Friday 16th July 1982: Srinagar to Gulmarg, Kashmir
We got a bus to Tangmarg (2.65 rupees) at 10:00, arriving at 12:00. There we transferred straight onto a minibus for the half hour run up to Gulmarg (5 rupees). We got a room (smoky when the fire was on) for 15 rupees in the New Punjabi Hotel. We spent the afternoon wandering around the edge of Gulmarg meadow and along the road through some conifers seeing lots of birds. Good food in the hotel but I felt pretty rough at night, another ‘sleep on the floor’ job.
Birds seen included: Black Kite 20, Himalayan Griffon Vulture 1, Whiskered Tern 12, Rufous Turtle Dove 1, Common Kingfisher 16, Hoopoe 4, Himalayan Pied Woodpecker 3, Citrine Wagtail 2, Wren 1, Long-tailed Minivet 2, Indian Blue Robin 1 male, Red-flanked Bluetail 1, Tickell’s Thrush 1, Chestnut Thrush 1, Western Crowned Leaf Warbler 10, Slender-billed Leaf Warbler 8, Lemon-rumped Warbler 4, Siberian Flycatcher 1, Rufous-tailed Flycatcher 2, Slaty-blue Flycatcher 4, Ultramarine Flycatcher 1, Streaked Laughingthrush 4, Simla Black Tit 5, Spot-winged Black Tit 8, White-cheeked Nuthatch 3, Himalayan Treecreeper 3, Long-tailed Shrike 5, Russet Sparrow 15, Yellow-breasted Greenfinch 2, Black and Yellow Grosbeak 3.
Saturday 17th July 1982: Gulmarg, Kashmir
I woke up feeling unwell. After an early morning look for Nanga Parbat (cloudy so we dipped) I felt much the same and so only had porridge for breakfast. We left the hotel at 07:30 to climb up to the high birch scrub. It took over three hours and was steep in places but we saw some nice birds on the way up. We saw little on top when we got there although Nanga Parbat was visible above the haze. We returned through the forest stopping off to study 3 owls which turned out to be the large biddolphi race of Tawny. We returned to the hotel at 18:30 via the mountain lookout but Nanga Parbat was hidden by haze again.
Birds seen included: Black Kite 5, Lammergeyer 2, Himalayan Griffon Vulture 4, Common Buzzard 2, Rufous Turtle Dove 10, Tawny Owl 1 adult and 2 juveniles, Hoopoe 4, Himalayan Pied Woodpecker 3, Citrine Wagtail 1, Wren 2, Rufous-breasted Accentor 4, Long-tailed Minivet 3, Indian Blue Robin 4, Red-flanked Bluetail 4, White-bellied Redstart 1, Blue-headed Rock Thrush 1, Blue Whistling Thrush 1, Western Crowned Leaf Warbler 15, Slender-billed Leaf Warbler 12, Lemon-rumped Warbler 15, Siberian Flycatcher 3, Rufous-tailed Flycatcher 4, Slaty-blue Flycatcher 4, Fire-capped Tit 8, Simla Black Tit 8, Spot-winged Black Tit 10, White-cheeked Nuthatch 3, Himalayan Treecreeper 3, Nutcracker 2, Russet Sparrow 30, Red-browed Finch 2, Yellow-breasted Greenfinch 2, Scarlet Rosefinch 2, Pink-browed Rosefinch 2, Black and Yellow Grosbeak 10, Rock Bunting 1.
|looking down on Gulmarg (in middle distance)|
|further above Gulmarg|
|meadows above Gulmarg|
|flowers at Gulmarg|
|juvenile Tawny Owl above Gulmarg, asleep|
Sunday 18th July 1982: Gulmarg to Srinagar, Kashmir
I had a beter night and seem to be back to normal. We had a quick look in the nearby forest after breakfast then at 10:30 got the minibus to Tangmarg. It actually picked us up as we were walking to the bus stop. The minibus took half an hour, then just a ten minute wait for the Srinagar bus which took just over 90 minutes. We were back at Houseboat Light at 13:20. Visited the usual bakery, a chemists (where I got some very effective cream following the discovery of lice, perhaps the only unpleasant consequence of our visit to Ladakh) and restaurant in the evening.
Birds seen included: Night Heron 3, Black Kite 20, Himalayan Griffon Vulture 3, Collared Dove 50, Whiskered Tern 7, White-breasted Kingfisher 1, Common Kingfisher 24, Pied Kingfisher 1, European Roller 1, Hoopoe 6, Swallow 50, Citrine Wagtail 1, Long-tailed Minivet h, Indian Blue Robin 1, Tickell’s Thrush 8, Slender-billed Leaf Warbler 3, Lemon-rumped Warbler 4, Rufous-tailed Flycatcher 2, Slaty-blue Flycatcher 2, Spot-winged Black Tit 1, White-cheeked Nuthatch h, Long-tailed Shrike 10, Russet Sparrow 2, Yellow-breasted Greenfinch 1.
Monday 19th July 1982: Shanharacharya Hill, Srinagar, Kashmir
Breakfast on houseboat where I discovered that I’d lost my cagoule, presumably left at Gulmarg. Really annoying to lose it this close to the end of the trip but at least I shouldn’t need it any more as basically all that is left to do now is travel home. Nick and I climbed up the hill opposite the houseboat. It was cloudy and quite cool, although the weather was fairly close while we were climbing up. Views from the top were not up to much as the air was not clear and few birds were seen. It was sunny and hot on the way down. We visited the bakery for lunch and I bought 500g of apples for 2 rupees. Sat on the houseboat all afternoon. Usual meal in the evening. Back to houseboat to read but ended up as mosquito food. A very hot night and mosquitoes especially bad.
Birds seen included: Night Heron 6, Black Kite 30, Egyptian Vulture 3, Rock Dove 2, Common Kingfisher 2, Pied Kingfisher 1, White-cheeked Bulbul 4, Stonechat 4, Tickell’s Thrush 3, Western Crowned Leaf Warbler 1, Hume’s Lesser Whitethroat 1, Kashmir Red-breasted Flycatcher 1, Asian Paradise Flycatcher 2, Streaked Laughingthrush 4, Great Tit 2, Goldfinch 4.
|view over Dal Lake from Shanharacharya Hill|
|view over Srinagar|
Tuesday 20th July 1982: Srinagar, Kashmir
A lazy morning. Breakfast then listened to tapes and watched kingfishers from houseboat until 11:00 when the power went off. Read for a bit until lunch and then went to the Post Office where met Rod Martins. Afternoon and evening with Rod and Craig Robson (James Wolstencroft was still in Leh). Had a late night but mosquitoes not as bad as yesterday. Dave quite badly ill all day, probably a result of absolute overdosing on apple juices the previous day (30+) which didn’t engender a great deal of sympathy from us! Rod and Craig had seen much the same as us although they’d got out to a lake near Srinagar and seen lots of Little Bitterns which would have been a nice way to finish our trip. Sadly we now have no time left to do this. The time away is definitely telling on all of our enthusiasms.
Birds seen included: Night Heron 30, Little Egret 20, Black Kite 30, Common Kingfisher 3, White-cheeked Bulbul 5, Tickell’s Thrush 8, Streaked Laughingthrush 2.