China! May-June 2016

Back two and a half years ago, I spent a few weeks birding China with friends Ian Davies and Luke Seitz. I never did blog about that trip, and I've only just finished going through the photos now! I'm not going to do the whole trip summary thing, but we really enjoyed ourselves as you could imagine. We spent two days birding the Shanghai coast before flying to Sichuan for the rest of the trip. My first time on Asian soil, I found myself even more fascinated by the birdlife than I was expecting. I've already been back to this vast continent since then (Japan last winter) and am tossing around ideas for the next visit.

Our entire trip was eBirded, so you can catch our lists and some killer photography by Ian and Luke embedded in those checklists. Here I will post a selection of my own favorite photos, birds, and moments from the journey, arranged chronologically. I've put some notes in the captions for context.

Birding the Yangkou Seawall in pouring rain and fog. This is about as dry as we would be for our two days here.

Luke and I would walk the mud flats desperately in search of Spoon-billed Sandpiper, to no avail. Ian did catch a glimpse of one in flight with Red-necked Stints the day before. I have no good bird photographs from the Shanghai leg the of trip, partly because of the dreadful weather, and partly because I spent all of my time looking frantically for Spoonies. Thousands of breeding plumaged Old World shorebirds were seen on these flats and in surrounding fields.

[fly to Chengdu, Sichuan province]


Phylloscopus sp. Shoulda labeled these to species immediately...

Rufous-vented Tit

Alpine Leaf Warbler

The noodle soups were outstanding

somewhere near Gonggangling Pass

Typical Sichuan meal. Lots of mystery foods, but most quite delicious!

Sichuan markets

Jiuzhaigou National Park

Jiuzhaigou National Park
Claudia's Leaf Warbler. In response to pishing and owl imitations, this species had a habit of deliberately raising one wing at a time while checking us out. We saw no other Phyllosc exhibit this behavior.

Gray-headed Bullfinch

White-crowned Forktail
Gonggangling Pass in the early morning after a fresh late-season snowfall. Warblers were flitting around the snow-covered evergreens.

Hume's Warbler

Giant Laughingthrush

Siberian Rubythroat

First signs of Tibetan culture

Tibetan Plateau. Snowfinch country.

Tibetan Fox - one of a handful seen!

Isabelline Wheatear, one of a pair carrying food into burrow. We did not know that this species nests underground! We were told this may be the first local breeding record of this species. It was not on our radar.

Wild Flower Lake, a haven for migrating terns, gulls, and waterfowl. Citrine Wagtail also calls this place home.

"Eastern" Cattle Egret

Great Crested Grebe

Whiskered Tern

Common Redshank

White-winged Tern

White-backed Thrush

Pinktail country

Przevalski's Pinktail - in the running for Bird of the Trip

Several flight displays were witnessed. After climbing into the sky, the bird would parachute back to the ground with tail spread the whole way.

Greenish Warbler
Gray-crested Tit

Sichuan Jay
Verreaux's Partridge


scaling the rocky slopes in search of snowcock


Tibetan Snowcock

Golden Bush-Robin

Chinese Rubythroat, a stunner


 - NB


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