Tuesday, 29 June 1982

30 years ago: 23-29 June 1982, Ladakh first week

Wednesday 23rd June 1982:  Leh, Ladakh, India
We didn't get up until 09:00.  It was  nice to have an easy day wandering around town (tourist office, post office, rather poor restaurant).  Nick and I walked north out of Leh to and wandered into the desert and around the back of the Royal Palace.  Superb scenery but few birds.  We may have been unlucky with our choice of restaurant in Leh but with excellent food served at Tei-Sei didn’t feel inclined to try another.

Birds seen:  Kestrel 1, Hobby 1, Chukar 1, Rock Dove 20, Swift 4, Hoopoe 4, Black Redstart 4, Mountain Chiffchaff 1, Great Tit 1, Magpie 5, Chough 2, Carrion Crow 1, House Sparrow 50, Tibetan Snow Finch 4, Red-fronted Serin 3, *Mongolian Desert Finch 15.

main street, Leh
Leh Palace
looking over the Indus Valley from behind Leh Palace

Thursday 24th June 1982:  Tikse/Choglamsar, Ladakh, India
We had breakfast at 07:00 and went to catch the 08:00 bus to Tikse to find it had left at 07:45!  Quite a difference from the other Indian buses we’d encountered.  Instead we got on an 08:15 bus to Shey which actually went half way between Shey and Tikse where we got off.  We wandered over the desert and around the back of Tikse Monastery.  Very impressive from the outside.  Nick and I left Dave to go in, preferring to keep wandering around in the desert before walking down to the River Indus and following it back to Shey.  We walked along the road towards Leh as far as the Stok turn off at Choglamsar, seeing Ibisbill on the river there.  From there we got a bus back to Leh, arriving at Ti-Sei at 18:30.

Birds recorded:  Black Kite 1, Lammergeyer 1, Hobby 2, Chukar h, Ibisbill 2, Gull-billed Tern 1, Common Tern 3, Rock Dove 20, Blue Hill Pigeon 1, Swift 10, Hoopoe 10, Swallow 4, Red-rumped Swallow 1, House Martin 10, *Hume's Short-toed Lark 15, Small Sky Lark 6, Citrine Wagtail 10, Black-backed Wagtail 6, Black Redstart 20, Desert Wheatear 7, Blue Rock Thrush 2, Hume's Lesser Whitethroat 2, Mountain Chiffchaff 20, Great Tit 1, Magpie 15, Chough 6, Carrion Crow 4, Raven 3, House Sparrow 100, Tibetan Snow Finch 2, Mongolian Desert Finch 12.


Chortens near Shey
first views of Tikse
Tikse Monastery

spectacular from almost every direction
even in close-up
view across the Indus Valley
Desert Wheatear at Tikse

it appeared to have a nest in this pile of rocks

Mongolian Desert Finch at Tikse
Woolly Hare at Tikse, well camouflaged against the rocks
young Citrine Wagtail on the Indus near Shey
male  Citrine Wagtail at Tikse

Friday 25th June 1982:  Leh, Ladakh, India
Breakfast at 07:00 and out to catch the 08:00 bus to Stok but despite arriving 5 minutes early it had gone.  While dithering over what to do all the other remaining buses also departed!  Ladakhi bus efficiency would take some getting used to!  We walked into the hills along the start of the Beacon Highway to the north of Leh but did not see much (Himalayan Snowcocks and Red-fronted Serins being the highlight).  We returned to Ti-Sei early afternoon and sat around lethargically for the rest of day (I was not feeling too healthy - head cold and stomach).  Dave and I were put to shame by Nick who went back out, although he did not see anything different.

Birds seen:  Himalayan Snowcock 5 (3 and 2), Chukar 8, Rock Dove 10, Blue Hill Pigeon 1, Hoopoe 4, Black Redstart 8, Mountain Chiffchaff h, Great Tit 1, Magpie 5, Chough 2, Carrion Crow 1, House Sparrow 75, Tibetan Snow Finch 12, Red-fronted Serin 4, Mongolian Desert Finch 20.

view over Leh and the Indus from above Leh Palace
Chortens behind Leh
Gompa from Leh

Saturday 26th June 1982:  Tikse/Shey, Ladakh, India
An earlier start enabled us to catch the 07:45 bus to Tikse where, after wading across an icy creek, we found the 'resident' group of ringers from Southampton University down by the River Indus.  Simon Delany and Clare Sulston had been staying at Tikse since the previous August (with a short break at the start of the year) while Charles Williams had been there since early March.  Three others had also been involved.   Simon, Clare and Charles quickly dispelled any illusions we might have had of seeing Tibetan Sandgrouse as it had only been seen once, by another member of their group, and that in mid winter.  Discussons with them helped confirm our identification of Hume's Short-toed Lark.  We walked back along the river to Stok where got bus back to Leh.  Another excellent meal at Ti-Sei Lodge.

Birds seen:  Booted Eagle 1, Hobby 1, Ibisbill 2, Green Sandpiper 1, Common Tern 3, Rock Dove 40, Blue Hill Pigeon 10, Swift 40, Blue-cheeked Bee-eater 1, Hoopoe 5, Crag Martin 1, Swallow 4, Red-rumped Swallow 6, House Martin 5, Hume's Short-toed Lark 10, Citrine Wagtail 10, Black-backed Wagtail 15, Bluethroat 5, Black Redstart 8, Stonechat 1, Desert Wheatear 1 female, Hume's Lesser Whitethroat 6, Mountain Chiffchaff 25, Long-tailed Shrike 1, Magpie 20, Chough 3, Carrion Crow 4, Raven 2, House Sparrow 50, Scarlet Rosefinch 10.

fields near Tikse
Tikse from Southampton University expedition ringing site

Mountain Chiffchaff
female Scarlet Rosefinch
Red-rumped Swallows
very well camouflaged desert lizard

Sunday 27th June 1982:  Stok Gorge, Ladakh, India
Breakfast at 06:45 and got bus to Stok (it actually left 5 minutes late).  Walked through fields above the village and into the gorge where Nick and I walked for 2-3 hours before returning.  There we saw a pair of Wallcreepers at their nest site - brilliant.  We walked back to Choglamsar and hitched a ride with an army truck halfway back to Leh before walking the rest.  Poor day weather wise with rain mid morning and again mid afternoon and cold E wind late afternoon.  Typically I’d forgotten my waterproof.

Birds seen:  Himalayan Griffon Vulture 1, Golden Eagle 2, Kestrel 1, Chukar 4, Green Sandpiper 1, Common Tern 2, Rock Dove 50, Blue Hill Pigeon 40, Swift 10, Hoopoe 4, Crag Martin 10,  Small Sky Lark 4, Citrine Wagtail 1, Grey Wagtail 1, Black-backed Wagtail 10, Dipper 3, Black Redstart 30, River Chat 3, Blue Rock Thrush 2, Sulphur-bellied Warbler 2, Mountain Chiffchaff 3, Wallcreeper 3, Magpie 15, Alpine Chough 10, Chough 8, Carrion Crow 2, Raven 1 probable, House Sparrow 50, Tibetan Snow Finch 15, Red-fronted Serin 15, Linnet 1, Hodgson's Mountain Finch 2, Rock Bunting 2.

Red-fronted Serin at Stok

Monday 28th June 1982:  Leh/Gompa, Ladakh, India
Up for late breakfast at 07:00 as not going anywhere by bus.  Nick and I walked through the fields above Leh to Sangkar where we sat in sun for an hour watching bushes at edge of fields (and were rewarded with a female Red-mantled Rosefinch).  We returned after only 4 hours birding.  Relaxed afternoon; wrote a few cards and booked a bus to Kargil for 2nd July.  Cut my hair rather drastically as was beginning to look too much like some of the hippies hanging out in Leh.  Dave, still on his monastery kick, visited Spituk.

Birds seen:  Kestrel 1, Chukar h, Rock Dove 60, Blue Hill Pigeon 10, Rufous Turtle Dove 2,  Swift 4, Hoopoe 6, Crag Martin 8, Small Sky Lark 4, Citrine Wagtail 2, Black Redstart 10, Mountain Chiffchaff 4, Great Tit 1, Rufous Backed-Shrike 1, Magpie 10, Chough 1, Carrion Crow 2, House Sparrow 50, Tibetan Snow Finch 8, Red-fronted Serin 2, Mongolian Desert Finch 4, *Red-mantled Rosefinch 1 female, Scarlet Rosefinch 3.

kids fishing in the Indus
Tibetan Snowfinch
Magpie looking more exotic than they do here
female Black Redstart
neater me above Leh
Tuesday 29th June 1982:  Shey/Tikse, Ladakh, India
Nick and I returned to Tikse to revisit ringing group, just catching the bus to Shey after an almost too leisurely breakfast.  We had a good mornings birding with usual wade across creek then spent 4 hours very pleasantly chatting to Simon, Clare and Charles and getting gen on various places.  We walked back to Shey, arriving at 17:30, and caught the 18:00 bus back to Leh.

Birds seen:  Night Heron 1, Pintail 1 female, Black Kite 1, Hobby 5, Ibisbill 3, Little Ringed Plover 1, Green Sandpiper 1, Common Tern 3, Rock Dove 10, Blue Hill Pigeon 2, Swift 6, Hoopoe 1, Swallow 6, Red-rumped Swallow 11, Hume's Short-toed Lark 10, Small Sky Lark 1, Citrine Wagtail 10, Black-backed Wagtail 10, Bluethroat 9, Black Redstart 5, Stonechat 2, Hume's Lesser Whitethroat 6, Mountain Chiffchaff 20, Great Tit 1, Magpie 10, Chough 2, Carrion Crow 2, Raven 1, House Sparrow 50, Scarlet Rosefinch 4.

a new(ish) angle on Tikse Monastery
River Indus with Tikse in the background

Red-rumped Swallow trapped at Tikse
male alboides White Wagtail
male Black Redstart, orange underparts just visible
male Citrine Wagtail
Hume's Short-toed Lark
Pale Weasel at Tikse

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