Located on the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau, Qinghai Province, which is the fourth largest province in China. The Plateau, with an average elevation of 3000 meters, is referred to as The Roof of the World and is the sources of three of China’s major rivers, the Yangtze River, Yellow River and Mekong Rive. Snow capped mountains, ice peaks, deserts, vast pastures and myriad lakes weave Qinghai unique, fascinating and colorful natural landscapes.
Qinghai Lake is the largest inland saline lake in the country and is an excellent place for bird watching. It’s a popular bird tour destination. We could find such little-known species as Crested Tit-warbler, White-cheeked Nuthatch, and White-backed Thrush before climbing up onto the plateau itself. These high-elevation plains are home to a number of bird species that have been seen by relatively few western birders. Black-necked Crane, Mongolian Ground-Jay, Ala Shan Redstart, and Przewalski’s Rosefinch will be among the many exciting species we will be targeted here.
Day 1 Xining Arrival
Arrive in Xining, which is the capital of Qinghai province. At an elevation of 2275 meters Xining is located on the edge of Tibetan plateau it has a long history and has been a military garrison and trading center since the 16th century. Meet you at airport and transfer to Qinghai Hotel.
Day 2 Qinghai Lake
Drive to Bird Island in Qinghai Kokonor Lake, 300 kilometers away from Xining and on the western side of Qinghai Lake, Bird Island covers an area of just 0.8 square kilometers. During the right season it is thronged with breeding Ruddy Shelduck, Bar-headed Geese and Brown-headed Gulls. The best time to visit is from May to June and during September to November when there are thousands of wild geese, gulls, cormorants and a few shorebirds here and elsewhere around the lake. Pallas’s Gulls are a popular attraction. There’s now a good two-star hotel and numerous restaurants immediately outside the bird reserve.
Day3-5 Bird Island
At the tip of the peninsula on the western side of the lake are the “Bird Islands” (Cormorant Island and Egg Island), which have been bird sanctuaries of the Qinghai Lake Natural Protection Zone since 1997.
Bird Island, which lies northwest of Qinghai Lake, one of the most beautiful lakes in China, is connected to the bank on one side whilst the others are surrounded by water. It encompasses two islands, one is Haixi Pi in the east, and in the west is the Haixi Shan, which is four times smaller than the former island but is where most of the birds of the lake congregate. When the spring and summer come, many birds fly from faraway mountains and deserts to breed here. In the noisiest months of April and May, their numbers can amount to ten thousand, 80% to 90% of which stop on the Haixi Shan and lay eggs there. With eggs interspersed all over the island, Haixi Shan is also called ‘Egg Island’.
Then why does the island attract so many birds? Because it has a flat physiognomy and mild climate, and is close to the water, which produces rich float grasses and fishes. The environment here is also very quiet, so it is a natural space for the birds to reproduce and inhabit.
With the enticing natural scenery and so many beautiful wildfowl, Bird Island has been a must for many visitors traveling in Qinghai. It has been listed as a national natural reserve mainly for the protection of birds here, but also provides an excellent place for the travelers to visit.
Day6-7 Heimahe Countryside
Drive to Heimahe, and birding around. Overnight in Heimahe Hostel
Day8 Xining Departure
Drive back to Xining, and see you off at airport.
No 103, Yabaoli, Chaoyang Distirct, Beijing, China
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