2 Days Birding Tour in Yingjiang County in West Yunnan

  • Departure date : 07/11/2016
  • Travel days: 2 days
  • Person: others

When I was planning to have a photographic journey in Tengchong(腾冲) and Dali(大理) with my father, I noticed a subject in Chinese National Geography which published on October of 2016. In taht report, it mentioned the best hiking routes in China, and the way between Tengchong(腾冲) and Dali(大理) is the best one in Southern-west China. So we started our journey with full expectation. Second station was Yingjiang(盈江).

First station: Tengchong(腾冲) (relaxing life and horse racing)


It is the paradise of birds near suburb of Tengchong(腾冲). there are two-thirds of bird species around. As our human being’s friends, they need our understanding and caring. Birdwatching is one of the best way to know them.

There are two birdwacthing base in both south and north part of Tengchong(腾冲) respectively. The north one is about around the Hundred Flowers Ridge of Gaoligong Mountain(高黎贡山百花岭) in Baoshan(保山市). It is located between with Tengchong(腾冲) and Dali(大理), the local people have set up the bird pond more than 10 years already. The famous bird-Scarlet Finch, is which can be seen and shot. The households in village also provide some bed and breakfast service for tourists. The most popular one is Mr.Hou’s, you can find it out in the internet. By the way,  start from Jiangju(江苴) of Tengchong(腾冲) pass south Zhaigongfang(斋公房) to the Hundred Flowers Ridge is one of the crossing route of Gaoligong Mountain(高黎贡山百花岭), and it costs at least one day to finish.

Yingjiang(盈江) Birdwatching Introduction

Because of our travel period, the Hundred Flowers Ridge(百花岭) raining all the time, it is very hard to see the birds, so we chose to go to Yingjiang(盈江) of southern Tengchong(腾冲). Yingjiang belongs to Dehong City(德宏), it is between with Tengchong(腾冲) and Ruili(瑞丽),beside Myanmar(with good ecological environment), also because of no elevation(there is more than 1000 meters in Tengchong(腾冲)), the temperature is 10 degrees higher than Tengchong(腾冲). YingJiang(盈江) is tropical weather, it is rainforest on the mountain, which is very suitable for birds to live in, there are more than five hundreds of bird species, and located many birdwatching points. Furthermore, meeting the Dai people and Lisu People in Yingjiang also can be an interesting thing to do there. Especially the routes of Tengchong(腾冲)-Ruili(瑞丽), you can stay in Yingjiang and hang out there.

The most famous birdwatching point is Hornbills Valley(犀鸟谷), which belongs to the Tongbiguan Nature Re-serve(铜壁关自然保护区). the hornbills, which is one of the rare birds was introduced in Chinese National Geography, its body length is between 70 to 120cm, the beak is one third of its body. It is one of  second-class protected animal species of China. These kind of birds have gorgeous feather and fly graceful. The most weird thing is that they all have a protuberant forehead looks like a helmet, which makes them just like a rhinoceros horn.

The tour guide we found called Mr.Du(WeChat:yilovejiaoju) had a Wedding photo studio, because of loving birds, he and his friends helped the government, put all the passion into advertising and protecting birds, they went to the villages to lead people to care for birds, set up ponds for visit. Their action worth to be respected.


The 7th of November  Tengchong(腾冲)–Yingjiang(盈江)

We rent our car by day and it is including guide fee. The total travel date are 2 days, one day for birds pond to watch bird, another day we go field operation. Mr.Du’s Father drove us from Tengchong(腾冲) to Yingjiang(盈江). It is not far from Tengchong(腾冲) to Yingjiang(盈江), costs 2 hours to drive. They are building a new way, when it finishes, it will only take 1 hour to go there.

When we got closed to Dehong(德宏), we could feel the difference of temperature, because of the heat of the sun, local people only wear a simple t shirt in November.

It was in the twilight when we got Yingjiang(盈江), we went to watch the Plum-headed Parakeet first. According to Du’s observe, this type of bird appear in around forest. When we got there, we noticed that it might because the people were doing farm work there today that disturbed the birds, we did not see any bird there. The bigger the Human beings’ acting area became, the serious of influencing would be. So we had our dinner early, sleep early, in order to preparing for tomorrow’s journey. It takes a while to go Hornbills Valley, we need to get up early.

Yingjiang(盈江) have not being discovered for traveling yet, so the hotel or restaurants are not so developing, and because we shot birds need to get up early and come back late, we do not have enough time to find the good ones.

The 8th of November  Hornbills Valley Birdwatching

In the morning, rising up a great while before day, we had some breads for breakfast, after one hour, we were at the gate of Hornbills Valley. Mr.Du remind us there is no signal in the Valley.

We went to the Pond Number 1, it is in a forest which set up in the LIsu People’s living area. There is no road to the pond, because it not allowed to build road in protection zone. Mr.Du is really good at driving, we were all scared of the road because it was really slippery.

We met the owner of the pond when we near the village crossing. He rode his motor bike to pick us up. He said because of raining, the slippery road not convenience for car to go there. Although it was more dangerous to ride motor bike, but we did not have any choice for walking take half day to go inside.

When we got there, it was really beautiful, village is just below us, and the sun lights were just up the hills, the lemongrass were all around the mountain, it is the main source of finance for the local people.

It still needs to hike a whle to cross a mountain. Going through the path to the hill top, the feeling is excellent, the sightseeing is also very sublime.

After passing the ridge, the way to go downhill is really difficult, the owner of the pond is so friendly that he helped my father to carried the photographic equipment.

We finally reach the Pond Number 1. because of Mr.Du and his friends’ leading, it has been 2 years that the village head and other three people paid for the pond and fed the birds here everyday. Also the record the birds information, there are lots of birds coming to drink and eat.

There is a faked shed, for people to hide in there.

We looked out from the inisde of the shed.

The weather in mountain changed so quick, it was raining suddenly, and shrouded outside the shed, it is being so quiet, we could feel a mystical mood around, this is the true feeling in the rainforest.

It does not have many birds in the whole morning, only a kind of crow showering and eating in the rain.

After the rain, a group of white crown koel brought some active to the valley. At the first, we heard some voice came in the distance, and then the branch started to shake, the birds then jumping to the ground one by one, it is really interesting. They eat some must check around, then eat again, very vigilant.

Lao Mi went back to the village to get food for lunch, we had pork and rice and we really enjoyed the food because of hunger and huge energy consuming. After that, it was still raining so Lao Mi told us some stories about building the bird pond. During that time, people live in their village had few communication with the outside world (they still do not have electricity now), and their culture level is not high (they all send their children to the city for education). The villagers used to fowl before turning to protect the birds after government propaganda. They became the first to respond to the call to build the bird pond, and it seems they have already had good profit, as it is worth 60 CNY for each bird watching platform. It is obviously not easy for people such as Xiao Du to do the work because many villagers did not believe people would pay just to watch birds in the beginning.

While Lao Mi was talking, the crow flew away, he whispered that a big bird was on its way. Not surprisingly, a polyplectron bicalcaratum came to the feed platform quietly after a while, and started to eat after looking around. It was the first time that I could stand so close to have a look at such a big bird in the wild, I was so excited but I had to keep quiet in order not to disturb the beautiful scene. There were about two polyplectron bicalcaratums appeared in that afternoon. Polyplectron bicalcaratum is the China animal protection at the national level, and it can only be seen in YingJiang(盈江) and Xishuangbanna(西双版纳) in China.

It was almost 4 o’clock in the afternoon when XiaoDu came. He told us that Lophura leucomelanos would come out during that time in those days, and those Lophura leucomelanos were pure and the color was quite pure as well. Most importantly, there were few record showed in China. However, it kept raining and the Lophura leucomelanos did not appear as we expected. We waited until 5 o’clock and we were tired and sleepy, so we decided not to wait any longer as once it got dark, it was more difficult for us to go downhill. All of a sudden, Lao Mi whispered again. We saw two Lophura leucomelanos with one male and another female came for the food through the cave. We were extremely happy because our waiting was not in vain.

After shooting leucomelana, the rain stopped. We started our way back quickly, the road became more slippery after raining. We walked back slowly and carefully, the mountain were covered by the fog.

It got dark after we went downhill, and we finally relieved as we had a safe journey.

PS: there were large amount of leech in the mountain, especially those places that were close to water. There was one bird pond closed because of failing to control the leech. We did not meet leech as it was November, but you should be well prepared if you want to come during summer time.

November 9th, wild shot at the Rhino Valley

After I woke up I found the weather turned to be sunny today. So I still went to do the wild shot at the Rhino Valley, where Xiao Du observed the animals for a long time. Besides, the cute Collared Falconet could be seen at the Rhino Valley, it was the smallest raptor in the world with the same size of sparrow, and it was the China animal protection at the second national level, also the world endangered species.

The famous picture of Collared Falconet baked in the sun published in the Chinese National Geography.

We have no idea how many mountains we passed, and we reached the mountain top, the best place was occupied by a hydropower station.

When we were at the top of mountain, the lucky came together. Dual helmet hornbills flied through in the valley. It was so lucky that we could see such a beautiful bird, but we did not catch the chance to shoot it.

Taking a broad view, this place is really suitable for birds to live. According to the introduce, the opposite side is Myanmar, before the war in there, there are huge number of birds, but they came into China’s area after the war.

We met a group of professional people were taking photo, they already came to thw same place everyday in the early morning. They said there are always some birds stand on the branch of those huge tree to have a rest.

The star bird–Collared Falconet(红腿小隼)likes to stay on this tree.

The Collared Folconets were playing on the tree. It is just seems like we were closed, but we had a long distance. Looking through the telescope, we could see that the bird is very small, but it looked down from a height, looks looks like a bird of prey.

This place could find different birds all the time.

Because we did not plan enough time for this journey, we lwere unwilling to part from Yingjiang(盈江). Our next stop is Dali(大理). the tropical rainforest and variety birds gave me a deep impression. It is worth for those people who interested come to have a visit.