Bhutan is home to many species of birds that are in the verge of extinction, the Imperial Heron, which is one of the fifty rarest birds in the world and the rare Black-Necked Crane, which breeds in Tibet and then migrates over the Himalayas to Bhutan during the winter months. The Cranes can be spotted in Phobjikha in the western region of Bhutan, Bumthang in central region of Bhutan and in Bumdeling in eastern region of Bhutan. They migrate to these winter roosting sites in the months of September and October and fly back to Tibet between February and March.
Elevation 7600 feet; Vegetation - temperate with mainly Blue PinesMorning transfer to aiport for Paro, Bhutan, on Druk Air, the national carrier of Bhutan. Meet and greet upon arrival at Paro Airport and transfer to the hotel. On this drive from the airport to the hotel we may see our first very special species, the Ibisbill. Afternoon we explore the beautiful valley of Paro, then continue northward toward the Drukgyel Dzong. The Paro valley is mainly Blue Pine forests, which does not have the diversity of bird life found in the habitats to the east, but the woodlands around the Drukgyel Dzong area provides a hint of the great variety. The common species that can be seen in this area include Black-faced Chestnut-crowned Laughingthrush, Brown Parrotbill, Chestnut-tailed Minla, Kalij Pheasant, Common Kestrel, White-collared Blackbird and Grey-backed Shrike. The more difficult birds we hope to encounter are marshland species, such as the Black-tailed Crake and the Solitary Snipe. O/n at Paro
Elevation - 7700 feet Vegetation - Blue Pine and alpine scrub.We start early to the Chele la Pass and spend around 4.5 hours.The drive is beautiful as it winds upward through the Blue Pines and gradually changes to higher elevation conifers, such as spruce, hemlock, fir, and juniper. At the summit the vegetation is mainly dwarf rhododendrons and open alpine meadows. The pass located at close to 13,000 feet is the highest motorable road in Bhutan. If you are lucky, on a clear blue sky day we can get a glimpse of the sacred Mt. Jhomolhari and the adjacent Mt. Jichu Drake, both are over 20,000 feet. The pass also offers a breathtaking view of the Haa and Paro valleys. The birds to look here will be the beautiful Monal Pheasant and other specialties like Blood Pheasants, Spotted Laughingthrushes, Himlayan Griffon, White-browed Rosefinch, White-throated Redstarts and Collared Grosbeaks. This is the only place we'll be above treeline in alpine scrub and dwarf rhododendrons [Rhododendron cinnabarinum, R. lanatum and others] Breakfast will be served at the pass, we proceed back and on our way back to lower elevations, we look for the resident birds include several species of tits, Red Crossbills, Kalij Pheasants, and Yellow-billed Blue Magpies. Later in the evening we will arrive in Bhutan's capital, Thimphu followed by dinner. O/n at Thimphu.