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NE India : 06 Jan -21 Jan 2004
Neils P Dryer & Peter Lobo
www.birdingindiatours.com
gurutt@satyam.net.in
gurutt@sancharnet.in
 

Introduction

The trip was mainly a birding tour with little sightseeing.
Peter Lobo- Leader & Operator
Niels Poul Dreyer-Denmark   npd@dreyerfoto.dk
Dr Guna-Malaysia   drguna@msn.com
Ketil Knudsen-Norway   ketilk@bluezone.no

List of birds seen has been prepared by Niels Poul Dreyer-Denmark   npd@dreyerfoto.dk


The region-North East India

North East India is a vast area comprising of Assam, Arunachal Pradesh, Meghalaya, Nagaland, Manipur and Mizoram. The variations of altitude, diversity of habitat, and extreme precipitation are factors which are responsible for the diversity and abundance of resident birds in this region. Some of the rare birds which occur are the Bengal Florican, Dark rumped Swift, White-Winged Duck, and the Marsh Babbler, Black breasted Parrotbill, White-belied Heron, Snowy-throated Babbler, Rufus -Vented Laughing thrush, Rufus-backed Sibia and the Beautiful Nuthatch.

Namdapa National Park

Located in Arunachal Pradesh, Namdapa lies in the extreme North East of India. Spread over 1985 sq Kms, Its altitude varies from 200 m to 4578 m. However it is only approachable up to altitudes of 850 m.

Its avifauna is a unique blend of Indo-Burmese, Sino-Tibetan and Himalayan forms, which thrives in the bio-diverse habitat encompassing tropical, temperate and alpine. Largely unexplored 665 species of birds have been recorded, of which some are exotic - Blyth's Tragopan, Wards Trogon White- Winged Wood Duck, Rufus necked hornbill, Blue napped Pitta, Wedge-billed Wren Babbler, Snowy- throated Babbler, and Beautiful Nuthatch. Brown Hornbills may occur here, together with a fabulous list of pheasants, babblers and laughing-thrushes, which include the Arunachal endemic - Austen's Spotted Babbler. Whilst such truly rare and elusive species occur, the a sighting of any of them is as a real bonus.

The park is home to outstanding wet tropical forest. The remote and inaccessible nature of the park has preserved its pristine forests, and much of the area remains unexplored. It is as close to true wilderness as any of the many national parks and sanctuaries in India. I have explored the park, in all seasons, and this was my seventh trip.

Dibru - Saikhowa National Park

Dibru-Saikhowa is a biosphere reserve. This little known site, is one of the biodiversity hot spots situated in the south bank of the river Brahmaputra. It is located in the alluvial flood plains of the Brahmaputra. Fashioned by nature - earthquakes and ever changing water courses it has numerous island pockets and water bodies providing an unusual habitat for varied wildlife and aqua fauna and avifauna. Contained between the Debang, Lohit & the Great Brahmaputra rivers, the 340 sq Kms reserve was set up with a view to protecting the grass land and swamp habitat. Its internal water channels & bodies, seasonally flooded forests, "beels", and grassy pockets, makes it an interesting birding destination for rare specialized  grass land and swamp forest birds such as the threatened Marsh Babbler, Jerdon's Babbler, Black throated Parrotbill, Rufous-vented( swamp) Prinia, and Jerdons Bushcat. Altitudinal migrants such as Pale-capped pigeon, White-tailed Rubythroat, and Black - breasted Thrush, and various warblers, can also be seen.

Kaziranga National Park & Panbari Reserve Forest

The World Heritage Kaziranga National Park is a highly reputed wild life protected area, located in Assam. The Park has more than 70% of the world's one-horned rhino. Population, 70% of the world population of the Eastern Swamp Deer and 75% of the world's wild Asiatic water buffalo. It has a significant population of the Asian Elephant.. Birding is by jeep and Elephant – as walking is restricted to certain view points.
The Park has more than 450 species of birds,18 of them are globally threatened species. Because of the varied habitat types that the Park comprises of, as also of the strict protection accorded to them, birding in Kaziranga is very special. The varied terrain provides habitat for wet land, grassland, and woodland species The Bengal Florican is one of the main attraction for birders. A good variety of  raptors can be seen.

The Eastern Range of the park is good for water birds such as Falcated Teal, White-eyed Pochard and spot-billed pelican (a colony of 200 pairs is located in this range). For grassland birds the Western Range is ideal. The Bengal Florican can be seen during the elephant ride in the Central Range. The nearby Panbari Reserved Forest is good for woodland birds such as yellow-vented Warbler, great Hornbill, and redheaded Trogon. Other interesting birds include Green-backed Heron, White bellied Heron (rare), Lesser and greater Adjutants, Black-necked Storks, Spoonbill, Grey-headed and Pallas's Fish-eagle (common), Swamp Francolin (common), Grey-headed Lapwing, Black-bellied tern, Marsh Babbler, Jordan's Bushchat (rare) White-throated Bushchat.Lineated Barbet, Blue-eared Barbet,  Blue-bearded Bee-eater, Spotted Redshank, River Lapwing,  Grey-headed Fish Eagle, Pied Harrier, Spot-billed Pelican, Black-necked Stork,  Rosy Minivet, Spot-winged Starling, Dark-necked Tailorbird, Ruby-cheeked Sunbird, Streaked Spiderhunter, Forest Wagtail, Blyth's Pipit, Yellow-breasted Bunting..

Itinary & highlights of birds seen.

Day Minus 01-Jan 05 2004. Dr Guna Arrived at Dibrugarh airport a day earliar. I took him out in the evening for birding at Borojan Forest. Highlights: Long-billed Vulture,Eursian Griffon,White-rumped Vulture,Red-breasted Parakeets.

Day 01- Jan 06 2004.Niel Poul Dyrer & Ketil Knudsen did not arrive at Diburugrah due to flight cancellation as their flight was terminated at Guwhati. So they decided to drive to Dibrugarh, reaching at 0400 hrs in the early hours on 07 Jan.  Another trip by Dr Guna yeilded Kaleej Pheasant, Small Niltava, Ultramarine Flycatcher & Hollock Gibbon.

Day 02- Jan 07 2004. Birding drive from Dibrugrah to Deban. Highlights: Black Stork, White-tailed Eagle, Common Kinghfisher, Rufous Woodpecker, White-throated Bulbul, White-browed Shortwing, Ashy Prinia, Lesser-necklaced & Rufous-necked Laughingthrush.

Day 03-Jan 08 2004.Birding trek to Camp Hornbill-Highlights.Black Stork,River Lapwing, Rufous-necked Hornbill, Rusty-bellied Shortwing, Slaty-bellied Tesia ,Grey-hooded Warbler, Ches-nut- crowned Warbler, Streaked Wren Babbler, Silver-eared Mesia, Long-tailed Sibia, and Sultan Tit.

Day 04-Jan 09 2004.Birding trek Hornbill – Bulbulia – Ranijheel -  FirmBase. Highlights:White-winged Woodduck, Pied Falconet, Grey Peacock Pheasant, Mountain Imperial Piegon, Crested Kingfisher, Great Hornbill, Pale-headed Woodpecker, Ashy & White-throated Bulbuls, Slaty-backed Flycatcher, and the Beautiful Nuthatch.

Day 05-Jan 10 2004.Birding trek Firmbase-Embong-Firmbase. Highlights:Black Stork, Barred Buttonquail, Solitary Snipe, Brown Hornbill, Black-winged Cuckooshrike, Green Cochoa, Rufous-rumped Grassbird, Coral-billed Scimitar Babbler, and Collared Treepie.

Day 06-Jan 11 2004.Birding trek Firmbase-Ranijheel-Bulbulia-Hornbill. Highlights:White-winged Woodduck, Fulvous-breasted Woodpecker, Rufous-bellied Woodpecker, Long-tailed Broadbill, Red-billed Scimitar Babbler, Large Scimitar Babbler, and Rufous-headed Parrotbill.

Day 07-Jan 12 2004.Birding trek Hornbill-Haldibari-Deban. Highlights:Pied Falconet, White-cheeked Partridge, Pale-capped Piegon, Red-headed Trogon, Bay Woodpecker, Silver-breasted Broadbill, White-tailed Robin ,Snowy-throated Babbler, and Brown Fulvetta,

Day 08-Jan 13 2004.Birding Drive-Deban-Tinsukia. Highlights:Rufous-bellied Eagle, Red-headed Trogon, Blue-bearded Bee-eater, White-browed Piculet, White-browed Shortwing, White-tailed Rubythroat ,Eye-browed Wren Babbler, Rufous-throated Fulvetta ,Asian Fairy Bluebird, and Spot-winged Starling.

Day 09-Jan 14 2004. Birding boat safari and walks at Dibru-Saikhowa. Highlights: Darter, AsianOpenbill ,Bar-headed Goose, Feringous Pochard, Tufted Duck, Purple Swamphen, Northern Lapwing, Lesser Cocual, Zitting Cisticola, Bristled Grassbird, Black-hooded Oriole, and Black-faced Bunting.

Day 10-Jan 15 2004. Birding drive Tinsukia- Kaziranga. Highlights ; Great Egret ,Lesser Adjuant Stork, Mallard, Spot-billed Duck, Temminck’s Stint, Pallas Gull, Pale-footed Bush Warbler, Smoky Warbler, Large Niltava, and Ruby-cheeked Sunbird.

Day 11-Jan 16 2004.Kaziranga National Park. Highlights:Indian Cormorant, White-rumped Vulture, Indian Vulture, Hen Harrier, Sand Lark, Yellow-bellied Prinia, and Chesnut-capped Babbler.

Day 12-Jan 17 2004.Kaziranga National Park. Highlights: Indian Cormorant, Greater Adujant Stork, Common Pochard, Brahminy Kite, Lesser-spotted Eagle, Changeable Hawk Eagle, Swamp Francolin, Red Junglefowl, Kaleej Pheasent, Bronzed-winged Jacana, Grey-headed Lapwing, Wood Sandpiper, River Tern ,Red-collared Dove, Oriental Pied Hornbill, Rufous-necked Laughingthrush, and Baya Weaver.

Day 13-Jan 18 2004. Kaziranga National Park. Highlights: Cinnamon Bittern, Grey-lag Goose, Ospery, Grey-headed Fish Eagle, Pied Harrier, Crested Goshawk, Northern Lapwing, Spotted Redshank, Red-breasted Parakeet, Spotted Owlet, Great Hornbill, Bengal Bushlark, Long-tailed Minivet, White-rumped Shama, Black-breasted Parrotbill, and White-vented Myna.

Day 14-Jan 19 2004. Kaziranga National Park. Highlights: Spotted Eagle,Peregrine Falcon, Bengal Florican, Common Moorhen ,Blossom-headed Parakeet, Green-billed Malhkhowa, Coppersmith Barbet, Dusky Warbler, Little Pied Flycatcher, Bluethroat, and Brown Shrike.

Day 15- Jan 20 2004. Birding at Kaziranga National Park and drive to Guwahati. Highlights: Greater Adjutant Stork, Brahminy Kite, Himalayan Griffon, Kaleej Pheasant, Green Imperial Piegon, Plain Martin, Large Cuckooshrike, White-spectacled Warbler, Daurian Redstart, White-browed Scimitar Babbler, Scarlet-backed Flowerpecker, White-vented Myna, Baya Weaver.

Day 16-Jan 21 2004. Transfered to Guwahati airport to fly out to Delhi.

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Bird photographs by Yashodhan Bhatia,

Ronald Saldino,  Niels Poul Dryer, Ketil Knudsen
Kalypso Adventures & Gurudongma Team
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