This tour was scheduled for 6 nights and 7 days to cover maximum biodiversity of Assam. With 8 elderly people, conducting this birding tour was a real challenge considering the average age group and physical fitness of the participants. Even after having so much challenges, the tour ended with successful sightings. The highlights from this tour are shared here.
Driving Distance: 870 Kilometers.
Top five birds from this tour:
Daily travel log:
24th December 2018:
Today our scheduled start of the tour was from Guwahati. For this tour we had eight participants. However, six people joined us from Jorhat (since they wanted to avoid long road travel from Guwahati, which takes more than 7 hrs). I came by Kolkata Guwahati flight and arrived at airport at 9 AM. Two more participants from Mumbai joined me and for rest of the six participants, two more Innova vehicles were arranged. Soon, we checked out from the city and reached at the outskirt of the city, where we had breakfast. Since we had a very long way to go, thus just counted species from the window vehicle only, which ever we sighted across our drive. A flock of lesser Adjutant Storks were hovering. Regular birds like Spotted Dove, House Crow and Barn Swallows were many in numbers. At places beside the water bodies, Common and White-throated Kingfishers were sighted as well. Around 1 PM we crossed Nagaon and then reached to Bagora area – just beside the road, first we sighted two Rhinos in shallows and just 10-15 minutes later four Rhinos were sighted at another place. In the first Rhino sighting area, a Grey-headed Fish Eagle caught fish before us. In the mean time, couple of Bar-headed Geese, Ruddy Shelduck, Rhesus Macaque and Swamp deers were sighted, which were foraging on swamps. A sighting comprising of 10-12 Grey-headed Lapwing was a spectacular sight. Around 3 PM we took lunch at Pelican Restaurant with typical Assamese thali. It was still 2 hrs to go for us, at Jorhat we stopped for a while to buy water and cake (for next day Christmas celebration) and then drove directly to Nagadera-Nakachari to Gibbon resort. At around 7 PM we checked it to resort (rest 6 people came around 4:30 PM in the afternoon). Around 9 PM we had our dinner and we rested for the day.
25th December 2018:
We had started early in the morning at 6:30 AM from Gibon resort and headed towards the sanctuary. At the sanctuary gate itself – a male, a female with kid was seen. All the participants got nice photograph of the species. After photographing them, we moved deeper inside the forest. A Slaty-bellied Tesia kept us busy, which never showed up in open – though we tried for it for 15 minutes. We headed forward and got Snowy-browed Flycatcher. The female of the species was moving restlessly from branch to branch and sometimes on the ground as well. A group of White-throated Bulbul was sighted just after that. Little later we moved further in search of Pig-tailed Macaque and Capped Langur. Neither of the species was sighted. However, a Malayan Giant Squirrel was seen at the canopy level. We joined with rest of the participants at the park entry gate, where we had breakfast. It is worth mentioning that we saw a flock of skittish Abbott’s Babbler as well during our walk. Other birds like Crimson Sunbird, Grey-hooded Warbler, Seicercus warblers (Grey-cheeked and another one), minivets, Small Niltava, Blyth’s Leaf Warbler etc were seen. Later around 11:30 AM we drove back to resort. Just during the lunch hour, a flock of Red-breasted Parakeet arrived in the resort. After having lunch we drove to Nimatighat and got Spot-billed Pelican, Northern Lapwing, Pheasant-tailed Jacana etc amongst many other waders. By 3:30 PM we started driving back. After having tea at Nimatighat, we drove back to resort and checked in at 5 PM.
26th December 2018:
Next day all the participants, except one – wanted to revisit the sanctuary in the morning. Rest of the group started later to join us on the way. Today we got all the previous day missed species – Capped Langur and Pig-tailed Macaque; more to add – another group of Gibbon, consisting of four members were spotted. We started driving on the way and met rest of the group participants at Bokakhat. After having tea, we drove to Bonhabi resort. After having quick check in between 12-12:30 PM, we had lunch. By 1:30 PM we drove to Bagori – west range. The place was full of tourists, as it was winter holidays. First, we took the left road toward the tower. On the way, Ferruginous Ducks, Eurasian Widgeon, Indian Spot-billed Duck etc were seen. A Rhino with its calf was a lovely sight. Some more Rhinos were seen on the way towards the tower. One Rhino came very close to us, near the tower. After spending 30 minutes beside the lake, in search of ducks, we got some Plovers, Black-necked Storks etc. All on a sudden as we were preparing to leave the area, we came to know, recent sighting of tiger in the grassland area. Without missing a single moment, we drove towards the grassland (after crossing Bagori beel). A female was sighted on the right side of the track in grassland meadows. We drove little ahead and took u-turn and had another sighting of a male tiger crossing the road. Though, we could not photograph this one. After spending more than an hour, we came out of the park by sundown at 5 PM. It was a thrilling experience for the participants. After so many days spent in Kaziranga, it was first sighting of tiger for GoingWild’s tour.
27th December 2018:
As scheduled, today we had to go to Eastern Zone of the park in the morning session. In Agoratoli, not many tourists were seen that day. Just after crossing the check post, in Sohora Beel area multiple ducks were sighted – Mallard, Eurasian Weagion, Gargany, Ruddy Shelduck, Bar-headed Geese etc etc. Northern Lapwing was a common sight here in this zone. When we entered in the woodland, Green Imperial Pigeon on a fruiting tree was a nice sighting. An Osprey flew past over our head. Just before entering Rangamati route, a pair of Elephant on courtship blocked the road. Later gypsies moved ahead when both of them moved inside the woodland. However, we decided to come out of the jungle; since it was almost 10 AM that time. On our way back, I checked Sohora Beel again and got Falcated Duck along with Black-necked Stork and some other duck species. A larking Changeable Hawk Eagle on a tree top was perched just before crossing the last wooden Dolong (Bridge) near the eastern range gate. After having tea, we departed for our resort. After having a quick lunch, we went to Central Range Entry Gate. While, me and Ajit was busy managing tickets and pass; participants did a quick check on handloom shop nearby the check post office. Around 2:15 PM, we entered and went to the watch tower area on our left. No sign of activity was seen even in the grassland. Then we again came back on the main game track and drove directly to make a complete circle of the area. In a swamp area on our left, I spotted five Swamp Francolins chasing each other and running to and fro on the grassy meadow. Our second gypsy was little behind; however, they also got nice shots of this globally threatened species. The drive through the woodland in the afternoon was remarkable. White-rumped Shama was seen multiple times that day. After we approached in the grassland habitat again, two Swamp Deer were seen very close. Little later Rhino was sighted as well. As the sun was setting down fast, we were in a hurry to get out of the park. Exactly at 5 PM, we drove out of the check post, before we stopped for liquor shop nearby on participants’ request. By 6:15 AM we were at our resort.
28th December 2018:
Today we had the last safari at Kaziranga, after discussing with the participants we decided to go to Western Zone. Previous day, there was a tiger sighting near the Bagori beel area. We tried our best and did through search for the tiger, checked the corridors as well. All on a sudden, a gypsy in front of us sighted a big male tiger crossing, we waited for a while near the grassland, but it was next to impossible for the sighting. The elephant grasses were too huge. In the end, we checked the water bodies on both side of the game track and sighted some bird species. Ruddy Shelduck, Eurasian Widgeon, Falcated Duck etc. Later we moved back to our resort (Bonhabi) and checked out at 12 PM. We drove directly to Nameri. On our way, we saw Great Hornbills (a pair) on the right side of the road. By sundown we checked in to Nameri Eco Camp (which is a community run facility near the park).
29th December 2018:
We started early in the morning at 6 AM, and made the entry permit. From the river bank, till the check post participants have to walk. This 1.3 kms walk along the bank is not tiring at all. We searched for Black Stork near the shoreline, but no luck. Inside the park commoners like Pin-striped Tit-babbler, Black-crested Bulbul, Whistler’s Warbler, Scaly Thrush etc were seen. The highlight of the area – Wood Duck was missed by 10 minutes, as we were the second group to reach the area. Depending on average age group of people and their mobility, it was not in our luck. Though in our previous tours we saw the bird – White-winged Wood Duck many times. The sighting of Peregrine Falcon and Short-toed Snake Eagle was fantastic. By noon, we returned back to Eco Camp. After lunch, we had rafting session. From the raft, we sighted Ibisbill, Margenser, Black Stork and Martins. Other commoners like, River Lapwing, Comoon Sandpiper etc were sighted too. In the evening, we spend 2 hrs beside the camp fire.
30th December 2018:
The last day of the tour, had to had something special, thus myself Dibyendu Ash – decided to spend some time for the Greater Adjutant Storks as well before the participants depart from Guwahati. In the morning for 2 hours, myself and Parvider did birding around the eco-camp campus. Post breakfast we checked out and headed towards Guwahati. After having lunch beside a Dhaba, we visited the garbage dump area and sighted the globally threatened Greater Adjutant Storks. By 3:30 PM, after Greater Adjutant sighting, participants were dropped at Guwahati Airport. However, for one participant, we dropped him at nearby Hotel. Tour ends.
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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.