Birding trip report Sichuan, China 26 May – 9 June 2011
John van der Woude -
Other photos
See also report and species list  -   photos of birding sites   -   bird photos   
Note: this is a collection of pictures of the scenery (other than shown in the birding sites section), street life, temples, etc.

Balang pass. View towards the Tibetan plateau.

Fresh snow on Balang pass, with flowering Primula.

Our hotel in Wolong. It was simple but clean, and the food was very good.

Wolong ladies.

Wolong memorial for the 2008 earthquake.

Some sections of the road into the Wolong area were not yet safe after the 2008 earthquake, and here the slope above the road was cleared during 20 minutes. Loose stones were pushed from the slope and then cleared from the road. 
After a period of heavy rainfall the road may be closed for a while of course. So, as the weather was good at our arrival in China, our guide Sid went straight to Wolong (and Balang) in order to avoid being blocked later on! And indeed, a few days after our visit to Wolong and Balang we had some heavy rain.

The Wolong Panda centre was still closed due to the earthquake damage, so these were our only panda's. This is in Pingwu town, far from Wolong.

Pingwu has an impressive temple complex, and we decided to visit this for an hour or so in midday. Also see the following seven photos.

In the traditional Aba region. The lady below belongs to the Baima culture: wearing a white rooster feather on her hat.

Scenery along the road from Juizhaigou to Ruoergai.

On the way up to Ruoergai we had even fresh snowfall.

Nearly at the Tibetan plateau we saw more and more of these blue tents. Sid told us that these were a leftover from the aid directly after the 2008 earthquake.

Here we saw our first cranes. Luckily we saw them later much better.

Further on the Tibetan plateau towards Ruoergai. The black dots are yak cattle.

A settlement of yak herding Tibetans.

This lady had apparently just butchered a yak. The vultures (Himalayan Vulture) descended already. The child grabs the stick to chase them off and let them wait for the remains.

A typical picture of the surroundings of Ruoergai on the Tibetan plateau: vast grassy plains surrounded by impressive mountains, and a temporary tent for the yak herdsman, who nevertheless likes to visit the town by car.

Himalayan Marmot on his lookout post in front of his burrow nest.

The surroundings of Flower Lake near Ruoergai were impressive.

Nollie and Sid scoping the closeby Tibetan Larks near Flower Lake.

Ruoergai town, mainly inhabited by Tibetans.

The Baxi valley is still rather traditional. The cliffs at the background are molasse, an unsorted soft rock consisting of sand and stones deposited during the mountain formation in a very short geologic timespan (hence unsorted).

Water-powered praying wheel in Baxi valley.

School festivities in Baxi valley. Brought many people out on the streets (see below).

Funny small black pigs near a settlement in Baxi valley

A Tibetan monastery in Baxi valley. The monks below are walking between the small houses they live in.

Ruoergai needed more electricity capacity (we had a short powercut one evening). A new line is being built in the grassland reserve of Black-necked Crane. Hopefully they will not fly into the wires.

Yak enclosure along the road to the Yellow River.

Ruoergai town again.

Yak herdsman tent, with yak being milked. Also note the thick wood for the stove, this must have been transported from quite a distance.

Market day in a town along the road back to Juizhaigou, after descending from the Tibetan plateau.

Pingwu town, the temple complex now seen from above, from the forest park we visited after our stay in a hotel here.

We had some delicious dumplings in this shop in Pingwu town.

Fireworks are apparently for sale the whole year.

The market hall of Pingwu was another short but very nice break we decided to do in between the birding. This is the tofu stall. It apparently comes in all shapes, in Holland we only have it in blocks (tahoe). Also the next seven photos are from this market hall.

The green tea we bought for bringing home. It tastes very good (the best she had) and it has cost us only 1 euro/100 gram.

In a stream valley on our way to Wawu. Here, over the ages a small stone has carved out a hole in a big stone, during floods.

Along the road to Wawu.

The village at the bottom of Wawu national park attracts many day visitors, willing to buy honey, pig legs, herbs, etc.

In Wawu national park.

View from the cable car in Wawu.

We mostly ordered our restaurant food right in the kitchen so we could see what they had. This is in a restaurant just outside Wawu park.

On the way back from Wawu to Chengdu.

In the centre of Chengdu, more dumplings, while we waited for the electronics shopping mall to open at 9 a.m. This was on the way to the airport for the flight back home.

See also report and species list  -   photos of birding sites   -   bird photos