11 Night 12 Day II, Tour, Bhutan
11 Night 12 Day II, Tour, Bhutan
Fly to Paro in the morning. After clearing immigration we will drive through the wide Paro Valley. The Paro Valley is relatively dry. Blue pines grow on the slopes, but most of the valley floor is cultivated with rice paddies, which are utilized for wheat during wintertime. Many finches feed on wheat grains. The main attraction is the Pachu riverbed north of the town .You can spot Ibisbills, and both Common Kingfisher, Crested Kingfisher and some accentors among the rocks and bushes. It is worthwhile to visit the forests near the ruins of Drukgyal Dzong. We can see all the birds encountered in the Paro Valley except the Ibisbill, so it would be worth to visit a few cultural sites such as the hanging temple of Taktsang or do a walk 3 hours up to the Tigers Nest. Stay over night at hotel.
Very few birds are seen in Thimpu, and the interesting birding sites are found around Begana and Cheri villages. We can ride up to Tango monastery 2700 meters. The vegetation around here includes upper and lower temperate broadleaf evergreen; coniferous forests, riversides, subalpine and shrubberies. Laughing thrush can be seen mainly in spring. Tango is good for general birding, and Mountain Eagles and Snow Pigeons are common here. Several wall creepers are seen reroute between Begana and Thimphu. Stay over night at Hotel.
In the morning drive towards the east of Thimphu up onto the slopes of Dochula pass. Good birding sites are found between 3000 and 2000 meters east of Dochula Pass. It is possible on a clear day to see the mountain peaks of the Gangchen Ta (7300 meters), the Masagang (7000 meters), and the Tshedegang (7500 meters) from the pass. The mixed evergreen cloud forest east of the pass was fragmented, but is still quite pristine some places. At lower elevations cattle are left in the forest which does have a negative impact on the undergrowth. We can walk down along power lines from 2600 to 2200 meters. >From 2200 meters we continued our walk along the road down to 1900 meters. Highlight may include Rufous bellied Bush-Robin, Golden-naped Finch, Hoary Barwing, Edwards Rosefinch and return to the hotel. In the late afternoon arrive at our splendid hotel near Punakha, former capital. Over night at hotel.
Today we will explore the best area for birding in between 1300 and 1600 meters along the braided channels of Mochu River in Jigme Dorji Wangchuk Wildlife Sanctuary. The forest is relatively undisturbed, but people collect firewood and cattle are seen along the road. A small village is located at 1600 meters at the end of of the road. Further downstream it is possible to view the rocky riverbeds from a hanging bridge, in order to check for the near extinct White-bellied Heron. The birds you can find in the sanctuary are White-tailed Eagle, Crested Serpent-Eagle, Golden Eagle, Mountain Eagle, Striated Laughingthrush, Golden Bush-Robin, and Tibet Serin. Stay over night at hotel.
Continuing east next morning we will make a series of brief stops to see for Pallas’s Gull and Pallas’s Fish Eagle. This is a very scenic section of the road as it leads through bamboo and rhododendron conifer forests, meadows and river valleys you will come across Red-billed Leiothrix together and Black-eared Shrike-babblers. At 2400 meters near Gangtey sometime you come over Hill Partridge and a few Dark-breasted Rosefinches before the pass. After passing Pelela pass at 3300 meters you can also see a White-browed Bush Robin and Brown Parrotbills in a bamboo thicket at 2600 meters. In a bamboo thicket further down the road we locate Streaked Laughingthrushes. Any stop near good habitat would be productive especially in the spring. In the winter the snowline is found between 2400 and 2600 meters, and it is very chilly. Hotel overlooks the very impressive Trongsa Dzong. Over night at hotel.
Morning drive to south of Trongsa, enroute we will focus to find the rare Yellow –rumped Honeyguide but we should see other species perhaps including Fire –capped Tit, Russet Bush –Warbler and Niltava.This warm and sunny valley has been cultivated for a long time, and it is worthwhile to visit some of the cultural sites, such as Tongsa Dzong. (Yotongla Pass 3400 meters) The habitat at Yotungla Pass consists of Hemlock and Blue Pines with dense impenetrable dwarf bamboo thickets. Large flocks of Black-throated and Red-throated Thrushes together with a few White-winged Grosbeaks can be seen. In the conifer forest sometime we can see Giant Parrotbills and large flocks of tits such as Chestnut-vented, Coral and Gray-bellied Tits. Drive to Rinchenling Lodge 4 km outside Bumthang is situated near Jambay lhakhang from 07th century.
This spectacular drive from Trumshingla Pass down to Sengor and to Limithang. In bad weather this pass might be closed for weeks, especially as the Bhutanese have decided to take control with all road maintenance in the country. In the past India provided this service for a fee. On that basis it is not recommended to plan a trip which does not allow for a return to Paro. The habitat changes from conifers to subtropical forest as it covers an altitudinal variation from 3800 meters to 750 meters. The broadleaf evergreen forest commerce at 2600 meters, and the cliffs drop vertically into the subtropical valley more than 600 meters below the road. A few exit trails into the forest can be found at 2500 meters near a mountain ridge which lead into a small cattle farm. Most of the birds are seen from the road between 2600 and 1500 meters. Some of the highlights from this area were Satyr Tragopan, Crimson-breasted Woodpecker, Darjeeling Woodpecker, Long-billed Thrush, Blue-winged Laughingthush, Golden-breasted and Yellow throated Fulvetta, Red-headed Parrotbill and Crimson Finch. Birds seen in this area are marked with Limithang (altitude).
Today we will explore the rich low altitudes forest which will provides us with opportunities to study the birds of this rich biotope. Afternoon bus will drop 10 kms away from the town and the bird watchers can have their own leisure time in the forest for their own interest. Along the road side you could find wood pecker,grey-chhined, short-billed minivets, black throated tit, striated Bulbul and grey sided laughingthrushes. Stay over night at hotel.
10 km east of Mongar the road reach a pass at 2450 meters elevation. Temperate broadleaf forests grow on the ridge north of the Telegraph tower which is 1/2 km to the left of the pass. Just to the left (North) of a few houses near the tower a small path leads into more undisturbed forests with bamboo. Not much can be seen here apart from a flock of Grey-sided Laughingthrushes and a Fire-tailed Myzornis. The Tashigang province is very densely populated and the hills are cultivated. The few remnant trees were cut for firewood. The area had some interesting species such as Rufous-throated Partridge, Green Shrike-babbler, Northern Goshawk, Fire-tailed Myzornis and Yellow-breasted Greenfinch. Stay over night at hotel.
On our way to Tashiyantshe, we pass by the same area as above, but as soon we leave Tashingang Province the landscape improved in terms of bird habitat. Good subtropical forests are found. Visit Chorten Kora monastery and after picnic lunch drive back and visit Gomkora monastery. Stay over night at hotel.
This is an interesting area with much remaining habitats. Semitropical forests full of Long-tailed Macaques are found not far from the road, and the rivers had otters. Flocks Wreathed Hornbills will pass across sometimes the road in the late afternoon or morning. At 300 meters elevation just 400 meters before the bridge a dirt road leads to a power house and continues east along the river for 2 km. After having crossed a small stream and a fruit plantation it is possible to penetrate into an old growth forest on a trail. Some of the species in this forest were Gray-breasted Tesia, White-spectacled Warbler, Silver-breasted Broadbill, Scaly Thrush and Snowy-browed Flycatcher. Along the main road to the check point we can come over Pale-headed Woodpecker, Pale Blue Flycatcher, Pygmy Blue Flycatcher and Pale-chinned (Brooks) Flycatcher. Stay over night Hotel at the border with Assam (India).
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