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BHUTAN

Wednesday 12th April - Thursday 4th May 2017

Dave Farrow

Satyr Tragopan (Dave Farrow)

Satyr Tragopan (Dave Farrow)

This years' tour to Bhutan was just simply exceptional. Yes, I know we always say that, but this trip really was special. It was clearly a year of plenty, with amazing encounters with rare things and some record-breaking totals. It differed physically to previous tours in that it featured a pre-tour extension to Kaziranga and Nameri, entered Bhutan at Gelephu and then ran in reverse of the usual itinerary. In Assam we saw Swamp Francolins, Greater Adjutants, Black-necked Storks, Slender-billed Vulture, Pallas's and Grey-headed Fish Eagle, Pied Harrier, Brown Fish Owl, Sand Lark, Pale-chinned Flycatcher, Spotted Bush Warbler and the rare Finn's Weaver, plus a Tiger, many Asian Elephant and Indian Rhinoceros. Crossing into Bhutan we enjoyed some very rich birding in the valleys and mountains, with eleven Beautiful Nuthatch in a single day, a staggering number of Satyr Tragopans (twenty-three individuals!) eleven Himalayan Monal and dozens (about 56 actually) of Blood Pheasants trotting along the roadsides. We saw a host of much-wanted birds such as Black-tailed Crake, Wood and Solitary Snipes, Ibisbills, Tawny Fish Owls, Hodgson’s Frogmouth, Pale-headed Woodpecker, Ward’s Trogon, Yellow-rumped Honeyguide, White-hooded Babbler, Slender-billed and Coral-billed Scimitar Babblers, Golden-breasted Fulvetta, six Parrotbill species including Pale-billed and Great, Long-billed Wren-babbler, Sikkim Wedge-billed Babbler, Spotted Elachura (which of course is no longer a Wren-babbler), Rufous-breasted Bush Robin, Green Cochoa, Fire-capped Tit, Sapphire Flycatcher and the incomparable Spotted Laughingthrush. A big surprise was yet another Red Panda (that’s two years running now) plus Smooth-coated Otters, Himalayan Gorals and Hodgson’s Giant Flying Squirrels.

Long-billed Wren-Babbler (Gerd Rotzoll)

Long-billed Wren-Babbler (Gerd Rotzoll)