New Trip Report: The Tibetan Plateau

I was in Tibet for the second half of September and had a fabulous 2 weeks. Here’s a (very long) report (though its more pictures than text and most of those are of rodents).

Qinghai and the Tibetan Plateau: 2 weeks & 27 species including Pallas’s Cat, Wild Yak, Alpine Musk Deer, Chinese Red and Glover’s Pikas and Chinese Zokor, along with more stunning scenery than anybody needs.

If anyone has opinions about any of the rodents we saw then please weigh in.


  1. vdinets 7 years ago

    That’s really impressive for two weeks!
    The first of the photos labeled “Blyth’s Mountain Vole, Neodon leucurus. Maybe.” looks a lot like Eolagurus przevalskii, Przevalski’s steppe lemming. It is common in Qaidam Depression in some years, but is prone to wild fluctuations (although not as wild as in E. luteus, which mysteriously disappears completely for decades only to briefly re-appear again).

    • Jon Hall 7 years ago

      Thanks Vladimir. Is that the fat looking thing on Friday 18th? Did you see them in the daytime when you were there?

      • vdinets 7 years ago

        Yes, that one. I saw only one in Tibet (near Ge’yali) in 1993, but three years later I was in Mongolia when it was a high-density year for pretty much everything, and saw dozens of them. They are partially diurnal in high-density periods, but when they are at low density they are only found in owl pellets.

        • Jon Hall 7 years ago

          Thanks. That’s interesting. I haven’t sent that picture yet to the academics I’ve been talking to but will pass on your ideas.

      • Jon Hall 7 years ago

        I have talked more about this animal now with an expert and apparently there are no Steppe Voles on the high plateau (or none known) so its most likely a fat Blyth’s Mountain Vole…. or so I am told

      • vdinets 7 years ago

        Do you remember if it had tail?

      • Jon Hall 7 years ago

        I didn’t see the tail

  2. vdinets 7 years ago

    You should also check your photos for Cricetulus hamsters: they are common and look very vole-like there.

  3. Martin Singfield 7 years ago

    We visited the same area with Jesper last year, and saw and equally impressive tally of mammals, including a pack of 7 Tibetan wolves. Jesper is an excellent guide.

  4. vdinets 7 years ago

    BTW, have I sent you the Vole Atlas by Krasnov & Shenbrot? It has the best range maps available.

    • Author
      jontemp 7 years ago

      No you didn’t. Please do!

      Sent from my iPhone


      • vdinets 7 years ago

        You should get a notification from Google Drive.

  5. gordy1983 7 years ago

    Deeply impressed that you spotted a Pallas Cat. Great trip report of such a special place. You are living my dream!

    • Jon Hall 7 years ago

      Thanks Gordy – it was a very special place and I realise how lucky I am to have seen it. I hope it stays as unspoiled for many more years…

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