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Giant and Red Pandas - NEW!

AT A GLANCE

 

FOCUS

Mammal and bird tour: mammals, birds and scenery

WHERE?

Beijing (China) – Xi’an – Chengdu - Beijing

SAMPLE WILDLIFE

Giant & Red Pandas, Golden Takin, Golden Snub-nosed Monkey plus an excellent  variety of birds.

CLIMATE

Cool to cold.

ACCOMMODATION

Rooms with private facilities at Chinese country hotels/inns. Travel by minibus and on foot.

This new mammal tour is an exciting quest to try and see both Giant and Red Pandas in the wild, deep in the heart of China.  Essentially a two-centre trip, we will also enjoy other mammals and plenty of birds during this natural history extravaganza plus visit the world-famous Terra Cotta Army and enjoy superb, real, Chinese food. 

We start our journey in the Qinling Mountains at the Foping Nature Reserve for the magical Giant Panda.  An impressive 20,000 square miles of stunning scenery, breath-taking views and some of the most unspoilt wilderness left anywhere in the world.  There are between 200-300 Giant Pandas within the Foping Nature Reserve, which is between 20-30% of the world’s population, and the chance of seeing one of these iconic animals is excellent.  Each day local researchers will try and locate the pandas and will make an effort to show us these magnificent creatures.  Locating the pandas is a difficult task but they are found each day.  Once located, it is important to be very quiet as they are extremely shy and wary creatures. Along with Giant Panda; other mammals which we have an excellent chance to see within the reserve including Red and White Giant Flying Squirrel (the world’s largest), the strange looking Golden Takin, Chinese Serow, Chinese Goral, Forest Musk Deer, the delightful Golden Snub-nosed Monkey and if we are really lucky; Asiatic Black Bear.   We will spotlight each night and we may be lucky enough to find Red Panda and other night time animals. We should also encounter plenty of exotic birds; Golden Pheasants, laughing-thrushes, parrotbills, fulvettas, forktails, various winter thrushes and warblers. After our time in the park will will search for the endangered Chinese Crested Ibis.  Only re-discovered in 1981, there are currently around 2,000 Chinese Crested Ibis in the wild in China and we have an excellent chance of seeing these magnificent birds.  We then drive back to Xi’an for a much deserved rest.  We will take a quick break from mammals and birds for an exploration of the Terra Cotta Warriors and Horses, only discovered in the 20th Century, rated as one of the human wonders of the world. 

We then take a short flight from Xi’an to Chengdu in the Sichuan Province where we drive to the Wawu Shan Mountains to search for our second main target, Red Panda.  To ensure we maximise our time for them we will take the cable car to the lush bamboo dominating the under story.  The extensive, well maintained trail system allows for easy access looking this exquisite forest dweller.  The bird life is also rich and we will encounter babblers, laughing-thrushes, parrotbills and more warblers.  We will also spotlight for Complex-toothed Flying Squirrel and Perny’s Long-nosed Squirrel each night.  If we are lucky enough to find the Red Pandas early; we can then move back down to the lower slopes of Wawu Shan.  This will provide us the chance of finding Tibetan Macaque and a new suite of birds such as Temminck’s Tragopan (a real stunner!), Lady Amherst’s Pheasant, Red-billed Leiothrix and an array of forktails, warblers and bush warblers. When we leave Wawu Shan we will take a short stop to try and locate Long-billed Plover and Bar-headed Goose on our return to Chengdu.

 

Join new WildWings leader Nigel Goodgame for his return to China, his first visit was totally successful by the way!

 

Note due to both Foping & Waw Shan Reserves being unexpectedly closed to foreign visitors, our 2013 departures had to be postponed. WildWings leader Nigel Goodgame is going out to China again in November 2013, for a second recce. A revised itinerary will be announced in December 2013.

Day 1:
Depart UK

Day 2:
Arrive Beijing and connect to Xi’an. Transfer on arrival and overnight hotel.  

Day 3: 
Drive to the Qinling Mountains. Enter the reserve today on foot, an easy walk of about 8kms, your baggage will be carried by donkeys.  Nights at the Protection station. 

Days 4-8: 
Foping, Panda and other mammal tracking, birding etc. Some spotlighting on foot at night.

Day 9: 
Walk back to the point where the coach waiting, then drive to Yang County for Crested Ibis,  Night at Yang County. 

Day 10: 
Set off to Xi’an, visit the Terra Cotta Warriors and Horses Museum, then drive back to town and overnight hotel. 

Day 11: 
Morning flight to Chengdu and then drive to Wawa Shan.

Days 12-14:
Wawa Shan, searching for Red Panda and other mammals and birds. Some spotlighting on foot at night.

Day 15:
Final morning and then drive back to Chengdu, stopping to look for Long-billed Plover and Bar-headed Goose on the way, overnight in Chengdu.

Day 16:
Depart Chengdu via Beijing and arrive  UK.

Notes:

Climate – All weathers – from sunshine to snow!  Qinling and Wawu Shan will be cold at night.

Terrain - Easy to difficult! The walk in and out of Foping reserve is easy. Once in the reserve the walk for pandas can be difficult in terms of terrain at times, being steep and wet on occasion with variable distances walked each day. It is not suitable for persons with any walking problems. If in doubt, it will be possible to speak to Nigel or Richard Webb to establish your ability to participate, please contact the office.

Accommodation – Both Foping and Wawu Shan are basic but clean, private facilities throughout. The food is real Chinese, ‘western’ dishes will rarely be available. Forget UK takeaways is the good news, ingredients are usually local and fresh, and quickly cooked. Vegetarian options are available.

 

Potential mammal list, includes species seen on our recces:

Giant Panda

Red Panda

Golden Takin

Tibetan Macaque

Golden Snub-tailed Monkey

Complex-toothed Flying Squirrel

Red Giant Flying Squirrel

Siberian Chipmunk

Rothschild Zoker

Chinese Bamboo Rat

Perny’s Long-nosed Squirrel

Chinese Serow

Leopard Cat

Chinese Goral

Pere David's Rock Squirrel

Swinhoe's Striped Tree Squirrel

Asiatic Black Bear

Hog Badger,

Chinese Ferret Badger

Yellow-necked Martin

Pygmy Weasel

Siberian Weasel

Pere David's Deer

Musk Deer

Reeve’s Muntjac

 

Note due to both Foping & Waw Shan Reserves being unexpectedly closed to foreign visitors, our 2013 departures had to be postponed. WildWings leader Nigel Goodgame is going out to China again in November 2013, for a second recce. A revised itinerary will be announced in December 2013.

Please note: All itineraries are subject to weather, local conditions and final approval by the relevant authorities.

Dates: 15th – 30th November &  29th November - 14th December 2014

Leaders: Nigel Goodgame plus local guides.

Cost: c£3999 per person sharing a twin room.

Single supplement: £459

Deposit: £500

Max. Group size: 6

 

Price includes: International and internal economy class flights including pre-paid taxes, all ground transportation, all accommodation and meals, donkey baggage porterage at Foping, cable-car rides, park entry fees, services of WildWings leader and local guides. Bird and mammal checklist.

 

Price excludes: Travel insurance, laundry bills, drinks, other items of a personal nature, gratuities.

 

Advance register for 2015 for £50pp, TBA November – TBA December.

 

Note due to both Foping & Waw Shan Reserves being unexpectedly closed to foreign visitors, our 2013 departures had to be postponed. WildWings leader Nigel Goodgame is going out to China again in November 2013, for a second recce. A revised itinerary will be announced in December 2013.

    Photo

    Tour Leader

    Nigel now lives in Norway, has been a keen birder since childhood. He is one of the founder members of the Neotropical Bird Club.

    Learn More

    Photo Gallery

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