Monday, May 23, 2011

Kaziranga - Nameri (20th to 25th March 2011)

Ask any bird-watcher about North-East India and in that places like Eaglenest, Nameri, Kaziranga…. Dream destinations, final frontiers for a bird-watcher!! And this is my 4th trip to this paradise. I’m blessed!!

This year we went to North-East for 2 batches, one for Kazinraga - Nameri & other for Eaglenest – Nameri.

Kaziranga National Park – Nameri Tiger Reserve (20th to 25th March 2011)

We all (Total 16) gathered at Guwahati Airport at about 3.00PM and started in 3 Sumos for Kaziranga off course via dumping yard near Dipoy Bheel. As usual Greater Adjutant were present in large nos. along with few Lesser Adjutants. About 1/3 world population of Greater Adjutants can be seen here. It was a looong travel to reach Wild Grass Resort, Kaziranga, we reached at about 8PM. Post dinner, allotted rooms to all and we also settled in our room.

Next day we started with morning safari to Central Range. Just after entering the main gate we scanned for Bengal Florican in the grass but no luck! Along with lots of Wild Elephants, Indian One-horned Rhinos and Asiatic Wild Buffalos (Big 3 of Kaziranga), we also saw good nos. of birds including Swamp Francolin, Red-breasted Parakeets, Black-billed Roller, Black-necked Stork, Chestnut-headed Bee Eater, Lesser Yellownape, Crested Serpant Eagle, Pallas’s & Grey-headed Fish Eagle, Marsh Harrier, Eurasian Griffon etc… From watch tower in Daflang range, we saw large Water Moniter lizard and River Otters as well. For afternoon safari, we went to Western Range, which is more known for mammals. We saw all Big 3 of Kaziranga but the bird life was also amazing. Specially the water body, where you can get down and see through scope. That session was superb with sightings of Northern & Grey-headed Lapwing, Bar-headed Geese, Greater Adjutants etc…

Day 3 of the trip, we started in the morning with safari in Eastern Range, known for birds. Yes, the birding was excellent in Eastern Range. The Pallas’s & Grey Headed Fish Eagles, Scarlet Minivets, Lineated Barbet, Green-billed Malkoha, White-eyed Buzzard, Stork-billed Kingfisher, Streak-throated Woodpecker and many more. We also came across a herd of Elephants crossing the road in from of us!! Always great to see wild Elephants! For afternoon safari we again went to Central Range, and this time we got Rhino crossing the road in front! Along with all other regular birds we saw a pair of Kalij Pheasant. Next day morning we spent some time in tea Gardens and started for Nameri. Kaziranga was amazing with wonderful sightings of Big 3 mammals and lots of birds…

We had two days in Nameri. One of the most picturesque & my favorite place! The climate was cloudy, but still bird life was very good. Look at this impressive list; Great Cormorants, Blue-throated Barbet, Wreathed & Great-pied Hornbills, Striped-tit Babbler, Abbot’s Babbler, White-tailed Myna, Dollar Bird, Barred Cuckoo Dove, Black Bulbul, Pin-tailed and Wedge-tailed Green Pigeon, Rufous Woodpecker etc… 25th March, the last day’s morning was also special. We had about 2 hours before leaving for Guwahati. We decided to bird-watch nearby the Eco-Camp. And you know what!! We saw a pair of Pied Falconet… wow… lifer! Oriental Hobby was also there and another lifer…Thick-billed Green Pigeon. What a way to end the trip!! Have a look at Pied Falconet image by one of the participants, Mr. Alok Bhave

We started well in time from Nameri, but heavy traffic jam on Brahmaputra bridge (some election rally) made us reach just, just in time at the Airport. All were tense, will we reach the Airport & all, but finally all participants got their flights. Me & Adesh were to stay in Guwahati for a day as the next batch for Eaglenest-Nameri will be arriving on 26th March 2011 afternoon.