Previously in the month of September and December we had two tours to this ecotourism zone. This newly explored place has challenges for birding, but has enormous scopes of openings as well; like new bird species distribution, working in a sereine location where rarely photographed birds can be seen easily. These points definitely keep us one step ahead of other bird tour operators and naturalists.
Route Taken: New Jalpaiguri, Sevok, Rangpo, Duga, Karmithang, Pendam.
P.S. All the stay arrangements were done in homestay.
Driving: Around 280 kms.
Hiking: 32 kms in 5 days.
Top five birds from this tour:
Daily travel log:
13th January 2018:
There was only one participant who joined us for this tour. Bhavani R from Karnataka joined us. It was her first trip to this part of the country. Thus we had to give her the best birding experience from north-east. She stayed overnight in a hotel on 12th January and on 13th early morning we drove early to pick her up from a Siliguri Hotel. It took 2.5 hrs to drive up hill to reach Rangpo (including two pit stops for bio-breaks). From Rangpo onwards birding was done and we contitnued till we reached the home stay at Karmithang. The afternoon birding turned productive, considering easy sightings of Rusty-cheeked Scimiter Babblers and Common Green Magpies at close quarters. In the afternoon we saw some White-crested Laughingthrush as well, but photographing them was tough since the light was poor. Rested for the day early at 8 PM.
14th January 2018:
The day had multiple nice sightings in the morning session, though we faced a cloudy day. Sultan Tit, a flock of Rufous-necked Laughingthrush in open perch, Chestnut-headed Tesia are to name few good species. The afternoon session had a good surprise for the participants - Brown Wood Owl. A huge owl in the canopy level in the pine forest area was indeed a good bonus for the birders.
15th January 2018:
In the previous two days we didn't cover Gari fort area; thus toda we had plan to finish that part of the birding zone. Grey-sided Laughingthrushes were continuously giving calls; however, getting them in open was challenging (Later in the month of July saw the flock in little lower altitude). Photographed regular birds of the area - Yellow-vented Warbler, Hoary-throated barwing, Grey-bellied Tesia and scaly-breasted Wren Babbler's call from the bushes below trekking trail. A pair of Bay Woodpecker at Okkhorbotay gave us ample time. We had packed breakfast (boiled Yum and mixed pickel) for the day. In the afternoon around 3 PM we arrived at our home stay and had lunch. Little later in the afternoon we had little bird walk around the village. In the evening post birding discussion session we started making counts for the past two days.
16th January 2018:
Prior to the end of the bird tour, this was the last full day we had. We thus targeted Babblers and allies. In the morning session, little inside the forest after crossing the human habitat one by one - Grey-throated Babbler, Scaly-breasted Wren Babbler was seen. Little ahead near the cultivation area White-bellied Erpornis, White-browed Scimitar Babbler was photographed. On our way saw a Puff-throated Babbler as well, but we were unable to frame it that day. Later in the afternoon session an Asian Barred Owlet was seen. At night we went forward little ahead of a stream in search of scops Owl; but failed to track it.
17th January 2018:
Today morning was the day for huge bird flocks - White-crested Laughignthrushes, Puff-throated Babblers, Common Green Magpies. Post breakfast we started driving downhill, since Bhavani had a flight to catch in the afternoon, on our way back - Large Niltava, Whistler's Warbler, two Barbet species and White-browed Shrike-babbler concluded the birding session in Rangpo (11 AM). From Rangpo another car was arranged to drop the birding participant to Bagdogra.
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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.