Birds of Uttarakhand

I had the privilege of going with a group of accomplished birders for the 2013 Great Himalayan Bird Count. in late Oct, 2013. I had participated in 2011 and had some great experiences in and around Dhanolti 

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




Green Shank



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



Verditer Flycatcher



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.



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