As with the previous day I got up for first light, but this time set off for a walk through the village adjacent to Nature Drops to the small stream a kilometre and half back up the valley towards Pangot. It was well worth the early start as I encountered species which we failed to connect with again on the trip.
We decided to spend the day exploring the valley to the north of Pangot village. All our birding in the area so far had been in the valley where Nature Drops was located, so a few of our contingent fancied a change to see what difference it would make. We had found that we were not particularly gen-ed up on the birding in the area, but trip reports suggested that Jungle Lore, a lodge in Pangot itself, was the place to go for information. As a result we called in on our way through and were able to gain a good deal of information.
The days birding was mainly from the road between Pangot and Ghu Ghu Khan, the next village along the road driving away Nainital. We could walk some distance without sight or sound of any birds, then all of a sudden we would find ourselves in the middle of a bird wave, and we did not know where to look. There was some change in the species composition we had found in the valley, and we added a good number of species to our trip list. We were also accompanied on our trip by two dogs from the village, who stuck with us for most of the walk. Who knows why they followed us, as they refused all food and never became agitated. They were nice companions to have!
Because we were exploring the area along the road the birding felt very stop start, often jumping in the car and heading further along the road, missing out areas of woodland. We eventually decided to head back, on the way calling in at Jungle Lore once again. We had been told in the morning that there was a female Golden Bush Robin in the garden, so we stopped off to hunt for it. The lodge garden was excellent for birding, and we added a few more new species.
Long-billed Thrush - The highlight of my pre-breakfast wander was a fine individual of this bizarre species. As soon as I saw the bird facing away from me I could tell what it was, even without seeing the birds bill, such is the bizarre posture. Sadly I was only able to see it for a few short seconds before it was chased off by a Blue Whistling Thrush.
Golden Bush Robin - My joint most wanted species for the list was finally added when I got a brief view of the Jungle Lore garden female on a compost heap. We had spent some time searching without luck, but as we expanded our search I finally hit gold. Sadly the views were all too brief and I was the only person to see it, but it was still awesome to see, especially given how unpredictable they are to see.
Indian Black Eagle - We got exceptional views of a fine adult of this species as it flew low over the Jungle Lore garden. One of the best views of any raptor species we got all trip.
Pangot: Long-billed Thrush, Himalayan Bluetail, Blue-fronted Redstart, European Stonechat, Grey Bushchat, Large-billed Crow, Black-headed Jay, Yellow-breasted Greenfinch, White-capped Bunting, Striated Prinia, Great Barbet, Himalayan Bulbul, Streaked Laughingthrush, Kalij Pheasant, Green-backed Tit, Red-billed Blue Magpie, Oriental Turtle Dove, House Sparrow, Rufous Sibia, Oriental White-eye, Jungle Babbler, Grey-hooded Warbler, Long-tailed Shrike, Olive-backed Pipit, Feral Pigeon, Grey-backed Shrike, Rufous-bellied Woodpecker, Slaty-headed Parakeet, Ashy-throated Warbler, Yellow-browed Tit, Black-lored Tit, Coal Tit, Striated Laughingthrush, Black-faced Warbler, White-tailed Nuthatch, Barn Swallow, Russet Sparrow, Brown-fronted Woodpecker, Black-throated Tit, Steppe Eagle, Indian Black Eagle, Bronze Drongo, Grey-sided Bush Warbler, Golden Bush Robin, Common Myna, Hume’s Leaf Warbler, Lemon Rumped Warbler, Himalayan Griffon Vulture, Indian Muntjac, Hanuman Langur, Rhesus Macaque, Indian Tortoiseshell, Common Punch, Common Copper,