Continuing with the ‘Birding in Bhutan’ series. You can read the Part-I here
After a pretty good haul on our pit stop at the Dochula Pass we headed towards the Phobjika Valley, the winter home of the beautiful and revered Black-necked Cranes. The route was tough and bumpy to say the least. Roads were pretty much non-existent. All through the way we saw a lot of road laying work going on in full vigour. It surely is an arduous task in this hard, hilly terrain. All things considered, it did seem that they were doing a very commendable job. A lot of efforts going in to make it easier for the tourists like us.
As we were driving through, I suddenly noticed something move among the rubble by the side of the road and asked our driver to stop. Just as we slowed our vehicle, it flew off, up on to the rocky side. Had gotten a glimpse of it and it was a wallcreeper, a lovely little bird. It can manoeuvre the rocky cliffs with ease, giving the best of rock climbers a run for their money. Light was very low and this was one image I could manage.
Having had a great time at the Phobjika valley and the Gangtey monastery, our next stop was at Punakha. A quaintly little town and home to the very beautiful and famed Punakha Dzong.
On the way to the Dzong, we decided to try for the White bellied Heron, a critically endangered species with a very dispersed and sparse population along the eastern Himalayas. In Bhutan, it is generally seen along the Pho chhu ( male ) river banks in Punakha, which is were we were headed. Here’s the Dzong at the confluence of the the Pho chhu ( male ) and the Mo chhu ( female ) rivers.
Driving alongside the river, we stopped at a couple of places to take some shots of a huge flock of Ruddy shelducks that had gathered on one of the banks.
We were also lucky to spot the Ibisbill along the way.
And a Plumbeous Water-Redstart, that was quite cooperative too.
We were searching around for the White-bellied Heron for quite sometime when our driver and guide called at us, saying that they had spotted one individual sitting high up on a tree, on the opposite bank of the river. Though quite far away, it was a great sighting and well worth the effort.
The penultimate day of our tour was for the Tiger’s Nest hike. A pretty arduous trek I must say, to reach the beautiful monastery known worldwide as the Tiger’s Nest. Built on the edge of a cliff, it is a sight to behold.
On the hiking trail, a few of the winged denizens revealed themselves. Like this cute Rufous fronted Tit,
and this Blue fronted Redstart.
Returning back to Thimphu, this beautiful little Himalayan Blue-tail popped out of the thickets and gave us some shots.
Was a very fulfilling outing to the land of the dragon, Bhutan. Next post will be on the beautiful and enigmatic Black-necked Cranes of the Phobjika Valley. Stay tuned. Till then, leaving you with an image of the cranes in the snow covered valley.