Yancheng is a big city and very well connected by road, rail and air. It’s about a 4 hour drive from Shanghai city centre (if starting early n late). My destination Xinyanggang is located north west of Yancheng. The township road S331 from G15 leads directly to the village. The Yancheng crane reserve is also located on the s331 2kms before the village. A pretty nice reserve with an entry fee of 45RMB, an ornamental pool in the entrance has several waterfowl. Once past the ornamental pool, the amphitheater setup with the captive Red-crowned Cranes, few Oriental Stork n Common Crane. The only watch tower stands upright and a nice vantage point for photographing the ducks flying in and out of the reeds. The concrete road takes further west of the reserve and should not be missed during the peak season. The reeds on the both sides gives a cover when the Cranes are flying overhead.

Accomodation in Xinyang village is fairly basic with two major hotels. Jinhong(+8613151364588) and Baiyulan. I stayed at Jinhong, king size rooms for 150rmb with central a/c and hot shower. Roger stayed at Baiyulan and he said it’s ok too. Reservation is recommended at least a week before as the hotel will be busy with plenty of photographers during the high season.

Mr. Zhang (+8615195136489 & +8615962063323) has setup few hides north of the reserve and it’s a well known spot for the Red-crowned Cranes. Seeing the cranes is fairly easy in January, for the magical shots the hide is a must and he charges whooping 300RMB per person. Advance booking is necessary as there were 30+ togs in the hide a day before. 300RMB includes pick&drop from the hotel and a vacuum flask filled with hot water.

Light is gorgeous in Xinyang even the afternoon sun was not so harsh. There was not even a slight occurence of smog during my visit. I only lost one morning due to heavy fog. The downsides are food is bit of trouble, no value for money. Either it’s a cheap dumpling or the expensive dishes in the hotel restaurant, they are crappy. Xinyang being a village of four streets, the whole village shuts down by 7PM, supermarket open till 7.30-8PM though. Both the hotels serve the authentic “sparrow” dish, tht’s right, the village proves to be one of orthodox village which dances on the wild delicacy.


To be served

Tree sparrows are abundant in Xinyang especially near the hides, they are in thousands to feed on the left over corn but trapping and killing those sparrows is simply a human with six senses won’t do at all. R.I.P poor creatures. It doesn’t matter if the species is abundant or not, House Sparrows which were once abundant in India is now at the verge of extinction, same could happen to the Tree Sparrows in China.

Eurasian Tree Sparrow at Yancheng Nature Reserve

Wild n Free

Yancheng Birding Locations:


Species List:

Brown Cheeked Rail
Green Sandpiper
Common Snipe
Eurasian Bittern
Common Buzzard
Eastern Marsh Harrier
Common Kestrel
Black-winged Kite
Common Coot
Common Moorhen
Great Cormorant
Common Crane
Hooded Crane
Red-Crowned Crane
Oriental Turtle Dove
Spotted Dove
Mandarin Duck
Spot Billed Duck
Northern Shoveller
Northern Pintail
Common Shelduck
Common Pochard
Common Merganser
Eurasian Teal
Bean Goose
Greater White-fronted Goose
Little Grebe
Great-crested Grebe
Great Egret
Little Egret
Black-crowned Night Heron
Grey Heron
Oriental Strok
Eurasian Spoonbill
Mongolian Gull
Vega Gull
Black Billed Magpie
Azure-Winged Magpie
Reed Parrotbill
Vinous-throated Parrotbill
Ring-necked Pheasant
Japanese Quail
Plain Prinia
Chinese Blackbird
Naumann’s Thrush
Dusky Thrush
Daurian Redstart
Black-Headed Bunting
Pallas’s Reed Bunting
Common Reed Bunting
Rustic Bunting
Yellow-throated Bunting
Long Tailed Shrike
Eurasian Tree Sparrow
Eurasian Siskin
White Wagtail
Yellow Wagtail
White-Cheeked Starling