Two back to back tours where four participants from Mahananda continued for Pangoalkha WLS as well. Summer months are considered good for pre-breeding birding season in Mahananda wls and Pangolakha wls in east Sikkim. Most of the bird species are busy making nests or in courtship in entire northern hemisphere. Birding hours starts early (5:30 AM) in the morning and continues till 5 PM in the afternoon. In the meantime, in lower ridges at Mahananda WLS, 10AM to 2 PM is roosting hour for birds. In higher altitude, birding can be conducted throughout the day.
Route Taken: New Jalpaiguri, Sevok, Kalijhora, Karmath, Latpanchar, Sittong, Mana, Ahaldara, Latkothi, Birik, Rongtong, Shivakhola.
P.S. All the stay arrangements were done in home stay.
Driving: Around 360 kms.
Hiking: 36 kms.
Top five birds from this tour:
Daily travel log:
27th April 2018:
Two participants were picked up from Orbit Hotel (near Bagdogra), one participant was picked up from New Jalpaiguri. The fourth participant came by flight and additionally arranged for separate pick up based on his arrival of flight (3 PM). First three birders had afternoon birding session; however, the fourth participant could not attend for afternoon birding on day 1. The afternoon birding session had sightings of large Niltava (female), Large Woodshrike, a flock of Nepal Fulvetta (foraging on gooseberries) and a pair of Red-headed Trogon. Trogon sighting was long, almost twenty minutes.
28th April 2018:
Next day we started early morning from the homestay. Our primary target was Rufous-necked Hornbill. We started the day around 5:30 in the morning and waited in the roosting sight. After spending almost two hours, male of the species came to feed female (inside the nest) through the lacuna. The process of such care giving of male will go on till the juvenile is mature enough to leave the nest. Such exhaustive caretaking by male is no doubt a magnificent sighting! Later that day in the afternoon session, we covered Rufous-necked Laughingthrush from Latpanchar and Bahattar (72) area. In the afternoon, list of birds were made for previous two days and assistance given for bird identification.
29th April 2018:
Today we had a long way to cover (70 kilometers), as far as birding drive is concerned. Today our target species were Dollar Bird, Common Green Magpie, Greater Necklaced Laughingthrush, Racket-tailed Drongos etc; all the famous terai broadleaf forest birds. After crossing Shivakhola, we spotted two Dollarbirds very close to us. Pin-tailed Green Pigeons were there too. Beside Rongtong, train track, another pair of Dollarbirds was seen. Greater Necklaced Laughingthrush was spotted beside Norbong Tea Estate, almost few kilometers after; Five Great Hornbill was seen as well. We saw Black Baza as well, near the tea garden; however, we didn't have luck to see Common Green Magpie till the last hour in Rongtong. On the way back, a huge flock of Long-tailed Broadbill was seen. Participants got close up of the green beauties.
30th April 2018:This was the last full day we had. In the morning we planned to cover Mahananda and afternoon session in Nursery area. Just after starting the morning bird watching, call of Red-headed Trogon was heard. The male voice of the bird is loud and deep compared the mellow call of the female. We were dragged near the call, and the brilliantly colored male was sighted again. Around the latkothi boundary, Himalayan Cutia, Silver-eared Mesia, Black-winged Cuckoo-shrike etc were seen. After the morning birding, we returned back to home stay for lunch (we had packed breakfast) at 2 PM in the afternoon. Again we resumed birding from 3 PM in the afternoon.
Before reaching nursery area, adjacent to a bamboo thicket, we saw a Rufous Woodpecker brilliantly positioned; it is considered a rare sighting since these woodpeckers seldom come at such height (1,000 ft). Some regular birds were seen as well in the afternoon - Sultan Tit (a huge flock), Rufous-bellied Eagle, Rusty-cheeked Scimiter Babbler, Black-chinned and Whiskered Yuhina etc.
1st May 2018:
We had to depart Mahananda today and had to go Pangolakha (a long drive of 3+ hours), thus as planned we had two hours of birding in hand. Started early in the morning around 5:30 AM - we continued till 7:30-8 AM and after having breakfast we drove up for next tour. In the morning session we covered Latkothi area, birds sighted were - MOuntain Imperial PIgeon, Nepal Fulvetta, Black-chinned Yuhina and rare sight of Chestnut-winged Cuckoo. We drove out of greater Mahananda landscape via Ahaldara-Birik road.
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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.