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2005 Birding report for SE of Qinghai/Tibet Plateau, China
Birding report for SE of Qinghai/Tibet Plateau, China 2005

Time: 6th June to 15th June 17, 2005

Participants: Mr. Tang Jun, Ms Dang Rong, Mr. Dong Xiaohe

Route: Xining  Gonghe  Wenquan  Maduo  Yushu  Nangqian


I am thinking this probably should be the first birding report of this area by a local Chinese people. So it should be good let the birders worldwide have more view of birds of this area from a Chinese sights.

The purpose for us to do this trip is want to updated the latest information of the birds plus road condition from Xining to Nangqian as we are a local travel company and doing birding tours years. We want to drive inside Tibet from Nangqian via Neiwuqi. But at last we give up the plan as the road to Tibet is under repairing and the raining season is coming as well.

Mr Tang Jun owner of the travel company and doing birding tours since 2000.

Ms Dang Rong with English name is Iris traveled this route many times to acted as guide for western tourists inside 4 times for birdwatching tours.

And Mr. Dong, native driver in his 40鈥檚 and used to be professional driver on tourism.

The gear we have:

Books: A Field Guide to the Birds of China (Chinese Edition)(2)

3 PANDA 1042 binoculars (Made in China)

General road information:

From Xining to Nangqian is along No.G214 road,this road start from Xining and go south till Lao鈥檚 via Tibet and Yunnan.So it is very easy to mark the place where we catch birds.

Road from Xining to Gonghe 150km is good.

Gonghe to Wenquan 180km is good but I saw many worker start to rebuilding this section and I am sure will be bad road till year after next.

Wenquan to Maduo 155km is good.

Maduo to Qingshuihe 130km is good road.

Qingshuihe to Yushu 200km is under repairing so difficult to get through if stuck by a heavy truck but probably can be finished by the end of 2006.

Yushu to Nangqian 160km good road with beautiful scenery.

General food and hotel information:

There are many small towns on the main road with good food on Muslim and Sichuan style. If can not get the right time to arrive the restaurants, can buy some bread and boiled mutton.

The bed is clean and warm in June inside even maybe snow outside.

Public Transportation Information:

Xining have at least 3 daily bus( hard seat and hard sleeper) to Yushu and drive about 18 hours on two driver.

Yushu have daily public bus to Nangqian.

There is no public transportation to Kande Mountain and Beizha Forest.

6th June after 90 minutes fly from Chengdu to Xining, the capital city of Qinghai province, I was met by Iris and Mr.Dong with his old TOYOTA landcruiser. The airport is 28km outside the city and spent around 30min to arrive my hotel.

We bought some food and vegetable and fruit in Xining as Dong told me sometimes it will be diffcult to have food. And plenty of bottled water as well.


7th June departure from the hotel on 6 am is around daybreak, we carry on the trip to south and today鈥檚 destination is named Wenquan(Hot Spring). We stopped around 60km outside the city named Dangtanghe to have breakfast. After around 150km drive here name Gonghe or Qiabuqia,here we had the first stop of the day for birds.Then we carry on to Wenquan arrive about 8 pm with several stops enroute for birds.

The accommodation in Wenquan is quite basic and here the altitude is around 4200m.

The birds we saw today:

G214-148 (No 214 road, 148km)

Small Snowfinch; Eurasian Cukoo; Plain Backed Snowfinch; Mongolian Lark; Horned Lark;Mongolian Desert Finch


Pallas鈥檚 Sandgrouse; Black Redstart; Golden eagle; Richard鈥檚 Pipit; Blyth鈥檚 Pipit; Olive-backed Pipit;

G214-210 pool right side

Plain backed Snowfinch; Hume鈥檚 Groundpecker;


Roufous-necked Snowfinch; Black eared Kite;


Great Rosefinch; Black Redstart; Red-billed Chough; Asian House Martin; Tickell鈥檚 Leaf Warbler; Plain Mountain Finch;

G214-310km Ela Pass 4260m

We tried look for Sandgrouse and Tibetan Rosefinch here but can not see.


8th June today we did not start very early but 8 am as today鈥檚 distance is only about 180km with good road.But today have many stops for birds not only for the pass but also for lakes and wet lands. We had good lunch at Huashixia(G214-410) and arrived at Maduo around 5 pm and find a clean guesthouse(Traffic Guesthouse) to sleep. Iris told me here is the source of Yellow River and one day drive plus half day trek can reach it.

The birds we got today:

G214-343 cross the small river by the left side to climb the mountain looking for the Tibetan Rosefinch and probably Tibetan Snowcock. But we failed.

G214-351+400m  pass name Jiangluo Ling  4300m

Tibetan Rosefinch; Rufous-breasted Accentor; White-rumped Snowfinch; lammergeier; Upland Buzzard;


Saker Falcon; upland Buzzard; lammergeier; Stepped Eagle

G214-449+300 big pool right side with many ducks,gulls


Black-necked Crane(2)

From G214-465-471  for around 6km total, with many pools and wetlands on left side I am sure will be quite good place for birding but when we drive by it is heavy snowing.

9th June Due to today is long day drive and many places stop for birds, so we departure 0530 am from Maduo, after Bayakala passand drive to Qingshuihe,the road is under repairing quite bad.We spend total 14 hours on the way. We check in Yushu Hotel on 2 stars and it is good can have a hot shower. Yushu county is the capital town of Yushu district with the altitude around 2200m. Here have a better choice on food and accomadation.Local at a main branch river of Yangtse River.

Birds we caught today:


Upland Buzzard(15+)

It is interesting, local government set the nests for Buzzards on the top of electricity sticks to protect the grasslands.

G214-524 pools on both side

Common Redshank(30); common tern(20); Black-necked Crane(4)


Sakker falcon; Tibetan lark; Mongolian lark

G214-602 Bayanka La Pass 4824m

Here possible for Tibetan Sandgrouse;


10th June today is beautiful drive from Yushu to Nangqian even start from hotel 6 am, outside Yushu around 50km,the left way is carry to Tibet via Nangqian,and the right road leads to Zhaduo county where it is said the real resource of Yangtze by a UK person. We had a good breakfast beside the river inside the gorges and birding as well.15km before we arrive Nangqian, we take the left road went to Kande Mountain and george to have a quick look for the coming day birding. We are luck and find a guesthouse at Nangqian named Mingmao Guesthouse where can have hot shower.

Birds got today:


Great Rosefinch; Brown Dipper;


Black-billed Magpie; kessler鈥檚 Thrush; Ibisbill;White-toped water redstart;


This is most beautiful section of the groge, I am thinking walk for birding will be perfect.

Kande Gorge(4km from G214-970 on the branch way to the Kande pass)

Tibetan Partridge(2); Grey-backed Shrike; Kessler鈥檚 Thrush; Hume鈥檚 Groundpecker; Common Tern; Elliot鈥檚 Laughingthrush; Godlewski鈥檚 Bunting; Himalaya Griffon; Hill Pigeon; Wall pecker


11th June Today we decided visit Kande Mountain Pass and Kande Gorge for a full day birdwatching. We start from guesthouse 5 am and one hour and a half drive to get the pass try to look for the Tibetan Bunting.

We succeed!! we all saw 3 buntings(1 male+2females) on the bushes located at the upper mountain behind the village, where we spend more than one hour to climb.

Other birds today:

Daurian Jackdaw; Tickell鈥檚 leaf warbler; Blue-fronted Redstart; Tibetan Patridge; ibisbill;

We back to Nangqian around 7 pm and have a very good dinner not only for the buntings but also today is the Chinese traditional Dragon Festival.

12 June Today鈥檚 trip is head to south to Beizha forest. 29km good road along G214 and turn left for a dusty and bumpy road. Total 54km to Beizha forest station but we stopped about 6 km before the station by 4 Blood Pheasants crossing the road. So where we decide to stay and trek about 2km on the right side up to a grassland area with juniper and pine tree. Perfect habitat for birds. Here we spent almost the whole day to look for the Buff-throated Patridge. We did hear the voice of this birds twice( 1145am & 1215am) but fail to see.

After 3km turn left from G214, left side uphill there is the best place for White Eared Pheasant. We saw 4 of them from the car even by Chinese made PANDA binoculars.

After lunch we cooked by ourselves and we carry on to Beizha Forest satation, just 500m before the station check point, we saw at least 12 Tibetan Barbax beside the road.

And the road goes along a small river 20km before the forest station, and a kind of willow tree on both side. I am thinking this should be the palce for Chinese Grouse. But by far I did not heard the report but do some people tried here.


13 June we went to Kande Mountain Pass again as it is very beautiful and it is said it will be possible find Pink-tailed Bunting as well. We trek around the pass for about 3 hours but fail to see Pink-tailed Bunting. And we got Tibetan Bunting(1 couple) again.

14-15 June complete drive back from Nangqian to Xining for more than 1000km.


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