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The Overview of this trip will tell you the following information:

I.  Highlight Birds
II. Trip Briefing
III. Trip Essentials (Price, Guide, Group Size, Difficulty Level, Dates and Length, etc.)
IV.  Inclusions and Exclusions



I.Hightlight Birds
Chinese Grouse, Blue Eared Pheasant, White-eared Pheasant, Blood Pheasant, Tibetan Snowcock, Tibetan Partridge, Rusty-necklaced (Przevalski’s) Partridge, Chestnut-throated (Verreaux's Monal) Partridge, Buff-throated (Szechenyi’s Monal) Partridge, Tibetan Sandgrouse, Pallas’s Sandgrouse, Mongolian Ground Jay, Tibetan Bunting, Pink-tailed Bunting (Przevalski’s Finch), Tibetan Babax, Black necked Crane, Bar-headed Goose, Saker Falcon, Amur Falcon, Tibetan Rosefinch, Pale Rosefinch, Streaked Rosefinch, Chinese White-browed Rosefinch, Tibetan Snowfinch, White-rumped Snowfinch, Rufous-necked Snowfinch, Przevalski's (Ala Shan) Redstart, Güldenstädt’s Redstart, Crested Tit Warbler, White-browed Tit Warbler, Gansu Leaf Warbler, Chinese Nuthatch (Snowy-browed Nuthatch), Przevalski’s Nuthatch (White-cheeked Nuthatch), Plain Laughingthrush, Elliot's Laughingthrush, etc.


II Trip Briefing

Our trip start in Xiningthe capital of Qinghai Province, followed by about 10 days birding in some carefully-picked sites in Qinghai province. The high elevation has made this land of world beauty different from tropical areas in the regard of bird varieties, only small group of bird species can survive in the highland. So this Qinghai bird watching tour will highlight the real endemics instead of varieties such as Hume’s Ground Jay, Tibetan Rosefinch, Tibetan Snowcock, Black-necked Crane, Tibetan Lark. Though the birding on the high-elevation area and remote areas in Tibetan area is quite tough, we will be rewarded by the good view of some rare endemics you can only see them here beside the stunning landscapes, beautiful wild flowers, authentic Tibetan culture and different grazing wild animal flocks. In the alpine lakes, we will see  summer breeders in our birding tour in Qinghai such as Black-necked Crane, Ibisbill, Rudy Shelduck and Pallas’ Gull, Brown-headed Gull and Great Cormorant.


 III.  Trip Essentials

• Trip Duration: from June 24th to July 7th.

• Tour Leader: Dave Suddaby & Shay Xie

• Difficulty: mostly moderate, be aware of difficulties from high elevation (known as the roof of the world).

• Number of bird species expected to see: 200~250

• Cost: USD5720/pax.

• Single Supplement:510 USD/pax

Deposite: USD1000/pax

• Trip Size: 4~8 birders.

• Space: ( 8 space available)


IV.  Inclusions and Exclusions

The cost includes the following.

1. Transportation throughout the whole trip, including airport pick up and drop off.

2. Meals at local popular restaurants labeled as BLD in the itinerary.
3. All the entrance tickets for places listed in the itinerary including cable cars and shuttle buses.
4.Hotel stays from first day to the last day, two person occupy one twin-bed room on sharing basis at nice 4-star hotels in big cities and local best guesthouses in local places.
5.Bottled water, seasonal fruits and snacks throughout the trip.
6. Western breakfast whenever is possible .
7. Service charges of a professional western bird guide and a local English-speaking bird expert.
8. China domestic travel insurance.
9. Service of all logistic supports.


The cost does not include the following.
a. Drinks during the meals.
b. Extra charges due to change of itinerary from client side or factors beyond the control of AlpineBirding such as natural disaster and governmental policy change.
c. Discretionary tips to the western guide, local expert and driver.
d. All personal expense such as laundry service.
e. Airfare to the place where our trip start and from the place where our trip ends .
f. Any program not listed in the itineraries.

Classic Qinghai Tibetan Plateau Birding Trip




Day 1 (June 24th) Arrival in Xining
Xining is the capital of Qinghai Province. Upon arrival at Xining Airport, our AlpineBirding's bird guide or driver will pick you up and drive you to the hotel in the city. Depending on your time of arrival, you are warmly welcome to join an easy birding exploration in the mountain nearby this afternoon. The mountain area is good to search for the forest birds like Eurasian Sparrowhawk, Grey-headed Woodpecker, Plain Laughingthrush, Oriental Turtle-dove, Hill Pigeon, Chestnut Thrush, Godlewski’s Bunting, Meadow Bunting, Red-billed Chough, Black Redstart, Daurian Redstart, we will also try the sparse Pale Rosefinch here.
Overnight: Haolong Hotel or similar    Meals: D

Day 2 (June 25th) Xining-Dongxia Forest Park-Huzhu Beishan Mountain
This morning, we will depart Xining city early and begin the drive west towards Dongxia Forest Park where we can seek out some superb specials including Crested Tit Warbler, White-browed Tit Warbler, Gansu Leaf Warbler, Chinese Nuthatch (Snowy-browed Nuthatch), Przevalski’s Nuthatch (White-cheeked Nuthatch), Plain Laughingthrush, Elliot's Laughingthrush, Siberian Rubythroat, Chinese Thrush. We will explore different hills here patiently. The dense forest also home to other noteworthy species like Daurian Jackdaw, Rook, Kessler’s Thrush, Chestnut Thrush, Common Rosefinch, Chinese White-browed Rosefinch, Grey-headed Bullfinch, Grey-capped Greenfinch, Red Crossbill, Slaty-backed Flycatcher,White-throated Redstart, Rufous-vented Tit, as well as the shy Smoky Warbler. After lunch at a local restaurant, we head on to Huzhu Beishan mountain.
Overnight: Huzhu Yingyuan Guesthouse or similar    Meals: B,L,D

Day 3 (June 26th) Huzhu Beishan Mountain
Whole day birding in Huzhu Beishan in search of our targets. Our first targets here will be two superb Chinese endemics, the magnificent Blue Eared Pheasant and the rather secretive Chinese Grouse (Severtzov's Grouse), while in the higher mountain pass, we can try the difficult and shy Verreaux's Monal Partridge as well. In the lower forest area we will look for some interesting birds including Crested Tit Warbler, Himalayan Bluetail, Wallcreeper, Chestnut Thrush, Common Roesfinch, Pink-rumped Rosefinch, Grey-headed Bullfinch, Goldcrest, Rufous-breasted Accentor, White-winged grosbeak, White-throated Dipper, Brown Dipper, Spotted Bush Warbler, Large-billed Warbler, Greenish Warbler, Chinese Leaf Warbler.
Overnight: Huzhu Yingyuan Guesthouse or similar    Meals: B,L,D


Day 4 (June 27th) Huzhu Beishan Mountain-Heimahe via Qinghai Hu Lake
Spending the morning birding around Huzhu Beishan Mountain area. Then drive to Heimahe in the afternoon. Along the way to Heimahe, we will take some time to enjoy the beautiful scenery of the alpine lake-- Qinghai Lake, as well as the alpine waterfowls including Black necked Crane, the only crane breed on plateau, and other species like Bar-headed Goose, Northern Pintail, Northern Shoveler, Red-crested Pochard, Eurasian Wigeon, Whooper Swan, Ferruginous duck, Ruddy Shelduck, Tufted Duck, Black-necked Grebe, Great Crested Grebe, Little Grebe, Pallas’s Gull, Kentish Plover, Pale Martin, Green sandpiper, Common Redshank. We can also see some grassland birds like Hume's Short-toed Lark, Asia Short-toed Lark, Mongolian lark, Tibetan Lark, Rufous-necked Snowfinch, Pere David’s Snowfinch, Isabelline Wheatear, Ground Tit, etc. After the enjoyable birding time around the lake, we head on to Heimahe to check in our hotel.
Overnight: Cuican Xingcheng Hostel or similar   Meals: B,L,D


Day 5 (June 28th) Heimahe-Rubber Mountain-Chaka
This morning we will drive a short distance to Rubber Mountain where is further east to Heimahe. The mixed shrubs and meadows are perfect hides for the Pink-tailed Bunting (Przevalski’s Finch) which is a bird in a family all of its own. While there are many other interesting birds hide in the scrubby mountain slope such as the shy Tibetan Partridge, Saker Falcon,Streaked Rosefinch, Chinese White-browed Rosefinch, Tibetan Snowfinch, White-rumped Snowfinch, Rufous-necked Snowfinch, Brown Accentor, Robin Accentor, Ground Tit, Himalayan Griffon, Upland Buzzard. After our exploration in rubber mountain, we head on to Chaka.
Overnight: Yanlifang Hotel or similar   Meals: B,L,D


Day 6 &7 (June 29-30th) Chaka
All the creatures here have made prefect evolution to fit in the environmental color. Some species are not easy to be sought out from the interminable harsh desert and arid mountain ranges, but definitely worth trying, such as the Pallas’s Sandgrouse which is a gorgeous desert species and adept at camouflaging itself in the ochre desert steppe. We will drive to different hills nearby to explore all the species indeed including Mongolian Ground Jay, rare and elusive Przevalski's (Ala Shan) Redstart, Rusty-necklaced (Przevalski’s) Partridge, Isabelline Shrike, Eurasian Golden Oriole, Amur Falcon, Isabelline Wheatear, Desert Wheatear, Crested Lark, Asian Short-toed Lark, Hume’s Short-toed Lark, White-cheeked Starling, Azure-winged Magpie, Mongolian Finch, Pere David’s Snowfinch, Blanford's Snowfinch, Upland Buzzard, etc.
Overnight: Yanlifang Hotel or similar    Meals: B,L,D


Day 8 (July 1st) Chaka -Wenquan
We will depart Chaka early this morning. The driving to our next destination will always be full of surprises if you always have alert eyes towards the sky and vast scrubby plateau, we can expect some predators and grassland birds such as Golden Eagle and pitpits, shrikes, finches, snow finches, larks. We will arrive Chaka around lunch time where we can search for Rusty-necklaced (Przevalski’s) Partridge again if needed. Before we arrive at the small town Wenquan where we will stay in a simple but conveniently placed guesthouse, we will drive pass by Ela Shan pass this afternoon. The highway winds up over the spectacular ELa, the pass of nearly 4500m where the road is surrounded by snow-capped peaks that stretch away toward the distant horizon. Here is the place we will focus on searching for Tibetan Sandgrouse and Tibetan Rosefinch next morning. Around the pass, we can also spot other birds like White-winged Redstart, Asian Short-toed Lark, Desert Wheatear, Margelanic Whitethroat, Desert Finch and Pine Bunting.
Overnight: Wenquan guesthouse or similar   Meals: BLD


Day 9 (July 2nd) Wenquan-Ela Mountain-Maduo
We will spend the forenoon around Ela mountaion pass in search of some endemic and alpine species. Our first target would be the highly range-restricted and rare Tibetan Rosefinch, while we slowly hike up searching for this bird, we will also scan the mountain slope and try another difficult target, the Tibetan Sandgrouse, though we do need some fortune to find it. Other species we can expect around this area are Güldenstädt’s Redstart, Tibetan Lark, White-rumped Snowfinch, Rufous-necked Snowfinch, Henri’s Snowfinch, Brandt’s Mountain Finch, Bearded Vulture, Himalayan Vulture, Tibetan Snowcock.
Followed our exploration around Ela mountain area, we will drive on towards Maduo, along the driving, we will have good chance to see some plateau mammals like Kiang (Tibetan Wild Ass), Tibetan Fox, Black-lipped Pika, Himalayan Marmot, Tibetan Gazelle, etc. While the poles at both sides are good place for spotting some raptors including Upland Buzzard, Himalayan Vulture, Saker Falcon, etc.
Overnight: Maduo Lingxiang Hostel or similiar   Meals: BLD


Day 10 (July 3th) Maduo-Yushu
Today we will drive pass by the mighty Yellow River area and drive further west towards the east edge of Tibet. As we depart Maduo, the scenery will start changing after a short driving. As closer as we get to Yushu, the capital of Yushu Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture, the magnificent valleys will be unfurled before us. The changing of the environment gives us chance to see species rely on different habitat. Before we head into the valley, we will spend some time on the grassland where is a very important breeding place for the summer migrations including the Black-necked Crane and Bar-headed Goose.
Overnight: Yushu Hotel or similiar    Meals: BLD


Day 11 (July 4th) Yushu-Nangqian
This morning, we will depart Yushu and drive deep along the rugged and grand valleys towards Nangqian, our last destination in Qinghai of this trip. This site holds amazing bird resources especially the three range-limited endemic species, the Buff-throated Partridge (Szechenyi’s Monal-Partridge), Tibetan Bunting and Tibetan Babax. Our two days’ searching in this area normally gives us a high reward. After a nice set-down lunch in Nangqian, we will drive to our birding site directly and start birding upon arrival.  We can expect some exciting species like Tibetan Bunting, Tibetan Babax, Tibetan Partridge, Snow Pigeon, while other birds like Red-billed Chough, Common Hoopoe, Giant Laughingthrush, Elliot's Laughingthrush, Grey-hooded Fulvetta, Kessler's Thrush, Blue-fronted Redstart, Brown Accentor, Pink-rumped Rosefinch, Chinese White-browed Rosefinch are also on offer. Besides, the river shoal outside of this county is ideal habitat of a stunning summer breeder, the Ibisbill, which is one of our main target there, though it is a tricky species to be sought out from the less-distinguish background.
Overnight: Nangqian Ake Hotel or similiar    Meals: BLD


Day 12 (July 5th) Nangqian
We will leave early this morning to another forested mountain area and spend whole day there. During the golden morning hours, we will track pheasants preferentially. Besides the endemic Buff-throated Partridge (Szechenyi’s Monal-Partridge), the White-eared Pheasant, Blood Pheasant, Tibetan Snowcock and Tibetan Partridge also inhabit in this area. Other species we can expect in this area are Tibetan Babax, Three-toed Woodpecker, Black Woodpecker, Pink-rumped Rosefinch, Red-fronted Rosefinch, Sichuan Tit, Crested Tit Warbler, White-browed Tit-Warbler, White-tailed Rubythroat, Lammergeier (Bearded Vulture), Golden eagle, Daurian Jackdaw, Alpine Chough, White-throated Dipper, White-winged Grosbeak, etc.
Overnight: Nangqian Ake Hotel or similiar    Meals: BLD


Day 13 (July 6th) Nangqian-Yushu
Spending most of the day birding in Nangqian area in search of our targets. In the late afternoon, we drive back to Yushu for our overnight stay.
Overnight:Yushu Hotel or similiar    Meals: BLD

Day 14 (July 7th) Departure or Start Lasa Extension
Drive to Yushu airport to catch your flight. AlpineBirding service ends.
Overnight: /   Meals: B

 

 

 

Following are some of the feedbacks we have got from our clients we had served.

 
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‘Hi, Philip

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.
 
Thank you for your kind words and can I also say it was a complete pleasure working with you too, the words I said on our final evening were all completely from the heart and I can honestly say that the combination of you and Parus made for an excellent experience from the wildlife and cultural perspective.  The guests were all telling me how much they enjoyed the holiday and how much your input made the holiday for them.  To have someone who could explain and point out aspects of Chinese culture as diverse as architecture, food, religion, day to day life and more was just fantastic.   I would say with hand on heart that this was one of the best trips I have led and for that I have you to thank
 
I am also very aware that you had a huge amount to think about during the trip – timing the travel days to arrive at a sensible time while still giving us time to enjoy a few stops along the way is not always easy and you did it very well indeed.  Organising our evening meals and breakfasts in the field and so much more is all time consuming and needs thinking through and again you did a fabulous job. In fact the trip simply worked very well indeed and I feel very privileged to have worked with you and visited your wonderful country.  I think the itinerary we chose was superb and clearly both the Terracotta Warriors at the start and pandas at the wend were both extremely popular.’
 

 ——Roy Atkins, a professional Bird Guide  from UK in Custom Birding Trip in Sichuan in 2015

'Dear Philip, lily and Jiawei,
We are all noww safely back home and Ihave had time to produce my trip reoprt for the wonderful bird tour that you arranged for us. I attach the docuemtns here for your interest - you may use them and adapt them any way you wish if you need to.

 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 ' 
 ——Peter Robert and Pia, Peter Rober, a professional bird guide from UK, in Custom Trip in 2013


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'Hi Philip
Thanks also for this trip, you were very friendly and professional.

I’ll go to Brasil next week for birdwatching and mammals.'

 ——Michel Watelet,Private Birding Trip in 2013


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'Dear Philip,
 
  Despite the hassles, it has been a very joyful journey! We have had countless happy moments and excellent views of birds many rare birds. Thanks for the excellent arrangements. Looking forward to have chance to bird with you and your colleagues again.
 
  Yes we indeed need to produce appropriate documents in order to claim insurance. To simplify matters, we will draft a sample letter to you, so that you can reprodue several copies of it, one for each member of the group, with the individual's name and identity appear in the letter. The draft letter should be ready within the next few days. Thanks.
 
  Regards,
 
 ——KC Lee from Hong Kong, Custom Winter Birding in Tibet in 2014 and 2015.

 

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'Dear Philip and Jiawei
Thank you very much for your email and hope that you got back safely to Chengdu yesterday. We got back home a couple of days ago, but work is already busy! I hope that you had a good time surveying future opportunities near Chongqing.
 
We had a really great time with the three of you, and talking on the way home we rated the day hike at Zhuque (along with the Great Wall) as our best day in China. The birding was better than expected there, especially with Jiawei working extremely hard to lure species out with calls - his (and your) knowledge was fantastic and I owe you for about 10-20 species that I would not have found myself. The scenery was excellent, and also the food - this was the lasting memory of the trip we had with you. We also learnt so much about China and its culture, and are indebted to you for this. I think my bird highlights were the Rosefinches and Crested Ibis. I've yet to start editing my photographs.
One thing is for sure though, that I will be back in China for a real birdwatching holiday at some stage in the future. Especially with those direct flights to Chengdu.
 
Many thanks once again for all of your hard work.'
——Richard and Carol who went birding with AlpineBirding in August of 2013

 

Hi Philip,            
How are you? This is to tell you we had a great tour to Sichuan, everything was well organized and special thanks to Jay who did a great job!’

——Laurens Steijn, Birding with  AlpineBirding in June of 2014

 

Dear Phillip He,

We are a Thai couple (sat behind a driver of a big car) who have
joined a Thai birding trip to Sichuan during 29-April-9 May 2012.We
would like to thank you again for your excellence friendship and
guiding us to the new species of birds on the highland of Sichuan.

After we came back to Thailand, we both and all of our friends just
said that we all were truly had a great time in China and this was one
of our best birding trips so far. Hope that we could have a chance to
return back to Sichuan or other areas of the great China again (of
course to be travelling and birding with you).

Please keep on contacting us and just let us know if you have a plan
for visiting Thailand in the future.

Best wishes,
Chairatna & Weranut Nilnond

——2012 Birding in Western Sichuan

1. How about your bird guides, are they professional enough?
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.

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 that we will be in the elevation areas in most of the time, the highest elevation we will stay is around 4000 meters and the highest place we will go is around 4700 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?
For this trip, western food is extremely scant. Because we need to go to very remote areas of China, we have to eat in lots of local small restaurant either Sichuan restaurant or even Muslim restaurants. Though the size of those restaurants are generally small but the food from the restaurant is quite tasty.

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?
We think it is unnessary you can also 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. The phamacies in remote areas are very small and do not have many choices. 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?
We hold great respects toward the major birding companies in the worlld and we got to know birds from providing logistic services for Tropical Birding. Even nowadays, the birds guides of TropicalBirding are still our good friends. They have their advantages and we have our own advantages. 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.

9. Do we need special permit to go Tibetan areas?
In Qinghai you don't need permit because literally, you don't need permit to go to Tibetan area outside Tibet Autonomous Region. But we need to be prepared that we may have to change our itinerary if some temporary measures are taken in certain place due to outbreak of some unexpected things. For the permit to Tibet, AlpineBirding will apply for you. AlpineBirding will do its utmost to ensure smooth operation of the trip and fully enjoyment of our clients. But Tibet is very special place. There are lots of factors are beyond the control of AlpineBirding. We reserve the right to change the itinerary if there is any policy change that make our visit to Tibet impossible.

10. How is the weather like in July? What do we need to bring?
Though July means coming of hot weather in most of the world, for Tibetan area it is different. Due to high elevation, the morning in some places are still pretty cold, can be as low as zero cesus degree, especially when we are searching birds in mountain passes. It will not be a surprise if it snows at the time of our birding there.

11. Are there any special requirments on visitors from AlpineBirding when travelling in Tibetan area!
AlpineBirding hold great gratitudes toward our clients and will always do our utmost to creat best birding memories for our clients. We respect the different view you have on sensitive issues, once you get into China, please always hold your views to yourself and strictly abide the laws of China.

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In this five day birding trip, we saw 116 species of birds in total including four species of elegant cranes, Siberian Crane, White-naped Crane, Hooded Crane and Common Crane, precious Black Stork, Oriental Stock, Eurasian Spoonbill, etc.
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