This is a map of our route, starting in Samdrup Jongkhar and finishing in Paro.
We spent a couple of days around the border town of Samdrup Jongkhar birding the lowland sub-tropical forests. This area is the start of the Himalayan foothills at an altitude of only about 600 feet. We'll get into some serious mountains later in the trip. Speaking of mountains, Bhutan is virtually all mountains with roads traveling up and over passes and down into valleys. There isn't a straight section of road in the entire country. So far, my guess is average speed is about 25 mph. Fun times!
And as perhaps a harbinger of things to come, Agnes spotted and Chubzang identified the second ever country record for Rosy Starling early on our first morning. How cool is that?!
eBird day 1
eBird day 2
|Susan's terrific iPhone photo through the spotting scope of a male Rufous-necked Hornbill|
We left Samdrup Jongkhar and headed north, up and over a pass in some dreary weather near the top. The forest changed from warm broadleaved to cool broadleaved. It rained intermittently but we still got some fantastic birding in. Traveling these roads with thousand foot drops on the edge in zero visibility requires some trust and faith in the driver - and we have a good one.
|A giant beehive one a cliff that the Yellow-rumped Honeyguide was feeding from|
|And a great mammal sighting - Yellow-throated Marten|
Chubzang did some quick thinking and organized a pickup by the hotel staff on the other side of the slide. But first we had to get ourselves across. The footing was loose and the drop-off considerable, and we had to trust that the slide would stay put as we went across. But we made it and added another adventure story to our never-ending supply. Our poor driver had to backtrack to the top of the pass and take an alternate primitive road route adding several hours to his day.
Our next day had us doing more of the same to get over another pass and down to our eventual destination at Yongkola. The birding was excellent and the weather good on another long travel day. The bird of the day for me was Wallcreeper, at nuthatch like bird that spends its day flitting up and down small cliff faces.
eBird list 1
eBird list 2
eBird list 3