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China: Sichuan

A short but comprehensive tour taking in all the key birding sites of Sichuan in search of the many endemics and specialties. From the high Tibetan Plateau to the forested valleys below, expect some superb pheasants: Blood Pheasant, Chinese Monal, Lady Amherst's Pheasant, Temminck's Tragopan, Blue Eared Pheasant, Koklass Pheasant, Golden Pheasant, and Snow Partridge to name just a few! At this time of year, the stunningly scenic region is full of breeding passerines like Grandala, Red-winged Laughingthrush, Great Parrotbill, White-browed Tit Warbler, the monotypic Przevalski’s Finch (Pinktail), plus so many robins, warblers, rosefinches, and buntings.

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Price: $

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Leaders:

Add a Title

Single Room Supplement: $

TBD

Group Size Limit:

Deposit: $

TBD

Add a Title

Price: $

TBD

Leaders:

Add a Title

Single Room Supplement: $

TBD

Group Size Limit:

7

Deposit: $

TBD

Add a Title

Price: $

TBD

Leaders:

Add a Title

Single Room Supplement: $

TBD

Group Size Limit:

Deposit: $

TBD

Despite travel to China sometimes being viewed with trepidation, foreign bird tours to the country have been running successfully throughout 2024. Our participants experienced no issues obtaining visas, ground logistics are running smoothly, and the birding is excellent!

Accommodation:

Comfortable hotels throughout.

Walking difficulty:

Mostly easy roadside birding and short forest trails, though note that some high altitudes are involved.

Tour cost includes:

All accommodation, main meals, drinking water, internal flights (as stated in itinerary), overland transport, tips to local drivers and guides, travel permits, entrance fees, and guide fees.

Tour cost excludes:

Flights before and after the tour start/end, visa, travel insurance, tips to tour leaders, laundry, drinks, and other items of a personal nature.

Day 1: Arrivals into Chengdu International Airport (CTU). All participants arriving on this day will be met and transferred to our nearby hotel. Night in Chengdu.


Day 2: Before driving north into the mountains, we will make an early morning visit to a park east of Chengdu, where we stand good chances to find our first specialties like Chinese Blackbird, Light-vented Bulbul, Vinous-throated Parrotbill, White-browed Laughingthrush, Yellow-billed Grosbeak, White-cheeked Starling, plus many more. We will spend the rest of the day driving to the fantastic Jiuzhai Valley National Park for a two-night stay.


Day 3: Exploring various stretches of the beautiful Jiuzhai Valley, we should encounter many Sichuan specialties today. We’ll hope to find Snowy-cheeked Laughingthrush, Sichuan and Rufous-vented Tits, Crested Tit-Warbler, Chinese Fulvetta, Blue-fronted and White-throated Redstarts, Rufous-breasted and Maroon-backed Accentors, Pink-rumped Rosefinch, Siberian Rubythroat, and White-winged Grosbeak. We’ll also spend time studying the numerous Phylloscopus warblers, like Sichuan Leaf, Claudia’s Leaf, Large-billed Leaf, Hume’s, or Buff-barred Warblers. This is also our first chance for the rare “Per David’s” Ural Owl. Night in Jiuzhai Valley.


Day 4: After some final birding in Jiuzhai, we’ll make our way to the Tibetan plateau for a three-night stay in Ruoergai.


Day 5-6: Two full days of birding the Tibetan Plateau around Roeurgai, where we hope to cross paths with Black-necked Cranes, Tibetan Partridge, Upland Buzzard, the monotypic Przevalski’s Finch (or Pinktail), but also other fantastic Tibetan specialties like the huge Tibetan Lark, Ground Tit, Tibetan, Rufous-necked and White-rumped Snowfinches, Chinese Grey Shrike, and White-browed Tit-Warbler. We will also have time to visit the high-elevation forests of Baxi, where we could find Chinese Grouse, Verreaux’s Partridge, Blue Eared Pheasant, Per David’s, Giant and Snowy-cheeked Laughingthrushes, Sichuan Jay, White-backed Thrush, White-browed and Japanese Tits, amongst many others.


Day 7: After some final birding, we will head south towards Maerkang, our destination for the next two nights. We will make stops en route, including more time to look for Przevalski’s Finch if needed. Night in Maerkang.


Day 8: The entire day will be spent birding the coniferous forests of Mengbishan, where we will be hoping for White Eared Pheasant, Blood Pheasant, Koklass Pheasant, Verreaux’s Partridge, Rufous-bellied Woodpecker, Giant Laughingthrush, Chinese Babax, Sichuan Jay, a vast array of Rosefinches (including Chinese White-browed, Pink-rumped, Beautiful, and Common), plus Przevalski’s Nuthatch, Sichuan Leaf Warbler, White-winged Grosbeak, and Collared Grosbeak. Night in Maerkang.


Day 9: Following an early morning birding session, transfer to Wolong National Nature Reserve for three nights.


Day 10-11: We will have two days of birding at Wolong, from the lower coniferous forests all the way up to the high alpine meadows. All surrounded by tremendous landscapes and snow-capped peaks towering above 5000 m! At the highest elevation we can reach by road (Balangshan Pass at 4500 m), we stand good chances to locate some of the most fantastic Phasianidae, including Chinese Monal, Snow Partridge, Tibetan Snowcock, and more chances for White Eared Pheasant. Some exciting passerines include Chinese Rubythroat, Grandala, Golden Bush Robin, Brandt’s and Plain Mountain Finches, White-browed Tit-Warbler, Alpine Accentor, and Dark-breasted and Red-fronted Rosefinches. Other birds should include Bearded Vulture, Himalayan Griffon, Snow Pigeon, and Alpine Chough. Lower down in the forest lives a different array of birds, like the amazing Golden Pheasant, Black-streaked and Barred Laughingthrushes, the stupendous Firethroat, Slaty Bunting, and Chinese Thrush, among many others. Nights at Wolong.


Day 12: After spending much of the day birding at Wolong, we transfer to Labahe National Nature Reserve in the late afternoon. Night near Labahe NNR.


Day 13: Labahe is much less-visited by birders than other parts of Sichuan, but is certainly the best place to see the phenomenal Firethroat (and acts as a backup for many of the species we searched for at Wolong). This is also our best chance to see two stunning Galliformes: Lady Amherst's Pheasant and Temminck's Tragopan! Other new species here might include Grey-hooded Fulvetta, Great and Fulvous Parrotbills, Black-browed Tit, White-collared Yuhina, Elliot’s Laughingthrush, Emei Leaf Warbler, and Slaty Bunting. Night near Labahe NNR.


Day 14: Morning at Labahe before we head to Wawushan, our last stop on the tour. Night at Wawushan.


Day 15: The boardwalk at Wawushan offers some phenomenal birding, transecting several hundred metres of elevation through thick stands of bamboo. This is one of the best places in the world to see Red Panda, and we certainly expect to see this stunning mammal during our short time here. There is an astounding diversity of parrotbills in the bamboo too: Ashy-throated, Fulvous, Brown, Golden, Great, Three-toed, and the scarce Grey-hooded Parrotbill are all targets. Other final additions to our bird list might include Emei Liocicla, Red-winged Laughingthrush, Sichuan Treecreeper, Sichuan, Claudia’s, and Kloss’s Leaf Warblers, Marten’s and Alstrom’s Warblers, White-collared Yuhina, and Fujian Niltava. Nights near Wawushan.


Day 16: Following another whole morning on the boardwalk, we’ll depart for Chengdu after lunch. The tour ends with afternoon drop-offs at the airport in time for evening flights.

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