Dusky Thrush was one of the most brilliant find in the beginning of 2018 by our birding tour. This fascinating birding tour at Mahananda, Senchal and Gajoldoba covered huge variation in vegetation and altitude and recorded over 150 species in just 4 days of birding. Just after the completion of birding and wildlife tour in Assam (Kaziranga, Nameri and Hollongapar); we had an announced birding tour to this part of north Bengal; where three participants joined - One from Kolkata and two ladies from Bangalore. The participants were picked up from various pick up points in and around Bagdogra and Siliguri hotels (For overnight stay assistance apart from birding tour package, you can put query to us).
Here in this tour, for the first two days we spent time at Mahananda Wildlife Sanctuary, later we spent one full day birding at Senchal Wildlife Sanctuary and last day at the Teesta River bed - Gajoldoba wetland (an IBA - import bird area in north Bengal). Most of the part of the birding in Mahananda and Senchal was done partly by car and partly after getting down to designated birding trails; bird watching at Gajoldoba was done on foot over the Bund and by boat to the shallow wetland for Ducka, Waders and Allies.
P.S. All the Hotel and/or Resorts where we stayed were of rural homestay category
Driving Distance: 320 Kilometers.
Top five birds from this tour:
Daily Travel Log:
31st December 2017:
I picked up one participant from the hotel adjacent to New Jalpaiguri Railway Station and another two participants near Bagdogra Airport and left Siliguri by 0940 hrs, drove towards Kalijhora via Sevok and started birding from Kalijhora itself. We did not notice much activity as it was noon time for foothills birds. Though we saw a flock of Black-chinned Yuhina - the signature bird from eastern Himalaya foothills. Later by noon we checked in our home stay and took lunch after freshening up. By 2 PM we again resumed birding and this time we targeted Rufous-necked Hornbill. Everybody saw them closely and clicked awesome images. Though we had to walk little downhill and had to come up all the way. However, patience paid off well. We wrapped up the day after making the bird list for the afternoon session.
1st January 2018:
Next day we planned to cover morning session in Nursery area, where we found regular birds like Leafbirds, Sultan Tits and Racket-tailed Drongo, later we went beside Mahananda Forest Rest House and found a flock of White-throated Bulbuls, Nepal Fulvetta, Grey-throated Babblers etc. For the afternoon birding session, we opted to cover a new birding trail at Mana. This trail was entirely dry until I spotted a Sapphire Flycatcher. Later after 30 mins a Red-headed Trogon was heard from the jungle trail. Following its call, ultimately we saw and photographed it. It was really spectacular for the participants.
2nd January 2018:
On day 3 I planned to cover Rongtong area for Flowerpeckers, Leafbirds, Spiderhunters etc. We got all of those; in addition the sighting of Jerdon's Baza was highlight for the day. We had our lunch at Sukna bazaar and again we did afternoon birding session at the same area where we covered for morning session. Happy birding faces became happier when on our way back a pair of Oriental Pied Hornbill were seen on a tree top. Later an Asian Barred Owlet and some Nepal House Martins were seen near Shivakhola area.
3rd January 2018:
In the early morning after finishing the birding trip to Latpanchar and Mahananda outskirt for three days, I explored one of the most promising site for bird watching in north Bengal - Senchal Wildlife Sanctuary. Two participants from Bangalore (Dr Suman and Suchitra) and one participant from Kolkata(Dr Pradeep Sen) joined me for this birding tour of GoingWild.
Thus for 3rd January, we decided to visit the place. In the early morning we started at 5 AM (thanks for the logistics support from Mr Gurung of Latpanchar) and reached at Chatakpur Eco village at 7 AM. Early morning, windchill and cold, we were feeling uncomfortable. As I was out to check bird activities nearby, all on a sudden a flock of 6 Turdus Thrush flown over my head and perched on pine trees nearby. Scanning all of them, I found one Dusky Thrush amongst Black-throated Thrush. Quickly, I rushed towards the participants and local birding guides of Latpanchar (Ujwal and Parag) told them about Dusky Thrush. Yesterday, Parag and Ujwal posted Dusky Thrush. Participants got wonderful image of the species. Since, Dusky Thrush was always on my wishlist, thus I did not made any mistake for identification in first look.
4th January 2018:
As per the itinerary of the birding trip, today we had to cover Gajoldoba wetland. We started our day very early in the morning and checked out of home stay by 5 AM and drove directly to Gajoldoba wetland for early morning birding. However, weather disappointed us a lot - entire Teesta Dam and shallow wetland was covered by thick fog. The fog lifted around 10 AM in the morning, till then we were waiting on the Bund Bridge and did very little birding. From the Dinghy we spotted Common Shelduck, Red-crested Pochard, 2 typesof Grebes, Tufted Ducks, Thick-knees, Pratincols etc. By 2 PM we stopped birding and had lunch in a nearby Dhaba.
Later participants we dropped at their destinations at Siliguri and Bagdogra.
If you want to make such birding tours with GoingWild, drop a mail at [email protected] or [email protected] give a call to +919681417974 ; keep watching our upcoming tours for further references.
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.