In the month of January 2018, we had our first commercial birding tour to Fambong Lho Wildlife Sanctuary. Proior to announcing this tour we did a recce in this part of Sikkim in the previous year (2017). The newly opened eco-tourism zone in east Sikkim is definitely a must visit for all budding birders. Forest Rest Houses are there, which can be booked from Gangtok. Only two participants from Kolkata and Chennai joined for this birding tour.
Route Taken: New Jalpaiguri, Sevok, Rangpo, Singtam, Gangtok, Pangthang, Lingdok.
P.S. All the stay arrangements were done in FRH.
Driving: Around 200 kms.
Hiking: 46 kms.
Top five birds from this tour:
Daily travel log:
19th January 2018:
Swarnava Nandi was picked up from New Jalpaiguri and Dev Anand paul had been picked up from Bagdogra, since he was the only participant arrived at IXB (Bagdogra) airport. Later joined him at Singtam and drove to Fambong Lho via Pangthang. On the way we didn't stop, since we had a long way to go. After reaching at FRH (forest rest house) inside the sanctuary, we freshed up and took lunch. In the afternoon we were out for birding around FRH and little ahead inside the jungle trail. The food was cooked by care taker of the rest house. The afternoon birding yeilded regular birds only. In the night we heard Himalayan Wood Owl as well, calling from a close distance.
20th January 2018:
For the entire day we were out with packed breakfast and arrived at rest house late in the afternoon around 3 PM and we took lunch. In the morning birding session of 8 hrs we got Black-throated Parrotbills, Rufous-throated Wren Babbler, Striated Bulbuls and Red-headed Bullfinches. Later that day, we visited little ahead in the nursery area and got Olive-backed Pipit. A flock of Rosefinches were seen as well, but clould not click them since light was really low. We targeted it for the next day.
21st January 2018:
Today we did morning birding in the nursery area and participants got real good photographs of Dark-breasted Rosefinch - the flock we missed previous day afternoon because of low light. Bar-throated Siva, Red-tailed Minla alongwith White-throated Fantail were seen. The day was very hot. In the shadows, a flock of little Buntings with Rufous-breasted Accentor were seen. Later post lunch we did little birding behind the rest house area. Sunbirds and fulvettas with other timilidae babblers were seen there. Just adjacent to rest house a Rufous-throated Partridge was seen, but none could photograph it properly.
22nd January 2018:
The last day for full day birding during this trip. Mountain Bulbuls, Striated Bulbuls in big flocks were seen. We had packed lunch and breakfast for the entire day. We reached at the Chulli top, from there three ridges decend downhill. This part of the sanctuary was affected by fire in previous year. Such breat taking landscape was there, but birdlife so thin. On our way back, we saw an Eurasian Sparrowhawk, a flock of Black-faced Laughingthrush, Himalayan Bluetail etc. A flock of Great parrotbill were seen near bamboo thickets. Just before reaching the rest house, found a Chestnut-headed Tesia as well.
23rd January 2018:
The last day of birding was nice. When we were after Red-headed Bullfinches, Mr Dev Anand Paul was after Crimson-browed Rosefinch. Regular birds like Red-billed Leithrix, Chestnut-crowned Laughingthrush and Striated Laughingthrush were seen from close quarter. The entire tour ended up with good notes.
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A loveless life is futile and what could be more satisfying than loving and being loved by nature? Well, this is for you to decide but he always knew that he belonged with nature. At a very tender age he clearly realised that he is increasingly attracted to nature. The constant longing to get away from the city humdrum guided managing partner, Dibyendu to take up birding and wildlife photography as his profession, working in an IT company could never satisfy the hunger of his soul and mind. A very young Dibyendu took interest in animal skull craft for it used to be his favourite pastime, he read his mother’s zoology books which made his interest in animals grow stronger . His love for wildlife groomed him to grow up into a wildlife enthusiast, he is now an avid traveler and has been to many important birding areas in the Himalayas, honing his skills as a naturalist, birder and a wildlife photographer.
With a huge bird list (which is ever increasing) till date he is currently one of the eminent bird watchers in India. Many of his works have been published in domestic and international publishings, books and newspapers.
Breathing life into the frozen moments of nature is what Soumyajit has been doing through his lenses for the last two decades. Trained as an architect, framing comes to him automatically and composition is his high plus point. Given his early schooling in art & painting, the basic concepts of composition and light always titillated his young brain. Being a self taught he strongly believes in the inherent sense of beauty which at all times, is the best guide than the bookish rules of photography. And he got ample opportunities to cross check his concepts with visiting stalwarts of this field. He valued the criticism of professionals as well as laymen and shaped his creativity accordingly. His photographs strike the very chord in the hearts of his audience urging them to react to the strong messages of nature conservation.
Soumyajit had been long drawn by the mystic world of animals and their natural habitat, the jungle. Coupled with this love for nature and unending patience he makes the right individual to practice wildlife photography. The photographs clicked by him play an integral part in altering the monstrosity of the creatures and highlighting their vulnerability.
Soumyajit is currently whetting his tiger tracking skills especially in the Indian Sunderban, exploring the enigmatic mangroves in a whole new light and bringing the wildlife lovers one step closer to the exotic species of Indian Sunderban not only this but also he shares his knowledge with the clients to ensure that they understand better and the awareness is propagated properly. Having said this, it is needless to mention that not only the tigers of Sunderban, Soumyajit’s erudition about other species of the land of Sundari trees is no doubt remarkable for he has acquired such extensive understanding by spending substantial amount of time in the mysterious mangroves, thus playing a key role in rebuilding the forests and providing protection to its inhabitants.
“Love looks not with the eyes, But with the mind; And therefore is winged Cupid painted blind.”
His love for tigers is unfathomable. The books of Sir Jim Corbett and of course the wanderlust always made him yearn to be at one with nature, the very thought of observing and photographing the majestic Bengal tigers “filled up his senses like a storm in the desert”, the burning eyes of the majestic beast have lured him to leave his job as an IT professional and made him delve deep into the tangled heart of the forests and breath in the redolence of the jungles. Managing partner, Tamanud Mitra developed a strong understanding of nature and its components, first from the books of Sir Jim Corbett and then by absorbing the jungle lore in the Indian jungles over a considerable period of time, his perseverance and strong determination to walk on the path of his long cherished dream have led him into being an excellent, self-taught tiger tracker and a good enough photographer.