19 April - 7 May 2023
by Craig Robson
The first Birdquest tour to Bhutan for 6 years saw us immersed in the fantastically diverse avifauna of the eastern Himalayas. With over 400 species of birds recorded by us during this wonderful journey, there were some superb highlights: Blood Pheasant, Satyr Tragopan, Himalayan Monal, Kalij Pheasant, Black-tailed Crake, Ibisbills with young, Tibetan Sand Plover, Solitary Snipe, five sightings of the magnificent White-bellied Heron, Pallas’s Fish Eagle, Himalayan Owl, the lovely Ward’s Trogon, Rufous-necked Hornbill, Yellow-rumped Honeyguide, Black-headed Shrike-Babbler, Collared Treepie, Fire-tailed Myzornis, Golden-breasted Fulvetta, 7 species of parrotbill, Rufous-throated, Bar-winged and Long-billed Wren-Babblers, Himalayan Cutia, 15 species of laughingthrush, Spotted Elachura, Beautiful Nuthatch, 3 treecreepers, 4 bush robins, 4 forktails, Altai Accentor, 3 species of grosbeak, 9 rosefinches, and Tibetan Serin. Our mammal list was not huge, but included Himalayan Goral, and Nepal Grey, Gee’s and Capped Langurs. 50 species of butterflies were noted, and there were many beautiful plants. The scenery was stunning throughout!
The tour got underway at out hotel in Delhi, where we did a little introductory birding before dinner. We were on our way very early the following morning, to catch a dawn flight to Paro, close to Bhutan’s capital Thimpu. We met our local guide Tandin Gyeltshen, and trusty driver Lambu Tshering, made ourselves at home on our comfortable bus, and set off on our journey into the Himalayan wilderness.
Dochu La, the first of many mountain passes, was our first port of call, for lunch. Several species of laughingthrush entertained us next to the restaurant, with White-throated, Black-faced, and a couple of stunning Spotted’s the highlight. Downhill at the Botanical Gardens we enjoyed Speckled Wood Pigeon and the local plain-headed form of Eurasian Jay. We continued on to our comfortable and well-poised hotel at Punakha.
The following day saw us focusing our efforts on a search for the Critically Endangered White-bellied Heron. We scanned stretches of river to the north-east and north-west of the impressive Punakha Dzong, and south to its favourite haunts closer to Wangdue Dzong, but there was no sign. On our last morning, we were saddened to see two selfish and thoughtless photographers walking all over some of the best habitat, disturbing many breeding birds. Despite the lack of large statuesque herons, we enjoyed a good taste of the avifauna of the area, with the likes of Kalij Pheasant, Grey Nightjar, Grey-bellied Cuckoo, a pair of Ibisbills with three fluffy chicks, breeding River Lapwings, Pallas’s Fish Eagle, Crested Kingfisher, Slender-billed Oriole, Tickell’s Leaf Warbler, Rusty-cheeked Scimitar Babbler, and Crested Bunting. A male Mandarin Duck, pairs of Red-crested Pochard and Great Crested Grebe, and Citrine Wagtails were a surprise, as were singles of Black-winged Stilt, Kentish Plover, Wood Sandpiper, and Pallas’s Gull.
We continued eastwards, taking a well-deserved lunch at Nobding, having just completed a fruitful late morning’s birding nearby, with a stunning pair of Ward’s Trogons, and our first Yellow-rumped Honeyguides and Himalayan Cutias. Next came lofty Pele La, where a short walk produced a nice selection of birds including Himalayan Griffon, Spotted Nutcracker, Red-billed Chough, Rufous-vented and Grey-crested Tits, Ashy-throated, Buff-barred, Lemon-rumped, Blyth’s Leaf and Whistler’s Warblers, White-browed Fulvetta, Stripe-throated and Rufous-vented Yuhinas, Chestnut-tailed Minla, Rusty-flanked Treecreeper, White-collared Blackbird, Green-tailed Sunbird, and several female Dark-breasted Rosefinches. Our first vividly-endowed Fire-tailed Myzornis made an all too brief appearance.
We reached our attractive hotel in the Phobjikha Valley in time to explore some marshy areas but turned up little ahead of a looming thunderstorm. A single Eurasian Hobby was noteworthy. There was nothing to show for our efforts early the following morning either, or we headed back up to the Pele La. Using the bus as a hide, we had fantastic views of several imperious Himalayan Monals, and added Rufous-bellied Woodpecker, Yellow-billed Blue Magpie, ‘Himalayan’ Coal Tit, Large-billed Leaf Warbler, Grey-sided Bush Warbler, Rufous-fronted Bushtit, Rufous-winged Fulvetta, a female Hodgson’s Redstart, Chestnut-bellied Rock Thrush, Rosy and Olive-backed Pipits, Crimson-browed Finch, Himalayan White-browed Rosefinch and an unexpected noisy flock of Tibetan Serins.
Before lunch in Trongsa, with its beautiful Dzong, we stopped to admire a large breeding colony of Nepal House Martins. The road climbed again after Trongsa, this time to the Yutong La. Highlights during an hour-long birding stop here included Rufous Sibia, Hoary-throated Barwing, Red-tailed Minla, and stunning Mrs Gould’s Sunbirds. Mid to late afternoon saw us checking bushes and a stream at Gaytsa, where we saw our first Black-rumped Magpies, and then flushed our only Solitary Snipe of the tour. A single Eurasian Coot, a tour write-in, was totally unexpected. The well-appointed Rinchenling Lodge near Jakar was our home for the night, complete with a calling Himalayan Wood Owl (which would have to wait) and White-collared Blackbirds in the garden.
Early the following morning, in a well-known bamboo-grove, three hefty Brown Parrotbills entertained us, as did a showy pair of Black-tailed Crakes on a nearby creak. Continuing onwards towards Ura, a pair of Himalayan Monals caught our attention, as did our first White-winged Grosbeaks, ‘Himalayan’ Common Crossbills, and Red-headed Bullfinches. Quality stuff – but only to be quickly upstaged by a superb male Satyr Tragopan poised amongst mauve-pink Drumstick Primroses right by the roadside. Just before Ura itself, a couple of flocks of Plain Mountain Finches swirled, and in the scrub and bushy vegetation around the settlement itself, we had nice views of Himalayan Beautiful and ‘Himalayan’ Common Rosefinches, and Rufous-breasted Accentor. Winding our way ever upwards, we arrived at the heady Thrumsing La, one of the two highest passes of the tour. We met our camp crew for the first time, as they served us a rather breezy and chilly lunch. Quickly walking through the pass and then moving somewhat lower in altitude, we warmed-up a bit, and started adding more great birds to our growing total. Blood Pheasant was seen briefly by some of us, while much better views of another Fire-tailed Myzornis were welcomed by all, along with our first sightings of the incredible Fire-tailed Sunbird. Some areas of bamboo under coniferous forest produced some responsive Great Parrotbills, but a Fulvous Parrotbill that came close, failed to reveal itself. Winding downhill we eventually arrived at Sengor and our first camp at the beginning of the Lingmethang Road.
A return to Thrumsing La was the option that we chose early the next day and, just over the top of the pass, we found what we were looking for, in the shape of a very tame pair of stunning Blood Pheasants. Retracing our steps a bit, we found one or two more wonderful Fire-tailed Myzornis, and lower still, an amazingly obliging Scaly-breasted Cupwing, Hume’s Bush Warbler, a fantastic pair of Slender-billed Scimitar Babblers, several Hodgson’s Treecreepers, a trio of bush robins, with a male of the scarce Rufous-breasted tagging along with Golden and Himalayan Bluetail, as well as our first Blue-fronted Redstart. Collared Grosbeaks were vocal but only seen well by one or two of us. A female Dark-rumped Rosefinch showed quite well, before an unexpected pair of rare Blanford’s Rosefinches appeared. After lunch back at camp we ventured lower along the Lingmethang Road. We found quite a different selection of birds this side of camp, with Short-billed Minivet, Green Shrike-Babbler, Yellow-bellied Fantail, Yellow-browed Tit, and Rufous-bellied Niltava amongst other species. At dusk, we enjoyed excellent looks at Himalayan Owl.
Breaking camp the following day we, we worked our way down to Yongkola. At the upper end of our route we tempted out a wonderful Bar-winged Wren-Babbler, and Himalayan Shortwing, and a male Crimson-browed Finch was welcome. A beautiful waterfall hosted Brown Dipper and Little Forktail, while lower still, at ‘tea break’, there was Mountain Hawk-Eagle, Crimson-breasted Woodpecker, a vocal Black-headed Shrike-Babbler, our first Striated Bulbul, Yellow-cheeked Tit, a pair of smart Scaly Laughingthrushes, White-tailed Nuthatch, and some of us managed to see the Orange-eared Parrotbill (a potential split from Black-throated). Not far from Yongkola Camp, our final birding session produced Asian Emerald Cuckoo, Grey-cheeked Warbler, White-naped Yuhina, Yellow-throated Fulvetta, and Black-throated Sunbird.
During our two days based at Yongkola, we explored various elevations and habitats. The best bird highlights included Rufous-necked Hornbill, Blue-bearded Bee-eater, Speckled and White-browed Piculets within 100m of each other, Himalayan Bulbul, the much-wanted Beautiful Nuthatch, Yellow-vented Leaf and Black-faced Warblers, great views of both Rufous-throated and Long-billed Wren-Babblers, Nepal Fulvetta, Black-chinned Yuhina, Rufous-necked, Rufous-chinned, and the more slippery Blue-winged Laughingthrush, Rusty-fronted Barwing, Pale Blue Flycatcher, Blue-capped Rock Thrush, Spotted Forktail, and Spot-winged Grosbeak. As far as mammals were concerned, troupes of restricted-range Capped Langurs were much appreciated, and we enjoyed watching a huge Black Giant Squirrel coming down to carry away its stranded youngster.
A long day’s drive (by Bhutan standards) took us back to Bumthang, where our cravings for comfort were briefly satisfied. We picked up a couple of good new birds along the way, with White-spectacled Warbler and the lovely Golden-breasted Fulvetta. We also had our best views yet of a pair of Blood Pheasants.
A couple of hours birding back at the Yutong La the next morning was quite slow and hampered by poor weather. Craig found some Fulvous Parrotbills in a bamboo dip, but they were keen to get away. Another stop at some honeycombs produced three Yellow-rumped Honeyguides. After an early lunch in Trongsa, we enjoyed great views of a displaying pair of near-endemic Bhutan Laughingthrushes, before branching-off south along a narrow road towards Tingtibi. Soon afterwards we found our first troupes of beautiful Gee’s Golden Langurs, perhaps Bhutan’s most famous mammal. There were few other avian highlights as we completed another long drive to our newly situated camp beyond Tingtibi, but they included our first sighting of the now vocally familiar Collared Owlet, and more Kalij Pheasants.
We awoke refreshed, before what was to be one of our best birding days of the tour, in the Tingtibi area. As soon as we hopped off the bus at the bottom of the hill, there was a sultry Pin-tailed Green Pigeon in full view, and then almost immediately, two Pale-billed Parrotbills on a thin bamboo stem, followed quickly by great views of both White-hooded Babbler and White-breasted Parrotbill – a real bamboo-fest. Around the corner the bamboo-lovers continued, with Pale-headed Woodpecker and Rufous-faced and Yellow-bellied Warblers. The biggest surprise, however, was when Tandin calmly mentioned that there was a White-bellied Heron down on the river! We enjoyed scope views before it slipped out of site. Not to worry though as we were to have two more sightings of a presumed different individual in the afternoon. Either side of a picnic-lunch by the river near town, we also added Rufous-bellied Eagle, a superb Great Hornbill, Chestnut-winged Cuckoo, White-throated and Ashy Bulbuls, and White-browed Scimitar Babbler etc.
We broke camp again and spent the day casually driving and birding to our next destination at Batasey, crossing the relatively low and well forested Tama La in the process. We encountered yet another distinct set of birds. A calling Grey Peacock-Pheasant and a couple of Red-headed Trogons evaporated, before our luck improved with Blyth’s Shrike-Babbler, Black-throated Bushtit, Sikkim Treecreeper, a well appreciated Spotted Elachura, Coral-billed (or Black-crowned) and Streak-breasted Scimitar Babblers, Himalayan Cutia, Grey-sided Laughingthrush, singing Grey-winged Blackbirds, White-tailed Robin, Large and Small Niltavas, and several Scarlet Finches.
During a day based at Batasey Camp, we dodged thunderstorms and explored downhill towards Gelephu. Our diminishing crop of new birds was highlighted by a reactive Hodgson’s Hawk Cuckoo, a pair of wonderful Long-tailed Broadbills at their nest, the rare Collared Treepie, Grey-headed Parrotbill, Red-faced Liocichla, and our best views of the sneaky Blue-winged Laughingthrush.
The next day we headed downhill again, this time into the ‘Indian’ plains around the border town of Gelephu, where we had lunch before following the Indian border west to Sarpang, and then ascending the front-ranges once more to our final camp of the tour on Darachu Pass at 1950m asl. This was a full-on day with everyone keen to bag as many lowland species as possible, and we ended-up with a staggering 49 additions to the tour total! The many highlights included Indian Peafowl, Banded Bay Cuckoo, Green Imperial Pigeon, Jerdon’s Baza, Oriental Pied and Wreathed Hornbills, Chestnut-headed Bee-eater, Indochinese Roller, Fulvous-breasted Woodpecker, Black-hooded Oriole, Rufous Treepie, Jungle Babbler, many Common Hill Mynas, Indian Pied Starling, a totally unexpected pair of Black-backed Forktails, Asian Fairy-bluebird and Crimson and Ruby-cheeked Sunbirds. Black Francolin and an unexpected Blue-naped Pitta were both only heard, the latter tantalizingly close.
There were limited birding opportunities during the drive up to our lovely hotel in a side-valley at Wangdue Phrodang. Nesting Barn and Red-rumped Swallows, and some fine architecture entertained us briefly in Damphu, while the best lowland forest that we passed produced good views of Greater Necklaced Laughingthrush, and Velvet-fronted Nuthatch – the latter an unexpected tour write-in. After lunch we said our goodbyes to the camp-crew and before long we had gone full circle on the tour and were scanning the river again at Bajo, Wangdue. Yet another White-bellied Heron was spotted at the river confluence by Wangdue Dzong, and we enjoyed scope views from the roadside. At Bajo, Bar-headed Goose, Common and Ruddy Shelducks, Garganey, Eurasian Teal, a feasting Pallas’s Fish Eagle, Temminck’s and Little Stints, and a ‘Tibetan’ Common Tern added some variety before we called it a day.
Early the next morning at Bajo, we had our fifth and final sighting of White-bellied Heron (likely the bird seen on the previous day), but there was little else to add. We continued up to the Botanical Gardens at Dochu La. Superb views of a male Hill Partridge was the highlight there, although a pair of Lesser Cuckoos, several smart Ultramarine Flycatchers and a dazzling male Scarlet Finch were also nice. Nearby, Russet Bush Warbler finally gave itself up for excellent views, and a group of Spot-winged Grosbeaks made a brief pass. Lunch was downed at the pass restaurant once more, before we continued our journey to Paro. Briefly calling-in at the windswept and eye-and nose- opening Thimpu Sewage Lagoons, we found a nice breeding-plumaged Tibetan Sand Plover (recently split from Lesser). In Paro, we found another pair of Ibisbills with a chick, and we finished-off the day with Indian Blue Robin and views of the famed Tiger’s Nest monastery.
Our last birding day was spent at Chele La, a 3,800m pass along the small windy road to Haa. Early morning brought no fewer than five pairs of Blood Pheasants by the roadside, and we also spotted several Himalayan Monals and 11 Kalij Pheasants. Chilled and with eyes streaming at the pass, we stumbled on a flock of eagerly foraging Altai Accentors, accompanied by two Plain Mountain Finches, and other morning highlights included White-browed Bush Robin, Goldcrest, Eurasian Wren, and good views of both Dark-rumped and Himalayan White-browed Rosefinches. The afternoon bombed somewhat, and we retired quite early to our hotel for some well-deserved R & R.
Before we knew it, the tour was over and we were heading home, but what a great adventure it had been!
SYSTEMATIC LIST OF SPECIES RECORE
Lesser Whistling Duck Dendrocygna javanica At least 90 at Gelephu Sewage Ponds.
Bar-headed Goose Anser indicus Two or three on the river at Bajo, Wangdue.
Common Shelduck Tadorna tadorna A single bird at Wangdue.
Ruddy Shelduck Tadorna ferruginea
Mandarin Duck Aix galericulata A fine male along the Puna Tsang Chu, Punakha. Tour write-in.
Garganey Spatula querquedula A single female at Wangdue. Tour write-in.
Northern Shoveler Spatula clypeata Maximum of three females at Wangdue. Tour write-in.
Gadwall Mareca strepera
Eurasian Wigeon Anas penelope
Northern Pintail Anas acuta Three females at Wangdue. Tour write-in.
Eurasian Teal Anas crecca A pair at Wangdue. Tour write-in.
Red-crested Pochard Netta rufina A pair at Wangdue. Tour write-in.
Tufted Duck Aythya fuligula
Common Merganser Mergus merganser
Hill Partridge Arborophila torqueola Superb views of a male at Dochu La Botanical gardens. Commonly heard.
Chestnut-breasted Partridge Arborophila mandellii Heard-only.
Rufous-throated Partridge Arborophila rufogularis Heard-only.
Blood Pheasant Ithaginis cruentus A total of 16 seen, with some fantastic views.
Satyr Tragopan Tragopan satyra Single male and female seen.
Himalayan Monal Lophophorus impejanus Eight seen, with some fine males.
Kalij Pheasant Lophura leucomelanos At least 21 seen; melanota (west) and lathami (east).
Indian Peafowl Pavo cristatus A couple at Gelephu.
Grey Peacock-Pheasant Polyplectron bicalcaratum Heard-only.
Red Junglefowl Gallus gallus
Black Francolin Francolinus francolinus Heard-only. Gelephu Sewage Ponds.
Grey Nightjar Caprimulgus jotaka Seen well at our hotel at Punakha. Heard elsewhere.
Himalayan Swiftlet Aerodramus brevirostris
White-throated Needletail Hirundapus caudacutus
Asian Palm Swift Cypsiurus balasiensis
Blyth’s Swift Apus leuconyx Regularly seen in Bhutan, where it breeds.
House Swift Apus nipalensis
Lesser Coucal Centropus bengalensis
Green-billed Malkoha Phaenicophaeus tristis
Chestnut-winged Cuckoo Clamator coromandus Several scattered sightings of this superb bird.
Asian Koel Eudynamys scolopaceus
Asian Emerald Cuckoo Chrysococcyx maculatus
Banded Bay Cuckoo Cacomantis sonneratii
Plaintive Cuckoo Cacomantis merulinus Heard-only.
Grey-bellied Cuckoo Cacomantis passerinus Seen well near Punakha and heard at Gelephu.
Square-tailed Drongo-Cuckoo Surniculus lugubris
Large Hawk-Cuckoo Hierococcyx sparverioides
Hodgson’s Hawk-Cuckoo Hierococcyx nisicolor A good look at one below Batasey Camp.
Lesser Cuckoo Cuculus poliocephalus A pair seen at Dochu La Botanical Gardens. A few heard.
Indian Cuckoo Cuculus micropterus Heard-only.
Himalayan Cuckoo Cuculus saturatus
Common Cuckoo Cuculus canorus
Rock Dove (Feral Pigeon) Columba livia Birds at the hotel in Delhi were wild Rock Doves.
Speckled Wood Pigeon Columba hodgsonii
Oriental Turtle Dove Streptopelia orientalis
Spotted Dove Spilopelia chinensis
Laughing Dove Spilopelia senegalensis One in the hotel garden in Delhi.
Barred Cuckoo-Dove Macropygia unchall
Common Emerald Dove Chalcophaps indica
Yellow-footed Green Pigeon Treron phoenicopterus In the hotel garden in Delhi.
Pin-tailed Green Pigeon Treron apicauda Nice perched views near Tingtibi.
Wedge-tailed Green Pigeon Treron sphenurus
Green Imperial Pigeon Ducula aenea Several at Gelephu.
Mountain Imperial Pigeon Ducula badia
Common Moorhen Gallinula chloropus
Eurasian Coot Fulica atra One at Gaytsa, and four at Thimpu Sewage Lagoons. Tour Write-in.
Black-tailed Crake Zapornia bicolor Great views of a pair at Jakar.
White-breasted Waterhen Amaurornis phoenicurus
Great Crested Grebe Podiceps cristatus Two on the river at Bajo, Wangdue.
Ibisbill Ibidorhyncha struthersii Two pairs seen with chicks (3 and 1).
Black-winged Stilt Himantopus himantopus One at Wangdue. A tour write-in.
River Lapwing Vanellus duvaucelii Still common in places, with chicks noted near Punakha.
Red-wattled Lapwing Vanellus indicus
Little Ringed Plover Charadrius dubius Good numbers at Wangdue, where it breeds.
Kentish Plover Charadrius alexandrinus One at Wangdue.
Tibetan Sand Plover Charadrius atrifrons One in breeding plumage at Thimpu Sewage Lagoons. A recent split.
Temminck’s Stint Calidris temminckii Two at Wangdue. A tour write-in.
Little Stint Calidris minuta Three or four at Wangdue.
Solitary Snipe Gallinago solitaria A single bird at Gaytsa.
Common Sandpiper Actitis hypoleucos
Green Sandpiper Tringa ochropus
Wood Sandpiper Tringa glareola One at Bajo, Wangdue.
Common Greenshank Tringa nebularia
Pallas’s Gull Ichthyaetus ichthyaetus One at Wangdue. A tour write-in.
Common Tern Sterna hirundo One tibetana (Tibetan C T) at Wangdue. Another tour write-in.
Little Cormorant Microcarbo niger At least 11 occupied nests in a rookery at Gelephu. Another 3 birds at Sarpang.
Red-naped Ibis Pseudibis papillosa Non-leader. One flew over the hotel garden in Delhi.
Black-crowned Night Heron Nycticorax nycticorax Heard-only. Several heard at night >2000m asl. Tour write-in.
Striated Heron Butorides striata One on the river north of Gelephu.
Indian Pond Heron Ardeola grayii
Eastern Cattle Egret Bubulcus coromandus A rookery at Gelephu contained many occupied nests.
White-bellied Heron Ardea insignis Five separate sightings, involving 3-4 individuals. Tingtibi and Wangdue.
Little Egret Egretta garzetta
Osprey Pandion haliaetus One at Wangdue.
Crested Honey Buzzard Pernis ptilorhynchus
Jerdon’s Baza Aviceda leuphotes One at Gelephu was a tour write-in.
Himalayan Vulture Gyps himalayensis A total of 33 were logged.
Crested Serpent Eagle Spilornis cheela
Mountain Hawk-Eagle Nisaetus nipalensis
Rufous-bellied Eagle Lophotriorchis kienerii
Black Eagle Ictinaetus malaiensis
Shikra Accipiter badius
Besra Accipiter virgatus
Eurasian Sparrowhawk Accipiter nisus
Black Kite Milvus [migrans] govinda
Pallas’s Fish Eagle Haliaeetus leucoryphus An adult was seen well at Bajo, Wangdue.
Himalayan Buzzard Buteo burmanicus
Collared Owlet Glaucidium brodiei Two seen well and many heard.
Asian Barred Owlet Glaucidium cuculoides
Mountain Scops Owl Otus spilocephalus Heard-only.
Brown Wood Owl Strix leptogrammica Heard-only. A tour write-in at Yongkola.
Himalayan Owl Strix nivicolum Great views of one of a pair at Sengor. Heard elsewhere.
Red-headed Trogon Harpactes erythrocephalus
Ward’s Trogon Harpactes wardi A pair seen well at Nobding. Awesome.
Eurasian Hoopoe Upupa epops
Great Hornbill Buceros bicornis Several seen well; Tingtibi to Gelephu.
Oriental Pied Hornbill Anthracoceros albirostris
Indian Grey Hornbill Ocyceros birostris One in the hotel garden in Delhi.
Rufous-necked Hornbill Aceros nipalensis Not uncommon at the right altitude, with ten seen.
Wreathed Hornbill Rhyticeros undulatus One at Gelephu.
Indochinese Roller Coracias affinis Several at Gelephu.
White-throated Kingfisher Halcyon smyrnensis
Common Kingfisher Alcedo atthis
Crested Kingfisher Megaceryle lugubris
Blue-bearded Bee-eater Nyctyornis athertoni
Chestnut-headed Bee-eater Merops leschenaulti
Great Barbet Psilopogon virens
Brown-headed Barbet Psilopogon zeylanicus One in the hotel garden in Delhi.
Lineated Barbet Psilopogon lineatus
Golden-throated Barbet Psilopogon franklinii
Blue-throated Barbet Psilopogon asiaticus
Blue-eared Barbet Psilopogon duvaucelii
Coppersmith Barbet Psilopogon haemacephalus One at the hotel in Delhi.
Yellow-rumped Honeyguide Indicator xanthonotus Five seen in all, attending honeycombs, with some scoped.
Speckled Piculet Picumnus innominatus
White-browed Piculet Sasia ochracea
Grey-capped Pygmy Woodpecker Yungipicus canicapillus
Crimson-breasted Woodpecker Dryobates cathpharius
Rufous-bellied Woodpecker Dendrocopos hyperythrus
Fulvous-breasted Woodpecker Dendrocopos macei
Darjeeling Woodpecker Dendrocopos darjellensis
Greater Yellownape Chrysophlegma flavinucha
Lesser Yellownape Picus chlorolophus
Grey-headed Woodpecker Picus canus
Pale-headed Woodpecker Gecinulus grantia Heard near Lingmethang and Tingtibi; seen briefly at the latter.
Bay Woodpecker Blythipicus pyrrhotis
Rufous Woodpecker Micropternus brachyurus Heard-only.
Common Kestrel Falco tinnunculus
Eurasian Hobby Falco subbuteo One at dusk in the Phobjikha Valley, where it is known to breed.
Red-breasted Parakeet Psittacula alexandri
Rose-ringed Parakeet Psittacula krameri
Long-tailed Broadbill Psarisomus dalhousiae A lovely pair at a nest below Batasey Camp.
Blue-naped Pitta Hydrornis nipalensis Heard-only. We were very close to seeing one near Gelephu. Another heard.
Bar-winged Flycatcher-shrike Hemipus picatus
Ashy Woodswallow Artamus fuscus
Common Iora Aegithina tiphia
Grey-chinned Minivet Pericrocotus solaris
Short-billed Minivet Pericrocotus brevirostris
Long-tailed Minivet Pericrocotus ethologus
Scarlet Minivet Pericrocotus speciosus
Large Cuckooshrike Coracina macei
Black-winged Cuckooshrike Coracina melaschistos
Brown Shrike Lanius cristatus
Long-tailed Shrike Lanius schach
Grey-backed Shrike Lanius tephronotus
Green Shrike-Babbler Pteruthius xanthochlorus
Black-eared Shrike-Babbler Pteruthius melanotis
Black-headed Shrike-Babbler Pteruthius rufiventer A single male along the Lingmethang Road.
Blyth’s Shrike-babbler Pteruthius aeralatus
White-bellied Erpornis Erpornis zantholeuca
Maroon Oriole Oriolus traillii
Black-hooded Oriole Oriolus xanthornus
Slender-billed Oriole Oriolus tenuirostris
Bronzed Drongo Dicrurus aeneus
Lesser Racket-tailed Drongo Dicrurus remifer
Greater Racket-tailed Drongo Dicrurus paradiseus
Hair-crested Drongo Dicrurus hottentottus
Ashy Drongo Dicrurus leucophaeus
White-throated Fantail Rhipidura albicollis
Black-naped Monarch Hypothymis azurea
Eurasian Jay Garrulus glandarius A few distinctive interstinctus noted, particularly at Dochu La Botanical Gardens.
Yellow-billed Blue Magpie Urocissa flavirostris
Common Green Magpie Cissa chinensis
Rufous Treepie Dendrocitta vagabunda
Grey Treepie Dendrocitta formosae
Collared Treepie Dendrocitta frontalis One seen well below Batasey Camp.
Black-rumped Magpie Pica bottanensis Common in some of the remote valleys.
Spotted Nutcracker Nucifraga caryocatactes
Red-billed Chough Pyrrhocorax pyrrhocorax
House Crow Corvus splendens
Large-billed Crow Corvus macrorhynchos
Yellow-bellied Fantail Chelidorhynx hypoxanthus
Grey-headed Canary-flycatcher Culicicapa ceylonensis
Yellow-browed Tit Sylviparus modestus
Sultan Tit Melanochlora sultanea
Rufous-vented Tit Periparus rubidiventris
Coal Tit Periparus ater
Grey Crested Tit Lophophanes dichrous
Cinereous Tit Parus cinereus
Green-backed Tit Parus monticolus
Yellow-cheeked Tit Machlolophus spilonotus
Oriental Skylark Alauda gulgula
White-throated Bulbul Alophoixus flaveolus
Striated Bulbul Alcurus striatus
Ashy Bulbul Hemixos flavala
Mountain Bulbul Ixos mcclellandii
Black Bulbul Hypsipetes leucocephalus
Black-crested Bulbul Rubigula flaviventris
Red-whiskered Bulbul Pycnonotus jocosus
Red-vented Bulbul Pycnonotus cafer
Himalayan Bulbul Pycnonotus leucogenys Just a few, at Lingmethang.
Barn Swallow Hirundo rustica Noted breeding at Damphu.
Nepal House Martin Delichon nipalense We enjoyed a large active colony near Trongsa.
Red-rumped Swallow Cecropis daurica Noted breeding at Damphu.
Scaly-breasted Wren-babbler Pnoepyga albiventer One seen incredibly well at Thrumsing La.
Pygmy Wren-babbler Pnoepyga pusilla Heard-only.
Yellow-bellied Warbler Abroscopus superciliaris
Rufous-faced Warbler Abroscopus albogularis
Black-faced Warbler Abroscopus schisticeps A few in bamboo near Tingtibi.
Mountain Tailorbird Phyllergates cuculatus
Brown-flanked Bush Warbler Horornis fortipes Heard-only.
Hume’s Bush Warbler Horornis brunnescens
Grey-bellied Tesia Tesia cyaniventer
Slaty-bellied Tesia Tesia olivea
Grey-sided Bush Warbler Cettia brunnifrons
Chestnut-headed Tesia Cettia castaneocoronata
Black-throated Bushtit Aegithalos concinnus
Rufous-fronted Bushtit Aegithalos iouschistos
Buff-barred Warbler Phylloscopus pulcher
Ashy-throated Warbler Phylloscopus maculipennis
Lemon-rumped Warbler Phylloscopus chloronotus
Tickell’s Leaf Warbler Phylloscopus affinis
Dusky Warbler Phylloscopus fuscatus A single bird at Gelephu Sewage Ponds.
White-spectacled Warbler Phylloscopus affinis Finally tracked-down in bamboo below Thrumsing La.
Grey-cheeked Warbler Phylloscopus poliogenys
Green-crowned Warbler Phylloscopus burkii Just a couple of sightings.
Whistler’s Warbler Phylloscopus whistleri Common and reaching the highest forests.
Greenish Warbler Phylloscopus trochiloides Several ssp. trochiloides seen well.
Large-billed Leaf Warbler Phylloscopus magnirostris
Chestnut-crowned Warbler Seicercus castaniceps
Yellow-vented Warbler Phylloscopus cantator A common species in Bhutan, at the right altitude.
Blyth’s Leaf Warbler Phylloscopus reguloides One of the commonest and most frequently recorded species.
Grey-hooded Warbler Phylloscopus xanthoschistos
Blyth’s Reed Warbler Acrocephalus dumetorum A single migrant at Trongsa. A tour write-in.
Russet Bush Warbler Locustella mandelli Two seen, one particularly well, near Dochu La.
Himalayan Prinia Prinia crinigera
Black-throated Prinia Prinia atrogularis
Rufescent Prinia Prinia rufescens
Common Tailorbird Orthotomus sutorius
Fire-tailed Myzornis Myzornis pyrrhoura 1 at Pele La & 3 at Thrumsing La. Some good looks at ‘the special one’.
Golden-breasted Fulvetta Lioparus chrysotis A couple of pairs of this cracker below Thrumsing La.
White-browed Fulvetta Fulvetta vinipectus
Great Parrotbill Conostoma aemodium A lively threesome in bamboo below Thrumsing La.
Brown Parrotbill Cholornis unicolor At least three at Jakar. Nice performance.
Grey-headed Parrotbill Psittiparus gularis An all too brief sighting of two below Batasey Camp.
White-breasted Parrotbill Psittiparus ruficeps Also showed brilliantly near Tingtibi (three birds).
Fulvous Parrotbill Suthora fulvifrons Heard near Thrumsing La, and heard and seen (by Craig) at Yutong La.
Black-throated Parrotbill [Orange-eared P] S. [nipalensis] humii Near-endemic. Seen by a couple of us.
Pale-billed Parrotbill Chleuasicus atrosuperciliaris Fantastic views of two near Tingtibi.
Striated Yuhina Staphida castaniceps
Black-chinned Yuhina Yuhina nigrimenta
Whiskered Yuhina Yuhina flavicollis
White-naped Yuhina Yuhina bakeri
Stripe-throated Yuhina Yuhina gularis
Rufous-vented Yuhina Yuhina occipitalis
Indian White-eye Zosterops palpebrosus
Pin-striped Tit-Babbler Mixornis gularis
Golden Babbler Cyanoderma chrysaeum
Rufous-capped Babbler Cyanoderma ruficeps
Rufous-throated Wren-Babbler Spelaeornis caudatus One seen nicely along the Lingmethang Rd. Others heard.
Bar-winged Wren-Babbler Spelaeornis troglodytoides One seen well along the Lingmethang Road (sherriffi).
Coral-billed Scimitar Babbler (Black-crowned S B) Pomatorhinus ferruginosus Gave itself up near Batasey.
Slender-billed Scimitar Babbler Pomatorhinus superciliaris Eventually showed well near Thrumsing La.
Streak-breasted Scimitar Babbler Pomatorhinus ruficollis
White-browed Scimitar Babbler Pomatorhinus schisticeps
Rusty-cheeked Scimitar Babbler Pomatorhinus erythrogenys
Grey-throated Babbler Stachyris nigriceps
White-hooded Babbler Gampsorhynchus rufulus Several in bamboo near Tingtibi.
Yellow-throated Fulvetta Schoeniparus cinereus
Rufous-winged Fulvetta Schoeniparus castaneceps
Puff-throated Babbler Pellorneum ruficeps
Eyebrowed Wren-Babbler Napothera epilepidota Heard-only. Below Batasey Camp.
Long-billed Wren-Babbler Napothera malacoptila A great look at this mini-kiwi near Yongkola.
Nepal Fulvetta Alcippe nipalensis
Striated Laughingthrush Grammatoptila striata
Himalayan Cutia Cutia nipalensis
Scaly Laughingthrush Trochalopteron subunicolor A pair along the Lingmethang Road.
Blue-winged Laughingthrush Trochalopteron squamatum Eventually showed quite well below Batasey Camp.
Bhutan Laughingthrush Trochalopteron imbricatum Near-endemic. A superb pair at Trongsa.
Black-faced Laughingthrush Trochalopteron affine
Chestnut-crowned Laughingthrush Trochalopteron erythrocephalum
Rufous Sibia Heterophasia capistrata
Hoary-throated Barwing Actinodura nipalensis
Blue-winged Minla Actinodura cyanouroptera
Bar-throated Minla Actinodura strigula
Rusty-fronted Barwing Actinodura egertoni
Red-billed Leiothrix Leiothrix lutea
Silver-eared Mesia Leiothrix argentauris
Red-tailed Minla Minla ignotincta
Red-faced Liocichla (Crimson-f L) Liocichla phoenicea Seen well below Batasey Camp.
Jungle Babbler Argya striata
Lesser Necklaced Laughingthrush Garrulax monileger
White-crested Laughingthrush Garrulax leucolophus
Rufous-chinned Laughingthrush Ianthocincla rufogularis One popped up, rather too briefly, near Lingmethang.
Spotted Laughingthrush Ianthocincla ocellata Best views of this stunner were at Dochu La.
Rufous-necked Laughingthrush Pterorhinus ruficollis
Greater Necklaced Laughingthrush Pterorhinus pectoralis Four birds below Damphu were a bonus.
White-throated Laughingthrush Pterorhinus albogularis
Grey-sided Laughingthrush Pterorhinus caerulatus
Asian Fairy-bluebird Irena puella Just a noisy female at Gelephu.
Goldcrest Regulus regulus Nice views of a couple of ‘Asian’ Goldcrests at Chele La (sikkimensis).
Spotted Elachura Elachura formosa Excellent views below Batasey Camp.
Eurasian Wren Troglodytes troglodytes Great views of a dark nipalensis at Chele La. One of a pair.
Beautiful Nuthatch Sitta formosa A very responsive individual showed well near Lingmethang.
Velvet-fronted Nuthatch Sitta frontalis One below Damphu was a surprising tour write-in.
White-tailed Nuthatch Sitta himalayensis
Chestnut-bellied Nuthatch Sitta cinnamoventris
Hodgson’s Treecreeper Certhia hodgsoni Good views of a few at the highest forest levels.
Rusty-flanked Treecreeper Certhia nipalensis Several at higher levels
Sikkim Treecreeper Certhia discolor Seen a couple of times in the Tama La area.
Common Hill Myna Gracula religiosa Found in very good numbers near Gelephu.
Great Myna Acridotheres grandis
Jungle Myna Acridotheres fuscus
Common Myna Acridotheres tristis
Indian Pied Myna Gracupica contra Surprisingly common around Gelephu.
Chestnut-tailed Starling Sturnia malabarica
Scaly Thrush Zoothera dauma Heard-only. A long overdue tour write-in.
Grey-winged Blackbird Turdus boulboul
Tickell’s Thrush Turdus unicolor
White-collared Blackbird Turdus albocinctus
Oriental Magpie-Robin Copsychus saularis
White-rumped Shama Copsychus malabaricus
Dark-sided Flycatcher Muscicapa sibirica
Asian Brown Flycatcher Muscicapa dauurica Three seen well at Lingmethang, where they looked to be breeding.
White-gorgeted Flycatcher Anthipes monileger
Pale Blue Flycatcher Cyornis unicolor
Blue-throated Blue Flycatcher Cyornis rubeculoides
Rufous-bellied Niltava Niltava sundara
Large Niltava Niltava grandis
Small Niltava Niltava macgrigoriae
Verditer Flycatcher Eumyias thalassinus
Lesser Shortwing Brachypteryx leucophris
Himalayan Shortwing Brachypteryx cruralis Showed well along the Lingmethang Road.
Indian Blue Robin Larvivora brunnea Seen near Paro, on its breeding grounds.
White-tailed Robin Myiomela leucura
White-browed Bush Robin Tarsiger indicus One seen well on the Chele La.
Rufous-breasted Bush Robin Tarsiger hyperythrus A male below Thrumsing La was a pleasant surprise.
Himalayan Bluetail Tarsiger rufilatus
Golden Bush Robin Tarsiger chrysaeus Several below Thrumsing La.
Little Forktail Enicurus scouleri
Black-backed Forktail Enicurus immaculatus Superb pair at Gelephu. A totally unexpected tour write-in.
Slaty-backed Forktail Enicurus schistaceus
Spotted Forktail Enicurus maculatus
Blue Whistling Thrush Myophonus caeruleus
Pygmy Flycatcher Ficedula hodgsoni
Rufous-gorgeted Flycatcher Ficedula strophiata
Ultramarine Flycatcher Ficedula superciliaris
Little Pied Flycatcher Ficedula westermanni
Slaty-blue Flycatcher Ficedula tricolor Just a single male near Chele La.
Snowy-browed Flycatcher Ficedula hyperythra Heard-only.
Hodgson’s Redstart Phoenicurus hodgsoni Just one female at Pele La.
Blue-fronted Redstart Phoenicurus frontalis
Plumbeous Water Redstart Phoenicurus fuliginosus
White-capped Redstart Phoenicurus leucocephalus
Blue Rock Thrush Monticola solitarius A male at Bajo, Wangdue.
Chestnut-bellied Rock Thrush Monticola rufiventris
Blue-capped Rock Thrush Monticola cinclorhyncha
Siberian Stonechat Saxicola maurus A single female at Wangdue.
Grey Bush Chat Saxicola ferreus
Brown Dipper Cinclus pallasii
Golden-fronted Leafbird Chloropsis aurifrons
Orange-bellied Leafbird Chloropsis hardwickii
Plain Flowerpecker Dicaeum minullum
Fire-breasted Flowerpecker Dicaeum ignipectus
Ruby-cheeked Sunbird Chalcoparia singalensis A nice male between Gelephu and Sarpang.
Purple Sunbird Cinnyris asiatica Heard-only. One at Gelephu was a tour write-in.
Mrs. Gould’s Sunbird Aethopyga gouldiae
Green-tailed Sunbird Aethopyga nipalensis
Black-throated Sunbird Aethopyga saturata
Crimson Sunbird Aethopyga siparaja
Fire-tailed Sunbird Aethopyga ignicauda A dozen or so at the higher levels of the Thrumsing La.
Streaked Spiderhunter Arachnothera magna
Russet Sparrow Passer rutilans
Eurasian Tree Sparrow Passer montanus
White-rumped Munia Lonchura striata
Altai Accentor Prunella himalayana An excellent flock of ten at Chele La.
Rufous-breasted Accentor Prunella strophiata
Eastern Yellow Wagtail Motacilla tschutschensis 2 at Wangdue. Now the default yellow wagtail in NE subcontinent.
Citrine Wagtail Motacilla citreola Several ‘Grey-backed’ males at Wangdue.
Grey Wagtail Motacilla cinerea
White Wagtail [Amur W, Chinese W] Motacilla [alba] leucopsis
White Wagtail [Himalayan W] Motacilla [alba] alboides
White-browed Wagtail Motacilla maderaspatensis A pair at Bajo, Wangdue.
Paddyfield Pipit Anthus rufulus
Olive-backed Pipit Anthus hodgsoni
Rosy Pipit Anthus roseatus
Collared Grosbeak Mycerobas affinis
Spot-winged Grosbeak Mycerobas melanozanthos Small groups at Yongkola and Dochu La.
White-winged Grosbeak Mycerobas carnipes
Red-headed Bullfinch Pyrrhula erythrocephala
Blanford’s Rosefinch Agraphospiza rubescens A pair at Thrumsing La were a great write-in for the tour.
Dark-breasted Rosefinch Procarduelis nipalensis
Plain Mountain Finch Leucosticte nemoricola
Common Rosefinch Carpodacus erythrinus
Scarlet Finch Carpodacus sipahi Three at Tama La and a smart male at Dochu La Botanical Gardens.
Himalayan Beautiful Rosefinch Carpodacus pulcherrimus Five seen well in scrub at Ura.
Dark-rumped Rosefinch Carpodacus edwardsii
Himalayan White-browed Rosefinch Carpodacus thura
Crimson-browed Finch C. subhimachalus Two female-types at Pele La, and a male along the Lingmethang Road.
Yellow-breasted Greenfinch Chloris spinoides
Red Crossbill Loxia curvirostra
Tibetan Serin Spinus thibetanus A flock of ten at Pele La.
Crested Bunting Emberiza lathami
Little Bunting Emberiza pusilla
Northern Red Muntjac Muntiacus vaginalis Several seen. Split from Indian.
Himalayan Goral (Common G) Nemorhaedus goral Two on a grassy slope below Damphu.
Assam Macaque Macaca assamensis Regular sightings. Common.
Rhesus Macaque Macaca mulatta Several in a lowland forest patch at Gelephu. A tour write-in.
Nepal Grey Langur Semnopithecus schistaceus 12 noted in more westerly areas.
Gee’s Golden Langur Trachypithecus geei 36 logged, from Trongsa to Gelephu.
Capped Langur Trachypithecus pileatus 12 seen near Yongkola.
Moupin Pika Ochotona thibetana Widespread sightings
Black Giant Squirrel Ratufa bicolor A mother and baby below Yongkola Camp.
Orange-bellied Himalayan Squirrel Dremomys lokriah
Irrawaddy Squirrel Callosciurus pygerythrus
Himalayan Striped Squirrel Tamiops mcclellandii
Northern Palm Squirrel Funambulus pennantii In the hotel garden in Delhi.
White-lipped Treefrog Zhangixalus smaragdinus Mating pair in puddle at Tingtibi.
Oriental Garden Lizard Calotes versicolor Tingtibi.
Mountain Worm-eating Snake Trachischium monticola Spotted by Tandin at Tama La. Great sighting.
Fivebar Swordtail Graphium antiphates Tingtibi.
Common Mime Swallowtail Papilio clytia Near Tingtibi.
Common Redbreast Papilio alcmenor Lingmethang Road
Old World Swallowtail Papilio machaon Dochu La.
Common Peacock Papilio polyctor
Dark Clouded Yellow Colias fieldii Several seen at higher levels.
Yellow Orange Tip Ixias pyrene
Chocolate Albatross Appias lyncida
Spot Puffin Appias lalage Massing in huge numbers at lower levels.
Indian Cabbage White Pieris canidia Widespread.
Common Gull Cepora nerissa Chele La Road.
Lesser Gull Cepora nadina Tingtibi.
Spotted Sawtooth Prioneris thestylis Tingtibi.
Hill Jezebel Delias belladonna Jainala Pass Road and Tama La area.
Yellow Jezebel Delias agostina Near Tingtibi.
Pioneer Belenois aurota In the hotel garden in Delhi.
Common Tit Hypolycaena erylus Below Damphu.
Purple Sapphire Heliophorus epicles Gelephu etc.
Pea Blue Lampides boeticus
Pale Grass Blue Pseudozizeeria maha In the hotel garden in Delhi.
Red Pierrot Talicada nyseus In the hotel garden in Delhi.
Common Hedge Blue Acytolepis puspa Tingtibi.
Dark Judy Abisara fylla Jainala Pass Road.
Punchinello Zemeros flegyas Lingmethang etc.
Club Beak Libythea myrrha Tingtibi.
Striped Tiger Danaus genutia
Glassy Tiger Parantica aglea Lingmethang.
Chestnut Tiger Parantica sita
Chocolate Tiger Parantica melaneus
Striped Blue Crow Euploea mulciber Below Damphu.
Common Evening Brown Melanitis leda Near Tingtibi.
Common Forester Lethe isana Lingmethang Road.
Yellow Labyrinth Neope armandii Near Batasey.
Yellow Coster Acraea issoria Lingmethang Road.
Himalayan Queen Fritillary Issoria issaea Dochu La.
French Duke Euthalia franciae Tingtibi.
Common Map Cyrestis thyodamas Tingtibi.
Popinjay Stibochiona nicea Lingmethang Road etc.
Angled Castor Ariadne ariadne Gelephu.
Common Jester Symbrenthia lilaea Lingmethang.
Indian Red Admiral Vanessa indica Lingmethang Road
Painted Lady Vanessa cardui Widespread sightings.
Indian Tortoiseshell Aglais caschmirensis Widespread.
Common Jester Symbrenthia lilaea Lingmethang.
Painted Lady Vanessa cardui Widespread sightings.
Indian Red Admiral Vanessa indica Lingmethang Road
Orange-breasted Freak Calinaga buddha Jainala Pass Road.
Chocolate Pansy Junonia iphita
Lemon Pansy Junonia lemonias
Orange Oakleaf Kallima inachus Quite widespread. Many sightings.
Erebid moth Arsacia rectalis Near Tingtibi.
Black-bordered Bradina Bradina diagonalis
Cyana moth Cyana catorhoda
Scarce Bordered Straw Helicoverpa armigera Kichu Resort, Wangdue.
Orange Underwing Forester Sarbanissa transiens Lingmethang Road.
Marbled White Moth Nyctemera adversata Below Batasey Camp.
Hawaiian Beet Webworm Moth Spoladea recurvalis Lingmethang Road.
Wingless Ainsliaea Ainsliaea aptera
Nepal Alder Alnus nepalensis
Ringed Begonia Begonia annulata
Primrose Bryocarpum himalaicum
Rockspray Cotoneaster Cotoneaster microphyllus
Wild Turmeric Cucurma aromatica
Lokta Daphne bholua
Fireglow Spurge Euphorbia griffithii Paro etc.
Himalayan Strawberry Fragaria nubicola Abundant.
Taiwan Pieris Pieris formosa In the Blue Pine forests along the Dochu La Road.
Blue Pine Pinus wallichiana
Drumstick Primrose Primula denticulata Abundant.
Candelabra Primrose Primula smithiana Chele La road, Paro etc.
Primrose Primula griffithii Chele La road.
Tree Rhododendron Rhododendron arboreum
Cinnabar Rhododendron Rhododendron cinnabarinum
Griffith’s Rhododendron Rhododendron griffithianum
Lindley’s Rhododendron Rhododendron lindleyi Sometimes epiphytic.