Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Ladakh - Birding in cold desert (9th July to 18th July, 2017)

We are glad to announce one of the most eagerly awaited Birding trip this season......Ladakh .......the bookings opens now !!

Dates: 9th July 17 to 18th July 2017 (Leh to Leh)... Book your seat now, as this trip is expected to get full quickly... A very meticulously planned trip including a chance to explore the amazing landscapes and some remote birding locations ..... this is one trip that you surely want to do atleast once!!

Ladakh - Birding in the Cold Desert

“The Land is so barren and the passes so high that only our fiercest enemies or Our best friends would want to visit us” -Ladakhi Saying


India is one of the most diverse country in terms of habitats. We have rain forests of Western Ghats & North-East, Grasslands of Central Western India, Seashores on Western &  Eastern borders, Deserts of Rajasthan, Rann of Gujarat, Islands of Andamans & Lakshadweep, Himalayan foothills in North & the  Cold Desert, Ladakh in extreme North India.

Ladakh: Known as "The Moonland", "Little Tibet" or more romantically "The Last Shangri-La", is one of the most remote region of India, a barren, virtually rainless region. A desert in high altitude, has to be cold one. Due to rain shadow created by the mighty Himalayan range on one side and Karakoram Range on the other, monsoon clouds are denied to reach Ladakh & hence the cold desert. For water supply, Indus River is backbone of Ladakh, as the  main source of water. Indus river is fed by the melting glaciers on the mountains. The mindblowing landscapes and the rugged mountains greet you as soon as you land in Leh, the capital of Ladakh. The mesmerizing beauty of this place has to be felt to believe.

Ladakh has been explored by many tourists for sight seeing, Monastery, landscapes etc... but not much for Bird-watching... Ladakh lies between 3000 to 6000 mtrs, which obviously will have some very interesting high altitude birds that, otherwise are very difficult to see in rest of India. The rigours are extreme, but the rewards are equally lucrative..... Birding in this paradise is every birders dream and a photographers wish. Even an ordinary camera here can give you postcard quality images... so pure is the air and so magical is this place.....Its Spiritual, No wonder many come her repeatedly :-)

We will also be visiting the famous Thikse Buddhist Monastery...

The following areas will be covered during our trip...

Shey Marshes

Just 7 kms from Leh, famous for Shey Palace, this place is also well known with bird-watchers, because of the diversity and quality of birds in the various marshes that adorn the landscape here. Some of the birds seen here are; Black-billed Magpie, Reed Bunting, Mountain Chiffchaff, Hume's Whitethroat, Carrion Crow, Eurasian Hobby, White-winged Redstart, Winter Wren, Ibisbill, Northern Lapwing, Common Rose finch, Black Redstart, Oriental Turtle Dove, Citrine & White Wagtail etc ..... and all should be in their breeding plumage.

Tanglangla & Changla Passes - Considered as the 2nd and 3rd highest motorable passes in the world, at height of approx. 5500 mtrs, these high altitude passes gives us an opportunity to see some very high altitude birds like Robin Accentor, Yellow & Red-billed choughs, Raven, Golden Eagle, Upland Buzzard, Little Owl, Snow Partridge, Great Rosefinch, Lammergeier etc.. also enroute to these passes birds like Chukar, Plain-backed Snowfinch, Wallcreeper, Brandt's mountain Finch, Blue-fronted Redstart, White-winged Redstart, Tibetan Snowcock etc. can be seen...

Pangong Lake  

Pangong Tso , Tibetan for "high grassland lake", also referred to as Pangong Lake, is an endorheic lake in the Himalayas situated at a height of about 4,350 m (14,270 ft). It is 134 km (83 mi) long and extends from India to China. Approximately 60% of the length of the lake lies in China. The lake is 5 km (3.1 mi) wide at its broadest point. All together it covers 604 km2. During winter the lake freezes completely, despite being saline water. It is not a part of Indus river basin area and geographically a separate. 


Known for sheer natural beauty, Pangong can easily be termed as one of the most picturesque places in the World! ...... Best seen in evening, this place is a paradise for landscape photography  Birds seen here are; Brown-headed & Pallas's Gulls, White-winged Tern, Common Merganser, Bar-headed Geese, Red-crested Pochard, Golden Eagle etc... 

Pangong Tso is in disputed territory. The Line of Actual Control passes through the lake. A section of the lake approximately 20 km east from the Line of Actual Control is controlled by China but claimed by India. The eastern end of the lake is in Tibet.


The Tso Kar is connected by an inlet stream at its south-west end to a small Fresh water lake, Startsapuk Tso, and together they form the 9 km2 More plains pool, which is dominated by the peaks of two mountains, Thugje (6050 m) and Gursan (6370 m). 

"Tsokar" means salty lake in local language. Here the water is alkaline. This is probably the best birding place in Ladakh... Famous for Tibetan Wild Ass & endangered Black-necked Cranes, this place is also known for breeding of Bar-headed Geese & Ruddy Shelducks..... other birds here include Horned Lark, Tibetan Snow Finch, Hume's Groundpecker, Plain-backed Snowfinch, Twite, Streaked & Great Rosefinch, Northern Raven, Upland Buzzard, Little Owl, Tibetan Partridge, Tibetan Sandgrouse, Red-throated Pipit, Saker Falcon, Golden Eagle, Hill Pigeon, Brown Accentor, White-winged Redstart, Lesser & Common Kestrel, Bar-headed Geese, Brown-headed Gulls, Ruddy Shelducks etc...

Tsokar being the most important place for birds.....we shall see most of our birds here with 2 nights stay.

Hanle Marshes

Hanle: It is an extensive marshland in Himalayas, situated at 4,500 mtrs (14,500 ft.)Another less explored place in Ladakh, Hanle is located in ancient Ladakh - Tibet trade route in Hanle valley. Known for Indian Astronomical Observatory & 17th century Hanle Monastery, is also home to birds like Black-necked Crane, Tibetan Lark, Upland Buzzard, Great Rosefinch, Hume's Groundpecker & mammals like Tibetan Wild Ass, Tibetan Wolf, Red Fox, Tibetan Gazelle etc.

Hanle in Changthang region of Ladakh is one of the most beautiful, enchanting, calm and soul loosing places in India. It is approx.210 kms from Leh and the road leading to this place is one of the most picturisque in Ladakh with Clourful mountains on both sides, cut across by the mighty Indus river that runs parallel to most of the travel.

Some good reads about birding in Ladakh ....


Nature India is proud to organize, the much awaited and Special Birdwatching - landscape photography trip to this cold desert from 9th July to 18 July 2017 (travel days excluded)..... Come and soak yourself in this mystifying land of Bliss........ 

Travel Details:(To & Fro Leh, to be arranged by participants)

Mumbai / Delhi to Leh
  • We suggest you to book tickets for any suitable flights (there are several options) that reach Leh on 9th July, 2017 (Sunday)
Leh to Mumbai / Delhi
  • We suggest you to book tickets for any suitable flights (there are several options) that departs Leh on 18th July, 2017 (Tuesday) morning.....preferably early morning flights as late morning flights may get cancelled (rarely) due to bad weather
IMPORTANT:  for risk of AMS (Acute mountain Sickness)...... the first 2 days are kept compulsory for aclamatization.....we do not recommend people travelling from Srinagar, due to constant civil disturbance there since many years, it is better to travel straight to Leh and get acclamatized.

Travel Itinerary: (To & Fro Leh, to be arranged by participants)

Day 1 (9-July-17): Arrival at Leh (latest by 11am) pick up from Airport for Hotel Bijoo - Absolute compulsory rest (for high-altitude acclimatization)  for the remaining day - Lunch - Eve. Tea/coffee - Dinner - Stay in Hotel Bijoo on twin sharing basis

Day 2 (10-July-17): Morning Tea - Breakfast - Lunch at Hotel Bijoo - Compulsory rest (for acclimatization)  for 1st half - 2nd half, visit War Memorial, Magnetic hills, Shey Marshes (If time permits) & nearby areas - dinner & Stay at Hotel Bijoo

Day 3 (11-July-17):Morning Tea/coffee & Early breakfast (6.00am) at Hotel Bijoo - Depart for Pangong - Birding on the way in Shey Marshes-  Dinner & Stay at tents in Pangong

Day 4 (12-July-17):
 Early morning spend some time & Pangong & then start for Leh - birding on the way - Visit Thiksey Monastery - Dinner & Stay at Hotel Bijoo

Day 5 (13-July-17):
 Early morning Tea/coffee & Depart for Tsokar - Breakfast at village karu - birding on the way - Lunch  Birding on the way -  -  Dinner & stay at rooms in Tsokar

Day 6 (14-July-17): Full day birding around Tsokar... Breakfast - lunch - Dinner in Tsokar

Day 7 (15-July-17): Morning Tea/coffee & Early breakfast (6.00am) at Tso Kar - Start for Hanle - Birding on the way near Sumdo Hot springs & Mahe Bridge area-  Dinner & Stay at Basic Home-Stay @ Padma Guest House, Hanle

Day 8 (16-July-17): Full day birding around Hanle and near Chushul plains... Breakfast - lunch - Dinner in Hanle- Stay @ Padma Guest House, Hanle

Day 9 (17-July-17): Morning Tea/coffee & Early breakfast (6.00am) at Hanle- Start for Leh - Birding on the way -  Dinner & Stay at Hotel Bijoo

Day 10 (18-July-17):
 Morning departure from Leh by 7.00AM to Airport .... or participants can continue with their other plans.

Trip Charges (Leh to Leh): Rs.48800/- only (Includes rooms on Twin Sharing Basis in Leh, Twin/Triple sharing in tents in Pangong, Twin sharing in rooms in Tsokar, Triple sharing in home-stay at Hanle, Veg. meals, Breakfast, Ladakh Permit, travel in comfortable Innova/Tavera, entry fees, Guide charges, Information articles & on board snacks and mineral water)…….

This does not include Travel charges from any destination to  Leh & back, Camera Fees, Tips or any charges other than the above.

Important Note: This tour involves roughing out in (sometimes) extreme weather conditions with long walks & drive in high altitude and remote locations. Hence there is an age restriction (15 to 65 years) to participate in this trip. Also, the participant would be required to submit a medical fitness certificate from any qualified medical practitioner and a "trip consent" form, before embarking on the tour (within 10 days of registration).  Kindly note and co-operate.

Registration: You can register by sending a confirmation mail to natureindiatours@gmail.com with contact details and by paying a non refundable Advance of  Rs.20,000/- after our confirmation mail…..The remaining amount will be collected on the day of travel in cash only.

Kindly register soon to avoid the rush for train bookings……….

Group Size: Max 10 to 12 Pax only

Stay Arrangements: 
  • Hotel Bijoo, Leh
  • Tents in Pangong 
  • Rooms in Tsokar Eco Resort
  • Home stay in Hanle
Note: Since these are remote locations, facilities are basic, specially in Pangong & Tsokar, with accommodation in attached tents on twin sharing basis.... and mostly basic packed lunch. 

Resource Persons: Mr.Adesh Shivkar, Mr.Mandar Khadilkar 

Mode of Payment: You can either
1) Transfer the non-refundable advance money directly to our HDFC A/c (Please send a mail for details).. please mention your name, date and other details…. OR

2) Courier a cheque of Rs.20,000/- as advance amount to the following address
Name: Mr. Adesh Shivkar
Address: D-8, The Adi Janata Society, Behind HP Petrolpump, Near Sion Signal, Sion (East), Mumbai-400022.

Please Note:

1) Once registered, the advance amount of Rs. 20,000/- is strictly non-refundable
2) Alcohol & Smoking is strictly prohibited on Nature India tours
3) Nesting photography is prohibited.
4) Kindly register on this trip only if you agree with  Nature India's rules and policies

Please revert on natureindiatours@gmail.com ID, in case you need any clarification. For any other queries we are available on 9820455713(Adesh) or 9930318665 (Mandar)....

Hope to see you for this wonderful trip Thanks for your patience.

Jullay in July,

Adesh Shivkar & Mandar Khadilkar

About Me

Appreciate, Respect & Care for Nature