Left Ghasa by 08:30 and a leisurely walk to Kalopani with some good birds on the way, especially the Lete plateau where we saw Pine Bunting and Red-throated Thrush. Arrived in Kalopani (8400 ft) at 13:00 and lunched in See You Lodge, though pancakes were disappointing. We spent the rest of day in Frank Lambert's ‘Dusky Thrush wood’ to SW of Kalopani and the conifers above it. It was hard going over rough terrain interspersed with large boulders but we actually saw a Dusky Thrush, although a very poorly marked one, amongst 250 Red-throateds. The thrushes were totally outclassed by five amazingly brilliant blue male Grandalas, one of my target birds for the trip. In sunlight they were the brightest birds I've ever seen. Almost thrush sized, making them larger than I was expecting, the blue was a cross between the colour of my coat and notebook! Back to reality and the food served in lodge was not too agreeable - very spicy daal, lumpy rice and stringy vegetables!
Birds recorded: Himalayan Griffon Vulture 8, Hen Harrier 1, Common Buzzard 1, Darjeeling Pied Woodpecker 1, Crag Martin 1, Olive-backed Pipit 1, Grey Wagtail 4, Long-tailed Minivet 5, White-cheeked Bulbul 3, Brown Dipper 1, Maroon-backed Accentor 1, Himalayan Accentor 12, Blue-headed Redstart 5, Hodgson’s Redstart 1, Blue-fronted Redstart 1, White-throated Redstart 4, *Grandala 5 males, Stonechat 4, Grey Bushchat 2, River Chat 2, Blue Whistling Thrush 2, White-collared Blackbird 3, Dusky Thrush 1, Red-throated Thrush 250, Black-throated Thrush 1, Grey-hooded Warbler 8, Ashy-throated Leaf Warbler 2, Lemon-rumped Warbler 10, Chiffchaff 1, Goldcrest 10, Grey-headed Flycatcher 2, Streaked Laughingthrush 1, Variegated Laughingthrush 4, Black-capped Sibia 4, Whiskered Yuhina 15, Stripe-throated Yuhina 5, White-browed Fulvetta 2, Red-headed Tit 12, Grey-crested Tit 4, *Spot-winged Black Tit 3, Coal Tit 40, Green-backed Tit 20, White-tailed Nuthatch 4, Fire-tailed Sunbird 1, Oriental White-eye 2, Nutcracker h, Large-billed Crow 6, Tree Sparrow 10, Russet Sparrow 2, Hodgson’s Mountain Finch 1, Beautiful Rosefinch 10, Spot-winged Rosefinch 3, Pine Bunting 6, Rock Bunting 4.
|Darjeeling Pied Woodpecker|
|adult male Red-throated Thrush with a plentyful supply of berries|
|an incomparable male Grandala at Kalopani, in no way does this photo do it justice|