Travel Diary - p 7
Our last full day in Bhutan; we rise at four and drive
south through the darkness to Chele La. Hishey claims that its slopes are
another pheasant hot spot. I'm skeptical, but it proves to be so.
We find three monals foraging for roots in open areas near the road at dawn; at
last I get an acceptable photo. Blood pheasants also put in an appearance
now and then for good measure.
Later, while trying in vain for a Blood Pheasant photo, up pop two Spotted Laughingthrushes.
The photo is too busy for my taste, but it gives an idea of how you almost
always see laughingthrushes.
One of the last to be photographed is a
member of another group of eagerly sought Himalayan birds: rosefinches. We previously had a quick glimpse of Scarlet Finch in flight.
but both male and female White-browed Rosefinch pose obligingly where the forest
gives way to yak pasture. Most rosefinches are in the same genus,
Carpodacus, as our House Finch and Purple Finch, another indication of how closely
related some of the Himalayan birds are to our nearctic birds.
So now it's over. Bhutan was in a sense an experiment
to see if I could photograph birds along the roadside, with no feeders or water
to lure them to the camera. It was a success, and I'm very pleased with my
photos. But my eyesight without glasses has been declining and was not up
to the challenge. I got these photos only because we had Chozang and
keen-eyed birders extraordinaire, who were able to call in many of the birds to
within range, as well as see them in time for me to photograph them.