NE/62: 19 Days Birding Tour Assam Flood Plains and Eastern Arunachal

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Description

North East India is the richest birding area in India. The Brahmaputra basin in Assam and the montane rainforest of the eastern Himalaya are important Endemic Bird Areas, home to some of India’s most sought after restricted range specialities among a host of resident species, Palaearctic and altitudinal migrants. The area also abounds in mammals.

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. The region boasts of varied habitat – wetlands, marsh, grassland, woodland, sub tropical and warm broadleaved forests cool broadleaved forests, coniferous, fir, oak, bamboo, Juniper, Rhododendron, and alpine scrub land, is spread over an accessible altitudinal range of 100m to over 4500m. A string of National parks and Wild Life Sanctuaries enables focused birding. Some of the important birding areas are Kaziranga NP (Bird list 450), Dibru saikhowa (Bird List 350+), Namdhapa NP (Bird List 650+), West Arunachal Pradesh (Eagles Nest WLS, and Dirang-Sela: Bird List 450 +), Manas NP (Bird list 380) and Nameri NP(Bird List 350) and Mishmi Hills, Eastern Arunachal Pradesh. Except for Namdhapa NP, all birding areas are accessible by jeep.

To get to see some of the sought after birds, take a trip to the North East. You have a good chance of looking at the Bengal Florican, Dark rumped Swift, White-Winged Duck, Marsh Babbler, Black breasted Parrotbill , Snowy-throated Babbler, Rufus -Vented Laughing thrush, Rufus-backed Sibia , Beautiful Nuthatch, Rufous-necked, great and wreathed hornbills, Black-necked crane, Emerald cuckoo , Blood pheasant, Monal, Ibisbill, Purple Cochoa, Long-tailed and collared broadbills, Blue-naped pitta, Vivid niltava, Long-billed plover and black-headed shrike-babbler and more, We organize birding tours for hard core birders, as well as family birders. All our tours are private. We have no fixed departures. Individuals, couples and small group birding tours are our forte.
The most popular birding tours are listed below. We can organize customized tours anywhere in the North East region to meet specific requirements.

TOUR DETAILS

Featuring: Namdhapa, Dibru-Saikhowa, Mishmi Hills and Kaziranga,

A birding experience to remember, due to the variety of habitat and the richness of bird life in four birding areas.

Kaziranga NP; is a fabulous mosaic of grasslands, forests, and pools backed by misty hills with almost 480 species of birds, including 25 globally threatened and 21 near-threatened species, where you will be birding from jeeps, watch towers and on Elephant back.

Dibru Saikkowa a unique area for rare specialized grass land and swamp forest birds, in a bio- diverse habitat of alluvial flood plains, grass land, swamps, and seasonally flooded forests, which harbour 300 species. Birding is from country boats, wading through shallows and on foot.

Namdhapha NP is on every birders wish list. This remote and inaccessible park has preserved its pristine wet tropical forests, close to true wilderness. A feast of birds await you amongst its more than 150 species of trees, which harbor 665 recorded species of avifauna – many exotic d much sought after species.

Birding at Namdhapa is on foot and overnights in well serviced temporary camps in the wilderness, supported by elephant based logistics.

The birding trip to Mishmi Hills, is truly exotic, as it takes you across the mighty Brahmaputra River in by ferry, to bird in a the flood plains, lowland scrub and prime birding locations up to elevations of 2500 m. These are large tracts of undisturbed forests. containing exotic species such as the enigmatic Mishmi Wren Babbler,Sclater’s Monal and Blyth’s Tragopan, more rarely observed species. Birding is by jeep and on foot.

Together these parks are also rich in animal life. You are sure to see wild elephants, the one horned rhino, Asiatic Elephant, wild Asiatic water buffalo, Wild Boar, Blue Bull, Grey Langur, Hoolock Gibbon and a variety of deer and smaller mammals. Tiger, Leopard, Clouded Leopard , Snow Leopard, Himalayan Black Bear, Indian wild dog, and the Wolf are also lurking in these parks but are unlikely to be spotted.

Version 2: NE/ 62A: 15 Days Namdhapa , Dibru Saikhowa and Mishmi Hills

Version 3: NE/62B: 14 days Namdhapa- Dibru Saikowa and Kaziranga

Version 4: NE/ 62C: 17 days 14 days Namdhapa- Dibru Saikowa NP- Kaziranga NP and Cherrapunjee

ITENERIES

Itinerary Version 1
Day 01: Arrive Guwahati and transfer to Kazuranga NP

Fly in to Guwahati from Delhi or Kolkata. Your Guide will meet you at the airport and transfer you to the Kaziranga NP. We will drive east 220 Kms in 4 hrs, through the tea plantations of Assam to our hotel beside the world-famous Kaziranga National Park – a wildlife-rich sanctuary in the riverine Brahmaputra Valley of central Assam. Overnight at Jhompri Ghar / Wild grass or similar wildlife resort.

The World Heritage Kaziranga National Park is a highly reputed wild life protected area, located in Assam. A fabulous mosaic of grasslands, forests, and pools backed by misty hills. Almost 480 species of birds occur in the park, including 25 globally threatened and 21 near-threatened species. Waterfowl include Ferruginous Pochard and Baer’s Pochard, rare riverine birds include Blyth’s Kingfisher, White-bellied Heron, Dalmatian and Spot-billed Pelicans, and Spotted Greenshank. Wintering storks include Greater Adjutant, Black-necked Stork and Asian Openbill. A large number of raptors occur here: Eastern Imperial and Indian Spotted Eagles, Gray-headed Fish Eagle, vultures (Eurasian Black, Indian, Eurasian Griffon and Himalayan Griffon) and Pied Harrier. Other species we will attempt to find are Kalij Pheasant, Swamp Francolin, Bengal Florican, Great Indian and Wreathed Hornbills, Spot-winged Starling and White-rumped Shama, Blue-naped Pitta, Broad-billed Warbler and White-eared Scimitar-Babbler.
The park is home to a host of mammalsIt 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. Close encounters with the Great Indian one horned Rhino, and wild Indian Elephants Swamp Deer, Asiatic Water buffalo, and a many other animals are assured. There are plenty of Tigers around – but there is only a 25 percent chance of spotting one.

   

Day 02-03: Kaziranga NP

We will spend two full days in Kaziranga exploring the park as best we can by jeep and one ride on elephant back. Walking is not permitted in the park. Observation towers are used in conjunction with game drives by jeep and on Elephant back. We will make daily forays, twice a day into various ranges of the park by jeep. One morning we will take an elephant safari. Overnights at our wild life resort: Jhonpri ghar/ Wild grass or similar.

Day 04: Kaziranga- Tinsukhia

Drive 270 Kms to Tinsukhia ( 4.30 hrs) along the Brahmaputra Valley, passing through the Tea growing town of Jorhart, and Dibrugarh. Overnight at Hotel at Tinsukhia.
Dibru-Saikhowa is a biosphere reserve. This, is one of the biodiversity hot spots situated on 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, 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.

You can also spot altitudinal migrants such as Pale-capped pigeon, White-tailed Ruby throat and Black – breasted Thrush, and various warblers. More than 300 species have been recorded. Birding here involves several ferry crossings in country boats, and wading through shallow waterways. No transport is available in the park.

On this tour we will be taken by boat to various hot spots from where birding walks will start. Some of the birds you are likely to spot: White-browed Piculet, Streak-throated Woodpecker, Lineated Barbet, Oriental Pied Hornbill, Green-billed Malkoha, Grey-headed Lapwing, Pallas’s Gull, Grey-headed Fish Eagle, Oriental Hobby, Lesser Adjutant, Common Green Magpie, White-tailed Rubythroat, Jerdon’s Bushchat, Spot-winged Starling, Hill Myna, Sultan Tit, Plain Martin, Yellow-bellied Prinia, Pale-footed Bush Warbler, Chestnut-crowned Bush Warbler, Spotted Bush Warbler, Dusky Warbler, Smoky Warbler, Rufous-fronted Babbler, Chestnut-capped Babbler, Jerdon’s Babbler, Sand Lark, Scarlet-backed Flower-pecker, Ruby-cheeked Sunbird, Crimson Sunbird, Rosy Pipit, and Black-faced Bunting.

Day 05: Dibru Saikhowa NP

Full days birding by boat and on foot. We will be birding in grasslands, swamps and forest habitat. Overnight, at your hotel in Tinsukhia.

Day 06: Tinsukhia – Deban ( Namdhapa NP), Altitude 390 m

Drive to Deban ( Namdhapha NP).131 Kms in 3.30 hrs. The landscape is exotic. We will drive through lush green countryside comprising Tea gardens, forests, rivers, agriculture fields and the Digboi Oilfields – the oldest in India. On the way we will be making stops for birding between Miao and Deban. Upon arrival at Deban we will spend the remaining day birding on foot around the Forest Lodge. Overnight at Forest Lodge, in rooms or tents.

Namdapha lies on the Burmese border, in the very eastern most part of the state of Arunachal Pradesh, and offers as great a variety of habitats as it is possible to find within one protected area. Its 1,985 square kilometres range in altitude from just 200 metres above sea-level right up to the summit of Mount Dapha-Bum at an altitude of 4575 metres! Thus the snow-covered Himalayan peaks look down upon a great range of habitats, from alpine to temperate, to subtropical and tropical rainforests. However currently it is only approachable up to altitudes of 850 m.

The opportunities for pioneering bird watching are breathtaking! Its avifauna is a unique blend of Indo-Burmese, Sino-Tibetan and Himalayan forms, which thrives in the bio-diverse habitat. Largely unexplored 665 species of birds have been recorded, of which some are exotic – Wards Trogon, White- Winged Wood Duck, Rufus necked hornbill, Blue napped Pitta, Wedge-billed Wren Babbler, snow throated Babbler, and Beautiful Nuthatch and. 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.

This is also the only sanctuary in the world that offers protection to Asia’s four great cats: Tiger, Leopard, Clouded Leopard and Snow Leopard. It was declared a Tiger Reserve as part of Project Tiger in 1983. Other Indian mammals, inhabiting the park are the Asiatic Elephant, Gaur (the magnificent Asian bison), Himalayan Black Bear, Dhole (Indian wild dog), Wolf, Wild Boar, Nilgai (or Blue Bull – the largest of India’s antelopes), Grey Langur, and an excellent variety of deer and smaller mammals. Naturally, many of these forest-dwelling animals are hard to see, but we hope to see some of them at least. But what we will defiantly see is the localized Hoolock Gibbon.

Namdhapas has some outstanding wet tropical forest. Through the park flows the Noa-Dehing, a river that spans the park from east to west, fed by numerous tributaries that tumble from the more mountainous regions of the park and form the catchments area of the great Brahmaputra. The remote and inaccessible nature of the park has preserved its pristine forests. It is as close to true wilderness as any of the many national parks and sanctuaries in India. Over 150 species of tree are found in Namdapha, including such tropical giants as Hollock, Mekai, Hollong, Jutuli, Dhuna, Mechelia champaka and others. Amongst the temperate and subtropical zones a wide variety of rhododendrons and oaks, birch and magnolias are found. Species of particular note are Pinus merkusi and Abies dalavavi, which are not found elsewhere in India; whilst one of the rarest and most endangered orchids, the Blue Vanda, occurs here, together with the Mishmi Teeta a well-known local medicinal plant, used by endemic tribal people to treat a host of illnesses.
Your birding tour to this park is tailored to provide full opportunity to glimpse the rich bird and animal-life – as rich as any other region of comparable size worldwide.

Add to this the excitement of being in a largely unexplored area. Because this is truly a journey into the unknown – made even more exciting by the unpredictable factors. The park is a restricted zone, and the routes to it are also controlled due to security reasons. Roads and tracks are subject to seasonal disruptions. Whilst we are determined to make your trip run on schedule and provide you with good logistic support – you must be prepared for the unexpected.

Deban, the starting point is an introduction to the birding feast that awaits you across the river Nao-Dihang. Racket tailed Drongos call from tree tops, whilst Blue whistling thrushes hop about the lawns. Hoolok Gibbons provide a chattering chorus at dawn. Red headed Trogans sit quietly on the edges of the track, and in the undergrowth there are colourful Silver eared Mesias and tiny almost tail-less Tesias. Crested kingfishers and White-tailed Sea Eagles sortie over the river, whilst Walcreepers, White-capped Water Redstarts, and at least five species of Fork Tails frequent the stony banks Birding in the park is along a wide man-made track, which meanders gently through the pristine wilderness. Capped Langurs, Assamese Macaques, enjoy fruiting trees, as do some fantastic hornbills. The Great hornbill is a truly magnificent bird, the swan like whoosh of their wings warning of their approach from afar. Brown and rufus- necked hornbills also come to feed.

At fig trees we will encounter a multitude of colourful birds ranging from Fairy Bluebirds to Beautiful Sibias and from yellow and Black- Sultan Tits to Streaked Spider hunters. Stands of bamboo are home to specialist, such as Bay Wood pecker, White-browed Piculet, Rusty-fronted Barwing and White –hooded Babbler, whilst diverse babblers, fulvettas and laughing thrushes, frequent the undergrowth. On the forest floor are Grey peacock Pheasants, and several species of Wren – babblers. In the forests you will find the aptly named Beautiful Nuthatch, as well as the rare Black-throated Parrot-bills and flocks of gorgeous Long-tailed Broadbills. At dawn awake to the sensational vocalizations of Large Scimitar Babblers, whilst at night you will be serenaded by Mountain Scops Owls and Collared Owlets. You are likely to spot more than 200 species during your trip.

Day 07: Birding walk on North Bank of Noa-Dihang River to HornBill

Today we begin our fascinating 06 days birding with 05 nights camping in the pristine forests., logistically supported by elephants.

Crossing the Noa-Dihang River by boat/ foot bridge, we will bird along the North bank to Horn Bill ( Altitude 520 m), via Haldibari.( 11 Kms / 05 hrs) Overnight in camp 1.

Day 08: Birding walk to Ranijheel

Birding walk to Bulbulia (3 Kms) and Ranijheel, altitude 800 m (04 Kms) Overnight in camp 2 (Possible site for White-winged wood duck)

Day 09: Birding walk Ranjheel to Firm Base

Birding walk from Rajajheel to Raja Jheel and on to Firm Base. Distance 05 kms Overnight in camp 3.

Day 10: Birding walk Firm Base to Embeong and back

Birding walk from Firm Base to Embeong and return 06 Kms). Back to Camp 3 for overnight.

Day 11: Birding walk from Firm Base back to Hornbill

Walk back to Hornbill through Ranijheel and Bulbulia 07 kms. Return to Camp 1 for overnight.

Day 12: Birding walk Hornbill to Deban

Return to Deban 11 kms, through Haldibari. Overnight at Forest Lodge / camp.

Day 13: Deban-Tinsukhia

Drive back to Tinsukhia. Enroute birding at Digboi. Overnight at hotel in Tinsikhia

Day 14 – Tinsukia – Roing (Mishmi Hills, Arunachal Pradesh)

Today we drive to the small city of Roing, located in the foothills of the Mishmi Hills at an altitude of 200 m. this will be our base for birding in the Mishmi hills. But first we must cross the Brahmaputra River by ferry. The journey will take 7-8 hrs
Overnight at hotel/ guest house at Roing.

Days 15-17 –Mishmi Hills

We will take birding trips for 3 full days based at Roing. We will visit many of the prime birding locations in these very birdy hills – the Dibang River Basin and Itapani River, Mehao Wildlife Sanctuary, the Mayodia pass at 2500 m, and Hunli.

There are large tracts of undisturbed forests, which contain the enigmatic Mishmi Wren Babbler, rediscovered by Ben King and Julian Donahue in 2004 since the last record 57 years ago. Other specialties of the area are Temmink’s Tragopan, Rusty-throated Wren Babbler, Black Eagle, White-browed Piculet, Pin-tailed Green Pigeon, Red-headed Trogon, White-throated Bulbul, Daurian Redstart, Slaty-backed Forktail, Spot-throated Babbler, Beautiful and Long-tailed Sibias, Hill Blue Flycatcher and several exciting mammals including the scarce Mishmi Takin.

Mayodia supports the high-altitude Sclater’s Monal and Blyth’s Tragopan, as well as rarely observed species like Darjeeling Woodpecker, Slender-billed Scimitar Babbler, Grey-sided, Spotted and Black-faced Laughing thrushes, and Gould’s and Rusty-bellied Shortwings. In the Hunli area good birds include Rufous-bellied Eagle, Great and Golden-throated Barbets, Bay Woodpecker, Long-tailed Broadbill, Black-backed Forktail, Coral-billed Scimitar Babbler, Striated Laughingthrush, Red-faced Liocichla, Silver-eared Mesia, Black-eared Shrike-Babbler, Streak-throated and Rusty-fronted Barwings, Red-tailed Minla, Yellow-throated Fulvetta, White-naped Yuhina, White-spectacled and Black-faced Warblers, Yellow-cheeked Tit, Dark-breasted Rosefinch, Gold-naped Finch and Long-billed Thrush. Overnights at Roing.

Day 18 – Roing – Tinsukia

We make our way back to Tinsukia. Overnight at hotel.

Day 19 – Tinsukia – Dibrugarh

Tinsukia – Dibrugarh to board departure flight

Today we transfer to Dibrigarh to baoard our departure flight.

Version 2: NE/62A: 15 Days Namdhapa , Dibru Saikhowa and Mishmi Hills

Day 01: Fly into Dibrugarh and drive to Deban ( Namdhapa NP )

Day 02-07: Birding Walk Namdhapa NP

Day 08: Namdhapa- Digboi- Tinsukhia

Day 09: Birding trip to Ddibru Saikhowa NP from Tinsukhia

Day 10: Tinsukhia – Roing ( Mishmi Hills)

Day 11-13: Birding Mishmi Hills

Day 14: Roing – Tinsukhia

Day 15: Transfer to Dibrugarh for departure flight

Version 3: NE/62B: 14 days Namdhapa- Dibru Saikowa and Kaziranga

Day 01: Fly into Dibrugarh and drive to Deban ( Namdhapa NP)

Day 02-07: Birding Walk Namdhapa NP

Day 08: Namdhapa- Digboi- TinsukhiaDay 09: Birding trip to Dibrusaikhowa NP from Tinsukhia

Day 10: Tinsukhia – Kaziranga NP

Day 11-13: Kaziranga NP

Day 14: Transfer to Guwahati for departure flight

Version 4: NE/62C: 17 days Namdhapa NP- Dibru Saikowa NP, Kaziranga NP and Cherrapunjee

Day 01: Fly into Dibrugarh and drive to Deban ( Namdhapa NP )

Day 02-07: Birding Walk Namdhapa NP

Day 08: Namdhapa- Digboi- Tinsukhia

Day 09: Birding trip to Dibrusaikhowa NP from Tinsukhia

Day 10: Tinsukhia – Kaziranga NP

Day 11-13: Kaziranga NP

Day 14: Kaziranga to Shillong

Day 15: Birding around Shillong

Day 16: Birding trip to Cherrapunjee

Day 17: Transfer to Guwahati for departure flight.

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