Sunday, 30 May 1982

30 years ago: 30 May 1982, Langtang Trek day 14, rock to cave

Sunday 30th May 1982:  Overhanging rock to Gopte (4 miles)
A good night’s sleep under our overhanging rock, we woke at 05:00 to find the sky was clear.  We breakfasted, packed and left at 06:00 to slowly walk to Gopte (11,700 ft), basically contouring around very rough country, with a few ups and downs along the way.  It was very nice until the clouds came in soon after 11:00.  The cloud cleared at 12:00 with a brief rain shower, and visibility was then good until 17:00 when we reached the hut above Gopte (gopte being the Nepali for cave, although this one was little better than the overhanging rock we'd stayed under the previous night).  We saw two more Gould’s Shortwings, the second singing its heart out in pouring rain.  These, Beautiful (Rufous-breasted) and White-browed Bush Robins in consecutive ravines and a Fire-tailed Myzornis feeding on a small, moss covered waterfall made it another brilliant day.  We decided to stay at Gopte for the night and all wandered off for a look around but we saw little as cloud descended.  The only other person seen all day was a local hunter looking somewhat sinister on a distant hillside.  A year later Alan Adams, a particularly good friend of Nick’s, tragically went missing in this area.  No trace of him was ever found.  Alan was a fantastically keen birder and very nice guy to go with it.  It was assumed he’d slipped and fallen in the very rough country but stories of attacks on trekkers in remote areas of Nepal were not completely unheard of and hearing the shocking and very sad news my thoughts, probably with no justification whatsoever, briefly turned to the local hunter we had seen distantly.  Much more likely he’d followed a shortwing down a steep gully and fallen.

Birds recorded:  Upland Buzzard 2, Common Hill Partridge h, Blood Pheasant 2 males and 4 females, Impeyan Pheasant 1 male and 3 females, Large Hawk Cuckoo h, Cuckoo h, Little Cuckoo h, Eagle Owl h, Himalayan Swiftlet 5, Asiatic House Martin 2, Rosy Pipit 5, Wren 4, Rufous-breasted Accentor 1, Gould’s Shortwing 2, Golden Bush Robin 7, White-browed Bush Robin 1, Beautiful Bush Robin 6, Blue-fronted Redstart 2, River Chat 6, Chestnut-bellied Rock Thrush 1, Blue Whistling Thrush 2, Plain-backed Mountain Thrush 1, Aberrant Bush Warbler 2, Rufous-capped Bush Warbler 13, Golden-spectacled Warbler 4, Orange-barred Leaf Warbler 3, Ashy-throated Leaf Warbler 1, Rufous-gorgetted Flycatcher 2, Yellow-bellied Fantail 3, Scaly-breasted Wren Babbler 2, Black-faced Laughingthrush 4, Fire-tailed Myzornis 5, White-browed Fulvetta 8, Grey-crested Tit 1, Black-crested Tit 2, Stoliczka’s Treecreeper 1, Common Treecreeper 2, Fire-tailed Sunbird 15, Large-billed Crow 2, Dark-breasted Rosefinch 2, Pink-browed Rosefinch 2, White-browed Rosefinch 2, White-winged Grosbeak 10.

very rough country looking west from Gopte, the Laurebina Pass is over the far ridge

Fire-tailed Myzornis near Gopte.  With a name like that it is bound to be a stunner, and it is, just not in this photo! 

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