Bird watching is a lifetime ticket to the theater of nature. This is about wild birds & ducks of Kashmir. Birding is for everyone who is interested in enjoying nature. Bird diversity varies seasonally and as many as 554 species belonging to 13 orders have been recorded in the State of Jammu & Kashmir.
262 species have been reported from the temperate and alpine regions of the Kashmir Valley ranging in elevation from 1800m to 7500m with an average annual rainfall of 733mm. 225 species have been reported from the cold high-level desert of Ladakh which ranges in elevation from 2750m to 7672m with an average annual rainfall of 160 mm.183 species have been reported from the sub-tropical plains of Jammu with an elevation of about 100 to 700m with an average annual rainfall of 1124mm.
Staking out in the wild to identify and track birds that is the essence of bird watching. You have to spot a bird in its natural habitat and then try to discover its identity. It’s not tough to bird watch. Just keep your eyes and ears open. Carry a powerful pair of binoculars, a notebook and a pen, and plenty of patience on your bird watching holiday.Birds flock to a water source, such as in our lakes, rivers and all the mountain areas like Gulmarg, Pahalgam, Sonamarg etc. For wild ducks (migratory / seasonal) and other waterfowl you can visit Hokarsar, Anchar, Manasbal, Wular, Dal & Nageen Lakes. So that’s where you need to head out.
Hygam: The Hygam wetland located some 50kms from Srinagar has shrunk from 4.5 sq. kms to less than 1.5 sq. kms.
Hokersar : Hokersar, 14 km north of Srinagar is another world class wetland spread over 13. 75 sq kms including lake and marshy area. It attracts birds from Siberia, Central Asia, China, North Europe and the Indian sub-continent. A record number (over 400,000) migratory birds were estimated to have been spotted at the Hokersar Wildlife Sanctuary this winter.
Shalibug: Shalibug is Kashmir’s largest bird reserve.
Tso Morari Lake, Ladakh: This freshwater to brackish lake lying at 4,595m above sea level is the world’s highest Ramsar site. The lake is the only breeding ground outside of China for one of the most endangered cranes, the Black-necked crane Grus nigricollis, and the only breeding ground for Bar-headed Geese in India. A small northern offshore island forms the main nesting site for the Bar Headed Geese and the Brown Headed Gull.
Dachigam National Park: Dachigam contains the last viable population of Hangul or Kashmir Stag in the world. The two sectors of the Park – Upper and Lower Dachigam are spread over an area of 141-sq-km. and altitudes vary between 1,700 and 4,300m. Over 150 species of birds have been reported including Crimson Tragopan, Monal Pheasant, Blood Pheasant, Koklas Pheasant, Golden Eagle, Lammergeier etc.
Gulmarg Biosphere Reserve: Gulmarg is located at a distance of 48-km to the south-west of Srinagar. It is a major tourist destination and a world-class Ski resort. Avifauna includes pheasants and upland birds amongst other resident and migratory species. Griffon Vulture, Monal Pheasant, Snow Cock, Koklas Pheasant, Blue Rock Pigeon, Kashmir Roller, Eurasian Hoopoe, Jungle Crow etc. are found there.