Temminck's Tragopan, ChonQing

Chongqing becomes the 12th province/municipality which i have visited in China both as a cultural tour as well as for birding.(Infact, it’s 13th, although i would like to forget the trip to Sichuan as i received sucker punch in every front). I didn’t have much intel on the birding front as it’s not on the primary birding circuit. Much like its big brother Sichuan province, ChongQing shares same traits with the food, culture and some birds too. Back in 2017, i realized there was a stakeout in ChongQing for Temminck’s Tragopan and the news of a stable sighting and a good weather made the trip a possible one.

ChongQing – Birding and General Info

Flew in and out of Shanghai by China Eastern to ChongQing’s Jiangbei International airport. The infrastructure of the airport was a notch better than Shanghai. The taxi’s which queued up to pick up the passenger was very orderly and very much unlike anywhere in China. The Birding location is a small village up on the mountain in Nanchuan district. Rented a car from 1hai. The drive took about 4 hours from the airport. In ChongQing city, birded the Nanshan park for a day but overall, the urban birding in the city itself was good. Below is a map with couple of birding locations,

The Tragopan Stake out is in the Miaoba village, it took about solid 4 hour drive from ChongQing airport. The guide’s no is 15923676976. The only hotel in the area is TianShan Ping Grand canyon hotel (天山平大峡谷) (023-71416666). Good hotel with clean rooms, 400rmb/person/per day including breakfast, lunch and dinner. The only downside was the water pressure is too slow, that it takes forever to fill a cup of water from the tap. The stakeout charge is 100rmb/person

Arrived at midnight at ChongQing airport, after a little tussle to find the rental car shop, as their shop was bit out of the terminal and the duty incharge came to the taxi pickup area and gave a free ride to the shop. Hit the expressway straightaway and drove straight to Miaobao village. It was pretty dark throughout and I had no idea where i was driving except for the entrance of the ghat road as there was city lights still visible. After couple of kilometres, it got pretty dark and nothing was visible except the road. Reached the village at the wake of dawn and slept for 30 minutes before the guide woke me up and took me further into the mountain. After a 30 minute steep hike, reached the hide. It was two stories and can accomodate upto 15 photographers at a time. They have another location which can hold another 15.

Around 9AM, I spotted the male Temminck’s Tragopan and two other females came running in the trees at ease, i never thought/seen a chicken climbing the trees with such finesse. Although it din’t come to the spot immediately but a single male Golden Pheasant, put up a nice cameo to keep the photographers busy. I was more interested in other stuff going through the canopy.Around 2PM, the Male Temminck’s Tragopan briefly came to the spot for about a minute and that’s all everyone needed.

Temminck's Tragopan in Chongqing
Temminck’s Tragopan, Chongqing
Temminck's Tragopan, Chongqing
If you want to spice-up your birding, whom do you call? Temmie-B

Variety of Seicercus warblers were around, always there is a bird wave passing through the canopy, although my best picks were Wedge-tailed Green Pigeon and Golden Parrotbill. The place was pretty remote and lots of activity. Definitely, looking forward to go back again someother time and spend some time out of the hide and also look for butterflies. It was still pretty cold at the first week of May, probably June will be better for insects. With Majority of the ChongQing being mountainous, the urban birding itself pretty good. Spent one morning in the Nanshan botanical garden, although the birding was mediocre and saw most of the birds which were already seen in downtown. The link to ebird checklist is here

Grey-crowned Warbler, Nanchuan, Chongqing
Grey-crowned Warbler
Chongqing Nanshan Botanical Garden
White-browed Laughingthrush
Vinous throated Parrtobill, Chongqing
Vinous-throated Parrotbill – It does look angry

Now, with the target bird in the CF card, it’s time to relax in the laid back city of ChongQing. The cable car which goes over the the river ChangJiang (Yangtze river) is a top pick, and like anywhere in China, the waiting time is about an hour to get on the cable car.

ChangJiang, Chongqing
Cable Car over ChanJiang (Yellow River)
DongShuimen Bridge, ChongQing
DongShuimen Bridge, ChongQing
ChongQing Grand Theatre with Chaotianmen bridge in the background
ChongQing Grand Theatre with Chaotianmen bridge in the background

There is an increasing trend in major cities in China to have a pedestrian street and ChongQing has one too. The Jiefangbei pedestrian street is such a trade mark for ChongQing hosting several Business hotels, Gourmet to street foods.

ChongQing Dessert
ChongQing Guotai Arts centre
ChongQing Guotai Arts centre

The next place on itinerary is the Ciqikou ancient town. Filled with people and street food. Yet another, touristy ancient town. The only difference was the Sichuan opera during lunch.

Ciqikou, Chongqing
Ciqikou Ancient town, a view from outside
Beef Buns in Ciqikou

The most common scenario in Ciqikou is the shops selling the hotpot stew.(Can be bought over taobao for a cheaper price is another thing) but there was many photography opportunities around this crowded town. Definitely a no for people who hate animal fat.

Hot pot stew in preparation
Hotpot stew processed and packed
An Extra large hotpot – It aint fake.

Finding out the another tourist highlight HongYa caves was a real trouble, the way the house were stilted, it was hard to find them even when you are standing on top.

HongYa Dong, ChongQing
Stilted houses of HongYa Dong
HongYa Dong, ChongQing
Stilted houses of HongYa Dong
HongYa Dong, ChongQing
Stilted houses of HongYa Dong

ChongQing was a key city during the Sino-Japanese and World War II, there are several bunkers seen in the city and are still in use, but for commercial puprose only right now. Another interesting aspect about ChongQing is their monorail transport system. The Liziba station is very notorious in the recent times as this station located beneath a residential building.

War day bunker is a modern day gas station
Liziba station, Chongqing
Monorail coming out of the Liziba station

Here is a short video on the monorail ride.