Steve Happ Photography Ramblings and dissertations

August 8, 2017

Himalaya Birding Part 2

Filed under: Birds — Tags: , — steve_happ @ 2:46 pm

Tirthan Valley Birding Part 2.

While in the Himalayas, I stay at the Tirthan Himalayan Adventures. Email: and phone: +91 9459 101 001. The guest house is really terrific. You get looked after really well and the environment is amazing. I think May-June and September-October would be the best times to visit.

 Himalayan Bulbul
Himalayan Bulbul (Pycnonotus leucogenys)

The Himalayan Bulbul looks very similar to the White-eared Bulbul. The main striking difference is the forward-sweeping crest. The head is also brown and the white cheek spotting is smaller. The White-eared Bulbul has a black head and the same yellow vent.

Blue Whistling Thrush  - adult
Blue Whistling Thrush (Myphonus caerulus) adult

The adult Blue Whistling Thrush has head and body spangled with glistening silvery blue.

 Little Forktail  - juvenile
Little Forktail (Enicurus scouleri) juvenile

I did not go on any treks up to the the Great Himalaya National Park. To do it, I think you have to be very experienced and fit. I only went a couple of kilometers up the track and that was enough for me. You have to climb more than 2000 meters to the camp. I have seen photos of the area and it is totally alpine up there above the treeline. You can even climb to 5000 meters where there are glaciers, beyond which is the Spiti Valley.

Large-billed Crow
Large-billed Crow (Corvus macrorhynchos)

Black Bulbul
Black Bulbul (Hypsipetes leucocephalus)

Little Pied Flycatcher
Little Pied Flycatcher (Ficedula westermanni)

not sure.
Dark-sided Flycatcher

Tirthan Valley bird list

Slaty-headed Parakeet (Psitticula himalayana)
Yellow-billed Blue Magpie (Urocissa flavirostris cucullata)
Great Barbet (Megalaima virens)
Little Pied Flycatcher (Ficedula westermanni)
Verditer Flycatcher (Eumyias thalassinus)
Black Bulbul (Hypsipetes leucocephalus)
Himalayan Bulbul (Pycnonotus leucogenys)
Blue Whistling Thrush (Myphonus caerulus)
Pied Bushchat (Saxicola caprata)
Little Forktail (Enicurus scouleri) juvenile
Large-billed Crow (Corvus macrorhynchos)
Shikra (Accipiter badius)
Grey-hooded Warbler
Dark-sided Flycatcher

August 5, 2017

Himachal Tourist

Filed under: General — Tags: , — steve_happ @ 3:46 pm

From Shimla to Mandi.

This morning I checked out of my guest house in Shimla and walked down the hill to the Old Bus Stand. A good man I met showed me the way, then gave me a lift in his taxi-ride to the new Bus Stand.

shimla hills
Shimla hills

We were travelling along nicely in the express bus when bam! this car runs into the bus. He was a complete idiot overtaking without looking and plowing straight into the rear wheel arch. After a bit of an argument the bus driver and car driver got into a punch up. Then things started getting ugly when a mob turned against the bus driver. I was really scared. Mob violence can flare up so easily.

car crash
The car crashed.

Luckily things calmed down. We waited for the police to turn up. They came eventually and took photos and marked the spots and took down statements. They blamed the car driver of course. It was totally his fault.

raging river
Raging River

The bus got to Mandi eventually, probably a couple of hours late. The river was roaring from all the rain and the snows melting up the hill.

sunken gardens
Sunken Gardens.

After I found a hotel and had a wash, I went for a walk around town. The town square has a sunken garden in the middle, with shops around the perimeter.

market lane
Market lane

The police blocked off the central section and people just promenaded and hung out without all that ugly traffic and beeping horns.

Himachal Pradesh – India

Filed under: Birds — steve_happ @ 4:41 am

Shimla Birding – Himachal Pradesh.

It was raining early in the morning so I stayed in bed, had breakfast and watched television until it stopped.

Tibetan Blackbird
Blue Whistling Thrush (Myophonus caeruleus) juvenile

Lucky I took the camera out for a run today. I did not expect any birds but some eventually turned up and it became a good day with four new birds. Mistake with ID. thanks for the correction
Streaked Laughingthrush
Streaked Laughingthrush (Garrulax lineatus)

I knew this was a laughingthrush but which kind I did not know until I got the book out.

Red-billed Leiothrix
Red-billed Leiothrix (Leiothrix lutea)

I thought this was some kind of mesia and it took me a while to work out what it was.

Grey Bushchat
Grey Bushchat (Saxicola ferreus)

I took some photos with the point and shoot camera yesterday and I was glad to get a record shot at least of a Grey Bushchat. But still not a good shot.

White-eared Bulbul
White-eared Bulbul

shimla hills
The hills are alive

Shimla bird list

Blue Whistling Thrush (Myophonus caeruleus)
Streaked Laughingthrush (Garrulax lineatus)
Red-billed Leiothrix (Leiothrix lutea)
Grey Bushchat (Saxicola ferreus)
White-eared Bulbul
House Crow
Black Kite
Common Myna

August 3, 2017

Shimla Tourist

Filed under: General — Tags: , — steve_happ @ 4:23 pm

Himachal Pradesh

I took the bus brom Chandigarh this morning. We climbed uphill all day, around twisty corners. Finally made it to the New Bus Stand at Shimla, where I was totally confused as to where I was or how to get to my guest house. Finally this nice guy put me on the bus to the old bus stand right in town.

shimla panorama
Panorama shot of Shimla

Then I had to find my hotel, which was another nightmare in itself. Finally after asking dozens of people and ringing up the hotel three times, I found my guest house. In the afternoon I went for a walk up the mall, where there is no traffic. Pure bliss for India.

hill market
Uphill markets.

These markets were set up this track up the hill. It was so steep.

The Mall, Shimla
The Mall

Everyone walks along the mall. It is very civilized. Nice change.

shimal panorama 2
Another panorama.

Looking down the hill from the top of Shimla.

Grey Bushchat
Grey Bushchat (Saxicola ferreus)

I took this photo on my crappy point and shot and asked the local experts what it was. It is a tick. Too funny. It was just hanging out on the wire right next to me.

August 2, 2017

Chandigarh Birding

Filed under: Birds — Tags: , — steve_happ @ 5:17 am

A walk in the forest.

I found a bit of forest down the road from my hotel. This morning I got up early and walked down the road and across the bridge. There was nothing much around, just a heap of peacocks. Luckily I managed to see and photograph an Indian Grey Hornbill or the day would have been a dead loss.

Indian Grey Hornbill
Indian Grey Hornbill (Ocyceros birostris)

On the way back it started drizzling, so I put the camera away and put up the umbrella. The rain kept getting harder, so I sheltered under a tree waiting for it to stop but it did not. Usually it stops after a little while.

Indian Grey Hornbill
Indian Grey Hornbill (Ocyceros birostris)

Chandigarh bird list

Indian Grey Hornbill (Ocyceros birostris)
Rufous Treepie
Common Myna
Bank Myna

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