The birding tour to Manas in the month of April was really exciting where 95% of the target species was covered
Route Taken: Guwahati, Bongaigaon, Bansbari, Bhuniyapara, Mothanguri, Royal Manas National Park
P.S. All the stay arrangements were done in home stay.
Driving: Around 780 kms.
Top ten birds from this tour:
Daily travel log:
16th April 2019:
I returned back from my previous tour (Dehing-Patkai WLS) and stayed overnight at Hotel MM, adjacent to Guwahati Rly station; the participant Yagnik S has to be picked up from Kamakhya Rly station. On 16th morning, we started from Kamakhya by 7:45 AM and directly drove to Nalbari; where we stopped for a while to have breakfast. It took us three and half hours to reach to Manas (Birina village). We checked in at Adorani Home stay and freshened up. After having nice and decent homely lunch we started for afternoon session at 1 PM. After entering park gate,four Black Baza was sighted soaring above us. Little later sighting of a flock of seven Red-breasted Parakeet was nice as well. A male Crested Treeswift was flying around. It nicely observed to feed its juvenile as well. More to share, four Dollarbirds were flying around a dry degraded woodland patch; they also gave us nice photo opportunity and sighting. Just near the Kuribeel tower Ashy Prinia was seen in full breeding plumage. Few Hog Deer were roaming around. The most magnificent sighting was display of Bengal Florican. The male bird displayed for 15-20 minutes. Later as the light become low, we started moving back. On our return trail, Yellow-eyed Babbler and Chestnut-capped Babbler was sighted nicely. Lesser Coucal was abundant in that place; alongside Rufous-necked Laughingthrushes were moving beneath the forest thickets and few of them were seen on crab apple tree as well. By 6 PM we returned back to our home stay.
17th April 2019:
The first full day we decided to cover both woodland and grassland area. We started at 6:15 AM and just before entering Bansbari gate 1, a flock of Red Junglefowl and Peacocks were seen foraging on forest floor. On our way to Kuribeel, Ashy Prinia was sighted multiple times along with Siberian Stonechat. Striated Babblers were moving in bigger flocks in the grassland. From Kuribeel watch tower, both the male and female of Bengal Florican was sighted. Firstly, female of the species was not noticed. From the video review, we found the female was there nearby. We had breakfast in Kuribeel, later a Drongo chased away Bengal Florican. Post breakfast we decided to go to woodland area near latajhar camp. Just near the camp, Hooded Pitta was heard. But due to impossible approach, we left it there. Little later a Ruddy Kingfisher was heard. On the way Malayan Giant Squirrel and Forest Wagtail was seen also. They gave us nice photo opportunity. Little later another Hooded Pitta was heard from nearby tree, we tried for the species again, but couldn’t manage to get it in open. However, we were delighted to see it. Later, we drove towards Mothanguri, Capped Langur (mother and kid) and Blue-eared Barbet was seen just on the main trunk road. It is important to mention Ruddy Kingfisher sighting as well. We could hear two individuals calling from different directions. In the afternoon session, nothing much was sighted except Emerald Dove, Kalij Pheasant and a huge tusker. In the evening we tried for Savanna Nightjar as well; we could hear it from far, but we couldn’t photograph it.
18th April 2019:
We did full day birding in Bhuyianpara range. In the morning we started at 6 AM from the home stay and drove via Kathalguri, Barama, Kumguri to the range office. From the range office gate, we saw a pair of Green Imperial Pigeons. After getting the permit, we started driving through grassland patches. After a kilometer drive, a male Bengal Florican was sighted on road. Later the same individual flew around us and landed again half a kilometer ahead inside the untraceable grassy patch. We further drove by and all on a sudden a flock Slender-billed Babbler drawn my attention. After a little effort the flock showed up well, moving around grass blades. The luck persisted on as we heard the faint call of Black-breasted Parrotbill. There was a pair, which came up in open thin bamboo strands. After my Jia grassland (Arunachal) experience, this was the best spot for this Parrotbill species. Within half an hour almost, the participant got three globally threatened species. Next target was Jerdon’s Babbler. We couldn’t meet this fellow, though we tried for it for suitable habitat for more than two hours. As the day became hotter, bird activity slowed down and we also left Bhuyianpara. Just near the Kumguri village, we stopped for lunch in a local dhaba. We spent nearly 2 hours in that place. Around 2 PM we started driving for Seed Farm area in Kokilabari village. After two hours effort, we finally got decent images of the magnificent Bengal Florican. Around 4 PM, our energy was entirely drained and we decided to call off the day. By 5 PM, we returned back to Adoroni home stay.
19th April 2019:
As most of the grassland species were covered on previous day, except Jerdon’s Babbler and Swamp Francolin; we decided to cover woodland area today. Little after entering the forest, a Plain Flowerpecker was sighted on the main trunk road. Two Barking Deer was seen little after that; but we couldn’t manage to photograph the deer. Blue-bearded Bee-eater, Dark-necked Tailor Bird was nice to catch. Puff-throated Babblers gave ample photographic opportunity. A huge Crested Hawk Eagle was seen on a dry tree, later it came down in open road and showed up well. Unmistakable, Great Hornbill, Spot-billed Pelican were sighted in dry deciduous patch. A flock of Baya Weaver and a Stork-billed Kingfisher was sighted from the same area. After breakfast, as we tried for Pale-chinned Flycatcher and Pin-stripped Tit-babbler; all on a sudden Silver-breasted Broadbill call drawn our attention. After a little try, we ultimately got the species. Manas is considered one of the best place for Silver-breasted Broadbill sighting. Later we drove to Mothanguri, just near the camp site, a Red-headed Trogon, kept us busy for almost 1 hr; though it never perched in open. However, we saw both male and female of the species from the area. At Mothanguri canteen, we had our lunch and after 30 minutes rest; we started towards Bhutan (Pangbang) though Royal Manas NP. Since it was noon, thus bird activity on our way up was very less. Near the Pangbang bridge, a Rufous-bellied Eagle was seen. On our way down, Black-crested Bulbul, Black Bulbuls and White-throated Bulbuls were calling. At multiple locations on our way down, Great Hornbill was sighted beside Beki and more towards Mothanguri camp. Most of the time, they were seen in pair only. It was becoming dark faster. We drove through the trunk road and sighted Kalij Pheasant male and female. The participant got nice photograph of the species.
20th April 2019:
Today we just had half day of birding we started at 6:15 AM as we started on previous days. Little after entering the forest, two Hill Mynas kept us busy for few minutes. This Himalayan species of Hill Myna, differs a lot compared to its kin from Western Ghat and it is little bigger in size. Later Puff-throated Babblers, Pin-striped Tit-babblers were heard and we tried for these skulkers. A flock of Wedge-tailed Green Pigeon and Thick-billed Green Pigeon was seen also. After breakfast as we drove through woodland area, Taiga Flycatcher male was seen. It gave us nice opportunity to photograph. That day we tried for Hooded Pitta as well, but couldn’t hear its call. A White-browed Piculet, which is smallest of all woodpecker, showed up well in Latajhar woodland. By 11:30 AM we returned back to home stay. After having shower and nice lunch at Adorani home stay, we departed at 12:45 PM and drove towards Guwahati. Before the end of the tour, near JEC, Adabari area, Greater Adjutant Stork was nicely seen. Later the tour participant was dropped at Guwahati Airport at 4 PM in the afternoon. By the same car, I went to Assam Tourism Development Corporation near Guwahati Rly Station to stay overnight, for my next ongoing tour to Sikkim.
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.