Mishmi Hills and adjacent area is an ideal place to cover maximum birds in eastern Himalayas at one go. Riverine grassland ecology, terai foothills, lesser Himalayas and south chin hills zoo-geographic junction plays an important role for diverse bird habitat.
Route Taken: Dibrugarh, Roing, 12 Kilo, Tiwarigaon, Mayodia, 65 Kilo, Hunli
P.S. All the stay arrangements were done in resort and coffee house.
Driving: Around 530 kms.
Hiking: 62 kms.
Top ten birds from this tour:
Daily travel log:
6th April 2019:
Three participants from Bangalore joined for this trip and their flight landed at 14:10 at Dibrugarh airport; we started driving at 2:30 PM. There were two cars for this trip. After driving out of Dibrugarh, we took our lunch at Janomuk in Assam and drove further till Roying. We didn’t do any birding on our way. Overnight we stayed at Ezenggo camp. After having early dinner we rested for the night.
7th April 2019:
Next day, we planned to leave early morning for the grassland area, however because of delay we started at 5:30 AM in the morning. After having little cup of tea at Roing, we drove to the grassland. Jerdon’s Babbler, Marsh Babbler and Black-breasted Parrotbill are three major birds sighted from the session. Otherwise, Yellow-bellied Prinia, Bluethroat, Common Moorhen, a huge flock of Black-eared Kite, Oriental Honey Buzzard, Sand Martin. A pair of Swamp Francolin was seen also. After returning camp at 9:30 AM, participants took quick shower. Later at 10 AM we took heavy brunch – fried rice. Since the day was too hot and sunny thus bird activity was very low. We drove till Tiwarigaon, where we stopped for a tea break. Later we spent much time beside the road – hiking uphill. Yellow-throated Fulvetta, Golden Babbler, Long-tailed Sibia, Himalayan Buzzard are the common birds that we sighted from the afternoon session. By 5:30 AM, we checked in at Coffee House and spent the rest of the night there.
8th April 2019:
Today we had full day birding plan at Mayodia and adjacent area. Morning started with the sighting of Yellow-billed Blue Magpie and Blue Whistling Thrush from the camp area itself. Later, Black-faced Laughinghtrush, Streak-breasted Scimitar Babbler etc. As we further hiked up, Golden-breasted Fulvetta and Spotted Laughingthrush gave us ample opportunity for photographing them. A Pygmy Wren Babbler was sighted just after that. The session ended with the magnificent sighting of Bar-winged Wren Babbler. We came back to camp at 7:30 AM and had quick breakfast. Post breakfast session, was almost spoiled due to sudden rain. However, we managed to get Green-tailed and Fire-tailed Sunbirds, Stripe-throated and Rufous-vented Yuhinas, Yellow-browed Tit, Bar-throated Siva, Dark-rumped Rosefinch etc. We came back to camp at 11 AM stopped birding due to torrential fall. After having lunch at 12:30 PM. We started driving downhill. On our way down, Golden-naped Finches were sighted multiple times. The sighting of Himalayan Cutia was a challenge for the photographer participants, as it never showed up close. The major highlight from the afternoon session was Manipur Wedge-billed Babbler. It showed up nicely. We heard Mishmi Wren Babbler aka Rusty-throated Wren Babbler as well. However, due to awkward position, we couldn’t manage to photograph it. By 5:30 PM, we returned back to camp.
9th April 2019:
We covered Mayodia Pass and more downhill towards Hunli on 9th. At Mayodia, the first bird we sighted was Eurasian Jay foraging beside the army camp. Along with that, a pair of Darjeeling Woodpecker kept us busy for nearly 15 minutes. Next turn was for Bar-winged Wren Babbler. This one can be considered one of the most beautiful looking Wren Babbler in their tiny world. Sooner a Yellow-throated Martin crossed the cliff, before we could ready our cameras; it vanished inside the bush tickets. Little later, Slender-billed Scimitar Babblers were heard from a distance, as we tried for this bird; we got them real close. We moved further down at 65 kilo, Naumann’s Thrush was sighted commonly at that place. It was later included in ebird India list (though I came across a variant of the species from Jaswantgarh as well in Tawang). An Eurasian Woodcock should up well. It was a bogey bird for me for past several years. I tried to photograph this species from Sikkim, from Nagaland; but I failed every time. This time the bird gave us ample opportunity, all the participants got nice shot of this elusive beauty. We moved further down, just before 10-12 kms before Hunli we reached nearby a temple; where a Mishmi hills endemic species – Mishmi Wren Babbler. To get the species we spent more than 30 minutes. Apart from it Streak-throated Barwing and Beautiful Sibia obliged us. In the lower extent, we tried for few more species – Yellow-throated Fulvetta, Black-throated Parrotbill, Rusty-bellied Shortwing. Sooner light became very poor and we rapped up. However, on our way back we sighted Kalij Pheasant.
10th April 2019:
It rained a lot on 9th. However, I told Ravi to spend time near the watch tower area for pheasants. Our luck never favored Tragopan sighting. However, all on a sudden little movement beneath the bush thicket draw our attention. There are very few records of ‘torqueola’ subspecies for Hill partridge, as sighting is considered tough for it. After spoiling half of the day due to rain, we found some Little Buntings, Black-throated Prinia, Rufous-breasted Accentor in Tiwarigaon. Little ahead, eastern race of Hollock Gibbon (male of the species) was sighted as well. Sighting of Gibbons are never easy from Mishmi Hills and it is purely our luck. Mountain Tailorbird sighting was an important one. White-naped Yuhina with some of its allies were sighted lastly. We also tried for Long-billed Wren Babbler, but due to fog and low light, we didn’t had good sight at the bird. Though we saw it twice in our tour.
11th April 2019:
In the first hour of the morning, we spent time at Mayodia pass and sighted Grey-sided Laughingthrush. Even though we tried for Gould’s Shortwing, however it never appeared in open. Slender-billed Scimitar Babbler and Golden-breasted Fulvetta gave nice photo opportunity to the participants. After breakfast, we checked out from coffee house and started driving downhill towards Roing. Striated Yuhina, Black-throated Tit, Chestnut-crowned Warbler – were some of the birds we sighted. Little later in the day time, Red-faced Liocichla, Sultan Tit etc was heard. However, Liocichla never obliged us, though Sultan Tit showed up nicely. Silver-eared Mesia, Daurian Redstart etc were sighted near Tiwarigaon. Further down at 12 kilo, I heard the call of Red-billed Scimitar Babbler and after a little effort; the bird appeared in open. Our luck didn’t favor for other bamboo-bird species. Pale-headed Woodpecker was the bird which was heard near the 12 kilo Jungle camp area, we saw a flock of Rufous-necked Laughingthrush also in nearby area.
12th April 2019:
We did little more than two hours of birding in 12 kilo to 8 kilo down hill; previously we had plan to cover grassland birds, but as the participants insisted on we conducted lowland hill birding. Major bird sighting from that session were – White-hooded Babbler, Grey-headed Parrotbill, Greater Rufous-headed Parrotbill, Red-billed Scimitar Babbler etc. A Hill Blue Flycatcher also gave us sighting opportunity. However, getting a good shot of the species was real challenge; though we spent morethan half an hour behind this species. After finishing up, we started returning back and stopped for a while again for Striated Yuhina. Collared Treepie was calling from nearby place, however, we drove by as we had very little time in our hand. Participants were dropped at the Dibrugarh airport at 11:30 AM. Further I continued for my solo Dehing-Patkai birding excursion.
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.