For a little fun, see guide Richard Webster's tongue-in-cheek post about Bhutan's pheasants on our blog.
Bhutan, a rampart stretch of the Himalayas nestled between Tibet and India, holds some of the most extensive remaining tracts of Himalayan forest. Bhutan has opened its doors to visitors, allowing us to explore its wonderland of birds from Ibisbill to parrotbills. It even has its own field guide from which to sort out all the niltavas, tesias, yuhinas, minlas, fulvettas, laughingthrushes, scimitar-babblers, and barwings! A surprisingly good road permits us to encounter many species reduced through habitat loss elsewhere and to view the cultural setting of remote regions far beyond the capital.
As there are so few hotels, our journey does necessitate six nights of camping and many picnics, but our efficient ground crew ensures that this experience is not only comfortable but adds to the ambience of being in Bhutan. This also enables us to be on the spot at some truly superb birding locations to walk through oak and rhododendron forests in search of several superb pheasants, Cutia, Scarlet Finch, Fire-tailed Myzornis, and the enormous Rufous-necked Hornbill.
Our visit has been timed to show the greatest diversity of bird life--Bhutan's resident birds will be in full song and many migrants will be heading north. Species that move to higher altitudes to breed should still be present at lower elevations where they have wintered, while rock-thrushes and others will be arriving from southern India to breed. As a bonus, many species of intensely colored rhododendrons and magnolias should be in flower.
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