Bhutan 2003
Trip Report

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Trip Report symbol © Sumit Sen                 The Birds and Mammals recorded on the 2003
                 VENT Bhutan Tour
                 Leaders: K. David Bishop and Dion Hobcroft 
                 22 March - 13 April,2003



compiled by Dion Hobcroft / K. David Bishop
27 June 2003

This was a very special tour, one of the very best I have ever had the pleasure of leading to Bhutan. In large part this success was due to a wonderful group of participants and we would like to thank you all for your contribution in making the entire tour such a great experience: William Anderson, Tom Andrews, Jim and Linda Hargrove, Susan and Warren Jones, Anne Kahle, Sam and Linda Kramer, George and Marion Midgley and Jill Sadler.

I (David Bishop) consider myself very privileged to have travelled so often and so extensively throughout the kingdom of Bhutan (1994 to the present), including 14 tours and treks. To have the opportunity to regularly explore such an incredibly special destination and in the company of such wonderful friends such as Chhimmi, Wangdi, Kandu and Pema and many others is memorable indeed. The vastness and beauty of Bhutan’s forests and its other habitats is to experience a rare window onto what Asia and the Himalayas once were like. Added to this is the spice created by the opportunity of making very real discoveries including encountering species little known or previously unrecorded in Bhutan. Witness this year’s astounding flock of Grandalas. Bhutan never fails to rejuvenate my soul and makes me want to return there time after time. The addition of Dion as co-leader only enhanced this perception.

The following is a summary of our daily activities, including some of the trip’s highlights together with a list of what we heard and saw. Nevertheless it only conveys part of the story and can never really express the wonderful sights and sounds of Bhutan, its land, its forests, wildlife and its people.

Thank you

K. David Bishop


March 21-22 Fly USA to Delhi, India. Nearly everyone arrived a day early in order to ‘rest’. So we enjoyed a very productive birding trip to the Basai wetlands and Sultanpur (Jheel) National Park in the company of local birders Bill Harvey and Mike Prince. Basai provided a true wetland spectacular with large flocks of Bar-headed Geese and hundreds of wintering shorebirds and waterfowl. Amongst all of these birds we enjoyed a Wryneck, several Greater Spotted Eagles and a single Imperial Eagle, cryptic Moustached Warblers and a pair of Indian Grey Hornbills. And a rare (for India) Horned Grebe, including much to David’s delight, one individual in breeding plumage.

As always Sultanpur National Park with its wetlands and adjacent areas of scrub, farmland and Acacia woodland produced an exciting array of birds and mammals. Highlights included Sarus and Common cranes, Black-necked and Woolly-necked storks, local and scarce endemics including Indian Courser, Yellow-wattled Lapwing and Chestnut-bellied Sandgrouse and an early arrival in the form of a couple of stunning silver male Asian Paradise-Flycatchers. Several sumptuous male Plum-headed Parakeets and a male Black-rumped Flameback attacking its reflection in a window all contributed to a great first day.
NIGHT: Radisson Hotel, Airport, Delhi

March 23 Delhi: AM Okhla, Yamuna River; PM Delhi woodlands. Following the great success of our unscheduled day in Delhi last year, we again amended our itinerary to include this day as part of the regular proceedings. Our Delhi overnight (for those arriving into India during the early hours of the morning) ensures there is no likelihood of participants missing the connection to Bhutan. Furthermore, it gave everyone time to rest and recuperate, as well as to see many birds we would not see on the rest of the tour.

Few large cities can equal Delhi in the number, variety, and tameness of its birds. During the Palearctic winter, many species migrate south to the Indian sub-continent and supplement Delhi's resident bird fauna. The city’s numerous parks, ruins, and gardens function as a huge man-made oasis for birds and other wildlife in an otherwise semi-arid region. Hindu reverence for life also contributes to the approachability of so many birds.

We spent the morning birding at Okhla along the Yamuna River and were joined by several local birders from the Delhi Bird Club. While not a very salubrious place, it is remarkably birdy. Birding began from a good vantage point on the west bank where we able to view large numbers of ducks and other waterbirds. We then drove across the barrage to the east bank and explored a mosaic of scrub, marshes and farmland. Among the large number of waterbirds that were present, we found 300 Greater Flamingo, Open-billed and Painted storks, Long-legged Buzzard, Brown-headed Gull, a good diversity of shorebirds, Yellow-footed Green Pigeon, Green Bee-eaters, Hoopoe, stunning Citrine Wagtails, the rare and localised endemic White-tailed Stone Chat, Bluethroat, and breeding plumaged Black-breasted and Streaked weavers.

The afternoon was spent wandering in a delightful patch of woodland behind the Polo Club where we enjoyed good studies of Eurasian Stone-Curlew, Grey Francolin and some magnificent Indian Peafowl.
NIGHT: Radisson Hotel, Airport, Delhi.

March 24 Fly Delhi to Paro, Bhutan. This morning we flew from Delhi via Kathmandu to Paro, the only airport in the Kingdom of Bhutan- and what a beautiful airport to arrive at. During the afternoon we headed into the village of Paro and birded along the river that flows in front of the Paro Dzong. There we were treated to sensational views of Ibisbill. If this was not sensational enough David taped in a stellar Black-tailed Crake that gave everyone exceptional views of one of Asia’s most difficult to see rails. Birding our way up the lovely Paro valley towards imposing and historically important albeit ruined Drugyel Dzong we found White-collared Blackbirds, Brown Dipper, Blue-fronted Redstart and, for a lucky few, a Wallcreeper feeding on the Dzong walls (what a well named bird).
NIGHT: Detchen Hotel, Paro

March 25 Cheli La and then drive to Thimphu. What a morning! As we ascended the mountains we were treated to a pheasant spectacular that left even the leaders speechless. Two pairs of Kalij Pheasant provided our first excellent views of this species. This was followed by the first of a total 19 Himalayan Monal. The views of this stunning pheasant were extraordinary in the extreme as males glowed in the sun providing exceptional and lingering studies down to within 80 metres! The iridescent purple, blue and copper almost metal clad feathering places this bird on a pedestal of surely one of the world’s most spectacular birds. To cap this off 10 Blood Pheasants decided to waltz leisurely across the road in front of the bus. Add to this stunning views of the sacred 7,000 metre mountain Jomolhari and a breakfast at 13,400 feet and you had the ingredients of an unforgettable morning’s birding.

The conditions were still quite winter like at the pass and as result we found several high-altitude migrants including lovely Orange-flanked Bush Robin, the seldom seen White-throated Redstart and a small flock of Altai Accentors. Opting to bird lower we found a small flock of the rarely encountered Brown Parrotbill and an excellent view of a male Dark-breasted Rosefinch amongst many others. Reluctantly we drove onto the capital of Thimphu for the night.

During the night we were awakened by an earthquake that measured 5.5 on the Richter Scale. Like an express train that rolled through there was no damage fortunately. This is a very rare event in Bhutan and gave everyone a reality check on the credibility on keeping the local spirits happy.
NIGHT: Riversideview Hotel, Thimphu

March 26 Cheri Valley and Thimphu area. A beautiful morning exploring the Cheri Valley with a breakfast set in a fairytale like setting of fast flowing torrents, prayer flags, traditional architecture and forests that extend from one mountain top to another. We found some excellent rare birds on this morning including the Yellow-rumped Honeyguide in attendance at a series of rock beehives. Another good discovery was a trio of Fire-tailed Myzornis and lengthy scope views of the very shy Spotted Forktail. We encountered our first Mountain Hawk-Eagle, Gold-billed Blue Magpie, Mrs. Gould’s and Green-tailed sunbirds and a couple of group members saw a handsome Yellow-throated Marten bolt across the road.

Behind the Thimphu Fitness Centre we sent Dion into the swamp to try and flush some rarities and yet another Black-tailed Crake was discovered but unfortunately no Wood or Solitary Snipe (although a Common Snipe gave a few heart flutters – a real rarity in Bhutan). The afternoon was set aside for sightseeing and a rare opportunity to go shopping.
NIGHT: Riversideview Hotel, Thimphu

March 27 Thimpu via Dochu La to Punakha. An early morning departure today in order to explore our first cool broadleaf evergreen forests on the east slope of Dochu La (3118 m). Again, a superb breakfast was laid out by the camp staff as we dined amidst myriads of prayer flags at the pass, before we set off. Some of the highlights included Crimson-breasted Woodpecker, Plain-backed Thrush, Grey-winged Blackbird, Ashy-throated Warbler, Rufous-gorgeted Flycatcher, Green Shrike-Babbler, Hoary-throated Barwing, our first Stripe-throated and Rufous-vented Yuhinas, another 4 Fire-tailed Myzornis and Red-headed Bullfinch.

As we descended towards the drier valley of the Tsang Chu (River) we decided to concentrate on finding birds on migration. David’s intuition to examine a flowering Coral Tree turned up a couple of Chestnut-tailed Starlings. In difficult windy conditions we were treated to excellent views of one of the world’s rarest raptors-the giant Pallas’s Fish Eagle. The more we searched the river margins the more birds we discovered including Great Crested Grebe, Ruddy Shelduck, Yellow-nibbed Duck (amongst 10 species of duck we found in Bhutan), Osprey, River Lapwing and Common Kingfisher. But the final highlight was an incredible view of a Wallcreeper that foraged on a cut in the road-bank right next to the bus. What a great way to finish yet another superb day.
NIGHT: Zangtho Pelri Hotel, Punakha

March 28 Tashitang Valley. What a truly splendid location. At 1400 metres this area is considerably warmer than previous locations we had birded and the warm mixed broadleaf forests punctuated with superb waterfalls and the incredible power of the Mo Chu River make this a very special place. And what a sensational breakfast location! Some of today’s birding highlights included Crested Serpent Eagle, Black Eagle, Kalij Pheasant, Ibisbill, Grey Nightjar, Crested Kingfisher, Great and Golden-throated barbets, Greater Yellownape, Bay Woodpecker, Scarlet Minivet, Black and Mountain bulbuls, Orange-bellied Leafbird, Blue Rock Thrush, Scaly Thrush, a Long-billed Thrush that frustrated many people, Dark-throated Thrush, both Little and Slaty-backed forktails that gave crunching views, Yellow-vented and Grey-hooded Warblers, Ultramarine Flycatcher, a super male Small Niltava, Red-tailed Minla, Nepal Fulvetta, Whiskered and Black-lored Yuhina, nesting Fire-capped Tit, Black-throated Sunbird and Fire-breasted Flowerpecker, Grey Treepie and several groups of Assamese Macaques.

On our return drive we explored the amazing Punakha Dzong where our Bhutanese guide, Kandu, gave us a great cultural insight into life in the monastery. All of the monks were very photogenic and it was a great way to finish off yet another day in the land of the thunder dragon.
NIGHT: Zangtho Pelri Hotel, Punakha

March 29 Drive from Punakha to Pele La. Our early morning departure from Punakha to Pele La was punctuated with numerous birding stops and many new wonderful birds, exquisite vistas and rock faces festooned with mosses and licns and constantly washed by tumbling falls. A surprise sighting was of three beautiful Orange-headed Thrushes followed by a small flock of Wedge-tailed Green Pigeons. We taped in a co-operative Rusty-cheeked Scimitar Babbler and everyone was impressed with a pair of bizarre Blue-bearded Bee-eaters - from their behaviour they were presumably nesting in the vicinity; Blue-throated Barbet, Speckled Piculet, Grey-headed Woodpecker, Blue-capped Rock-Thrush, striking Black-faced Warbler, Striated Prinia, Rufous-capped Babbler, Rufous-winged Fulvetta and Chestnut-tailed Minla.

As we approached Pele La it became apparent that extensive road works were going to make it difficult to find the Satyr Tragopan. We did find one of Bhutan’s top birds here though when after a lengthy attempt we all enjoyed scope views of the shy Slender-billed Scimitar Babbler - a rare bamboo-probing specialist with an incredible bill. In addition everyone enjoyed great views also of Rusty-flanked Treecreeper, White-throated, Striated and Streaked laughingthrushes, six species of tits, Red Crossbill and the striking Collared Grosbeak.
NIGHT: Camping at Pele La.

March 30 Pele La and then drive to Trongsa. With roadwork disturbance on the main road we opted to bird down the old road and this provided a great result. Thanks to some brilliant ‘scope work by Dion we were all treated to extended views of two Himalayan Black Bears (new for David and Dion plus our Bhutanese crew). We watched one of the bears in the telescope as it slept peacefully in the sun and also found two Ghorals - a curious goat-like antelope endemic to the Himalayan peaks. The tragopan remained elusive but we enjoyed more views of the fabulous Himalayan Monal - one male almost flying into the group in response to playback. Other birds spotted in the morning included Rufous-bellied and Darjeeling woodpeckers, Alpine Accentor, Golden Bush Robin, Grey-sided Bush Warbler, Buff-barred Warbler and Crimson-browed Finch.

After breakfast gigantic Himalayan Griffon Vultures, struggling to find the first thermals of the morning, were gliding literally just around our campsite. As we descended a little we hit a high point of activity that included 18 Himalayan Griffon Vultures, a Golden Eagle and then it happened - an adult Lammergeier flew through the vulture kettle giving everyone superb views. This was the first Lammergeier seen on a Bhutan VENT tour and everyone was feeling lucky. Although we needed no convincing that we were experiencing something special we enjoyed our first good views of a flock of Snow Pigeons wheeling through the vultures.

Breaking our journey at the Chendibji Chorten set against the backdrop of the wild Black Mountains we had another enormous stroke of good fortune when a flock of that legendary blue bird of the Himalayas -the unbelievably blue Grandala wheeled against the pine forests. Another first for a Bhutan VENT tour and another indication that there was severe weather at high altitude. Finally we made it to Trongsa with a spectacular view of the Dzong. NIGHT: Trongsa

March 31 Trongsa to Shemgang. A long but incredibly spectacular drive through superb forest and agricultural land made it difficult not to stop every 100 metres but the good birds kept coming our way: a Eurasian Sparrowhawk mobbed a dark-morph Booted Eagle, Spotted Dove, Asian Barred Owlet, Himalayan Swiftlet, Nepal House Martin, Eurasian Crag Martin, Grey Wagtail, Blue-throated Flycatcher, Grey-headed Canary Flycatcher, White-browed Shrike-Babbler, White-crested and the elusive Blue-winged Laughingthrush, Chestnut-bellied Nuthatch, Yellow-breasted Greenfinch and Crested Bunting were amongst the highlights. We also encountered our first troops of the endemic Golden Langur as they unconcernedly watched us as we watched them eating the new leaves off various trees. A Giant Squirrel found at our lunch stop impressed participants not only with its size but the way it draped itself in the branches. As we approached our camp we flushed a Wild Boar from the roadside.
NIGHT: Camping near Tingtibi

April 1-2 The Shemgang Road. At 650 metres our campsite near Tingtibi permitted access to our lowest altitude in Bhutan and a host of bird species we were not to encounter elsewhere. The condition of the forest and the access to different altitudes via the Shemgang Road makes this an Asian birder’s paradise. With wet conditions the pressure was on to find the birds between the heavy showers of rain but in the end we did very well. Highlights included several great views of the endangered Rufous-necked Hornbill. This was probably closely followed by perched views of Great Hornbill – what a bird! It was hard to overlook the stunning Pin-tailed Green Pigeon and the incredible scope views we had of a pair of the very rarely seen Beautiful Nuthatch feeding in an epiphyte clad tree. The Shemgang Road is currently the only global site where you have a chance of seeing this enigmatic species.

Other good birds we found included Northern Goshawk, Barred Cuckoo-dove, Mountain Imperial Pigeon, Drongo Cuckoo, Asian Barred Owlet, Grey-crowned Pygmy Woodpecker, Lesser Yellownape, Grey-chinned Minivet, Bar-winged Flycatcher-shrike, Large Wood-shrike, Black-crested and Ashy Bulbul, Chestnut-bellied Rock Thrush, Common Tailorbird, Hill Prinia, Little Pied Flycatcher, the diminutive Pygmy Wren Babbler, White-browed Scimitar Babbler, Black-eared Shrike Babbler, Greater and Lesser Necklaced Laughingthrush, Rufous-necked Laughingthrush, Streaked Spiderhunter, Hair-crested Drongo and the sensational Green Magpie.
NIGHTS: Camping near Tingtibi.

April 3 Shemgang to Trongsa. Another wonder-filled day, replete with magical landscapes, great birds and plants as we retraced our steps back to Trongsa. It all began with a spectacular morning’s birding with incredible views of Rufous-necked Hornbill perched right beside the bus, allowing superb photographic opportunities and an excellent view of a male Pin-tailed Green Pigeon in a fruiting tree next to our vehicle. A distant Rufous-bellied Eagle was seen by a lucky few as was the rarely seen Rufous-faced Warbler. We were all treated to excellent views of Maroon Oriole, White-throated Bulbul and Black-winged Cuckoo-shrike plus many other species. Eventually, howver, it was time to return to Trongsa where the lure of a hot shower may have even outscored some of the birds seen on this last morning on the incredible Shemgang Road.
NIGHT: Trongsa

April 4 Trongsa to Bumthang. After the continuous run of birding highlights this day proved to be bit slow especially in the high altitude pass at Yutong La. Our strenuous Collared Owlet impersonations led to us being mobbed by the usual suspects. Everybody enjoyed a male Black Redstart and one lucky observer had a White-browed Bush Robin briefly reveal itself in a clump of bamboo.

The second half of the day brought quite a change of pace with a delightful ramble through the pine forests of the cold upland Bumthang valleys. We enjoyed numerous Black-billed Magpies of the Tibetan race bottae that has been split by some authorities. There were fields of Red-billed Choughs and another field full of Russet Sparrows plus several Beautiful Rosefinches and a couple of both Oriental Skylarks and Little Buntings. The latter part of the afternoon was a rare time to catch up on notes and revel in the intricacies of Aum Leki’s weavings at her delightful Jakar Guesthouse.

April 5 Jakar to Ura, crossing the Thrumsing La Pass (3900 metres) to Sengor. The journey to our camp at Sengor is surely one of the engineering marvels of the world. Despite the occasionally imperfect weather we still enjoyed spectacular views of truly incredible vistas covered with forests that really do extend as far as the eye can see.

A stop at the medieval village of Ura and its ornate monastery reminded us all just how different and how very special the Kingdom of Bhutan is! Crossing Thrumsing La (complete with fresh snow) and then a vertiginous descent as ever amidst seemingly unending and untouched primeval forests we had commenced our journey along the Limithang Road. The panoply of rhododendrons on the descent of Thrumsing La presented a most exquisite floral display. One of the great birds of the day was a singing Long-tailed Thrush that was scoped very well and a unique chance to study this supreme skulker. Equally exciting were a pair of Great Parrotbills that provided an excellent view. Only the second time this species has been seen on a VENT Bhutan tour. We also enjoyed Ibisbill, stunning male Orange-flanked Bush Robins, our first Yellowish-bellied Bush Warbler, for most people their first Green Shrike-Babbler. A Serow was scoped whilst feeding on an opposite “hill” side and everybody was able to view this rarely seen ungulate between the clouds.
NIGHT: Camping Sengor

April 6 Sengor to Lower Limithang Road. A beautiful crisp morning at Sengor saw us moving into the forest stealthily approaching a calling Satyr Tragopan. Despite our best efforts it proved to have the upper hand and remained hidden in the dense forest. But oh that forest. More good birds kept coming our way including a stunning male Crimson-browed Finch, a superb Crested Serpent Eagle that perched over the road, our only Besra of the trip, several Mountain Hawk-Eagles including displaying birds, close flying Fork-tailed Swifts, the stunning little Chestnut-headed Tesia (egg on legs), Blyth’s Leaf Warbler, Golden-spectacled Warbler, Dark-sided Flycatcher, Yellow-bellied Fantail and another pair of Slender-billed Scimitar-Babblers.

After another great lunch we birded below Namling. A super discovery was a female Black-headed Shrike Babbler, a major rarity – thanks George. Then we hit one of those great flocks of shimmering activity in a patch of dense bamboo that revealed the gorgeous Golden-breasted Fulvetta, Golden Babbler and the icing on the cake - 30 plus Black-throated Parrotbills. It had been quite a day and as we settled into camp we were serenaded by Mountain and Collared Scops owls plus Collared Owlet and Large Hawk-Cuckoo.
NIGHT: Camping Yongkola, Limithang Road (1900m)

April 7-8 Lower Limithang Road. Surely this is one of the planet’s most incredible birding locations and we lost no time to try and see as many of this area’s special birds as we could. Our first morning began somewhat slowly but quickly gained momentum: Yellow-throated Fulvetta, Oriental Cuckoo and finally a pocket-sized Collared Owlet, Red-headed Trogon, Rufous-bellied Woodpecker, Slaty-bellied and Grey-bellied tesias, Large Niltava, Pale Blue Flycatcher and an absolutely mega Rufous-throated Wren-Babbler that sang with gusto and afforded superb views. Then we bumped into one of those flocks and all hell broke loose as we had mind- blowing views of the incredible Cutia (30 plus).

After lunch we birded down the valley and encountered no less than eight Rufous-necked Hornbills, Striated Bulbul, a troop of very handsome Capped Langur, Spot-winged Grosbeak, Rufous-bellied Eagle, an incredibly co-operative Slender-billed Oriole and one of those frustratingly elusive Large Hawk-Cuckoos that sat out brilliantly and impressed everyone at its raptor mimicry.

Next morning it was up the hill and we stopped for a flock of rarely encountered Speckled Wood Pigeons. We lined up at the magic location and were treated to superb views of a female Ward’s Trogon - what a bird! Then we connected with the beautiful and little known Broad-billed Warbler. A lucky few had the window on a legendarily elusive Blue-fronted Robin and just about everyone enjoyed a good look at its close cousin the White-tailed Robin.

The afternoon we concentrated on some seriously rare birds and we were all delighted when we found the legendary Wedge-billed Wren Babbler. This bulldozer of the wren-babbler tribe was only rediscovered a couple of years ago and the Limithang Road remains the only site where you might find it in the world. Despite coming in very close, failing light prevented us seeing a Long-billed Wren-Babbler. Greater Rufous-headed Parrotbills (yet another major highlight) and Rusty-fronted Barwing were two more good discoveries.
NIGHTS: Camping Yongkola, Limithang Road.

April 9 Drive Limithang Road to Jakar (Bumthang Valley). Our last morning here did not disappoint and highlights included: Scarlet Finch, Gold-naped Finch, Brownish-flanked Bush-Warbler and then we were treated to a scintillating mixed foraging flock that dazzled us not only in its variety but in the speed with which it shimmered through the bamboo. Pride of place went to several Coral-billed Scimitar-Babblers and a stunning male Black-headed Shrike Babbler. A lucky few caught up with Grey-sided Laughingthrush and for those unlucky enough to have missed them before we found both Greater Rufous-headed and Black-throated parrotbills, Rusty-fronted Barwing, Slaty-bellied Tesia and further great views of the Wedge-billed Wren-Babbler. It was a morning of full of “real” birds but sadly it was time to leave. The return drive was highlighted not only by over 20 Blood Pheasants but in a deft piece of ornithological brilliance David taped in the very rare Bar-winged Wren-Babbler to within a metre and no one could miss it. By this stage everyone had been converted to becoming wren-babbler aficionados.
NIGHT: Aum Leki’s Guesthouse, Jakar

April 10 Jakar to Punakha. A long days drive but not without fantastic scenery, beautiful people and great birds including Chestnut-crowned Laughingthrush and a Leopard heard close to the road.
NIGHT: Zangtho Pelri, Punakha

April 11 Punakha to Dochu La and return to Punakha. This morning we concentrated on Satyr Tragopan but again we could only get a few tantalising calls. Our trail through magical Fir-Rhodendron-Bamboo forests was truly superb and Chestnut-crowned Laughingthrush was reseen for those that had missed it the day before. After lunch we struck a golden patch of birding enjoying great views of many species. One of the highlights was a female of the rarely seen Rufous-breasted Bush Robin and everyone enjoyed the glowing Rufous-bellied Niltava and Ultramarine Flycatchers. Some lucky observers caught glimpses of the shy Red-billed Leiothrix and there were great views of several woodpeckers and barbets, Brown-throated Treecreeper, several warblers and swifts including White-throated Needletails making for a very enjoyable afternoon. En route back to Punakha we had another superb view of a Pallas’s Fish Eagle.
NIGHT: Zangtho Pelri, Punakha

April 12 Punakha via Tashitang Road to Paro. Our last morning of birding was to end on yet another high note. A sumptuous breakfast feast and then a near mythical Long-billed Thrush was found feeding in the mud on the roadside (a new bird for David) and we all enjoyed an excellent view. What a bill! There was more to follow in the form of an exquisite male Emerald Cuckoo that glowed in the sun. For the icing on the cake a singing Spotted Wren Babbler (making a total of five wren-babblers seen and two heard) performed very well.

It was sadly time to leave and we drove through to Paro ready for our early morning departure the next day. We had our final lunch at Dochu La with Kandu, Chimmmi, Wangdi, Pema and the camp crew who had looked after us so well for our three weeks in the Kingdom of Bhutan and it made us even sadder. They had truly been fantastic. As we descended over the pass we were treated to a magic flock of Snow Pigeons wheeling beside us, a fantastic last birding spectacular. We bade farewell to Warren and Susan Jones who were staying on to enjoy a fabulous cultural tour.
NIGHT: Detchen Hotel, Paro

April 13 Fly Paro to Delhi. An early morning departure and thanks to David’s best efforts we managed to get most people seats on the right hand side hoping for a clear view of the great peaks of the Himalayas. This is exactly what eventuated and the views were spectacular as we flew parallel to Everest, Kanchenjunga, Lhotse, Makalu, Cho Oyu, Dhaulagiri, Manaslu and Annapurna. All of these peaks are greater than 8000 metres with of course Everest the highest in the world at 8848 metres. Arrival into Delhi was smooth and we enjoyed a farewell dinner of Italian food at the Radisson.

Trip List

© Dion Hobcroft / K. David Bishop


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