Day 1: Arrival New Delhi. Escorted to Hotel for rest. Overnight: Hotel Delhi.
Day 2: Delhi - Chail. Morning drive from Delhi to Chail in the morning (approximately 8 h). Birding in Chail in the evening. One gets familiarized with common species such as Blue whistling thrush, Large billed crow, Green backed and Great tit, Arey-hooded Warbler, Russet sparrow, Wire-tailed swallow, Khalij pheasant, Oriental hobby etc. Overnight in Chail Palace.
Day 3: Chail - Narkanda. Drive from Chail to Narkanda after morning birding and breakfast. Make a brief stop at Kufri zoo to look at some Himalayan mammals. Birding in Narkanda in the evening. One can look for Indian blue robin, Brownish-flanked bush warbler, Himalayan griffon, Large hawk cuckoo, Black and yellow grosbeak, Spotted nutcracker, Sgreenish and Lemon-rumped warbler, Ultramarine and Asian brown flycatcher, Eurasian blackbird etc. Overnight in Hotel Hatu.
Day 4: Narkanda - Sarahan. Morning birding on the trail to Hatu peak. Drive to Sarahan (1920 m/5 h) a village surrounded by apple orchards and dominated by Srikhand Mahadev Peak (5155 m) and is famous for Bhimakali Temple and a pheasant breeding center. Rest of the day birding around the pheasant breeding center. One can expect White-throated fantail, Grey-headed canary, yellow-billed blue magpie, Common rosefinch, Crested bunting, Lammergeier, Common kestrel, Changeable hawak-eagle, Common tailor-bird etc. Overnight in Hotel Srikhand.
Day 5: Sarahan - Sangla. Morning drive to Sangla (2900 m/6 h) through the breathtaking gorges of the Greater Himalayas. Evening bird walk at Sangla. One can expect Brown dipper, Common Raven, European goldfinch, Fire-fronted serin, Lesser cuckoo, Booted eagle, Dark sided flycatcher, Western crowned warbler, Tree pipit etc. Overnight in tents.
Day 6: Sangla. Local birding drive leisurely to Chitkul (2 h) stopping for birding en route. Chitkul is the last inhabited village surrounded by green fields and high mountain peaks. For birders the special ones are Red-headed bullfinch, White-winged grosbeak, Gold crest, pink-browed rosefinch, Slaty blue flycatcher, White-tailed rubythroat, Rufous vented and Rufous napped tit, Spot winged tit, White cheeked nuthatch, Blue-capped redstart, Brambling etc. The quaint little houses, temples, gompas and the people of Baspa valley conjure up a perfect image of Shangri-La. Return to Sangla in the evening. Overnight in tents.
Day 7: Sangla - Nako. Drive to Nako via Khab. This is one of the prettiest drives in this region - from the confluence of Sutlej and Spiti rivers the road ascends into steep & winding drive with sparse vegetation and one can enjoy the view of snow clad Reo Purgill Peak. Stop at various places to look for birds. Near Nako, one can see Chukar, Pied wheatear, Golden eagle, Mountain chiffchaff, Golden oriole, Black red-start, Blue rock thrush, Hill pigeon, White-capped water red-start etc. Overnight in hotel or tents.
Day 8: Nako - Pin Valley National Park. This drive is via Tabo. We will make a brief stop here to see this 1000 year old monastery. We will also make stops on the way for birding. Overnight in tents. Includes: (B), (L), (D).
Day 9: Pin Valley National Park. We will explore surrounding areas for birding. Look for Himalayan snow-cock, Tibetan snow-finch, Eurasian eagle owl, Common swift, Long-tailed shrike, red-billed and yellow-billed choughs, tickell's leaf warbler, Horned lark, Citrine and White wagtail etc. Overnight in tents.
Day 10: Pin Valley National Park - Pang Mo. Drive in the morning via Kaza, Kibber and Kye monastery. We will camp in the scenic meadows of Pang Mo. At Kaza, we will have rooms for wash and shower for and hour or two. At the camp site one can look for Hume's short-toed lark, plain mountain finch, rock bunting, black redstart etc. One can expect to see Blue sheep, Pika, Red fox etc. Overnight in tents.
Day 11: Pang Mo - Chattru. Drive in the morning to Chattru stopping to look for birds at Losar and Kunzum Pass. After crossing the pass we will enter Lahul. We will look for birds in the meadows of Lahul and Chattru. Today we may see the Great rosefinch, Snow pigeon, Green sandpiper, Red-billed and yellow-billed choughs, Himalayan griffon etc. Overnight in tents.
Day 12: Chattru - Manali - Kullu - Goshaini. Drive in the morning from Chattru stopping to look for birds at Rohtang Pass. One can look for Monal, Khalij, Rosy pipit. This area remains less explored so we may have some special birds here. After crossing the pass we will head towards Goshaini via Manali. Overnight at Raju’s Lodge.
Day 13: Goshaini (1540 m) - Rolla (2040 m). In the morning we start out on a nice birding trek along Tirthan. Birds to be spotted: Ultramarine Flycatchers, Pink-browed Rosefinches, several laughing-thrushes, warblers, Bush warblers etc. Asian Barred Owlet and Big flocks of Slaty-headed Parakeets, Brown Dippers, Plumbous Redstarts and White-capped Water-redstarts are in plenty. The trail has a gradual gradient all the way through coniferous and broad-leafed forests taking about 5-6 hrs to reach our destination at Rolla.
Day 14: Rolla (2040 m) - Shilt (2900 m). Today we commence on a short but very steep trek to reach Shilt, through coniferous and broad leafed forests with occasional meadows. Birds to watch out for at Shilt include: Lammergeiers, Golden Eagles and Himalayan Griffons. Evening wander around Shilt to look for pheasants including the Western Tragopan. This elusive species prefers to rest in an inaccessible spot in thick dwarf bamboo in steep ravines. One also goes along a ridge through bamboo and forests. Birds to watch for include Monals, Collared and Spot-winged Grosbeaks, Plain Mountain-finches, Red-Eared Buntings and several rosefinches.
Day 15: Shilt - Kharongcha. Today we descend downwards to Kharongcha the starting point of the corezone of the Great Himalayan National Park. Birds to watch for are Koklas pheasants, Bar-tailed Treecreeper. Himalayan Woodpecker, Long-tailed Minivet, White-Cheeked Nuthatch. Overnight Camp at Kharongcha.
Day 16: Kharogcha - Gushaini. Today we get back on the same path to the road head at Gushaini. Birds to watch include various species of Laughingthrushes like the Variegated Laughing-Thrushes and Kalij Pheasants. Today is a small trek and the rest of the day can be spent at leisure at Raju’s Lodge.
Day 17: Departure to Delhi by Flight Afternoon Free. Evening flight back back home.
Note: Extension Trek - from Shilt to Dhela Thatch and Sainj Valley in the Great Himalayan National Park (7 Days extra).
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Asia India Nature & Wildlife Birdwatching
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