Birding Banyan Tree Hotel Jiuzhaigou
When: May 2017 Weather: Cool 10-15C
Nikon P900 Leica M240/35mm summilux Sony a7II 16-35mm Zeiss.
Jiuzhaigou (JZG) or the 9 Village Valley in Sichuan Province is one of the most famous scenic regions in China; getting there though is a bit of a trek. As we had a meeting in Hangzhou in Zhejiang Province, we took the opportunity of heading to JZG for a few days. There was a 2.5 hour flight from Hangzhou directly to Huanglong JZG Airport and from the airport, it’s about 1.5 hour to JZG itself. We were fortunate in being able to stay at the brand new Banyan Tree(BYT) Jiuzhaigou but it is another hour’s drive beyond JZG. Arriving there late at night, we could see that the resort is perched on top of a ridge at about 2500m….little did we know what we’d see at day break….
Valley view from the resort
The resort perched on a ridge
there is a golf course for those so inclined
On the upper slopes of the mountain near the resort are fields of Chinese Lavender
So we did out tourist bit and had a day trip to Jiuzhaigou itself on our second day, but this post is more about the delightful area around the BYT resort itself. Each morning, the sun would be up by 5am and I’d be out wandering around the buildings seeing what the scenery and bird life was like….
This path on the valley side of the resort yielded the most sightings esp in the morning from 6-8am…
one of the most common birds that you will be guaranteed to see is the very cute green backed tit..
and here perched on one of the mushroom shaped path lights
Another common sighting was the white winged redstart
Here, a pied wagtail having some breakfast
The Chestnut thrush was everywhere…
Even checking out the Chinese restaurant
and then one of the prettiest birds of our whole trip appeared… the vinaceous rosefinch!
It posed willingly for us almost directly below our room 755….
And then the female rosefinch also appeared and chased her mate away! We saw these gorgeous finches a couple of times over the few days we were at BYT JZG
And then in the bushes we saw this brown bird with the big white eye patches….
At first we thought it might be a speckled laughing thrush, but Ces identified it correctly as a barred laughing thrush
grey capped greenfinch
And then a rather noisy bird was found nearer the swimming pool end of the grounds
The absolutely delightful Chinese Thrush….singing,merrily away…another lifer!
Chinese leaf warbler?
A walk on the far side of the golf course up a hill didn’t lead to many birds…but we saw this raptor…
? Bonelli’s eagle
Elliot’s Laughing thrush is easily seen
this beautiful bird then appeared …a white-collared yuhina
Here’s another view..white collared yuhina
grey-capped greenfinches fighting over the spoils
Early another morning, we saw this blue and black bird over by the uncompleted villas…. a Grandala!
another view of the Grandala
This crow like bird then attracted attention with its loud cackle…. a spotted nutcracker!
And finally one of the last birds we saw was this juvenile white wagtail….
The Banyan Tree Jiuzhaigou; it doesn’t get much better than this as far as hilltop locations go and certainly the birding in and around the resort was outstanding!
The Banyan Tree Resort Jiuzhaigou is a very nice place to stay indeed when you are visiting JZG valley; the fact it is also a birding paradise makes it even more compelling for birdwatchers! Highly recommended!!