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Snow leopards & birds of Central Ladakh, India (1 Viewer)

madpitta

Well-known member
Hello all,

I visited Hemis National Park & Uley in the Ladakh region of India from 6th Mar to 14th Mar 2014. The main aim of this trip was to see the Grey Ghost of course. But I didnt miss the opportunity to find whatever birds were possible in the bleak winter. Although only 42 species were seen there were some good quality birds. Highlights included Himalayan Snowcock, White-browed Tit-Warbler, White-rumped Snowfinch, Tibetan Snowfinch, White-winged Redstart & Ibisbill.

As for Snow Leopards, a total of 6 different individuals were seen across 3 separate sightings. A failed hunt, separation of mom and cubs and finally mating - totally blew my mind away. Then there was a trio of superb ungulates - Asiatic Ibex, Ladakh Urial and Blue Sheep. We missed the Grey 'Himalayan' Wolf but overall the trip was highly successful. Detailed trip report with photos and maps below:

http://www.cloudbirders.com/tripreport/repository/BARUAH_India_03_2014.pdf

Thanks,
Pritam.
 

rockfowl

Mark Andrews
A fabulous report and I've done the trip twice myself, so its great to see so much detail and excitement conveyed. Also wonderful to see the trio (mother and cubs) are still doing well, a few of us on here saw these when they were around a year old.
 

madpitta

Well-known member
A fabulous report and I've done the trip twice myself, so its great to see so much detail and excitement conveyed. Also wonderful to see the trio (mother and cubs) are still doing well, a few of us on here saw these when they were around a year old.

Glad you liked the report. Yes I was told that the trio has been in the Rumbak area for the 3rd year now. They are now separated as noted in the report but news is that there is one more trio that has been spotted once in February - remains to be seen if they will be seen more often.
 

kitefarrago

Well-known member
I really enjoyed reading this. Thanks for pointing us at your report. I particularly like how you convey your emotions at the various sighting.

I'll have to see how I can fit that trip in somehow!

Andrea
 

madpitta

Well-known member
That yak sounds like the ultimate survivor!

Cheers
Mike

It sure is but for how long I dont know. Since the paw marks (now hairless) are very close to the spine, just one more attack that hits one of the hairless patches can severely injure the yak. The villagers have been advised to keep their animals well protected but clearly they seem to be overestimating this one's luck.
 

jurek

Well-known member
Congratulations, especially given the relatively short time you spent in Ladakh.

I wonder if it is possible to get current info on how snow leopards are/ are not seen? I long considered to go there, but frankly, there is no new birds in the area for me, and I am not keen on freezing for two weeks, maddeningly scan the empty rocks, and still be not sure to see the cat.
 

madpitta

Well-known member
Congratulations, especially given the relatively short time you spent in Ladakh.

I wonder if it is possible to get current info on how snow leopards are/ are not seen? I long considered to go there, but frankly, there is no new birds in the area for me, and I am not keen on freezing for two weeks, maddeningly scan the empty rocks, and still be not sure to see the cat.


Summer and autumn are quite good for birding. In September all the migrant species are still present and the weather is much more agreeable and there is a chance for Snow Leopard. I met several Indians in March and they didnt visit for too long (I was the longest), possibly because it is much easier to repeat the expedition from India then abroad. The stats for 4 Indian groups I met:

4 days - 1 sighting.
6 days - 1 sighting.
5 days - 1 sighting.
4 days - 2 sightings.

- One photography couple stayed for 30 days (all of Feb + 2) and had 8 different sightings.
- One european group came for a week and had two sightings but one participant in the group didnt have any sightings because he was a wanderer. He insisted on wandering off to look for his own leopards but became mad at the guides when his trip eventually failed.

I would say that unless you are a photographer 8 days can be a good even if you dont live in the country. No guarantees of course. Also, it can get terribly cold in the first two weeks of Feb (to the point where the Ladakhis grumble).
 
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