Khonoma is a pristine village situated in the Japfu mountain range, Khonoma Nature Conservation and Tragopan Sanctuary with its wide variety of bird species, can be designated as one of the birding heavens of North East India.
Well, the Angami tribes of this region have hunted the birds for centuries but recently they have stopped poaching and have become more sincere regarding the protection and conservation of these beautiful bird species, due to high conservation efforts.
KNCTS was formed with one sole intention of protecting the Blyth’s Tragopan, although we were not lucky enough to see one in this birder's paradise during our Nagaland birding trip. I must say this, that each and every day spent in KNCTS was worthwhile and we learnt a lot, as a wildlife photographer it is necessary that one keeps on learning, every day in the wild is a new lesson, mother nature has so much to offer to us one must visit the wild to know about nature’s treasure chest. I shall now present a vivid account of the bird photography tour in Khonoma, Nagaland.
It was a 4 nights & 5 days bird photography tour which commenced on the 22nd of December 2016 and ended on the 26th of December 2016. We had two participants from Kerela, they flew from Bangalore to Dimapur, in this birding tour we saw 95 different species of birds and covered a total distance of 120 km.
Route Taken: Dimapur, Chumukhedima, Jotsoma, Khonoma, Dzeleke, Khonoma, Pirephema, Chumukhedima, Dimapur
P.S. All the Hotel and/or Resorts where we stayed were of rural homestay category
Driving Distance: 310 Kilometers.
Top five birds from this tour:
Daily travel log:
22nd December 2016
We reached Dimapur; I boarded the flight from Kolkata, the flight landed at 12:20 in the afternoon; it was on time and checked out from airport at 12:30 p.m. We reached Khonoma at around 3 p.m., on the way to Khonoma we crossed Piphema, Chumukedima and Jotsoma. On the way we did birding but didn’t get to see much bird species except Blue Winged Siva. We checked into the home stay at around 4:15 p.m., we were done for the day so after freshening up and high tea, dinner was served at 7:00 p.m. then we retired to our beds, rested for the night to start early the next morning looking forward to a fruitful day of birding and bird photography.
23rd December 2016
We started early in the morning, a car was arranged to pick us up at 5:30 a.m. then we directly drove off to the parking lot of KNCTS, from there we walked on the birding trail, the trail was tough for us, for the first 2 hrs it was dry and after sunrise we started our birding. Day 2 in Nagaland at Khonoma nature conservation and tragopan sanctuary was quite satisfactory, in the morning session we saw and photographed some highlight bird species like Black Bulbul, Yellow-Bellied flowerpecker, Red-faced Liochichla, Assam Laughingthrush, Eye-browed Thrush and Crested Finchbill. We had to wait attentively for a long time to see and photograph these birds, the waiting was long but fruitful. We didn’t return to our home stay and had packed brunch with us. The sticky rice and pork for lunch was delicious, after the scrumptious meal we rested for a while then started for the afternoon session of bird photography. Some major highlight bird species from the afternoon session of birding were as follows :- Rusty-fronted Barwing, Orange-bellied Leafbird, Crested Goshawk ( a raptor). By 3:00 p.m. we wrapped up because of low light and fog. We returned to our homestay, had snacks, dinner and went off to sleep.
24th December 2016
It is worth mentioning that 24th was quite an eventful day and we got to see a very rare and an absolutely exotic bird species, I shall come to the exciting part later on. Well, we started at 6 o’clock in the morning, we went to KNTCS from Khonoma village by car (tata sumo) via birding trails, on the way we saw a few species of birds. On reaching KNTCS the car was parked in the parking lot. There were some wild apple trees around the birding trail, the trail was tough, we saw a mixed bird wave of miscellaneous Babblers like Blue-winged Siva, Red -tailed Minla etc., Warblers and other common birds. Raptors like Mountain Hawk Eagle and Crested Goshawk were seen as well. Just like the previous day, we had packed brunch with us. Well the most interesting part was, just before lunchtime, we were sitting at a calm and quiet place, some of us were reviewing pictures, some were just chatting among themselves I on the other hand was dozing... suddenly I heard the leaves rustling the sound came from the nearby thicket ... for some reason I was having a hunch about what? I don't exactly know, but I was expecting something unusual, I saw a green colored something.. still unsure about what it exactly was I took out my binoculars to identify the bird and bingo!! it was the Green Cochoa, I immediately informed my group members, the moment was so special, everyone was surprised for the whole thing was happening so quickly that they took some time to realise that it was actually a Green Cochoa, they were completely enthralled by the beauty of the bird not only did they watch the bird properly but also got superb photographs of the bird. So en masse the morning session of bird photography was very satisfying. In the afternoon birding session we saw some tree shrews and a huge flock of Crested Finchbill. Later, around 12:30 p.m. we moved to Dzuleke, in a habitat of riverine ecosystem and cultivation lands. Here we saw forktails, Nepal fulvetta, Bar-throated siva; major highlights from this place were sightings of Eurasian Woodcock and Black-tailed Crake. After quite an eventful day of birding and bird photography we wrapped up around 4:00 p.m. and reached the homestay at 5:30 p.m. dinner was served at 7:00 p.m. we had sticky rice, pork, chicken and cheese (the only veg option available in Nagaland).
25th December 2016
On the 25th of Dec we went to Mesoma in the morning for the morning birding session there we saw Nepal Fulvetta, Mountain Hawk Eagle, Streaked Spiderhunter, Long-tailed Broadbill, Rusty-capped Fulvetta, Silver-eared Mesia and Shrike-babblers. In the afternoon we moved to Dzuleke, saw Asian Barred Owlet, a flock of Speckled Wood Pigeon, Hodgson’s Redstart, Brownish-flanked Bush Warbler beside a pool, in fact we also got good images of Black tailed Crake,it is noteworthy to mention here that on the previous day i.e. on the 24th December 2016 of our bird photography tour we did not get to photograph Black tailed Crake properly but on 25th as I mentioned earlier we got beautiful photographs of the bird, we heard Eurasian Woodcock multiple times near the cultivation land and on our way back to Khonoma village we saw a Civet Cat and a few lesser cats, saw mountain bamboo partridge roosting at 6:00 p.m., finally we reached the home stay had our dinner and rested for the night we also celebrated Christmas with Apple Cider and cheese and for dinner they served my favourite sticky rice and pork again.
26th December 2016
On 26th dec we started at 5:30 a.m. our main target was to see Mountain Bamboo Partridge, we were amazed to see a huge flock of partridges which consisted of around 5 to 8 of them, apart from this we also saw Kalij Pheasant specifically the lathami subspecies of Kalij Pheasant and we also saw Striped Laughingthrush and got ample opportunity to click some beautiful photographs of these birds. We finally wrapped up birding around 7:30 a.m. and started from Khonoma village to reach Dimapur by 11:00 a.m., On reaching Dimapur we had our lunch in a hotel named Hotel Breeze, adjacent to the Dimapur Railway station, then we boarded on train, New Tinsukiya - Rajendranagar Patna Express, which was four and a half hours late. Finally we left Dimapur around 4:00 p.m. and reached NJP station on 27th December at 7:00 a.m.
The tour ended on 26th December 2016 and luckily we got to see 95 different species of birds and in these 5 days we covered a total distance of 120 km so all together I can say that the bird photography, birding and bird watching tour was successful, participants were delighted and we all returned to our respective cities with mirth and gaiety.
Since, itinerary and time schedule alongside the bird activity changes seasonally; thus this itinerary can’t be followed in the other months. Kindly go through other blogs of GoingWild's bird photography tours in Nagaland.
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The entire list of birds can be downloaded from below! Cheers!
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.