This North India birdwatching tour has been designed to provide an incredible amount of diversity in a relatively small area and short time. It concentrates on two main sites in the Kangra Valley of Himachal Pradesh, an area that deserves more birding attention, as well as the Harike Bird Sanctuary in Punjab. Some extreme Indian rarities, such as Chaffinch, Yellowhammer, Whooper Swan, Common Gull, and Red-necked Grebe, all of which have recent records in this area, are also possible here!
The tour starts in Dharamshala for a quick taste of Himalayan birding. Most birds in the Himalayas follow an altitudinal migration pattern and, at this time of year, heavy snowfall at higher elevations will often push birds to the lower elevations. The sites around Dharamshala are noted for such altitudinal migrants.
We then head down into the plains to the most important wetland sanctuary in this part of India, the Pong Dam Lake, also known as Maharana Pratap Sagar. This huge lake, a Ramsar wetland, holds an impressive number of waterfowl and there are few sites that can beat the sight of tens of thousands of Bar-headed Geese against the backdrop of the snow-covered Himalayas. Finally, we head to Punjab, to Amritsar and the Harike Bird Sanctuary, another Ramsar wetland. Our brief visit here will be focussed on a few key target species seldom seen elsewhere in India, including the Rufous-vented Grass Babbler (formerly the Rufous-vented Prinia), the Sind subspecies of Jerdon’s Babbler, and the charming White-crowned Penduline Tit.
Day 01: Arrive Delhi/Amritsar
Day 02: Delhi – Dharamashala
Day 03: Dharamashala
Day 04: Dharamashala
Day 05: Dharamashala to Pong
Day 06: Pong
Day 07: Pong to Amritsar/Harike
Day 08: Harike
Day 09: Harike to Delhi via Amritsar