Monday, 12 August 2019

Monsoon India Day 8 - Kashmir

Spent the day amidst the spectacular scenery of alpine meadows and forests of Sonamarg, whose lofty snow-capped peaks dominated the skyline all around. Our first stop was low down where we crossed a fast-flowing river into a nice forest seeing several Slaty-blue Flycatchers, a Brown Dipper showed well along a side stream, and we saw a few other commoner species including Hume’s Warbler

Brown Dipper

Driving higher up we arrived at an area of wide-open flower-filled alpine meadows where Yellow-breasted Greenfinch, Citrine Wagtails of the black-backed Tibetan race calcaracta were common, Eurasian Hoopoes were numerous, and a collection of really wacky-looking shrikes looked a lot like Heinz 47 hybrids..!! 

There sure was some spectacular scenery up here

Citrine Wagtail was a common sight throughout our stay

Eastern Goldfinch is now split from European Goldfinch according to HBW

Eastern Stonechat

Eurasian Hoopoe

Somewhere up here Spectacled Finch resides and it is still a mystery to me some weeks later! We explored side valleys, villages, meadows in all the places this species has previously been reported but the bird remained invisible and it was beginning to become our obsession to find this bird. We saw plenty of other species such as Eurasian Hobby, Himalayan Buzzard, 11 Himalayan Vultures soaring in the clear blue skies, Alpine Chough, Plumbeous and White-capped Redstarts, Common Rosefinch and others. 

Himalayan Buzzard

We ended the day after an abortive attempt to reach the high-altitude pass, at a little village hoping for finches to come into feed. All we saw were Common Cuckoo, numerous Russet Sparrows, Himalayan Woodpecker and several groups of Yellow-breasted Greenfinches.

Russet Sparrow

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