Birding Without Borders

Day 363: 6,000 Birds!

On a freezing morning on the edge of the Himalayas, Noah sees his 6,000th species of the year.

December 29, 2015: ​Tinsukia, India — Ramit, Binanda, Bidyut and I woke up at 3:30 this morning in a building without heat or electricity near 8,000 feet in the Mishmi Hills. The temperature plunged well below freezing overnight with snow on the groundquite a difference from the 100-degree days I had last week in Australia!

We were up early to stake out a steep hillside for mountain birds. As dawn broke, we shivered and stamped our feet to keep warm, and glacier-capped peaks caught the first rays of the sun.

The four of us spent the day birding from 8,500 feet to sea level along a twisty road that passed through successive forest types. Many of the birds I’d already seen in Myanmar or China, but new sightings steadily piled up throughout the morning, including a Rusty-throated (Mishmi) Wren-Babbler, a local specialty.

At 11:15, Binanda spotted another unusual bird called a Yellow-rumped Honeyguide perched alongside a rocky outcrop in the forest. This species is typically found near beehives and rocky cliffs, and it’s a rare resident in this area. We had great (though distant) views and a small celebration followed: The Yellow-rumped Honeyguide is officially my 6,000th bird of the year!

If you’d told me last January that I’d hit 6K before New Year, I would have laughed. It wasn’t until about May that I realized 6,000 might be possible, and even a month ago I didn’t think I’d reach the mark. An amazing run in New Guinea and Australia put 6,000 within reach, though, and today was the day.

Passing my original goal by a thousand feels pretty sweet, especially just two days before the New Year. I’m down to the last 48 hours… the clock is ticking, and there are still a few more birds to see before midnight strikes.

New birds today: 17

Year list: 6007

Follow Along:

Next Day

Previous Day

“The views expressed in user comments do not reflect the views of Audubon. Audubon does not participate in political campaigns, nor do we support or oppose candidates.”