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Afghan (or Theresa's) Snowfinch and Large-billed Reed Warbler

Afghanistan Birding Tours: Our Afghanistan bird watching expedition to the Bamiyan region focuses on the little-known Afghan Snowfinch (also known as Theresa’s Snowfinch) and Large-billed Reed Warbler. This is planned as a once-off visit to this little-birded country.

Saturday 23rd June — Sunday 1st July 2018
(9 days)

Leader: Mark Beaman

Group Size Limit: 8

Tour Category: Moderate

Well, you probably were not expecting this destination to feature in the expedition list were you? This is planned as a 'once-only' opportunity.

Mark Beaman last saw the little-known Afghan Snowfinch or Theresa's Snowfinch in the wild Hindu Kush mountains at the scenic Band-i-Amir National Park in July 1973. Indeed Mark reached Kabul on the very day the Afghan monarchy was overthrown in a revolution, and the country has been troubled ever since!

But with Bamiyan (or Bamyan) and the rest of the Hazarajat region nowadays being one of just a few peaceful parts of Afghanistan, he reckons it is time to return. Nonetheless, we will be flying between Kabul and Bamiyan as the roads to and from the region are not yet secure.

As well as the great prize, the snowfinch (a bird on hardly anyone's life list), there is a good chance there are Large-billed (or Long-billed) Reed Warblers breeding at Bamiyan, birds that in the distant past were misidentified as Blyth's Reeed Warblers both here and in the former Soviet Central Asian states. We shall see.

Bamiyan is now the only region of Afghanistan with a tourism office, although the number of foreign visitors is still in the low hundreds per year. We don't think that is likely to change soon! There are, however, extraordinary scenic wonders here (the landscapes of Band-i-Amir are truly awesome) and some fascinating archelological sites. Sadly the famous buddhas of Bamiyan were blown up as idolatrous when the Taliban ruled the country, much to the disgust of the local people, but the niches are still there, as are the lonely ruins of the cities Genghis Khan laid waste when his grandson was killed in battle in the area, leading to the repopulation of the area by Mongols, the ancestors of the present day Hazaras who inhabit the Hazarajat. A much persecuted ethnic group when the Taliban ruled Afghanistan, they look to a more peaceful future for the country and the return of the tourism that was once a mainstay of the local economy.

We have to have one night in Kabul at the start of the tour owing to the early timing of the Bamiyan flight (there are no overnight flight arrivals into Kabul), but we have chosen a comfortable hotel in what is regarded as a relatively safe part of the city close to the airport. Clearly this night is not without some degree of risk, but it cannot be avoided. On the way back it is easy to depart Kabul after the arrival of the flight from Bamiyan.

Needless to say, what with all the foreign government warnings about travel to Afghanistan, you will only be able to obtain travel insurance from a specialist provider, should you want insurance.

Accommodation & Road Transport: The hotel in Kabul is of good qualioty. In Bamiyan the hotel is medium quality. Road transport will be by minibus (passenger van). Nowadays, roads in Bamiyan region are mostly of reasonable quality, but we will still have to use rough dirt roads in some places.

Walking: Sometimes easy, but sometimes moderate effort in hilly areas.

Climate: In Bamiyan region it will be cool to warm or even hot. It will mostly be dry and sunny but overcast weather and even rain are possible.

Bird Photography: Opportunities will be worthwhile.

Expedition Price: £2250, €2570, $2950 Kabul/Kabul. Single Room Supplement: £280, €319, $367. Deposit: £300, €360, $390.

Includes surface transportation, accommodations, meals, water, entrance fees and tips/gratuities.

Also includes these flights: Kabul-Bamiyan-Kabul.

Base prices for this tour are in US Dollars. The exchange rates used are: £1 = $1.310 and €1 = $1.150.

Air Travel To & From The Tour: Our in-house IATA ticket agency will be pleased to arrange your air travel on request, or you may arrange this yourself if you prefer.

Many of the flights and flight-inclusive holidays on this website are financially protected by the ATOL scheme. But ATOL protection does not apply to all holiday and travel services listed on this website. Please ask us to confirm what protection may apply to your booking. If you do not receive an ATOL Certificate then the booking will not be ATOL protected. If you do receive an ATOL Certificate but all the parts of your trip are not listed on it, those parts will not be ATOL protected. Please see our booking conditions for information, or for more for more information about financial protection and the ATOL Certificate go to: www.atol.org.uk/ATOL Certificate

Birdquest Ltd is Registered in England, Company No. 01568270. The address of our registered office is Two Jays, Kemple End, Stonyhurst, Clitheroe, Lancashire BB7 9QY

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