Showing posts with label Birding China Sichuan. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Birding China Sichuan. Show all posts

5 June 2019

Wanglang NNR, Sichuan - 25th - 29th May 2019

Blue-eared Pheasant - Crossoptilon auritum
Wanglang National Nature Reserve is in Pingwu County, north Sichuan, and has a contiguous border with the much more-visited Jiuzhaigou to the west.

Wanglang lacks the picturesque lakes of Jiuzhaigou,  but from a birding point-of-view it has a lot of similar habitat at similar elevations.


We travelled with Carrie Ma and Yann Musika, and Carrie had arranged a car and driver from Chengdu.  Thanks to Carrie too, for her bookings and other pre-planning !

There are buses to Pingwu town (Road no:205) from Chengdu and Mianyang, and a local bus terminates at the reserve entrance but the reserve itself is not served by public transport.

Most visitors arrive in their own cars, or by Tour Coach.

Chestnut Thrush - Turdus rubrocanus

White-throated Dipper - Cinclus cinclus

Scaly-breasted Wren-Babbler - Pnoepyga albiventer

Chestnut-headed Tesia - Tesia castaneocoronata

Blanford’s Rosefinch - Carpodacus rubescens


We last visited in 2009. Some of the old blocks have been renovated, and there is a grand new “Bai Ma Wanglang Eco-Hotel” phone 0816-5113359, which appears to be bookable online. Electricity (local hydropower) appears reliable.

Cost was RMB 588, which included reserve admission for two persons (RMB 120 each), breakfast, dinner and use of the shuttle buses to the scenic areas.

Along the road to Baixionggou

Along the road to Baixionggou
Getting about

From Reserve HQs, a shuttle bus system operates to take visitors to the scenic sites and boardwalks at the end of the paved roads.  These are at around 3,000m elevation - HQs is about 2,500m.

Right at the road fork (7km) was Baixionggou, where we saw Blue Eared Pheasant. There is a boardwalk there.

Blue-eared Pheasant - Crossoptilon auritum

Blue-eared Pheasant - Crossoptilon auritum

Blue-eared Pheasant - Crossoptilon auritum

Baixionggou boardwalk

Grey-crested Tit - Lophophanes dichrous

Bianchi’s Warbler - Seicercus valentini
Greenhouse-like pavilions are being provided for the less-actively inclined.

Elliot’s Laughingthrush - Garrulax elliotii
Goldcrest - Regulus regulus

Vinaceous Rosefinch - Carpodacus vinaceus
Left at the fork, at 6-7 km was Dachoping (Grand Meadow)...

...and 4km beyond that, Zhugengcha, - an area with Golden Eagle, White-winged Grosbeaks and rhododendrons beneath the pines.

Zhugengcha, Wanglang NNR - about 3,100m

Chinese White-browed Rosefinch - Carpodacus dubius (f)

Chinese White-browed Rosefinch - Carpodacus dubius (m)

White-winged Grosbeak - Mycerobas carneipes

Purple daisy

Golden Eagle - Aquila chrysaetos

Slipper Orchid - Cypredium sp.


The road between the reserve entrance and park HQs was quite birdy, with “phylloscs” and flycatchers - among others- singing and nest building in the misty conditions.

Rufous-gorgetted Flycatcher - Ficedula strophiata

Claudia’s Leaf Warbler - Phylloscopus claudiae

Claudia’s Leaf Warbler - Phylloscopus claudiae

White-collared Yuhina - Yuhina diademata

Rosy Pipit - Anthus roseatus

Rusty-breasted Tit - Poecile davidi

Slaty-backed Flycatcher - Ficedula hodgsonii

Long-tailed Minivet - Pericrocotus ethologus

Sooty Tit - Aegithalos fuliginosus

Sooty Tit - Aegithalos fuliginosus

Sooty Tit - Aegithalos fuliginosus

Yellow-bellied Tit - Parus venustulus

Slaty-backed Flycatcher - Ficedula hodgsonii
Ferruginous Flycatcher - Muscicapa ferruginea

Great Spotted Woodpecker - Dendrocopos major

Bar-tailed Treecreeper - Certhia himalayana

Bar-tailed Treecreeper - Certhia himalayana

Bar-tailed Treecreeper - Certhia himalayana
Temperatures were around 20c, much more comfortable than at sea-level in China in late May…. The woods were very active with breeding birds, and all these shots were taken during four-and-a-half days of birding.

Thanks again to Carrie Ma (whose idea the whole trip was) and to Yann Musika for the pleasure of their company.


19th July 2019 

An apology - I don't seem to be able to comment or reply to comments on blogger, so thanks for looking, and especially thanks to everyone who leaves a comment !

17 February 2018

Tangjiahe NNR in Sichuan - a February flying visit

Takin - Budorcas taxicolor
Just before Lunar New Year, (10th - 14th February 2018) we had five-day break to visit Tangjiahe, a Chinese National Nature Reserve on Sichuan’s border with Gansu.

The American Zoologist Dr. George Schaller spent a year at Tangjiahe in 1984/5, and wrote about it in his book “The Last Panda”.

Brief summer visits were made by Jemi and I in 2005 and 2009, and I had spent a couple of nights there in November 2006. Winter time had looked promising for mammal viewing.

On this trip, our first and last days (including flying to and from Chengdu) were “travel” days, so we only had three days inside the Reserve. 

Tangjiahe National Nature Reserve, Sichuan

Bird and mammal viewing was mostly done from the roads at the bottom of the steep-sided river valleys. Temperatures were below freezing at night, and rose only to single figures during the day, despite weak sunshine. There were patches of snow in wooded gullies and icicles in the river.

First, some "river birds"...

Crested Kingfisher - Megaceryle lugubris

White-throated Dipper - Cinclus cinclus
White-throated Dipper - Cinclus cinclus

White-crowned Forktail - Enicurus leschenaulti
Many of the birds were encountered in fast-moving mixed flocks, but the hazy sunshine and it’s reflections were good for photography. As usual, most shots are quite heavily cropped, though.

David's Fulvetta - Alcippe davidi

Coal Tit - Periparus ater

Red-billed Leiothrix - Leiothrix lutea

Hodgson's Treecreeper - Certhia hodgsoni
Rufous-faced Warbler - Abroscopus albogularis

Eurasian Nuthatch - Sitta europea (sinensis)

Crimson-breasted Woodpecker - Dendrocopus cathpharius
We encountered two Chinese Endemic specialties of the area, Slaty Bunting….

Slaty Bunting - Emberiza seimsseni (m)

Slaty Bunting - Emberiza seimsseni (f)

….. and Golden Pheasant

Golden Pheasant - Chrysolophus pictus

Golden Pheasant - Chrysolophus pictus

After "spectacular" I run out of adjectives !

Tangjiahe is famously a good place to view mammals, and the late-winter lack of leaf coverage meant that the animals were easily sighted. If they thought they were safe across the river from us - like this Takin - then we really had prolonged views. This gave us lots of time to try to line up photos with as few branches in the way as possible.

Takin - Budorcas taxicolor

There were several other mammals encountered here and there -

Reeve's Muntjac - Muntiacus reevesi

Reeve's Muntjac - Muntiacus reevesi

Tufted Deer - Elaphodus cephalophus

Tufted Deer - Elaphodus cephalophus

Tufted Deer - Elaphodus cephalophus

Chinese Serow - Capricornis milneedwardsi

Chinese Serow - Capricornis milneedwardsi

Tibetan Macaque - Macaca thibetana

Tibetan Macaque - Macaca thibetana

On our final afternoon we checked the road towards Motianling for otters in the river below us. There were no otters, but the first members of the group found a single Golden Snub-Nosed Monkey close to the road.  Dawdling at the back, I missed it. This photo was taken by Carrie Ma.

Golden Snub-Nosed Monkey - Rhinopithecus roxellana

Accommodation at Tangjiahe had been fine on our earlier trips, but we found this time that it had really gone upmarket. The important thing, though, was that the food was still good, the electric blankets worked and there was hot water in the shower.

Our last night in Sichuan was spent near the museum at SanXingDui, where we added a few waterfowl on the nearby river to our bird count. We were surprised at the sight of people using cormorants to fish. 

This practice is tough on the cormorants of course, but it was unusual to see this now-rare mode of fishing, especially on the outskirts of one of modern China’s major cities.

An early afternoon flight took us back to Hong Kong with indelible memories of Tangjiahe's wildlife.  

Many Thanks to Carrie Ma for organising the trip.