My previous visit to Wuyuan was couple of years ago but that was almost a total wash out due to constant downpour and wet camera(Thanks to the rain again). My first trip in 2012 was fantastic, despite being sick for the most part of the tour and have to put up with the “American Company” and his nanny. So, this trip is to relive the 2012 trip planned by Mark Maddock with few extra stuff by visiting the border of Zhejiang province and some cultural visits.

We spent lot of time butterfly-watching but the goal is to get the big three for Kevin Pickering.

Wuyuan – General info :

Wuyuan has a brand new high speed train station and it takes about 2 hours from Shanghai but we opted to take the long route of reaching by road for the convenience of our luggage. It took slightly more than 4 hours with couple of pit stops. We stayed in the Wuyuan Town(Tianyou Business Hotel), moderate accommodation, nothing to complain for 100RMB/day price. There are couple of B&B’s in the falconet (XiaoQi) village, moe info on them later but they go on a standard price of 150RMB/day. Key birding spots are in the below map.

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Center map
Traffic
Bicycling
Transit

Wuyuan Birding Itinerary :

May 25 :

Quickly checked into our “Business Hotel” and headed straight to the Laughingthrush island. Picked up “White-browed Laughingthrush” enroute and to our surprise there were sign boards along the way for the laughingthrush island. I know the place have been kept discreet over the years and it was not supposed to be publicly announed anywhere on the internet but things have changed drastically(on a positive note) since  my last visit. The laugher island is now a national wetland park. The village elder-lies stand guard most of the time to keep a vigil on this critically endangered birds. Photographers are strictly banned to enter the island during the month of June(their prime nesting period). No need for any permit.

Wuyuan Raoheyuan National Wetland Park

Wuyuan Raoheyuan National Wetland Park

Elderlies at guard

Primary School Kids art work near the national park

Primary School Kids art work

“Courtois Laughingthrushes” were immediately seen before entering the island and so the “Swinhoe’s Minivet”. The big surprise for me was the “Rufous Woodpecker”.

Courtois with a spider

Courtois again!

My first for China “Rufous Woodpecker”

Grey-capped Pygmy Woodpecker

A pair of Mandarin Ducks were flushed out of the stream when an elderly went to tend his nature call. Later, Masked Laughingthrushes joined the laugher party, a distant Asian Koel and a male Chinese Sparrowhawk remained the only sighting of the trip. We completed the day 1 with Pied Kingfisher, Black-capped Kingfisher, Brown-breasted Bulbul and a well camouflaged Brown Crake.

May 26 :

Today’s for Falconet, we arrived at the XiaoQi village around 7AM and found a comfy place at the rooftop of “Meihua Restaurant”. The Falconets were busy in their nest and the restaurant owner said they might have fledglings. The Falconets dint come to their “usual” perch untill 9AM as a “Crested Goshawk” was scouting the area.

Crested Goshawk with a Kill

Falconets made their presence known once the Goshawk disappeared with its morning catch. Once again, the surprise came in the form of a pair of “Crested Serpent Eagles” doing their display flight.

The breeding pair in the XiaoQi village

Crested Serpent Eagles

The B&B’s at the XiaoQi village runs the “Falconet watching”. The rooms are ok for 150rmb/day which also comes with a free seat for Falconet photography, if you are not staying, then it’s 50RMB/person. They actively update the news on the Chinese Social media (WeChat etc) and sometimes try to poach the customer to stay in their place. MeiHua B&B is running by Mr.Zhang and generous with the general information in the area. The other B&B is the “Jin Peng Shan Zhuang”, they have a massive hide erected over their rooftop and they have been pretty busy in the recent years as the Falconets have been nesting right above their rooftop.

MeiHua FanDian (Plum Flower Restaurant)

“Jin Peng Shan Zhuang” (Golden Eagle Hotel)

We spent the rest of the morning in the XiaoQi village for butterfly watching. We also came across a couple of HK photographers, who saw a “Crested Kingfisher” in the stream but we had no chance to score it, which still remains the toughest kingfisher to score in Wuyuan. In the afternoon, we tried the Shijing Reservoir and Wengong Mountain trail. Grey-headed Lapwings and Greater Painter Snipe were immediately seen at the reservoir, very similar to the 2012 trip but the Watercock is still missing.

Wengong Village Hospital

The Wengong Village Hospital still stands tall but not functional. The hospital which i took treatment during 2012, the doctor was so excited as i was the only foreigner to receive the treatment at the establishment. We finished the day with Greater necklaced Laughingthrush, Chestnut and Black Bulbuls, Chinese Hwamei, White-crowned Forktail.

May 27: 

Today is bit of a casual birding as we decided to hit the touristy Huangling village. We picked up an “Asian Barred Owlet” enroute perched on a pole. Huangling is a very commercial tourist area which is very famous for the terrace cultivation which will be plastered with rape seed flowers during spring. We were late for that show and it wasn’t too much of an elevation as expected. Nevertheless, i picked my “Wuyuan first”, Russet Sparrow.

Huangling Village

Russet Sparrow

In the afternoon, we visited the Kengkou village, notorious for the Scaly-sided Merganser but we were there to give a shot at the Short-tailed Parrotbills. Took a while to find the trail and looked like it wasn’t used in a very long time. We didn’t see any Parrotbills but couple of birds responded to the tape. We managed to get good views of a “Black Eagle” which was soaring above the forest canopy.

May 28 : 

Today’s bit more travelling as we drove around 100kms to reach the Zhejiang border to reach GutianShan, a well known stake out for the Silver Pheasant. The pheasant made its presence known in the late afternoon with its brilliant bright white costume. Russet Sparrows were present in good no’s here as well, the other notable birds we saw here were Grey Treepie and Little Forktail.

Silver Pheasant

Juvenile Plumbeous Redstart

White-rumped Munia

May 29 :

Our final morning at Wuyuan, we still had one crack at some of the birds we have missed so far. We tried the Shacheng village(refer to map), this trail was introduced to me by my good friend Roger. We failed once again to find the Crested Kingfisher or the Black Baza in this area but we were lucky enough to find the Long-billed Plover and Black Bitterns before saying good bye to Wuyuan.

Collared Finchbill

Long-billed Plover at the Shacheng Village

Wuyuan Scenic Gallery below :

Wuyuan Species List :

Common name Scientific name Location Date
Ducks, Geese and Swans (Anatidae) – 3 / 173    
Mandarin Duck Aix galericulata Raoheyuan National Wetland Park 5/25/17
Eastern Spot-billed Duck Anas zonorhyncha Wuyuan Town 5/26/17
       
Pheasants and allies (Phasianidae) – 3 / 182    
Chinese Bamboo Partridge Bambusicola thoracicus Raoheyuan National Wetland Park 5/25/17
Silver Pheasant Lophura nycthemera Gutianshan, Zhejiang 5/28/17
Common Pheasant Phasianus colchicus Xiarenhong 5/28/17
       
Grebes (Podicipedidae) – 1 / 23    
Little Grebe Tachybaptus ruficollis Raoheyuan National Wetland Park 5/25/17
       
Herons, Bitterns (Ardeidae) – 5 / 72    
Black Bittern Dupetor flavicollis Shacheng Lia 5/29/17
Black-crowned Night Heron Nycticorax nycticorax Raoheyuan National Wetland Park 5/25/17
Chinese Pond Heron Ardeola bacchus Raoheyuan National Wetland Park 5/25/17
Eastern Cattle Egret Bubulcus coromandus Raoheyuan National Wetland Park 5/25/17
Little Egret Egretta garzetta Raoheyuan National Wetland Park 5/25/17
       
Kites, Hawks and Eagles (Accipitridae) – 5 / 256    
Crested Serpent Eagle Spilornis cheela Xiaoqi 5/26/17
Black Eagle Ictinaetus malaiensis Kengkou 5/27/17
Crested Goshawk Accipiter trivirgatus Xiaoqi 5/26/17
Chinese Sparrowhawk Accipiter soloensis Raoheyuan National Wetland Park 5/25/17
Black Kite Milvus migrans Shijing Reservoir 5/26/17
       
Rails, Crakes and Coots (Rallidae) – 3 / 151    
Brown Crake Amaurornis akool Raoheyuan National Wetland Park 5/25/17
White-breasted Waterhen Amaurornis phoenicurus Shijing Reservoir 5/26/17
Common Moorhen Gallinula chloropus Shacheng Li 5/29/17
       
Plovers (Charadriidae) – 2 / 67    
Grey-headed Lapwing Vanellus cinereus Raoheyuan National Wetland Park 5/25/17
Long-billed Plover Charadrius placidus Shacheng Li 5/29/17
       
Painted-snipes (Rostratulidae) – 1 / 3    
Greater Painted-snipe Rostratula benghalensis Shijing Reservoir 5/26/17
       
Pigeons, Doves (Columbidae) – 3 / 335    
Rock Dove Columba livia Raoheyuan National Wetland Park 5/25/17
Oriental Turtle Dove Streptopelia orientalis Raoheyuan National Wetland Park 5/25/17
Spotted Dove Spilopelia chinensis Raoheyuan National Wetland Park 5/25/17
       
Cuckoos (Cuculidae) – 1 / 149    
Asian/Pacific Koel Eudynamys scolopaceus/orientalis Raoheyuan National Wetland Park 5/25/17
Common Cuckoo Cuculus canorus Wuyuan Town 5/26/17
       
Owls (Strigidae) – 1 / 222    
Asian Barred Owlet Glaucidium cuculoides Huangling 5/27/17
       
Swifts (Apodidae) – 1 / 106    
House Swift Apus nipalensis Raoheyuan National Wetland Park 5/25/17
       
Rollers (Coraciidae) – 1 / 12    
Oriental Dollarbird Eurystomus orientalis Raoheyuan National Wetland Park 5/25/17
       
Kingfishers (Alcedinidae) – 4 / 93    
White-throated Kingfisher Halcyon smyrnensis Shijing Reservoir 5/26/17
Black-capped Kingfisher Halcyon pileata Raoheyuan National Wetland Park 5/25/17
Common Kingfisher Alcedo atthis Raoheyuan National Wetland Park 5/25/17
Pied Kingfisher Ceryle rudis Raoheyuan National Wetland Park 5/25/17
       
Woodpeckers (Picidae) – 2 / 234    
Grey-capped Pygmy Woodpecker Dendrocopos canicapillus Raoheyuan National Wetland Park 5/25/17
Rufous Woodpecker Micropternus brachyurus Raoheyuan National Wetland Park 5/25/17
       
Caracaras, Falcons (Falconidae) – 1 / 67    
Pied Falconet Microhierax melanoleucos Xiaoqi 5/26/17
       
Cuckooshrikes (Campephagidae) – 2 / 92    
Swinhoe’s Minivet Pericrocotus cantonensis Raoheyuan National Wetland Park 5/25/17
Grey-chinned Minivet Pericrocotus solaris Xiaoqi 5/26/17
       
Shrikes (Laniidae) – 2 / 33    
Brown Shrike Lanius cristatus Raoheyuan National Wetland Park 5/25/17
Long-tailed Shrike Lanius schach Xiaoqi 5/26/17
       
Drongos (Dicruridae) – 2 / 25    
Black Drongo Dicrurus macrocercus Raoheyuan National Wetland Park 5/25/17
Ashy Drongo Dicrurus leucophaeus Raoheyuan National Wetland Park 5/25/17
       
Crows, Jays (Corvidae) – 3 / 131    
Eurasian Jay Garrulus glandarius Raoheyuan National Wetland Park 5/25/17
Red-billed Blue Magpie Urocissa erythroryncha Raoheyuan National Wetland Park 5/25/17
Grey Treepie Dendrocitta formosae Raoheyuan National Wetland Park 5/25/17
       
Tits, Chickadees (Paridae) – 1 / 61    
Japanese Tit Parus minor Raoheyuan National Wetland Park 5/25/17
       
Bulbuls (Pycnonotidae) – 6 / 151    
Collared Finchbill Spizixos semitorques Raoheyuan National Wetland Park 5/25/17
Brown-breasted Bulbul Pycnonotus xanthorrhous Raoheyuan National Wetland Park 5/25/17
Light-vented Bulbul Pycnonotus sinensis Raoheyuan National Wetland Park 5/25/17
Himalayan Bulbul Pycnonotus leucogenys Xiaoqi 5/26/17
Mountain Bulbul Ixos mcclellandii Huangling 5/27/17
Chestnut Bulbul Hemixos castanonotus Shijing Reservoir 5/26/17
       
Swallows, Martins (Hirundinidae) – 2 / 88    
Barn Swallow Hirundo rustica Raoheyuan National Wetland Park 5/25/17
Red-rumped Swallow Cecropis daurica Raoheyuan National Wetland Park 5/25/17
       
Cettia Bush Warblers and allies (Cettiidae) – 1 / 32    
Rufous-faced Warbler Abroscopus albogularis Raoheyuan National Wetland Park 5/25/17
       
Bushtits (Aegithalidae) – 1 / 13    
Black-throated Bushtit Aegithalos concinnus Shijing Reservoir 5/26/17
       
Cisticolas and allies (Cisticolidae) – 2 / 158    
Yellow-bellied Prinia Prinia flaviventris Raoheyuan National Wetland Park 5/25/17
Plain Prinia Prinia inornata Raoheyuan National Wetland Park 5/25/17
       
Babblers (Timaliidae) – 2 / 55    
Grey-sided Scimitar Babbler Pomatorhinus swinhoei Raoheyuan National Wetland Park 5/25/17
Streak-breasted Scimitar Babbler Pomatorhinus ruficollis Kengkou 5/27/17
       
Laughingthrushes (Leiothrichidae) – 5 / 133    
Chinese Hwamei Garrulax canorus Raoheyuan National Wetland Park 5/25/17
Masked Laughingthrush Garrulax perspicillatus Raoheyuan National Wetland Park 5/25/17
Greater Necklaced Laughingthrush Garrulax pectoralis Xiarenhong 5/28/17
Blue-crowned Laughingthrush – CR Garrulax courtoisi Raoheyuan National Wetland Park 5/25/17
White-browed Laughingthrush Garrulax sannio Raoheyuan National Wetland Park 5/25/17
       
Sylviid Babblers (Sylviidae) – 2 / 70    
Vinous-throated Parrotbill Sinosuthora webbiana Gutianshan, Zhejiang 5/28/17
Short-tailed Parrotbill Neosuthora davidiana Kengkou 5/27/17
       
Starlings, Rhabdornis (Sturnidae) – 4 / 123    
Crested Myna Acridotheres cristatellus Raoheyuan National Wetland Park 5/25/17
Red-billed Starling Spodiopsar sericeus Raoheyuan National Wetland Park 5/25/17
White-cheeked Starling Spodiopsar cineraceus Raoheyuan National Wetland Park 5/25/17
Black-collared Starling Gracupica nigricollis Raoheyuan National Wetland Park 5/25/17
       
Thrushes (Turdidae) – 1 / 166    
Chinese Blackbird Turdus mandarinus Raoheyuan National Wetland Park 5/25/17
       
Chats, Old World Flycatchers (320) (Muscicapidae) – 4 / 320    
Oriental Magpie-Robin Copsychus saularis Raoheyuan National Wetland Park 5/25/17
Little Forktail Enicurus scouleri Gutianshan, Zhejiang 5/28/17
Slaty-backed Forktail Enicurus schistaceus Shijing Reservoir 5/26/17
Plumbeous Water Redstart Phoenicurus fuliginosus Xiaoqi 5/26/17
       
Old World Sparrows, Snowfinches (Passeridae) – 2 / 51    
Russet Sparrow Passer rutilans Huangling 5/27/17
Eurasian Tree Sparrow Passer montanus Raoheyuan National Wetland Park 5/25/17
       
Waxbills, Munias and allies (Estrildidae) – 2 / 141    
White-rumped Munia Lonchura striata Raoheyuan National Wetland Park 5/25/17
Scaly-breasted Munia Lonchura punctulata Kengkou 5/27/17
       
Wagtails, Pipits (Motacillidae) – 1 / 65    
White Wagtail Motacilla alba Raoheyuan National Wetland Park 5/25/17
       
Finches (Fringillidae) – 1 / 219    
Grey-capped Greenfinch Chloris sinica Gutianshan, Zhejiang 5/28/17
       
Species: 82      

Butterfly List :

This is just a tentative list, more definite list and photos will follow up in the next post.

  1. Lesser Purple Emperor
  2. Shan Nawab
  3. China Nawab
  4. Tawny Rajah
  5. Indian Fritillary
  6. Sagana Fritillary
  7. Old World Swallowtail
  8. Peacock Pansy
  9. Asian Comma
  10. Blue Admiral
  11. Common Beak
  12. Lilacine Bushbrown
  13. Small Copper
  14. Dark-banded White
  15. Small White
  16. Chinese Bushbrown
  17. Punchinello
  18. Yellow Coster
  19. Red Ring Skirt
  20. Common Grass Yellow
  21. Pale Grass Blue
  22. Black-spotted Labyrinth
  23. Small Staff Sergeant