Winter month in Manas, Assam was not bad at all. All the special target birds from the sanctuary was sighted except two - Silver-breasted Broadbill and Jerdon's Babbler. The second bird is not at all regularly sighted from the area but has historical sighting records. Kindly go through the entire trip report and tally the bird list shared along with it at the end of the trip report. Join future birding tours to Manas with GoingWild.
Driving Distance: 570 Kilometers.
Top five birds from this tour:
Daily Travel Log:
31st December 2018:
We started at 8 AM in the early morning from our Hotel in SOS road (Hotel Kushal Kaushal), which was just 800 meters away from Airport. I stayed in the hotel along with two birding participants and two person stayed in Hotel Pemaling. After having breakfast from our respective hotels, we drove out of Guwahati at 8:30 AM. The route we took is such - Guwahati-Baihati-Rangia-Nalbari-Pathsala-Odalguri-Gati-Bansbari. It took exactly three and half hours for us. At 11:30 we were in Florican Cottage. It took little time, before we checked in. An afternoon safari was arranged to cover Bansbari area. Before lunch we explored beside Beki river and saw huge flocks of Small Pratincole. Few Ruddy Shelduck, an Osprey was sighted. On our way back, Shrikes and Wagtails were seen. After checking in to our rooms, we had a quick lunch at 1 PM. At 1:40 PM we drove towards the forest (Bansbari Range). Around 1510 hrs, we saw an adult and a juvenile of Black Stork. Little later a Capped Langur was sighted as well at canopy level. Apart from that, Red-breasted Parakeets, White-throated Bulbuls were sighted little inside the woodland forest. At the end of the safari - A female Asian Fairy Bluebird, a Black Redstart female and a Small Niltava male was sighted. By 4:30 - 4:45 time light was extremely low and we checked in our resort at 5 PM.
1st January 2019:
We couldn’t see Bengal Florican on day 1, thus we targeted the bird today. Based on previous sighting records from the area, studying previous sighting records from various ornithology portals and local sighting report, lead us to the spot in the afternoon. We were equipped with packed breakfast and lunch and decided to spend entire day in Bhuniyapara Range. Morning session with Golden-headed Cisticola was nice sighting for the team. After breakfast, Slender-billed Babbler, Striated Babbler was sighted as well. In the woodland, a pair of Oriental Pied Hornbill, Blue-brearded Bee-eater, Pin-striped Tit-babbler, Abbott's Babbler etc was sighted. A Short-toed Snake Eagle flying above us, was spectacular to watch it soaring and going high up. On Mothanguri-Bansbari road, huge flock of Asian Fairy Blue-bird flock was sighted, the flock consisted of nearly 30-35 birds. We took our lunch at Mothanguri checkpost. However, the day we visited the place, was very much crowded for 1st January local tourist visit. Sooner we left the place and headed towards grassland. On our way back from Mothanguri, we met a huge flock of Spot-winged Sterling on cotton tree. In late afternoon, we reached at Kuri Beel tower and found a Rhino mother with its calf. Almost, 1 hr was spent, before we saw two magnificent Bengal Floricans in flight in fading sunlight. It was becoming dark faster, around 4:50 PM, we were back in our resort.
2nd December 2019:
Today, we wanted to explore, Bhuiyanpara Range; which lies eastern most side of the park. Above, this range is joined with Bhutan and has a vast stretch of Grassland. In the morning hours, we drove via Rupahi to Bhuyanpara. Just adjacent to the range office, a lesser Coucal was sighted. Little later, a Jerdon's Baza and a Rosy pipit was found in the grassland area. The entire Bhuyanpara range consist most of Grassland area only; though we targeted for Jerdon's Babbler, we found only Yellow-eyed and Chestnut-capped Babblers. The sun was scorching in the vast arid grassland area. Crested Treeswifts; both male and female were flying above. At Daimari camp, we had our lunch. After entering a small patch of woodland area, we found Common Green Magpie, Asian Barred Owlet etc. At one extreme at Seed farm area, we tried for Florican again but returned empty handed. Striated Grassbirds and Baya Weavers were sighted predominantly. It was a very long drive for us and we came via Kokilabari Farm - Simla-Bhuyanpara-Bansbari. At night at 7 PM we reached to our resort. Next day, we decided to cover, little inside Bhutan as well, so we slept early and had early dinner at 8 PM.
3rd December 2019:
Early morning winter, Kuribeel tower was never been disappointing for us. Our main aim for today was better sighting for Bengal Florican. After photographing rut of deer and irridecent display of Indian peafowl in the green meadows, a Bengal Florican flew in front of us and stayed for a while in the grass and again flew back far far away from us to an unmanageable distance for photography. A flock of Swamp Francolin was seen running across game track in the short grassy patch. This was no doubt the best sighting of Florican we had during the tour. As usual we carried packed breakfast and had it at Kuribeel. Later we drove via woodland area towards Mothanguri. On our way, Capped Langur, Malayan Giant Squirrel, Great Hornbill, Yellow- vented Warbler, Erpornis, Pin-stripped Tit-babbler and Abbott;s Babbler were sighted. In a swamp area we tried for Parrotbills, but came empty handed. However, a Dusky Warbler, couple of Striated Grassbird etc were seen in that patch. On our way to Mothanguri, Silver-breasted Broadbill was heard loud at a distance; but it never showed up. Lunch at Mothanguri was accompanied by sighting of Common Merganser in the Beki river. Little later around 1:30 PM we crossed Bhutan border and entered Royal Manas NP in Zhemgang district. Our exploration to this new area yielded - Snowy-browed Flycatcher, bold and beautiful flock of White-throated Bulbuls, Black-throated Sunbird, a flock of Sultan Tit, Great Hornbill pair and many more. Around 3:40 PM we started driving back to Mothanguri, as we have a long way to go. A Capped Langur and a herd of Elephant was sighted on our way back.
4th December 2019:
Today being the last day of the tour, we decided to go for Golden Langur in Kakoijoona and later on the way back to Guwahati Garbage Dump, before checking in to Airport. As decided, we started at 7 AM sharp from the resort and drove via Bansbari-Barpeta Rd-Goraimari-Kakoijana. Ghoraimari is the place where, we crossed Manas river. At the entrance of the reserve forest, permit and guide was fixed previously. We trekked for 30 minutes before the sighting of Golden Langur. A troop of five was sighted in a place. It was magnificent to see a mother with its kid. After spending 15-20 minutes we came back to the entry gate. On our way Ruby-cheeked Sunbird and Common Hawk Cuckoo was sighted. Again we drove forward to Guwahati. In the middle, we stopped for 10-15 minutes at Agia and saw some duck species - Ferruginous Duck, Garganey, Lesser Whistling Teal etc. Just after entering Guwahati, we stopped at a place and enjoyed Assamese cuisine. Post lunch at 3:30 PM we visited Garbage dump area for Greater Adjutant Stork and by 4 PM we checked in to Airport. The tour ended with cheerful mood with more than 160 birds!
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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.