As everyone knows and as our precious clients, who are most definitely nature addicts believe that, we, believe in learning and sharing our knowledge with everyone. Our efforts have always been, the want to make a difference; so this time instead of organising just a birding tour we tried something out of the box. We organised a birding, blogging and trekking tour which consisted of a "Diving into the cultural aspects of the regions we covered in these 5 days" factor, which again attracted the tour participants quite a lot. This was absolutely a one of its kind tour organised by us; these 5 days of trekking having the sole intention of birding during the day and learning about blogging in the evening was joined by Anirban Saha( founder of Kolkata bloggers), who spoke about blogging and its advantages extensively.
A general consensus is that addiction is bad . But what if you get addicted to nature? believe me, strongest of all it is. Once you get addicted to nature, you just can't help but feel the urge to become one with nature.
Commencing on the 29th of April, this extraordinary tour continued till the 3rd of May. In the morning of 29th April, we picked up our guests from Bagdogra airport and started our journey towards Yuksom, the summer sky was covered with clouds, the sweet smell of the summer air made us quite hopeful, the weather was ideal for birding in Yuksom. On our way we crossed Melli and Jorethang, did a little bit of birding on the way and by the time we started for Tashiding it was drizzling, which was a bit disappointing because the condition of the weather was not quite positive and as I correctly suspected, just before reaching Tashiding it started raining heavily; our driver Lok Bahadur, an experienced driver, drove the car safely. After crossing Legship we stopped at a place for a while in order to do birding, we also got Common Green Magpies and White-crested Laughingthrushes. Sun was going down very fast, light was fading away and as we were driving towards Yuksom valley ... I spotted something, a Civet like creature from inside the car, it was crossing the road. I immediately directed the driver to stop the car, the mammal was a swift little creature which moved uphill, yes, I wouldn't lie ... the creature seemed a bit unusual to me and it was indeed a very rarely seen Himalayan Palm Civet also called Masked Civet (later on I identified it, after reaching the homestay), following the animal's direction I along with other tour participants started to move uphill to get some beautiful photographs of the little buddy. We were lucky enough to have found the creature again within 5 minutes and one of the tour participants got lovely photographs of the species. Photographing the animal was something like a tectonic shift for all of us as there are very few photographs of the creature from the wild. It was our good luck and a reward in the truest sense of the term, that we got to see the animal and it was no doubt a lifer for me, I saw this animal for the first time in the 10 years of my birding career. We got late to reach Yuksom and checked in to the home stay at around 7:00 PM. What a lovely start! we were very happy.
Then came the Tesia
The trip had a wonderful starting, this happened on the 30th of April, as we were moving from Yuksom to Sachen, on the way everybody got tired, firstly, because its a long way from Yuksom to Sachen; secondly, the participants were not used to of trekking for such a long time that too in such a tough terrain, thirdly it was becoming hot and the sun was slowly starting to shine with all its might, owing to all these reasons we had to take rest, people found it difficult to carry on any longer. We were just sitting on the rocks and chatting ... when suddenly I heard the call of a bird and when I looked beneath the bush thicket, I saw a Slaty-bellied Tesia. We were more than happy , thank god we waited there , perhaps it was all god's design ... god made us wait there. Then everyone followed me and the rest you can easily understand....
Yellow-rumped Honeyguide ... On 1st of May
We were coming back from Sachen to Yuksom following the same trail, had a lot of time, so we did some early morning birding around the camp site. The birding session was going really great and we got a lot of awesome bird species. Totally engrossed in birding, we moved to a shadowy place where again, we found some beautiful birds like Striated Bulbuls, Green Shrike-babblers etc, then we moved to a place, near a hanging bridge ... the panorama was just mind blowing....and I saw a bee hive the hive was that of a very special type of Honeybee - Apis dorsata laboriosa (Honeyguides feed on these only) on seeing this I was more or less sure of getting a chance to photograph the Yellow-rumped Honeyguide and within 10 mins I spotted a honey guide, this critically endangered species was definitely the catch of the day. All the participants got really good photographs of this rare beauty.
Now coming to the cultural, blogging and the concluding part ...
The participants enjoyed Chyabrung drum dance performed by the local kids of Yuksom and learned the nitty-gritties of blogging, with a lot of help and co-operation from all our tour participants, this tour was a successful one, special thanks to our driver, Lok Bahadur, for his support and I was very delighted when he too joined the birding session and spotted a crimson Sunbird. The awareness is definitely getting into the blood stream of the masses which is a very positive sign, a good news for the wildlife sector indeed.
If you want to download the checklist of birds of this area from the month of April-May 2017 birding tour, you just click on the button below mentioning "Download The Bird List". For further queries about the birds of West Sikkim kindly write us at [email protected] ; we would be delighted to serve you. Cheers!