Welcome to Birdquest
Sunday 14th September - Wednesday 1st October 2014
This must have been my most scenic tour ever! Vast, extraordinary landscapes with very few people and with hardly any artificial sound (a blessing for a keen sound recorder like me!), mountains, deserts and abundant, approachable wildlife. Mammals were a spectacular feature of our journey through this wonderful land with numerous Blue Sheep (or Bharal), Argali, Kiang (Tibetan Wild Ass), Grey Wolf (five sightings), Mountain Weasel and endearing pikas and voles. However, most important was seeing two Snow Leopards, one for more than one and a half hours, and the icing on the cake as far as our expedition was concerned. Birdlife in this part of Ladakh is also fascinating, although the number of species is low, and highlights included Himalayan and Tibetan Snowcocks, Tibetan Partridge, Black-necked Crane, Ibisbill, Tibetan Sandgrouse (positively numerous here!), Saker and Red-necked Falcon, Mountain Chiffchaff, Hume’s Whitethroat, the strange Groundpecker, Güldenstadt's Redstart, Brown and Robin Accentors, Plain and Brandt's Mountain Finches, Great and Streaked Rosefinches, and Tibetan and Blanford’s Snowfinches. It was also interesting to see the simple life led by the friendly, hard-working Ladakhi people. The trip necessitates a lot of camping, and an integral part of its success was Jigmet Dadul and his very professional crew that took such good care of us during the tour.