Bhutan birding 13 Mar-2 Apr 05

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Subject: Bhutan birding 13 Mar-2 Apr 05
From: "Lise Hobcroft" <>
Date: Wed, 20 Apr 2005 11:09:27 +1000

This was a totally enjoyable birding trip to Bhutan with many highlights. White-bellied Heron (1) on the 17 Mar near Punakha in breeding plumage with Pallas’s Fish-Eagle (1) and a pair of Wallcreepers displaying at close range in the same location made for a great day. Small numbers (1-5) of Bar-headed Geese, Gadwall, Northern Pintail, Eurasian Wigeon, Common Teal, Common Pochard and Tufted Duck with higher numbers (30-50) of Ruddy Shelduck and Great Cormorants on the Mo Chu River, Punakha. Other migrants included singles of Brown-headed Gull (1) 1 Apr Punakha and Pied Avocet (1) 31 Mar at Wangdi. Raptores were in good form with single migrant Steppe and Booted Eagles near Shemgang on 23 Mar. Black-tailed Crake was seen on three occasions including twice whilst driving between sites at roadside puddles. A Hill Partridge flushed flying perfectly in front of us by complete luck. Stunning views of (10) Himalayan Monal at Chele La on 15 Mar with 30 Blood Pheasants seen on three days. Satyr Tragopan was heard on three days with up to four individuals heard from one site at dawn but could not get the luck this year. An excellent Ward’s Trogon was scoped at dawn near Lingmethang. Crested Kingfisher and Blue-bearded Bee-eater were showing signs of breeding preparation. Several excellent encounters with Rufous-necked Hornbills and a trio of Great Hornbills at Tingtibi on 24 Mar. Yellow-rumped Honeyguide showed beautifully in the scope at near eye level near Thimphu on 16 Mar. A male Streak-throated Woodpecker at Tashitang, 18 Mar was a surprise and we had a lot of luck with Bay Woodpecker seeing it 4 times and even getting it in the scope twice. A Speckled Wood Pigeon was found perched in the forest interior at Tashitang on 18 Mar.


Thrushes were in winter mode with six good views of Plain-backed Thrush and a tame sighting of 2 Long-tailed Thrush at Yutong La on 31 Mar. A cold snap at Sengor on 26 Mar produced a flock of (100) White-collared Blackbirds with a pair of both Dusky Thrush and Chestnut Thrush, both rarities in Bhutan. A Lesser Shortwing taped in and sang with gusto occasionally providing some good views. Bush Robins were milling around at lower altitudes with Orange-flanked quite common, two male Golden and a tame female Rufous-breasted Bush Robin on 25 Mar below Yutong La. White-throated Redstart was common at Chele La with 10, including five males on 15 Mar. A Blue-fronted Robin was taped out on the Lingmethang Road on 30 Mar and all three tesias provided views including the superb Chestnut-headed. No real warbler surprises. A Slaty-backed Flycatcher was at Tashitang on both 18 Mar and 1 April and a lot of good luck with the White-gorgeted Flycatcher, seen three times near Shemgang and Namling.


Babblers were as always excellent. Some of the rarer and more elusive species we enjoyed views of this year included Coral-billed and Slender-billed Scimitar-babbler, Rufous-throated and Wedge-billed Wren-Babbler, Golden-breasted and Yellow-throated Fulvetta (all between Namling and Yongcola), White-naped Yuhina (Tingtibi) and excellent encounter with Fire-tailed Myzornis feeding on rhododendron pollen at Cheri. Nine species of laughingthrush were seen well with a beautiful pair of Spotted near Pele La. Parrotbills were great with super views of Brown, Grey-headed, Black-throated and Greater Rufous-headed. A female Spot-winged Starling on 2 April near Punakha was a surprise. It was associated with a small flock of Chestnut-tailed Starlings. Seedeaters were also in good form with great views of Beautiful, Dark-rumped, White-browed Rosefinch and sensational views of Crimson-browed Finch amongst others.


We also enjoyed a sighting of a pair of Himalayan Palm Civet between Tingtibi and Shemgang on 23 Mar and a superb 100 metre flyover from a Hodgson’s Giant Flying Squirrel at Yongcola. Less fortunate was a Serow found snared near Pele La but we found 8 Goral on the cliffs between Thimphu and Paro.


Please feel free to use any of these reports for various recording data bases-publications for the region.


All the best



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