Great Himalayan National Park
Trip Report

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Trip Report symbol © Sumit Sen              GHNP Trip Repot
Text & Images: Prasad Ganpule, S.Das, R. Ganpule, A. Ganpule
              18th - 24th June, 2011


Indian Robin

The Great Himalayan National Park is located in Kullu district, Himachal Pradesh. It is a protected area and is an important Endemic Bird Area.

We visited the Great Himalayan National Park (GHNP) in Himachal Pradesh for trekking / bird watching in the third week of June. Our main target was the Western Tragopan (Tragopan melanocephalus). We trekked for four days in the Sainj valley and for one day in the Tirthan valley. The trekking was moderate.

Our itinerary was as follows:
June 18: Arrival at Sainj Village
June 19: Trek from Neuli to Chengah (approx two hours)
June 20: Trek from Chengah to Shakti (approx seven hours)
June 21: Trek from Shakti to Humkhani (approx four hours)
June 22: Trek from Humkhani to Neuli (approx ten hours)
June 23: Transfer to Nagini village in Tirthan Valley. Trek from Gushaini besides the Tirthan River (two hours)
June 24: Departure to Narkanda, Shimla.

We recorded the birds seen in the area. Whenever possible, photographs of the birds seen were taken. Photography was difficult in the densely forested areas. The birds seen on the road from Aut to Sainj, around Sainj town and on the road after the Jhalori Pass area up to the town of Ani, on the way to Narkanda, were also recorded though these areas do not directly fall inside the GHNP area, though some of these areas fall in the Eco-zone of the GHNP.
We did not see the Western Tragopan. Locals in the area and forest department officials informed us that the best time to see the Western Tragopan was in late March and early April.

Our trek was organized by Mr. Ankit Sood and Mr. Panki Sood of Sunshine Adventures. All the arrangements, including a guide and porters etc, were done by them. They can be contacted at . Sainj can be reached by turning right just before the Aut Tunnel, on the Delhi – Manali highway.

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Annotated Species List
The List of birds seen is as follows: {the order is as per Kazmierczak (2000) and this along with Rasmussen and Anderton (2005) was used for identification}

1. Black Kite Milvus migrans : Four seen around Sainj and one near Gushaini area.

2. Lammergeier Gypaetus barbatus: One seen once on the route between Chengah and Shakti.

3. Himalayan Griffon Gyps himalayensis: Common in the GHNP area with upto 15 to 20 individuals seen daily.

4. Common Kestrel Falco tinnunculus: One nesting pair near Sainj with three chicks.

5. Black Francolin Francolinus francolinus: Common near Sainj with calls heard regularly in the lower NP area.

6. Himalayan Monal Lophophorus impejanus: A pair with one chick seen near Humkhani area

7. Koklass Pheasant Pucrasia macrolopha: One female with three chicks seen on the way to Humkhani

8. Kalij Pheasant Lophura leucomelanos : Two males seen near Shakti FRH.

9. Oriental Turtle Dove Streptopelia orientalis: Seen thrice in the GHNP area

10. Wedge-tailed Green Pigeon Treron sphenura: Commonly seen in the GHNP area almost daily.

11. Speckled Wood Pigeon Columba hodgsonii: Commonly seen in the GHNP area almost daily

12. Rock Pigeon Columba livia: Common near Sainj and Neuli villages

13. Slaty-headed Parakeet Psittacula himalayana: Commonly seen in all areas

14. Large Hawk Cuckoo Hierococcyx sparverioides: One seen besides the Tirthan river near Gushaini

15. Himalayan Swiftlet Collocalia brevirostris: A group of five seen on road between Sainj and Gushaini

16. Alpine Swift Tachymarptis melba: Very common in Sainj with up to 25 seen.

17. Fork-tailed Swift Apus pacificus: two seen near Sainj

18. White-throated Needle tail Hirundapus caudacutus: two seen near Gushaini

19. White-throated Kingfisher Halcyon smyrnensis: Two seen near Sainj

20. Crested Kingfisher Megaceryle lugubris: One seen near Gushaini

21. Great Barbet Megalaima virens: Very common with two-three seen daily

22. Brown-fronted Woodpecker Dendrocopos auriceps: three seen near Neuli

23. Fulvous-breasted Woodpecker Dendrocopos macei: Two seen near Shakti area

24. Himalayan Woodpecker Dendrocopos himalayensis: Common in the NP area with three-four individuals seen thrice

25. Ashy Drongo Dicrurus leucophaeus: Common in the area

26. Spot-winged Starling Saroglossa spiloptera: One seen on the route between Chengah and Shakti . Not given in Gaston et al (1993)

27. Common Myna Acridotheres tristis: Common near Sainj

28. Jungle Myna Acridotheres fuscus: One seen on the road between Jhalori Pass and Narkanda

29. Yellow-billed Blue Magpie Urocissa flavirostris: Commonly seen almost daily

30. Red-billed Blue Magpie Urocissa erythrorhyncha: Three seen on the road from before Sainj

31. Grey Treepie Dendrocitta formosae: One seen near Sai Ropa area

32. Spotted Nutcracker Nucifraga caryocatactes: Common near Humkhani, good views of an adult feeding a juvenile

33. House Crow Corvus splendens: Common near Sainj and Gushaini villages

34. Large-billed Crow Corvus macrorhynchos: Very common in the area

35. Long-tailed Minivet Pericrocotus ethologus: Four seen near Humkhani

36. Himalayan Bulbul Pycnonotus leucogenys: Common in the area

37. Black Bulbul Hypsipetes leucocephalus: Common in the area

38. Rufous Sibia Heterophasia capistrata: One seen near Chengah village

39. Whiskered Yuhina Yuhina flavicollis: seen twice near Chengah

40. Streaked Laughingthrush Garrulax lineatus: Two seen near Shakti FRH

41. Variegated Laughingthrush Garrulax variegates: A pair seen near Humkhani

42. Ultramarine Flycatcher Ficedula superciliaris: One seen after Jhalori Pass

43. Rufous-gorgeted Flycatcher Ficedula strophiata: A pair seen near Humkhani

44. Verditer Flycatcher Eumyias thalassina: One individual seen near Jhalori pass

45. Grey-headed Canary Flycatcher Culicicapa ceylonensis: Common near Shakti FRH

46. Asian Paradise-flycatcher Terpsiphone paradise: Two white morph adult males seen between Shakti and Neuli villages

47. Grey-hooded Warbler Seicercus xanthoschistos: Commonly seen almost daily

48. Brownish-flanked Bush Warbler Cettia fortipes: very common with its distinctive call heard daily in all areas and good views of one individual near Shakti FRH

49. Hill Prinia Prinia atrogularis: One seen on the road after Jhalori Pass

50. Striated Prinia Prinia criniger: Common near Sainj area

51. Tickell’s Leaf Warbler Phylloscopus affinis: One seen in mixed hunting flock near Shakti FRH

52. Lemon-rumped Warbler Phylloscopus chloronotus: two seen near Gushaini

53. Greenish Warbler Phylloscopus trochiloides: One seen near Gushaini and calls heard

54. Western Crowned Warbler Phylloscopus occipitalis: Common in the NP area

55. Blyth’s Leaf Warbler Phylloscopus reguloides: One seen in mixed flock near Gushaini

56. Hume’s Warbler Phylloscopus humei: One seen in mixed flock near Shakti

57. Indian Blue Robin Luscinia brunnea: Two males seen singing on the trail from Shakti to Humkhani. It is not given in Gaston et al (1993). Unfortunately a photograph could not be taken there. (However a male was seen near Narkanda and photographed, hence its occurrence in the area was noted and confirmed. Photo attached here)

58. Golden Bush Robin Tarsiger chrysaeus: One seen on the trail near Gushaini

59. White-capped Water Redstart Chaimarrornis leucocephalus: One seen on the road after Jhalori Pass

60. Plumbeous Water Redstart Rhyacornis fuliginosus: Very common in the area

61. Little Forktail Enicurus scouleri: One seen on the Sainj river

62. Spotted Forktail Enicurus maculates: Seen thrice , both on the Sainj and Tirthan river

63. Brown Dipper Cinclus pallasii: Common in the Sainj river with almost 7 to 8 seen, including juveniles

64. White-throated Dipper Cinclus cinclus: One seen on the Sainj river just before Shakti which was smaller in size and looked different from the juvenile Brown Dippers seen in the area. This individual had a distinct white throat and upper breast with a darkish belly and grayish wings. It was probably a Juvenile White-throated Dipper. A record photograph is attached here, which is not very clear. If confirmed, it will be a new species for the area as it is not given in Gaston et al (1993).

65. Siberian Stonechat Saxicola torquata: One male seen on the road after Jhalori Pass

66. Pied Bushchat Saxicola caprata: One male seen

67. Grey Bushchat Saxicola ferrea: very common in the area

68. Blue Rock Thrush Monticola solitarius: One seen before Sainj

69. Blue Whistling Thrush Myophonus caeruleus: very common in the area

70. Long-tailed Thrush Zoothera dixoni: One individual seen just before Jhalori Pass

71. White-collared Blackbird Turdus albocinctus: Seen twice, a pair seen before Humkani and near Jhalori Pass

72. Grey-winged Blackbird Turdus boulboul: Common with three sightings in different areas

73. Great Tit Parus major: Common in the area

74. Black-lored Tit Parus xanthogenys: One on nest seen near Shakti

75. Green-backed Tit Parus monticolus: Common near Shakti FRH

76. Spot-winged Tit Parus melanolophus: One seen on the road after Jhalori Pass

77. Rufous-naped Tit Parus rufonuchalis: Seen after Jhalori Pass

78. Eurasian Treecreeper Certhia familiaris: One seen near Humkhani FRH

79. Bar-tailed Treecreeper Certhia himalayana: One seen near Humkhani FRH

80. White-cheeked Nuthatch Sitta leucopsis: A pair seen on the trail between Shakti and Humkhani in the forest. Could not be photographed.

81. Upland Pipit Anthus sylvanus: One individual seen near Humkhani

82. Grey Wagtail Motacilla cinerea: One seen near Shakti

83. Crimson Sunbird Aethopyga siparaja: One seen near Nagini Village

84. Mrs Gould’s Sunbird Aethopyga gouldiae; Seen twice near Chengah

85. Oriental White-eye Zosterops palpebrosus: Common in the area

86. Thick-billed Flowerpecker Dicaeum agile: One seen near Chengah village

87. Fire-breasted Flowerpecker Dicaeum ignipectus: One male seen near Chengah campsite

88. Russet Sparrow Passer rutilans: Common in the area

89. Yellow-breasted Greenfinch Carduelis spinoides: A pair seen on the road after Jhalori Pass

90. Pink-browed Rosefinch Carpodacus rodochrous: Two pairs seen near Humkhani

91. Rock Bunting Emberiza cia: Twice seen in the area, once after Jhalori Pass and once on the road after Jhalori Pass.

The list of birds given below is a record of the birds which could not be positively identified/ seen only fleetingly hence not considered as confirmed sightings.

1. European Turtle Dove Streptopelia turtur: One Dove, which was different from the Oriental Turtle Doves seen in the Park, which could not be conclusively identified

2. Ashy Wood Pigeon Columba pulchricollis: One Pigeon seen near Shakti FRH area which was grayish in colour but could not be photographed / identified.

3. Common Swift Apus apus: Two seen near Humkhani but identity could not be confirmed as we could not get good views

4. Bronzed Drongo Dicrurus aeneus: One seen near Neuli which looked like a Bronzed Drongo

5. Common Raven Corvus corax: One seen soaring near Jhalori Pass which could not be conclusively identified due to fog in the area but almost surely a Common Raven

6. Long-tailed Minivet Pericrocotus ethologus: One pair seen near Humkhani.

7. Stripe-throated Yuhina Yuhina gularis: Fleeting views of a Yuhina, which looked like a Stripe-throated Yuhina, but which could not be conclusively identified.

8. Bunting spp Emberiza: A juvenile Bunting with a white median covert wing bar, white sides of tail and streaked upper parts which did not look like a typical juvenile Rock Bunting. This could not be identified. Photograph attached for reference.

Gaston A.J, Garson P.J & Pandey S (1993): Birds recorded in the Great Himalayan National Park, Himachal Pradesh, India. Forktail (9): 45-57
Grimmett,R., Inskipp,C., & Inskipp,T. (1998). Birds of the Indian Subcontinent. London: Christopher Helm, A & C Black.
Kazmierczak, K. (2000): A field guide to the birds of India, Sri Lanka, Pakistan, Nepal, Bhutan, Bangladesh and the Maldives. London: Pica Press / Christopher Helm.
Rasmussen, P.C & Anderton, J.C. (2005) . Birds of South Asia: The Ripley Guide. 2 vols. Washington D.C and Barcelona. Smithsonian Institution and Lynx Edicions.

Prasad Ganpule:
Subhash Das:



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