Sichuan province, right in the heart of the Middle Kingdom, is a fabulously bird-rich region, home to the bulk of China’s endemic birds and most of its Giant Pandas. We’ll concentrate on seeing the endemic and near-endemic species as well as sampling the cuisine, genuine hospitality, and dramatic scenery for which this region is rightly famous. Although the wild mountainous terrain and torrential rivers have combined to keep the province isolated until relatively recently, today the impressive diversity of habitats and a well-developed tourist infrastructure make Sichuan an appealing destination for a birding tour.
The great diversity of Sichuan’s habitats, ranging from the subtropical lowlands of the Red Basin and evergreen foothill forests to alpine meadows and dramatic snow-capped mountain peaks means the province has a remarkable wealth of birds. Lying at the eastern edge of the Tibetan Plateau, Sichuan also has the richest concentration of Chinese specialties and holds around two-thirds of the entire country’s endemic birds.
We’ll visit numerous sites, each one different and with its own charm and specific bird life: Longcanggou and Labahe, two separate valleys that cut into several of the mighty peaks that rise abruptly on the western fringe of the Red Basin; the town of Luding which we’ll use as a base from which to explore a different set of mountains; Siguniangshan and neighboring Wolong National Park, the latter famed as one of the homes for China’s few remaining Giant Pandas but also renowned as a haven for a large number of spectacular birds; the rolling grasslands at the extreme eastern edge of the Tibetan Plateau, where we’ll search for specialties such as Black-necked Crane, snowfinches and the bizarre Pink-tailed Finch, and finally heading easty over yet another might pass with its Blue Eared Pheasants and range-restricted Snowy-cheeked Laughingthrushes. Without a doubt Sichuan is the very best of China.
Chengdu – Laojunshan NNR – Longchanggou Forest Park – Labahe NNR – Wolong NNR – Balangshan – Mengbishan – Maerkang – Rouergai – Jiuzhaigou – Tangjiehe – Chengdu
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Day 1 Chengdu
On your arrival in Chengdu, you will be met at the airport by your local driver and our guide, and then transfer your hotel in downtown.
Overnight in Chengdu
Day 2 Chengdu – Laojunshan NNR
Morning we''ll walk around a nearby park to search for the more localised species the park and its surroundings hold, including Chinese Grosbeak, Chinese Blackbird and both Red-billed and White-cheeked Starlings. After lunch 3.5 hours driving to Laojunshan NNR. If timer permit, we'll do some birding near the hotel.
Overnight in Laojunshan NNR.
Day 3-4 Laojunshan NNR
Two full day birding in Laojunshan NNR to seach Sichuan Partridge, Streaked Barwing, Omei Shan Liocichla, Red-winged Laughingthrush, Russet Bush-Warbler, Golden Parrotbill and other forest
Overnight in Laojunshan NNR.
Sichuan Partridge © Zoe Zou
Streaked Barwing © Li Liwei
Day 5 Laojunshan NNR – Longcanggou Forest Park
The last morning birding in Laojunshan NNR, afternoon 3.5 hour driving to Longcanggou Forest Park.
Overnight in Longcanggou Forest Park.
Day 6 – 8 Longchanggou Forest Park
We’ll spend three days in Longcanggou Forest Park to search a long target bird list, including
Temminck Tragopan, Lady Amherst's Pheasant, Golden, Three-toed, Grey-hooded Parrotbills, Gold-fronted Fulvetta, Emei Liocichla, Buffy, White-throated, Spotted and Red-winged Laughthrushes, Marten, Alstrom and Bianchi Warblers, Emei, Kloss and Claudia Leaf Warblers, Sichuan Treecreeper, Fire-capped, Pere David's, Grey-crested, Coal and Rufous-vented Tits, Darjeeling and White-backed Woodpeckers, White-browed Bush Robin, a whoe range of leaf-warblers, bush-warblers and flycatchers.
Overnight in Longcanggou Forest Park.
Omei Shan Liocichla
Lady Amherst's Pheasant
Day 9 Longchanggou Forest Park – Labahe NNR
The last morning birding in Longcanggou Forest Park. Afternoon 2.5 hours driving to Labahe NNR and overnight.
Overnight in the hotel, which is located in the heart of the reserve for a 3-night stay.
Day 10-11 Labahe NNR
Two full days birding in Labahe NNR to search Fulvous, Brown and Great Parrotbills, Lady Amherst Pheasant Temminck Tragopan, Firethroat, Emei Leaf Warbler, Slaty Bunting, a variety of warblers and bush warblers, Hodgson Hawk Cuckoo and a few woodpecker, fulvetta and Laughingthrush possibilities!
Overnight in Labahe NNR.
Himalayan Wood Owl
Day 12 Labahe NNR – Wolong Town
Early morning birding in Labahe NNR, and then 4.5 hours driving to Wolong Town. Late aftenoon we'll birding around the Wolong Town to search Slaty Bunting, Ferruginous Flycatcher, Chinese Song Thrush and Golden Pheasant.
Overnight in Wolong Town.
Day 13 –
14 Wolong & Balangshan
We’ll leave hotel very early to drive to the summit and spend the whole day birding in the intermediate and high altitude of Balangshan to search Chinese Monal, Tibetan Snowcock, White Eared-Pheasant, Snow Partridge, Wood Snipe, Chestnut-throated Monal Partridge, Grandala, Snow Pigeon, Red-fronted Rosefinch, Chinese Rubythroat, White-browed Tit Warbler and Lammergier,
Firethroat and Chinese Thrush etc.
Chinese Monal © Zoe Zou
Day 15 Wolong NNR – Balanshan – Maerkang
The last morning birding in Balangshan. Afternoon drive to Maerkang and ovenright.
Day 16 Mengbishan
We spend all day birding in the wonderful coniferous forests on Mengbishan. This forest covered slopes are home to such specialties as Sichuan Jay, Giant Laughingthrush, Przewalski Nuthatch, Three-banded, Chinese White-browed, Common, Beautiful and Pink-rumped Rosefinches, Blood and Koklass Pheasants. While the more open areas could provide us with views of family parties of White Eared Pheasants and maybe even Verreaux Monal Partridge.
Overnight in Maerkang.
Crested Tit Warbler
Verreaux Monal Partridge
Day 17 Maerkang – Rouergai
Morning drive to Ruoergai, we'll stop en route at several birding spots along the eastern edge of the Tibetan Plateau to look for Dusky Warbler, Daurian Jackdaw, ibisbill, Common Pheasant, White-browed Tit, Ferruginous Duck, Goosander and tibetana Common Terns, Citrine Wagtails,Twite, Oriental Skylark and other
Overnight in Ruoergai.
Day 18 – 19 Rouergai
Two full days birding in the wetland and the forest around Ruoergai to look for Black-necked Crane, Saker Falcon, Upland Buzzard, Pink-tailed Rosefinch, White-rumped and Rufous-necked Snowfinches, Horned Lark and Ground Tit
, Tibetan Lark, Tibetan Grey Shrike, Blue Eared Pheasant, Sichuan Wood Owl, Giant, Snowy-cheeked Laughingthrush and Plain Laughingthrushes, Pere David and Sukatschev
Laughingthrushes, Godlewski Bunting and Sichuan Tit etc.
Overnight in Ruoergai.
Day 20 Ruoergai – Jiuzhaigou
Morning leave to Jiuzhaigou, we'll stop stopping en route at several birding spots to look for Blue Eared Pheasant, Przevalski's Nuthatch, White-browed Tit-Warbler, Snowy-cheeked Laughingthrush, Chinese Grouse, Three-banded, Chinese White-browed and Pink-rumped Rosefinches.
Overnight in Jiuzhaigou.
Day 21-22 Jiuzhaigou
Two full day birding around Jiuzhaigou with its distinct avifauna. Our main target bird is Rufous-headed Robin, but it's very difficult in the rent years. Other highlight are including Sichuan Wood Owl, Spectacled Fulvetta, Chinese Nuthatch, Rusty-breasted Tit, Sichuan Tit, Przevalski's Nuthatch, White-browed Tit-Warbler, Snowy-cheeked Laughingthrush, Chinese Grouse, Indian Blue Robin, Sooty Bushtit, Three-banded, Vinaceous and Chinese White-browed Rosefinches, Maroon-backed Accentor and Bar-tailed and Hodgson's Treecreepers, Chinese and Sichuan Leaf Warblers
Overnight in JIuzhaigou.
Blue Eared Pheasant © Zhang Hao
Day 23 Jiuzhaigou – Tangjiahe
Another morningbirding in Gonggangling. After lunch drive to Tangjiahe, one of China’s Giant Panda reserves, for a two nights stay
Overnight in the hotel, which is located in the heart of the Tangjiahe NNR for a 3-night stay.
Day 24 – 26 Tangjiahe NNR
We will spend three full days in Tangjiahe NNR. We will go in search of Rusty-throated Parrotbill near the summit depend on the weather. Also this exploration need 4/5 hours hiking up, and camping in the cabine near the summit. The last day we'll driving and hiking along the road to search the variety of mammals and birds in the NNR, including Golden Pheasant, Zappey’s Flycatcher, Baikal Bush Warbler, Chinese Wren-Babble, Sooty Bushtit, Tawny Fish Owl, Sichuan Treecreeper, Golden Takin, Reeve’s Muntjac, Turfted Deer, Hog Badger, Slaty Bunting, Yellow-throat Marten, Leopard Cat and Masked Palm Civet, with the possibility of such rarities as Asian Black Bear and Forest Musk Deer.
Overnight in Tangjiahe NNR.
Day 27 Tangjiahe – Chengdu
After the last morning relax birding morning in Tangjiahe NNR,
we'll drive back to your hotel near the Chengdu airport.
Day 28 Chengdu
After the breakfast, you'll transfer to the Chengdu airport in time to catch your return flight home.
Rusty-throated Parrotbill © Li Liwei
Tawny Fish Owl