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Qinghai & Tibet Birding Tour for Endemic Birds

The Overview of this trip will tell you the following information.
 I.  Trip Briefing
 II.  Trip Essentials (Price, Guide, Group Size, Difficulty Level, Dates and Length, etc.)
 III.  Trip Map
 IV.  Trip Itinerary
 V.  Inclusions and Exclusions

I.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. After that, we will take a train to Lhasa to look for some endemics such as Tibetan-eared Pheasants and Giant Barbarx. 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 in our birding tour in Qinghai the summer breeders such as Black-necked Crane, Ibisbills, Rudy Shelduck and Pallas’ Gull, Brown-headed Gull and Great Cormorant.

II.  Trip Essentials

• Trip Duration: from June 24th to July 8th.

• Tour Leader: Shay

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

• Number of bird species expected to see: 250~300

• Cost: 3900USD.

• Single Supplement:650 USD

Deposite: 1000USD

• Trip Size: 2~8 birders.

• Space: ( 6 space available)

III.  Trip Map


IV.  Trip Itinerary

Day 1 (June 24) Arrival at Xining Airport, city birding.

Overnight: Xining    Meals: D

Day 2 (June 25) Drive to Huzhu Beishan Mountain and birding there.

Overnight: Huzhu Beishan    Meals: BLD

Day 3 (June 26) Whole day birding in Huzhu Beishan Mountain.

Overnight:Huzhu Beishan    Meals: BLD

Day 4 (June 27) Morning Birding in Huzhu Beishan, then drive to Datong in the afternoon.

Overnight: Datong    Meals: BLD

Day 5 (June 28) Morning birding in Datong, drive to Heimahe in the afternoon.

Overnight: Chaka    Meals: BLD

Day 6 (June 29) Birding in Rubber Mountain for Pink-tailed Bunting and other birds.

Overnight: Heimahe    Meals: BLD

Day 7 (June 29) Morning birding in Rubber Mountain, then drive to Chaka.

Overnight: Chaka    Meals: BLD

Day 8 (June 30) Drive to Gonghe and birding on the way.

Overnight: Gonghe    Meals: BLD

Day 9 (July 1st) Drive to Wenquan via Ela Mountain and birding there.

Overnight: Gonghe    Meals: BLD

Day 10 (July 2nd) Drive from Gonghe to Xining to catch the train to Lhasa.

Overnight:  on the train    Meals: BLD

Day 11 (July 5th) Get a wonderful view from train about Qinghai Tibetan Plateau, see some wild mammals on the way while endorsed in your Qinghai Birding Tour and arrive Lhasa.

Overnight: Lhasa    Meals: BLD

Day 12-13 (July 6-7) Birding and sight-seeing in and around Lhasa: Potala Palace, Summer Palace, Drepung Monastery, Lhalu Wetland and Lhasa River.

Overnight: Lhasa    Meals: BLD

Day 14 (July 8) Depart from Lhasa. AlpineBirding service ends.

Overnight:/      Meals: B

V.  Inclusions and Exclusions

The cost includes the following.

1. Transportation from day one pickup at airport and dropoff  at Xining airport. Train train tickets from Xining to Lhsa and airport drop off at Lhasa and private vehicle during trip in Lhasa.
2. Meals in local popular restaurants labeled as as BLD in the itinerary.
3. All the Entrance Tickets for places listed in the itinerary including cable cars and shuttle buses as well as permit to Tibet AR.
4.Hotel stays from first day to the last day, nice 3-star hotels in big cities and local best in local places .
5.Bottled water,seasonal fruits and snacks throughout the trip.
6. Western Breakfast whenever is possible.
7. Service Charges including an professional birding guide.
8. China domestic travel insurance.
9. Basic tips to the serving staff.


The cost does not include the following.

a. Any expense of personal nature such as laundry.
b. Extra charges due to change of itinerary from client side or from factors beyond the control of AlpineBirding such as natural disaster or government policy changes or temporary control..
c. The flight tickets to Xining and from Lhasa back home .
d. Expenses for visa application.

Day 1 (June 24) Arrival at Xining Airport, city birding.

Overnight:/    Xining Meals: D

Xining is the capital of Qinghai Province. Upon arrival at Xining Airport, our AlpineBirding's guide will pick you up and drive you to the hotel. Depending on your time of arrival, we can arrange some easy birding in Beishan Park.

Day 2 (June 25) Drive to Huzhu Beishan Mountain and birding there.

Overnight: Huzhubeishan    Meals: BLD

Huzhu BeiShan is an area of forested mountains, where we will look for two superb Chinese endemics, the magnificent Blue Eared Pheasant and the rather secretive Chinese Hazel Grouse. We also drive to the pass to search for Snow Patridge and Tibetan Snowcock. In the forest we will look for some interesting   birds   such as   Black   Woodpecker,   Northern   Red-flanked   Bluetail,   Chestnut   Thrush,   Spotted   Bush   Warbler,   Large-billed   and Chinese Leaf Warblers, and Grey-headed Bullfinch, even the Verreaux’s Monal Partridge.


Tibetan Rosefinch

Day 3 (June 26) Whole day birding in Huzhu Beishan Mountain.

Overnight: Huzhubeishan    Meals: BLD

Day 4 (June 27) Morning Birding in Huzhu Beishan Mountain. Drive to Datong in the late afternoon, start birding upon arrival.

Overnight: Datong    Meals: BLD

Datong is part of the western Qilian mountains. With lush forests and shrub, here is an ideal spot for forest birds. Here we can mainly search for Gansu Leaf Warbler, Crested Tit-warbler, White-browed Tit-warbler.

Tibetan Partridge

Day 5 (June 28) Morning birding in Datong, drive to Heimahe in the afternoon.

Overnight:Heimahe   Meals: BLD

Along the way from Datong to Heimahe, we will take some time to enjoy the beautiful senery of the alpine lake-- Qinghai Lake. Besides, here  we can foucus on some waterfowls, like Blacked-necked crane, the only crane breed on plateau. And the Bar-headed Goose, Northern Pintail, Northern Shoveler, Red-crested Pochards, Eurasian Wigeon, Ferruginous and Tufted Ducks, Little Grebe, Great Crested and Black-necked Grebes, Pallas’s Gull, Kentish Plover and Pale Martin. Grassland birds, like larks, wagtails, redstarts are also our targets.

Day 6 (June 29) Birding in Rubber Mountain for the whole day.

Overnight: Heimahe    Meals: BLD

In the early morning we drive to Rubber mountain to search for the star bird in this area, the Pink-tailed Bunting which is a bird in a family all of its own. The scrubby mountain slope is a nice habitat to Tibetan Partridge, accentors, rosefinches and warblers including Twite,Brown Accentors,Streaked Rosefinches, Robin Accentors, White-browed Tit-warblers and Alpine Warbler. In our search for Pink-tailed Bunting, you have good chance to see Oriental Skylark, Rufous-necked Snowfinch, Himalayan Griffons and Saker Falcon.

Day 7 (June 29) Morning birding in rubber mountain, drive to Chaka in the afternoon.

Overnight: Chaka    Meals: BLD

Day 8 (June 30) Birding for Mongolian Ground Jay and other birds, then drive to Gonghe. Birding along the way.

Overnight : Gonghe    Meals: BLD

The first morning search for the day will dinitely be the Mongolian Ground Jay in some semi-desert near the town. We will scan the open area very closely for this bird before we drive on. The next target for the day is Ala Shan Redstart, a gorgeous bird.Today you also have chance to see White-winged Grosbeak, White-browed Tit, Rufous-breasted and Brown Accentors, Pine Bunting.The driving to our next desination will always be full of surprises if you always have alert eyes towards the sky and vast scrubby plateau, raptors such as Golden Eagle, pitpits, shrikes, finches, snow finches, larks and Pallas's Sandgrouses. Once we get to Gonghe, we will spend some time searching Rusty-necklaced Partridge.

Brandt`s Mountain Finch

Day 9 (July 1st) Drive to  Ela Mountain and birding there.

Overnight:Gonghe    Meals: BLD

In the early morning, we drive to Ela Mountain. On our way driving, we will stop along the way to look for Asian Short-toed  Lark, Desert Wheatear,Margelanic Whitethroat,Desert Finch and Pine Bunting.The highway winds up over the spectacular Er La, a 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 search for Tibetan Sandgrouse and Tibetan Rosefinch. After our birding, we will drive back to Gonghe.

Day 10 (July 2nd) Drive from Gonghe to Xining to catch the train from Xining to Lhasa.

Overnight: On the train    Meals: BLD

Our train ride from Xining to Lhasa will be a very rewarding and spectacular experience,from the window of the train, you can enjoy vast grasslands dotted with self-made Yakwool tent surrounded by grazing yaks and sheeps under the blue sky. When our train go through some wild areas, we can even have chance to see Kiang (the Tibetan wild ass), Tibetan Antelope, Tibetan Gazelle and Wild Yak.

Day 11 (July 4th) Arrive Lhasa. If time permits,  we will vist Jokhang Monastery and Barkhor Street.

Overnight: Lhasa    Meals: BLD

Plain-backed Snowfinch

Day 12-13 (July 5-6) Birding and sight-seeing in and around Lhasa: Potala Palace, Summer Palace, Drepung Monastery, Lhalu Wetland and Lhasa River.

Overnight: Lhasa    Meals: BLD

In the following two days in Lhasa,we will spend one day birding and one day sightseeing, because both the endemic birds and rich culture heritage are something you can't miss in Lhasa.
For sightseeing, we will visit the famous Potala Palace,which was built between 1645 and 1694, contains over 1000 rooms, including numerous chapels, shrines,assembly halls and mausoleums, and is undoubtedly one of the  world’s  most  extraordinary and  moving buildings. The interlinked ‘white’ and ‘red’  palaces tower 13 storeys' high and completely dominate the city below.The panoramic view from the roof across Lhasa to the  mountains beyond is alone worth the visit. Afterwards we will visit the famous Jokhang  Temple. Founded in 650 AD  by Songtsen Gampo, one of the Tibet’s  greatest monarchs, the   Jokhang is the religious centre of Tibet and a magnet for pilgrims from all over the country. Throughout the day a colourful throng circumambulates the temple, the  pilgrims   chanting and prostrating themselves. Inside, past rows of prayer wheels, are dark chapels containing a bewildering richness of frescoes and statues.
Our another day will be used to find the beautiful Tibetan Eared Pheasant, Tibetan Blackbird and the noisy Giant Babax.

Day 14 (July 7) Depart from Lhasa. AlpineBirding service ends.

In the morning,we can pay a visit to Lalu Wetlands in our way to the airport to make our final efforts to add to our bird list.

Overnight: /        Meals: B

​Rufous-necked Snowfinch



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


‘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


'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


'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.
 ——KC Lee from Hong Kong, Custom Winter Birding in Tibet in 2014 and 2015.



'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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