Dave and I have been away 6 months today. We returned to railway office immediately after breakfast to find it is closed on Sundays, should have realised that yesterday! We left some stuff at the houseboat as we are going way for a few days on the Lolahoi Glacier trek. We got to the bus station just as 10:15 to Pahalgam left, but got seats on 11:15. It was a boring ride, the seats soon became hard and the window wouldn’t stay open! We arrived at 15:15 and soon were on our way to Aru. A pleasant walk along a road/track following quite close to the river at times. As usual my rucksack feels unnecessarily heavy - I should have left a few more things with our houseboat proprietor. We reached the Traveller’s Lodge in Aru at 18:45 and got a room (with no beds) for 10 rupees. I had a bad night’s sleep due to a sore throat.
Birds recorded included: Night Heron 5, Black Kite 100, Common Buzzard 1, Hobby 1, Rufous Turtle Dove 4, Swift 30, European Roller 1, Hoopoe 4, Himalayan Pied Woodpecker 1, Indian Blue Robin h, Plumbeous Redstart 6, Grey Bushchat 6, Blue-headed Rock Thrush 1, Blue Whistling Thrush 8, Tickell’s Thrush 1, Western Crowned Leaf Warbler 5, Slender-billed Leaf Warbler 2, Siberian Flycatcher 10, *Kashmir Red-breasted Flycatcher 1 female, Streaked Laughingthrush 6, Great Tit 5, Golden Oriole 1, Long-tailed Shrike 3, Russet Sparrow 15, Yellow-breasted Greenfinch 10, Rock Bunting 2.
|view of the river from the track to Aru|
Monday 12th July 1982: Aru to Lidderwat (6 miles), Kashmir
Cornflakes for breakfast! We started walking slowly towards Lidderwat at 07:45. The Pines thined out a bit, but little scrub, although six male Indian Blue Robins were excellent. We arrived at the Traveller’s Lodge (another one) at 12:30. I dozed off after a rice lunch to be woken at 15:30 by Nick kicking me to say he’d found Orange Bullfinch. 15 minutes later, after a stiff climb uphill, it was on my list - really good. We returned to the lodge at 19:00 for food and crashed out soon after.
Birds recorded included: Himalayan Griffon Vulture 8, Common Buzzard 2, Kestrel 2, Rufous Turtle Dove 8, Citrine Wagtail 1, Grey Wagtail 2, Black-backed Wagtail 4, Brown Dipper 1, Wren 2, Long-tailed Minivet 2, Indian Blue Robin 6 males, Red-flanked Bluetail 2, Plumbeous Redstart 4, White-bellied Redstart 1 male, Stonechat 4, River Chat 4, Blue Whistling Thrush 8, Western Crowned Leaf Warbler 20, Lemon-rumped Warbler 2, Brook’s Leaf Warbler 1, Hume’s Leaf Warbler 4, Large-billed Leaf Warbler h, Siberian Flycatcher 5, Rufous-tailed Flycatcher 3, Slaty-blue Flycatcher 4, Ultramarine Flycatcher 2, Kashmir Red-breasted Flycatcher 1 male, Simla Black Tit 4, Spot-winged Black Tit 1, *Kashmir Nuthatch 6, Himalayan Treecreeper 6, Alpine Chough 40, Chough 2, Large-billed Crow 10, Russet Sparrow 15, Red-browed Finch h, Yellow-breasted Greenfinch 4, Hodgson’s Mountain Finch 50, Scarlet Rosefinch 4, Pink-browed Rosefinch 1, *Orange Bullfinch 5, Rock Bunting 12.
|meadows near Aru|
|Indian Blue Robin habitat near Aru|
|Indian Blue Robin near Aru|
Tuesday 13th July 1982: Lidderwat/Kolahoi (12 miles), Kashmir
We left Lidderwat at 07:45 and walked up towards the Kolahoi Glacier. It was a pretty unimpressive walk in a deep U shaped valley and seemed a bit hard going, possibly due to a deceptive gradient. We got fed up with the walk soon after 12:00, rainfall not helping, and turned around, arriving back at the lodge in Lidderwat at 16:15. We stayed inside for the rest of day. We had an excellent meal of rice, daal and vegetables, the latter including runner beans.
Birds recorded included: Lammergeyer 3, Himalayan Griffon Vulture 6, Common Buzzard 1, Kestrel 2, Rufous Turtle Dove 5, Swift 2, Hoopoe 1, Cuckoo h, Himalayan Pied Woodpecker 1, House Martin 4, Rosy Pipit 2, Citrine Wagtail 6, Grey Wagtail 15, Black-backed Wagtail 1, Dipper 2, Rufous-breasted Accentor 1, White-cheeked Bulbul 8, Plumbeous Redstart 15, White-bellied Redstart 1 male, River Chat 8, Blue Rock Thrush 3, Blue Whistling Thrush 10, Western Crowned Leaf Warbler 10, Lemon-rumped Warbler 1, Siberian Flycatcher 5, Rufous-tailed Flycatcher 1, Spot-winged Black Tit 1, Himalayan Treecreeper 1, Nutcracker 1, Chough 30, Large-billed Crow 10, Russet Sparrow 10, Yellow-breasted Greenfinch 10, Goldfinch 10, Hodgson’s Mountain Finch 50, Scarlet Rosefinch 2, Orange Bullfinch 2, Rock Bunting 5.
|trail near Lidderwat|
|River Chat near Lidderwat|
|approaching Kolahoi Glacier|
|almost there but deteriorating weather ...|
|... and few birds caused us to turn back|
Wednesday 14th July 1982: Lidderwat to Aru (13 miles) and Srinagar
Usual 07:45 start when slowly walked down to Aru for lunch, then on to Pahalgam, arriving there at 16:00. We caught the 17:25 bus to Srinagar, arriving at 20:15. Back to the Houseboat Light and our usual room. Quite a tiring day and glad the bus ride was reasonably fast (2 hours 45 compared to 4 hours on way out). We have 10 days to get back to Delhi and with Gulmarg basically the only place left to visit I am beginning to feel that we are mainly killing time. As going home gets closer I’m certainly thinking more about it.
Birds recorded included: Black Kite 2, Lammergeyer 3, Himalayan Griffon Vulture 8, Common Buzzard 2, Kestrel 1, Common Sandpiper 1, Whiskered Tern 8, Collared Dove 50, Rufous Turtle Dove 5, White-breasted Kingfisher 1, Common Kingfisher 3, Hoopoe 4, Cuckoo h, Himalayan Pied Woodpecker 4, Citrine Wagtail 1, Grey Wagtail 6, Black-backed Wagtail 3, Brown Dipper 2, Wren 1, Long-tailed Minivet 1, White-cheeked Bulbul 5, Indian Blue Robin 4, Plumbeous Redstart 14, White-bellied Redstart 1 female, Stonechat 2, Grey Bushchat 4, River Chat 4, Blue-headed Rock Thrush 1, Blue Whistling Thrush 23, Tickell’s Thrush 6, Western Crowned Leaf Warbler 10, Slender-billed Leaf Warbler 1, Lemon-rumped Warbler 2, Large-billed Leaf Warbler h, Siberian Flycatcher 8, Rufous-tailed Flycatcher 4, Slaty-blue Flycatcher 1, Kashmir Red-breasted Flycatcher 5, Streaked Laughingthrush 2, Simla Black Tit 3, Great Tit 1, Green-backed Tit 2, Himalayan Treecreeper 1, Long-tailed Shrike 13, Alpine Chough 10, Jackdaw 20, Large-billed Crow 10, Indian House Crow 10, Starling 30, Common Myna 40, House Sparrow 250, Russet Sparrow 60, Yellow-breasted Greenfinch 10, Goldfinch 3, Orange Bullfinch 2, Rock Bunting 8.
|Russet Sparrow near Lidderwat|
|Orange Bullfinch at Lidderwat, taken in poor light - they were much brighter than this|
Thursday 15th July 1982: Srinagar, Kashmir
Breakfast on the houseboat as usual, then showered and lazed around writing up countries on my trip list. At 11:30 left to book train tickets from
to Delhi. The office was open, but it took an hour of
queuing before we got tickets. I
returned via the Post Office where I posted a letter and found one from home, filed
under R! My slides, returned to UK by Carol
Inskipp, seemed to have come out OK which was a relief. Quiet afternoon.
Birds seen included: Night Heron 25, Little Egret 30, Black Kite 30, Common Kingfisher 2, Pied Kingfisher 1, White-cheeked Bulbul 5, Tickell’s Thrush 2, Great Tit 2.
|juvenile Swallow at Srinagar|