China - Yunnan Birding Adventure Intro

TOUR OVERVIEW

In this exciting ZOOTHERA tour we visit the mountains and hidden valleys of the ornithological mecca that is Yunnan. This far south-western corner of China borders Myanmar, Vietnam and Laos, as well as Sichuan and Tibet, which reflects this regions widely varied avifauna. Yunnan has a varied climate ranging from warm, subtropical forests in the lowlands to cool temperate forests in the higher mountains, with alpine pastures and snow-capped peaks. And the attendant birdlife is absolutely amazing with some of the most stunning, rare, scarce and mouth-watering species in Asia. Throw in a whole host of Chinese endemics and you can see how special Yunnan truly is. Headline species include Brown-winged Parrotbill, Yunnan Nuthatch, Yunnan Fulvetta, Ward's Trogon, Himalayan Cutia, Grey-bellied Wren-Babbler, Moustached and Assam Laughingthrushes, Rufous-tailed Babbler, Cachar Wedge-billed Wren-Babbler, Black-bibbed Tit, Slender-billed Scimitar-Babbler and Gold-naped Finch. Our unique itinerary takes in all of the best birding sites in Yunnan, as well as some lesser known sites but at a really relaxed pace, with the emphasis on easy birding. One of the major tour highlights will be our visit to the mountains of Gaoligongshan, where numerous feeding stations are set up on the hillsides and offer unrivalled opportunities to see and photograph a whole suite of typically skulking species that are hard to see out in the field. There's possibilities of seeing at very close quarters and getting some amazing photos of Lady Amherst's Pheasant, Mountain Bamboo-Partridge, Hill and Rufous-throated Partridges, Gould's and White-browed Shortwing, all 3 tesias, Slender-billed Scimitar-Babbler, Red-tailed, Assam, Scaly and Blue-winged Laughingthrushes, Red-tailed Minla, Rusty-fronted Barwing, Long-tailed Thrush, Scarlet Finch and so much more. Some of these hides have almost 40 species visiting them over the course of a few hours. The only requirement is the ability to sit still for up to 4 hours! We also now include a new site which has yet more photo blinds/feeding stations offering opportunities to see at extremely close quarters and photograph Grey Peacock-Pheasant, Kalij Pheasant, the rare White-cheeked Partridge, Collared Falconet, Rusty-naped and Blue-naped Pittas occur sometimes, Great Slaty Woodpecker, and both Spot-breasted and Grey-sided Laughingthrushes amongst others. On our last tour we 'discovered' more photo hides at Nabang and Laifeng Shan as well that gave us awesome views of Tibetan Serins, White-crowned Forktail, Grey-bellied Tesia, Pygmy Cupwing, White-tailed Robin, Silver-eared Mesia and more!

Yunnan impresses anyone who has visited with its amazing birdlife, stunning scenery, remote, hidden valleys, forested mountains and friendly people. And our take on this amazing adventure offers unrivalled opportunities to get awesome views of many great birds from a network of photo hides. This isn't a photo tour but an easy birding adventure with minimal walking offering an excellent chance to see a fantastic array of rare, scarce, endemic and localised Chinese birds.  

Sunday 5th - Tuesday 21st January 2020  

KEY SPECIES

Here are just a few of the key species we will be targetting on this tour:

  • Mrs Hume's Pheasant
  • Lady Amhert's Pheasant
  • Grey Peacock-Pheasant
  • Mountain Bamboo-Partridge
  • Hill Partridge
  • Black-tailed Crake
  • Ward's Trogon
  • Giant Nuthatch
  • Yunnan Nuthatch 
  • Great Slaty Woodpecker
  • Pale-headed Woodpecker
  • Gould's Shortwing
  • Himalayan Cutia
  • Slender-billed Oriole
  • Black-headed Shrike-Babbler
  • Black-bibbed Tit
  • Rufous-headed Parrotbill
  • Brown-winged Parrotbill
  • Coral-billed Scimitar-Babbler
  • Slender-billed Scimitar-Babbler
  • Black-streaked Scimitar-Babbler
  • Spotted Elachura
  • Blue-naped Pitta  
  • Rufous-tailed Babbler
  • Cachar Wedge-billed Wren-Babbler
  • Grey-bellied Wren-Babbler  
  • Black-headed Sibia
  • Grey-sided Laughingthrush
  • Rufous-necked Laughingthrush
  • Moustached Laughingthrush
  • Assam Laughingthush
  • Blue-winged Laughingthrush
  • Scaly Laughingthrush
  • Red-tailed Laughinthrush
  • Spot-breasted Laughingthrush
  • Grey-bellied Tesia
  • Rusty-cappped Fulvetta
  • Yunnan Fulvetta
  • Yellow-throated Fulvetta
  • Manipur Fulvetta
  • Long-tailed Thrush
  • Himalayan Forest Thrush
  • Red-throated Thrush
  • Chinese Thrush
  • Rusty-fronted Barwing
  • Maroon-backed Accentor 
  • Gold-naped Finch
  • Scarlet Finch
  • Tibetan Serin
  • Black-headed Greenfinch
  • Collared Myna 

Leader: Nick Bray and local guides. 

Ground Price: £3950.00 - Kunming/Kunming

Airfare:  £685.00 - £850.00 (Approx) - UK/UK

Single supplement: £350.00                 

Deposit: £500.00

Group size: Minimum for tour to go ahead 5 and maximum 9.

Included in cost: Accommodation in twin rooms en-suite, all meals including picnic lunches where necessary, bottled water, snacks, all entrance fees, transport throughout, domestic flight Ruili - Kunming, and services of local guides and leaders.

Not included: International airfare, insurance, visa fee, drinks, tips, and items of a personal nature.   

Accommodation: The hotels used during this tour range from standard to good, all with en-suite facilities. The hotels in Chuxiong, Tengchong and Ruilli are on a par with a 3* hotel in Europe, at Baihualing the hotel is of a good standard. The hotel in Nabang is quite basic but still has hot showers. We will stay in the best available lodges/guest houses as close to the birding sites as possible.

Tour Code: This is an easy to standard tour. Some long drives are necessary but the roads are mainly paved now and our minibus/coaster is both comfortable and well maintained. The weather is variable at this time of year, but expect it to be quite warm in the lowlands, but colder in higher areas and some sites are cold in the early mornings. Some showers are also possible in the mountains. The focus of this tour is birding, however the numerous photo blinds we visit are obviously conducive to taking some great photos! If you are not taking photos, we believe this is the best Yunnan tour to see a wide variety of local, rare, scarce and endemic birds at close quarters and where the views are outstanding. Please note that we may well amend the tour itinerary to include some new sites for this tour, and hopefully find more birds!