Westwings Himalayan Snowcock Tour

Himalayan Snowcock Tour
“I applaud your tour and your leadership. Great!”Arthur Bergey, York Pennsylvania

Bird List

July 21-24; August 4-7, 2006
$665, all-inclusive
from Salt Lake City, Utah

The Himalayan Snowcock, successfully introduced to mountains in northern Nevada, provides one of the greatest challenges of any resident bird in North America. Even though they are as large as our largest grouse, the snowcock is nevertheless very skilled at avoiding detection amongst the rocks and cliffs of some of the most rugged and remote mountains in the lower 48 states. To even get a chance to see them requires a considerable physical effort (or a helicopter!). Those who go to this effort are rewarded with not only a chance to see this spectacular bird, but also some of the most stunning scenery anywhere. There are also some other great birds, such as Black Rosy-Finch, and Lewis’ Woodpecker, to be found there. Although even our best efforts cannot guarantee that we will see the snowcock, we have been successful on over 90% of our tours, and have been successful on every tour for the last eight years.

We start very early on the first morning, and hike the first two miles (from elevation 8600 ft. to 9500 ft.) in the dark. We need to be in position to see the birds at first light. The rest of the climb is off-trail, and increasingly rugged. How far we need to go depends upon the birds.

We allow two mornings to get the bird. If we are successful the first morning, then we chase other “want-list” birds for the rest of the weekend. If not, we try again the next morning.  The trip includes all meals, lodging and transportation from Salt Lake City.

Brief Schedule:

Day 1: Tour starts mid-afternoon in Salt Lake City. We drive to Elko, Nevada with a short birding stop and dinner in Wendover, Utah, and get to bed early in Elko.

Day 2: Meet at 3 am (coffee and snacks available), for the 45 minute drive to Lamoille Canyon and the trail head, hike to Island Lake, where we will await dawn before heading up the cirque to look for the snowcocks (breakfast at the trail head and on the trail). Hike back late morning.

After lunch we take a short break for a nap, a swim or relaxation, and then spend the late afternoon birding  in the Elko area. We return to Elko for dinner at one of the town’s famous Basque restaurants.

Day 3: One last chance for the snowcock (if we need it) before birding our way back to Salt Lake City. Or, a relaxing day of birding in Nevada and Utah, looking for other “want list” birds such as Pinyon Jay, Juniper Titmouse, or an evening try for Flammulated Owl. 

Day 4: Some early morning birding near Salt Lake City before catching your flight home, filled with memories of one of the lower forty-eight’s most exciting bird quests.

Arrival and Departure information: The tour begins in Salt Lake City as soon as everyone arrives on Day 1 (but not after 3 p.m.), and lasts through morning of Day 4. Flights to and from Salt Lake City should be arranged to arrive no later than 3 p.m. on Day 1, and depart anytime on Day 4. As an alternative, you may fly into Salt Lake City a day earlier. You will be responsible for your own accommodations in Salt Lake City on the extra night (we can make a reservation for you, however). Transportation is provided to and from the airport or your hotel at both the beginning and the end of the tour.

If you have further questions regarding this trip, please call toll free (866) 552-0221, or e-mail to cbirds@westwings.com

“Just wanted to let you know how much I thoroughly enjoyed the couple days we spent chasing birds together. You did a terrific job leading and taking us to some great birds. You run a class show . . . the highlight was the bird. What a bird and what a location! The Alpine glow, the sunrise, the wild flowers. It was just a great day. I told you I pick my bird of the year each year based on the overall Gestaldt of the chase. It will take a real adventure to top this one. Thanks for the experience.” Paul Berrigan, Farmington Hills Michigan

Bird List from the Himalayan Snowcock Tour

This is the list of birds seen in recent years on this tour. Birds marked with an asterisk (*) are rare, and not to be expected on most tours. If the snowcock is seen on the first morning, a trip list for this tour will typically be about 110-130 species. The birds seen on any tour will vary, according to the yearly fluctuations in bird numbers, the desires of tour participants, and luck.

 Canada Goose
 American Wigeon
 Blue-winged Teal*
 Cinnamon Teal
 Northern Shoveler
 Northern Pintail
 Green-winged Teal
 Lesser Scaup
 Common Merganser
 Ruddy Duck
 Himalayan Snowcock
 Greater Sage-Grouse
 Blue Grouse
 Wild Turkey
 California Quail
 Pied-billed Grebe
 Eared Grebe
 Western Grebe
 Clark's Grebe
 American White Pelican     
 Double-crested Cormorant                 
 Great Blue Heron
 Great Egret
 Snowy Egret
 Cattle Egret
 Black-crowned Night-Heron              
 White-faced Ibis
 Turkey Vulture
 Northern Harrier
 Sharp-shinned Hawk
 Cooper’s Hawk
 Northern Goshawk*
 Red-shouldered Hawk*
 Swainson's Hawk
 Red-tailed Hawk
 Ferruginous Hawk
 Golden Eagle
 American Kestrel
 Peregrine Falcon
 Prairie Falcon
 American Coot
 Sandhill Crane
 Snowy Plover
 Semipalmated Plover*
 Black-necked Stilt
 American Avocet
 Greater Yellowlegs
 Lesser Yellowlegs
 Solitary Sandpiper*
 Spotted Sandpiper
Long-billed Curlew
 Marbled Godwit
 Semipalmated Sandpiper
 Western Sandpiper
 Least Sandpiper
 Baird's Sandpiper
 Short-billed Dowitcher*
 Long-billed Dowitcher
 Wilson’s Snipe
 Wilson's Phalarope
 Red-necked Phalarope
 Franklin's Gull
 Bonaparte's Gull
 Ring-billed Gull
 California Gull
 Caspian Tern
 Common Tern
 Forster's Tern
 Black Tern
 Rock Pigeon
 Mourning Dove
 Flammulated Owl
 Western Screech-Owl
 Great Horned Owl
 Long-eared Owl
 Short-eared Owl
 Common Nighthawk
 White-throated Swift
 Black-chinned Hummingbird
 Calliope Hummingbird
 Broad-tailed Hummingbird
 Rufous Hummingbird
 Belted Kingfisher
 Lewis' Woodpecker
 Red-naped Sapsucker
 Downy Woodpecker
 Hairy Woodpecker
 Northern Flicker
 Olive-sided Flycatcher
 Western Wood-Pewee
 Willow Flycatcher
 Hammond’s Flycatcher
 Gray Flycatcher
Dusky Flycatcher
Cordilleran Flycatcher
 Say's Pheobe
 Western Kingbird
 Eastern Kingbird
 Loggerhead Shrike
 Plumbeous Vireo
Cassin’s Vireo
 Warbling Vireo
 Steller's Jay
 Western Scrub-Jay
 Pinyon Jay
 Clark's Nutcracker
 Black-billed Magpie
 American Crow
 Common Raven
 Horned Lark
 Tree Swallow
 Violet-green Swallow
 No. Rough-winged Swallow
 Bank Swallow
 Cliff Swallow
 Barn Swallow
 Black-capped  Chickadee
 Mountain Chickadee
 Juniper Titmouse
 Red-breasted Nuthatch
 White-breasted Nuthatch
 Brown Creeper
 Rock Wren
 House Wren
 Marsh Wren
 American Dipper
 Golden-crowned Kinglet
 Ruby-crowned Kinglet
 Blue-gray Gnatcatcher
 Mountain Bluebird
 Townsend's Solitaire
 American Robin
 Gray Catbird
 Sage Thrasher
 European Starling
 American Pipit
 Cedar Waxwing
 Tennessee Warbler*
 Orange-crowned Warbler
 Nashville Warbler
 Virginia’s Warbler
 Yellow Warbler
 Yellow-rumped Warbler
 Black-throated Gray Warbler
MacGillivray’s Warbler
 Wilson’s Warbler
 Yellow-breasted Chat
 Western Tanager
 Green-tailed Towhee
 Spotted Towhee
Chipping Sparrow
 Brewer's Sparrow
 Vesper Sparrow
 Lark Sparrow
 Sage Sparrow
 Savannah Sparrow
 Fox Sparrow
 Song Sparrow
 Lincoln’s Sparrow
 White-crowned Sparrow
 Dark-eyed Junco
 Black-headed Grosbeak
 Lazuli Bunting
 Red-winged Blackbird
 Western Meadowlark
 Yellow-headed Blackbird
 Brewer's  Blackbird
 Common Grackle*
 Great-tailed Grackle
 Brown-headed Cowbird
 Bullock’s Oriole
 Black Rosy-Finch
 Pine Grosbeak
 Cassin's Finch
 House Finch
 Pine Siskin
 Lesser Goldfinch
 American Goldfinch
 Evening Grosbeak
 House Sparrow
Bat, sp.
Striped Skunk
Red Fox
Yellowbelly Marmot
Rock Squirrel
Ground Squirrel sp.
Least Chipmunk
Black-tailed Jackrabbit
Mountain Cottontail
Mule Deer
Mountain Goat
For general questions and information email cbirds@westwings.com: For reservation status or account information email assistant@westwings.com: Or contact us by phone toll free at 866-552-0221: Our local number is 801-487-9453
Please send reservation forms and other mail to
Westwings, Inc.
P.O. Box 521720
Salt Lake City UT, 84152
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