Over 72 per cent of the land is still forested and 26 per cent of the land is protected as National Parks! Bhutan is claimed to be the major part of the high bio-diversity conservation hotspot known as Eastern Himalayan hotspots. Apart from the birding, this tour will give you a feast of imposing architecture, breathtaking views, friendly people and natural beauty of this stunning mountain kingdom.
The trip will enable you to see most of the species recorded in Bhutan, the tour takes you right through the endemic bird areas and National Parks of Bhutan. By the end of the trip you will come to understand how the Bhutanese people have harmonized with culture and the natural environment over the centuries. This itinerary of birding from west to east Bhutan can be done from spring, early summer and autumn.
Day 1: Arrive Paro International airport from Delhi or Bangkok. Drive east through an enchanting valley to Thimpu, Bhutan's delightful capital, keeping an eye open for Red billed Choughs, Ibis bill and Brown Dipper. Overnight Thimphu.
Day 2: Drive to Dochu La, the first of a series of high altitude road passes. Entering the pristine mixed forests of hemlock, fir, oak, blossoming magnolias, and rhododendrons we should see a wealth of birds including some species rich feeding flocks. Quarrelsome Nutcrackers are common and other highlights may include a skulking Hill Partridge or Satyr Tragopan, Golden Bush Robin, an immaculate Cutia, Brown Parrotbill, or even a gorgeous Firetailed Myzornis. Overnight in the tented camp beside the Mochu River.
Day 3: Spending 2 nights in Punakha (1 night in the camp and 1 night in the Meripuensum Resort). We will explore the braided channels of MoChhu river and the bird-rich subtropical forests it contains - White bellied Heron (one of Bhutan's rarest birds), brightly colored mini vets, noisy Straited Laughingthrushes and may also see more Red headed Trogon, and Wedge tailed Piegon, Fire-capped Tit, White gorgeted Flycatcher and rare Yellow vented Warbler. We will also search for variety of skulkers including White browed Shortwing, Spotted and Pygmy Wren Babblers and all three species of tesia.
Day 4: Continuing east, past Wangdue Dzong (a monastery and fortress combined), we will make a series of brief stops to scan the braided river channel. We also check forest edges and explore some of the small patches of cultivation. We will enter productive forest near the end of our journey and will stop here to look for species such as Blood Pheasant, Satyr Tragopan or majestic Himalayan Monal. Spotted Laughingthrush, Yellowish bellied Bush Warbler, Rusty flanked Treecreeper, and white winged Grosbeak also occurs here. We will also make our proper search for Ward's Trogon, perhaps Bhutan's premier avian prize, before heading on to our superbly situated, Hotel in Phobjikha Valley.
Day 5: Travel over the Pelela Pass and into Central Bhutan. A stand of bamboo extend for about three miles below the pass and we will search here for specialties such as Great and Brown Parrotbills, and Goldenbreasted Fulvetta, surely one of the world's most attractive passerines. Night in Trongsa, Yangkhil Resort.
Day 6: We will initially head south. Our main target is the rare and little known Yellow rumped Honeyguide but we should see a number of other species perhaps including Emerald Dove, Large Niltava, and Russet Bush Warbler. The Valley here is also good area for the rare Golden Langur. Retracing our route we will climb over a pass into the first four valleys and rolling hillsides covered in spruce and fir and the avifauna alters equally abruptly. Nutcrackers can be common, though we will have to spend little more time searching for Beautiful Rosefinches. Night in Bumthang Hotel.
Day 7: Traveling east, we cross Thrumsing La (12465 feet), Bhutan's highest road pass. The road then plunges into rich semitropical rain forest, as perhaps Asia's premier birding road! Many of Bhutan's most sought after birds can be found here including Chestnut breasted Partridge, Ward's Trogon, the majestic Rufous necked Hornbill, Blue napped Pitta, Blue fronted Robin, and wedge billed and Bar winged Wren Babblers. 3 nights tented camp.
Days 8-9: We explore the fabulous, lush primary forests in search of the area's specialties, including the special area where the Rofous necked Hornbill rests during mid day. Some of the rare species are slender billed and Coral billed Scimitar Babblers, Scaly and Blue winged Laughing thrushes, Greater Rofous headed Parrotbill, Broad billed Warbler and Rofous throated Wren Babbler.
Day 10: Return to Bumthang across the Thrumsingla pass. Night at Jakar.
Day 11: Full day in Bumthang to explore the cultural sites and do some of the best walking trips through the farms, cattle and farm houses. Night in Jakar.
Day 12: Early drive to Wangdue. Overnight in Dragon Nest Resort.
Day 13: Wangdue to Thimphu - Handicrafts Emporium and shop in the city. Late in the afternoon depart for Paro. Night in Paro.
Day 14: Early drive to Chelala close to 4000 meters to look for Monals and Kalij Pleasants. Back in Paro you have the option of hiking to the Tiger’s Nest or make a visit to the National Museum housed in the 17th century watch tower for Paro Dzong.
Day 15: Flight to Delhi or Bangkok.
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