Bird Watching (11 night/12 days)
Bhutan has some of the rarest birds with over 400 bird species found only in Bhutan. We have teamed with India’s best birders to provide a world class birder’s dream come true. The highlight of this trip is the Festival for the Endangered Black Necked Crane in Gangtey Gompa. By legend the cranes are believed to be the reincarnated souls of Lamas that come to pay homage at the monastery of Gangtey Gompa. Each year at the cranes return it is said that they circle the monastery three times before landing in the wetlands below.
The itinerary suggested below is following the east west lateral road starting from Paro (west) to Zhemgang (Central Bhutan). It covers wide range of areas from tropical forests to mid-mountain coniferous forests. The day to day check lists given below are just for your daily references and high probability species in particular areas, not necessarily on specific day mentioned herein.
Day 01: Arrival at Paro ( by Druk Air) – Paro
The flight into Paro on our national carrier, Druk Air, is a befitting introduction to the spectacular beauty of our country. In clear weather, magnificent views of the world’s highest peaks give way to the lush green paro valley as you land. The first gift from Bhutan will be the cool, clean fresh air as you step out of the plane. After clearing customs and visa control you are met by your guide and transferred to your hotel to settle in. Paro is a picturesque valley with quaint clusters of hamlets amid terraced paddy fields. Although the site of the nation’s first airport Paro still retains tradition by way of architecture and farming. Lunch will be served at your hotel. After lunch drive to the north of Paro valley. This area, the riverbank of Paro Chu is best known for ibis bill. They are found in this area throughout the year. (Depending on arrival of flight time). Evening ends with a walk through Paro’s main shopping district. Overnight at hotel.
Day 02: Paro –
Morning visit Paro Ta Dzong, an ancient watch tower, which now houses the National Museum. This Dzong was converted into the National Museum in 1968. The museum boasts antique Thangka, textiles, weapons and armour, household objects and rich assortment of natural and historic artifacts. We also visit the Rinpung Dzong, built in 17th century to defend the valley against Tibetan invaders. The Dzong is now used as an administration centre and school for monks and then depart to Thimphu. Afternoon drive towards the north of Thimphu valley to Dodina, here you may see black faced laughing thrust, brown dipper, spotted laughing thrust, Fire capped Tit, etc. Overnight hotel.
Day 03: Thimphu – Punakha.
Morning drive to Dochula area and birding in mixed coniferous forests, make short excursion following footpath to Trashigang Monastery. In this area you may see Satyr Tragopan, Spotted Nutcracker, Large Hawk Cuckoo, Darjeeling Woodpecker, Yellow billed Magpie, Chest Tailed Minla, Collard Blackbird, Ultramarine Flycatcher, Brown Bullfinch, etc. Afternoon, birding towards Punakha. Overnight hotel.
Day 04: Punakha – Excursion
Morning drive to Menchuna and start birding descending to Punakha in cold broad-leaved forests. You may see Scarlet Finch, Black Drongo, Chestnut bellied Nuthatch, Slaty backed Forktail, Gorgeted Flycatcher, White throated Laughingthrust, Eurasian Jay, Wedge Tailed Green Pigeon, Mountain Imperial Pigeon, Verditer Flycatcher, etc. Dinner and overnight at hotel.
Day 05: Punakha – Excursion
Morning drive to Tashithang and birding in warm broad-leaved forest. You may see Great Barbet, Barred Cuckoo Drove, Magpie Robin, Green Magpie, Palla’s Fish Eagle, Osprey, River Lapwing, Ruddy Shelduck, Eurasian Wigeon, Common Merganser, Pied Kingfisher, Red-vented Bulbul, Golden throated Barbet, Golden throated Barbet, Kalij, Pheasant, Orange bellied Leaf bird, Common Buzzard, Great Cormorant, Crested Bunting, etc. Dinner and overnight at hotel.
Day 06: Punakha – Gangtey.
Morning drive to Gangtey via Wangdue, one of the major towns and district headquarters of Western Bhutan. We then climb steadily passing through semi-tropical vegetation and then finally onto Phojikha valley (3,100 m) with an alphine environment of rhododendrons and dwarf bamboo. Afternoon walk into the habitat of cranes and study the cranes and also visit the crane centre situated in the heart of the valley. Overnight at hotel.
Day 07: Gangtey – Trongsa.
Early morning study the behavior of the cranes and other birds habited in the region and the drive to Trongsa over the Pelela pass (3,300m) enroute visit chendebji Chorten, passing through warm/cold broad-leaved and coniferous forests. You may see Mountain Bulbul, Striated Bulbul, common Kestrel, Spot – winged Grosbeak, Moutain Hawk Eagle, ward’s Trogon, Satyr Tragopan, Whiskered Yuhina, Wall Creeper, Himalayan Swiftlet, Himalayan Monal Pheasant, Blood Pheasant, Snow Pigeon, Cross bills, Fire-tailed Sunbird, Plain Mountain Finch, etc. Overnight at hotel.
Day 08: Trongsa – Tingtibi
Morning drive towards the south of Trongsa in to the valley of Tingtibi and birding to Yeshi Zam, best place for spotting Yellow-rumped honey guide. Birding in cold broad-leaved forests. Birding in Namling areas. These areas possess best – unexplored forest in Bhutan. You may see ward’s Trogon, Satyr Tragopan, Grey chinned Minivet, Chestnut breasted Partridge, Striated Laughing thrust, etc. Overnight at Camp.
Day 09: Tingtibi – Halt
Today birding in warm broad-leaved forests. You will se Rufous-necked hornbill, Blue throated bee-eater, Maroon Oriole, Racket tailed Drongo, Red headed Trogon, Grey Treepie, Grey Nightjar, Hill Prinia, Asian Emerald Cuckoo, Great hornbill, etc. Overnight at camp.
Day 10: Tingtibi – Trongsa
Birding along the road. Dinner and overnight at hotel.
Day 11: Trongsa – Wangdue – Thimphu
Early morning drive to Thimphu over the Pelela and Dochola pass and enroute visit Wangdue Dzong. Dinner and overnight at hotel.
Day 12: Thimphu – Paro – Exit.
Early morning drive to Paro airport for your onward journey. Good – bye and happy journey back home.