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Tengchong & Gaoligongshan, Yunnan, China (New & Improved) :) (1 Viewer)


Well-known member
Trip Report - Tengchong & Gaoligongshan, Yunnan, China.

Baoligongshan - Tengchong

Weather : Sack the weather forecaster ! My lovely sunny weather for the whole week was sadly amiss with rain at least part of every day (usually the afternoons) at Gaoligongshan. Tengchong was good on both days bar one short shower hardly worthy of the name.

Transport : Taxi costs are generally noted below, by far the most expensive is the 600rmb each way (Tengchong to Baihualin) for a private car (I had been quoted as high as 800-900rmb so make sure you ask around and negotiate).

Accommodation : See below. In Tengchong it was way above expectations and I thoroughly recommend the hotel I used, everybody was really helpful and friendly. In the Baihualin, at the 'inn' it was again above expectations for 100rmb per night. However do note that the other guests are loud and drinking goes on usually until around 22.00 but one night it stretched to midnight.

1. Bring a copy MacKinnons Birds of China - in Chinese ! If you don't live in China then get someone to buy a copy for you because your local Bird Guides won't speak English and the book is worth it's weight in gold. Robson's is also indispensible for this area (but without range maps it is very tiresome to go through each species and guess from the explanations if this area is covered) however I found species missing from, or at least discrepancies in, both books and if you can manage the weight (and cost) or get pdf versions then both used in conjunction is best. If you have to buy only one then let it be Robson's.

2. Pretty much any beer in China is good (so says someone who is as far from a beer connoisseur as you can get) ! Beer at Mr. Hou's is 3rmb per 610ml bottle of Dali Beer.

3. Please note that 'Hide Etiquette' is somewhat different than some people may be used to in those in more 'Bird & Birding Aware' countries. Mobile phones ringing, loud conversations on said phones, smoking, loud conversation in general, rubbish discarded on the floor, and my favourite, listening to music on their mobile phones whilst waiting ! That said the birds seen from the hides are still generally excellent to amazing.

4. I found the guides to be excellent but please don't expect them to know every call and even every bird. They are self-educated via experience and inter-action with guests.

5. Don't expect everything to be perfect or run as professionally as you may want or as you may be used to, go with the flow and don't stress it. However please do note that this business is very important to the village and may prevent more dubious practices leading to damage to both the mountain and the bird population. My guide has 2 brothers and 3 sisters and all are involved in the business in one way or another (e.g. working in the kitchen at the inn, the brothers all run Hides etc.) !

6. Leave at least 2 hours between connecting flights ! See notes in the text below.

1. Mrs. Gould's and Fire-tailed completed my set of Chinese Sunbirds.
2. Ticked 9 Laughers - some quite spectacular.
3. I walked at least 10kms a day .... up as well as down. My body thanks me profusely for the exercise (I lost a very welcome 2.5kgs during the week).
4. I proudly claim that I carried my own 8 kgs camera rig everywhere myself (bar one 30 mins climb where I was totally knackered and my guide thought, quite rightly, he had better take it as I was probably about to pass out :) The guide did however carry my 'lightly' loaded (cough) back pack everywhere - he insisted, honest !

1. Relative lack of visible Babblers (out of season or, much more likely, I need to improve my skulking bird skills) ! There are well over 25 Babbler species in the area.
2. Lack of Woodpeckers on GGS (excepting the wonderful Greater Yellownape).
3. Lack of Chickens - they are much higher up than the 2,400m max. I reached.
4. You need a 'several day stay' to get up and cover the top area of this section of the Gaoligongshan mountain range (I was told it's a 5 hour drive to cover the 18 kms to the drop-off zone, then a substantial hike from there).
5. Very few raptors (just 3 seen in one week covering both TC & GGS).
6. I dipped Slender-billed Scimitar Babbler (and I really did put in the effort) as well as the Chickens.
7. Bird Forum was inaccessible so I was unable to update the Trip Report on a daily basis.

The Report.

TC : Tengchong
GGS : Gaoligongshan
BHL : Baihualin
WC : Wen Chuan

Note : all birds which were not easily identified from the photos, or by my guide, were referred to the Bird ID Q&A on Birdforum.net for confirmation. Searching for Yunnan on the ID sub-forum will find them.

And so it begins ....... a month of planning after the decision to switch this early migration time from Taman Negara (Malaysia) to the Southern fly route of the Gaoligongshan mountains in the exotic Southern Chinese province of Yunnan.

Yunnan holds a vast number of bird & mammal species, ca. 848 bird species (including 110 endemics) according to Birds in Yunnan (Weizhi Ji), from which the facts below are quoted, and that is comfortably the most of any province in China (Sichuan, the next most, having ca. 625). It runs 865kms from North to South and 990kms from East to West of which 84% is mountainous, sloping from 6,740asl in the North-West down to as low as 76asl in the South-East. It has borders with sichuan, Guizhou, Guangxi and Tibet domestically and Myanmar (Burma), Laos and Vietnam internationally.
Add to this the varied topography of the province from the mountains of the Himalayas (of which Gaoligongshan is a part) in the North West down to the tropical rain forests of the Xishuanbanna region (bordering Vietnam) in the South East, with this province also being the richest in terms of minority tribes in China, (26 in Yunnan with 16 in this area), with many still practicing traditional arts, crafts and life, and one can see that for birders and culture vultures this is one heady brew !

The beautiful bright, cloudless Shanghai March dawn was still packing a cold punch at 06.00, even though daytime Spring temperatures were now regularly climbing to 20-27C, as I heaved my hugely over-weight bags into the back of the taxi and set off ... stop ! Back-up ! iPad and reservation papers were still sitting next to the plant pot by the ornate metal front gates to my house - remembered in the nick of time.

I was confident everything else was packed as I use an app. called Packing Pro which works miracles in replacing my diminishing memory, but there's no accounting for crass stupidity ;)

Less than 50 mins later Pudong airport loomed glitteringly into sight (truly, there was absolutely no sign of Shanghai's worsening smog crisis) amongst bright sunlight and I readied myself for the check-in battle to come, though in the end I had worried needlessly as China Eastern's lovely counter staff smoothly & efficiently took care of sending my bags to the aircraft hold.

Luckily by booking an Early Bird return flight to Kunming as soon as I made the decision to go on this trip meant that for very little more I'd upgraded to First Class (no business class) from economy, especially for the extra baggage allowance, however the free lounge coffee, sandwiches & breakfast and much larger seats (rather than the Chinese person sized seats in economy) didn't go amiss either, I could get used to this !

A problem however may still exist on the 2nd, Kunming - Tengchong, leg of the journey, as my heavy baggage load (46 kgs including hand luggage, which is a large hiking backpack adapted to hold my photographic gear as well as hiking gear) was now on;y economy since I had originally booked Kunming - Baoshan (which is actually a little closer to Baihualin, Gaoligongshan) and again as an Early Bird return ticket meant 1st Class (for the same price as an economy ticket that I booked a week later ! ) but as I later changed this to Kunming - Tengchong after reading more Trip Reports on the quality of birding at Jianfengshan, just outside the town, and so was no longer eligible for the Early Bird with the price now the normal 4 times the cost of an economy seat :( so it was back to slumming it in cattle class - oh well it was nice while it lasted and I'll enjoy the flight home in a week's time.

A tip here for anyone unfamiliar with flying in China, always leave plenty of time between flights especially if transiting or maybe for proposed meetings after landing - there are inevitably delays (in my experience usually between 20 and 60 mins per flight) on most flights (China recently came out easily the worst in Asia in a recent survey of officially recorded departure times) otherwise you could end up missing your connecting flight.

So my 09.00 flight went wheels up at 10.00 and was a pleasant smooth 3.5 hrs and 2,042 kms (or so the announcement said) to Kunming. After a couple of hours spent kicking my heels at the airport (there are only 5 flights a day to Tengchong, three in the morning and this afternoon flight the last before the sole evening flight), listening to the songs & calls of what would be the many new birds to me, it was chocks away again and a 1 hour flight over mountain ranges to cover the few remaining hundred kilometres between Kunming and Tengchong.

Note that Kunming Airport is new, modern and large and if you go down to the basement floor (B1 I think) you'll find nourishment and coffee for far more reasonable prices than on the ground (USA -1st) floor.

Arriving right on time (16.40) meant a snappy 15 mins taxi (40 rmb) from Tengchong Airport to the hotel which I chose for it's close proximity to Jianfengshan (Dongfang Xuanyi Holiday Hotel: 230rmb per night inc. tax - and this is a great hotel at any price, new, very very clean, modern, spacious rooms, beautiful bathroom, it's amazing value for money), a quick check-in and then 15 mins later I was out, bins & camera in hand, to hail the first taxi (6 to 10 rmb) up to the temple at Laifengshan, just 5-6 mins away. The late sunset here, this far South and close to the Burmese border, meant I could shoot until 19.30 and still bird until nearly 20.00, so the bonus of 2.5 - 3 hours birding at the end of a long travel day !

Day 1 : 21st March 2014 Laifengshan (Temple area).

Hours : from 17.30 - 20.00 (no new birds in the last 30 mins)
Weather : Sunny, some cloud cover.
Temperatures : from 24-25C to about 20C (20.00)
Altitude : 1,700 - 1,750m

Arriving at the temple, surrounded by woods on all sides, what was my first bird going to be ? A Lifer ? A substantial movement in the trees low down had me hoping for Laughers, but no my first birds were .... squirrels. Sigh. Then I was quickly aware of numbers of small, flighty birds in the canopy, eventually getting on them, as they turned out to be well known friends, Japanese White Eyes.

There were new-to-me calls everywhere, my downloading and studying of the bird calls of this region proving to be of ..... absolutely no use whatsoever ;) But I was having enormous fun - every bird a potential Lifer :)

Anyway the time just sped by and in the end I was walking downhill against the flow ..... many people going up to the temple carpark to enjoy the cool mountain air, to socialise and to dance.

Back in the hotel I dumped my gear on the bed and went to the little restaurant near the entrance to the hotel, with it's raw wares laid out in neat rows, including some interesting looking grubs and crawly things - yum. Maybe I'll just give them a miss today though. Very spicy Yunnanese lamb & pork BBQ skewers, green beans, corn on the cob and Yunnan green tea to wash it all down. Excellent end to a good start !

Tengchong Bird List (Day 1) :

Bulbul, Black (several, mostly black-headed, also white)
Bulbul, Brown-breasted (several)
Bulbul, Mountain (1)
Bulbul, Red-Whiskered (2)
Bunting, Little (1)
Dove, Oriental Turtle (10)
Drongo, Black (2)
Drongo, Spangled (2)
Flycatcher, Grey-headed Canary (1 perched up)
Fulvetta, Yunnan (flock)
Hawk-Cuckoo, Large (2 or 3 calling in 2 notes repeated and rising to a crescendo, 1 seen, poor photo)
Laughingthrush, White-browed (1)
Leafbird, Orange-bellied (sitting atop a tree singing)
Nuthatch, Chestnut-vented (1 landed and explored a trunk 5m away)
Minivet, Long-tailed (small flock)
Minla, Blue-winged (2)
Minla, Red-tailed (2)
Pipit, Olive-backed (2)
Shrike, Grey-backed (1)
Thrush, Black-breasted (2)
Tit, Great (nubicolus I'm assuming in this area) (5-6)
Tree-creeper, Eurasian (1)
Wagtail, White (alboides, male in breeding colours)(1)
Warbler, Leaf (many, leaf warbler fans will be in their element)
White Eyes, Oriental (small flock)

+ 3-4 leaf-warblers requiring IDs. Not a bad start at all, at least 26+ species in 2.5 hrs including at least 12 Lifers :D


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Well-known member
Please note that I'll add posts Day-by-Day as I wrote it up during the trip (with post-trip additions and checks) and add photos as I've processed them.


Well-known member
Day 2 - 22nd March 2014.
Tengchong (07.30 thru 11.30) & Gaoligongshan (14.15 thru 18.00).

Hours : from 07.30 (first usable light) thru 18.00
Weather : Sunny, some cloud cover. Heavy showers from around 18.00 terminated birding for the day, roughly 2 hours early.
Temperatures : from ca. 10C (07.00) to about 24-25C (mid-afternoon)
Altitude : 1,500 - 2,000m

Arise and shine, or not. Excitement got the better of me and I was up and raring to go at 05.00 but it was still dark, OK 06.00 then, nope still dark and I had run out of things to do ! 06.30 came and went, then at 07.00 there was the faintest glimmer ..... good enough for me ! Caught a taxi downstairs and 5 mins later I was back at the temple waiting for enough light to get the camera out ...... 08.00 was the magic number.

First bird of the day here was a beauty, a gorgeous Blue-fronted Redstart, however before I could get a shot off an almighty scream pierced the peaceful morn, then another and another, aaaagh this is the horrific Chinese 'exercise' mostly older people feel the need to partake in as part of their exercise regime, scream as loud as your lungs permit. No wonder any self-respecting bird was heading for the higher slopes !

I wandered away from the phonetic equivalent of a bloodbath and, as the temple wasn't open yet, went around to investigate Tomb Alley. Actually there weren't as many tombs as I expected and I was entertained by phylloscs & a nuthatch.

I continued down the road until reaching the gardens housing Flowering Tea Trees. What a great place (and free entry) for nectar-sipping birds !
Very soon I had tied up the 2 remaining sunbirds I needed for the full (China) set, with the simply gorgeous Mrs Gould's and then the even more spectacular Fire-tailed.

I had a very enjoyable time for a couple of hours there with the gardens extending maybe 150m in one direction and 400m in the other (more scrub down the slope, very thrush friendly) and it's very open and is bordered, on two sides, by very tall trees, so also very good for flyovers and high perching birds (Drongos, Magpies, Crow).

Very soon it was time to get back to the hotel (arrived back at 11.45), a quick shower and then checked out (12.15), loading up the taxi (though in fact she had turned up in a very nice, comfortable and obviously quite new, little Japanese sedan instead of an actual taxi) and we were soon out on the road (12.30) to Gaoligongshan (600rmb each way inc. toll fees & petrol).
It turned out to be just a couple of hours (she was doing 90-110kph most of the way) to Baihualin (the village close to the birding areas) and was a pleasant ride with the roads for 90% of the way being fast motorways (freeways) or good trunk roads. Only the last 10-15kms or so going up to Baihualin was country / mountain lanes.

All unpacked I bid farewell to Ms. Ma (my driver) and started setting up my gear ready for a 4 hours afternoon session - but horror, I'd done it again, this time leaving the iPad on the floor of the car ! A quick call and 15 mins later Ms. Ma turned up at my door with the wayward item. Saved ! Luckily she hadn't been out this way before so was driving around enjoying the sights and taking some mobile phone pics and so was actually still close-by.

I tramped out of the basic room (clean linen on hard beds - perfect after a hard day's hiking, tiled floors-so the dirt from my boots won't be an issue, a solar-powered hot shower with very decent water pressure (for a mountain) and an unfortunate 'squat' toilet, i.e. hole-in-the-floor). Bring your own towel though unless an over-sized handkerchief will suffice !
For 100rmb a night it easily met expectations. There is a huge kitchen downstairs, manned by 3 or 4 ladies, who will cook any Chinese dishes you can concoct (or you can choose from the menu) from the large range of fresh vegetable produce on display. (And meats in the freezer section). Beer is 3rmb per pint bottle (however if you want it cold give them 15mins notice so they can pop the bottles into the freezer) !

About 90mins up the road (ca. 4-5 kms) the rain started, getting heavier, colder and then soon the huge water drops turned into hail, not just those small peanut sized droplets we are used to in Europe, but huge pebbles that drummed into my head and my by now covered camera/lens (well hidden under my poncho). Not good.
I took cover under a large roadside tree, yes I know the rules but there are trees everywhere and the hail was a more imminent threat than the distant (well not so distant but I hoped far enough away) thunder & lightning.
This was in for the day so after 30 mins of being thumped, and thoroughly disheartened, I trudged through the now constant rain back to the inn and arrived back around 18.45 (sadly missing the remaining hours of light, lost to the storm, that should have been available. Fingers crossed for tomorrow's weather.

New Birds on Tengchong (TC) and Gaoligongshan (GGS)

Bulbul, Red-whiskered (1) (TC)
Bushchat, Grey (GGS)
Buzzard, Himalayan (1)(TC)
Crow, Large-billed (2)(TC)
Drongo, Ashy (TC)
Drongo, Black (TC)
Egret, Cattle (on-route to GGS)
Dove, Oriental Turtle (TC)
Flycatcher, Grey-headed Canary (TC & GGS)
Flycatcher, Little Pied (TC & GGS)
Leafbird, Blue-winged (4)(TC)
Jay, Eurasian (1)(TC)
Magpie-Robin, Oriental (M&F)(TC)
Magpie, Red-billed (2)(TC)
Martin, Nepalese House (6) (TC)
Minivet, Long-tailed (small flock GGS)
Nuthatch, Eurasian (TC)
Redstart, Blue-fronted (1)(TC)
Redstart, Black (F)(1)(TC)
Redstart, Daurian (1) (TC)
Shrike, Burmese (1)(TC)
Shrike, Long-tailed (ssp. Tricolour)(2) (TC)
Swallow, Barn (GGS)
Swiftlets, Himalayan (TC)(flock of 6-7)
Thrush, Chestnut (M)
Thrush, Black-headed (TC)
Thrush, White's (GGS)
Thrush, Chestnut-bellied Rock (TC)
Tit, Great (TC & GGS)
Treepie, Grey (TC)
Sunbird, Fire-tailed (5-6)(TC)
Sunbird, Mrs. Gould's (M&F)(TC)
Warblers, Leaf (numerous to be ID)
White-eyes, Japanese (several) (TC)
Yuhina, Rufous-vented (several) (TC)
Yuhina, Stripe-throated (uthaii)(several) (TC)

Trip Total to date : 55 species + leaf warblers to be ID'd.

Attached below a couple of birds from Day 3 :

1 & 2 are the Rufous-fronted Barwing
3 Red-faced Liocichia


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Trapped in mist ***s
Bang, Bang! What a fantastic showcase of the Yunnan birds!

You need to find a better place to keep your ipad unless if you are generous to your driver. ;-)
Can't wait to see what more treasures you had bagged.


Mike Kilburn
Hong Kong
Keep it coming - its slightly confusing that your cracking shots are birds you haven't yet told us you've seen.



Well-known member
Thanks Dev. :D

Cheers Mike - getting ahead of myself by sorting, IDing and processing Day 3 birds as I come across one I like ;)

A couple more (From Day 3 as were those in post #6 above - if anyone needs to then please hover your mouse over the picture and you should be able to make out the file name). I'll post the Day 3 write-up tomorrow.

1. Black-faced Laughingthrush
2. Yunnan Fulvetta
3. Impending storm. View from Gaoligongshan as I descended, I guess this is about ca. 1,850m (6,000ft).


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Well-known member
Day 3 - 23rd March 2014


Hours : from 08.00 thru 18.00
Weather : Sunny, some cloud cover. Light showers from mid afternoon developed into heavy rain which terminated birding for the day a couple go hours early.
Temperatures : from ca. 10C (08.00) to about 24-25C (mid-afternoon)
Altitude : 1,500 - 2,000m

We didn't start as early as I'd like ! The two cars, to take a group of 5 of us up the mountain to Hide #12, rolling out at around 08.00, after daylight ! I needn't have worried though as the guides / Mr Hou (the owner & organiser), seemed to know what they were doing.

There were 6 of us going to one of the 14 hides (numbered to 16 but two have closed) on the mountain maintained by local owners but licensed by the National Parks Dept I am assuming, there is also a very reasonable charge of 30RMB per person per day per hide (you are assigned a seat which is yours for the day) and a receipt which states the day/hide#/seat#. The number of seats vary from 5 to around 10 depending on the size of the hide. Make sure you know which seats are the best and book them 2-3 days in advance, because the best seats are great but some can be distinctly poor (small window, angled view).

It was only about a 15 mins drive (7-8kms) up the mountain to a path that led a short way (3 mins walk) to Hide # 12. Although only at 1,836m I was assured this was the hide for chickens - though all my research said otherwise. My research was right but I was far from disappointed as some of my many main targets were ticked off one by one, including numerous Laughers !
This hide has been built as large steps cut into the mountain side but provides rear access and reasonably good cover with seating & windows for up to 12 people, though that would be a real crush, really 7-8 is a comfortable maximum. Mini-seats were set-up inside (bring something soft to sit on - I'm not joking !) and each 'window' has been assigned a number. Seat #12 in Hide #12 is good because it is on the far left and the only seat that gives you a side view window that looks out on the bushes/trees on the down slope of the mountain.

The action resumed just a few minutes after we took our seats. It was a virtual parade of Star-Birds (for me at least). Light was really bad at this time though (around about 08.30 after everything was setup and sorted out) but perked up later to allow decent photography.

Around midday I decided I wanted to try higher up as of course species can change dramatically with elevation. The portents weren't great as another birder had just come back from 1-2 kms further up with very negative reports but as we were at 1800m I wanted to walk up to at least 2,500m, though I had no idea if that road/paths would go that high in this location. Anyway it wasn't too steep an incline which was good ...... and bad because it meant I'd have to walk much further to get the elevation I was looking for !
On the way up it was pretty quiet, well not exactly quiet but it was very tough to see anything due to the steep sides above and below. Plenty of calling but the birds were on the outside of the canopy, the side in the sunlight ! Walking up on the road it was much dimmer and cooler though. Birds on the path were few, even though I carefully walked around every bend scanning the road ahead as far as could be seen.

Eventually, I guess after maybe 3kms, I came to a turn-off to Jiejiazi (see a photo of the sign below, the name is the lower of the two lines of characters). Why not give this turning a try ? After a couple of hundred metres I could see it was much brighter ahead and the path opened out into a clearing with views over the mountain-side and the distant range, this was more like it !

I was to return here later in the week as well and on both times there were excellent birds around, and more approachable too, most easily tolerating 20-30m and then it was a case of trying to get closer without alerting/disturbing the birds.

Multiple sunbirds, sibias, leaf-warblers and other occasional visitors, were feeding on trees who's flowering 'fruit' were obviously heavy with nectar (I'm still trying to find out the name of these trees so if anyone viewing the sunbird pics can ID them and let me know that would be great for the Trip Report PDF version).

A Black Eagle flew overhead, the only one of the trip, however my star spot was the most spectacular male Vinaceous Rosefinch in full breeding colours, unfortunately it kept hiding itself on the other side of bushes to where I had positioned myself and whenever I tried to get ahead if it for a direct shot it would fly off low to another hidden location, eventually my only shots being recognisable record shots taken through the bushes :(

I loved this place, however sadly there was lots of rubbish strewn around, including at least 30-40 beer bottles and the remains of 3 camp fires (strictly forbidden on the mountain), such a pity.

At 15.45 I decided to return to Hide #12 to see whether there had been a change of the guard, however on the hour hike back down the clouds and rain returned, not as bad as yesterday but heavy enough to preclude photography and I completed the trek to the hide hidden under my poncho, just my eyes peeking out for itinerant winged inhabitants.

The Hide was virtually empty, most people having already gone back to the Inn. A husband & wife team of photographers remained but told me no new characters had appeared in the time I was gone, so at least I knew I hadn't missed the chickens, if indeed they really did come down to this low altitude.

The couple left and I stuck it out for another 30 mins, with few birds around and the sound of steady drizzle pounding on the plastic 'roof', but the rain was in for the evening so I packed up and trudged the 6-7 kms back down the mountain to the inn, arriving back in about 1.5 hours (18.45), shortly before dusk. A hot shower, (not high powered but the water is easily more than enough and a 10mins soaking never felt better ! Then downstairs for dinner and stir fried chicken, vegetables and noodles, washed down with a cold beer, had me suitably refreshed and keen to see what the morrow would bring !

New Birds on Gaoligongshan

Barwing, Rusty-fronted
Blackbird, Grey-winged (F)
Bluetail, Himalayan Red-flanked
Bulbul, Black (white-headed)
Bulbul, Black-crested
Bulbul, Mountain
Bushchat, Grey
Drongo, Black or Bronzed
Flycatcher, Ferruginous (Thanks to the on-site guides for IDing this one for me).
Eagle, Black (1)
Fulvetta, Rusty-capped
Fulvetta, Yunnan (A.m.yunnanensis)
Goshawk, Crested (2)
Laughingthrush, Assam (TBC)
Laughingthrush, Black-faced
Laughingthrush, Blue-winged
Laughingthrush, Chestnut-Crowned
Laughingthrush, Grey-sided
Laughingthrush, Moustached
Laughingthrush, Red-winged
Laughingthrush, Striated
Leafbird, Orange-bellied (M)
Leiothrix, Red-billed
Liocichia, Red-faced
Mesia, Silver-eared
Nilvata, Small
Niltava, Rufous-bellied (F)
Redstart, Blue-fronted (M)
Robin, Golden Bush (F)
Robin, Orange-flanked Bush
Rosefinch, Vinaceous (Male. My God this is one beautiful bird ! The field guides don't do it justice).
Scimitar Babbler, Streak-breasted (assuming this is reconditus and not bakeri)
Sibia, Black-headed
Sibia, Beautiful
Sibia, Long-tailed
Sunbird, Fire-tailed (M+F)
Sunbird, Green-tailed (M+F)
Tit, Black Bearded
Thrush, Long-tailed
Wagtail, White
Warbler, Buff-throated (TBC)
Warblers, Leaf (Many. There's a helluva job to come trying to ID all of these)
Yuhina, Rufous-vented

Trip Total to date : 86 species + leaf warblers to be ID'd.

Attached below a couple of a gorgeous bird from Day 4 (Golden Bush-Robin (M) and one sorry-looking excuse of a shot of the Vinaceous Rosefinch ..worth putting up just so people get an idea of how gorgeous this bird is. Claret on a stick !


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Well-known member
Day 4: 24th March


Hours : from 07.00 thru 20.00
Weather : Sunny, some cloud cover. Lightish showers from mid afternoon for an hour or two before clearing up.
Temperatures : from ca. 10C (07.00) to about 24-25C (mid-afternoon)
Altitude : 1,500 - 1,850m

Up earlier than what seems to be the norm. here, we departed at 07.00 before any other guests had appeared. For today & tomorrow I've arranged for a guide (150rmb per day) so we will visit a few hides and walk the tracks around this area, from 1,500-2,400m (tomorrow).

The hide we walked up to (#10) (this was a very steep gradient and it near killed me though at least, as I told my wife and daughter, I now know my lungs and heart are maybe not in quite as bad a condition as I had supposed for someone having lived near 20 years in one of the more polluted regions of this country !) was one of the higher hides (I'm guessing, as I forget my reading, but maybe 1,800 - 1,850m) and is set in a forest clearing rather than on the mountain sides (as per the others I visited; 12, 6 & 7).

#10 produced quite a few new birds, including some flycatchers not seen anywhere else. In fact the strangest thing I was to learn is that even though some hides are very close together (6 & 7 for example) the birds that can be seen from them seems to vary considerably.
For example the female Golden Bush Robin was seen in hide #10 but my guide told me if I wanted to see the male then I'd have to go to Hide #6 because that is the only hide where he is seen, and indeed so it turned out, with spectacular views of the male from just 1.6 m (ca. 5 ft) away !

Anyway after 4+ hours in the hide, and after a few waves had hit the clearing, we departed at around 12.00 and strolled down the track to the higher road just above the village of Baihualin, to where the guide had called ahead and had arranged for a car (30rmb) to transport us up the mountain to hide #7 (at around 1,650m) and then later just a very short walk downhill to Hide #6, (and most surprisingly almost a totally different set of birds) before, around 16.00, some more successful birding of the skulkers in the small trees and bushes lining the tracks up and down this mountain road, before hiking back to base.

This included an area of tall trees on a cliff on the mountain side (also sporting some great views) where a barbet could be heard calling. Eventually he was spotted in amongst the leaves of the highest branches, I took a record shot and then walked uphill a little to try to get a clear view from the opposite side ...... ah there you are, oh no you're not ! You are not the same barbet ! A Blue-throated on one side and a Golden-throated on the other. Now that put a wide smile on my face !

The rain again arrived around 16.00 however this time was not like the two previous days and the rain-clouds passed over quickly, allowing our road strolling to continue and, for the first time here, to bird through to dusk.

New Birds on Gaoligongshan

Barbet, Blue-throated (davisoni)
Barbet, Golden-throated (franklinii)
Bunting, Little
Fantail, Yellow-bellied
Finch, Scarlet (M&F)
Finchbill, Crested
Flycatcher, Rufous-gorgeted
Flycatcher, Slaty-blue (F)
Flycatcher, White-gorgeted
Greenfinch, Black-headed (M&F)
Laughingthrush, Scaly
Leafbird, Orange-bellied
Leiothrix, Red-billed
Nilvata, Large
Nuthatch, Chestnut-vented
Parrotbill, Spot-breasted (a few in a small feeding flock in a 'bush wave')
Redstart, Blue-fronted
Robin, Golden Bush (M&F)
Robin, Orange-flanked Bush
Shrike-Babbler, Black-headed
Sibia, Black-headed (H. desgodinsi)
Shrike, Long-tailed (1)
Skylark, Oriental (5-6)
Spider-hunter, Streaked (1)
Sunbird, Black-throated (M)
Tesia, Chestnut-headed (1)
Thrush, Black-breasted (M)
Thrush Chestnut-bellied (3)
Thrush, Grey-winged (1 F)
Thrush, White-throated Rock (1 F)
Warblers, Leaf (many)
Yuhina, Whiskered
Yuhina, White-bellied

Dipped on Maroon Oriole, the guide was trying to describe where it was hidden (just 10m away !) when it flew.

Bay Woodpecker (heard behind Hide #10, guide says it is frequent in this area)

My guide wanted to call a shrike we saw as Burmese but I didn't get good enough views and have no photo to back this up (though I had this bird in Tengchong). The bird was skulking, flying from bush to bush just out of sight (though within 10-15m) and remained hidden despite stalking it for 10 mins along the bushes lining the road (1,650m).

Early to bed because tomorrow a long hard walk uphill was planned to reach the highest point, 2,400m or just a hundred feet or so short of 8,000ft, of my visit (though still not that high by Himalayan or even Gaoligongshan standards) !

Trip Total to date : 111 species + leaf warblers to be ID'd.
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Well-known member
Day 5 : 25th March


Hours : from 07.30 thru 20.00
Weather : Very sunny, some light cloud. Dry.
Temperatures : from ca. 10C (07.00) to about 27-28C (mid-afternoon)
Altitude : 1,500 - 2,400m

I hadn't realised that if you want to go to the top of the range in this section of Gaoligongshan, then it's a 5 hour drive followed by a substantial hike and as such it's not a day return ! Mr. Hou recommends at least 4-5 days which includes a day in either direction.

I also learnt that the places I was to visit on the mountain range today ; Daluchang (2,400m), Ertaipo (2,200-2,300m) and finally back to Jiujiezi (2,000m, this is the clearing from Day 3) were not at their best with bird numbers down this week from 2-3 weeks ago.
So it seems I have missed the prime season here (which my guide says is around the end of January/early February, when many flowers / bushes / trees were blooming and attracting plenty of birds, including Sunbirds, Flowerpeckers & Spiderhunters, by a few weeks. That information wasn't strictly accurate though as I suppose it depends on your definition of 'quiet' !
Still, I believed there would be other species at these altitudes not found lower down, or so my research had led me to believe, and so it turned out.

There were frequent Bird Waves and these waves often had us frantically scanning the trees for new species due to the sheer bird numbers in these waves, often around 50 but maybe even as many as a 100 birds on occasion, though it would then go relatively quiet after the wave had passed however this often took a while as the wave would sometimes settle in fruiting / flowering trees for a few minutes at a time. There were still solitary birds or small flocks to be found in the undergrowth, bushes or trees of course, after the waves had passed through.

It's quite a hike from Jiejiazi, uphill all the way to Ertaipo, on very narrow 20-45 degree gradient forest trails, that can be pretty slippy at times, not something I'd like to do in the wet. However the payback is worth it. Birds I didn't see anywhere else made it all worth the sweat and energy expended.
An Asian Barred Owlet (my most played tape ;) ) called non-stop to its nearby mate. However even when standing right under the tree it was still calling from we could not see even a feather !

We surprisingly met 3 bird photographers, from Kunming, up at Ertaipo, they too having made the tough hike up there since there is only one dedicated trail (unless you take the even tinier, narrower and steeper ancient trail straight down the mountain, which comes out close to hide #10).
Surprising because apart from in the hides and one time 3 girls (with baskets on their backs) on a trail, obviously off to collect herbs or tree bark, I didn't see another soul all week.

Whilst chatting to the togs a wave came through that had everyone quite excited and dashing around for angles to try and get shots of the birds in the canopy (I only got record shots, but that was more then enough to confirm the IDs).
This wave contained not only the more usual wave birds for this neck of the woods : Beautiful Sibia; Red-tailed and Blue-winged Minlas; Yunnan Fulvettas; Leaf-Warblers; the odd Nuthatch; Fire-tailed, Mrs Gould's and Green-tailed Sunbirds; Yuhinas and so on) but both White-browed Shrike-Babbler and the rarer (according to my guide) Green Shrike-Babbler. Smiles all round !

We trekked all the way past Ertaipo and on to Daluchang, from where you have a clear view to the highest peak on this section of Gaoligongshan (3,200-3,400m) and the hikers 'hut' ( just a stone skeleton that at least offers some protection from the winds and rain up there).
The Daluchang area (really just a 100m by 60m clearing in the forest) used to be more open but it was really overgrown at this time. My guide said a month or so earlier it was a very good place to spot birds around the clearing.
Now it was a place to throw down the bags and munch on local 'Mantou', energy bars (I had brought about 30 with me for the week and they were perfect out on the trails), beef jerky and sip water (this day I needed 3 litres, usually 2 litres was plenty, so make sure you bring enough), whilst laying back in the dry bracken, with a bag as a pillow, soaking up some rays whilst studying the tree tops for movement and watching dainty white clouds slowly meandering their way across an azure sky. Heaven.

30 mins later we returned to the trail to Ertaipo and then onto Jiejiazi. My guide gave me the option of the Ancient Trail or the Forest trail we'd come in on. I opted for the same way back as, although quieter now (about 14.00), according to my guide there was still more chance of birds than on the ancient trail.

90 mins later, much faster downhill than up (though that included a few slips and stumbles - desperately clinging onto my monopod and lens/camera !), we arrived at the clearing and views offered from Jiejiazi.
It was relatively quiet compared to when I was here a couple of days ago and after an hour my guide called for a car to pick us up and drop us off back at the bottom of the trail to Hide #10 (thus saving us a 90-120 mins hike down) however before the car arrived I was back into a number of sunbirds offering stunning views of males of both Fire-tailed and Crimson. No sign of the male Vinaceous Rosefinch though.

I was still very keen on finding the enigmatic and alluring endemic, the Slender-billed Scimitar Babbler, even though the guide said the best time to see one from the hide, if any appeared at all - and none had been seen for at least a week - was between 11.00 & 14.00 ..... and we eventually arrived at the hide at 16.00.

Another tough uphill hike had ensued (most cars can't get up this very steep and deeply rutted trail, only 4x4s with an experienced driver) but eventually we arrived to find two togs in situ. I took my place in one if the best remaining seats and waited. A few birds, already ticked here from yesterday, passed through but it was relatively quiet. Sadly no sign at all of the Slender-billed Scimitar Babbler, though I doubt the chatter and music played from one of my fellow Hide occupants helped !

Patience exhausted (with the hide denizens) by 18.00 I was done and decided a final 2 hours birding the trail back down to Baihualin was preferable to the hide so I departed with the faint tones of Chinese pop music following me back down the trail.

My guide had been pretty good and extremely tolerant and helpful over the past two days, he even refused to accept an extra tip on top of his 150rmb per day so instead I gave him my Chinese/English copy of MacKinnon's Birds of China as I thought this would be of even more value to him as in this tiny mountainous backwater getting anything of that nature would be very tough.

He seemed to be genuinely delighted and grateful to receive this small gift, as was I for his sterling services, and it made me feel good too ! So if you are planning a trip and want to give your guide a small gift then something bird-related, especially China bird related and preferably but not necessarily, in Chinese, would be very welcome !

New Birds on Gaoligongshan

Fulvetta, Rufous-winged
Fulvetta, Yellow-throated
Minla, Chestnut-tailed
Pigeon, Speckled Wood
Shrike-Babbler, Green
Shrike-Babbler, White-browed
Sibia, Beautiful (H.pulchella) (not new but I've added the ssp.)
Sunbird, Crimson
Tit, Yellow-cheeked (flock)
Treecreeper, Rusty-flanked

5 Giant Squirrels

Asian Barred Owlet (Heard. Actually we were standing right under the tree it was calling from but couldn't even get a sniff) !

Trip Total to date : 120 species + leaf warblers to be ID'd.


David and Sarah
Really enjoying your report

Suspect this is a part of China we will never get to but we are enjoying the report and the great photos.


Well-known member
Day 6 - 26th March 2014.

Gaoligongshan (07.30 thru 14.00) & Tengchong (17.00 thru 19.30).

Hours: from 07.30 to 14.00 (GGS) & 17.00 to 19.30 (TC)
Weather : fine and blue skies with an occasional cloud dotted around. However it was clouding over with rain-clouds by 14.30 when we left. TC was cloudy but dry.
Temperature : coolish at around 10-12C to start, reaching 25-28C by 14.00.
Altitude : 1,450m in the valley to 1,700m at the top of Wen Chuan, GGS and 1,720m in Tenchong (bottom of Laifengshan)

Last morning on the mountain and I wanted to visit a habitat that contained possibly alternative species and the area the guides recommended was Wen Chuan, just a short 5 mins ride in a car to the road that descends into this valley, famous for it's natural hot springs, but an uphill 25-30 mins hike by foot to the start of the trail (I was pressed for time, leaving the accommodation at first light, 07.15 and needing to be back for my taxi to Tengchong at 14.00).

Dropped off in the clearing next to the start of the trail at 1,750m (good place for Oriental Skylarks if you need them) I then struck out with one target in mind, another 10 Lifers please (more in hope than any real expectation) !

I started down the Ancient Trail, God only knows how they built this stone pathway with hundreds, if not thousands, of steps, centuries earlier (1,500 years ago I read). However it does give one a feeling of walking in ancient footsteps, planting my solid hiking boots on these worn and weathered stones.

It felt strangely soul-satisfying, with the Sun just poking it's head up above the distant mountain range, glorious views down the valley from this path high up on the mountain-side (perfect for us birders as it often puts us at tree-top level, or close to it) and birds calling from 5 sides, so much so this just might be Birding Nirvana !

It's a little strange that when reading all those Birder's Trip Reports on this area I don't remember anyone mentioning it - yet to miss out Wen Chuan from a birding trip to Gaoligongshan would be sacrilege !

As when birding the tracks or trails elsewhere in the mountain, early morning you want to keep to where the sun is warming and lighting the mountain side as this is where they will congregate .... And boy did they congregate on this trail ! I didn't know which way to look next, never mind stopping to ID a just-taken-shot or distant bird !

At one time I just put my back against a large tree and the action was so fast and furious I didn't move from there for 30 min whilst racking up 5 Lifers amidst a whole plethora of birds !! This happened on the way back too, around 13.00 when most respectable birds would be digesting breakfast & lunch. Just making oneself virtually invisible for 20-30 mins works wonders ;)

Wave after wave passed through with babblers and bush-warblers displaying their usual skulking personalities, in the low bushes lining the trail. The highlight for me on the way down was having seen a movement high up in a tree I knew a very large woodpecker was moving up the trunk but as I had to keep swinging away for yet another bird close-by it wasn't until it had reached the top I could ID it as being one of my target species, a Greater Yellownape, what a gorgeous woodpecker ! Unfortunately it moved off before I could get the camera on it but I had wonderful, very satisfying, views through the bins !

I continued on the ancient pathway down into the valley, enamoured of the views but watching my step by the occasional steep drop-off, as I clambered over the obstacles nature had thrown down on the trail, a huge tree trunk here (someone had cut wedges cut into it at 45 degrees for footholds to aid in climbing over it), a mini landslide there and a couple of 'interesting' massive stones blocking the trail with steps cut into them centuries ago to help you climb over. Good hiking/trail boots/shoes a must.

At this point looking out you can see a couple of largish waterfalls cascading down the opposite side of the valley.

Now I was entering the valley proper, descending steeply, and soon the sound of crashing water drew me towards a small, 15m high waterfall. I quickly became aware of a harsh warning call close by. I scanned the bushes where I had seen movement, a flash of brilliant yellow as the little guy jumped hither and thither with barely a second between jumps continually spitting out his displeasure at my presence. But he posed in one tiny patch if light just long enough for me to him sharp and clear in the bins - a Slaty-bellied Tesia. Wonderful !

I tried for 45 mins, in total, of my precious remaining 3 hours, to get a clear shot of one of individuals in the 2-3 flocks circling this small area (maybe 50m by 30m) between the waterfall and the fallen log further down the path) of tangled undergrowth reaching 2 to 5 feet high in places with the odd 2-3 metre high tree but they rarely jumped/flew higher than 0.5 metre (1.5 ft) and remained in cover 99% of the time. Next visit perhaps.

And now to relax :D

Across the stone bridge, with cascading waters from another small waterfall creating white-water running underneath and out on the other side through larger boulders. Beyond lay two pools, one maybe 25m x 15m and the other much smaller, circa 10m x 7m, of steaming hot spring water. No-one around (I doubt there rarely is) so dispensing with sweaty clothing I slipped into the shallow welcoming pool, the hot water being just the cure for aching muscles and limbs whilst the trees and forest sounds allowing the mind to relax and wander, totally stress-free.

After 30 mins in the main pool (the temperature in the smaller pool is about the same but the stones have more algae on them and are slippy) I became aware I was being watched .... and on the opposite side of the pool a Chinese Blackbird (the first I'd seen on this trip) was gazing in wonderment, or disgust, at the human being before him. A reminder that it was time to get back to the serious business of birding !

Back the way I'd come (there are two ways up/down, a slightly quicker dirt path - which doesn't however give you the great views and birding of the higher ancient trail) stopping again by the waterfall, after having given it 30 mins trying and failing to get a decent Slaty-bellied Tesia shot, for the first of two wonderful surprises in 15 mins.

Two Little Forktails were 'walking' and fluttering their way up the waterfall, hardly noticing my presence, or not acknowledging it, giving me ample time to get my shots of the fifth (for me) of the six, Chinese Forktails. Nice. But better was to come.

I'd failed to tape in one of my biggest targets of my (or most birders visiting here, I guess) trip target list. I had had a response once further up the mountain but it had sussed me out and failed to show.

Not this time.

A tape played as a last desperate attempt on the spur of the moment (well why not here ?) brought out not one, not two, but at the very least three or four individuals, and this time, since they were 15-20m up in the bushes sprouting on the walls by the waterfall, they couldn't quite manage to stay invisible, all the while giving a very strong identical vocal response to my tape ! Would they sit still to pose for the camera, no, but I wasn't that bothered because Cachar's Wedge-billed Wren-babbler was in the bag :D

The hard, steeply uphill most-the-wa, trek back from Wen Chuan to the road to Baihualin, was quieter than the descent but still very productive. I could have spent all day on the ca. 800m flattish section higher up, where standing with your back against a tree for 30 mins at a time will account for many species, many coming in very close.

After watching a stubborn Flavescent Bulbul being bullied by three Black Drongos into giving up it's favoured perch (I smiled as it just moved 1m higher and then ignored the much larger birds) and picking up Grey-scoped Pygmy Woodpecker and the Minla I really wanted, the lovely Chestnut-tailed, I then had my mega-bird of the day.

A large bird flew away from me (not flushed but a casual flight with no call) and happily it landed on a relatively open branch. It was a fair distance (50-60m ?) away so definitely no stellar photos but good record shots were possible nonetheless. My first thought was Brown Barbet, as it was obviously a barbet. But it was larger ... and then it moved into the light and as the sun caught it I was delighted to record my first Great Barbet ! A mesmerising bird indeed.

More birds made the day and trip list on the way back, including three more Lifers in Hill Prinia, Rufous-capped Babbler and Greater Rufous-headed Parrotbill, the later two in a road-side 'wave' through the bushes :D

Back at the inn I quickly packed and paid up and was ready to, very sadly, bid adieu to Gaoligongshan.

Farewells were made (including the old guy always sporting a traditional Chinese silk jacket to go with his grin and cackling laugh every time he saw me and exchanged pleasantries) and my chariot awaited (my lovely lady taxi driver having arrived 45 mins early) and off we went on what was a 2hr 15mins trip back to Tengchong.

Upon arriving in Tengchong it was another quick check-in at the same hotel (and another excellent room) and back out for Ms.Ma to drop me back at the temple site on Laifengshan for 2.5 hrs birding before dusk.

It was a little quiet but still there were plenty of the same birds seen here last time and a few decent shots were taken. There were some good views of both a White-browed Laughingthrush and a Black-headed Sibia as well as Blue-winged Minla, Chestnut-flanked Nuthatch, Leaf-Warblers, White-throated Fantail, Grey-headed Canary Flycatcher and a Chestnut Thrush amongst others.

On the way back down the road there were distant views of a Large billed Crow, a pair of Red-vented Bulbuls and half a dozen Stripe-throat Yuhinas performing their lovely joyous dusk dances, flying directly upwards for a few metres before dropping quickly back down to their high-wire perches again.

TIP : Try going through the 'exercise area' to the back of the temple, it doesn't look like there is a path there but indeed there is and this path runs directly behind the temple into 'Tomb Alley' (which is what I'm calling the path to the side of the temple, a short distance of 200-300m perhaps). This area is away from most people, bar one or two evening strollers, and in one or two places you have excellent views out over the small valley, giving possibilities of birds in flight as well as clearer views of birds perched in trees or tree-tops further out but still easily seen in bins or with a long lens.

For my 25rmb dinner I was back at the tiny road-side restaurant just 50m from the hotel. After burning my mouth on a generous helping of their spicy kebabs and vegetables, washed down with iced lemon tea bought from the general store next to the hotel, it was back to my room to unpack and repackage everything ready for my departure next day, so that after my final morning session's birding on Laifengshan I could depart promptly.

New Birds on Gaoligongshan (Wen Chuan)

Babbler, Rufous-capped (a few in a road-side bush wave)
Barbet, Blue-throated (3 seen by looking out from the trail)
Barbet, Great (seen by looking out from the trail)(1)
Blackbird, Chinese (M&F by the Hot Springs)
Bulbul, Flavescent
Bulbul, Striated (a very striking bird)
Drongo, Lesser Racquet-tailed (sporting racquets)
Fantail, Yellow-bellied (1xM)
Flowerpecker, Orange-bellied (1 seen by looking out from the trail)
Forktail, Little (2 by waterfall)
Minivet, Grey-chinned (M&F solaris)
Minivet, Scarlet (M&F) (flock of 4 by waterfall)
Minla, Chestnut-tailed
Nuthatch, White-tailed (on the trail)
Parrotbill, Greater Rufous-headed (road from Wen Chuan to Baihualin, same wave as Rufous-capped Babbler above).
Pipit, Olive-backed (clearing at trail-head)
Prinia, Hill (road from Wen Chuan to Baihualin
Sparrow (road from Wen Chuan to Baihualin)
Swallow, Red-Rumped (on road from Wen Chuan to Baihualin)
Tesia, Slaty-bellied (est. 15-20 in 3 flocks but could be the same flock of 6-8)
Woodpecker, Grey-capped Pygmy (1)
Wren-Babbler, Cachar's Wedge-billed (by the waterfall) (at least 4 could be as many as 8)
Yellownape, Greater (1)

Unknown A). Awaiting expert decision from Birdforum. Grey head, orange nape/upper back/brown-grey mid-lower back & tail, white underparts. Upper storey below canopy. Now confirmed as Whiskered Yuhina.

Unknown B). Awaiting expert decision from Birdforum. Brown head, red finch-like bill, blue above and white underparts, pink-red legs. Skulking in the undergrowth. Seems unlikely an ID is possible (very poor pic) I'm afraid.

Unknown C). Awaiting expert decision from Birdforum. Golden-yellow head with black eye-patch, warbler-like, grey bill, above not noted, underparts same as head, yellow legs, short light-olive coloured tail. Skulking in the undergrowth. Now confirmed as Golden Babbler

Wen Chuan - some of the other birds seen for the record :

Babbler, Golden
Bulbul, Black (several, mostly white-headed)
Bulbul, Flavescent
Bulbul, Mountain
Bulbul, Striated
Bushchat, Grey
Drongo, Ashy
Fulvetta, Yunnan
Magpie, Red-billed
Mesia, Silver Eared
Minivet, Grey (M&F)
Niltava, Large
Nuthatch, Chestnut-vented
Redstart, Blue-fronted (trail path)
Redstart, Daurian (road to Baihualin)
Skylark, Oriental
Tit, Great
Tit, Yellow-cheeked
Warblers, Leaf (many)
Yuhina, White-bellied

New Birds on Tengchong :-

Fantail, White-throated
Wagtail, Forest

Tengchong - other birds seen for the record :-

Bush-warblers (spp)
Crow, Large-billed
Flycatcher, Grey-headed Canary
Magpie-Robin, Oriental
Minla, Blue-winged (aglae)
Scimitar-Babbler, Streak-breasted
Thrush, Chestnut
Tit, Great
Wagtail, White
Warblers, Leaf (many)
White-eye, Oriental
Yuhina, Stripe-throat

Trip Total to date : 141 species + leaf warblers to be ID'd. With one day to go I've hit one of my two total trip targets (150 species and 100 Lifers) as I'm now on 101 Lifers for the trip !!

Some not so great photos but I'm delighted to have them :)

#1 - Hill Prinia
#2 - Striated Bulbul
#3 - Great Barbet
#4 & #5 - The Nujiang (Saween) River, viewed from Gaoligongshan to Tengchong


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Well-known member
Well, this report just about knocks Gaoligongshan into the position of most-wanting-to-visit place in China!

Congratulations on all the rare birds! And some amazing shots too!


Well-known member
... I gave him my Chinese/English copy of MacKinnon's Birds of China as I thought this would be of even more value to him as in this tiny mountainous backwater getting anything of that nature would be very tough.... So if you are planning a trip and want to give your guide a small gift then something bird-related, especially China bird related and preferably but not necessarily, in Chinese, would be very welcome !

That's good practical advice - thanks!

Really sounds like an interesting destination - thanks for writing so many details.


Trapped in mist ***s
I heard the Great Barbet all the the time when i was at Tengchong but seeing one against the sunlight and on the canopy is near impossible. Great stuff Kevin. 羡慕嫉妒恨 (xiàn mù jì dù hèn) Jealous, Envy, Hate.
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