Bhutan


Brian and Pat Wetton  went to Bhutan in March-April 2012. Organised by Birdfinders, the tour was led by Chubzang Tangbi of Langur Ecotravel. He was a very good leader and birder and he and his team of driver (Depak), cook (Ilu) and camp crew (Rinzin, Sonam and Garitamgmy) provided excellent logistical support. The nine nights in hotels were of a good comfortable standard and the seven nights camping provided comfortable tents, campbeds, sleeping bags, camp fires and hot water bottles when necessary, and a very ample kitchen offering tasty food in camp and in the field during birding. We saw 257 species of birds (including 3 in Kolkata) and heard 11 others. The accompanying birders were Bob and Sue Ennis from British Colombia, Jim Hays from Arizona, and Brits Tim Key and Trevor Weston. It was a nice size group and the camaraderie was excellent.

Itinerary:

26th March    Heathrow to Kolkata via Doha with Qatar Airways

27th March    Drukair flight to Paro (Khangkhu Hotel). Birding the Paa Chhu (PA) and Lower Chele La (CL)

28th March    Chele La and Paa Chhu and the on to Thimpu (TP) (Riverview Hotel) and its sewage works

29th March    Dochu La (DL), trail to Lumetsawa (LS) and to Punakha (Meri Puensum Resort) and Pho Chhu (PC)

30th March    Tashithang(TS) in Jigme Dorji Nat. Park and Mo Chhu (MC). Punakha Dzong & Meri Puensum

31st March    Nobding Valley (NV) and Phobjikha Valley (PV) to camp at Pele La (PL)

1st April         Pele La, Chendibji Valley (CV) to Trongsa (Yangkil Resort) and upper Zhemgang Road (ZR)

2nd April        Zhemgang Road via Kuengarabten & Langthel to camp at Wangduegang

3rd April        Zhemgang Road to Zhemgang and Tingtibi Road (TT) to camp at Tingtibi

4th April        Return on Tingtibi Road & Zhemgang Road to Trongsa (Yangkil Resort)

5th April        Yotong La (YL), Bumthang, Chamkhar Chhu (CC), Jakar, Shelthang La (SL) & camp at Ura

6th April        Ura, over Thrumshing La (TL) to Sengor (SG) and Lingmithang Road (LR) to Yongkola camp

7th April        Upper and lower Lingmithang Road. Camp at Yongkola 

8th April        Upper and lower Lingmithang Road. Camp at Yongkola

9th April        Lingmithang Road, Thrumshing La and Sheltang La to Jakar (Gongkhar Hotel)

10th April      Yotong La to Trongsa, Chendibji Valley, Nobding Valley & Wangdue Phodrang (Puna Cottages)

11th April      Lampelri Botanic Gardens (LG) & Dochu La to Paro (Khangkhu Hotel) and Paa Chhu

12th April      Depart Paro via Drukair  flight to Kolkata (Pearl Hotel). City tour of Kolkata

13th April      Qatar Airways flights via Doha to Heathrow

Site Profiles:

Paa Chhu

Glacial fed river running through Paro with  shingle islets, rocky bluffs, marsh and adjoining pastures

Chele La

Road west of Paro leading to a pass at 3988 metres. Blue Pine forest, pastures and rocky crags.

Thimpu

Marsh nearly destroyed by development and sewage works with no official access.

Dochu La

Pass at 3200 metres between Thimpu and Punakha. Cloud forest with pine, rhododendrons and daphne scrub

Lumetsawa Trail

Seven kilometre trail through pine forest to Lumetsawa from Dochu La

Pho Chhu and Mo Chhu

Glacial fed rivers north of Punakha with gravels and adjoining forest

Tashithang (Jigme Dorji National Park)

Road north of Punakha leading along the Mo Chhu into the huge forested National Park.

Nobding Valley

A valley leading up to the village of Nobding on the road between Wangdue and the Pele La. Upper slopes are well-forested whilst the lower slopes contain cultivation terraces.

Phobjikha Valley

A high valley south of the road to Pele La with extensive grassland pasture and some arable land. The traditional wintering site of Black-necked Cranes.

Pele La

A high pass (3420 metres) between Wangdue and Trongsa with the high Himalayas to its north. Pine, bamboo and rocky screes and scars are all present

Chendibji Valley

A valley between the villages of Rukubji and Chendibji on the road from Pele La to Trongsa. Contains agricultural terraces and forest fringes with rhododendron at higher levels

Zhemgang Road and Tingtibi Road

Leading south from Trongsa towards the Indian border at Gelephud, these roads gradually fall in altitude to the town of Zhemgang and then to some 500 metres at Tingtibi. The road traverses mixed deciduous forest, open scrub and bamboo and is crossed by several rocky streams

Yotong La

Another pass at 3440 metres between Trongsa and the Bumthang Valley, it has pine forest, bamboo and rocky outcrops

Chamkhar Chu

A glacial-fed river running through Jakar with gravel beds

Shelthang La and Thrumshing La

Further high passes (3500 and 3990 metres respectively) east of Bumthang with pine and fir forest and rocky outcrops

Sengor

A cultivated area around the village of the same name at the western end of the Lingmithang Road

Lingmithang Road

Between Sengor and Mongar lies the village of Lingmithang and the road leading to it from Sengor is a steep, winding forested  road cutting through several altitudinal zones. The mixed deciduous forest with patches of bamboo contain a high biodiversity of plants and animals and it is considered one of the birding hot-spots of Asia.

Lampelri Botanic Gardens

An area of mixed deciduous and pine forest near Wangdue with forest nursery and bamboo plantations

Birds Recorded (see Itinerary for site codes)

Species No.Days Max. Sites
Great Cormorant 5 30 PA,PC.MC,ZR
Grey Heron 1 1 PC
White-bellied Heron 1 1 PC
Black-necked Crane 1 2 PV
Ruddy Shelduck 2 20+ TP,PC
Goosander 2 2 PC,CC
Mallard 2 2 PA
Teal 2 5 CV
Black Kite 1 NC Kolkata
Himalayan Griffon 3 30+ CV
Crested Serpent-Eagle  6 1 PC,NV,ZR,TR,LR
Northern Goshawk 1 1 CV
Sparrowhawk 1 1 PA
Besra 1 1 TR
Common/Himalayan Buzzard 2 2 CL,YL
Black Eagle 5 2 LS,ZR,TR,LR,CV
Mountain Hawk-Eagle 9 4+ various
Kestrel 8 3 various
Hill Partridge 12 H various
Chestnut-breasted Partridge 2 H ZR,TR
Species No.Days Max. Sites
Blood Pheasant 3 10+ CL,TL
Satyr Tragopan 3 1 PL,SL,TL
Himalayan Monal 2 2 PL,Tangsibi
Kaleej Pheasant 5 15+ CL,LS,NV,ZR
Red Junglefowl 1 H TR
Black-tailed Crake 1 2 TP
Northern Larwing 1 1 TP
River Lapwing 3 20+ PA,TP,PC
Red-wattled Lapwing 1 2 PC
Common Sandpiper 2 5 TP,MC
Ibisbill 3 2 PA,CC
Rock Pigeon 12 100+ various
Snow Pigeon 1 50+ SG
Oriental Turtle-Dove 16 50+ various
Spotted Dove 5 3 PC,MC,ZR,TR
Barred Cuckoo-Dove 3 10 TS,ZR,LR
Emerald Dove 2 2 ZR,TR
Pin-tailed Green-Pigeon 2 3 TR
Asian Koel 1 H Punakha
Asian Emerald Cuckoo 2 1 TS,TR
Species No.Days Max. Sites
Large Hawk-Cuckoo 9 1+ various
Himalayan Cuckoo 8 1 LG etc
Mountain Scops-Owl 3 H ZR,TR,LR
Collared Owlet 4 1 ZR,TR,LR
Asian Barred Owlet 4 1 TS,TR'LR
Grey Nightjar 3 1 TS,TR,Ura
Himalayan Swiftlet 3 30+ CV,LR
Pacific/Fork-tailed Swift 6 10+ various
Ward's Trogon 1 1 LG
Common Kingfisher 1 1 PC
White-throated Kingfisher 3 1 PC,MC,TR
Crested Kingfisher 2 1 MC,NV
Blue-bearded Bee-eater 2 2 TR,LR
Hoopoe 5 2 PA,TR,LR
Great Pied Hornbill 2 10 TR
Rufous-necked Hornbill 5 4 TR,LR
Great Barbet 13 6 various
Golden-throated Barbet 8 10 various
Blue-throated Barbet 4 5+ ZR,TR,NV
Yellow-rumped Honeyguide 2 3 ZR,LR
Species No.Days Max. Sites
Fulvous-breasted Woodpecker 1 1 TR
Crimson-breasted Woodpecker 1 1 NV
Darjeeling Woodpecker 1 1 DL
Rufous-bellied Woodpecker 4 1 CL,YL,DL
Rufous Woodpecker 3 1 ZR,TR,NV
Lesser Yellownape 1 1 NV
Greater Yellownape 7 3 TS,ZR,TR,LR,LG
Bay Woodpecker 2 1+ NV,LG
Barn Swallow 3 2+ PA,MC,CC
Nepal House Martin 2 20+ ZR, Trongsa
Asian House Martin 2 10+ CV, Trongsa
Sand Martin 2 1 PA,CC
White Wagtail (alboides & leucopsis) 11 30+ various
Olive-backed Pipit 10 10 various
Rosy Pipit 2 6 PA
Black-winged Cuckoo-Shrike 5 1+ NV,ZR
Grey-chinned Minivet 7 2+ TS,NV,TR,LR
Long-tailed Minivet 8 6+ various
Short-billed Minivet 1 2 LR
Species No.Days Max. Sites
Scarlet Minivet 6 10+ TS,NV,ZR,TR,LR
Bar-winged Flycatcher-Shrike 3 3 NV,ZR
White-throated Fantail 4 2 LR
Yellow-bellied Fantail 8 6 various
Striated Bulbul 3 20+ TR,LR
Black-crested Bulbul 2 2 TR
Red-vented Bulbul 8 100+ various
White-throated Bulbul 2 20+ TR
Ashy Bulbul 2 5 TR
Mountain Bulbul 7 6+ TS,NV,ZR,TR,LR
Himalayan Black Bulbul 11 50 various
Orange-bellied Leafbird 6 5+ TS,NV,ZR,TR
Long-tailed Shrike 8 5+ various
Grey-backed Shrike 8 3 various
Brown Dipper 2 5 TS,NV
Altai Accentor 1 30+ PL
Alpine Accentor 2 2 TL
Rufous-breasted Accentor 2 20+ PA,YL
Long-billed Thrush 1 1 ZR
Dusky Thrush 1 2 CL
Species No.Days Max. Sites
Dark-throated Thrush 1 20+ CL
White-collared Blackbird 10 12+ various
Grey-winged Blackbird 1 1 LG
Blue Whistling-Thrush 15 100+ various
Rufous-gorgeted Flycatcher 10 6 various
Little Pied Flycatcher 6 6 TS,TR,LR
Ultramarine Flycatcher 4 4 NV,TR,LR,LG
Verditer Flycatcher 13 10+ various
Large Niltava 7 2+ TS,ZR,TR,LR
Small Niltava 3 2 TS,NV,TR
Pale Blue Flycatcher 1 1 ZR
Blue-throated Flycatcher 2 2 NV,ZR
Grey-headed Canary-Flycatcher 10 10+ various
Chestnut-bellied Rock-Thrush 6 3+ TS,NV,LR
Blue-headed Rock-Thrush 6 10 NV,ZR,TR,LR
Blue Rock-Thrush 1 1 ZR
Lesser Shortwing 1 2 LR
Himalayan Bluetail 1 6 CL
Rufous-breasted Bush-Robin 1 1 ZR
Oriental Magpie-Robin 4 5+ PC,MC,TR,LR
Species No.Days Max. Sites
Black Redstart 1 1 ZR
White-throated Redstart 1 1 CL
Hodgson's Redstart 15 6+ various
Blue-fronted Redstart 6 10+ various
White-capped Water-Redstart 11 6 various
Plumbeous Redstart 11 6 various
Blue-fronted Robin 1 H LR
Little Forktail 1 2 ZR
Slaty-backed Forktail 1 2 TS
Spotted Forktail 1 1 LG
Stonechat 2 2 PA,PC
Grey Bushchat 9 6+ various
White-throated Laughing-Thrush 9 6+ various
White-crested Laughing-Thrush 4 8 ZR,TR,LR
Lesser Necklaced Laughing-Thrush 1 1 ZR
Striated Laughing-Thrush 12 5+ various
Rufous-necked Laughing-Thrush 2 10+ ZR,LR
Grey-sided Laughing-Thrush  1 10+ LR
Rufous-chinned Laughing-Thrush 2 1 NV,TR
Spotted Laughing-Thrush 1 1 CL
Species No.Days Max. Sites
Bhutan Laughing-Thrush 3 6+ NV,ZR,TR
Blue-winged Laughing-Thrush 1 1 TR
Scaly Laughing-Thrush 1 6 LR
Black-faced Laughing-Thrush 7 10 CL,NV,PL,YL,TL,DL
Red-headed Laughing-Thrush 4 2 DL,YL,TL
Himalayan Cutia 2 4 ZR
Rusty-cheeked Scimitar-Babbler 2 4 TR,LR
White-browed Scimitar-Babbler 1 1 TR
Streak-breasted Scinmitar-Babbler 5 5 NV,ZR,TR
Long-billed Wren-Babbler 1 H LR
Scaly-breasted Wren-Babbler 1 1+ TS
Rufous-throated Wren-Babbler 3 1+ LR
Spotted Wren-Babbler 3 1 NV,ZR,TR
Sikkim Wedge-billed Wren-Babbler  1 H LR
Rufous-capped Babbler 6 6 LS,ZR,LR
Golden Babbler 4 2+ TR,LR
Grey-throated Babbler 1 1 ZR
White-hooded Babbler 1 6+ TR
Silver-eared Mesia 1 20+ ZR
Rusty-fronted Barwing 4 20+ TS,ZR,LR
Species No.Days Max. Sites
Hoary-throated Barwing 3 4+ LS,YL,TL
Blue-winged Minla 1 5+ TR
Chestnut-tailed Minla 6 5+ LS,CV,ZR,YL,LR
Red-tailed Minla 2 3 LS,TR
Golden-breasted Fulvetta 3 2+ LR
Yellow-throated Fulvetta 2 20+ LR
Rufous-winged Fulvetta 6 10+ LS,PL,YL,LR
White-browed Fulvetta 7 10+ CL,NV,PL,YL,TL
Nepal Fulvetta 4 2 TS,TR,LR
Rufous Sibia 14 20 various
Striated Yuhina 1 30+ TR
White-naped Yuhina 1 10+ LR
Whiskered Yuhina 12 20+ various
Stripe-throated Yuhina 10 30+ various
Rufous-vented Yuhina 5 25+ PL,YL,TL
Black-chinned Yuhina 3 20+ ZR,TR
Great Parrotbill 1 2 PL
Brown Parrotbill 2 4 PL,YL
Black-throated Parrotbill 1 6 LR
Greater Rufous-headed Parrotbill 3 10+ LR
Species No.Days Max. Sites
Black-headed Shrike-Babbler 1 1 LR
White-browed Shrike-Babbler 6 5+ NV,ZR,LR
Black-eared Shrike-Babbler 3 1 YL,LR
White-bellied Erpornis 1 3 TR
Wren 1 1 TL
Striated Prinia 3 2 ZR,LR
Black-throated Prinia 1 2+ ZR
Common Tailorbird 1 1 ZR
Chestnut-headed Tesia 1 H LR
Slaty-bellied Tesia 3 H TS,LR
Grey-bellied Tesia 3 1 LR,Trongsa
Grey-sided Bush-Warbler 4 1 LR,LR
Brownish-flanked Bush-Warbler 4 1 LS,ZR,LR
Yellowish-bellied Bush-Warbler 1 2 YL
Tickell's Leaf-Warbler 4 4 ZR,TR,LR
Rufous-faced Warbler 1 4 TR
Buff-barred Warbler 1 5+ TL
Ashy-throated Warbler 4 5+ DL,YL,TL
Lemon-rumped Leaf-Warbler 6 3 CV,ZR,YL,LR
Large-billed Leaf-Warbler 1 1 ZR
Species No.Days Max. Sites
Blyth's Leaf-Warbler 9 10 various
Yellow-vented Warbler  1 1 ZR
Grey-hooded Warbler 9 6+ various
Whistler's Warbler 4 1 LS,NV,LR
Grey-cheeked Warbler 3 10+ LR
Chestnut-crowned Warbler  6 4 NV,CV,ZR,LR
Broad-billed Warbler 2 2 ZR,LR
Black-faced Warbler 3 20+ ZR,LR
Black-throated Tit 6 6 NV,TR,LR,YL
Rufous-fronted Tit 3 10 YL,TL
Fire-capped Tit 1 50+ NV
Rufous-vented Tit 7 10+ CL,PL,TL,YL,DL
Coal Tit 5 20+ CL,TL,YL,DL
Grey-crested Tit 3 10+ CL,DL
Green-backed Tit 15 10+ various
Yellow-cheeked Tit 1 6 TR
Sultan Tit 2 2 TR,ZR
Yellow-browed Tit 4 2 NV,CV,YL,DL
Chestnut-bellied Nuthatch 3 2 NV,ZR
White-tailed Nuthatch 8 10+ various
Species No.Days Max. Sites
Beautiful Nuthatch 1 2 TR
Wallcreeper 1 1 PA
Himalayan/Eurasian Treecreeper 2 2 PL,TL
Rusty-flanked Treecreeper 3 2+ LR,YL,DL
Brown-throated Treecreeper 1 H LR
Fire-breasted Flowerpecker 6 10+ various
Mrs Gould's Sunbird 8 6 various
Green-tailed Sunbird 10 20+ various
Black-throated Sunbird 4 5+ TS,TR,TL,LR
Crimson Sunbird 1 1 ZR
Streaked Spiderhunter 4 3 ZR,TR,LR
Oriental White-eye 6 20+ various
Crested Bunting 1 2 ZR
Yellow-breasted Greenfinch 4 15 CL,ZR,LR
Crimson-browed Finch 1 1 PL
Plain Mountain-Finch 1 10+ YL
Blandford's Rosefinch 1 3 DL
Dark-breasted Rosefinch 1 10+ YL
Dark-rumped Rosefinch 1 1 DL
White-browed Rosefinch 3 2 CL,YL,TL
Species No.Days Max. Sites
Crimson-browed Finch 1 1 PL
Scarlet Finch 3 5+ ZR,LR
Red Crossbill 1 10+ CL
Red-headed Bullfinch 4 5+ TL,YL,DL
Grey-headed Bullfinch 1 3 CL
Collared Grosbeak 2 6

CL,YL

Spot-winged Grosbeak 1 1 DL
White-winged Grosbeak 5 20+ CL,YL,TL,DL
Scaly-breasted Munia 1 10+ MC
Russet Sparrow 9 20+ various
Tree Sparrow 9 20+ various
Spot-winged Starling 1 1 ZR
Chestnut-tailed Starling 1 10 Trongsa
Asian Pied Starling 1 NC Kolkata
Common Myna 6 30+ various
Maroon Oriole 4 2 TS,NV,ZR
Black Drongo 12 10+ various
Ashy Drongo 8 10+ various
Lesser Racket-tailed Drongo 4 4 ZR,LR
Eurasian Jay 2 3 TS,YL
Species No.Days Max. Sites
Gold-billed Blue-Magpie 9 6+ various
Common Green Magpie 2 2 ZR,TR
Grey Treepie 7 6 various
Eurasian Magpie 3 12+ Bumthang
Spotted Nutcracker 8 15 various
Red-billed Chough 8 300+ various
House Crow 1 NC Kolkata
Large-billed Crow 15 12 various

Mammals:

Common Pika, Himalayan 5-striped Squirrel, Orange-bellied Squirrel, Malayan Giant Squirrel, Capped Langur, Golden Langur, Assamese Macaque, Muntjac, Goral, Gaur, Yak

 

 

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