And now for something completely different, as we explore the vastly underrated Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir in search of some very special birds. But first, we begin our new Indian adventure in Delhi and visit a small wetland area where Bristled Grassbird breeds before heading into Rajasthan and visit Sonkhaliya where we will marvel at displaying Lesser Floricans and target some usually tricky species that are much more amenable in the rainy season such as Painted Francolin, Rain Quail and Rock Bush Quail. There's also a really good chance of seeing some localised species such as White-bellied Minivet, White-naped Tit and Marshall's Iora as well. From here we head into the Kashmir hills where such delights as Kashmir Nutcracker, Kashmir and White-cheeked Nuthatches, Rufous-naped Tit, Kashmir Flycatcher, Variegated Laughingthrush, Tytler's Leaf Warbler, Black-and-yellow Grosbeak, Pink-browed Rosefinch and the rare Spectacled Finch can be found. We can also take a cable car up to the top of a mountain where Himalayan Rubythroats reside, along with Pink-browed Rosefinch, Brandt's and Plain Mountain-Finches and Blue-fronted Redstart. An optional extension to the edge of the vast Tibetan Plateau to Tso Kar Lake will give us a fantastic opportunity to get superb views of the high-altitude specialist, Tibetan Sandgrouse. Amidst amazing scenery there will be a variety of other special birds such as Tibetan Snowcock, Black-necked Crane, Ibisbill, Brown Accentor, Ground-Tit, Great Rosefinch and Blanford's Snowfinch to keep us entertained.
This latest ZOOTHERA adventure will see us visiting incredible India at a time of year you wouldn't normally visit, but this is THE time to see some of the rarest birds on the subcontinent. With dramatic scenery and some of the remotest landscapes of any bird tour this will definitely be an adventure! But to see displaying Lesser Florican, the rarities of the Kashmir Hills and flocks of Tibetan Sandgrouse wheeling across an azure blue sky will be some of the most memorable experiences possible in the birding world.
Main Tour 2024:
Leaders: Nick Bray & local guides.
Ground Price (Main): £tba - Delhi/Delhi
Ground Price (Ext): £tba - Delhi/Delhi
Airfare: £550.00 - £750.00 (Approx) - UK/UK
Single supplement (Main): £tba
Single supplement (Ext): £tba
Group size: Minimum for tour to go ahead 4 and maximum 10 with 2 leaders.
Included in cost: Domestic flights (Delhi - Srinagar - Delhi and Delhi - Leh - Delhi), accommodation in twin rooms en-suite, all meals including picnic lunches where necessary, bottled water, all entrance fees to National Parks, transport throughout in air-conditioned vehicles, and services of leaders.
Not included: International flights, insurance, excess luggage charges, visa fee, drinks, tips and items of a personal nature.
Indian Visa: it's really easy to apply for an Indian e-visa - please ask our office for details. No need to post off your passport and all the hassles that used to bring!
Accommodation: Ranges from reasonable to good. We will stay in the best available lodges/guest houses close to the birding sites we visit, to cut-out the necessity of any long drives before reaching the best birding areas each day. We will stay on a houseboat for 4 nights during our visit to Kashmir. On the extension to Tso Kar Lake we will be staying in an eco-lodge at around 4,660m - so there's no need for camping!
Tour Code: This is a standard tour where early starts and some late finishes can be expected. Usually there is some time off during the middle of the day to relax. Most of our birding walks will be of a usual slow pace and relatively easy, although birding in the hills of Kashmir can be tiring. Expect a typically tropical climate with most days being hot and humid in the lowlands with the upland areas being cooler. We will experience some rain as this is the rainy season, although it is usually just light showers.
All photos copyright Nick Bray/Zoothera Birding unless otherwise stated.
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