Our China – Highlights & Qinghai Extension tour targets some of Asia’s rarest species, drawing the attention of even those with already impressive Asia and world lists. Seldom visited by western birders, we shall embark on an action-packed adventure covering the major sites of southeast China, Sichuan, and Qinghai.
We hit the ground running searching for the skulky White-necklaced Partridge in Fuzhou before moving northeast to Emei Feng, to find one of the world’s rarest pheasants, Cabot’s Tragopan, as well as Elliott’s Pheasant and Spotted Elachura, now placed in its own family. Moving further north, we make a stop in Wuyuan for Pied Falconet and the recently discovered Blue-crowned (Courtois’s) Laughingthrush, of which perhaps 200 individuals still exist.
We then head to Sichuan Province, showcasing some of China’s finest and most rewarding birding hotspots in the most pristine and remote regions. The scenery on this section of the tour is truly spectacular with amazing panoramic views of forest-clad mountains and snow-capped peaks. Pheasants are of particular interest, and we will be on the lookout for White Eared, Golden, Koklass, Blood and Lady Amherst’s Pheasants, Temminck’s Tragopan, Chinese Monal and Snow Partridge, Verreaux’s Monal-Partridge and Tibetan Snowcock.
The supporting cast includes an astonishing nine species of Parrotbill that includes Short-tailed, Ashy-throated, Golden, Fulvous, Grey-hooded, Great, Brown and Three-toed Parrotbills, as well as Wallcreeper, Snow Pigeon, Darjeeling Woodpecker, range-restricted Emei Shan Liocichla, Pere David’s Tit, the recently described Sichuan Treecreeper, spectacular Firethroat, White-browed and Crested Tit-Warblers, the stunning Grandala and an amazing selection of laughingthrushes, fulvettas, warblers and rosefinches.
Cabot’s & Temminck’s Tragopans; White Eared, Golden, Elliot's, Koklass, Blood, Silver & Lady Amherst’s Pheasants; White-necklaced & Snow Partridges; Chinese Monal; Verreaux’s Monal-Partridge; Tibetan Snowcock; Spotted Elachura; Sichuan Bush Warbler; Streaked Barwing; Emei Leaf Warbler; Pied Falconet; Blue-crowned (Courtois’s), Giant, Buffy, Barred, Moustached, White-browed, Red-winged, Elliott’s and Masked Laughingthrushes; Short-tailed, Ashy-throated, Golden, Fulvous, Grey-hooded, Great, Brown & Three-toed Parrotbills; Streaked, Pink-rumped, Common, Dark-breasted, Sharpe's, Three-banded & Chinese White-browed Rosefinches; Wallcreeper; Mandarin Duck; Snow Pigeon; Darjeeling Woodpecker; Emei Shan Liocichla; Pere David’s Tit; Sichuan Treecreeper; Firethroat; White-browed & Crested Tit-Warblers; Grandala; Yellow-bellied & Pere David's Tit; Fujian, Golden-fronted, Chinese, Golden-breasted, Grey-hooded & David's Fulvettas; Chinese Hwamei; Chinese Grosbeak; Collared Finchbill; Chinese Blackbird; Amur Paradise Flycatcher; Speckled Piculet; Tiger Shrike; Brandt’s & Plain Mountain Finches.
Milne-Edward's Macaque; Chinese Serow; Hog Badger; Tufted Deer; Chinese Goral; Blue Sheep (Bharal); Himalayan Marmot; Gansu Pika. Chances for Red & Giant Pandas.
temperate coniferous (pine, spruce & fir) and mixed (oak & rhododendron) broad-leaved forest, bamboo forest, alpine grasslands, rivers, mountain valleys, mountains and high-altitude passes, shore line, mud flats, city parks, wetlands (open water & reed beds), scrub, open fields
warm to moderate in the lower lying areas, cold with some snow in the higher lying areas
10 with 1 Rockjumper leader & local birding leader
mostly comfortable with some basic lodgings
moderate with some tricky and some easy species
fabulous mountain scenery, extensive broad-leaved, coniferous and bamboo forests, fascinating people and culture, rarely visited reserves and wilderness areas
good, but limited due to time
Glen Valentine is an incredible guide and has real talent. We very much appreciate him and always find his tours fun and so rewarding with great birds, great views even in freezing conditions. Any tour with Glen is a guaranteed success and a good time. Daniel Danckwerts will be a great asset to RBT and contributed to the success of the tour. He is also personable and has a great sense of humour. He wasn't all that slow with his scope either and we all saw some fine birds through his scope. We are never surprised at the excellence of RBT guides.
As usual, Glen Valentine was fantastic. I have travelled with him before and it never ceases to amaze me how he can hear and spot birds so effectively. And his enthusiasm is contagious. You know that he has seen any given bird on previous trips but it's as though he is seeing it for the first time with you! Daniel Danckwerts was also on the tour "learning the ropes". Very knowledgeable and a good asset to have on the tour. A superb spotter! All in all, this was a fantastic trip. I would recommend it to anyone.
David Hoddinott was an excellent bird guide, finding and identifying birds at amazing speed and ease. He had researched the field well, and knew where to find the birds. He also had researched the literature and was versed in all the newest taxonomic changes. He was very patient in assuring that all the participants got on the bird.
Rich Lindie did an outstanding job. He is an excellent birder/guide and did a fantastic job managing all our expectations... Overall a wonderful trip.
David Hoddinott is an outstanding leader. Always conscious of the need to ensure that everyone sees each bird, he does, rightly, expect concentration and a positive approach throughout. This is the second time that I have travelled with David and I hope that I have the opportunity again in the future. Thank you.
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