Trip report: Bhutan (Apr 2011) by Tropical Birding

Guided by Josh Engel.

Bhutan is one of those places that stirs the imagination—with its isolation, its high mountains, its culture of environmental protection, love of its monarchy, and–of course—its extensive intact forest with numerous rare Himalayan birds. Our tour goes clear across the country, from the seldom-visited east, through the magnificent forests of the center, to the beautiful temples of the west.

This year’s trip was far and away our most successful to date. The highlights reads like a litany of Bhutan’s top birds: Ward’s Trogon and Beautiful Nuthatch, Himalayan Monal, Satyr Tragopan, and Blood Pheasant, Fire-tailed Myzornis, Gould’s Shortwing, Blackish-breasted Babbler and Coral-billed Scimitar-Babbler, Rufous-throated and Spotted Wren-Babbler, numerous Rufous-necked Hornbills, 11 species of woodpeckers, 15 species of laughingthrush, and 5 species of rosefinch, including the little known Blanford’s. Although Bhutan isn’t known for its waterbirds, we saw the best of them this year: Black-tailed Crake, Ibisbill, Solitary Snipe, a late Black-necked Crane and the critically endangered White-bellied Heron. And we still found time for many wonderful cultural visits.

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