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A Trip to Wanglang

Posted Thursday 20th August 2009 at 13:03 by china guy
Chengdu Bird guiding [email protected] - Chengdu, Sichuan, the gateway to Tibet - to see more travel pics of Sichuan go to my travel blog at -
To see more of our birding pics go to -

Three-banded Rosefinch - this male is a pretty striking bird - we spotted him on one of the moss covered, primeval like conifer trees that are a feature of the forests at Wanglang. Like other Rosefinches it will respond to calls - this one being brought in by playing White-browed Rosefinch.

Well we tried to stay at home and complete some of those chores we've been promising ourselves to do for ages - but the temptation to get out and bird was far too strong - and being weak-willed...............................
Anyways it seemed a good time to take up north to check out Wanglang and Tangjiahe Panda reserves - and have a look at how the post-quake road mending is coming along.
Areas close to Wanglang were badly hit by the quake - and although the reserve itself is more or less untouched access by road, when driving the most direct routes from Chengdu, were very badly affected. However, now you can make the journey to Wanglang in 8 hours - and although there are quite a few klm's of unsurfaced temporary road to negotiate - the birds at the end of the journey make all those bumps worthwhile.

Chesnut-headed Tesia - this is a warbler on stilts!!!! Tesia - are lumped under the title of Ground Warbler - being distinguished by short-tails and skulking behavior. But they can become very inquisitive when subjected to a bit of "phishing" - however getting that good shot almost needs an X-ray camera lens that can shoot through dense foliage. We found this bird off the normal paths - in a really dank and damp part of the forest.

Wanglang is a pretty friendly reserve - and it's not spoilt by being "over-touristicated." The basic accommodation is cheap - 60RMB/bed - but if you're into more plush living, there are wooden chalets that cater for a little more luxury. The restaurant is also pretty good for such an out of the way place.
But of course what makes this place is the habitat - nice rough tracks, which are drivable, take you into virgin like conifer forest. There are also walking trails - some being boardwalks - while others being paths into the denser parts of the forest. There are three main valleys to walk - and if you felt really fit and had a few days to spare - you could walk to either Jiuzhaigou or Huanglong.
One of the best valleys - one we haven't fully explored - comes before you reach the hotel/workplace area (you have to cross the river) - this valley should give the best chance (and of course a rather slim one) for Giant Panda, with March being the best month for finding one.

Chinese Thrush - a shy endemic - which is not that difficult to find up in the Wanglang, Jiuzhaigou, Huanglong areas

Wanglang has an interesting bird list. Being a good site for Blue-eared Pheasant - they'll feed on the pastures that border onto the accommodation area. The best time to see them is when the grass is short - we had good views in early June - but now, during late summer, the grass is longer, so viewing is rather impaired. The only Blue-eared Pheasant we saw on this trip was a group of eight - in a forest area - that hustled their way quickly over the road - and sunk away into the invisibility of dense scrub.

Snowy-cheeked Laughingthrush - a very range-restricted endemic - this is a good tick. You can find these laughers in the bamboo that grows around the board-walk area at the end of the right-hand fork of the driving track.

We spent 3 nights at Wanglang - and then moved off to Tangjiahe - our next blog article will be about this reserve.
Total Comments 2


Marmot's Avatar
Yet another great selection of Birds seen on the walk...I love the Mesia [could be that my hair used to resemble that]. Super pictures yet again Meggie.

Can I ask does the Laughingthrush call actaully sound like a laugh?
Posted Saturday 22nd August 2009 at 06:31 by Marmot Marmot is offline
china guy's Avatar

Afraid our Laughers don't do much laughing.

- but they do make some rather nice sounds. They all have distinctive calls - and listening out for these is the best way to locate your Laugher. Next step is to play something back - so they'll come out into the open - but I'm afraid those Snowy-cheeked birds weren't in much of a mood to come out and show. Of course when I walked up the track alone - with no camera at hand - one of the birds praticaly landed on my nose!!!!!!
If I could put sounds onto the blog - I'd put on a couple of my calls - but, since it looks like we can only get pics on here, I'll show another Wanglang Laugher - indeed a laugher so common when you get higher that me and Meggie have given this bird the name Elliot's Laughingrubbish (of course real name - Elliot's Laughingthrush) - we should be told off in no uncertain manner for being so disrespectful over this very interesting bird - after all it's a pretty awesome tick for any birder's list.

Posted Saturday 22nd August 2009 at 07:33 by china guy china guy is offline
Updated Saturday 22nd August 2009 at 11:09 by china guy
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