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Kashmir and Ladakh lie at the northern extreme of Indian Subcontinent and in terms of birding, as well as culture, offer a stark contrast to the rest of the country and each other Together they form a part of the Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir but are separated by the Great Himalayan Chain. Their position means that, particularly in winter and during migration, birds from the northern Paleacrtic turn up as vagrants, and there are a number of sightings of species not recorded elsewhere in India. Spring and summer, however, we see peak avian activity with a number of local breeding specialities. Dachigam National Park is a must visit location. The park lists numbers more than 150 birds many of which breed. Among the more notable are Besra, Northern Goshawk, Himalayan Griffon, Lammergeier, Himalayan Monal, and Tawny owl to name a few. Also, mammals like Hangul, Jackal, Langur, Leopard and Yellow-throated Martens are common. Ladakh lies in the rain shadow of Himalayas, more than 300m above sea level. As you wander into Leh, the capital of Ladakh, expect to see some of the endemics like Black-billed Magpie. Along the stream in winter look for Solitary Snipe and White-throated Dipper. Other birds found in this region are Red-billed Chough, Robin and Brown Accentors and Fire-fronted Serin.
North India is probably the only region in India that can claim to host such a varied and rich birdlife. Home to well over a thousand species, this region is an absolute paradise for any birdwatcher. The reason it is a treasure house of bird species is because it comprises of varied ecosystems ranging from the hot and humid evergreen forests to the higher altitudes of the lower and middle Himalayas.