Birding Bhutan

Day 1: Thimphu

Arrival at Paro airport. After clearing immigration we will drive east
through an enchanting valley with its decorated shingle-roofed houses and
willow-fringed river. Red billed Choughs are quite common in this valley and
as we head east we will stop to search for Ibisbill and Brown Dipper.
We will spend the night at Thimphu Bhutan`s delightful capital – at the
Hotel Pedling or a similar hotel.

Day 2: Dochu la
Today we will head east out of Thimphu, up onto the western slopes of 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 Fire-tailed Myzornis.
We`ll venture off road on to a couple of trails that enables us to explore
the forest more Thoroughly.
The night be be spent near Punakha in Meri Puen Sum Resort or equivalent.

Day 3: Punakha – Gangtey Gompa
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 have
seen Palla`s Gull and Palla`s Fishing Eagle regularly here. 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 occur here. We
will also make a proper search for Ward`s Trogon, perhaps Bhutan`s premier
avian prize, before heading on to the Dewachen Hotel in Gangtey Gompa or
similar.

Day 4: Gangtey Gompa – Trongsa
Leaving Gangtey we will follow the twisting road 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 Golden-breasted Fulvetta, surely one of the world`s most
attractive passerines. Night in Trongsa at the Yangkhil Resort or similar.

Day 5: Trongsa – Jakar
From Trongsa 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
monkey. 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.
We will spend the night in Jakar at the Swiss Hotel or similar.

Day 6: Jakar – Lingmethang Road
Continuing our circuit east we will climb eventually across the Thrumsingla,
at 12,465ft is Bhutan`s highest road pass. The road then plunges
dramatically down into rich semitropical rain forest. This is Lingmethang
road, 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-naped Pitta,
Blue-fronted Robin, and Wedge-billed and Bar-winged Wren Babblers.
3 nights accommodation in modern tents or a traditional house.

Day 7: Lingmethang Road
In our two days of exploring the fabulous, lush primary forests in search of
the area`s specialties we will also include a special area where
Rufous-necked Hornbill roost during the middle of the day. Some of the rare
species are Slender-billed and Coral-billed Scimitar Babblers, Scaly and
Blue-winged Laughingthrushes, Greater Rufous-headed Parrotbill, Broad-billed
Warbler and Rufous-throated Wren Babbler. Overnight at our Tented Camp.

Day 8: Lingmethang Road
As day 7

Day 9: Lingmethang Road – Bumthang – Jakar
Today we retrace our way back to Bumthang across the Thrumsingla pass
checking the places that we missed.
Overnight in Local Hotel.

Day 10: Bumthang
Full day in Bumthang to explore the cultural sites and do some of the best
walking trips through the farms, cattle and farm houses.
Overnight in local hotel.

Day 11: Jakar – Thimphu – Paro
Early drive to Thimphu across the passes Yotongla, Pelela, and finally
across Dochula and on to Thimphu and the arrive in Paro by the evening. Overnight at Paro at the Silver Pine Hotel or similar.

Day 12: Homeward Flights

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