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BHUTAN

Wednesday 18th April - Saturday 5th May 2012

Dave Farrow

White-bellied Heron (Dave Farrow)

White-bellied Heron (Dave Farrow)

It had been three years since the last Birdquest to Bhutan, and we returned for an outstanding trip full of superlatives and record-breaking. We recorded 387 bird species on the tour, 351 that were inside Bhutan itself, our joint third highest ever total for the country. Some of the headliners included a lengthy encounter with the magnificent White-bellied Heron – the leaders bogey-bird that chose this year’s tour to finally gave itself up, twenty sightings of fourteen Satyr Tragopans (surely a record count!), stunning views of Chestnut-breasted Partridge, the colourful partnership of Blood Pheasant and Himalayan Monal on our first morning, a stunning pair of Beautiful Nuthatches attending their football-like nest, and numerous Rufous-necked Hornbills including a great encounter with a female walling herself into her nest hole. Despite this being the thirteenth Birdquest to Bhutan we added seven species to the list, including a flock of Amur Falcons, and a first for the country in the shape of a calling Malayan Night Heron. We also saw Pallas’s Fish Eagle, Jerdon’s Baza, Black-tailed Crakes, Ibisbill, a pair of Ward’s Trogons, Yellow-rumped Honeyguide, Sapphire Flycatcher, Blue-fronted Blue Robin, four species of Forktail, thirteen gorgeous species of Laughingthrush including the incomparable Spotted, five species of Wren Babbler including the cute Long-billed, Crimson-faced Liocichla, Coral-billed and the extraordinary Slender-billed Scimitar Babblers, Golden-breasted and Yellow-throated Fulvettas, five species of Parrotbill, Black-headed Shrike-Babbler, Broad-billed Warbler, Fire-capped Tit, Gold-naped Finch, Blanford's Rosefinch, Fire-tailed Sunbird, Bay-backed Shrike and Slender-billed Oriole, with a splendid finale of two Hooded Pittas on our last morning.

Beautiful Nuthatch (Dave Farrow)

Beautiful Nuthatch (Dave Farrow)