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Black mountain bird expedition

The Black mountain is located in the Jigme Singye Wangchuck National park, one of the many wild life sanctuaries in Bhutan, is a hotspot for bio-diversity. A great opportunity to spot the Great horn bill s and the endangered rufous necked hornbills.

NB Scroll down for detailed itinerary

Day one: Welcome to Paro.

Day two: Easy day of acclimatization, explore Paro at leisure

Day three: Day at Paro, early morning drive to the highest pass.

Day Four: Drive to the capital city, explore down town Thimphu

Day Five: Visit Cherri monastery in the morning and spot some birds along the trail.

Day six: Drive to Puankha and bird along the way.

Day seven: Rest in Punakha.

Day eight: Drive to Trongsa

Day nine: Drive to Zhemgang birding along the way.

Day ten: Early morning drive to Tingtibi, the haven for birders.

Day eleven: Drive back to Trongsa

Day twelve: Drive back to Thimphu

Day Thirteen: Drive back to Paro.

Day fourteen: Tashi Deleg.

(Detailed itinerary)

Black Mountain bird expedition. (detailed itinerary)

Day one:
Welcome to Paro from Bangkok/Delhi. The Changshe team will receive
you from the airport and usher you to Udumwara resort. After a hearty lunch we will visit the National museum, one of the best natural history museums in the region. In the evening we can all relax around a bonfire and try out the local moonshine (Ara, a popular local drink).

Day two:
Easy day of acclimatization. In the morning we will walk along the Paro river to spot some river lapwings, Ibisbill, brown dipper, the local specialty the rufous fronted tits and other local birds. After a sumptuous lunch at the lodge visit the Dumtseg monastery built by the Tibetan saint Thangtong Gyalpo who is known for his iron bridges in Tibet and Bhutan. Explore Paro town and on the way back visit the Kitchu monastery, one of the oldest monuments in Bhutan built by the Tibetan king Songtsen Gonpo in the 7th century.

Day three:
Today we will have to get up very early to go up to one of the highest motorable pass about 4000m above sea level. The distant calls of the color full Himalayan monal will be be a sign that we have neared the pass. Flocks of blood pheasant, kalij pheasant, grosbreaks, bullfinches, Cutias and more can be observed to our delight. This can be continued as we enjoy our packed breakfasts. After we’ve watched birds to our hearts content we can head back to Paro and have a relaxed lunch at the lodge. The afternoon will be free for stretching your legs or taking a walk around the lodge.

Day Four:
We will drive to the capital city and check into Phuntsho Pelri. This will present the perfect opportunity to explore down town Thimphu for authentic Bhutanese souvenirs and gifts. We can spend the rest of the day visiting the most interesting sites in Thimphu such as the Changangkha Lhakang which gives an excellent view of Thimphu city, the folk heritage museum which will take you back to the medieval times of Bhutan, the handicrafts emporium which has an assortment of authentic Bhutanese souvenirs, the Trashicho Dzong the fortress of the glorious religion which is the house for the temporal and the secular state of Bhutan, the Textile Museum, a haven for traditional and modern textiles of Bhutan and the Takin Preserve, a bullpen for the national animal of Bhutan.

Day Five:
We will visit the spectacular Cherri monastery in the morning and spot some birds like spotted laughing thrush, fire capped tit, golden breasted fulvetta , yellow backed flower pecker, maroon backed accentor along the trail. Lunch will be served at a local restaurant. The rest of the day can be spent for exploring Thimphu city or just relaxing.

Day six:
Drive out of Thimphu to Lobesa. As we ascend to the Dochula pass (one of the best landmarks of the journey) we enter the pristine forests of hemlock, fir, spruce, oak, magnolias, rhododendron etc. and spot the hill partridge, Satyr tragopan, rufous breasted robin, slender billed scimitar babbler and the gold naped finch. On a clear day we can get a glimpse of the breathtaking eastern Himalayan range. We check into Hotel YT in the evening.

Day seven:
After an early breakfast we will drive along the Mochu bank which hosts birds such as the Yellow-vented Warbler, Fire-capped Tit and White-gorgeted Flycatcher. We’ll also look out for a variety of skulkers including Lesser Shortwing, Spotted and Pygmy Wren-Babblers and two of the three species of tesias. We can stretch our legs after the long session of birding with a nice picnic lunch. After lunch we will visit the historical Punakha Dzong which boasts the finest Bhutanese architecture.

Day eight:
Continuing east, past Wangdue Dzong another district, we will make a couple of stops to scan the steep river valley for some bird activity. We have a good chance to see a Palla’s Gull and Palla’s Fishing eagle. We also check forest edges and explore some of the small patches of cultivation. We will enter productive forest near the end of our journey and will stop here to look for species such as Blood Pheasant, Spotted Laughingthrush, Yellowish bellied Bush Warbler, Rusty flanked Treecreeper, and White winged Grosbeak also occur here. We will search for Ward’s Trogon. Crossing pele La, the vegetation changes and we see about 5km of bamboo forsest and we will search here for specialties such as Great and Brown Parrotbills, and Goldenbreasted Fulvetta, surely one of the world’s most attractive passerines. We will stay overnight in Trongsa.

Day nine:
We head south today and pass the winter palace of the second king in Kuenga Rapten, The drive offers a good opportunity to see the Golden Langurs an animal endemic to Bhutan. Many of Bhutan’s most sought after birds can be found here including Chestnut breasted Partridge, Ward’s Trogon, the majestic Rufous necked Hornbill, Blue napped Pitta, Blue fronted Robin, and wedge billed and Bar winged Wren Babblers.

Day ten:
Early morning we drive to Tingtibi scanning the vegetation for some activity

Day eleven:
We retrace our way back to Trongsa.

Day twelve:
With an early start back to Thimphu we can explore the city at leisure for souvenirs and items of personal interest.

Day Thirteen:
Drive back to Paro in the afternoon and enjoy a free evening

Day fourteen:
Tashi Delek.