Home Adventure Trail Bird Watching Tour Birding In Ladakh

This tour is meant for birders who are in good physical health and can walk in high altitude area. The treks and walks are moderate in nature. The bird species are special trans-Himalayan species while a lot of them are Palearctic.Ladakh has around 320 species of birding & is exellent place to see the migratory birds. Though resident species are altitudinal migrants. There are alot of Breeding migrates that visit Ladakh , during summers in month of April and May & migrate back in August.

STI Bird watching program duration: 12 nights 13 days

Best Season: May - Mid September


Day 01: Arrive Leh
Arrive at Leh airport by morning flight from Delhi. This flight is one of the most sensational flights in the world. On a clear day from one side of the aircraft can be seen in the distance the peaks of K2, Nanga Parbat, Gasherbrum and on the other side of the aircraft, so close that you feel you could reach out and touch it, is the Nun Kun massif.

Upon arrival you will be transferred to your hotel. You would take a little time to settle in and acclimatize since you have gone from a relatively low elevation in New Delhi to over 11,000 feet! During the afternoon, you can walk through the old town, beneath the Leh Palace, to allow you to get oriented to this fascinating city. Overnight in a hotel.


Day 02: Surrounding area of Leh
Today morning we will bird along Shey marshes. One can expect common rosefinch, Hume's lesser white-throat, blue rock thrush, Eurasian hobby, common coot, booted eagle, blue throat, common tern, Hume's short-toed lark, plain mountain finch, rock bunting, citrine and grey wagtail etc. Afternoon visit to Trisul Lake for red-crested pochard, northern pintail, common teal, tufted duck, little grebe, garganey etc.

Shey marshes:
Its must visit place for any birder, Shey marshes are located in outskirts of Leh at a distance of 7 kms, The birding area extents upto Tikshey monestory, One has to cross irrigation channels to reach river. Its wetland with some great birding to offer, birds that can be seen in area are common coot, blue throat, common tern ,Eurasian Golden Oriole,Hume's lesser white-throat, Ibisbill, little grebe,blue rock thrush , northern pintail, Eurasian Hobby,red-crested pochard , booted eagle , White-winged Redstart, Citrine Wagtail, Carrion Crow , tufted duck, common teal,Hume's short-toed lark ,garganey, Streaked Rosefinch, plain mountain finch . Overnight hotel.


Day 03: Surrounding area of Leh
Today morning we will bird at Thiksey. One can expect to see golden oriole, long-tailed shrike, blue-whistling thrush, Eurasian cuckoo, common rosefinch, hill pigeon etc. Afternoon visit to Hemis area after Stok Palace for Tibetan snowfinch, Eurasian crag martin, northern house martin, lammergeier, white wagtail, fire-fronted serin, plain mountain finch, blue sheep etc. Overnight hotel.


Hemis National Park
Hemis National park is situated 40 kms southeast of Leh, Hemis is located on the banks of River Indus. The park has got area of 600sq kms with an average altitude of 3000mts. Hemis National park is known for its unique flora and fauna. It provides a great option with both mammals & birds some rare birds found here are Brown and White-throated Dippers, Robin Accentor, Wallcreeper, Golden Eagle, White-winged Redstart , Lammergeier, Horned Lark , Himalayan Snowcock , Rock Bunting , Red-fronted Serin, rosefinches and mountain finches.etc.

Day 04: Leh - Khardung La (18,380 ft) - By Surface / 49 km / Approx 2 ½ hrs
Today morning we will be going on an excursion to bird at Khardung La. We will be reaching a height of 18380 ft, the highest motorable pass in the world. One can expect winter wren, brown dipper, robin & alpine accentor, Himalayan snowcock, Brandt's mountain finch, great rosefinch, white-winged redstart, yellow-billed chough etc. Mammals will be Himalayan marmot, mouse hare, wooly hare, and blue sheep. Cross pass & enter in to Nubra valley for overnight at the camps

Day 05: Bird watching in Nubra Valley
Nubra valley was offlimits to travellers till 1994, this incredible valley is is located in North of Leh is approched by Khardung La Pass (5700m), the highest motorable road in the world. Nubra valley has 70km long Siachen Glacier, which is the longest glacier in the Karakoram range. The valley has spectacular sand-dunes, small swamps and extensive buckthorn which is great habitat for some rare birds like Oriental Skylark, Tibetan Snowcock, variety of shrikes & warblers , chats and finches , ducks and raptors , winter wren , robin & alpine accentor ,Brandt's mountain finch , white-winged redstart ,yellow-billed chough, brown dipper etc. Nubra Valley is great place to spot some rare mammals like fox, wooly hare, pika, Himalayan marmot, lynx,blue sheep , Bactrian camel & is the only place in India to spot Cape hares. Overnight at the camps.

Day 06: Leh - Zingchan - By Surface / Approx 1 hr - Rumbak (12,540 ft) - Trek / Approx 5 hrs
Drive to Zingchan in the morning. Trek to Rumbak for birding. Full day birding in Rumbak Valley. One can expect golden eagle, Himalayan griffon, Tibetan snowfinch, chukar, fire-fronted serin, sulphur-bellied warbler, white-throated dipper etc. Overnight stay in a tented camp or in a home stay
Day 07: Rumbak
Full day birding around Rumbak Valley. One can see brown & robin accentor, tickell's leaf warbler, streaked rosefinch, Tibetan snowfinch, chukar, common & fork-tailed swift, red-billed chough, Himalayan snowcock, fire-fronted serin, twite etc. One can also expect to see blue sheep, Red fox and the elusive snow leopard. Overnight stay in a tented camp or in a home stay.

Day 08: Rumbak - Zingchan - Trek / Approx 3 ½ hrs - Leh - By Surface / Approx 1 hr
Morning birding in Rumbak Valley. Trek to Zingchan. Check the forest patch at Zingchan for unusual species such as rusty-tailed flycatcher, grey bushchat etc. Travel to Leh for overnight stay in a hotel.


Day 09: Leh - Puga (14,520 ft) - By Surface / Approx 5 ½ hrs
We will spend the day travelling to Puga stopping en route for birding at Chumathang. One can expect to see golden eagle, common merganser, Ibisbill, horned lark etc. Check the stream at Puga emerging out of sulphur spring for black-necked crane, brown-headed gull, ruddy shelduck etc. Overnight stay in a tented camp at Puga.

Puga Valley
Puga valley is located in close parimeters of salt lake valley, Welknown for it borax & sulphur deposite this valley has offers great variety of habitat for birds, The valley has combinations meadows, marshes, streams & high rocky slopes. Theres a good variety of birds to seen at this place, including Ibisbill, Tibetan Partridge ,horned lark , Tibetan Snowcock, brown-headed gull , Eurasian Eagle-owl,ruddy shelduck , Lammergeier, common merganser, Upland Buzzard , White-tailed Rubythroat and Black-necked Crane Eurasian Jackdaw, Eurasian Wryneck, White-throated Dipper,golden eagle etc.

There are frequent sightings of mammal life like marmot , blue sheep , Wolf , woolly hare ,pika, fox & weasels.


Day 10: Puga - Across Namshang La (15,840 ft) - Thadsang Karu (15,246 ft) - Tso Moriri (14,916 ft) – Puga
Morning excursion to the lakes for ruddy shelduck, bar-headed goose, ruff, lesser sand plover, white-winged black tern, long-legged buzzard etc. Black-necked crane is big a possibility too. Spend the evening near the camp checking the stream, rock faces and bushes for Eurasian eagle-owl, white-winged redstart, robin accentor, Asian house martin, white-throated dipper, lammergeier etc. Overnight stay in a tented camp at Puga.

Tsomoriri Lake
Tso Moriri is situated at altitude of 4595 m . Tsomiri is the largest of the High Altitude Lakes in India. Its a protected area officialy known as "Tsomoriri Wetland Conservation Reserve". Located in Changthang plains, Tso moriri is a frsh water blackish lake with an area of 120 sq kms.
Tso moriri is one of the best birding spots of Ladakh, It the best know as breeding ground for Bar headed Geese & is the only breeding spot in india for Rare black Necked crane. The region is a breeding ground for many other species like common redshank ,ruddy shelduck , lesser sand plover etc. Birds that can be spotted here are lesser sand plover , brownheaded gull , greatcrested grebe , Accentors, rosefinches and mountain-finches , Tibetan Sandgrouse, Little Owl, Hume's Short-toed Lark, Horned Lark, Blanford's Snowfinch , Brahminy Starling, Eurasian Jackdaw etc.
There are frequent records of mammal life like marmot , blue sheep , Wolf , woolly hare ,pika, fox & weasels.


Day 11: Puga - Across Polo Konga (16,236 ft) - Tso Kar (14,949 ft) - By Surface / Approx 2 ½ hrs
Travel to Tso Kar in the morning across Polo Kongka Pass. One can see large flocks of Brandt's mountain finch. As you enter the lake area, you may see black-necked crane, common redshank, lots of other waders and waterfowl. Tibetan wild ass, marmot, Stolizka's mountain vole are mammal species that are seen commonly. Explore the area for little owl, Tibetan sandgrouse, plain-backed snowfinch etc. Horned lark, Hume's short-toed lark and Tibetan snowfinch are some of the common birds here. Afternoon visit to fresh water lake for avocet, breeding colony of crested grebe, ruddy shelduck etc. Black-necked crane is a possibility too. Overnight stay in tented camp at Tso Kar.


Tso Kar means "the white lake". It is approx 45 kms northwest of the Tsomoriri lake. Tsokhar is salt water lake & is so salty that salt extracted are still sold all over Ladakh. The wild ass can be seen grazing on the pastures on the side of the lake. It has got a small gompa and the surrounding village THUKSE. Tso Kar is breeding ground for Bar headed geese & Rudyshel duck. Birds that can be seen here are Black-necked Cranes , Great Crested Grebe , Tibetan Sandgrouse , Plain-backed Snowfinch , Golden Eagle, Upland Buzzard, Common Kestrel, Lesser Sand Plover , kites, harriers Little Owl etc. Tsokar is a great spot for Mammals including wolf, fox, weasel, wild ass ( Kiang ), blue sheep, argali, marmot, woolly hare and pika


Day 12: Tso Kar - Across Taklang La (17,358 ft) - Leh - By Surface / 140 km / Approx 4 hrs
After morning birding at Tso Kar, travel to Leh via Tanglang La stopping en route for birding. Arrive Leh in the afternoon. Afternoon at leisure. Overnight stay in a hotel.


Day 13: Leh-Delhi
Transfer to airport to fly to Delhi.


Extension program available from Delhi:

DAY 01: Delhi – Kathgodam--Pangot(Nainital)
Arrival at Kathgodam by Ranikhet Express and transfer to wildlife lodge. Early in the morning bird walk from Kilbury to Pangot. After lunch take a bird walk to Baggar through the forest. Dinner and overnight stay.

DAY 02: Pangot(Nainital) - Corbett National Park
Take up a bird trek to Bajun-Mongoli and enjoy a packed lunch. Conclude your trek at Mongoli and proceed towards the campsite stopping en route at Corbett Falls for forktails and Bharatpuri for Ibisbill. Dinner and overnight stay at the campsite.

DAY 03: Corbett National Park –Kathgodam-- Delhi/Onward Destination
Morning bird watching at Kumeria. Return for breakfast and lunch. After lunch drive towards Bijrani area for birding while taking a jeep ride. Take the connecting train to Delhi from Ramnagar station.

DAY 04: Arrival  Delhi in the morning.
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