Now days, birding are an essential part of life if somehow you are related to nature and wildlife. Even if you are a wildlife photographer who thinks of Tiger Photography only; sometimes turn your head and move for experiencing avian beauties of Himalayas. In 2016, in 2nd week of April, we had an announced birding tour to Neora Valley National Park. One participant from Kolkata, two participants from Jaipur and one from Singapore joined for this birding tour.
For all those days, we visited most of the places by Sumo Gold; which had a very good ground clearence and the driving guy was good too. In tough trails and dart roads it is mandatory to leave your car to experienced guys; who have to have knowledge of maneuvering it in tough times. Most importantly, since it was a birding and bird photography tour, thus stopping the car at distances require special knowledge. Thus the drivers should always have knowledge of bird habits and behaviors; and where and when to stop the car without making a noise.
Route Taken: New Jalpaiguri, Sevok, Kalimpong, 20th Mile, Lava, Neora Valley, Kolakham, Chaangey, Chaudaferi, 20th Mile, Kalimpong, Sevok, New Jalpaiguri, Bagdogra
P.S. All the Hotel and/or Resorts where we stayed were of rural homestay category
Driving Distance: 370 Kilometers.
Top five birds from this tour:
Daily travel log:
13th April 2016 (Wednesday):
Three guys were picked up from Bagdogra Airport and one from New Jalpaiguri Rly station. After that, around 10 AM we left Siliguri town. At places we were stuck by traffic and that took two hours and thirty minutes to reach to Kalimpong. Around 1:30PM we finished our lunch and drove out of Kalimpong and headed to Pedong to our home stay; where we stayed for all the days during this birding tour. In the afternoon birding session, we got Himalayan Cutia, Eurasian Cuckoo and two species of Laughingthrushes; Suraj joined us a little later. In the evening we had a session on birding and we discussed for the next day birding planner as well.
14th April 2016 (Thrusday):
We started very early around 5 AM in the morning and light was too poor then. In the morning birding session we covered Sillerygaon birding trail. We had packed breakfast with us. In the morning birding session in Sillerygaon we had seen Himalayan Cutia twice; otherwise we saw Little Bunting, Rufous-breasted Accentor, Tickell's Thrush etc. Later as the sun moved above from 10:30 AM onwards bird activity slowed down and we moved back to our home stay. We had some egg curries with dal and rice / roti mix in lunch. Later after some rest we started our afternoon birding around 2 PM. This time we drove to Pedong and Lava-Alagarh birding trail.For the afternoon birding session main highlight species was Black-throated Parrotbill; otherwise we saw some commoners. We drove back to home stay by 6:30PM.
15th April 2016 (Friday):
As usual we started early today and we had to cover the vast areas of upper and lower ridges of Neora Valley National Park. Previously, we just covered buffer areas. We started around 5:30AM on Friday. During the first half of birding session, we saw some beautiful bird species like - Golden Babblers, Himalayan Shrike Babblers, Black-throated Parrotbill, Brown-throated Treecreepers etc. Some commoners we saw as well like - Black Eagle, Mountain Hawk Eagle, Bar-throated Siva, Black-faced Warbler etc. Eventually, there were two squirrel species which are exclusively found in North-east part of Himalayas; these were - Himalayan Striped Squirrel and Hoary-bellied Squirrel. Participants got some good quality image of those too. After spending 10 plus hours of birding and 15 plus kilometers of hiking we decided to wrap up for the day and moved back to Lava town to have high tea. Around 6PM we left from Lava town and drove to Sillerygaon.
16th April 2016 (Saturday):
We again repeated upper and lower Neora Valley as Friday. We mostly covered these places on foot followed by our car at a distance of 100 meters covering pipeline roads and Kolakham village. Nearly two hours we spent at the birding trail of Changey falls. In the afternoon birding session we covered Rishop-Lava trekking trail. The birds which were yet to be photographed of good quality; we got that too - like both male and female of Himalayan Shrike Babbler and Black-eared Shrike Babbler. We tried our luck for Red-headed Trogon as well; in the next birding tour (on 4th week of April) we got Trogon there.
17th April 2016 (Sunday):
As it was the last birding day for us, we started very early today. Around 5:30 AM in the early morning we hiked up towards Damsang Fort area and got Rufous-bellied Eagle and Himalayan Swiftlet. Later while coming down we saw Tickell's Thrush and Nepal Fulvetta. Nepal Fulvetta we saw in a large flock, but it was hard to photograph them due to their skulker behaviour. We had our breakfast at home stay and we checked out thereafter and continued our journey to Pangolakha WLS in east Sikkim for birding.
Since, itinerary and time schedule alongside the bird activity changes seasonally; thus this itinerary was not be followed in other months. Kindly go through other blogs of GoingWild's bird photography tours in Pangolakha.
To do a customized birding trip to this bird sanctuary writes to us at [email protected] or keep watching our Upcoming Tour.
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.