29 Feb 2012

Yunnan - Jan/Feb 2012 Part Two - Gaoligongshan

Three years ago we visited Tengchong and thought that the nearby historical village of Heshun would be a nifty place to stay.

Jemi booked ahead, but when we got there this time we found that the peace-and-quiet of the village was somewhat affected by a six-lane boulevard being driven across the surrounding fields to the front entrance.  The coach parking areas had multiplied in size, too.  This is known as "progress".

This didn't stop the locals having a sedate game of croquet first thing in the morning, though.

Laifengshan - the pagoda

Large Niltava - Niltava grandis

Yellow-cheeked Tit - Parus spilonotus

Red-tailed Minla - Minla ignotincta

On to Baihualing, probably the best-known site for visiting birders along the Gaoligongshan range. The road from "HQs" to the habitat proper had improved since our 2009 visit, and we also explored the tracks down towards the Hot Springs for the first time.  There were a number of Chinese birders at the site, and we also bumped into Dion Hobcroft and his party from Victor Emmanuel Nature Tours.  Later, because we were covering similar ground, we were able to text each other titbits of bird information.

"HQs" - Baihualin

We saw a decent variety of birds, with Cutia perhaps a highlight for us all, but only Nigel and Verity managed to stumble over Hume's Pheasant.  Same as during the other seasons we have visited Baihualin, birding was pretty hard work, but there were some top quality birds.  

Maroon-backed Accentor - Prunella immaculata

Pale-throated Wren-babbler - Spelaeornis kinneari

Red-headed Trogon - Harpactes erythrocephalus

Beautiful Sibia - Malacias pulchellus

Himalayan Cutia - Cutia nipalensis

Himalayan Cutia - Cutia nipalensis

TWO Cutia shots - because I liked them ! 

After Baihualin we went on to Pianma, near the border with Burma.  In midwinter the woods were VERY quiet but we all enjoyed the views. 

from km 66, Pianma Road - the peaks are in Burma's Kachin State

Later,we visited the "Hump Airlift" museum, dedicated to the memory of the hundreds of allied airmen killed in 1942/43, flying supplies from Assam in India to the Chinese Army in Yunnan.

"Hump Airlift" Museum

A day spent driving north to the border checkpoint at Gongfang enabled us to get sight of a shy Wallcreeper.  

Wallcreeper - Tichodroma muraria

We saw two or three of the local Lisu out hunting with crossbows.  Making crossbows is a traditional Lisu skill.


"Eastern Irrawaddy" tributary - China on left, Burma on the right

Burmese sunset

After Gaoligongshan, we headed further east to Dali, Shibaoshan and Lijiang.


  1. Wonderful collection of bird images and scenery. The Cutia is highly sought after here in Malaysia. I also see a few other familiar species in your post.

  2. Great selection of photos as usual. I especially like the Red-tailed Minla and the Maroon-backed Accentor is a real stunner! Sounds like you had a great trip with some great birds seen, sorry we missed you in HK as it would have been great to catch up.

  3. Great selection of birds once again, John!
    I'd love to see the Maroon-backed Accentor and the wren-babbler.
    And I really love the Cutias too, well who doesn't.

  4. Wow look at the crossbow................

    That accentor pic is great.