This was the first time, when we did Nagaland in the month of February. It is always important to know a place throughout the year. That is how one can get better comprehensiveness about the zoo-geography of a region. On 13th February 2019, in the afternoon at 17:55 hrs, I had Avadh Assam Express, which arrived late at New Jalpaiguri at 8:20 PM. After the completion of the tour on 18th Feb, I continued staying at this place for 8 days more and returned back on 26th February. Eventually, I ended up with handsome bird list. However, here the shared tour itinerary would comprise of 14th to 18th February 2019 only.
Route Taken: Dimapur, Medziphema, Pirephema, Sechu-Zubza, Khonoma, Jotsoma, Dzuleke, Poilwa.
P.S. All the stay arrangements were done in home stays.
Driving: Around 380 kms.
Hiking: 56 kms.
Top five birds from this tour:
**However please note that, my own extended stay yeilded - White-tailed Flycatcher (recorded on 23.02.2019).
Daily travel log:
14th February 2019
The train journey in the next morning via Lumding-Diphu was remarkable as it passes through west Jaintia hills. This train had scheduled arrival time at 9 PM at Dimapur, but reached at 11:10 AM. From the Rly station, I took an auto and went to Airport to pick up two participants who were coming from Kolkata and Mumbai. The third guy (who was a foreigner), had arrived three nights before our arrival. In the airport premises only Eurasian Tree Sparrows were seen. The participants landed at 12:40 PM in Dimapur. On our way from Dimapur till we stopped for lunch, we drove through the worst road ever. However, some promising good bird sighting would sooth our back breaking journey. At Foothills Resturant at Chumukhedima we stopped for lunch. Just from the Balcony behind the restaurant, we could see one Plumbeous Water Redstart and a White Wagtail. We could not stop our vehicle as heavy road works were going on the state highway; but I saw some Burn Swallows flying around. It was at Lalmati, where we had Tea and we started driving uphill leaving the main state highway. The villages we drove by are Kiruphema-Mesoma-Khonoma. On our way, we stopped at a place where Black Bulbuls, Black-crested Bulbuls and Flavescent Bulbuls were seen in huge numbers. A Hoary-bellied Squirrel and Slaty-backed Forktail kept us busy for few minutes. Little later in another bush thicket, we saw six Rusty-capped Fulvetta foraging on. It was tough to photograph them as the light was becoming low faster. The called off the day and drove back to homestay directly thereafter. By 6:10 PM, we checked in at home stay. From the home stay campus, we heard the call of Mountain Scops Owl. The place was too windy, that sooner we had to move inside rooms. After a little discussion on today’s bird sighting and tomorrow’s birding plan, participants had dinner at 7:30 PM. Little later I discussed the next day’s plan with our local guide Vicoh and joined for dinner with the rest. Next day we had to start at 5:30 AM in the morning, thus we slept early at 8 PM.
15th February 2019
We started at 5:30 AM in the morning and drove through right side alder trail. An Eurasian Woodcock was sighted, which was walking on the left side of the road. Seeing our vehicle, first it ran few feet along the road, and then it moved to the left inside the secondary bush thicket. Instead of getting down from the vehicle, we drove a little. As soon as we sighted the bird it flew and perched again inside the bush thicket. We got down from the car this time, but could not manage to photograph it. We stopped trying for this bogey bird (for me). Little ahead, three Chestnut-vented Nuthatches were spotted along with two Phylloscopus. Little later a flock of Rusty-capped Fulvetta, along with Red-faced Liocichla and Spot-breasted Scimitar Babblers were seen. When we were on the Kohima-Peren highway, it was 9 AM. A single Eurasian Sparrowhawk was seen soaring high in thermals. Little later a mountain Hawk Eagle was also seen soaring above. We didn’t go inside Sikhakae in the morning and started coming back through short cut trail that meets near the Govt High School. This path was almost silent except two birds that we came across. First bird is a Blue-naped Pitta. Based on previous day sighting area, we tried for the species in its nearby habitat. The bird responded well against playback but couldn’t show up. We left the place after trying for few minutes and thought to try for it again on the next day (but it never showed up again on the next day as well, though we tried for it). Little down, second bird was a Black-breasted Thrush – which is a resident species for the area. It showed up pretty well and later vanished inside the thick woodland.
In the afternoon session, we covered the left side alder trail (left of M-Khel). A Hoary-bellied Squirrel was sighted. Female of a Himalayan Bluetail was sighted too inside the secondary thicket. Crested Finchbills were commonly seen around along with Grey Sibia. Most of the Finchbill sightings were on Wild Apple trees. We covered KNCTS (Khonoma Nature Conservation & Tragopan Sanctuary) as well in the afternoon. Two Assam Laughingthrushes were sighted on the left Nullah of KNCTS parking area. Otherwise, three Mountain Bamboo Partridges were sighted on swampy green pasture. I heard Striped Laughingthrush and from very close by, but couldn’t track it back. By sundown we came back to our home stay. After having a quick discussion on today’s bird sighting (bird list), we had early dinner.
Both of the Alder trails from Khonoma to Shikakae were disturbed as people are preparing the terrace for Jhum cultivation. In the morning, instead of spending time in the alder plantation area, we covered Shikakae. Walk along the road to the west was found very much productive. We found Spot-breasted Scimitar Babbler from a very close distance. Himalayan Bluetail, huge number of Fire-tailed Sunbirds, Black-throated Prinia etc were sighted. A single individual Green-backed Tit was sighted as well. While Chestnut-bellied Rock Thrush was sighted on the other side. Just like yesterday, a mountain Hawk Eagle was seen soaring. After having breakfast at 8 AM near the trekker’s hut. Myself, Vikoh and one participant hiked uphill, while other two elderly participant refused to join us. Beautiful Sibia was the highlight species from the area that day. Other birds seen were – Spot-breasted and Streak-breasted Scimitar Babbler, Rusty-fronted Barwing, Scarlet Finch, Mrs Gould’s Sunbird etc. Crimson-breasted Woodpecker was a nice bird to at such a height. We sighted five Beautiful Sibia hanging around on Ficus tree. These flock was very much cooperative and seemed bolder than other birds around. By 9:30 PM we decided to come downhill and meet with other two participants. Again we followed the second alder trail and followed the same route as previous day. Our search for Blue-naped Pitta failed today. Though we came across a Scaly Thrush, flock of Rusty-capped Fulvetta and a flock of Streak-breasted Scimitar Babler (5-6 SB were sighted at the same location where Black-breasted Thrush was sighted on previous day). We drove back to home stay and lunch.
After the lunch session from the parking area of the home stay Vikoh spotted a Spot-winged Grosbeak. We were stunned with this sighting, as it happened well within the village boundary. This afternoon we drove to south-west of the village where thinner Bamboos grow. Our search for Blue-naped Pitta continued but we returned back empty handed. However, sighting of Hill Partridge was most significant. A sudden spell of rain drove the birds to their roosting site and we never managed to get any birds thereafter. Before coming back to home stay, we took a coffee break at Upper Circular road in the village and came back to home stay after sundown. Today also, Mountain Scops Owl was heard and that too from a closer distance.
Today was the last full day before the end of this birding tour. Our local guide Vikoh, could not join us for the first three hours, as he had to attend some other service. Thus between 6 AM to 9 AM we spent time by doing birding on both side of the stream (2 KMs before Govt Senior Secondary School). First three hours yielded – huge flocks of Silver-eared Mesia, Assam Laughingthrushes (3 of them), Grey-cheeked Warbler, Mrs Gould;s Sunbird, Golden Babbler, Grey-bellied Tesia, Nepal Fulvetta, Red-faced Liocichla etc. It was the best session ever – among all birding session for this tour. After meeting Vikoh at School ground, we moved through an abundant road that once used to connect Mesoma and Khonoma. This forest patch now, covered by thick secondary bush thickets and reclaimed forest, it hosts some of the beautiful bird species within itself. The birds we came across are Rusty-fronted Barwing, Striped Laughingthrush and Spot-breasted Scimitar Babbler. After a long walk, we reached home little late at home stay for lunch (at 1 PM).
After having a quick lunch, we planned to cover Dzuleke in the afternoon. On our way till Dzuleke, we hardly stopped for birding. After getting entry passes, we moved towards the cultivation area. Just at the edge of paddyfield, a flock of five Bamboo Partridges were sighted. On the same area, White-browed Shrike-babbler (recent split – Himalayan Shrike-babbler was sighted). Two males and one female was found in the flock. As we hiked further down, a huge flock of Rosy Pipits were seen and mountain Bamboo Partridges were heard from nearby thin Bamboo undergrowth. It was near impossible for us to spot them, as the entire stretch was thickly coved by grass. When we returned back to our home stay it was 6 PM in the evening.
The day started with relaxation and we started the day at 6 AM. After loading our luggage in the car, we drove towards Mesoma. The birds we came across from this trail are – Long-billed Thrush, Nepal Fulvetta, Golden Babbler etc. Commoners like – Orange-bellied Leafbird, Great Barbet etc were sighted too. An Asian Barred Owlet was found perch on a dry Birch tree high above the hill slope. We stopped birding at 7:40 AM and took breakfast. At 8:10 AM, we started driving directly to Dimapur airport. By 11:15 AM all the participants were dropped and I waited for my wife to arrive to continue further for second innings of the reconciliation birding tour for next 7 days exclusively for us.
If you want to make such birding tours with GoingWild, drop a mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com give a call to +919681417974 ; keep watching our upcoming tours for further references.
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.