Jiuzhaigou scenic region and a bird or two

Jiuzhaigou scenic region and a bird or two

When:  May 2017                        Weather:  warm  20C

Sony a7II 70-200Glens,  Nikon P900

The main reason we go to the part of Sichuan province in China is to visit the world heritage site, a scenic region that is known as Jiuzhaigou (JZG) which literally means Nine Village Valley.   However you do it, it’s a bit of a trek to get there….Most people would fly into a major city in China (eg Chengdu)  and then connect to Jiuzhaigou Huanglong airport from which it is another 1.5 hours by car to get to the scenic area itself.  We had chosen to stay at the newly opened Banyan Tree resort in Baohua town another hour beyond the JZG scenic area itself.

Most people arrive in JZG early in the morning but by the time we got there it was nearly 10am.  One challenge about visiting JZG is the hordes of tourists that it attracts….and that’s despite what must be the most expensive admission fees to any national park in the world….it’ll set each visitor back 310RMB or about USD40 per day .. that’s for admission and use of the shuttle buses to get to the different parts of the valley.

We were advised that with just a day we should concentrate just on the Primeval Forest branch of the Y shaped reserve…..


Mountainous approach to JZG



We then started driving past azure blue and green lakes, many with waterfalls



The reed fringed waterways were charming



and this was the shimmering lake



And so we headed up to the primeval forest, the right fork in the Y….by this time it was late morning, hot, crowded and there were few birds, so we basically had a quick look around before heading back to the lakeside scenery that we had seen coming up…



An Elliot’s laughing thrush at the primeval forest…sadly we didn’t really spot any of the exotics supposedly here…



brief blurry glimpse of a warbler….



another view of Elliot’s laughing thrush



and then we came back to the famous 5 coloured lake



and you can see the crowds from afar



quite spectacular colours


We hiked up the hill, away from the crowds to try and see some birds and get a vantage point….



In the dark forested path, we sighted the gray headed bullfinch



Gray headed bullfinch



And then we went back down to the lake which is known for its submerged tree trunks….and crossed the bridge that was crowded with people….



We saw some activity down by the green water….



A Plumbeous water redstart feeding



and looking at us looking at him



Not to be outdone, the female plumbeous redstart then appeared



showing her mate that anything he could do, she could do better!



As she surveyed the green waters of Jiuzhaigou



on our way out, we stopped off near a village and the scenery was just delightful



A final farewell to the verdant lakes and mountains of Jiuzhaigou


We finally left the park at about 5pm; JZG is a very pretty destination but it’s a shame that Chinese National Parks do not allow self drive exploration; it’s usually ticketed admission only and being ferried around by buses to go where they want you to go…..which isn’t ideal for birding.  Although I had read that JZG was excellent for birding, we had a disappointing day birding wise but that was mainly due to our going late and not having a birding guide with us.   We saw many more birds in our birding at Baihe Nature Reserve; see my previous blogpost.


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