Home Adventure Trail Bird Watching Tour Birding In Himachal Pradesh

The Kangra district with its amazing diversity of habitats – which range from wetlands to alpine forests and from dry lowland steppes to snow-covered mountain peaks - is one of the most wildlife-rich areas in the western Himalayas. More than 550 species of birds and many interesting mammals have been reported. The small town of Dharamsala at 1500m, which is situated in the green hills in front of the massive Dhauladhar mountain range and is famous for being the Dalai Lama’s residence, is an excellent base for exploring the different habitats of Kangra.

STI Bird watching program duration: 12 nights 13 days


Day 01 : Delhi
Arrive Delhi - on arrival Special Tours India representative shall meet you at the airport to welcome you and transfer you to hotel. Overnight hotel.

Day 02 : Delhi - Pathankot – By Overnight Train
Full day enjoy city tour covering Laxmi Narayan Temple – The Place of Gods, India Gate - The memorial of martyrs, Parliament House – The Government Headquarters, Jama Masjid - The largest mosque in Asia, Red Fort - The red stone magic, Gandhi memorial – The memoir of father of the nation beside these some other places to visit are - Qutab Minar Complex and Humayun’s Tomb. evening transfer to railway station to connect overnight train to Pathankot Dep. 2110 Arr. 0710. Overnight at Train.
Day 03 : Arrive Pathankot - Dharamshala
Arrive Pathankot at 0710 and transfer to Dharamshala 85 Kms. 2 hours drive approx. Arrive Dharmshala and check-in to hotel – Afternoon tour visiting Bhagsunag temple, St Johns church and The Dalai Lama's temple. Overnight at hotel.

Day 04-05 : Birdwatching around Dharamkot Hill
Morning met STI Birding guide for a briefing. Little above McLeod Ganj, the Tibetan settlement above Dharamsala at 1700m, starts the dense pine forest which covers Dharamkot Hill. It is possible to walk up to the Ghalu Temple at 2200m. Although the density of birds is not high, the diversity is remarkable. Warblers and Tits can be watched moving around in flocks, while one may enjoy the beautiful song of several species of thrushes, including Grey-winged Blackbird and Blue-capped Rock Thrush. Other passerines frequently encountered are redstarts, nuthatches, accentors, flycatchers and several species of finches. Larger birds include woodpeckers and pigeons as well as owls, which are difficult to see but easily heard at nighttime. Around Ghalu Temple you may hear the calls of Mountain Scops Owl, Asian Barred Owlet and Tawny Owl as well the mechanic staccato song of the Grey Nightjar. Overnight at hotel.
Day 06: Birding in Dharamshala Tea Estate
Morning after breakfast 20 minutes drive to the Dharamsala tea gardens. The habitat is diversified, the tea plantations are interspersed with scrub and small forests. Red Junglefowl and Kalij Pheasant are common, as is the Grey Francolin. Trees and bushes are full of passerines, including flycatchers, buntings, thrushes and minivets. A speciality here is the Rosy Minivet, which is not uncommon during the summer months. Don’t forget to watch the sky for swifts and soaring raptors. If you are lucky, you may even encounter a shy leopard. Return back to the hotel for overnight.
Day 07-08-09 : Birding on the Higher Reaches of Dhauladhar
Today go for some high altitude birding, for which Dharamsala offers great opportunities. The Dhauladhar is home to many specialities of the Westhimalayas, the star birds being of pheasants. Kalij and Koklass pheasants as well as Himalayan Monals, the state bird of Himachal Pradesh, are relatively numerous and easy to see, while more secretive species include the rare Cheer Pheasant and Western Tragopan. As you walk higher up, you have good chances to encounter Himalayan Snowcocks and Snow Partridges, which are adapted to the inhospitable habitat above 4000m consisting of rocks and snow. The sky is filled with vultures and other raptors at any time of th eday.

The Dhauladhar with its open rhododendron and oak forests, dense pine forests and grassy slopes is also rich in small birds. The mammal enthusiast may observe species like Goral, Blue Sheep or Yellow-throated Marten, all of which are not rare. The very lucky might even encounter a Snow Leopard.

An ideal trek to observe the wildlife of the Dhauladhar starts at Ghalu temple and leads via Triund and Ilaka up towards Indrahar pass at 4200m. Up to Ilaka at 3300m, the trail is broad and mounting gently, which makes it an ideal route. The area can be covered in three or four days. Overnight at the camps.

Day 10-11: Dharamshala—Bird watching in Pong Wetland(500mt)  (115kms/2-3 hrs )
The Pong Lake, which has been artificially created in the 1970s, is a two-hours drive from Dharamsala. After the end of monsoon it covers a huge 400 sq km and then gradually drains during the dry season, leaving vast steppe-like barren flats. Pong Dam teems with birds at any time of the year. It harbours up to 150'000 waterbirds in winter – ducks, cranes, egrets, shorebirds, gulls and thousands of Bar-headed Geese, which arrive from their breeding grounds on the Tibetan Plateau in autumn. Pong Dam is part of the Ramsar Convention, which aims to protect the world’s most important wetland habitats.

In spring and autumn, tens of thousands of migratory birds, stop at Pong Dam. 45 species of shorebirds have been recorded, including many national rarities. In spring and summer, the huge breeding colonies of Terns and Pratincoles are a fascinating experience, while the flats around the lake are full of Larks and other passerines. Even a few pairs of the globally endangered and highly impressive Indian Skimmer breed. The most common bird species that have arrived and often visit this lake every year include ruddy-shell ducks (surkhab), bar-headed geese, mallards, coots, pochards and pintails besides rare red-necked grebe and gulls. hese species come from as far as China, Siberia, Central Asia, Pakistan and Ladakh. According to a census, more than one lakh migratory birds visited the lake last year.

Pong Dam reservoir is the only place in the country after the Bharatpur Sanctuary where the red-necked grebe descends every year. Similarly, though seashore species, the arrival of gulls on this lake also make the Pong Dam an exception .Return back to the hotel for overnight.

Day 12 : Dharamshala- Pathankot-Delhi
Breakfast at hotel. In time transfer to Pathankot Railway Station to connect Shalimar Exp. at 2310 hrs.
Extensions available for Ladakh
Please let us know the number of people travelling on this tour and we will send you the total cost. We also specialize in customizing the tour. Should you need any changes we would be happy to modify the itinerary.
The tour may include arrangements such as accommodation, travel, meals, permit, guides, activities etc. or services as required by the client.

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