Tag Archives: Bhutan

Kalij pheasant (Lophura leucomelanos)

On my way down from an amazing sunrise near the Dochula Pass I encountered this gorgeous male strolling leisurely with his mate which was blending in perfectly with the landscape. This is one of several amazing species of pheasants roaming the Himalayas and they are like birds from a fairy tale. Beauty is in the […]

Dochula Pass, Bhutan

I was very fortunate to come here in time for the sunrise with a cloudless sky. Very slowly I had a growing idea of the magnificent snowcapped mountains to the north and west, and as the light increased I was greeted with a completely clear sight of the tallest mountain peaks in Bhutan. This shot […]

Dochula Pass, Bhutan

The sunrise is almost over, and I was having a hard time deciding which direction to point the camera. Focus on the sunrise in the east above the stupas, and capture the moment the entire disc has climbed above the horizon, or focus on the north-west where the amazing hues of the sunrise colors the […]

Rhododendron kesangiae var album

This beautiful and relatively large leaved species was my first and only encounter and the only one still with newly opened flowers. The other plants here were already starting to fade and had lost most of the pink hues and become mostly white. This might also be a natural variance of this species, as well […]

Grey treepie (Dendrocitta formosae)

This is one of many opportunities that just presented itself after I had given up on getting any good captures during my Bhutan journey. I had just finished my morning photo session and was on my way back to the hotel when I saw this group sitting out in the open chit-chatting. Although common, I’m […]

Black-throated sunbird (Aethopyga saturata)

Jigme Dorji National Park, Bhutan Sunbirds are strikingly colorful, and you definitely get associations to the hummingbirds of the New World. Depending on the angle of the light the colors might seem bland or like flashes of iridescence, but come rain or shine, they are colorful. This was shot on a cloudy day, and the […]

Striated Laughingthrush (Garrulax striatus)

Jigme Dorji National Park, Bhutan I encountered this species many times during my time in Bhutan, but rarely in clear view like this. In fact I thought I was missing out on yet another clear shot here, as it was deep inside a raspberry thicket, gorging in yellow rubus berries. I’m not certain which species, […]

Rhododendron falconeri

This is perhaps the most impressive of all the rhododendron species I encountered during my travel in Bhutan. Not because it was such a huge specimen, it was in fact a young bush which made these flowers accessible to me, as mature plants have their inflorescences too high to reach. Not because it had such […]

Rufous-gorgeted flycatcher (Ficedula strophiata)

One of a large number of bird species visiting the countless Rhodondendron trees in bloom. It sounds like this: Elevation: 3267 meters. Aperture: ƒ/5.6 Camera: NIKON D4S Focal length: 800mm ISO: 140 Shutter speed: 1/400 s

Adonis brevistyla (Ranunculeae)

This species came as a total surprise to me, and only because I finally encountered a rhododendron plant with white flowers accessible to me on the ground! All the others had been too high on very tall rhododendron trees. The rhododendron encounter was absolutely amazing and will be covered in an upcoming post, but when […]

Nepal gray langur (Semnopithecus schistaceus)

After an amazing morning I was moving on towards the next valley, but I did not get far before I encountered yet another exciting mammal – the third of the langur species in Bhutan. My first reaction was how big it was – so much bulkier than the capped langurs I had encountered. It was […]

Rhododendron thomsonii

There are many species of rhododendron that might pass you by when you’re faced with huge trees of them in bloom so lavishly that you cannot keep your eyes off them. I caught a glimpse of a different red hue close to the ground and the road. We stopped so I could take closer look […]

Rhododendron arboreum

You can get a lot of information on the local weather patterns and precipitation by simply looking at the type of vegetation, and in some places you will know that the clouds are hugging the landscape for long periods of time as these long “beards” only grow to these lengths where the moisture is frequent […]

Rufous-vented yuhina (Yuhina occipitalis)

This was perhaps just another spring morning here in Bhutan, but to me it was such a special time at this location. This day started with such a beautiful and colorful dawn with snowcapped mountains in the distance and a forest ablaze with flowering rhododendrons around me. And with flowers come birds – in droves! […]

White-browed fulvetta (Fulvetta vinipectus)

The colorful background in this image is one of the countless inflorescences of the amazing rhododendron. I was fortunate to travel in Bhutan as the rhododendron bloom was at its best, and all the rhododendrons were attracting so many birds. And me. Many species were feasting on the huge quantity of pollen, some for the […]

Rhododendron kesangiae

My previous encounter of this species was carrying one inflorescence with flowers just opening, but was exceedingly hard to get up and close to. I was naturally exhilarated to be able to encounter wonderful specimens here that I could touch and admire as close as I wanted. This very location was a veritable garden with […]

Pika (Ochotona sp)

This is one of several individuals I encountered roaming around a small area of grassy ground, and it was in and out of this burrow as if playing hide and seek with us. With a slightly rounded snout it is likely a juvenile. What a cutie! None of the pikas I encountered here displayed any […]

Pika (Ochotona sp)

I got up very early this morning to get to this location before sunrise to capture the snow capped mountains amongst the flowering rhododendrons, and I was rewarded in so many ways. The vista was absolutely stunning, but I encountered so many incredible rhododendrons, birds and also mammals. Among them a group of pikas roaming […]

Golden langur (Trachypithecus geei)

This mother and her very young offspring were winding down as the light of the setting sun was fading. I encountered this group as I too was winding down – heading back to my hotel after an eventful day. It was a great joy to see every group of golden langurs I encountered in Bhutan […]

Golden langur (Trachypithecus geei)

Yesterday I passed this very spot, and had what I thought an amazing encounter with this group of langurs, preparing for the night. I was on my way back to the hotel, and was stopping here to photograph the rising moon. Instead I found this group of langurs and completely dropped the idea of shooting […]

Golden langur (Trachypithecus geei)

I wonder what these beautiful flowers taste like! Their scent is so sweet and draws you in, but they are rarely accessible to humans as they are high on the trees. For a golden langur they are most definitely a delicacy and I had an amazing time watching this group plucking one flower after the […]

Drumstick primrose (Primula denticulate)

As with a large number of plant species in Bhutan and Himalaya as a whole, this one is a hugely popular garden plant in Europe, as it is so easy to grow. It is so common in garden centers and gardens, that when I realized what species I saw alongside the roads I was reluctant […]

Rhododendron arboreum var. Roseum

Most of us in the western world, and perhaps in particular in Europe, are familiar with the Rhododendrons in gardens and parks and think of them as some of many beautiful flowers in the spring. Me included. But when you see them in the wild – where they have evolved throughout the aeons – you […]

Mossy waterfall

There are countless amazing rivers, streams, creeks and waterfalls in Bhutan, but many are inaccessible due to the extremely steep terrain. Most of the larger rivers are torrents in the rainy season, and thus the rocks are without any moss as they are sand and rock blasted by the friction of what the water brings […]

Rhododendron arboretum

Sometimes things happen in the blink of an eye, and is in addition completely unexpected. I had stopped at this location to capture an amazingly beautiful Rhododendron growing out of a sheer cliff – almost dangling in the air – like a Bonsai tree. Twisted trunk and full of red flowers. No matter which angle […]

Red-billed chough (Pyrrhocorax pyrrhocorax)

This was such a beautiful spring morning, with soft light, haze and mist in layers low above the farmland. The air perfectly still. There were quite a number of choughs roaming around the fields. Some perched and surveying the opportunities, while others were busy in groups. And then there were the couples like these two […]

Himalayan monal (Lophophorus impejanus)

Although this is not a threatened species that does not mean it is either common to see, despite its amazing iridescent plumage, or easy to find. This particular location, Choeje Dra Monastery, is known to be a rare spot where they can be seen regularly as the monks hand out rice leftovers that attracts many […]

Blood pheasant (Ithaginis cruentus)

After a beautiful sunrise as we were ascending towards the pass we encountered the first of several blood pheasants here. I find both male and females really beautiful in their own right. The male is flamboyant and conspicuous, but the female blends so amazingly with the surroundings. Unfortunately I did not have the camera on […]

Fire-tailed sunbird (Aethopyga ignicauda)

Driving ever higher, seeing more and more frost from last night, together with larger and larger patches of snow, one might not expect to see such lavishly colored birds. At least not so small – which means there must be lots of nectar producing plants up here to provide sufficient energy to stay in shape. […]

Red-billed chough (Pyrrhocorax pyrrhocorax)

This was my very first encounter of this species, and what a lovely first contact. These two were enjoying what seemed like true affection and love for each other. The left one was the active one, preening the one on the right in many ways and parts of the body. The receiver closed the eyes […]

Hoary-throated barwing (Actinodura nipalensis)

Experiencing the rhododendron forests in bloom is an amazing experience in many ways as they are a magnet to so many incredible bird species. Sometimes you may arrive at a location in full bloom to find just a few sunbirds and some other species only to experience an influx of species foraging. But they often […]

Small niltava (Niltava macgrigoriae)

One of many small bird species not often seen, but its lovely song will tell you it’s there somewhere in the thickets. Every now and then it might venture out in the open, or on a favorite perch from where it will sing its announcements to the world according to its understanding of it. This […]

Crested serpent eagle (Spilornis cheela)

Without a long lens I would not have had any idea that this bird had blood around the corner of the mouth, and thus recently having had a kill and meal. Being content I guess it simply sat here to watch over its territory, perhaps feeling an achievement of having conquered it and its bounties. […]

Capped langur (Trachypithecus pileatus)

This large male had carried a sizable piece of rock up a tree and was meticulously breaking off pieces and grinding them in his hands as to release the good parts. He would then seemingly taste a piece and eat it all if it was of the right stuff. You can see his white lips […]

Rufous-necked hornbill (Aceros nipalensis)

This incredible looking and large bird species is surprisingly not that easy to see as it can sit silently on a branch, barely turning the head to assess the availability of food around it. But when it decides to go to a higher branch you definitely locate it by the whooshing sound of the flapping […]

Rufous-necked hornbill (Aceros nipalensis)

This is a female, resting amidst the fresh leaves of spring. She has seen many springs and knows well what it brings, were to get the best food, where the best nesting holes are, as well as what she likes in a male. She is a living record of many encounters, and will share them […]

Leopard cat (Prionailurus bengalensis)

I had heard stories of this species while in Bhutan, one being a close encounter with a farmer and the cat stalking a barking deer and her calf. In the mountains this widespread species grow larger than in the lowland and can take on a young deer. Wild cats are notoriously hard to spot as […]

Barking deer (Muntiacus vaginalis)

This is the second image from the amazing encounter with the orphaned barking deer in the care of Dema the farmer. Dema owns a farm across the road from the Trogon Villa I stayed at for several nights, and this was the first of two encounters with this lovely deer, as I was fortunate to […]

Barking deer (Muntiacus vaginalis)

I had two wonderful encounters with this orphaned barking deer which was so lovingly cared for by Dema the farmer, and this is the encounter of the first day and the third post from this lovely experience. This young deer was so incredibly harmonious and confident in this setting – surrounded by dogs, humans, livestock […]

Blue-bearded bee-eater (Nyctyornis athertoni)

My first objective is to get a shot of a new (to me) bird species, then to get ever closer and thus better pictures. More often than not I experience a non-obliging bird taking off even before I’ve been able to point my camera in their direction. Much less reaching focus. This day had not […]

Black-tailed crake (Amaurornis bicolor)

It’s quite amazing to hear this loud and striking sound and not being able to see where it comes from. In this case, all I saw was a waterlogged landscape with lush vegetation surrounding rice fields, and this sound. Is it far, close by, or just under your nose? At first I thought it was […]

Himalayan bulbul (Pycnonotus leucogenys)

A bird with lovely simple vocalizations that you hear throughout Bhutan and the Himalayas and is one of 9 species in Bhutan. You will see this common species on a prayer flag pole, a roof top, on a power line, or in a tree. Out in the open or wherever it prefers it will babble […]

Grey-sided bush warbler (Cettia brunnifrons)

It’s amazing how such tiny bird species (just think of the house wren for instance) can produce such loud sounds, and that it is done so with seemingly no more energy than us having a conversation. The loudest pitch is heard far and wide, but come up close and you will also hear those intimate […]

Chestnut-bellied rock thrush (Monticola rufiventris)

What is a beautiful melody to us is dead serious to the bird as it is perched high to announce its presence to competitors and assure its claim to the area around him. Spring is a short but incredibly beautiful season in so many ways as that is when all species are at their most […]

Blue-throated barbet (Psilopogon asiaticus)

Barbets are such colorful birds and when seen out in the open on a naked branch, you would not think of this as a bird very hard to locate once it’s in the trees. Unless they are singing, all you see are moving branches and perhaps some fruits falling to the ground during their foraging. […]

Red-vented bulbul (Pycnonotus cafer)

No matter how common a species is I love to capture them when they have positioned themselves in an aesthetic or artistic way, and this one was in no rush to leave this branch. Bhutan has 9 species of bulbuls, so there is plenty of opportunities to capture them in beautiful locales. It sounds like […]

Long-tailed sibia (Heterophasia picaoides) on a Flame of the forest (Butea sp)

To the human eye a tree with just these flaming inflorescences is a wonder to behold, but for pollinators and nectar hunters alike this is a welcome and very popular food station. As this tree species shed its leaves in the dry season it is a definite sign of spring when the naked branches carry […]

Collared owlet (Glaucidium brodiei)

This very small owl (smaller than a common starling – just around 15 cm in length) is easy to miss if it doesn’t move, or stand out like it does here against the fog. It has striking pattern on the back of the head resembling another set of eyes, and if you look closer you’ll […]

Yellow-cheeked tit (Machlolophus spilonotus)

A brief encounter of one of the many species (12 to date) of tits. It was foraging inside thickets alongside the road and was easy to see but very hard to photograph with all the branches in the way. Here it was accidentally posing for me for a very brief moment. It sounds like this: […]

Rufous-necked hornbill (Aceros nipalensis)

The first time you encounter this large bird it’s hard to be silent! I for one just uttered WOW! This amazingly beautiful male was scanning the surroundings, possibly for food, and it was amazing to watch as he slowly turned his head and giant beak as the eyes focused on finding whatever he was looking […]