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yren Thursday 12th January 2017 01:20

Hainan island
I will be visiting around the Chinese new year and will have two full days to spare for birding. Any suggestions on locations? I will be staying in south central close to Wuzhishan. Thanks!

MKinHK Thursday 12th January 2017 05:05

The easiest place for good birding in S Central Hainan in Jianfengling National Nature Reserve a forest reserve with many species that are hard to see elsewhere in China. I have not been for many years so have no useful information for you about access or logistics but I believe there are a number of hotels and good road access from Sanya.

This was among the first hits on Google for Jianfengling:


yren Friday 13th January 2017 04:08

This looks nice!

AndrewHeath Thursday 9th February 2017 04:40

How'd it go, yren? Please submit your checklists to eBird if you haven't already.

It seems I might need to be in Sanya on the 17th for a meeting. If that's confirmed I'll try to pop over to Jianfengling NP 尖峰岭国家森林公园 for a day or two.

Can anyone share some tips regarding transportation and lodging?

thelittlemanreviews Thursday 9th February 2017 05:58

@AndrewHeath - It's about a 2-hour drive to the LeDong area from Sanya. Best (cheapest) bet would be to find some lodging in LeDong, as it's about 15km to the JianFengLing Gate. Otherwise there is the JienFeng Village which also has lodging, but is probably also primed for tourist-pricing.

Tickets to the reserve are 60kuai per person per day. It's a 15km drive up to the mountain peak (which requires a further 1.8 km climb up stairs to a viewing point that will likely be covered in clouds), and a 16km drive in the other direction to a lake. You could go a further 10km past the lake on a horrendously bumpy dirt road to reach some villas, but they're probably over-priced.

I visited there the past 2 days, but I drove my own vehicle, so I'm not sure about transport. I did see a number of 3-wheel motorcycles driving passengers up, but that's slow-going! I didn't see any buses inside the reserve, though there are a number of people who actually live inside. Depending on your connections or scheming abilities, you may be able to stand at the gate a bum a ride with someone. Perhaps try one of the green trucks of the locals?

I haven't posted any sightings on eBird yet, but I can tell you I saw the following (as well as a number of other birds more common to the island): Scarlet Minivet, Grey-chinned Minivet, Black-browed Barbet, Sultan Tit, and White-crowned Forktail.

FYI, I didn't see all these in the common tourist areas, but rather took a road less traveled where absolutely no one goes. Just keep your eyes peeled for pathways and such, and if you're really able to hitch a ride with a local, visit their farm. You're bound to see more birds wherever the tourists are few!

Good luck!

AndrewHeath Thursday 9th February 2017 10:46

I appreciate the comprehensive reply. What is the park like inside the gate? Is it walkable once I'm inside?

thelittlemanreviews Thursday 9th February 2017 15:43

The two road options fork immediately inside the gate.

The road to to the lake is a 2-lane which goes about 14km uphill before a short decline to the lake (and before the extra 10km dirt road). The other road up to the mountain peak is a one-lane (which can squeeze 2 passing cars), the entire 15km uphill. I saw a few teens hiking the whole thing, so it's doable, if you're into that sort of thing.

Do note that if you hoof it, you'd be walking along a road of native drivers who are---how shall I put this?---not all thoroughly skilled in driving---so be safe. They also honk at every bend in the road, so I'm not sure how much birding you'd enjoy with all that noise.

The silent road I found was a left off the lake-road, a super-thin one-lane headed towards an army base. Of course, us laowai can't access the top, but I made it high enough. Gorgeous views when it's clear and utterly silent, save the birds. It was a pleasant morning.

johnjemi Wednesday 15th February 2017 04:25

Left off the lake road is the track to the Army quarters, as pointed out above. Beyond that, at MingFeng Gou "Phoenix Valley" there used to be a boardwalk through a good section of the forest, with a place to stay besides.

Here's a link to our trip report

The years fly by, and this may be out-of-date, but I hope it helps.

AndrewHeath Wednesday 15th February 2017 09:29

Thank you for sharing, johnjemi.

After studying the transportation options I decided to rent a car. I have a meeting on the morning of the 18th, then will drive out to the park and stay in the hotel on-site. The 19th I'll bird dawn to dusk, then head back into Sanya and stay by the airport. On the 20th I'm on the first flight headed north.

I'll be sure to file eBird checklists and report back here.

AndrewHeath Monday 20th February 2017 23:49

It was an interesting trip. I'm working on a comprehensive blog post for the benefit of future potential visitors.

In the meantime, one vexing ID question:

In the afternoon along a roadside I encountered a small bird deep inside the bushes. I could hear it flitting about and walked with it some ways down the road. The only time I caught sight of it was a flash from the rear: the bird was flycatcher sized, drab brown, with yellow vent/undertail coverts. The distinguishing feature was the call: a repeated one syllable soft "mew". Almost exactly like a cat (or catbird!). At the time I thought the call would make for an easy ID, but I've since had some trouble finding a species of similar size and coloring that lists that call.

Any ideas? The mew was wonderfully clear and consistent amd no other sounds were heard during observation.

DavidJStanton Tuesday 21st February 2017 02:04

Yellow-bellied Prinia?

Jeff hopkins Tuesday 21st February 2017 22:41

Agree with David. YB Prinia has a distinctive mewing call.

AndrewHeath Tuesday 21st February 2017 23:24

Thanks David and Jeff, you're dead-on!

AndrewHeath Thursday 23rd February 2017 10:27

2 Attachment(s)
This is my last remaining unknown species from the trip. Any ideas?

White-bellied Yuhina // Erpornis?

Jeff hopkins Thursday 23rd February 2017 22:49

Looks like an erpornis.

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