Report: Mammals and Birds of Chopta, Kedarnath Wildlife Sanctuary, November 2017

A view of the Greater Himalaya from the breathtakingly (literally), scenic Chopta-Tungnath-Chandrasheela Trek

Pictures from a natural history oriented trip to the Kedarnath Wildlife Sanctuary and surroundings in the Garwhal Himalayas of Uttarakhand. An useful attribute of this location is relatively easy access to a broad elevational range and associated habitats (and its denizens) – cultivated valleys, montane forest and alpine meadows in this case – within short distances. While there was hope for early winter altitudinal bird migrant riches in the lower valleys, there were satisfactory highlights such as Koklass and Monal Pheasants, Hill Partridge, Mountain Hawk Eagle, Snow Pigeon, Alpine Accentor, Long-tailed Thrush, Rufous-bellied Woodpecker, Spotted and Little Forktails, Variegated Laughingthrush, various Tits, Whiskered and Stripe-throated Yuhinas among others. Highlight Mammals included Himalayan Tahr, Bharal, Himalayan Goral, Himalayan Marten and Red Fox. Luck with the weather also ensured superb views of the Greater Himalayas and dark night skies …… and there were some very nice examples of hot aloo parathas at regular intervals as fuel (or reward!) for the efforts.

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