Trip report: Sichuan, China (May-June 2009) by Tropical Birding

Guided by Keith Barnes.

This was our most successful ever Sichuan trip to date, finishing off with 307 bird species for the tour, including almost all of the major Central Chinese specialties, but it was also one of the toughest. We had to deal with some major obstacles and challenges to travelling through this, simply one of the most beautiful and spectacular parts of the world! Most of the participants had been to Bhutan, in it’s own right gobsmackingly gorgeous, and all had to admit that while Bhutan was more interesting culturally, Sichuan took the cake for physical beauty. Many times people would stand and just relentlessly take photos of the stunning landscapes because anything else seemed inappropriate. The Wolong region is still recovering from the horrific earthquake that shook it to its foundations last year. While access was possible, infrastructure was limited, and intermittent power and water made our time here challenging. However the spectacular scenery of Balagshan, and the incredible birds of this area more than made up for it. The Sichuan governement has also decided to embark on one of their unpredictable roadworks projects. Simultanously tearing up many miles of perfectly good mountain roads, which made travel through the province slower than expected. Although this made the trip more arduous it also took us through some new exciting areas we would otherwise never have covered, in the process unearthing some new sites that are absolute gems!

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