Tengchong, Laifeng Shan 腾冲 来凤山 

Tengchong now has an airport!   Opened since February 2009, it is a 40RMB taxi ride to the southwest of the town.

The wooded hillside park of Laifeng Shan overlooks Tengchong. Unlike on previous visits, this time we found the main park gate open before 08:00hrs.  Admission RMB20.  We were slightly later in the year than on our previous visits, but the birding was still good. A pair of Little Pied Flycatchers showed well. Buff-barred Warblers were the commonest phylloscopus warbler, and Large Niltava was prominent (territorial) near the graves lower down the hill.

Liuku 六库 – Pianma 片马 Road (S316)

An area recommended by YU Yat-tung.  The north-south road beside the Nujiang 怒江River north of Liuku 六库 is S228.  12 km north of Liuku 六库 is the junction. Pianma 片马, near the Burmese Border, is 84km westwards on route S316.  

15km    A small town – Luzhang 鲁掌
36 km  “Ke Jia Shi Su” 客家食宿 rest stop  (where we stayed 29 and 30 March)
45km    Yaojiaping 姚家坪 Derelict chalet-style accommodation, occupied by road workers, also a site  for captive-breeding Red Pandas. (Where Y.T.YU stayed in 2008).
45km-48km    a narrow band of secondary broadleaf and pines close to the road
49km-58km    very bare with bamboo 
58.5km            pass  3,050m
64km-76km     relict forest trees, rhododendron, bamboo and other broadleaf 
78km                metal arch denotes GLGS Reserve boundary
84km                Pianma 片马 town

There was some disturbance by road workers, but some good birds were seen, including Gold-naped Finch, Black-throated Parrotbill, White-tailed Nuthatch, Dark-breasted Rosefinch, Beautiful Sibia, Scaly Laughingthrush and Pygmy-blue Flycatcher.

In Pianma town the only bingguan licenced to accept foreigners is halfway down the hill on the right (RMB 80). The staff are pleasant, but place is very poorly maintained and run down.  There are other, more modest guesthouses in the town.

Pianma 片马	– Gulang 古浪road

At the top end of Pianma’s main street is a museum with the wreckage of a WW II transport aircraft. The “Hump” air route of 1942/3 passed over Gaoligongshan 高藜贡山. Turnoff left at the museum (as you go uphill) and this minor, paved road runs north from Pianma and close to the Burmese border. The habitat is quite degraded and you can see hillside farms nibbling into the Gaoligongshan Nature Reserve. Still, we added Striated Laughingthrush to our China lists here, and saw a huge flock (80+) of Brown-winged Parrotbills.

Gongshan 贡山 area  (up the Nujiang River on S228)
We went north to Bingzhongluo 丙中洛 and beyond, but due to persistent rain and mist we missed some of the views and saw few birds.

A trip to Dulongjiang 独龙江 Valley (as far NW as you can get in Yunnan Province) was thwarted by a landslide.  The turnoff is about 4km north of Gongshan on the road to Bingzhongluo. K.C.LI reported that there was decent habitat near the high point of the road between Gongshan and Dulongjiang and he had seen White-bellied Woodpecker there (should be race forresti) in 1998. 

Lanping – Jinji Temple 兰坪金鸡寺

A historic temple about 12km south of Lanping. We took a yellow bus to Jinding 金顶 and a second yellow bus southwards (RMB 1 each). A taxi ride would not be too expensive. The temple is on the crest of a ridge behind a large village, about a 250m climb up from the main road.  The hillside is covered by not-very-old pine trees. We noted a reasonable variety of small birds but anything larger, such as a Scimitar Babbler in the temple precincts, was very shy. We didn’t note any special  birds there.

Lanping – Xingduqiao National Park 兰坪新都桥国家森林公园

Marked on our map so we thought we’d have a look.

About 13km westwards from Lanping up route S311, the site is north of the main road.  We passed some failed tourist chalets and went 6-7 km along a dusty track to a dam marked on the map. It looks as though the dam has been recently made higher.  North of the reservoir behind the dam are some very bare hills with a few scattered small trees.  Poor habitat and difficult to get into – perhaps not worth the effort to bird here.

Lanping County – Luogujing Scenic Area 兰坪县箩古箐

A bus towards Dali from Lanping dropped us at a junction a few km south of the town of Tongdian 通甸.  Someone kindly gave us a lift for free, but there are tricycles for hire.
To get to Luogujing village we hired a minivan (RMB 150). The trip took about an hour. The road is being upgraded, and it seems that development of the scenic area is planned.  A number of guesthouses are recently completed.

About 2km up from Luogujing village a track drops to the left over a stream. The track stops near a covered bridge, and footpaths continue uphill. There was no admission charge in April 2009 but there may be admission charges in the future if the area is developed. 

One reason for the “Scenic Area” status is supposed to be rock formations, but these are hard to see from the floor of the forested ravines. Happily for bird watchers the trees and undergrowth are quite dense.   Relict fir trees, some rhododendrons and other broadleaf, bamboo and flowering camellias were all pleasant on the eye and the birding looked potentially interesting. 

Cangshan, Dali (Cloudy Tourist Walk) 大理苍山 玉带路 

 This well-paved and fairly flat path runs for 12.5 km about the tourist town of Dali, elevation 2,500 metres.  Admission fee for the mountain area is RMB30.  There are cable cars to both ends of the walk.  In the dry season, cigarette lighters are banned. A variety of birds were already paired up and nestbuilding in mid-April and Lady Amherst’s Pheasants could be heard constantly.  Accommodation on the mountain is available at the “Higherland Inn”.
Yunnan Province  云南省
March  & April, 2009 三、四月
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