Birds of Uttarakhand
This time around we got the Yamunotri route. Besides the excitement to bird at a higher altitude, I was also curious to see the reconstruction efforts post the floods in June. Reconstruction activities were on and roads were accessible though broken in many places with tell tale signs of landslides everywhere. I also saw pretty widespread deforestation and a lot of construction activities for Hydel projects which are believed to be one of the causes for the huge calamity.
Our trip started at Dehradun, where had brief stay at the Geological survey guest house and we did a bit of birding around there. At Dehradun we saw the Dark sided flycatcher, Blue Bearded bee-eater,White throated fantail, Oriental White eye
White breasted Kingfisher
besides lots of Bulbuls, Treepies, Parakeets etc.
Our next stop was at Mailgar en route to Barkot. Near the riverbanks I had my first sighting of a crested kingfisher. We also saw the Plumbous water red start
and the White-capped water Redstart which are very common across this region.
After a night's stay at Barkot we drove towards Jankichatti. Enroute we did some birding at Barkot, Mora, and Hanumanchatti.
A black kite
A grey bush chat calling..
Asian Barred owlet
Chestnut crowned laughing thrush
My first sighting of a Brown dipper
A black throated tit
Bar tailed tree-creeper
Ultramarine Flycatcher (juvenile).
At Hanumanchatti we saw quite a few Himalayan and Eurasian Griffons
We stayed at Jankichatti for the night and started our trek to the Yamunotri Temple next day morning. Jankichatti is at 2650mtrs and Yamunotri Temple is at 3235 mts. The distance is around 6 Kms.
On the way we saw the Rufous Gorgeted flycatcher
Streaked laughing thrush
Blue whistling thrush
Pink browed Rosefinch. The female (below) is nowhere near to the beautifully coloured pink male !!
Lots of snow pigeons flying around.
Slaty blue flycatcher
Yellow browed Tit.
These were all lifers for me. We finally reached the Yamunotri Dham after a 6 hrs trek
Some of the uncommon species on the way back were the Red headed Bullfinch and the Golden Bush Robin
We saw over 100 species in three days with over 20 lifers for me.There are so many rare species of birds in Uttarkhand that I wonder if we can take a bit more care of the fragile environment, we can continue to see these rare species for generations to come.