Sunday, February 1, 2009

The Dehradun-Mussoorie trek: What I saw

Birds! Oh, so many birds.
Right at the beginning of the trek, when the path skirts the hill, there were several birds in the undergrowth. I am not sure if I could identify all of them, but especially common were the White Browed Shortwings. I also saw tits, and am reasonably sure some of them were the Green-backed Tits. As for the rest, I have an impression of greenish yellowness and of crests- the Black-lored Tit, perhaps? Red-vented bulbuls were there in plenty, and those I can confidently name. There were also a lot of olive-khaki clad little things. Warblers, certainly. But which ones?
Immediately past the steep bit, there is a flat stretch. And here I saw two Kalij pheasants, a male and a female.
On the wooded part of the trail, just when the ‘steps’ start, I saw the Slaty-headed Parakeet. I only saw one, but there were three of them across the valley calling out in turn- as if doing triangulation. A little later, I am fairly sure I saw the White-tailed Robin, male. Also saw a Velvet-fronted Nuthatch, very fleetingly as it flew across the path right in front of me.
Near Jharipani, where the path becomes paved again, I saw three eagles, but I am really bad at identifying them. Reading my bird book has left me inclined to Bonelli’s Eagle, but I wouldn’t bet on it. just how bad I am at identifying raptors, you ask? Well, on this trek, I thought I saw a Changeable Hawk Eagle in its dark morph, and was pretty proud of having identifying it. And then it landed on a branch and cawed. The only way of excusing myself is by hoping it was a Large-Billed Crow. Let’s move on..
Yes, do let’s move on, because now we come to the best bit. Earlier on, where all the warblers and shortwings were, I heard a rustling in the shrubs by the path and was excited thinking that it was caused by a flock of quails. Till I saw sunlight glinting on what could only be fur. A moment later, a deer stepped out onto the path and paused for a moment. No spots, excitingly backlit by the sun, it was a dull brown with silvery tips and that lovely silvery haze around its ears. One quivering breath from each of us, and it was gone! Lovely.


Printemps said...

i want to trek this path...i have trekked sikhim side...

me said...

it is a beautiful path. I hope you do soon..

rabia said...

Four of us are doing it tomorrow morning. We going to start 5...5:30 - it'll get too warm to walk up later. BTW really loved reading your blog. We are all into words...images...environment...Doon too. Hope we bump into each other sometime.


chicu said...

good luck! drop me a note, and let me know what you saw..glad you liked the blog

Mamta said...

Hi...loved reading all you wrote...kavita told us about you yesterday when we went on our long awaited walk to mus. I have been in dun four 2 yrs now and managed to do it only now...loved evey second of it! will write more on what we saw later...ciao

chicu said...

glad to know you guys had a good time..keep in touch, ciao!

Viktor said... planning this trip with few of my college friends this 31st... are there ne last minute tips??? and any recent updates on the route still being trekkable ???

- Viktor

chicu said...

hello Viktor.
I went there in October, and the route is pretty good, though the first bit is sadly overrun by lantana.
have a great start to the year!