Tangjiahe National Nature Reserve
Tangjiahe is a great site for both birds and mammals, with the big draws being Tawny Fish Owl, Crested Kingfisher, Collared Crow, Zappey’s Flycatcher and Przewalski’s Parrotbill. This is the only regular site for the Parrotbill, which was formerly found at Jiuzhaigou until they disappeared after a bamboo die-off. The bird is found in park’s core-protection area for which you have to pay for permit and guide. However most other species are also found in areas that are accessible without a permit.
Golden Pheasant, Temminck’s Tragopan, Koklass Pheasant, Chinese Monal, Crested Kingfisher, Tawny Fish Owl, Collared Crow, Przewalski's Parrotbill, Spectacled Parrotbill, Brown Parrotbill, Three-toed Parrotbill, Zappey’s Flycatcher, Ultramarine Flycatcher, White-browed Robin, Golden Bush Robin, Indian Blue Robin, Emei Leaf Warbler, Plain-tailed Warbler, Golden-breasted Fulvetta, Barred Laughingthrush, White-throated Laughingthrush, Slaty Bunting
Tangjiahe is around 7 hours from Chengdu, 6 hours from Jiuzhaigou and 5 hours from the Crested Ibis site at Yangxian, Shaanxi.
The Park Roads
Much of the birding at Tangjiahe can be done from the road that leads to the hotel. Roadside sites give Tawny Fish Owl, Crested Kingfisher, Zappey’s Flycatcher, Slaty Bunting, Plain-tailed warbler, Kloss’s Leaf Warbler and Yellow-throated Bunting, while Chinese Bamboo Partridge and Golden Pheasant are sometimes seen on early morning drives.
Another section of road, close to the park entrance, forks over the river in the direction of Motianlin. Unfortunately only park busses are permitted to drive this route, and they only stop at the end-station, but you are permitted to walk.
Several walking tracks lead up from the road – these also give good birding
Around the Hotel
Close to the hotel there are walking tracks both side of the river - the one that goes over the river and passed a derelict tennis court - is good for Golden Pheasant.
The track, at the back of the hotel, that leads a smaller stream has Little Forktail.
The access road continues past the hotel but is unpaved. If the barrier is up you can drive around 7 km down the road until you come to a small carpark at a protection station. From here you have to walk. Birding is also good on this section.
Motianlin Tourist Path
This is concrete and stone pathway that rises around 5km up the mountain. It’s best to get here early before the tourists turn up. Birds include Golden Pheasant, Temminck’s Tragopan, Indian Blue Robin, Kloss’s Leaf Warbler, Marten’s Warbler, Golden-breasted Fulvetta, Chestnut-headed Tesia, Barred Laughingthrush and White-throated Laughingthrush
Motianlin Core Area
This is the site that holds Przewalski’s Parrotbill – but be prepared for a tough 4 hour climb to their bamboo habitat. You also have to arrange permits and take a park guide. Other birds on the path include Golden Pheasant, Temminck’s Tragopan, Koklass Pheasant, Spectacled Parrotbill, Brown Parrotbill, Three-toed Parrotbill, White-browed Robin, Golden Bush Robin, Emei Leaf Warbler, Golden-breasted Fulvetta, Barred Laughingthrush, White-throated Laughingthrush and David’s Bush warbler.
Going higher than the parrotbill site takes you up onto mountain top grassland, which is habitat for Chinese Monal. Going to this area requires an overnight stay in a mountain hut
Outside the park
Although recorded inside the park, Collared Crow are more readily found in riverine habitats in areas outside. Note that year birds are all black and can easily be passed over for large-billed crow, which is also present
Ticketing, Hotel and Transport
You can use a private vehicle in the park when staying in the park hotel. Those with accommodation outside have to travel, together with general tourists, by park bus. The hotel at Tangjiahe is, at around 400RMB, is relatively expensive. The park ticket is 60RMB and good for as many days you stay in the park.
Lots of cheaper accommodation is found in the nearby town of Qingxi, but standards are not that high.