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NORTHEASTERN CHINA

Birdquest's Northeastern China birding tour offers a compelling birdwatching experience. Our Northeastern China tour explores the grasslands and marshes of Inner Mongolia and Manchuria for Jankowski's Bunting and Red-crowned Crane, Beijing region and Shanxi for Baer's Pochard, Brown Eared Pheasant, Grey-sided Thrush and Green-backed Flycatcher, and the Dongzhai reserve in He'nan for the ultra-rare Crested Ibis, the stunning Reeves’s Pheasant and other specialities.

Monday 15th May — Saturday 27th May 2017
(13 days)


Leaders: Hannu Jännes and local bird guides

Group Size Limit: 9

Tour Category: Easy walking for the most part and comfortable accommodations

The huge and varied country that is China boasts an extraordinary bird list of over 1300 species. Since 1984, Birdquest has developed a series of comprehensive tours to find a vast majority of the endemics and specialities, but in a country that is so large, and with so many scattered specialities, there is always more to see. This itinerary, to the northeast of the country, targets some rare and poorly known waterbirds, and some stunning endemics at forest and steppe grassland sites. The bird list will not be huge, but will be respectable, and the quality contained within it certainly will be!

We will travel first to Wuhan on the Yangtze River in Hubei province and onwards to the Dongzhai National Reserve in He’nan province. One of two major attractions here is the spectacular Reeves’s Pheasant, and this is surely the best place in China for getting good views of this extraordinary and beautiful creature. It is not too far from here that a relict population of the spectacular Crested Ibis was found by Chinese ornithologists long after the species was thought to have become extinct in the wild (in Japan). Now the population has greatly increased and they have spread back to cover part of their original range. Other attractions include Chinese Sparrowhawk, Swinhoe’s Minivet, Collared Finchbill, Yellow-rumped Flycatcher, Masked Laughingthrush, Silver-throated Bushtit, Red-billed Starling, the fast-declining Collared Crow and the impressive Chinese (or Yellow-billed) Grosbeak.

Next we will travel onwards to the rugged, partly-forested mountains of Shanxi province, famous for its spectacular Brown Eared Pheasants. Also here we may well see the strange, babbler-like Chinese Hill Warbler, Yellow-streaked Warbler and Père David’s (or Plain) Laughingthrush

Afterwards we will visit some mountains around Beijing which hold a few very special birds, including the poorly-known Green-backed (or Elisa’s) Flycatcher, the colourful Zappey’s Flycatcher (split from Blue-and-white Flycatcher), the very rare Grey-sided Thrush and the localized Chinese Beautiful Rosefinch. Other specialities include White-bellied Redstart, Chinese Thrush, Chinese and Claudia’s Leaf Warblers, Yellow-bellied Tit and Chinese Nuthatch.

We will also visit a fantastic wetland to the south of Beijing which has recently been discovered to be home to a breeding population of the critically endangered Baer’s Pochard. As well as this ‘mega’ we should also find the rare Schrenck’s Bittern and Blunt-winged Warbler.

Finally we will travel to Inner Mongolia and the adjacent Baicheng region in Jilin Province in southern Manchuria. Here the steppe grasslands still harbour the critically endangered and little-known Jankowski’s Bunting, which has been seen by very few birders, as well as the stately Great Bustard, Asian Short-toed Lark, the spectacular Mongolian Lark and the localized Pallas’s Reed Bunting. We also plan to explore the nearby Xianghai National Nature Reserve, a huge sanctuary of 105,000 hectares. Within the reserve a wide range of habitats is found including extensive Phragmites reedbeds, large marshes and lagoons, open elm woodland and dry grassy plains. The majestic Red-crowned Crane (undoubtedly the most spectacular member of this impressive family) breeds here, while other specialities include the rare Swan Goose, Amur Falcon, Daurian Partridge, White-naped Crane, Oriental Pratincole, Grey-headed Lapwing, Chinese Penduline Tit and the impressive Chinese Grey Shrike.

After we return to Beijing, a visit to the famous Great Wall will round off our fantastic tour.

Birdquest has unrivalled experience in China, having operated a long series of tours there since 1984.

Accommodation & Road Transport: The hotels and guesthouses are of good or medium standard. Road transport is by small coach, minibus or cars. Roads are generally of a good quality.

Walking: The walking effort is mostly easy, but there will be one or two moderate grade walks.

Climate: Generally cool to warm (occasionally hot in the lowlands) with sunny spells interspersed with overcast conditions, especially in the mountains. Some rain is likely and it may be heavy at times.

Bird Photography: Opportunities are quite good.

Important Information for Pound Payers: Kindly note that the Pound prices shown here are based on post-EU-referendum exchange rate reality, unlike the website prices of most UK bird tour operators which are still based on outdated and hugely higher pre-referendum exchange rates. Consequently you can rest assured that we will not have to adjust these prices upwards at invoicing, unless the Pound falls significantly further, and if there is any recovery by the Pound you will receive the full benefit of the cost-saving by way of a price reduction at invoicing.

These are confirmed prices

Tour Price: £3640, €4300, $4770 Wuhan/Beijing.

Price includes all transportation (including specified internal flights), all accommodations, all meals, bottled water, some drinks, all excursions, all entrance fees, all tips for local drivers/guides and for accommodations/restaurants, leader services.

Base prices for this tour are determined in US Dollars, the currency in which we pay for most tour services. The exchange rates applied at the time of costing were: £1 = $1.310 and €1 = $1.110. For those not paying us in US Dollars, prices may be adjusted (either downwards or upwards) at the time of invoicing should there be a change in the exchange rate. See booking information.

Single Room Supplement: £432, €510, $566.

Deposit: £400, €550, $600.

Air Travel To & From The Tour: Our in-house IATA ticket agency can arrange your air travel in connection with the tour from a departure point anywhere in the world, or you may arrange your own air travel if you prefer. We can tailor-make your itinerary to your personal requirements, so if you would like to travel in advance of the tour (and spend a night in an hotel so you will feel fresh when the tour starts), or return later than the end of the tour, or make a side trip to some other destination, or travel business class rather than economy, we will be happy to assist. Please contact us about your air travel requirements.

The eared pheasants are as magnificent as they come and Brown Eared Pheasant is the rarest of them all  (Mark Beaman)

The eared pheasants are as magnificent as they come and Brown Eared Pheasant is the rarest of them all (Mark Beaman)

The Crested Ibis was rediscovered, after being feared extinct in the wild, in a remote region of north-central China  (Mark Beaman)

The Crested Ibis was rediscovered, after being feared extinct in the wild, in a remote region of north-central China (Mark Beaman)

The near-endemic Chinese Nuthatch is amongst a host of great birds on this tour  (Mark Beaman)

The near-endemic Chinese Nuthatch is amongst a host of great birds on this tour (Mark Beaman)

Red-billed Starling is a Chinese near-endemic (Pete Morris)

Red-billed Starling is a Chinese near-endemic (Pete Morris)

Collared Finchbill is another near-endemic we will see at Dongzhai (Pete Morris)

Collared Finchbill is another near-endemic we will see at Dongzhai (Pete Morris)

In open country we'll come across a number of interesting species such as Grey-faced (or Grey-headed) Woodpecker (Pete Morris)

In open country we'll come across a number of interesting species such as Grey-faced (or Grey-headed) Woodpecker (Pete Morris)

The smart Chinese Sparrowhawk is a summer visitor to the woodlands of eastern China  (Mark Beaman)

The smart Chinese Sparrowhawk is a summer visitor to the woodlands of eastern China (Mark Beaman)

Manchurian Bush Warbler is a giant in comparison with its sibling, the Japanese Bush Warbler  (Mark Beaman)

Manchurian Bush Warbler is a giant in comparison with its sibling, the Japanese Bush Warbler (Mark Beaman)

The woodlands of Shaanxi hold the stunning Yellow-rumped Flycatcher  (Mark Beaman)

The woodlands of Shaanxi hold the stunning Yellow-rumped Flycatcher (Mark Beaman)

While further north it is replaced by the localized, breeding-endemic Green-backed or Elisa's Flycatcher  (Mark Beaman)

While further north it is replaced by the localized, breeding-endemic Green-backed or Elisa's Flycatcher (Mark Beaman)

With just a tiny range in the surviving forests of the Beijing region, the Grey-sided Thrush is one of China's rarest birds  (Mark Beaman)

With just a tiny range in the surviving forests of the Beijing region, the Grey-sided Thrush is one of China's rarest birds (Mark Beaman)

Migrants are an attractive feature at this time of year in Manchuria. this is a Rufous-tailed (or Swinhoe's) Robin (Pete Morris)

Migrants are an attractive feature at this time of year in Manchuria. this is a Rufous-tailed (or Swinhoe's) Robin (Pete Morris)

... and Tristram's Bunting (Pete Morris)

... and Tristram's Bunting (Pete Morris)

The rare Jankowski's Bunting hangs on by the skin of its teeth in the vanishing grasslands of Manchuria  (Mark Beaman)

The rare Jankowski's Bunting hangs on by the skin of its teeth in the vanishing grasslands of Manchuria (Mark Beaman)

And, of course, no visit to Northern China would be complete without a stop at the Great Wall  (Mark Beaman)

And, of course, no visit to Northern China would be complete without a stop at the Great Wall (Mark Beaman)

Many of the flights and flight-inclusive holidays on this website are financially protected by the ATOL scheme. But ATOL protection does not apply to all holiday and travel services listed on this website. Please ask us to confirm what protection may apply to your booking. If you do not receive an ATOL Certificate then the booking will not be ATOL protected. If you do receive an ATOL Certificate but all the parts of your trip are not listed on it, those parts will not be ATOL protected. Please see our booking conditions for information, or for more for more information about financial protection and the ATOL Certificate go to: www.atol.org.uk/ATOL Certificate

Birdquest Ltd is Registered in England, Company No. 01568270. The address of our registered office is Two Jays, Kemple End, Stonyhurst, Clitheroe, Lancashire BB7 9QY

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