We have just returned from a 17-day birding trip which we booked through “ Off to Bhutan”. Norbu ( the owner) arranged everything, including our return flights to and from Paro and our Bhutan visa. He also helped us get out of the country when the Corona crisis started shutting down Bhutan and next door India, luckily without having to cut short our trip.

Despite the threat of Corona, we enjoyed a fantastic and fantastically arranged birding trip. It was a round trip from Paro, Thimpu, Punakha, Phobjekha, Bumthang, Yongkala, Manas National Park and back to Paro. We had no target list of birds but our guide Tshering  Dorji and his great observational skills made that we saw a great number of birds including, among many others, the much sought after White-bellied Heron, Black-necked Crane, Beautiful Nuthatch, Ward’s Trogon, three Himalayan Pheasants, three of the four Hornbills, Tawny Fish Owl, etc, etc. Mammals among others included the Malaysian Giant Squirrel, numerous  Assamese macaques, both the Capped and Golden langur, as well as the Barking and Sambar deer.

Our guide Tshering was a very knowledgeable  birder and also very knowledgeable on different aspects of Bhutanese culture. Our driver Karma ( never had a birding driver before…!) was very helpful and also a very careful driver. Both were great company, not an unimportant aspect when you share each other’s space for a while!
Anyone remotely interested in planning a trip to Bhutan should take a look at  Off to Bhutan’s inspiring website.

Henk ter Borg and Barbara Knightknigbarb@gmail.comThe Netherland