Bhutan Bird WatchingMay 6, 2012 by: admin
Bird Watching in Bhutan
High in the Mysterious and majestic eastern Himalayas nestled between the two giant nations China in the North and India to the South lies a small kingdom of Bhutan increasingly known as one of the Earth’s last precious unspoiled spots. The breathtaking landscape is dotted with the fluttering prayer flags, colorful farmhouses amidst terraced fields, and impressive monasteries clinging on the impossible cliffs.
Bhutan’s remoteness, steep terrain, and tightly controlled tourism have ensured that its incredible beauty and fascinating people remained a quiet secret known to only a few.
Over more than 70 percent of the country is under forest cover and it is still increasing unlike other Himalayan countries, most of the forest is under preservation. This shinning cultural and natural gem is also a bird watcher’s paradise of over 700 species of different birds. They include some of the most exotic and rare species in the eastern Himalayas. Ten species of birds that are danger of extinction are found in Bhutan, including black necked Crane, which traditionally winters in the valleys of Phojikha and Bomdeling. The diversity of bird life in Bhutan is accentuated by migrations of hundreds of species between breeding grounds across a vast expanse of central Asia and wintering areas on the Himalayan subcontinent.
Over the years the kingdom of Bhutan has been attracting more and more birders, with most of the trips arriving in the spring from March through May when the bird migration is at its peak. Although the number of species one may encounter is the greatest in the spring season, birding in early winter months- when there are fewer birders and hence less competition for limited campsites along the birding circuits can still be rewarding for the bird watchers. The black necked Crane would have migrated to its summer habitat in Tibet by mid-March, while it is guaranteed sighting from late October to mid-March. The white-bellied heron, one of the fifty rarest birds in the world, is more likely to be seen in the winter months than in the spring when it is nesting and rearing its young. Other sought-after birds like the Ward’s Trogon, Rufus-necked Hornbill and the beautiful Nuthatch are residents and can be seen throughout the year.
Whatever the season, birding in Bhutan offers not only an incredible array of species but also a rare opportunity to see unusual numbers of individual birds all at once. For example, golden-breasted fulvettas-birds that are considered rare elsewhere-have been seen in Bhutan flying around here of twenty five and more; scores of hundreds of laughing thrushes might be seen flocking together. The vertical pitch to the landscape also makes the wide variety of habitats relatively accessible, with excellent birding done frequently from simple roadside stops.
Over the years increasingly numbers of tourists have taken great interest in the birding in Bhutan and it has been considered one of the most sought tour packages in Bhutan. Other improvements to Bhutan’s roads, good lodging offerings, and other tourist’s friendly amenities are underway to make the birders to the land of Thunder Dragon a memorable travel experience.