Pheasant, the elusive Sichuan Jay, Three-toed Woodpeckers, Przevalski’s Nuthatch, Plain Laughingthrush (Pere David's Laughingthrush) ,Elliot's Laughingthrush, Snowy-cheeked Laughingthrush (Sukatschev's Laughingthrush) , Sichuan Tit, White-browed Tit Warbler, Crested Tit-Warbler, Dusky Warbler, Slaty-backed Flycatcher. In the afternoon, we will visit the productive Flower Lake where we may have a closer observation of the elegant Black-necked Crane. We will slowly walk on the boardwalk searching for other waterfowls and grassland birds including Bar-headed Goose, Great Crested Grebe, Horned Grebe, Black-necked Grebe, Tufted Duck, Northern Shoveler, Red-crested Pochard, Common Pochard, Ferruginous Duck, Gadwall, Eurasian Teal, Brown-cheeked Rail, Lesser Sand Plover, Citrine Wagtail Oriental Skylark, Little Ringed Plover. Some rare species like Whooper Swan and Eurasian Bittern were occasionally spotted from distance. On our way back to hotel, we will scan both site in search of grassland birds and predators like the White-rumped Snowfinch, Rufous-necked Snowfinch, Tibetan Lark, Horned Lark, Lammergeier (Bearded Vulture), Himalayan Vulture, Upland Buzzard, Common Kestrel.
Day 14（June 7th）Ruoergai-Baxi Forest-Chuanzhusi
This morning we will go to the Baxi forest again to try for some key species we may still need to find before driving to Chuanzhusi in the late afternoon.
Overnight: Keluolinka Hotel or similar Meals: B,L,D
Day 15（June 8th）Chuanzhusi-Gongganglin-Tangjiahe
Today we will leave in the dark to go to Gongganglin to search for the endemic and rare Sichaun Wood Owl (Pere David's Owl) as well as the elusive Sichuan Jay and Chinese Grouse, please note that these three birds are very tricky to track down, though we have some scheduled spots holds higher chances. After searching the Gongganglin area we will drive on to Tangjiahe NNR. After passing through the entrance of this nature reserve, there is still some driving before reaching our hotel, we will have some stops to search for birds and wildlife on the way.
Day 16（June 9th）Tangijahe Nature Reserve
Tangjiahe is one of the best places to search for mammals and birds in China. We will explore this site through the morning to the dusk, in this way, we can get more chance to see some crepuscular species including the fascinating Golden Pheasant. Other interesting bird species we can expect are Spectacled Fulvetta, Sooty Bushtit, Crested Kingfisher, Blue Rock Thrush, Slaty Bunting, Sulphur-breasted Warbler etc. Besides, we can climb up along the tail into lush bamboo forest at an elevation of around 1500-2000 meters, to get a chance of seeing some higher-elevation species like Temminck's Tragopan, Spotted Laughingthrush, Red-winged Laughingthrush, White-throated Laughingthrush, White-backed Woodpecker, White-browed Shortwing. If we are lucky, we may have a chance to see the fascinating but scarce Tawny Fish Owl along the river side.
While the mammals are also very productive here, we may see a Takin pop out and across the road in front of us. Some species like Tibetan Macaque, the elusive Yellow-throated Marten, Reeves’ Montjac Deer like wondering along river side while Chinese Goral is usually spotted on the steep cliff. There are some challengeable species like the timid Serow, shy Tufted Deer and the elusive Asian Black Bear, are very tricky to track down.
Day 17（June 10th）Tanghiiahe-Chengdu
We will keep searching for birds and wildlife within the Tangiiahe area before driving back to Chengdu in the afternoon. We will have several stops on the way for leg stretches and some short birding time.
Day 18（June 11th）Depart from Chengdu
We will drive you to the airport to catch your flight leaving Chengdu. AlpineBirding service ends.
Overnight: / Meals: B
Following are some of the feedbacks we have got from our clients we had served.
I have been busy answering e-mails and writing text for our newsletter and other things since getting back as lots of things needed doing - but things already calming down again.
——Roy Atkins, a professional Bird Guide from UK in Custom Birding Trip in Sichuan in 2015
'Dear Philip, lily and Jiawei,
It was a great experience seeing China - the birds, travel, culture, sceerny with you. You did an absoluteyl first rate job in all respects - some of the best service and professional arrqngements and leading of a tour in my 40+ years of experience worldwide to 100 countries and over 300 tours organised and led.
Thank you all - I will certainly promote your services to my friends and colleagues and hope your business prospers as it deserves. If I can be of any help do let me know.
Very Best Wishes '
I’ll go to Brasil next week for birdwatching and mammals.'
'Dear Philip and Jiawei
Dear Phillip He,
We are a Thai couple (sat behind a driver of a big car) who have
After we came back to Thailand, we both and all of our friends just
Please keep on contacting us and just let us know if you have a plan
——（2012 Birding Trip in Western Sichuan）
1. How about your bird guides, are they professional enough?
All our bird guides are carefully chosen and have rich experiences of guiding westerners. Most of them are full time bird guide of AlpineBirding. Their specieties in colleague are always involved with ecology, they have strong interests in birds and have guided lots of birding trips for AlpineBirding. They know the birds, birding sites and culture aspects of the places you are going to visit very well. To be honest, because English is not official language in China, our guide can't speak fluent English as the bird guide from western countries, their knowledge on birds and cultural aspects of places you are going to visit is excellent..
2. How difficult is this trip?
The difficulty of this trip can be labled from easy to moderate. Most of times,we will search for birds on the roadside or the forest near the main road. There are some optional hikes along the trails, but it is optional and very few. The most difficult part of the trip is going to the high elevation areas, the highest elevation we will go is around 4500 meters above the sea level. Consult your doctor if you have never been to high elevation area before.
3. How about the food? Is there aways western food avaible?
Because most of times, we need to drive to the field before day break so as to make good use of golden hours for birding in the moring, so breakfast is always easy and in the field. We will bring some snacks, coffee, hot water, cakes and fruits. So very few times, we will have breakfast in our hotel. For the lunch, it is similar, we always have picnic lunch in the field to save time. While dinner is always in a good restaurant near our hotel or in our hotel if the hotel also provide good food. Sichuan food is one of the four most famous food in China. In our past trips, the absolute majority of our clients enjoy the food. However once we get out the the main cities like Chengdu, it is very hard to find western food restaraunt.
4. Can AlpineBirding help me to get Chinese Visa?
Yes, we can provide necessary documents needed for your visa application. Once you confirm to participate our trip, our staff will help you with this.
5. Do I need vaccination for this trip? Do I need bring medicines?
Generally Sichuan is very safe destination. You don't need. The best way is to consult your personal doctor for suggestions. Yes, you'd better bring your own medicine. Though we have lots of phamacies in China, all the medicines are explained in Chinese. So the best way is to consult your doctor and bring some medicines in case of needs.
6. What kind of birding gears do I need to bring?
We will bring a swarovski spotting scope and A Field Guide to the Bird of China, you need to bring your own binoculars. We will also print a checklist for each of our trip participants. Unless we specify in our itinerary, we do not camp in our trips but in some trips, we have to stay in local family guest house which is quiet basic, if you want to bring your own sleeping bags, you can bring.
7. What does AlpineBirding trips include and exclude?
Please read the inclusions and exclusions given in the same page where you find the trip cost.
8. How do you compare your trips with birding trips provided by other world famous birding companies?
The world only becomes so colorful just because of the existence of so many different things. We hold great respects toward all the other companies in the world, but we want to show our specialties accumulated from many years of running trips. As a local company, we have our own advantages about local birds and local culture. We want to build up our own team of professionals. The growth of our professional team will not only bring direct benefits to our customers in a way that they can travel in cheaper price at the same trip quality but also will exert positive impacts on locals in terms of protecting environments, appreciating local birds and knowing better of local resources. We care about your enjoyment of the trip and we will do everything we can to ensure your full enjoyment of your trip and realize the best value of each penny you have paid to us.