This China – Highlights & Qinghai Extension tour, operated by our partner Rockjumper Tours and led by Stephan Lorenz, 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 south east China, Sichuan and Qinghai.
We hit the ground running searching for the Critically Endangered Chinese Crested Tern at the Minjiang Estuary and the very skulky White-necklaced Partridge in Fuzhou itself. We move north east 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.
Note: Main tour and extension can be taken separately.
Photo: Red-tailed Laughing Thrush by Rich Lindle