Lateral Route Bird watching Tour

Day 1beautful nuthatch
Arrive in Paro
Upon arrival at the airport, you will be greeted and welcomed by our company guide who will transfer you to the hotel. If you arrive early, you will be taken for a local sightseeing tour. In the evening, at a convenient location, most probably at your hotel, a presentation on birds of Bhutan and birding destinations will be made.
Day 2
Paro
After breakfast, you will be led by the guide to the birding spots. The beautiful Paro valley that lies between 2,150 to 2950 metres above sea level presents exciting birding spots. The spots include farmlands, bushes, riversides, and forests.
Some of the common birds found in Paro are: Aberrant bush warbler (Cettiaflavoivacea), Blyth’s reed warbler (Acrocephalus dumetorum), Himalayan whistling thrush (Myophonus caeruleus), common teal (Ana crecca), grey-headed flycatcher warbler (Seicercusxanthoschistos), green-backed tit (Parus monticolus), Hodgson’s redstart (Phoenicurus hodgsoni), jungle crow (Corvus macrorhynchos), Himalayan brown dipper (Cincluspallasi), crestee honey buzzard (Pernisptilorhyncus), Himalayan treecreeper (Certhia himalayana), hill pigeon (Columba rupestris), rufous-breasted accentor (Prunellastrophiata), rufous turtle dove (Streptoppeliaorientalis), rufous-bellied hawk-eagle (Hieraaetus kienerii), stripe-throated yuhina (Yuhina gularis), long-tailed minivet (Pericrocotusethologus).
Day 3
Paro to Thimphu
Time: 2 hrs
Distance: 54 km

After breakfast, we drive to Thimphu. On the way, we will spot numerous monuments. The route to Thimphu runs along the river and there is an opportunity to spot birds on the way. We can stop for brief moments whenever desired. Unlike Paro, Thimphu is much crowded both in terms of population and infrastructure. Thimphu has lost its bird habitats to urban development. The birds that once lived in core Thimphu area are pushed further. We will have to drive at least 10 kilometres to the nearest birding spots in Bagana, Cheri and Motithang areas.

Birds spotted in Thimphu include: Common sandpiper (Tringahypoleucos), red-rumped swallow (Hirundadaurica), sparrowhawk (Accipiter nisus melaschistos), grackle or hill myna (Gracula religiosa), grey wagtail (Motacillacaspica), white-bellied yuhina (Yuhina xanthoteuca), upland pipit (Anthus sylvanus), plumbeous redstart (Rhyacornisfuliginosus).

Day 4

Thimphu to Punakha & Wangdiphodrang

Time: 2.30 hrs
Distance: 75 km

Drive to Punakha and Wangdiphodrang from Thimphu past Dochula – a mountain pass which is 3,500 metres above sea level. You will pass through different vegetations in Thimphu to Dochula to Punakha and Wangdiphodrang which lies at 1,800 m above sea level.

These are the common bird species found in the two valleys: Black-chinned yuhina (Yuhinanigrimenta), spotted dove (Streptopeliachinensis), black-chinned babbler (Stachyrispyrrhops), black-breasted sunbird (Aethopygasaturata), red-breasted rosefinch (Carpodacuspuniceus), fulvous-breasted pied woodpecker (Picoidesmacei), large grey babbler (Turdoides malcolmi), Himalaya tree pie (Dendrocitravagabunda), little bunting (Emberizastriolata). slaty-backed forktail (Enicurusschistaceus), white-breasted kingfisher (Halcyon smyrnensis), yellow-billed blue magpie (Cissaflavirostris), grey heron (Ardeacinerea), steppe eagle (Aquila rapaxnipalensis), small niltava (Muscicapamacgrigoriae), Himalayan griffon (Gyps himalayensis), gpeckled wood pigeon (Columbia hodgsonii), grey tit (Parus major) and red-crowned jay (Garrulusglandarius).

Day 5

Punakha & Wangdiphodrang to Gangtey/Phobjikha

Time: 3 hrs
Distance: 70 km

Get ready for a great day as we drive from Wangdiphodrang to Phobjikha. Phobjikha valley is popular for the endangered black-necked crane. It is one of the two main winter roosting grounds for the cranes. As we take Wangdi-Trongsa highway towards the east, we climb Pelela Pass, one of the major, historic passes in Bhutan. Before we reach the popular pass, we turn right and towards Gangtey, a popular valley known for potatoes after the cranes.

As we drive, we pass through forests of rhododendron and oak. En route, we make several stops for birding and photo opportunity. The wide, mushy valley with meandering stream is also home to many other birds, both native and migratory. However, the majestic back-necked crane may steal the show.

Birds that thrive in this region are: Amur falcon (Falco vesertinus), red-mantled rosefinch (Carpodacusrhodochlamys), fire-breasted flowerpecker (Dicaeumignipectus), red-headed bullfinch (Pyrrhulaerythrocephala), scarlet finch (Haemmatospizasipahi), white-tailed nuthatch (Sittahimalayensis), magpie robin (Copsychussaularis), goldcrest (Regulusregulus), great pied hornbill (Bucerosbicornis), common hill partridge (Arborophilatorqueola), snow pigeon (Columba leuconota), rufous-breasted accenter (Prunellastrophiata), white-backed munia (Lonchurastriata).

Day 6

Gangtey to Trongsaward's trogon20120404 Wandue - Trongsa 044

Time: 5 hrs
Distance: 130 km

Today, we drive the same way back to Wangdi-Trongsa highway and cross the Pelela Pass that we left behind the previous day. As we drive east, the vegetation changes from dense evergreen forest to oak and rhododendron to broad-leaved trees like horse chestnuts, laurels, maples and alders. This part of Bhutan is not a popular for birding although there are some important species of birds like Himalayan griffon (Gyps himalayensis), Himalayan swiftlet (Collocaliabrevirostris), lammergeier (Gypaetusbarbatus), snow partridge (Lerwalerwa), purple cochoa (Cochoapurpurea), scaly-breasted wren babbler (Pnoepygaalbiventer), long-tailed minivet (Pericrocotusethologus), Himalayan monal pheasant (Lophophorusimpejanus), speckled wood pigeon (Columba hodgsonii) and rufous-bellied bulbul (Hypsipetesmcclellandi).

Day 7

Trongsa to Chamkhar (Bumthang)

Time: 3 hrs
Distance: 68 km

As we drive east from Trongsa (2,100 metres), we climb to a mountain pass as high as 3,400 metres. After passing the spectacular Yotongla Pass, we descend to Chamkhar valley at 2,600 metres. Within this range, the vegetation changes from coniferous and mixed alpine forest in Trongsa to mixed alpine forests in Bumthang. As we descend the pass and reach farmlands, by the side of Chamkhar Chhu River, we spot numerous birds. This is one of the best birding spots.

Some bird found here are: Goldcrest (Regulusregulus), Blyth’s pipit (Anthusgodlewskii), common sandpiper (Tringahypoleucos), little bunting (Emberizafucata), red-billed chough (Pyrrhocoraxgraculus) and cormorant (Phalacrocoraxcarbo).

Day 8

Chamkhar to Ura

Time: 2 hrs
Distance: 50 km

Bumthang is one of the most beautiful valleys in Bhutan. Today we travel through this valley to one of the villages historically and politically important to Bhutan. Ura is the highest valley in Bumthang. Ura lies just below Ura La Pass which is 3,600 metres above sea level. Today, we spend the day exploring one of the unique clustered villages in Bhutan. You will have opportunities to interact with the locals and learn their way of life. For the night, tents will be pitched in the open field. You will experience the raw Bhutanese wilderness. In the morning, the chirping birds will wake you up.

Day 9

Ura to Lingmithang in Mongar

Time: About 2 hours
Distance: 80 km

You will have an exciting day today. As we pass through Bhutan’s highest road point, Thrumsengla (3,750 metres), and reach the small hamlet of Sengor, we may have an opportunity to spot the region’s special bird, Monal Lophophorus Impejanus. The road from Ura passes through thick jungles with some stretches of barren cliffs and rocky hills. Lingmithang is hot and humid in summer.

Other important bird species that thrive in this area are: Black bulbul (Hypsipetesleucocephalus), Blyth’s pipit (Anthusgodlewskii), bronzed drongo (Dicrurusaeneus), Gould’s shortwing (Brachypteryxstellata), red-headed bullfinch (Pyrrhulaerythrocephala), speckled piculet (Picumnusinnominatus), grey wagtail (Motacillacaspica), white-throated munia (Lonchuramalabarica), white-browed blue flycatcher (Muscicapaleucomelanura), yellow-bellied flowerpecker (Dicaeummelanoxanthuon), blue-bearded bee-eater (Nyctyornisathertoni), parrotbill (Paradoxornisnipalensis), honeyguide (Indicator xanthonotus), red-vented bulbul (Pyconotuscafer), lesser racket-tailed drongo (Dicrurusremifer), fantail warbler (Cisticolaexilis) and rufous-throated hill partridge (Arborophilarufogularis).
Day 10

Lingmithang through Mongar to Trashigang

Time: 4 hrs
Distance: 118 km

Mongar and Trashigang are not popular birding spots. In this region, we spend more time on cultural tours. The first thing you will spot after you leave Lingmithang is a small white stupa at the Kurizampa Bridge. Known in the local language as choeten, the stupa was built in 1800 in the Boudanath style to protect the relics of Zhongar Dzong when it was abandoned. As we climb up, we will come across Mongar town which is a cluster of modern buildings built in the traditional Bhutanese way. Amid the concrete buildings is Mongar Dzong built in 1953.

As we drive from Mongar, we pass across Korila Pass which is 2,450 metres. Further down the pass, we reach the village of Ngatshang which was the centre of a principality before the whole country was consolidated under Drukpa rule in the 17th century.

As we descend and pass through Shericchu Stream, we approach Drametse Monastery, which was the ancestral home of Drametse religious aristocrats, who are the descendants of the great 15th century treasure discoverer of Bhutan, Terton Pema Lingpa.

Twenty kilometres away from Drametse is Trashigang Dzong. As we approach the district centre and cross over Drangme Chhu River Bridge, we will get the majestic view of Trashigang Dzong perched on the hilltop. This dzong, like any other in Bhutan, is the centre for both administration and monastic body.

We spend the night at the lodge in Trashigang town.

Day 11

Trashigang to Mongar

Time: 3 hrs
Distance: 91 km

After breakfast we will start back journey. We will travel the same road to Mongar today. In the afternoon we will spend time exploring Mongar town. We will spend the night in a lodge in Mongar.

Day 12

Mongar to Bumthang

Time: 7 hrs
Distance: 198 km

We start the journey early today to reach Bumthang for lunch. After lunch, we visit Yathra (woollen cloth) weaving centre and explore the local market. If time permits, we will visit sites of cultural and religious interest. We will spend the night in a lodge in Bumthang town.

Day 13

Bumthang to Thimphu

Time: 8 hrs
Distance: 268 km

On the way to Thimphu, we retrace the same route and make several stopovers to visit local people and look at their lifestyles. We will have our lunch in Wangdi. After lunch, we drive to Thimphu for the overnight stay.

Day 14

Thimphu to Paro Airport

Time: 2 hrs
Distance: 55 km

We drive to Paro at a convenient time to catch your scheduled flight back home