I made a short trip to the Spiti valley, in April 2011, before the summer tourist rush started. The plan was to survey the valley for Ibex (Capra Ibex) and Bharal (Pseudois nayaur). If lucky we might get to see some before they started moving to higher altitudes. If not we would at least have the snow covered Spiti valley to ourselves and enjoy the stunning scenery.
We based ourselves in Kaza (at the only hotel that was open) and we spent the days driving around, enjoying and photographing the stunning landscape while on the lookout for wild animals.
I did get some amazing landscapes and abstracts but there was no sign of the wild goats. Even the birds were few and far between. One problem was that most side roads were still snowbound so we could not explore many areas where wildlife is usually plentiful.
Soon it was time to head back to Jaipur. We decided to spend our last day in Spiti exploring the Pin valley. After an early start and a leisurely drive up the Pin valley, on 24 April 2011 at 9 am we were a few kilometers short of the village of Sagnam with nothing to report. We did see a few Black Redstarts (Phoenicurus ochruros), some Hill Pigeons (Columba rupestris) and a lone soaring Lammergeier (Gypaetus barbatus) but no sign of the Ibex or Bharal.
We were driving slowly across a landslide prone patch when a shower of small stones fell on the roof of the car. After crossing the patch as fast as we could, we parked the car and looked back to see a herd of Ibex (Capra Ibex) looking down at us. They were just 30 meters above us. After satisfying themselves that we posed no threat to them they started grazing again. There were about 20 animals, 7-8 young males, 8-9 females and a few kids. We enjoyed their company for couple of hours before they slowly made their way up into the surrounding mountains.
The images from this gallery were shot during this magical period.
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