Himalayas, Sikkim and Tholong Valley, Nov' 2001

Published by Surfbirds Admin (surfbirds AT surfbirds.com)


by Peter Lobo

(for Gurudongma Tours and Treks)

North Sikkim, with its Headquarters at Mangan, comprises of the valleys of Lachen, Lachung, Dzongu and Tholung. Each of these is formed by fast flowing glacier fed rivers originating from The Great Himalayan Range and its offshoots. On the West the Singelila Range and its spurs are dominated by the peaks of   Narsing ,5825, Pandim, 6691, Khangchendzonga ,8586, Simvo, 6811, Siniolchu, 6888, Lamo Anden, 5200, Tent Peak 7365, and the Jonsang Peak 7459. To the North the Peaks of Donkong, 5660, Khanchenggyao, 6889, and Pauhunri, 7054, dominate the sky- line. On the Eastern side, the Chola Range at an elevation of 5500 demarcates the boundary with Chumbi Valley in Tibet. Perhaps in no other region is so much of natures bounty  packaged by god in such a compact area.

Tholung Valley - a treasure house of Nature

The Tholung Valley is located in the shadow of the 6888 Meters high Siniolchu, and the 5200 Meters Lamo Anden, this is virtually an uninhabited valley with a miniscule population (less than 50) of Lamas, yak herdsmen, wood cutters, cow and sheep graziers.

The Valley is approximately 540 sq Kms in area. The upper reaches comprise Glaciers, snow clad peaks, alpine lakes, moraine and meadows. There is a net work of streams feeding the Ringpi Chu River with many waterfalls. This river originates at the Kishong Tso Lake, 4228 M and cascades down to Be, 1450 M, till it joins the Rongyong Chhu at an altitude of 1085 M. –all in a distance of 26 Kms.  The lower half of the valley has mixed open forest with amazing biodiversity. The altitudinal variation, variety of trees and shrubs, lack of human population and vehicular traffic combine to make it a a haven for birds, and a prime birding site. A very good walking trail with offshoots of grazing trails provides access for birding. The entire length of the walking trail from Be to Talung Gompa (13 Kms) is a birding hot spot. Productive birding is also available for about 3 kms on the trail connecting Be with Lingsha.

A birding reconnaissance was carried out by General "Jimmy" Singh, Peter Lobo Charles Lepcha, Sudesh Pradhan, and Chewang Penzo on 26-27 Nov 2001 ( 02 days) Tolung Valley as per following program:

25 Nov: Move fro Kalimpong to Mangan in North Sikkim and onward to Road head at Lingsha in the Rongrong Chu Valley

26 Nov: Morning: Birding trek Lingsha to Tsana ( mid point Lower Talung Valley) via Be. Evening: Birding around Tsana.

27 Nov: Birding trek Tsana to Lingsha. In the evening birding drive to Mangan

28 Nov: Return to Mangan

A total of 67 species were recorded. List is given below

List of Birds Recorded In Talumg Valley, North Sikkim.

Little Cormorant
Crested Serpent Eagle
Black Eagle
Common Kestrel
Himalayan Monal
Kalij Pheasant
Spotted Dove
Grey Headed Parakeet
White-rumped Needletail
Himalyan Woodpecker
Greater Yellownape
Lesser Yellownape
Black Drongo
Long tailed Shrike
Common Green Magpie
Rufous Treepie
Grey-chinned Minivet
Small Minivet
White-eared bulbul
Himalayan Bulbul
Black Bulbul
Mountain Bulbul
Striated Bulbul
Red-vented Bulbul
Winter Wren
Spotted Wren Babbler
Rufous Sibia
Rufous-backed Sibia
Striated Yuhnia
White-naped Yuhnia
Whiskered Yuhnia
Rufous-vented Yuhnia
Chestnut Brown Laughing Thrush
Striated Laughing Thrush
White Crested Laughing Thrush
Black Faced Laughing Thrush
Pygmy Blue Flycatcher (Male)
Yellow-bellied Warbler
Black-faced Warbler
Grey-hooded Warbler
Chestnut-headed Tesia
Hill Prinia
Striated Prinia
Tickell's Leaf Warbler
Yellow-vented Warbler
Ashy-throated Warbler
White-browed Warbler
Rufous Breasted Bush robin
White Capped Water Redstart
Plumbeous Water Redstart
Black-backed Forktail
Spotted Forktail
White-crowned Forktail
Little Forktail
Himalayan Blue Whistling Thrush
Common Stonechat
Grey Bushchat
Grey-winged Blackbird
Black-lored Tit
Grey Crested Tit
Rufous-fronted Tit
Sultan Tit
Yellow-cheeked Tit
Rusty Flanked Treecreeper
Chestnut-bellied Nuthatch
Olive-backed Pipit
White Wagtail (Ocularis)