Steve Happ Photography Ramblings and dissertations

August 8, 2017

Himalaya Birding Part 1

Filed under: Birds — Tags: , — admin @ 2:54 pm

Tirthan Valley, Himachal Pradesh

What a mammoth trek to get to the Tirthan Valley. Let us start at the beginning, shall we? I started off from Mandi about 7am in the rain. I was told there was a direct bus to Banjar, but there was none. So I hopped on a bus to Aut. Up and over winding hills, past raging torrents, passing trucks and cars with horn blaring. Through the tunnel to Aut. From Aut I caught the bus to Banjar up a mountain valley. Another accident along the way. Front end of a Maruti Suzuki wiped out.

Yellow-billed Blue Magpie
Yellow-billed Blue Magpie (Urocissa flavirostris cucullata)

At Banjar, I hopped on another bus to Gushaini. End of the line. After a cup of chai and an omlet I start walking up the valley. It is hard going and I am not used to climbing hills. I do not like it. Luckily the guest house guy came down with his motor-bike and gave me a lift the rest of the way.

Little Pied Flycatcher
Little Pied Flycatcher (Ficedula westermanni)

During the afternoon, I recuperated by taking photos of the birds from my verandah. About 3 or 4 pm I wandered up the hill, past mountain huts and tiny fields carved out of the mountain sides. I really do not know how people do it. It is so hard the life here. The guy told me when he was a boy he used to walk 9 kilometers to school every day. And that is up and down the hills. Whew!

Verditer Flycatcher
Verditer Flycatcher (Eumyias thalassinus)

I was not sure if this was a Verditer Flycatcher or a Pale Blue Flycatcher (Cyornis unicolor). Thank you very much Mr Kumar for the identification. 🙂

Slaty-headed Parakeet
Slaty-headed Parakeet (Psitticula himalayana)

This is the only Parakeet other than the Rose-ringed Parakeet that I have seen in India. doh!

Great Barbet
Great Barbet (Megalaima virens)

The next morning I went down to the river and found a little meadow. Later on it started raining so I went back to the guest house and took some photos from the verandah.

Pied Bushchat
Pied Bushchat (Saxicola caprata)

I got stung by some poison ivy type plant and I came up in a bit of a rash. The boy got some cannabis and rubbed it on the rash and after a while it went away. It has just stopped raining. I was hoping for some fine weather but it looks like I am not going to get it.

not sure yet
Grey-hooded Warbler (Phylloscopus xanthoschistos)

I was not sure if this was a Grey-cheeked Warbler or Grey-hooded Warbler, The local experts seem to think it is Grey-hooded Warbler.


  1. Thank you….. Steve sir ……for sharing my details….hpoe u enjoyed ur stay with us at our cottage…

    (Chander Kant)

    Comment by Chander Kant — August 9, 2017 @ 7:05 am

  2. thank you Chander Kant for a fantastic stay. I really enjoyed it up there in the steep hills.


    Comment by admin — August 9, 2017 @ 1:17 pm

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