This 16-day winter birding tour is exclusive to travel in eastern China. We selected the popular destinations where various birds migrate and stop for a rest every year. As well as the birds, there are rich natural resources. You will start from Dishui Lake in Shanghai, go north to Rudong County and Yancheng National Nature Reserve, and then back to Shanghai. Continue to go south and reach Huangshan, Wuyuan and Emeifeng. Finally you will end the tour in Shanghai. This will help you to refresh your bird list with examples like Slaty Bunting, Yellow-throated Laughingthrush, Spoon-billed Sandpiper, Red-crowned Crane and 30 other species of birds.
No Shopping Traps
Upon arrival at Shanghai airport, your personal tour guide will meet you and escort you to your hotel. You can enjoy some leisure time around your hotel if you arrive early.
After breakfast, you will go to Dishui Lake which is known as Shanghai's best bird-watching spot. The east China sea is outside its dam. Many migratory birds cross there each year and the best time for birding is in September. The common bird species you may see are Scolopacidae, Anatidae, Laridae, Ardeidae and the Humming Bird. The tour can be extended to Chongming Island if time allows. You can have picnic lunch at the side of the lake.
Today you will be transferred to Rudong County in Jiangsu Province. There is a vast area of coastal wetlands, rich in water resources, wildlife resources, and more than 300 species of birds have been recorded. On arrival, you can have an early lunch at a local restaurant.
You will go bird-watching around and near Tiaozini for the rest of the day. It is the homeland of the Spoon-billed Sandpiper which is globally critically endangered. You may see Larussaundersi as well if you are lucky. Dinner is arranged at a local restaurant.
Spoon-billed Sandpiper - Photo by JJ Harrison
Keep birding in Rudong and then drive to Yancheng. Lunch is ready on your arrival.
Look for the Red-crowned Crane at Yancheng National Nature Reserve (NNR).
You may also have a chance to see some common cranes: Sandhill Cranes and Hooded Cranes. The Yancheng NNR Management Bureau offers photography sites for birders. Return to Rudong in the late afternoon. Dinner will be served at a local restaurant.
After breakfast, you will continue to discover the birds near the Old Magic Forest, Xiaoyangkou and Haiyin Temple. Have lunch at Xiaoyangkou. Finally you will be on a journey back to Shanghai.
After breakfast, you will take a speed train for around 2.5 hours to escape from the busy metropolis to the quiet boutique city of Huangshan.
You will enjoy a leisurely walk along Tunxi Old Street which is 1,273 meters long, of which 895 meters is the pedestrian commercial street. Shops standing on both sides are generally of two or three floors, which feature the local Anhui style of stone base, brick construction and tile roof. Then go hiking and birding at Xin’anjiang.
After breakfast, you will head to the Yellow Mountains which is located about 1 hour’s driving distance from Huangshan City and is known to be the most beautiful mountain scenery in China. You will enjoy a picturesque ride from the entrance to the cable car station and then all the way up to the top by Yungu Cable car. Not only can you admire the gorgeous landscape, but also see a variety of birds. There are Red-billed Leiothrix, Red-billed Blue Magpie, Garrulax poecilorhynchus, Silver Pheasant, Yellow-browed Warbler, Violet Whistling Thrush and Parus Major for example. You may need some patience to find them on the mountains. You will check in to the hotel at noon and have lunch there. Stay overnight on the mountain.
Enjoy a leisurely morning, or you can get up early to shoot the sunrise over clouds. After breakfast, you will take the cable car down from the mountain and then drive for about one hour to Hongcun Ancient Village, which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It enjoys the reputation of 'a village in the beautiful Chinese picture' because of its location at a high altitude and being shrouded by clouds and mist, which attracts a lot of photographers. Have lunch in the village.
Hongcun Ancient Village
You can continue to visit the village and then head to Wuyuan in the late afternoon. It takes around 2.5 hours. The mountains and hills cover more than 80% of the total area, with abundant rainfall throughout the year and dense vegetation. It makes a perfect living place for birds. Have dinner at a local restaurant on your arrival.
A Village in Wuyuan
With stable distribution of unique bird species discovered in recent years, in addition to good protection awareness by local people, Wuyuan has become a hot spot for bird watching in China. You'll spend two days birding here, looking for the Yellow-Throated Laughingthrush / Blue-Crowned Laughingthrush, a rare species. Try your luck with us and expand your bird list. You will spend time in Xiaoqi, Moon Bay, Caomen, Kengkou and Shimen to see birds. There are Pied Falconet, Mergus squamatus, Black Bittern, Bubulcus ibis, Red-billed Starling and many more.
Blue-Crowned Laughingthrush - Photo by Greg Hume
After breakfast, you will continue to explore the birds in Wuyuan. Enjoy your lunch at a local restaurant.
You will take an afternoon train to Nanchang. Upon arrival, you will be transferred from the train station to your hotel. You may explore the neighborhood after some relaxation and freshen up. Nanchang is just a transfer place to your next destination.
Pavilion of Prince Teng
This is a traveling day and you may find Greater Crested Kingfishers, Yellow-Bellied Tits, Brown Dippers, and even Black and Serpent Eagles along the journey.
Emeifeng has unique natural advantages with its deep mountains and valleys, complex topography, evergreen forests all year round, high vegetation coverage and rich wildlife species. It offers excellent natural conditions for bird observation.
You will spend 2 full days exploring Emeifeng Nature Reserve. Your local birding guide will lead you to the woods and along some small paths where a large number of birds are. Seeing the endangered Cabot's Tragopan is the highlight of these two days. You will also enjoy searching for some endemic species, such as Fujian Fulvetta, Grey-Sided Scimitar Babbler, Streak-Breasted Scimitar Babbler, Kloss's Leaf Warbler, Brown Bullfinch, Green Shrike-Babbler, Spotted Wren-Babbler, as well as White-Spectacled, Alstrom's, Bianchi's, and Buff-Throated Warblers. There are even more for you to discover on your own.
Streak-Breasted Scimitar Babbler - Photo by Dibyendu Ash
You may spend some early morning time looking for more birds. You will be transferred to Taining to connect with a high speed train to Fuzhou. Relax for the rest of the day.
After breakfast, you will depart Fuzhou for a flight back to Shanghai. This exciting tour ends here. You can extend your visit to Guilin Mao’er Mountain, or Nanning Nonggang Nature Reserve for more birds.