Western Himalaya

Western Tragopan and Orange Bullfinch

Western Himalaya

Western Tragopan and Orange Bullfinch

Western Himalaya

Western Tragopan and Orange Bullfinch

Western Himalaya

Western Tragopan and Orange Bullfinch

Western Himalaya

Western Tragopan and Orange Bullfinch

Western Himalaya expedition

Western Tragopan, Orange Bullfinch and everything in-between

7th - 20th May 2023

Leader: Shashank Dalvi

Our Spring tour of this area after our carefully planning and scouting of the northwest Himalaya state of Jammu and Kashmir over the past few years, we are now able to offer the chance to see the specialities of the area. Kashmir and White-cheeked Nuthatches, Kashmir Nutcracker, Spectacled Finch, White-throated Bushtit, Black-and-yellow Grosbeak and Tytler's Leaf Warbler are all possible, while we even have a chance of Orange Bullfinch. In Central Himalaya we have a weeks camping inside Great Himalayan National Park with our primary target the Western Tragopan. In addition, Cheer Pheasant and other Himalayan species are possible.

Day 1:
International arrivals into Delhi International Airport. Night in Delhi.

Day 2:
Fly to Chandigarh in the early morning and continue on to Mandi, winding our way up through the Himalayan foothills will give us chance to search for some species not possible elsewhere on the tour, including Spot-winged Starling and Black-headed (Lanceolated) Jay - the former a difficult species to get for a world birder. Night in Mandi.

Days 3-8:
We have six days inside Great Himalayan National Park with our primary aim to find a regal male Western Tragopan in the moss-drenched forest. We will be trekking and birding throughout, and camping each night, so a good level of fitness will be required. In addition, other Central Himalaya species will be possible, including White-throated Bushtit, Black-and-yellow Grosbeak, Nepal Cupwing, Pink-browed Rosefinch, Red-headed Bullfinch, Golden Bush Robin, Koklass Pheasant, Himalayan Monal and White-cheeked Nuthatch. In addition, Kalij Pheasant, Crested Kingfisher, Himalayan Bulbul, Grey-hooded, Whistler’s, Ashy-throated, Blyth’s Leaf Warblers, Brown Dipper, Grey-crested Tit, Little and Spotted Forktails, Dark-sided Flycatcher, Himalayan and Scaly-bellied Woodpeckers, Black-chinned Babbler, Streaked Laughingthrush, Lammergeier, Yellow-breasted Greenfinch, Rufous Sibia, Scaly-breasted Cupwing and Indian Blue Robin.

Day 9:
If time allows, morning in search of Cheer Pheasant, or other open country Himalayan species, including Upland Pipit. In the mid-morning we drive out of the Himalaya, down the foothills and back into the flatlands, arriving in Punjab state in the evening.

Day 10:
As our flight is likely not until early afternoon, we can spend early morning at Harike Wetlands for some casual birding, most likely in the rain! Rufous-vented Grass-babbler is possible however, as is White-tailed Stonechat, though whether we can access areas for Jerdon’s Babbler will depend on the recent rains, but we were able to without problem on our 2022 tour.
An early afternoon flight takes us into the state of Jammu & Kashmir, in time for some late afternoon birding.

Days 11-13:
We bird the coniferous forests and deciduous valley bottoms in Indian Kashmir. Our primary focus will be Orange Bullfinch, here in its breeding range. In addition, regional breeding endemics such as Kashmir and White-cheeked Nuthatches, Rufous-naped Tit, Kashmir Nutcracker and Tytler's Leaf Warbler. A supporting cast could include Scaly-bellied, Brown-fronted and Himalayan Woodpeckers, Spot-winged' Coal Tit, Black-and-yellow Grosbeak, Pink-browed Rosefinch, Himalayan Parakeet, Kashmir and Rusty-tailed Flycatchers, Streaked and Variegated Laughingthrushes with outside chances of Spectacled Finch and White-throated Bushtit.

Day 14:
After final mornings birding, head back for our flight to Delhi, and onward international departures from Delhi International Airport.

Tour details

Cost: £ 3,150 or $ 4,095

Deposit: £ 400 or $ 700

Single room supplement:
£ 210 / $ 270

Maximum group size: 6

Tour cost includes: all accommodation, main meals, internal flights as stated in itinerary, overland transport, entrance fees, drinking water, tips to local drivers and guides, and guide fees.

Tour cost excludes: International flights and departure taxes, visa, travel insurance, drinks, tips to tour guides, and other items of a personal nature.

Accommodation: comfortable twin-bed, and single rooms, all with private facilities except for two nights in Kashmir that may be spent in simple accommodation, possibly with shared facilities.
In Great Himalayan National Park it will be simple tented camps, with porters carrying our equipment.

Walking difficulty: fairly strenuous hiking in/out of Great Himalayan National Park on two days, with moderate walking in-between.
In Kashmir moderate to arduous hiking from 1,900 to at least 2,900m, possibly with camping.

Expected number of species:
210-250 species.

Number of endemics and range-restricted species: the focus is on Western Tragopan in Great Himalayan National Park, along with other Central Himalayan specialities.
In Kashmir we are primarily searching for Orange Bullfinch, and we hope to see other regional breeding endemics as we do.

Map of the tour

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