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Birding

  • Back pack & rain cover
  • Walking stick Advisable if you are used to it
  • Head torch 1 Nos. (Hand torch would be an alternative)
  • Water bottle/Hydration pack
  • Snacks Energy bars, dry fruits, electoral
  • Personal Medical Kit consulted by your doctor
  • Pair of Waterproof gloves
  • Sun cap
  • Woollen cap.
  • Neck-gaiters. (Optional)
  • Sunglass (U/V protected)
  • Trek pants
  • T-shirts Full sleeves
  • Down Jacket
  • Wind & waterproof jacket & pant 1 Pair
  • Thermal inners 1 Pair
  • Trekking shoes 1 Pair (Waterproof with grip for crampons)
  • Floaters/flip-flops 1 Pair (Optional)
  • Cotton socks 2 pairs
  • Woollen socks 2 pairs
  • Gumboots Required only for Chadar trek
  • Sunscreen cream
  • Hand sanitiser
  • Moisturiser
  • Antibacterial powder
  • Lip balm
  • Toothbrush and toothpaste
  • Toilet Paper & wipes …..etc
  • Quick dry towel

Birding spots of Ladakh

Ladakh being an isolated from land at a high altitude from 3300m to 4500m where people live peacefully without disturbing the nature or the animals or birds. This is why we get more than 300 species of migratory birds. Most of them visit during the beginning of summer (April, May and June). So some of the areas where birding is common are:

 

Hemis National Park and the Rumbak Valley

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, Wall creeper, Golden Eagle, White-winged Redstart , Lammergeier, Horned Lark , Himalayan Snowcock , Rock Bunting , Red-fronted Serin, rosefinches and mountain finches.etc. Its a great place to spot some rare mammals like snow leopard, Tibetan wild or kiang,urial, blue sheep, ibex, serow and Tibetan antelope etc.

Shey marshes:

Shey marshes is located in the outskirt of Leh at a distance of 7 kms, The birding area extents up to Thiksey monastery, 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 .

Nubra Valley

Nubra valley was off-limits to travelers till 1994, this incredible valley is located in North of Leh is approached 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

Puga Valley

Puga valley is located in close parameters 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.

Tsomoriri Lake

Tso Moriri is situated at altitude of 4595 m . Tsomoriri is the largest of the High Altitude Lakes in India. Its a protected area officially known as “Tsomoriri Wetland Conservation Reserve”. Located in Changthang plains, Tso moriri is a fresh 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.

Tsokar

Tsokar means “the white lake”. It is approx 45 kms northwest of the Tsomoriri lake. Tsokar 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. There is a small gompa and the surrounding village THUKJE. Tsokar 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 .

Pangong Lake:

Nestled at an elevation of 4300 meters, the crystal clear brackish waters of Pangong Lake changes its color in many shades of blue and green with the changing position of the sun in the sky. About 1/4th of the lake lies in India and the rest flows into the Tibet region of China. It is a breeding point for various migratory birds such as Bar headed goose and Brahmini ducks­­­­­­­­­­.

The Suru Valley

Located at altitude of 2700mts, Suru valley is one of the most beautiful regions of Ladakh. The valley has combinations of Scrubs , meadows & fields. The Suru valley is heart of Kargil which extends to a length of 75 kms till Panikar in south & Penzilla watershed in east. The highers reaches of valley is home to some species of birds that can be seen in Eastern Ladakh also. Some of the rare birds found here are, Long billed Bush Warbler, White-tailed Rubythroat , Firecapped Tit ,Little Forktail , several warblers,etc. The best birding spots of valley are Rangdum, Parkachik & Sanko.

The Rizdong Monastery

Rizdong monastery is located 70 kms from Leh, This is the monastery known for its high levels of monastic levels, It is one of the most remotest located Monasteries of Ladakh & have a stunning location, The monk of this monastery performs a major role in protecting the area, there is small stream & apricot groves here which is great birding place for lowland species like Brown Dipper , Wallcreeper and Eurasian Sparrowhawk etc.

Black Neck Crane (Grus nigricollis)

       Black Neck Crane or Cha Thung Thung in Ladakhi, is one of the 15th endangered species of the cranes in the world and one of the most charismatic birds of Ladakh. It is not surprising indeed since it inhabits a region that has been one of the world’s most difficult terrains, Changthang, a region that has impenetrable one physically as well politically until recent past.

Black Neck Crane has a pale grey almost white body with black neck, head, feet and long legs. Their courting dances are probably the most spectacular in the feathered world. There are two or three breeding pairs along with several other non- breeding birds, in the high altitude marsh ecosystem of Hanle and Chushul regions of Changthang. They are also found around Tsokar Lake and Puga. A recent sensus suggest that there are around 25 birds seen in the regions of Changthang.