Saturday, August 22, 2009


Birding trip in Sichuan, May 18th - June 14th 2009

This trip was an extensive birding experience through the main bird habitats of Sichuan. Although May and June usually are the best months to go bird watching in Sichuan - in terms of birds and weather, this year we had to fight with really untypical weather for this season:
Days of rain and snow!
We started with the traditional bird sites in Emei Shan, Wawu Shan and Labahe Nature Reserve.

The crew: Roland, Sandra and David (ltr)

In Emai and Wawu Shan we had some good views of laughingthrushes and parrotbills.
The photographs were all taken with a small camera. Quality and resolution of the images sometimes are not tremendous. However, it is still possible to identify the bird :-)
This Fulvous Parrotbill came out of its nest after only one time replay of its call.

This Red-winged Laughingthrush is sitting in its nest and apparently is too busy with breeding eggs to take care of visitors

Here the last bird of a big flock of Rusty Laughingthrushes which was passing by

This season also is the best for many bush warblers

Our next site was Moxi Township on the east side of Minya Konka Mountain Range. Here we saw lots of Flycatchers, two pairs of Wedge-tailed Green Pigeons and many more

Rosefinches and Redstarts increased in numbers and species the further we got up to higher elevations. We have chosen Zheduo Shan, Tagong/Lhagang, Zhara Lhatse and Mengbi Shan as birding sites

Giant Laughingthrush and Grey-headed Bullfinch were as common as woodpeckers. It is easy to find them in well preserved forests.

Godlewski's Bunting, White-browed Rosefinch and Grey-backed (Tibetan) Shrike belong to the daily companions in open areas mixed with agriculture and spots of mainly conifer forest.

Here is a map of the main birding sites in Sichuan. Some of them are not easily accessible and thus cannot be included in a regular birding trip.
The first destination of the north route is Wolong/Balang Pass and Mengtun Valley. From here it is about 5h by car to Aixi/Songpan which is a kind of transition zone between the rough and steep gorges of Gyarong Region and the vast grasslands of the Tibetan High Plateau. The Plateau begins then with a huge wetland: Zoige (=Ruo'ergai) one of the most interesting, most beautiful and most important bird areas. The end of the route has several options: Jiuzhaigou, Tangjiahe or Wanglang.

The vast wetland of Zoige lies in the most northern part of Sichuan. This place is worthy staying a couple of days. Different habitats as well as long distances characterise this magnificent area.
Here a list of the main birds of Zoige:

Water Birds:
Whiskered Tern, Common Redshank, Red-necked Phalarope, Pochards, Geese, Lesser Sand Plover, etc.

Saker Falcon, Upland Buzzard, Lammergeier, Eurasian Eagle-owl
And Himalayan Griffon, Cinereous Vulture, Pallas's Sea-Eagle, Osprey, Steppe Eagle, Falcons etc
Pheasants: (Blue Eared, white Eared, Blood, Chinese Grouse),
Black-necked Crane ...

...­as well as perching birds such as Hume's Ground-tit (Groundpecker)

...Citrine Wagtail, Chinese Grey Shrike, Kessler's Thrush, Chestnut Thrush, Rock Sparrow, Snowfinches (Tibetan, White-rumped, Rufous-necked), Tits (White-browed, Rusty-breasted, rufous-vented, sooty), Rosefinches, Laughingthrushes (Giant, Sukatschev's, Plain), Redstarts (white-throated, white-winged, etc.), Sichuan Treecreeper, Nuthatches (White-cheeked, Chinese), Tit-Warbler (White-browed, Crested), Accentors (Rufous-breasted, Robin, Maroon-backed), Rosefinches (Streaked, etc.)

And many more...