Why should I go to China for bird watching?
The first reason is that China is one of the largest countries in the world with a total area of 10,000,000 square kilometers or 7 per cent of the land surface of the planet. It is a huge country of great extremes from the world’s highest peak of Everest, at 8848m, to one of the world’s lowest land points, at -155m in Turpan basin, and from the permafrost of the extreme north to the tropical seas of the extreme south. Habitats include forests, grasslands, deserts and wetlands.
This great diversity of habitats, together with China’s large size give rise to a great richness of biological diversity. China is ranked as one of the top five richest countries in the world in terms of its vertebrate species—a remarkable fact for a largely temperate landmass. In terms of birds, this richness is demonstrated in over 1300 species recorded or expected from the country, including some of the most spectacular and fascinating birds in the world.
China is the world distribution centre of pheasants with 62 species out of a global total of about 200. Another particularly Chinese group is the laughingthrushes of which China boasts no less than 36 species or more than half the global total. China is particularly rich in parrotbills, leafwarblers, crows and rosefinches as well as in ducks, swans, and geese with a total of 50 species, about quarter of the world total. Nine of the world’s 14 crane species live in China, breeding in the north and migrating in winter to the southern wetlands.
The second main reason you should come is that many China’s Nature Reserves have never been opened before, they are still primitive and not destroyed by human being.
The thirdly, besides different species of birds, China is mysterious oriental country with over 5000 years history. There are a lot of historical sites, such as Great Wall, Forbidden city in Beijing and Terra-cotta Warriors and Horses Museum in Xi’an. In addition, Picturesque Guilin demonstrates carst landscape can be seen. China is the country with 56 nationalities. Besides the majority Han nationality, there are still 55 minority ethnic groups such as Tibetan, Zhuang, Miao and Mongolian nationality. While birding in China you can make local discovery yourself.
Why should we come to Qinlin mountain to watch birds?
Qinlin Mountain has been regarded as” Mountain Papa” in China. It is watershed between Yellow river in north and Yangtze river in south. Because of the mountain, the whole area is divided into several climate zone, including in north sub-tropic, warm temperate zone and middle temperate zone. The nature environment and complex landform contains abundant wildlife resources. Particularly, Qinlin Mountain is boundary between Oriental and Palaearctice realms so the species of birds from both realms can be found here.
Zoologists have discovered over 300 species of birds in Qinlin Mountain which takes up about one forth in Whole China ( about 1300 species of birds). Among the birds, The Crested Ibis is must been seen. In 1981, only seven crested ibises were found in Yang county in Qinlin Mountain, which has been listed as endangered species of bird in the world. Up to now the population has reached 1000 individuals. In addition, you can find wild pandas golden monkeys and huge takins. Without bird watching in Qinlin Mountain on your China birding travel, that means you’ve never been in China.
Where is Qinlin Mountain? How can we go to?
Qinlin Mountain is situated on the boundary between Shaanxi and Sichuan province in centre of China. It stretches from west to east. The summit of the mountain is 3770m high.. The south of the mountain is south China and the north of the mountain is belong to the north. Here is the last place in the world for the pandas to live in, besides the last seven Crested Ibis in the world were found here in 1981.
If you want to explore this mountain you must come to Xi’an, an ancient capital of China first to rent van or to take long distance bus to go there. It is about 300 kilometers from Xi’an city. In Xi’an you may visit Terra-cotta Warriors and Horses Museum which were made in 200year B C and the well -preserved city wall built in Ming Dynasty 1380 year AD.
The problems you may meet while you are birding in China.
The first problem is that you have to rent the vehicle to the birding place, since public bus not reach to.
Secondly is communication. Many Chinese can not understand English language, especially in the country or remote areas where for birding. So to get English speaking guide is very important.
Thirdly is to need special pass. Many Nature Reserves need to get special permission from the department of local government concerning to, if you get in.
Fourthly is the accommodation in bird watching place. China is still developing country. The countryside and mountain area are still primitive, so you can only live in Inn or guesthouse.
Fifthly is about birding itself. The bird watching has over hundreds years in western world but it is quite new thing in China. More and more Chinese go to the mountains for birding and hiking on their holidays. The problem is that many birders in China can’t speak foreign language. Although they have a lot of bird’s knowledge it is hard to communicate with them.
Due to all the reasons above, we set up a bird watching company attached to Shaanxi birding society to provide you professional English speaking guidance. Traveling with us, you may find it is right choice to help you discover all kind birds you have intent to see in China.
How much does it cost to bird in China?
We have different birding travel route with different number of days, of course with different quotations. You may choose any route you intend to travel with. Clink the itinerary and quotation.
Is there any place good for bird watching, besides Qinlin Mountain?
Yes, we have many other places to watch birds besides Qinlin Mountain. They are:
a) Poyang lake, located in Jiangxi province in south of China, is one of the largest fresh water lakes in China. Due to humid weather, abundant bait, Poyang Lake has become an ideal place for many rare birds in the world like White stork, black Stork, Swan, and Siberian Crane to go through winter. It has won the reputation of “ Kingdom of stork”.
b) Dongting Lake National Reserve, in Hunan province of south China, is an important wetland for shore birds in winter and also the place for breeding and rest for many migrant birds. Every year, there are over millions of shore birds like Geese, ducks to come here. It is named” Paradise of bird”.
c) Wuyuan of Jiangxi province has been considered as “ The most beautiful countryside in China”. You may find youself surrounded by Arcadia prospect, landscape of countryside, ancient village. You can also find worldwide endangered bird yellow-throated laughingthrush, which is distributed only in Wuyuan of Jiangxi province, Simao of Yunnan province and Assam of India.
d) Caohai, National Nature reserve, located in west of Guizhou province in Southwest of China, it has huge lake over 30 square kilometers with over 150 species of birds living here. The black naked crane is the most famous.
e) Qinhai Lake, the largest inland salt water lake of China, is another spot for birdwatching. Along the lake are vast marshland and wet land. There is a bird island in the lake where many different species bird come to breed in May and June of each year. Such as bar-headed goose, pallas’s gull, brown-headed gull and great cormorant.
What season is the best to watch bird? What specialty of bird can we see?
In winter, Caohai of Guizhou province and Lahlu wetland near Lahsa city of Tibet are good place to watch black necked crane, which is specialty in China. From the end of November to February of following year is right time. In Qinling Mountain, you may see crested ibis,only found in Qinling Mountain of China, golden pheasant and other rare birds, if you are lucky, you can cross into Pandas and Takins.
In spring, every April to May over hundreds of thousands of migrant birds come to Beidaihe beach. Qinling mountain is also good time to see forest bird about two hundreds species. Qinling Birding Competition is held at this time each year.
In Autumn, You may still go to Qinling Mountain and Beidaihe beach to watch birds. Qinhai lake in Northwest of China is one of the biggest bird’s breeding place. From March to September Several hundreds of thousands migrant birds come here to breed. It is amazing!
Do we have professional bird guide with us?
Yes. We have professional bird guide who can speak good English with you on entire trip.
What else can we see besides birds on the trip?
Pandas you can see in Qinling Mountain. Here is the home town of panda. The panda from all of the world come from the Mountain. Golden monkey is another specialty in Qinling. Monkey here is the most beautiful monkey in China, and Takin as well.
What kind of food do we eat on birding trip in China?
Most of time you eat Chinese food, only breakfast at the hotels in big cities are the western. In small inn and guest house of birding place and Nature Reserve even breakfast is still simple Chinese food. No coffee and butter but our company will prepare for you. Some times we have to take lunchbox with us on birding day.
What should we prepare for the trip?
You should take the sweater, windbreak, raincoat, climbing shoes, flashlight and medication with you and others for personal use on travel. The most important things you should have with you are binoculars for forest birding, telescope for shore birds, camera, pencil, notebook and guide book. You may find the book named ( A Field Guide to the Birds of China) written by John Mackinnon & Karen Phillips in you country.
Do we have to stay outside on the mountains at night?
We don’t need to stay outside in the evening. Usually we go for birding for two to three hours in the morning and two to three hours in the afternoon. In the evening we will stay at the hotel. Upon special request, we can stay in the tent on the mountain.
Is it danger to watch bird on the mountain in China?
Usually no. It is safe to take bird watching tour on the mountain in China. You may meet some animals like panda, takin. If they are not gotten in to corner, it would be safe.