BIRDING EXPEDITION: WESTERN BHUTAN
DISCOVER BIRDS OF BHUTAN
8 Nights / 9 Days
Wangduephodrang, Chukha, Thimphu, Paro
Rufous-necked Hornbills, Great Hornbills, Silver-eared Mesia, Pygmy Wren Babbler, Scaly-breasted Wren Babbler, Hill Prinia, Oriental White-eye, Red-vented Bulbul, Black-crested Bulbul, Chestnut-tailed Starling, Collared Owlet, Chestnut-winged Cuckoo, Indian Cuckoo, Long-tailed Sibia, Grey-headed Parrotbill, Lesser and Greater rufous-headed parrotbill, Golden Babbler, Rufous-winged Fulvetta, White-browed Scimitar Babbler, Spot-throated Babbler, Spot-breasted Babbler, Red-faced Liocichicla, Rufous-necked Laughingthrush, Greater-necklaced laughingthrush, White-crested laughing thrush, Barred Cuckoo Dove, Emerald Dove, Common Hawk Cuckoo, Blue-bearded Bee-eater, Dollarbird.
Please do note that the birds mentioned in the itinerary are either commonly found or seen during our field observations. The probability of observing other species that are not mentioned in the list are very high as new record of birds are routinely confirmed and added to list of birds in Bhutan. However, Atlas Tour & Travel cannot guarantee the sighting of the birds mentioned as most of them are migratory in nature.
Option A: This birding trip will take you through Paro, Thimphu, Punakha , Wangduephodrang
which lies between altitude of 1000m – 3600m. For those visitors who are not yet familiar with Bhutanese terrain and are first visitors, we would like to encourage this trip. During the short span of time, you can witness atleast 200 species of birds.
Option B: This birding trip will take you to lesser unexplored area like Chhukha that stretches from 150 m – 3000 m thereby avoiding Punakha and Wangduephodrang. With host of diversity and areas that have not been frequented by birders, this is an ideal place for birders. While the stays in some place may not be luxurious, we can assure that your compromise will be made up by the nos. of birds that you will come across.
DAY 1 - ARRIVAL AT PARO
Arrival at Paro Airport. To acclimatize to Bhutanese weather and prepare for the birding adventure, leisure walk along paro town will be carried out. As a prelude to birding trip, we will visit the
Pachhu for water birds like Ibisbill, Brown Dipper, White-collared Black Bird, River lapwings, Common Sandpipers, Grey and White wagtails, etc.
Night halt at Paro.
DAY 2 - PARO - THIMPHU
Leave early for Chelela Pass at 4000 masl. You can enjoy the great view of mount Jhomolhari. The alpine meadow is carpeted with beautiful flowers such as Asters, Potentilla, orchids, etc. depending on their seasonality. Pheasant species such as Himalayan Monal, Blood Pheasant, Kalij Pheasant in large groups and in singles are often seen by the roads. The place is also home for some laughing thrushes like Bhutan laughing thrush, spotted laughing thrush, Black faced Laughing thrush and some rosefinches, Grosbeaks and tits such Green-backed Tit, Rufous-fronted Tits, Coal tits. Sunbirds like Mrs. Gould Sunbirds, Greentailed sunbird are observed here.
In the evening drive towards Thimphu. You can either rest or care to walk along Thimphu town like craft markets.
DAY 3 - THIMPHU
In the early morning, we drive towards Cheri Monastery, to the north of Thimphu which is a birding hotbed in Thimphu. The altitude ranges from 2400 m to almost 3000m. We will try to see white-rumped Honey guides, laughing thrushes, rufous-bellied woodpecker, blue whistling thrush a common species found all over Bhutan. If we are lucky enough, we may see pair of spotted forktails, folks of speckled Wood pigeons, Winter Wren, etc. Over 100 species can be seen in this area.
After lunch, we drive down to town and visit some places of cultural interests like Tashichhodzong, Thimphu Chorten, Buddha point. Do inform our guide about the afternoon choices.
DAY 4 - THIMPHU - PUNAKHA CAMPING
Early morning, we drive towards Punakha passing Druk Wangyel Chorten at Dochula pass. On clear days, you can witness spectacular view of the mountain range that define Bhutanese landscapes. Towards the other side of the pass, our birding adventure will continue with vigour. The place is well known for variety of woodpecker species, cuckoos, owls, warblers, Yuhinia, minivets. Species such as Fire-tailed Myzornis, the rare Ward’s Trogon, Hoary-throated Barwing are seen. As we drop down, we will reach lamperi, where the main office and others like to Rhododendron garden, Baritsho lake of the Royal Botanical Park is located.
A walk along the trails will impress you with species such as Hill Patridges, Fantails, Satyr Tragopan, White-tailed Nuthatch, Chestnut-headed Tesia, rusty-flanked Treecreepers, etc.
Lunch will be at the Garuda Café inside the Park. After lunch we further drive down towards Punakha. On the way, we further look out for Whiterumped Honey Guide if you have been unlucky in Thimphu. As we will be dropping down to an altitude of 1000 m, birds like the green leafbirds, barbets, Asian-barred owlets, Wall-creepers, can be seen.
Camping at night.
DAY 5 - JIGME DORJI NATIONAL PARK CAMPING
We will watch for birds along Goenshari and further up to Rimchu and Tashithang. Species such as the illusive White-bellied heron, which was first sighted by the Fourth King in the same River (Mochu) can still be seen here. Another endangered species like to pallas Fish Eagle with its White Crest are often observed on tall chirprine trees. Species such as the Niltivas, Red-headed Trogons, Chestnut-headed Tesia, Wren Babblers compose the bird lists. Water birds such Mandarin Duck, Pochards are also seen in winter.
DAY 6 - JIGME DORJI NATIONAL PARK CAMPING
As this place is definitely rich in bird diversity, we will spent one more morning looking out for more birds. Towards evening, we will drive to Wangduephodrang.
DAY 7 - WANGDUEPHODRANG
If we are staying at Wangduephodrang, we drive early in the direction of Phobjikha and return back after lunch at Nobding. If we are staying at Phobjikha, we will be based at homestays where you can enjoy interacting with families, eat locally brewed wine, have hot stone bath to relax your body (this has to be informed beforehand as stones has to be heated for long time. This will have additional charges. These homestays are community – based group and your stay helps us to support the local community directly).
Halfway we do birdingwatching. Species such Slaty-backed Forktail, Black-throated tits, Striated-laughingthrush, Blue-winged Laughthrush, Cutia, Red-tailed Minla, Golden-breasted Fulvetta, Grey-headed Parrotbills, fire-breasted Flowepecker, sunbirds are seen or heard along this routes.
DAY 8 - WANGDUEPHODRANG - THIMPHU
If you are still not content with what you have seen in terms of bird diversity, we will make a detour on unpaved roads for further bird watching.
DAY 4 - THIMPHU - CHUKHA CAMPING
The drive can be little hectic. But this route has generally be ignored by bird watchers. Our field observations conducted along the highway has led to amazing compilation of birds list. In fact, more than 300 species has been recorded throughout the year. Atlas Tour and Travel is keen on promoting this birding route. Unlike other routes in Bhutan which are currently subjected to road widening making rides quite difficult, the roads on this route are already widened and are in best of shape.
After about one hr. of drive, our birding will begin along the roads nearing the place called Chapcha. Species such as Golden-naped Finch, Scarlet Finch, Spot-winged Grosbeak, Yellow-breasted Greenfinch, Several species of Pipits, Long tailed Sibia, Babblers generally seen. Further down before and after reach Tanalum Immigration Checkpost upto the lunch place at Bunagu, the route is ideal for birding as well.
After lunch drive down to Campsite.
DAY 5 - CHHUKHA TALA POWER PROJECT
With diverse and varied bird sighted along this routes, we will spent the entire afternoon on the roads and by-passes. Incidentally, the already established Chhukha and Tala Hydropowers’ tunnels routes are now forested and undisturbed. They provide ample birding opportunities with nice walking roads. Low altitude species such as Rufous-necked Hornbills, Great Hornbills, Silver-eared Mesia, Pygmy Wren Babbler, Scaly-breasted Wren Babbler, Hill Prinia, Oriental White-eye, Red-vented Bulbul, Black-crested Bulbul, Chestnut-tailed Starling, Collared Owlet, Chestnut-winged Cuckoo, Indian Cuckoo are some species recorded from this area.
DAY 6 - GEDU
Early morning, drive towards road bypass at Dungna. Here spend the entire morning birding at the two unpaved roads. One road was currently be black-topped during our last visit. Disturbances should be expected. We can choose the other undisturbed road. Here the altitude is almost about 600 m (?). Species such as Long-tailed Sibia, Grey-headed Parrotbill, Lesser and Greater rufous-headed parrotbill, Golden Babbler, Rufous-winged Fulvetta, White-browed Scimitar Babbler, Spot-throated Babbler, Spot-breasted Babbler, Red-faced Liocichicla, Rufous-necked Laughingthrush, Greater-necklaced laughingthrush, White-crested laughing thrush, Barred Cuckoo Dove, Emerald Dove, Common Hawk Cuckoo, Blue-bearded Bee-eater, Dollarbird frequent this areas.
DAY 7 - CHHUKHA PHUNTSHOLING
In the morning drive towards Toorsa River. This riverside birdng not only present you with waterbirds but also forest birds as the riverside are mostly forested areas. Species such as Little and Great Egret, Indian Pond Heron, Little Heron, Red-wattled lapwing, Black kite,White-rumped Vulture, Booted Eagle, Oriental Honey-Buzzard, Steppe Eagle with various falcons, Cormorant and Gulls, Black-crowned Night Herons, Woodpeckers such as Lesser and Greater Flamebacks, Grey-headed Woodpecker, Lesser and Greater yellownape and host of other forests birds are seen. (A venture into the upcoming Phuntsholing-Samtse highway (this route is constructed within Bhutan as the current one linking the two places has to taken after passing the Indian state of West Bengal.) Picnic Lunch has to be arranged and it may be interesting to eat
by the calm waters of Toorsa River.)
Return to Phuntsholing.
DAY 8 - CHHUKHA (PHUNTSHOLING) - PASAKHA - THIMPHU
The return journey will be from Pasakha after Rinchending Checkpost about 15 minutes drive from Phuntsholing. The route is upto Gedu. There are chances of seeing birds mentioned on the 5th, 6th ,7th day. After lunch drive directly to Thimphu.
DAY 9 - THIMPHU - PARO
Drive to paro and leave for your country
Paro Internation Airport
The trek's most important and beautiful part is the spectacular view of Mount Jomolhari ( Mountain Goddess) from Jomolhari Basecamp...
Zhemgang district lies at an altitude range between 600 – 3000m at south-central Bhutan. The area is mostly pristine with undistrubed forests...
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