Birding China with Oriental Bird Club

A November 2013 birdwatching trip to Yunnan & BeijingItinerary® by Jesper Hornskov **ALL RIGHTS RESERVED**

Temminck’s Tragopan is one of many spectacular species we hope to encounter on this tour to Yunnan.  Photo © Richard Thomas

Temminck’s Tragopan is one of many spectacular species we hope to encounter on this tour to Yunnan. Photo © Richard Thomas

China's southwestern-most province, Yunnan, has long been neglected as a destination by travelling birdwatchers. While neighbouring Sichuan certainly has a lot to offer ornithologically, Yunnan has now relaxed restrictions on access so that some of the least disturbed areas near the Burma border can be visited.

That avian delights of November in Yunnan easily match – and in some ways surpass – those of the more ‘obvious’ spring months of March/April is known first-hand to no more than a dozen intrepid souls.

Anyone susceptible to the allure of Thailand and the eastern Himalayas will look wistfully at a map of the region and regret that Burma looks set to remain a tricky destination for ornithological pilgrims for years to come: long-planned tours have been cancelled a few days before scheduled kick-off as the essential permits were whimsically withdrawn, and the situation remains volatile with considerable risk of renewed civil unrest. However, west of the mighty Salween river, in China, steadily improving infrastructure has made accessible a variety of essentially "Burmese" habitats, from forests between 300-2,800m above sea level to paddies & scrub swarming with winter visitors and passage migrants. On this trip we will spend 19 days here, following an itinerary which, drawing on unequalled birding experience in the area, has been carefully planned to maximise field time. We will have time to properly search for the specialities of these secretive forests before concluding our travels with a quick visit to picturesque Lijiang, home to the endemic Yunnan Nuthatch, east of the Salween biological divide.

Part of the charm of this scenically arresting, tucked-away and culturally still-authentic corner of the world is that it has yet to be discovered by Western Tourism (as recently as January/ February 2010 we saw just one other Westerner in the course of an 18 day trip!) – nonetheless roads are far better than one might suppose, our accommodations will be comfortable throughout (double rooms with private toilet & hot shower) and the hospitable climate ensures a year-round supply of fresh, palatable food. We’ll be expecting a species total of 380-450 on the tour – and anyone opting to arrive a day or two early would have the chance of connecting with some Palearctic ultra-heavyweights at Beijing ahead of the main trip!

Your leader Jesper Hornskov, an OBC Founder Member, is Danish. Having lived in China since 1987 he has clocked up well over 12 months’ birdwatching in Yunnan over 26 visits from early 1988, and has seen more species in China than any other birder.

For details on how to join, or for further information, please contact Jesper at

E-mail: goodbirdmail(at) or goodbirdmail(at)

Tel (fax on request) +86 10 8490 9652 NEW MOBILE +86 139 1124 0659

Or Michael Edgecombe (OBC Promotions Officer) via mail(at)

Or download more information: OBC Yunnan Nov2013 itinerary