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cokesmith Apr 22nd, 2011 04:16 PM

WILD Panda Expedition in China's Qinling Mountains!
Hello Friends,

Here is a trip report that is from our most recent adventure in our new home, China. We finally were able to escape the big city for a week in the amazing Qinling mountains of Shaanxi Province. What an amazing and difficult experience. But we did manage to catch a great sighting of a WILD giant panda! Very few tourists have ever seen this species in the wild. Enjoy the report.

Log on to our travelogue:

hawaiiantraveler Apr 23rd, 2011 11:09 AM

Wow that was some adventure! Thanks for letting us come along. One of the best trip reports I have ever read on this site. I was holding on to my computer as your van was slipping on the ice,lol. Will be watching for the movie.


cokesmith Apr 23rd, 2011 03:59 PM

Thanks for taking a look Hawaiiantraveler! Cheers

silverwool Apr 24th, 2011 12:40 AM

It makes my July trip to Chengdu to see the Pandas seem very ho hum! Congratulations on the great photography and I thoroughly enjoyed the trip report.

quimbymoy Apr 24th, 2011 05:26 AM

how awesome are those pandas! but the flying squirrel pics are amazing!! thanks for sharing! i'm going to check out the rest of your trips too :-)

Hanuman Apr 24th, 2011 05:46 AM

Excellent report with great pictures!

rhkkmk Apr 24th, 2011 06:54 AM

amazing, and fab pics

520 Apr 24th, 2011 03:07 PM

Your photographs are wonderful!! I loved the ones of the giant wild mama panda with her cub--and thought the photographs of the crested ibis and temmick's tragopan were breathtaking.

What a special experience...filled with wonder--and, at times, quite frightening. But completely extraordinary.

Since I'm quite sure this is one I'm not likely to ever make,
thanks for sharing it!

Shanghainese Apr 25th, 2011 11:40 AM

Coke -- Absolutely spectacular, I held my breath going thru the fabulous trek you are so kindly sharing with us. Thanks very much and best wishes to you, Som and Cokie on your future adventures.

amyb Apr 25th, 2011 03:00 PM

cokesmith, excellent photos, thank you for sharing! Do you remember, was the panda reserve near Ya'an called Bifengxia by any chance???

cokesmith Apr 25th, 2011 06:01 PM

Yes - Bifengxia was the place. Ya'an is actually the nearby town I think.

cokesmith Apr 25th, 2011 06:02 PM

Thanks so much for the well wishes!

atravelynn Apr 27th, 2011 06:35 PM

I'll be looking for your son in Guinness Book of World records.

Not only did you see the wild panda, but you got some great photos. Ibisibill and Crested Ibis too!

The near mishap in the van is a little unsettling though.

Since your only panda was early on in the trip, I wonder if the unexpected snowfall contributed to the sighting. Certainly tracking would be easier. Dramatic shifts in weather can stir creatures into activity as well.

Can you describe what typical weather would be in April? And is April a good time to go or is there a more ideal time to visit?

Thanks and I am sure you are still on cloud 9 from your latest adventure.

cokesmith Apr 28th, 2011 03:20 AM

Hi Atravelynn,

Not sure if the snowfall helped or hurt actually. The trackers are very adept at finding the pandas even without the snow. The group before us got four pandas with no snow... I know the snow made seeing evidence of all of the forest dwellers a lot easier for sure. But you are correct, weather shifts can sure cause critters to stir. The final day when things started to warm up, we added four mammals to the list...

April is a very good time as it is the breeding season. My guide, Rolf, said that the only other time that may be better is May, mainly due to the improved weather. June is iffy and July and August are impossible as the pandas are too high in the mountains and too dispersed.

Thanks for viewing the report!


cokesmith Apr 28th, 2011 03:24 AM

Forgot to answer your other question. April's weather tends to be cold nights and tolerable days. General temps are zero to 4 degrees C at night and 10-12 C in the daytime. Precip is generally not too much. This year was extreme and opposite of normal but most likely this is due to the La Nina the world is experiencing...

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