Thursday 8th July 1982: Kargil to Sonamarg, Kashmir, India
We were up at 03:45 and found the bus to Srinagar at the end of road. It amazingly left only 10 minutes late (at 04:30). We crossed over Zoji La and arrived in Sonamarg on the edge of the Vale of Kashmir at 10:35. It was not as worrying coming down the pass as I had feared but I was sitting on the inside of the bus and so couldn't see how steep some of the slopes were! It was a very rough ride due to the poor road surface but surprisingly there were no long delays. At 11:00, after quick rice lunch in Sonamarg, we walked up the hillside opposite. We sat in a clearing 1000 ft above Sonamarg for 4.5 hours, alternating between sitting in the sun (hot) and shade (cool). We saw some excellent birds although some of the young (?) phylloscs were a bit puzzling. Back down at village at 18:30. Slept in Cafe there but locals noisy until late.
Birds seen (from bus) in Ladakh: Lammergeyer 1, Black Redstart 1, Eastern Pied Wheatear 1 male, Large-billed Crow 1.
Birds recorded in Kashmir included: Himalayan Griffon Vulture 1, Rufous Turtle Dove 3, Hoopoe 2, Himalayan Pied Woodpecker 1, Brown Dipper 1, Rufous-breasted Accentor 2, Long-tailed Minivet 2, Red-flanked Bluetail 2, White-bellied Redstart 1 male, Blue-headed Rock Thrush 2, Chestnut Thrush h, Western Crowned Leaf Warbler 3, *Slender-billed Leaf Warbler 1, Lemon-rumped Warbler 4, Hume’s Leaf Warbler 2, Plain Leaf Warbler 2?, Goldcrest 1, Siberian Flycatcher 6, *Rufous-tailed Flycatcher 1, *Simla Black Tit 3, Spot-winged Black Tit 3, White-cheeked Nuthatch 1, Himalayan Treecreeper 1, Common Treecreeper 1, Russet Sparrow 10, Red-browed Finch 2, Yellow-breasted Greenfinch 4, Goldfinch 2, Black and Yellow Grosbeak 2, Rock Bunting 3.
|the road up to Zoji La|
|view from the bus crossing Zoji La|
Friday 9th July 1982: Sonamarg to Srinagar, Kashmir, India
Up at 06:00 and across the road and into the forest by 06:30. We returned to the same areas as on the previous day but the birding wasn’t quite so good. We stayed out until 11:45 then returned for food. Chapatis here were the best yet. We caught the 13:45 bus into Srinagar (for 6 rupees), arriving at 17:30. We returned to Houseboat Light (presumably it was out of season as we’d not booked anything). Visited the Tourist Office but the Post Office was closed (will try it tomorrow). Annoyingly I lost the little rubber I’d been using on the trip. I bought 1 kg of plums for 6 rupees and 500g of apricots for 4 rupees.
Birds seen at Sonamarg included: Himalayan Griffon Vulture 2, Rufous Turtle Dove 2, Hoopoe 3, Himalayan Pied Woodpecker 1, Wren 1, Rufous-breasted Accentor 2, Long-tailed Minivet 2, Red-flanked Bluetail 5, Blue-headed Rock Thrush 3, Blue Whistling Thrush 1, Chestnut Thrush 1 male, Mistle Thrush 2, Western Crowned Leaf Warbler 10, Slender-billed Leaf Warbler 2, Lemon-rumped Warbler 4, Hume’s Leaf Warbler 2, Plain Leaf Warbler 5?, Siberian Flycatcher 6, *Rufous-tailed Flycatcher 1, Slaty-blue Flycatcher 2, Simla Black Tit 1, Spot-winged Black Tit 5, White-cheeked Nuthatch 2, Himalayan Treecreeper 2, Russet Sparrow 1, Red-browed Finch 2 (same), Yellow-breasted Greenfinch 4, Goldfinch 2, Scarlet Rosefinch 1, Black and Yellow Grosbeak 4, Rock Bunting 5.
Birds seen from bus included: Night Heron 3, Black Kite 20, Whiskered Tern 8, Ring-necked Parakeet 4, Common Kingfisher 2, Hoopoe 10, Plumbeous Redstart 8, River Chat 6, Tickell’s Thrush 4, Long-tailed Shrike 12, Jackdaw 50+.
|looking west from above Sonamarg|
|forest edge at Sonamarg|
|high above Sonamarg|
Saturday 10th July 1982: Srinagar, Kashmir, India
Leisurely start, up at 07:30 for a shower, then went to the Post Office. Returned at lunch time for bread and plums. Later walked to railway office with Nick arriving at 16:00 to find it had closed at 15:00. We returned via book shops and I bought a paper. A really lazy day.
Birds seen included: Night Heron 15, Little Egret 30, Black Kite 40, Ring-necked Parakeet 2, Common Kingfisher 2, Pied Kingfisher 1, Hoopoe 3, White-cheeked Bulbul 8.