Birding on the Wangchu orThimphu Chu, Bhutan

Birding on the Wangchu or Thimphu Chu, Bhutan

When:  October 2019     Weather: Cool 10C

Leica M10P 35mm Summilux, Nikon P900, Sony alpha55 70-200mm G lens


The last time I was here in Bhutan, we stayed at the Druk Hotel in town.  This time we were booked into the Terma Linca resort about 15min south of Thimphu on the way to Paro airport.  Looking at the resort on Google maps, it looked promising as the property sits right on the bank of the Wangchu/Thimphu Chu (river) and is fringed by greenery….just my type of place for a short early morning or evening ramble to bird…


Arriving after dark at the Terma Linca resort just outside Thimphu, it wasn’t immediately obvious how close we were to the river..


As the sun rose in the morning, the serene surroundings emerged


The river Wang Chu…I thought it was called the Thimphu Chu until I was told by the protocol officer in Bhutan that Wang was the original name of Thimphu…hence Wang Chu is more correct

I travel frequently and often stay in city hotels near convention centres or city centres and usually look for the nearest patch of green on google maps to go birding…in the Terma Linca Resort’s case, I didn’t have to look far…the green patches and river were right on the resort’s property! Totally delighted, I was able to bird here one morning and one evening….


A Hodgson’s redstart perched on the wire near the security guard post at the entrance to the resort


A female Hodgson’s redstart


Plumbeous water redstart



yellow billed blue magpie



white wagtail



Another view of male Hodgson’s redstart


Green sandpiper?


White capped water redstarts were active


white capped water redstart



another Hodgson’s redstart on the wire



A pair of Brown Dippers also appeared on the water



Brown Dipper


The entrance to the Terma Linca resort with the river skirting it


The Wangchu river is fringed by flowers


By 9 am we had to go to the hospital to attend the inauguration ceremony of the new eye hospital after which we elected to go and see the Takin, a mammal only seen in Bhutan.


The new eye hospital in Thimphu at the National referral Hospital



The Royal Takin reserve is about 15min out of town ….



The Takin or Cattle Chamois or Gnu Goat is an unusual animal found only in the eastern is the Takin enclosure which also houses some sambar deer



The Takin in dark coat



Takin with golden fleece



The magnificent Takin


There is a large signboard showing the bird species of the Takin Reserve but all we saw was a spotted nuthatch as it was the mid afternoon.  We got back to the Terma Linca Resort around 4 pm and I had another hour or so of daylight to seek the kingfisher my guides had told me about the day before…


Almost immediately I heard the screech of a kingfisher, and scanning around I saw this on the wire over the river next to the security post!



The magnificent Crested Kingfisher with a bit of rufous stippling on the chest and raised crest



He posed readily



Crested Kingfisher at Terma Linca



He flew up and down the river and then settled down on a wooden structure amidst the turbulent waters of the WangChu, occasionally diving in to fish



A Rufous SIbia demanded some attention in the nearby tree



and the bonus bird as the sun went down was this blue whistling thrush from a distance



Blue Whistling Thrush


I didn’t really have enough time to bird this wonderful stretch of water at the Terma Linca, but the little time I had was enough to see a variety of water birds with lots of redstarts and of course the crested kingfisher.

For nature lovers, bird watchers and photography buffs, I recommend the Terma Linca Resort highly!



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