NOTE: We understand that people may be wary of booking tours to China in the current climate. Ornis is committed to objectively reassessing the situation six months before this tour, then providing a full and immediate refund of deposit should we decide to cancel it (as per our Terms & Conditions).
Day 1: Arrivals into Shanghai International Airport (PVG). Night in Shanghai. It is important to note that this tour includes all hotel transfers and domestic flights from PVG to PEK (two of the three largest international airports in China), so participants will not need to navigate these somewhat confusing cities themselves.
Day 2: Our birding will begin this morning on the coast, searching for Reed Parrotbill and Marsh Grassbird at Nanhui. After driving north to Rudong, we’ll have a quick lunch and go straight to the mudflats! On an incoming side, we will be searching in particular for Spoon-billed Sandpiper, Nordmann’s Greenshank, and Saunder’s Gull amongst the throngs of birds in stunning summer plumage. Some nearby scrub acts as a migrant trap, which we will check for buntings, starlings, warblers and flycatchers, right in the peak of migration up the coast of China. Night at Dongtai.
Day 3: Morning birding at Rudong in search of migrants in the coastal bushes. After lunch depart for Shanghai Airport, to connect with an evening flight to Fuzhou, where we will overnight near the airport.
Day 4: Departing early, we plan to search for the globally scarce Blyth’s Kingfisher along a river where this species has been regularly recorded in recent years. We will reach our lodgings at Emeifang this afternoon in time for some initial exploration of the area.
Days 5-6: Two full days inside Emeifang NNR to locate the main prizes of this beautiful, isolated mountain range. The jewel in the crown is Cabot’s Tragopan which regularly feeds by the roadside in the early mornings and by patiently driving slowly along the road that winds its way up we hope to get close views of this spectacular forest galliform. For the remainder of our time, we will bird at a variety of altitudes along the single forest road in search of the other species endemic to south-east China’s mountain ranges; Grey-sided Scimitar Babbler, White-necklaced Partridge, Huet’s Fulvetta, and we even have a chance of Elliot’s Pheasant, the most difficult of the endemics. Many other scarce but widespread species are possible; Moustached and Buffy Laughingthrushes, Streak-breasted Scimitar Babbler, Sulphur-breasted, Kloss’s Leaf Warbler, White-spectacled, Alstrom’s and Buff-throated Warblers, Grey-headed Parrotbill, Green and Blyth’s Shrike Babblers, Brown Bush Warbler, Spotted Elachura and Chestnut Bulbul. Night at Emeifang.
Day 7: After a final morning of birding, we will drive north to Wuyuan, arriving in time to pay a visit to a breeding colony of Blue-crowned Laughingthrush. This beautiful Critically Endangered species will certainly put on a show at one of their colonial nesting trees, which is overlooked by a photography blind!
Day 8: This morning we will visit the beautiful Wuyuan countryside in search of Short-tailed Parrotbill, Pied Falconet, Masked Laughingthrush, Chinese Bamboo Partridge, Swinhoe’s Minivet, Rufous-faced Warbler, Red-billed Starling and even the spectacular Mandarin Duck which has a healthy population along the riversides. Once done, we’ll take a long drive north to Dongzhai. Night outside Dongzhai NNR.
Day 9: A full day in search of one of China’s most recognisable endemics – the splendid Reeves’s Pheasant. Dongzhai has the largest population of this increasingly rare species but it is still difficult to find. Other species possible here include a reintroduced population of the rebounding Crested Ibis, Brown-chested Jungle Flycatcher, the threatened Collared Crow, and even Fairy Pitta with some luck. Night outside Dongzhai NNR.
Day 10: Returning to Wuhan for a flight or bullet train north to Taiyuan today, we’ll reach a monastery where Brown Eared Pheasant are often in view for some initial birding. During the afternoons, pheasants are less likely to be around, so we can search the scrub for Beijing Babbler, Silver-throated Bushtit, Yellow-streaked Warbler, Plain Laughingthrush, and Long-tailed Rosefinch. Night in Jiaocheng.
Day 11: Full morning at the monastery for the Brown Eared Pheasants, followed by birding in the nearby scrub. We will then drive east to Hengshui Lake. Night near Hengshui.
Day 12: Hengshui Lake is now well known as one of the very few known breeding sites for the Critically Endangered Baer’s Pochard. We have a reasonable chance of finding an early Schrenck’s Bittern, while other possibilities here include Blunt-winged Warbler among the heavy throng of Oriental Reed and Black-browed Reed Warblers. In the late morning we will drive north to Lingshan, arriving in time for some afternoon birding. We will focus on finding three major specialties of the region: Grey-sided Thrush, Green-backed Flycatcher and Zappey’s Flycatcher. Night at Lingshan.
Day 13: We will spend a full morning on the upper slopes of Lingshan, primarily in search of Chinese Beautiful Rosefinch, before driving to Beijing International Airport (PEK), where the main tour ends this evening. NOTE: We can assist in arranging any targeted extensions either with Ornis, or directly with our local leader. Possibilities might include Blackthroat, Silver Oriole, or Jankowski’s Bunting and Red-crowned Crane.
MAIN TOUR 2025
Cost: $ 5,200
Deposit: $ 750
Single room supplement: $ TBC
It is important to note that this tour includes all hotel transfers and domestic flights from PVG to PEK (two of the three largest international airports in China), so participants will not need to navigate these somewhat confusing cities themselves.
Accommodation: Comfortable hotels throughout, but note several days of long drives ranging from 2-7 hours.
Walking difficulty: Mostly easy roadside birding and short forest trails.
Tour cost includes: All accommodation, main meals, drinking water, internal flights (as stated in itinerary), overland transport, tips to local drivers and guides, travel permits, entrance fees, and guide fees.
Tour cost excludes: Flights before and after the tour start/end, visa, travel insurance, tips to tour leaders, laundry, drinks and other items of a personal nature.