Elusive Songmakers of Dalhousie, Himachal || Birds of the Himalayas

 Fortunes turned when we decided to walk to Panchpula waterfalls, which were at 4kms from the school. We hit jackpot when we reached the waterfalls. And there we realized that birds, like some mythical fairytale creatures, were actually all around us. One just needed to sit still and wait for them to emerge.
Streaked Laughing Thrush
Birds eluded us for most part of our trip to Dalhousie. They were no where to be seen when we arrived. The stayed hidden even when we spent our second day at the campus of Dalhousie Public School. They did, however, entice us by their constant singing and chirping. In fact until the morning of the third day, the only birds we had seen were some bulbuls and doves. Things were looking bleak.


Birds eluded us for most part of our trip to Dalhousie. They were no where to be seen when we arrived. The stayed hidden even when we spent our second day at the campus of Dalhousie Public School. They did, however, entice us by their constant singing and chirping. In fact until the morning of the third day, the only birds we had seen were some bulbuls and doves. Things were looking bleak.
Oriental Turtle Dove
 Fortunes turned when we decided to walk to Panchpula waterfalls, which were at 4kms from the school. We hit jackpot when we reached the waterfalls. And there we realized that birds, like some mythical fairytale creatures, were actually all around us. One just needed to sit still and wait for them to emerge. 

So there we were sitting at one of the many kiosks, near the water, waiting for our pakodas to arrive, when we noticed a slight movement on the wet rocks. It was a tiny little bird, almost round, expertly climbing the rocks, pecking at some tiny creatures we could not see. At the first glance they all looked the same. It was only when we got home and took help from some birders to identify them, that we realized that there were no less than 3 different species among them.
Great Barbet
So there we were sitting at one of the many kiosks, near the water, waiting for our pakodas to arrive, when we noticed a slight movement on the wet rocks. It was a tiny little bird, almost round, expertly climbing the rocks, pecking at some tiny creatures we could not see. At the first glance they all looked the same. It was only when we got home and took help from some birders to identify them, that we realized that there were no less than 3 different species among them. 

 And then after that birds of all shapes and sizes emerged from everywhere and started hopping around the branches that hung low on the waterfall pool. At first they were no more than darts of colors between the leaves, but when you paid attention, they started materializing. We even managed to capture a few photographs. You would need to excuse the quality this time. These birds, they were moving around.
Plumbeous Water Redstart
And then after that birds of all shapes and sizes emerged from everywhere and started hopping around the branches that hung low on the waterfall pool. At first they were no more than darts of colors between the leaves, but when you paid attention, they started materializing. We even managed to capture a few photographs. You would need to excuse the quality this time. These birds, they were moving around. 

Among the little round birds were the Plumbeous Water Redstart and the Blue-throated Blue Flycatcher. These were the cutest birds I have ever seen. Rather like the birds we draw as kids. A circle with legs, a tail and a beak. And these birds were at various stages of their lives. Some were adult, while others were juvenile. As a result, the color of the plummage varied considerably, making it difficult for amateurs like us to identify them as the same or different birds.
Blue-throated Blue Flycatcher - Juvenile Male
Among the little round birds were the Plumbeous Water Redstart and the Blue-throated Blue Flycatcher. These were the cutest birds I have ever seen. Rather like the birds we draw as kids. A circle with legs, a tail and a beak. And these birds were at various stages of their lives. Some were adult, while others were juvenile. As a result, the color of the plummage varied considerably, making it difficult for amateurs like us to identify them as the same or different birds. 
As the jungle came alive, more and more birds started making appearance. This is where we met the Great Barbet again and got to know it better. Not only did we recognize the bird by its appearance, we also learned to identify its song. Great Barbet is present in large numbers here in Dalhousie.
Plumbeous Water Redstart
As the jungle came alive, more and more birds started making appearance. This is where we met the Great Barbet again and got to know it better. Not only did we recognize the bird by its appearance, we also learned to identify its song. Great Barbet is present in large numbers here in Dalhousie.

There was a large variety of little tits and sunbirds that flocked around together, hopping from tree to tree, singing and chirping as they went along. They were hardly ever still and very difficult to capture through our pretty basic camera. We did try however. Some that we were able to identify were the black-throated tit, green-backed tit, and a few more little birds that we were not able to identify.
Green-backed Tit
There was a large variety of little tits and sunbirds that flocked around together, hopping from tree to tree, singing and chirping as they went along. They were hardly ever still and very difficult to capture through our pretty basic camera. We did try however. Some that we were able to identify were the black-throated tit, green-backed tit, and a few more little birds that we were not able to identify.

There was a large variety of little tits and sunbirds that flocked around together, hopping from tree to tree, singing and chirping as they went along. They were hardly ever still and very difficult to capture through our pretty basic camera. We did try however. Some that we were able to identify were the black-throated tit, green-backed tit, and a few more little birds that we were not able to identify.
Black-Throated Tit
We also saw various varieties of starlings. Unfortunately, these too we were not able to identify clearly. But they did appear out of nowhere, peering down at us from among the lush foliage. They seemed to be as interested in us as we were in them. Starlings are anyways known to be adventurous and fearless. Some of  the common starlings around us are the Common Mynah and the Brahmny Starling.
We also saw various varieties of starlings. Unfortunately, these too we were not able to identify clearly. But they did appear out of nowhere, peering down at us from among the lush foliage. They seemed to be as interested in us as we were in them. Starlings are anyways known to be adventurous and fearless. Some of  the common starlings around us are the Common Mynah and the Brahmny Starling.
Unidentified Starling
 There were some birds that we saw from a distance that looked like flycatchers. However, with our limited knowledge of birds, we are still so helpless that we were not able to identify them properly. If you could help us with this, it would be simply great.
 There were some birds that we saw from a distance that looked like flycatchers. However, with our limited knowledge of birds, we are still so helpless that we were not able to identify them properly. If you could help us with this, it would be simply great.
Unidentified Flycatcher
Another surprising aspect of birding in Dalhousie is the sheer variety of woodpeckers you see at work. These busybodies continue with their labour, pecking and poking at the barks, oblivious to the cameras pointed at them, struggling to capture them despite their continuous movements.

Another surprising aspect of birding in Dalhousie is the sheer variety of woodpeckers you see at work. These busybodies continue with their labour, pecking and poking at the barks, oblivious to the cameras pointed at them, struggling to capture them despite their continuous movements.
Yellow-Crowned Woodpecker
Magpies were another species that we were very lucky with. We spotted several jays and magpies all hopping around and foraging for food, unafraid of the human presence around them. Laughing thrushes too are our friends and never fail to make an appearance. This one posed for us for several minutes. 

At the end of it, what we thought would turn out to be a dull trip, birding wise, became one of the most enriching we have ever had. We did not expect a hillstation as lively as Dalhousie, and as popular with tourists to be teeming with birds that were never too far away, almost always just hidden in plain sight.
Black-headed Jay
At the end of it, what we thought would turn out to be a dull trip, birding wise, became one of the most enriching we have ever had. We did not expect a hillstation as lively as Dalhousie, and as popular with tourists to be teeming with birds that were never too far away, almost always just hidden in plain sight. 

Grey Bushchat
Grey Bushchat
If you liked this post and found it helpful, I would request you to follow these things when traveling -
  1. Manage your waste well and don’t litter
  2. Use dustbins. Tell us if you went to a place and found it hard to locate a dustbin.
  3. Avoid bottle waters in hills. Usually you get clean water in hills and water bottles create lot of mess in our ecosystem.
  4. Say big no to plastic and avoid those unhealthy snacks packed in plastic bags. Rather buy fruits.
  5. Don't play loud blaring music in forests of jungle camps. You are a guest in that ecosystem and disturbing the locals (humans and animals) is not polite.

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