2015-11-07 - 3:52 p.m.
Yesterday we flew to Pokhara. It was a 25 minute flight but enough to give me my first glimpse of the Himalayas. After we landed we rode in a van for about an hour to a place where we had to hike up to the watch site at Thulo Kharka. On the drive we actually saw our first Red-headed Vulture. If I haven't mentioned Large-billed Crow before, I can mention it now, since there are many in the area.
On the actual hike, we got good views of our first Lammergeier/Bearded Vulture, Steppe Eagle, and a pair of magnificent Indian Black Eagles. I also observed a small flock of Rufous Sibia which appeared to be feeding on pink flowers.
This morning I heard a bird singing and peeked out the window to see the snow-covered peaks of the Himalayas. So I hurried to get dressed. Bird stopped singing, and clouds rolled in. Oops. However, I went up on the rooftop anyway, and soon spotted three birds sitting on top of a tree -- male Pink-Browed Rosefinch, male House Sparrow, and a Himalayan Bulbul.
It was a slow day at the site in terms of numbers of individuals but a huge one in terms of the number of species. The day started with a bang when we spotted a Besra. Soon we had great looks at Oriental Honey Buzzard, Himalayan Vulture, a single Himalayan Buzzard,and any number of Steppe Eagles. An adult Lammergeier flew over us so low that I felt like it could pick me up -- literally the bird was too close for binoculars. A bit later, we saw one of the Indian Black Eagles (the male?) performing an undulating display flight to inform the tourists of who really ruled the roost. The Large-billed Crows had their own opinion -- mobbing an Eurasian Sparrowhawk, some Steppe Eagles, & probably others that I forgot to mention. We had three Peregrines on the flight. At least two Common Kestrels. An Egyptian Vulture. Some nice looks at White-rumped Vultures. One really good Cinereous Vulture, one really good Red-headed Vulture. Black Kite joined the list, of course. Before the fog completely took over, we had great views of a Mountain Hawk-Eagle circling around to check us out. I think it's a 16 raptor species day. Maybe 17. There's a bird we think is good for Upland Buzzard, but there was some debate about it, so we're going to wait until we can inspect the photographs.
Took a walk & added Blue Whistling Thrush & White-throated Laughingthrush.
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