June & July 2006,   Sichuan Province, China Trip Report

 

by John and Jemi Holmes

 

 

INTRODUCTION

 

Apart from Wawushan, which we had visited briefly before, the purpose of the trip was to visit a variety of panda-related Nature Reserves and scenic spots in the mountains of Sichuan. Of course the casual visitor is not going to be permitted to hike up into the hills and disturb the pandas, but these reserves often have the best bird habitat as well.

 

Jiuzhaigou has become a huge, money generating business and some of the other sites are now trying to attract visitors in a more modest way.  For as long as Chinas’ logging ban holds, revenue from tourism is being sought as a substitute.

 

Sichuan’s mountains are separated by a lot of fast-flowing rivers. There are many dams for hydroelectric projects now under construction.

 

At the end of May 2006 KLM introduced direct flights between Chengdu and Amsterdam. With Amsterdam’s many connections to European cities, getting to Sichuan has just got a lot easier.

 

Some of the prices we paid for things have been quoted as a guide for other independent travellers, we hope this is not too distracting from the text. Fortunately, Jemi speaks good Putonghua (Mandarin). If you do not have a forceful guide you may be quoted higher prices than ours. On the other hand, if you are a local, your hotel rooms, etc. will be cheaper ! 

 

 

ITINERARY

 

May 30                  HK to Shenzhen airport, Chengdu to Wawushan, Meishan

May 31 - Jun 10    Wawushan, Meishan

Jun 11 - 12            Bifengxia, Yaan

Jun 13                   Mengdingshan, Mingshan county, Yaan

Jun 14                   Yudu Hotel, Yaan city

Jun 15 - 16            Erlangshan National Forest Park, Yaan

Jun 17 - 18            Fengtongzhai Nature Reserve, Baoxing county, Tianquan, county, Yaan

Jun 19                   North on route S210 Jiajinshan guesthouse at Km219.

Jun 20                   Over Jiajinshan -pass at Km184- to Xiaojin,

              Aba Tibetan & Qiang Autonomous Prefecture (Aba)

Jun 21 - 25            Siguniangshan (Mt. Four Sisters), Aba

Jun 26 - Jul 2        Zhuokeji, Maerkang county, Aba

Jul 3 – 5                Kalonggou,  Heishui county, Aba

Jul 6                      Songpan, Aba

Jul 8 – 11              Jiuzhaigou, Aba

Jul 12 – 13            Wanglang Nature Reserve, Pingwu county, Mianyang

Jul 14 – 15            Tangjiahe Nature Reserve, Guangyuan

Jul 16                    Beichuan city, Mianyang

Jul 17 – 18            Xiaozhaizi Gou Nature Reserve, Beichuan county, Mianyang

Jul 19                    Chengdu

Jul 20                    Chengdu flew to Shenzhen,  SZ airport to HK

 

 

REFERENCES

 

Carey, G.J., (Ed.) (1996)  A biodiversity review of China  Hong Kong: WWF China programme

 

Green, Michael J.B.,  (1993) Nature Reserves of the Himalaya and Mountains of Central Asia -  IUCN  India: OUP, New Delhi

 

Mackinnon, J. and Phillipps,K, (2000) A field guide to the Birds of China UK: Oxford University Press

 

Martens,J., Eck,S., and SUN Y.-H.,    “On the discovery of a new treecreeper in China – Certhia tianquanensis Li”   OBC Bulletin 37  June 2003

 

Mayhew, Bradley et al. (2002) South-west China - Lonely Planet Guide  Australia: Lonely Planet Publications Pty Ltd.

 

Schaller, George B., The Last Panda  University of Chicago Press, 1993

 

Stattersfield, A.J., and Capper, D.R.,  (2000) Threatened birds of the World  - Barcelona and Cambridge, UK :  Lynx Edicions and Birdlife International

 

MAP: Central China  Nelles Maps  - Nelles Verlag Gmbh 2005

 

 

 


SITE  NOTES and COMMENTS

 

Wawushan,

Meishan

 

The best known site for Sichuan Treecreeper and where Emei specialties such as Grey-hooded Parrotbill and Emeishan Liochichla are readily found.  A flat–topped mountain of 3,200m, managed as a Scenic Area, admission RMB 50.  The Wawu Grand Hotel near the entrance, Gongtong (Dove Tree) Hotel at the cable car base, and Xianger Hotel at the summit are all run by the same company. Due to this monopoly accommodation and food are relatively expensive, but at least you are in the middle of a great birding area.

 

Sichuan Treecreeper, Wawushan

 

 

 

Location and access

 

Inconvenient without your own transport.  About 20 km south south-west of Emeishan.  In July 06 the bus terminated in an open area where Wawu town used to be. The site was expected to be under water in few months. Public busses from Hongya take about two hours.  There is also a bus from Emei town that goes up past the base of the Emeishan Wannian Temple cable car and the Emei summit entrance area 18km below Leidongping. Going straight on (west, roughly) through picturesque countryside, the bus reaches the town of Gaomiao. There it turns left (south) on the Hongya – Wawu road.  However, you’ll still need to get from the bus stop in Wawu town to the Wawu Scenic Area entrance gate (about 3 km, mainly uphill. You might hire a minivan for RMB 20 or so).  The hotel management company runs a shuttle bus (RMB 40 per person) for the journey to and from the site entrance to the cable car base, 22 km.  We hired a minivan to get us to Wawushan from Chengdu Airport (RMB 600).  Admission at Wawushan is RMB 50. Rather cheekily they made us pay the admission fee for our driver, too !

 

View from Wawu summit  towards Emei Shan

 

 

View from in front of Xianger Hotel, Wawushan

 

 

Birding strategy

 

There is good birding along the access road.  The area between a bridge by a waterfall up to the point where the cable car comes into view (from about km 10 to km 15) is good at almost anytime of day for Lady Amherst Pheasants crossing or feeding by the roadside (seen late afternoon when we arrived, around 0800 when we hired a van to “cover” that section, and around midday when we left).  The pheasants can be surprised if approached in a vehicle, but flee quickly if they see people on foot.

 

 

From the Gongtong Hotel near the cable car base, we heard Emeishan Liochiclas almost constantly by day and, on one clear evening, Oriental Scops Owl just after sunset.  Walking down the road is easy, it is wide and there is little traffic.  We saw Gould’s Sunbird and Emei Liochicla downhill from the cable car base.

 

To the right of the front of the Gongtong Hotel there is the “Swift Cave Trail”. There are no signs in Chinese or English but the route is marked on the admission tickets. The path was muddy in June! It climbs steadily round the north-east slope of the mountain. Rusty Laughingthrush was briefly seen twice and there we found Gold-fronted Fulvettas (pair feeding young).  We never did get all the way to the end of the trail.

 

  

White-bellied Redstart -male

 

 

 

Gold-fronted Fulvetta, Swift Cave Trail, Wawushan

 

 

At the flattish summit there is a walk of 1.3 km from the cable car to the Xianger Hotel. The path continues along the northern edge of the plateau to the Lanxi waterfall. Most of the paths consist of red sandstone flagstones, a good surface even when wet, but some rest areas and the apron in front of the Xianger Hotel were polished flat and positively dangerous when wet.   The best birding sections of path were from Xianger Hotel towards Taiqing Temple, and the first 700m or so from the cable car terminal, also towards the temple.  We found both Sichuan and Eurasian Treecreepers breeding in the area.  The path marked from the Lanxi waterfall to Taiqing Temple is boarded off.

 

We saw some great birds, but frequent mist and rain made the going very slow at times. You can trudge for hours and not see any birds at all. One mammal highlight was a Red Panda near the Taiqing Temple.

 

Bifengxia,
Yaan

 

An expensively crafted Panda breeding and research area, set in foothills and surrounded by the upper arms of a “Y” shaped gorge.  Admission fee is RMB 80.  There is also a zoo and amusement park – perhaps best avoided - about a kilometre down the road.  Elevation 700m to 1300m.

 

 

Little Forktail habitat, Bifengxia Gorge

 

 

 

View of gorge from the top of the elevator - Bifengxia

 

 

Location & Access

 

The main entrance is 18km (RMB 35 taxi ride) from the West gate Bus Station of Yaan.  There is also a regular mini-van running from the Yaan Travel Bus Station, Baiyi road to the entrance of the scenic area, RMB 5 per person. The main hotel is expensive, but there are privately run guesthouses and restaurants back down the road.  Admission RMB 80, the shuttle bus to and from the Panda breeding centre entrance are inclusive. We stayed inside the site at the pleasant “ Xiaoxitian” (Little Heaven), which is 300m beyond the breeding centre entrance.  Standard room RMB 120 per night. (better rate at weekdays). There is a good restaurant nearby.  In the low season, in winter, the people at the main entrance may tell you Xiaoxitian is closed. It is a lie, -they want you to stay at the expensive main hotel!

 

 

 

 

Birding Strategy

 

The easiest way to bird the gorge is to start at Xiaoxitian and walk down one branch of the ‘Y’ and up the other, leaving the floor of the gorge by the unusual 90 metres elevator near the main entrance. (Or you can start at the elevator and do most of your walking uphill, it’s up to you!) In the gorge, Chinese Bamboo Partridges were seen and we had best-ever views of Little and Spotted Forktails. Grey Treepie, Eurasian Jay, Red-billed Leiothrix, Yellow-bellied Tits and Black Bulbuls were also present.  We found Ashy-throated Parrotbills common, confiding and feeding young in the bushes outside the restaurant at Xiaoxitian. 

 

We saw the Pandas in their fairly natural-looking outdoor runs. Apparently, these are Pandas from Wolong. If you hear statistics about breeding successes at Wolong, they may be including the Bifengxia animals. There seem to be far fewer visitors than at the Panda Research Centres in Wolong and Chengdu.  Bifengxia is a pleasant site which might be better for birding in winter.

 

Spotted Forktail, Bifengxia

 

 

 

Mengdingshan,
Mingshang county, Yaan

 

Famous as a centre for green tea.  There are a few original trees on this hilltop, and a lot of secondary growth.  The area is criss-crossed with good stone paths.  A museum to the Red Army Long Marchers is near the top.  “History is written by the victors” – indeed.

 

Location and access

 

An easy bus ride from Yaan Travel Bus Station on Baiyi Lu to Mengding town, then a RMB 5 per person minivan ride. Admission RMB60. A 10-12 minutes cable car ride (RMB30 return) to the largest temple.  There is a newly built guesthouse, RMB 200 (discount rate) a standard room.  Tea tasting tables and chairs are set out in pleasant surroundings.  Nearby there is the fanciest temple complex toilet we had ever seen. All very upmarket.

 

Birding Notes

 

Apart from a single Moustached Laughingthrush we saw a few common birds during the visit. Not recommended as a birding site, but nice tea.

 

Erlangshan National Forest Park,

Yaan

 

The area is now divided into four scenic spots; - Labahe, Erlangshan, Honglingshan and Baishahe.  We went to Labahe, which means “Trumpet River” due to the shape of the gully. Admission fee RMB58.  A lot of money has recently been spent on accommodation and facilities.

 

 

Location and access

 

A 47 Km bus ride from Yaan Travel Station takes you to Tianquan, the county Certhia tianquanesis is named after.  The busses are every 20 minutes, but you must get the 07:50 or earlier to make the connection with the Labahe bus at 10:00.  We missed it and hired a minivan to go there (RMB 140).

 

37Km west along route S318 - the road to Kangding and Tibet - there is a turnoff north over a bridge, with new signboards and an ornate archway.  A newly paved road goes 25 Km up the valley. In places falling rocks have crushed the safety barriers as if they were tin foil.

 

Accommodation:

22Km  - wooden chalets across river  - RMB 220 a standard room

23Km  - a large hotel (under re-construction)

24Km  - “Baigelin Hotel” - blue-roofed chalets -  RMB 260 a standard room

25Km  - “Blue Crystal Hotel”  -  RMB 410 a standard room (Re-named Labahe Grand Hotel, Autumn 2006)

 

The big hotel (under re-construction) and the Labahe Grand Hotel have salt licks where Chinese Water Deer (among others) can be seen after sunset when the light is almost completely gone; - fifteen seconds shutter speed at ISO1600 ! But the spectacle of big, edible wild animals in China was unforgettable.

 

Along the bottom 20Km of the river, four small dams have been constructed to create boating lakes.

 

Salt Lick view - Labahe

 

 

 

Birding Strategy

 

We stayed at the ridiculously opulent Blue Crystal Hotel (now the “Labahe Grand”) because we thought it would be easier to access good habitat upstream, but it appears that you have to walk several kilometres upstream to get away from the area damaged by logging. We walked about 2km parallel to the main river in the company of a guide arranged by the hotel. We saw a few birds and found a Lady A’s Pheasant tail feather.  The hotel itself is deep in a valley with only secondary trees on the nearby hillsides.  Golden-breasted Fulvettas and Collared Finchbills were along the road downhill, at the 24 – 25km area.

 

The best place for birders to stay should be the wooden chalets at km 22, (over the bridge, behind a shrine).  This is where the tour vehicles are based.  For RMB 20 per person, a six-seater 4WD may be hired to go up a gravel track a few Km to the end of a wooden boardwalk at 2,700m – photo below.  Built in 2005, the boardwalk runs above shoulder-high bamboo to a viewpoint, then down many steps and into a gully ending at 2,400m. We saw Fulvous and Brown Parrotbills, Chinese Babax and Speckled Wood Pigeon.   The snow-capped peaks are visible for much of the walk, but 80% of the original spruce trees are gone.  Despite this, a promising-looking area, mainly for the readily accessible dwarf bamboo.  Not far from the end of the boardwalk we went to Deer Lake (2,400m). White-throated Needletails were seen coming in to drink.

 

Boardwalk, Labahe (upper end)

 

 

Fengtongzhai Nature Reserve,

Baoxing county, Tianquan, county, Yaan

 

This (Provincial) Reserve headquarters is right next to the main road.  The buildings, dating from the 70’s, were being surveyed for demolition during our visit.  This is the area where Pere Armand David was first shown a Giant Panda skin in 1869.  A pictorial signboard proclaims route S201 the “David road” in an obvious attempt at a tourist theme.

 

Location and access

 

50 minutes bus ride east of Tianquan, at the road junction we got a bus northwards to Baoxing – about 1 hour 40 minutes.  From there minivans go to a town 6 Km south of Fengtongzhai HQs.  In the absence of Taxis, we hired a van to cover the last few kilometres.

 

Most of the reserve area seems to be the high ground of some very steep mountains.  The topography must be good for the wildlife, but inconvenient for sightseers. We spent one morning trudging up slippery paths but there were few birds and it was hard work.  We were told that a tent could be hired (as well as porters, guides) for supervised camping at the higher elevations.

 

Pere Armand David’s Mission

 

On a Sunday morning we hired a minivan to be driven to “Pere Davids Church” a few Km up a side valley.  I’m not sure how authentic the wooden buildings are. (There is a 1985 photo in the “The Last Panda” of this site, and parts of it seem to have been recently re-built) (Admission RMB 20). There are a few stuffed animals, and some furniture said to have been used by Pere David himself.  Prominence is given to a fading set of photos highlighting a bold fact-finding mission to the south of France by the good burghers of Baoxing.  There are also historical photos of foreign hunters, including the Roosevelt brothers with their first trophy panda.

 

View from in front of the “Mission”

 

 

 

Church interiors

 

 

Jiajinshan Pass

 

From Fengtongzhai we got a bus north up the valley to the rough town of Qiaoji, soon to be submerged behind a dam.  We found there was no bus north over the pass.  Jemi enlisted a mini-van driver and we were driven about 30Km up a picturesque valley with Tibetan houses in fields of potatoes and broad beans.  At km 219 is a guesthouse renovated in September  2005.  There was a road barrier and self-explanatory sign:-

 

“ In order to let the Panda have a wonderful environment for copulation, this road is closed from 19:00 to 07:00 from March to June.”

 

A 4,000m pass is at Km 184. The hilltops on the south side are quite bare and overgrazed, - photo below. (The OLD edition Nelles map “Central China” is completely wrong here; the road does not turn east towards Balangshan Pass, it descends to join Route S303 near  the town of Dawei, about 60km west of Balangshan. This has been corrected in the 2005 Nelles map of Central China.)

 

 

Bare southern slopes of Jiajinshan

 

 

On the northern side of the pass a lot of road-widening work was going on.  We were told the completion of road works would coincide with completion of the Qiaoji dam, and then a bus service might resume.   We saw our first Griffon Vultures, Plain Mountain Finch and Kessler’s Thrush from the road.  The road workers were sleeping in rough shelters of plastic sheets and burning rhododendron bushes from the hillsides to keep warm.  Despite this, there is a healthy-looking area of Rhododendrons on the slope opposite the road, 2 - 3 Km north of the pass.  We passed good areas of spruce and red birch on the way down. The last few km to Dawei are very bare and dry, but Hill Pigeons and Crag Martins were seen.

 

Siguniangshan (Mt. Four Sisters),

Aba Tibetan & Qiang Autonomous Prefecture

 

View of Siguniangshan from “The Cat’s Nose” lookout

 

 

The second highest mountain in Sichuan, 6,250m.  A popular viewpoint is at “ The Cat’s Nose” at Km135, Route S303.

 

 

Location and access

 

We stayed at the Sunny Hostel in Rilong, a standard room for RMB 80.  The town, with a variety of hotels for domestic and Japanese tourists, is at Km141 on route S303.  It is 28 Km west of Balangshan pass and 94 Km from Shawan (Wolong).  A good base for the upper reaches of Balangshan, and there are two very birdable scenic spots nearby.

 

Shuangqiaogou (Double Bridge Valley),

Siguniangshan (Mt. Four sisters)

 

The entrance is at Km148.  They are doing an imitation of Jiuzhaigou in that you must travel on a park minibus.  Admission Fee RMB 80, minibus fee also RMB 80.  The valley is 35km long - elevation1900m to 3800m - with spruce and larch-clad hillsides and a river in the middle, meandering in wider places through green meadows.  At the first stop “Renshen guo ping” we told the guide on the minibus not to wait for us and walked a 2.6 Km boardwalk.  Snow Pigeons, Giant Laughingthrush and Rufous-bellied Woodpeckers were seen well.   There are a couple of Tibetan villages in the valley and it may be possible to stay overnight although I suspect this would be contrary to regulations.  With relatively few visitors the absence of a foreign visitor might be noticed.

 

 

View from the boardwalk, Shuangqiaogou

 

 

Tibetan house, upper end of Shuangqiaogou

 

 

 

Changpinggou,

Siguniangshan (Mt. Four sisiters)

 

Location and access

 

At the upper end of Rilong township there is a side road where the S303 crosses the river. The entrance gate and ticket office (0830 – 1600) are a few hundred metres up the road. Admission fee is RMB 70, with another RMB 20 for a 7-km minibus ride to the end of a 3.5Km boardwalk.  (Pony rides are available on a track roughly parallel to the boardwalk-useless for birding, obviously.)  Elevation of the boardwalk is 3,400m.  Many birds were in family parties, such as Grey-crested, Rufous-vented and Black-browed Tits, Common and White-browed Rosefinch and White-throated Redstart.  A pair of Rufous-bellied Woodpeckers was also seen. Beyond the boardwalk a bridge crosses the stream and leads to a campsite further up the valley.

 

June may not be a good month to bird this area. Despite the imposition of a barrier and really unnecessary bus ride to get to the end of the boardwalk, the habitat looks very promising.

 

 

Blue-fronted Redstart near Rilong

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Balangshan Pass (route S303 km 114.5)

Aba Tibetan & Qiang Autonomous Prefecture

 

We paid RMB 230 for a minivan driver to pick us up at 04:00 on each of two days to look for the pheasants around km92. (Thanks to up-to-date gen. from Mike Leven !) When the road is dry it takes about 90 minutes to get there from Rilong.  Our first day was overcast, but we had a total of 16 White Eared Pheasants above us on the open parts of the hillside (first dry day after rain). The next day the White Eared Pheasants were harder to find but we got a male Chinese Monal quite close to the road.  Goral (a kind of mountain goat) was seen on both days. We saw Alpine Accentor at the pass on the way back, but missed the hoped-for Grandalas.

 

 

Before sunrise, km 92 Balangshan

 

 

 

White Eared Pheasants – viewed from the road at km92

 

 

 

Chinese Monal – km92, Balangshan pass road

 

 

 

 

 

Route S210 road Xiaojin to Maerkang (Barkam)

 

(Not marked on the old Nelles Map, corrected in the 2005 edition.)  We got the 0800 bus from Xiaojin. The PLA-captured chain bridges memorial is upstream from Xiaojin at Km 135 and the road ends at Zhuokeji, a picturesque Tibetan village 7 km east of Maerkang on Route 317.

 

Prayer wheels, temple uphill from km 14.5 route S210

 

 

The pass at Mengbishan is 30km south of Zhuokeji.  North of the pass the road runs through a good area of mature spruce trees. In mid-afternoon we saw White-winged Grosbeaks and a party of White Eared Pheasants at Km 22.  At Km 14.5 a track zigzags up to the hill behind a set of water-driven prayer wheels.  The track climbs about 600 metres over a distance of 5 Km. There is “improvement” work going on at the temple at the top and some damage to the mainly secondary growth near the track.  Nevertheless, our vehicle disturbed family parties of Blood Pheasants here and we had our only sighting of Black Woodpecker.

 

At the temple itself Beautiful and White-browed Rosefinches came for the offertory barley, along with Giant Laughingthrushes.  Also present were Elliot’s Laughingthrush and Chinese Babax.  In the morning and evening the lama hand-feeds a single White Eared Pheasant.  He used to feed several, but the others have gone back to the wild.

 

White-eared Pheasant in temple grounds – near Mengbi Shan

 

 

We stayed at a “homestay” in Zhuokeji, the first house on the right across the bridge is the only place in Zhuokeji permitted to accept foreigners.  RMB 60 each per day included food. The Tibetan-style house had a modern shower but the toilet was a traditional “long drop”. The LU family, who run the place, are very hospitable.

 

Zhuokeji, near Maerkang

 

 

 

 

Zhegushan

Maerkang County

 

Until 2004 the road from Maerkang to Chengdu via Miyaoluo/Wenchuan went over this high pass. Now a tunnel cuts out about 30km from the route. We chugged up to the old pass in a hired minivan in the middle of the day, but still managed to disturb a male Koklass Pheasant on the road.  At the high point of the road there were magnificent views to the south east of great snow-capped mountains, but no other birding excitement.  The hillsides along the old pass are very bare, and not a good alternative to Mengbishan.

 

Kalonggou,
Heishui county,
Aba Tibetan & Qiang Autonomous Prefecture

 

The 0830 bus from Maerkang takes six hours to get to Heishui.   The first 20km of the road towards Hongyuan on S209 is very alpine-looking, meadows and fir trees, but gets barer, as the Heishui turnoff is approached.   About 60km from Heishui, we crossed a 3,800m pass.  The elderly lady in front of me was keen to throw prayer papers out of the bus window at the top and a few of us were enlisted to throw them as high as we could at the crucial moment, which we did. At Heishui town, we caught the last minivan of the day to go 20km down the main road and turn left 40km or so up a long valley (towards Kailonggou) said to be popular with visitors in autumn due to the autumn leaves.

 

The paved road ends at Kalonggou village where there are a few modest guesthouses and no shop, so buy your snacks on the way.  We had to “Baoche” to cover the last few Km. It was obvious that some of the avifauna had changed since we left Maerkang. Tibetan plains species such as Daurian Jackdaw, Carrion Crow, White-throated Dipper and Godlewskis Bunting were all new birds for the trip.  A pair of Red Collared Doves were seen on a track near the village.   Unlike near Maerkang, the locals circle their temple anti-clockwise, not clockwise.

 

Kalonggou Scenic Area

 

Admission RMB 60.  Ours were the only two tickets sold that day.  After 5km up a track there is a small turning circle and a boardwalk follows a stream through moss covered forest.

 

The boardwalk, slippery in places, climbs a long way, about 300 – 400 metres over a distance of 4 km. We saw a small party of Blood Pheasants near the top, and Chinese Fulvettas at the bottom.  In between there were Maroon-backed Accentors, Eurasian Treecreepers and Blue-throated Flycatcher.  There was a lot of pretty calcified terrace stream scenery and good flowers, but not a great variety of birds.  Great Spotted Woodpeckers, Common Rosefinches and Grey-headed Bullfinches were seen near the village in the evening.

 

Boardwalk at Kalonggou

 

 

There are plans to build a 3 star hotel and a cable car. A cable car may make more interesting habitat accessible in the Stone Forest area above the waterfalls; - meanwhile it is a long hike to get there.

 

Kalonggou to Heishui to Songpan,
Aba Tibetan & Qiang Autonomous Prefecture

 

We picked our way over two mudslides to get back to Heishui. The minivan drivers’ friend come up from the town to pick us up on the town side of the last mudslide.  At Heishui we got straight onto to the Maoxian bus and when we got the junction at the Rainbow Bridge on the main Chengdu-Songpan road, the driver waved down the bus in the opposite lane.  It was the bus that had left Chengdu at 0700 that morning (we paid RMB 30 each). We found ourselves in the convoy of coaches towards Songpan and Jiuzhaigou, arriving Songpan around 1630. Stayed at the Traffic Hotel (RMB 80) by the bus station.  Hodgson’s Redstart was feeding young on the wall below our window.

 

Jiuzhaigou NNR
Aba Tibetan & Qiang Autonomous Prefecture

 

Location and access

 

Got the 11:00 bus up Route 213 towards Jiuzhaigou from Songpan.  The high point is Km 119 after which the road descends through spruce forest.  There is a lake and a fancy hotel (Jiuzhai Resort) at Km 89, then the road descends several hairpin bends.   There are several kilometres of hotels and shops as you approach Jiuzhaigou National Nature Reserve entrance at KM 71.

 

We stayed at the noisy “Langjie’s Home” Hostel. Nearby there are two Tibetan Barbeques/Karaoke tents.  Nightly revelry starts at around 20:00 but usually finishes by 23:00.

 

Entrance to Jiuzhaigou (from 0700hrs) is RMB 220 plus bus ticket RMB 90.  You can have your ticket endorsed to return the following day free (except in the May and October “Golden Week” holidays).

 

With thousands of visitors daily the management have a well-developed system of bussing everyone around the ‘Y” - shaped park and trying to avoid bottlenecks. The scenery is magnificent, but you’ll be sharing it with a lot of people.

 

No farming is practised in Jiuzhaigou these days.  There are people - mainly ethnic Tibetans - still living in some villages of which the largest is Zhuzhengzhai. Many reserve workers come from these villages, which also feature souvenir stalls, barbeque snacks, and so on. Wandering around, the visitor may be offered accommodation. The volume of visitors to Jiuzhaigou is so vast, it seems that no notice is taken of  a very few who might stay in the reserve overnight.

 

 View Zhuzhengzhai, Jiuzhaigou

 

 

Long Lake,
Zechawa valley, Jiuzhaigou

 

At the end of the left-hand Zechawa valley.  We arrived in mid-morning and found the wooden viewing platform already teeming with tourists and hawkers. Slipping down a track to the left (where the hawkers park their cars) we found an open area with a couple of single-storey buildings.  Good views and photos of White-throated Redstart, Grey-headed Bullfinch and Vinaceous Rosefinch.  Down the wooden stairs to Five-colour Lake we also saw Elliot’s Laughingthrush and Dark-rumped Rosefinch.

 

Primitive Forest,
Rize Valley, Jiuzhaigou

 

At the far end of Rize Valley, the right fork of the valley.  The 1.5km boardwalk was full but we were able to slip away from the viewing platform at the top end of the loop.  A pair of Three-toed Woodpeckers with a juvenile was the highlight.  The boardwalk downhill towards Swan Lake was “closed for maintenance”.

 

Three-toed Woodpeckers, Primitive Forest, Jiuzhaigou

 

 

 

 

Five coloured lake (Peacock Lake),
Rize Valley, Jiuzhaigou

 

We had our only view of Sooty Tit here.  Disappointingly, the “Tigers Mouth viewpoint” had been closed off.  It is tempting to conclude that boardwalk closure is being done to speed the movement of tourists around the various attractions.

 

Jiuzhaigou to Wanglang National Nature Reserve (NNR)

 

It is all of 42 km down Route 301 (Km 71 to Km 29) to get from the Jiuzhaigou “Entrance” to the county town of the same name.  From there we got the 12:00 bus towards Baima.  This goes over a 3,800m pass “Rhododendron Hill”, where we saw only Crag Martins and Plumbeous Water Redstart from the bus.  At 14:30 we alighted at a petrol station opposite some souvenir stalls staffed by people with Baima costumes, - flat hats with white feathers prominent.  There is no regular bus to cover the 41 km to Wanglang NNR so we hired a mini-van (RMB 150).  The first 10km of the road crosses a building site and skirts a huge dam.  20km up the road there is a village with a couple of clean and inexpensive guesthouses.  Pony rides are offered along the nearby valleys.  The tree cover viewable from the road was quite poor so perhaps not good for birding.  Brown Water Rafting was also available.

 

Wanglang NNR

Pingwu county, Mianyang

 

Thirty-or–so Km from the road junction is the entrance to the reserve.  Admission fee RMB 30.  Jemi voted the ladies toilet at the entrance “the second worst in SW China”. Reserve headquarters was another 8 km along a gravel track, elevation 2,560m.  We paid RMB 80 each for a three-bed room that shared a toilet and shower with a two-bed room next door.  In contrast to the shabby entrance area the HQs accommodation was new, well designed and clean.  We opted to take meals with the staff and students and were soon armed with chopsticks and a medium-sized tin bowl. The food was fine and we were charged a bargain RMB 10 for three meals a day.  The accommodation and catering seems to be under the management of hospitality professionals, but they will try to steer foreigners into the more expensive types of accommodation, so beware.

 

 

Riverside Eco-trail

Wanglang NNR

 

A 2005 boardwalk through fifty-year-old secondary growth and a few relict firs.  Red-billed Blue Magpie, Daurian Redstart, White-backed Woodpecker, Vinaceous Rosefinch, Blue-throated Flycatcher, Chestnut Thrush and a Pika.  The trail ends a few hundred metres from park headquarters.  (Saw Snowy-cheeked Laughingthrush there in Oct 2006).

 

Baishagou

                                              Zhugencha,  Wanglang NNR

 

A flattish area of big spruce trees at about 3,000m elevation surrounded by rocky, spectacular mountainsides, about 8-10km from the accommodation.  We hired a car at reserve headquarters to visit Baishagou which has a short circular boardwalk with spectacular views of the meadows, trees and mountains.  There and at the trail at the end of the road we had two pairs of White-winged Grosbeaks, White-browed Rosefinches, Goldcrest, Daurian and White-throated Redstarts, Orange-flanked Bush Robins, Maroon-backed Accentors and Eurasian Treecreepers.

 

Spruce forest at Baishagou

 

 

 

Iron roof house, Baixionggou

Wanglang NNR

 

This area also held Golden Bush Robin.  There is a well-marked path towards Jiuzhaigou, a short boardwalk, and a long flattish trail parallel to the main stream that seems to go on for several kilometres.

 

 

along the boardwalk, Baixionggou

 

 

 

We were told that Blue-eared Pheasants are easy to see at Wanglang NNR in winter.  As we left the Reserve, we came across a female Koklass Pheasant crossing the road with three young.

 

Koklass Pheasant, Wanglang NNR

 

 

 

 

 

According to “Threatened Birds of the World” there are recent sightings of Snowy-cheeked Laughingthrush and Rufous-headed Robin at Wanglang NNR, which has a common border with Jiuzhaigou. If you have the time, and especially if you have you own transport, Wanglang NNR seems like a great alternative to Jiuzhaigou, where the crowds can be distracting.

 

Wanglang NNR - Pingwu – Qingxi – Tangjiahe NNR

 

We hired a mini-van to go to the county town of Pingwu, stopping to pick up the driver’s wife for weekly shopping. We got the 14:30 local bus northeast to Qingxi.  The journey is only 60 km but takes two hours, the last 25 Km is on a holed, gravel road.  At Qingxi we hired a mini-van to take us 20 km to Tangjiahe NNR headquarters (Admission RMB 30).

 

 

Tangjiahe National Nature Reserve

Guangyuan

 

The site of some of George B Schallers’ research in 1984/5 described in “The Last Panda”.  Reserve HQs (Elevation 1,400m) consists of several blocks in two rows with a restaurant / exhibition hall building at the top end.  It was a Saturday when we arrived.  There was a conference going on, so we could only get a room in block D, the oldest and cheapest block (RMB 100). Block B is a lot nicer – RMB300.  In chinese the accommodation is called the “Golden Panda Summer Resort”.

 

Motianling,  Tangjiahe

 

 

 

 

­­

 

Nature Trail

Tangjiahe NNR

 

Near the restaurant a small suspension in bridge for pedestrians crosses the river.  A gravel path with concrete steps leads up the hillside under secondary trees reminiscent of HK’s Tai Po Kau.  Here we were treated to the sight of Muntjacs Muntjacius reevesii with several seen from 07:00 to 11:00 and others heard.  The commonest bird seemed to be Grey-headed Flycatcher, with Eurasian Nuthatch and Crimson-breasted Woodpecker also seen, along with a single Golden Pheasant.

 

Muntjac on the nature trail, Tangjiahe

 

 

 

 

The following morning we checked out early and drove from Maoxiangba headquarters towards the reserve entrance and then northwards up the Motianling valley.

 

Golden Pheasants were disturbed at the roadside.  Once we saw a female with young, once an immature male.  Other “firsts” for the trip here were Crested Kingfisher, Spotted Nutcracker, Vinous-throated Parrotbill and Slaty Bunting.

 

Tangjiahe is obviously a good site for Golden Pheasant, even in mid-summer.

 

Indian Fritillary butterfly (Argyreus hyperbius) Tangjiahe

 

 

Tangjiahe NNR – Pingwu - Guixi - Beichuan

 

Our mini-van took us to the outskirts of Pingwu and from there we got an air-conditioned bus bound for Mianyang (13:35 – 15:50). We got off at the town of Guixi. From there we had a short but cheerful and entertaining trip in a newish and clean 16-seater bus to Beichuan. Jemi balanced a little girl with an ice-cream bar on her knee part of the way.  We arrived in Beichuan at 16:50. 

 

Xiaozhaizi Gou Nature Reserve

Beichuan Qiang Autonomous Prefecture

Mianyang

 

Location & access

 

Mini-vans to a modest holiday resort at Xiaozhaizi leave from the roadside near Beichuan Bus Station shortly after midday.  The distance is only 98 km, but the last 50km is up a dusty gravel track – a 3 1/2 hour journey.  From the “resort” we paid an extra RMB 20 to be driven 5 km up the hill to the reserve. 

There is a clean newish accommodation block.   The toilets are in a separate building.  The atmosphere was relaxed and friendly.  We ate with the reserve staff.

 

Accommodation block (right) at Xiaozhaizi – dining hall is in the red building on the left

 

 

Birding Strategy

 

The main valley has a gravel track running 7-8 km next to a large stream.  The staff ran us up 7 km on the back of  motorcycles (without charge !).  The woodland cover by the road is very scrubby.  There are two accessible side gullys marked “Xialili” and “Shanglili”. These are popular in winter with mainland birders.  The hillsides are very steep and reasonable pine cover is 300m or so higher up the hillsides.  Jemi found a female White-bellied Redstart and Chinese Bush Warbler. We also had Streak-throated Scimitar-babbler, Elliot’s Laughingthrush, and White-crowned Forktails.  We believed the staff when they said “It’s better in winter.”

 

      

Views of Xiaozhaizi gou(valley)

 

 

Departure

 

After only two nights, we decided to leave. We would probably have stayed longer if this site had been visited earlier in the trip. The ever-accommodating staff gave us a lift to Beichuan in their pick-up.  From there a bus got us to Mianyang and another to Chengdu.

 

 

SPECIES LIST

Species number according to Mackinnon, J. and Phillipps,K, (2000) A field guide to the Birds of China

 

0002 Tibetan Snowcock  Tetraogallus tibetanus

Heard at Balangshan, Wolong

 

0027 Chinese Bamboo-Partridge Bambusicola thoracica

A pair seen in the gully at Bifengxia, near Yaan

 

0028 Blood Pheasant  Ignathis cruentus

Family parties found at the trackside on the way up to Chake Temple, near Zhuokeji, and at the top end of the boardwalk at Kailonggou

 

0032 Temminck's Tragopan Tragopan temminckii

First year male found near Lanxi waterfall, Wawushan

 

0034 Koklass Pheasant Pucrasia macrolopha

Single male on old pass road between Maerkang and Miyaoluo. Female with three young at Wanglang, near reserve entrance.

 

0037 Chinese Monal Pheasant Lophophorus lhuysii

Single male photographed at km92 on the road to Balangshan Pass

 

0043 White Eared-Pheasant Crossoptilon crossoptilon

Parties seen above road to Balangshan Pass, and on the Xiaojin to Zhuokeji road, near Mengbishan

 

0050 Common Pheasant Phasianus colchicus

Single spied by Jemi from a coach in Jiuzhaigou

 

0051 Golden Pheasant Chrysolophus pictus

Three sightings in Tangjiahe.

 

0052 Lady Amherst's Pheasant Chrysolophus amherstiae

Wawushan, on the road between the entrance and the lower cablecar terminal

 

0127 Rufous-Bellied Woodpecker Dendrocopos hyperythrus

Pairs seen at Siguniangshan scenic area

 

0128 Crimson-breasted Woodpecker Dendrocopos cathpharius

Single male at Tangjiahe

 

0129 Darjeeling Woodpecker Dendrocopos darjellensis

Seen on two days at Wawushan

 

0130 White-Backed Woodpecker Dendrocopos leucotos (Amended Jan ’07 – a misidentification, these should all be 0131 Great Spotted Woodpecker)

Pairs at Fengtongzhai, Kailonggou and Wanglang

 

0131 Great Spotted Woodpecker Dendrocopos major

Singles at Siguniangshan and Wanglang

 

0133 Thee-Toed Woodpecker Picoides tridactylus

Pair at the primeval forest, Jiuzhaigou

 

0136 Black Woodpecker Dryocopus martius

Male by the track near Chake Temple near Zhuokeji, Maerkang

 

0163 Hoopoe  Upupa epops

Noted near Jiuzhaigou entrance and at Wanglang NNR HQs

 

0177 Black-Capped Kingfisher Halcyon pileata

Singles near Qiaoji and just south of Zhuokeji

 

0179 Crested Kingfisher Megaceryle lugubris

Up to three individuals at Tangjiahe

 

0189 Large Hawk Cuckoo Heirococcyx sparveroides

Heard Wawushan and sites around Yaan

 

0193 Eurasian Cuckoo Cuculus canorus

Heard at Mengdingshan and Bifengxia

 

0194 Oriental Cuckoo Cuculus saturatus

Heard at Wawushan and Labahe

 

0195 Lesser Cuckoo Cuculus poliocephalus

Heard and seen at the summit of Wawushan and Bifengxia, Mengdingshan and the higher parts of the Balangshan Road.

 

0201 Asian Koel Eudynamys scolopacea

Lower areas of Wawushan and Bifengxia

 

0214 Himalayan Swiftlet Collocalia brevirostris

100+ at the trail to Lanxi waterfall, Wawushan

 

0216 White-Throated Needletail Hirundapus caudacutus

Small group drinking at Deer Lake, Labahe, near Yaan

 

0221 Fork-Tailed Swift Apus pacificus

Noted at various sites, Wanglang, Fengtongzhai and Jiuzhaigou

 

0230 Oriental Scops Owl Otus sunia

Heard at dusk at Gong Tong Hotel, Wawushan

 

0247 Collared Owlet Glaucidium brodiei

Heard at lowland sites; - base of Wawushan, Bifengxia and Tangjiahe

 

0257 Grey Nightjar Caprimulgus indicus

Heard at dawn from guesthouse outside the entrance to Jiuzhaigou (at dusk the karaoke made this impossible)

 

0264 Hill Pigeon Columba rupestris

Noted on rocky, hilly areas, especially near Balangshan Pass, Rilong and Xiaojin

 

0265 Snow Pigeon Columba leuconota

Up to twenty at Two Bridges Valley, Siguniangshan

 

0269 Speckled Wood Pigeon Columba hodgsonii

Fifteen flying to roost at Fengtongzhai, also seen at Labahe and Jiajinshan

 

0274 Oriental Turtle Dove Streptopelia orientalis

Singles or pairs noted regularly from Xiaojin to Maerkang

 

0276 Spotted Dove Streptopelia chinensis

Single up the valley from Fengtongzhai

 

0277 Red Collared Dove Streptopelia tranquebarica

Single at Rilong, pair at Kailonggou

 

0458 Oriental Honey-Buzzard Pernis ptilorhynchus

Pair seen at Tangjiahe

 

0468 Lammergeier Gypaetus barbatus

Two noted near Balangshan Pass

 

0470 Himalayan Griffon Gyps himalayensis

Near the high passes at Jiajin Shan and Balangshan

 

0486 Besra Accipiter virgatus

Parents and juvenile noted, Tangjiahe

 

0494 Upland Buzzard Buteo hemilasius

Pairs at Balangshan, Jiajinshan, Mengbishan

 

0500 Golden Eagle Aquila chrysaetos

Two pairs at Balangshan

 

0535 Little Egret Egretta garzetta

A pleasing few noted on broad watercourses on the plains

 

0544 Cattle Egret Bubulcus ibis

See 0535

 

0545 Chinese Pond-Heron Ardeola bacchus

Single seen near Hongya, two at Labahe

 

0554 Cinnamon Bittern Ixobrychus cinnamomeus

Single in flight near Zhuokeji

 

0614 Brown Shrike Lanius cristatus

Single near motorway tollgate, Yaan to Mengding

 

0616 Long-Tailed Shrike Lanius schach

Singles on wires in populated areas on the plains

 

0617 Grey-Backed Shrike Lanius tephronotus

Widespread and breeding in upland areas 2,500 to 3,000 metres

 

0621 Eurasian Jay Garrulus glandarius

Pair near Wawushan entrance gate, also between Mengbishan and Zhuokeji, near Maerkang

 

0626 Red-Billed Blue Magpie Urocissa erythrorhyncha

Up to twelve at Fengtongzhai, also at Labahe, Tangjiahe and Xiaozhaizegou

 

0632 Grey Treepie Dendrocitta formosae

Only noted at Bifengxia

 

0636 Black-Billed Magpie Pica pica

Noted near Bifengxia

 

0640 Spotted Nutcracker Nucifraga caryocatactes

Four at Tangjiahe

 

0641 Red-Billed Chough Pyrrhocorax pyrrhocorax

Pairs below Balangshan and Kailonggou

 

0642 Yellow-Billed Chough Pyrrhocorax graculus

Above Balangshan Pass the only site noted

 

0644 Daurian Jackdaw Corvus dauurica

Up to seven at Kailonggou

 

0647 Carrion Crow Corvus corone

Up to three at Kailonggou.

 

0648 Large-Billed Crow Corvus macrorhynchos

Widespread

 

0665 Long-Tailed Minivet Pericrocotus ethologus

Widespread, pairs at several sites visited

 

0677 Spangled Drongo Dicrurus hottentottus

Three to four daily, Bifengxia

 

0687 White-Throated Dipper Cinclus cinclus

At least two pairs at Kailonggou

 

0688 Brown Dipper Cinclus pallasii

Bifengxia, Siguninang Shan, Jiuzhaigou and Labahe

 

0692 Chestnut-Bellied Rockthrush Monticola rufiventris

Single male seen at Jiajinshan

 

0693 Blue Rock-Thrush Monticola solitarius

On the bare hills near Heishui

 

0694 Blue Whistling-Thrush Myophonus caeruleus

Widespread near suitable streams

 

0706 Grey-Winged Blackbird Turdus boulboul

Just two from the road below the cable car base, Wawushan

 

0707 Eurasian Blackbird Turdus merula

Several noted along the road south of Hongya

 

0709 Chestnut Thrush Turdus rubrocanus

Widespread

 

0710 Kessler's Thrush Turdus kessleri

High passes of Balangshan and Jiajinshan

 

0729 Sooty Flycatcher Muscicapa sibirica

Summit of Wawushan, and in alpine forest at Wanglang

 

0732 Ferruginous Flycatcher Muscicapa ferruginea

Summit of Wawushan, Kailonggou and Xiaozhaizigou

 

0737 Rufous-Gorgeted Flycatcher Ficedula strophiata

Pairs at the summit of Wawushan

 

0740 Snowy-Browed Flycatcher Ficedula hyperythra

Noted at Bifengxia

 

0743 Slaty-Blue Flycatcher Ficedula tricolor

Pair behind the upper cable car terminus, Wawushan

 

0746 Verditer Flycatcher Eumyias thalassina

Wawushan and the valley north of Fengtongzhai

 

0749 Fujian Niltava Niltava davidi

Swift cave trail at Wawushan

 

0750 Rufous-Bellied Niltava Niltava sundara

Single male on Swift Cave Trail at Wawushan

 

0756 Blue-Throated Flycatcher Cyornis rubeculoides

Males noted at Siguninang Shan, Kailonggou, Jiuzhaigou and Wanglang

 

0759 Grey-Headed Canary-Flycatcher  Culicicapa ceylonensis

Seriously common at Tangjiahe, noted at Jiuzhaigou, Bifengxia and Mengdingshan

 

0771 Indian Blue Robin Luscinia brunnea

Single male on hillside by Zhusheng Falls, Jiuzhaigou

 

0773 Orange-Flanked Bush-Robin Tarsiger cyanurus

Widely distributed in upland areas visited

 

0774 Golden Bush-Robin Tarsiger chrysaeus

Summit of Wawushan and Baixionggou at Wanglang

 

0778 Oriental Magpie-Robin Copsychus saularis

Viewed in the lowland valley between Heishui and Kailonggou

 

0785 Hodgson's Redstart Phoenicurus hodgsoni

Noted breeding next the Songpan Bus station

 

0786 White-Throated Redstart Phoenicurus schisticeps

Notably Siguniang Shan, also near Maerkang and Jiuzhaigou

 

0787 Daurian Redstart Phoenicurus auroreus

Near Maerkang and at Wanglang, lower elevations than 0786

 

0789 Blue-Fronted Redstart Phoenicurus frontalis

Balangshan and Jegushan (old road Maerkang – Chengdu)

 

0790 White-Capped Water-Redstart Chaimarrornis leucocephalus

It seemed like every stream and ditch held a pair of these

 

0791 Plumbeous Water-Redstart Rhyacornis fuliginosus

See 0790

 

0792 White-Bellied Redstart Hodgsonius phoenicuroides

Male at Wawushan, female at Xiaozhaizigou

 

0796 Little Forktail Enicurus scouleri

Distant views at Wawushan and very close at Bifengxia

 

0798 Slaty-Backed Forktail Enicurus schistaceus

Bifengxia

 

0799 White-Crowned Forktail Enicurus leschenaulti

Jiuzhaigou and Xiaozhaizigou

 

0800 Spotted Forktail Enicurus maculatus

Three pairs at Bifengxia

 

0807 Grey Bushchat Saxicola ferrea

Cultivated hillsides on the way up to Mengding Shan, near Yaan

 

0829 Crested Myna Acridotheres cristatellus

Around Bifengxia

 

0832 Eurasian Nuthatch Sitta europaea

Jiuzhaigou and Tangjiahe

 

0843 Wallcreeper Tichodroma muraria

Wawushan, road between entrance and cable car base

 

0844 Eurasian Tree-Creeper Certhia familiaris

Wawushan, Kailonggou and Wanglang

 

0847b  Sichuan Treecreeper  Certhia tianquanensis

Seen daily at the summit of Wawushan, young being fed at nesthole in a tree stump

 

0848 Wren Troglodytes troglodytes

Changpinggou (Siguniangshan), and the upper levels of Kailonggou

 

0852 Marsh Tit Parus palustris

Also Changpinggou, and Tangjiahe

 

0855 Rusty-Breasted Tit Parus davidi

About twenty coming to drink/bathe near Arrow Bamboo Lake, Jiuzhaigou

 

0858 Rufous-Vented Tit Parus rubidiventris

Seen in several areas, spruce above 3,000m

 

0859 Coal Tit Parus ater

Ones and twos near the summit of Wawushan

 

0860 Yellow-Bellied Tit Parus venustulus

Bifengxia, Fengtongzhai, Jiuzhaigou, Tangjiahe

 

0861 Grey-Crested Tit Parus dichrous

Widespread in upland –above 3,000m – areas

 

0862 Great Tit Parus major

Common

 

0864 Green-Backed Tit Parus monticolus

Widespread in uplands

 

0870 Yellow-Browed Tit Sylviparus modestus

Summit area of Wawushan

 

0873 Black-Throated Tit Aegithalos concinnus

Around the accommodation at Bifengxia

 

0875 Black-Browed Tit Aegithalos bonvaloti

Most numerous at Changpinggou, Siguniangshan

 

0876 White-Necklaced Tit (Sooty Tit) Aegithalos fuliginosus

Near Five-colour Lake, Jiuzhaigou

 

0881 Dusky Crag-Martin Hirundo concolor

Jiuzhaigou town, Songpan, and the bare valley sides near Xiaojin

 

0882 Barn Swallow Hirundo rustica

Noted between Wawushan and Yaan, also on the approach to Tangjiahe

 

0884 Red-Rumped Swallow Hirundo daurica

Noted near Pingwu Guocheng

 

0887 Asian House-Martin Delichon dasypus

Scores nesting along Balangshan Pass road around Km92

 

0889 Goldcrest Regulus regulus

Only noted at 3,000m spruce forest in Wanglang

 

0892 Collared Finchbill Spizixos semitorques

Open, cultivated areas near Pingwu and Beichuan

 

0897 Brown-Breasted Bulbul Pycnonotus xanthorrhous

Seen from hotel window, Beichuan

 

0898 Light-Vented Bulbul Pycnonotus sinensis

Noted in open country between Wawushan and Yaan

 

0912 Black Bulbul Hypsipetes leucocephalus

Breeding in the foothills near Yaan

 

0923 Chestnut-Flanked White-Eye Zosterops erythropleurus

Only noted at lower parts of Wawushan

 

0925 Japanese White-Eye Zosterops japonicus

Common in woodland around 1,000 to 1,500m Mengdingshan (Yaan), and Tangjiahe

 

0933 Brownish-Flanked Bush-Warbler Cettia fortipes

The “whiplash” call noted at lower parts of Wawushan and Bifengxia

 

0935 Aberrant Bush-Warbler Cettia flavolivaceus

Noted at summit of Wawushan

 

0936 Yellowish-Bellied Bush Warbler Cettia acanthizoides

Also at Wawushan summit

 

0939 Spotted Bush-Warbler Bradypterus thoracicus

Another skulking denizen of Wawu summit area

 

0941 Chinese Bushwarbler Bradypterus tacsanowskius

Seen at Xiaozhaizigou

 

0982 Orange (Buff) -Barred Warbler Phylloscopus pulcher

Common at Wawu summit, and similar habitat elsewhere

 

0994 Large-Billed Warbler Phylloscopus magnirostris

Heard all over the areas visited, 2,000 to 2,500m most numerous

 

1001 Sulphur-Breasted Warbler Phylloscopus ricketti

Bifengxia, possibly overlooked elsewhere

 

1002 Golden-Spectacled Warbler Seicercus burkii

This or omeiensis seen widely, but never seen well enough to separate

 

1002b Omei Warbler Seicercus omeiensis

See 1002

 

1006 Chestnut-Crowned Warbler Seicercus castaniceps

Seen on the road below Gong Tong hotel, Wawushan

 

1027 Moustached Laughingthrush Garrulax cineraceus

Single at Mengdingshan, near Yaan

 

1031 Giant Laughingthrush Garrulax maximus

Common in upland areas such as the road to Balang Shan and near Maerkang

 

1032 Spotted Laughingthrush Garrulax ocellatus

Singles from the road between Wawu entrance and cable car base

 

1034 Rusty Laughingthrush Garrulax poecilorhynchus

Twice seen on “Swift Cave Trail”, Wawushan

 

1036 Hwamei Garrulax canorus

Quite common at Bifengxia

 

1041 Elliot's Laughingthrush Garrulax elliotii

Ubiquitous

 

1044 Black-Faced Laughingthrush Garrulax affinis

Pairs noted at summit of Wawushan

 

1047 Red-Winged Laughingthrush Garrulax formosus

Heard at Wawushan

 

1050 Omei Shan Liocichla Liocichla omeiensis

Noisy near the Gongtong Hotel, Wawushan

 

1059 Streak-Breasted Scimitar Babbler Pomatorhinus ruficollis

Heard at mid-levels of Wawushan, seen at Xiaozhaizigou

 

1068 Pygmy Wren-Babbler Pnoepyga pusilla

Seen at Bifengxia and Labahe, heard elsewhere

 

1076 Rufous-Capped Babbler Stachyris ruficeps

Seen and heard in foothills near Yaan – Bifengxia and Mengdingshan

 

1084 Chinese Babax Babax lanceolatus

Parties in farmland near Pere David Mission, and at Chake Temple, near Zhuokeji

 

1088 Red-Billed Leiothrix Leiothrix lutea

Notably Bifengxia and Tangjiahe

 

1198 Eurasian Tree Sparrow Passer montanus

Noted near Tianquan and other small towns

 

1105 Golden-Breasted Fulvetta Alcippe chrysotis

Wawushan and Labahe

 

1106 Gold-Fronted Fulvetta Alcippe variegaticeps

Pair feeding young along “Swift cave trail”, Wawushan

 

1109 White-Browed Fulvetta Alcippe vinipectus

Only in the vicinity of Chake Temple, near Maerkang

 

1110 Chinese Fulvetta Alcippe striaticollis

Small party on the track below the entrance to Kailonggou scenic area

 

1112 Streak-Throated Fulvetta Alcippe cinereiceps

Near the summit of Wawushan, and at 3,000m in Wanglang

 

1115 Dusky Fulvetta Alcippe brunnea

Bifengxia , near Yaan

 

1118 Grey-Cheeked Fulvetta Alcippe morrisonia

Bifengxia and Tangjiahe – likes habitat 1,000 to 1,500m at this season

 

1130 Stripe-Throated Yuhina Yuhina gularis

Just two noted at Wawushan summit; bleating call distinctive !

 

1131 White-Collared Yuhina Yuhina diademata

Wawushan, Labahe and Tangjiahe

 

1138 Great Parrotbill Conostoma oemodium

Pairs noted at Wawushan summit

 

1140 Brown Parrotbill Paradoxornis unicolor

Family party from boardwalk at Labahe

 

1145 Vinous-Throated Parrotbill Paradoxornis webbianus

Only at Motianling valley, Tangjiahe

 

1147 Ashy-Throated Parrotbill Paradoxornis alphonsianus

Small parties and feeding young at Bifengxia

 

1148 Grey-Hooded Parrotbill Paradoxornis zappeyi

Once seen in eleven days at Wawushan

 

1150 Fulvous Parrotbill Paradoxornis fulvifrons

Pairs at Wawushan summit and at the boardwalk in Labahe

 

1186 Mrs Gould's Sunbird Aethopyga gouldiae

Notably at Wawu and Labahe

 

1207 White Wagtail Motacilla alba

Widespread in lowlands

 

1212 Grey Wagtail Motacilla cinerea

Widespread near running water

 

1218 Olive-Backed Tree Pipit Anthus hodgsoni

Displaying birds at Double Bridge Valley, Siguniangshan

 

1222 Rosy Pipit Anthus roseatus

Breeding at upper levels of Balangshan and Jiajinshan

 

1226 Alpine Accentor Prunella collaris

Balangshan Pass

 

1229 Rufous-Breasted Accentor Prunella strophiata

Jegushan Pass (old road from Maerkang to Chengdu)

 

1234 Maroon-Backed Accentor Prunella immaculata

Juveniles noted at Kailonggou, Jiuzhaigou and Wanglang

 

1246 Grey-Capped Greenfinch Carduelis sinica

A few noted over open country between Wawushan and Yaan

 

1256 Plain Mountain-Finch Leucosticte nemoricola

Breeding behaviour at Jiajin shan and Balangshan

 

1266 Dark-Breasted Rosefinch Carpodacus nipalensis

Higher levels near Balangshan Pass

 

1267 Common Rosefinch Carpodacus erythrinus

Siguniang Shan, Kailonggou and Mengbi Shan near Zhuokeji, Maerkang

 

1268 Beautiful Rosefinch Carpodacus pulcherrimus

Six to eight near Chake Temple, Zhuokeji

 

1271 Vinaceous Rosefinch Carpodacus vinaceus

Long Lake, Jiuzhaigou and around reserve HQs, Wanglang

 

1277 White-Browed Rosefinch Carpodacus thura

Up to ten at Chake Temple, near Zhuokeji, noted also at 3,000m at Wanglang NNR

 

1290 Grey-Headed Bullfinch Pyrrhula erythaca

Parties of up to six taking grit under Xiang Er Hotel, Wawushan. Small parties along the track to Kailonggou scenic area

 

1297 White-Winged Grosbeak Mycerobas carnipes

Pair at km28, Route S210 near Mengbi shan, and at Baishagou, Wanglang

 

1301 Slaty Bunting Latoucheornis siemsseni

Single male seen at Motianling, Tangjiahe

 

1306 Godlewski's Bunting Emberiza godlewskii

Noted around Kailonggou

 

Mammals

Red Panda – single seen near Taiqing Temple, Wawushan

Himalayan Weasel – single near Kalonggou

Pika sp. – noted Chake Temple nr Zhoukeji, and Riverside Trail, Wanglang

Tibetan Macaque – small parties noted near Wawushan summit and Swift Cave Trail Striped Squirrel – near Chake Temple, Zhuokeji

Goral – up to five near Km 92 Balangshan road

Reeves’ Muntjac – Several seen in the morning at Tangjiahe Headquarters

Water Deer – up to ten after dark at salt lick, Blue Crystal Hotel, Labahe.

 

 

All right reserved copyright John & Jemi Holmes 2006