Himalaan Birding

Visit : Delhi - Saatal - Pangot (Nainital) - Ranikhet - Corbett National Park

Day-1: Delhi - Saatal

Morning to Saatal (7 hours). Afternoon birding with a guide near the lodge. The habitat offers species such as white-crested laughingthrush, rufous-gorgeted flycatcher, red-billed leothrix, Siberian rubythroat, rock bunting etc. This scattered and deliberately undeveloped area is one of the most pleasant destinations. Overnight stay in a hotel.

Day - 2: Saatal - Pangot (Nainital)

Full day birding in and around Saatal. Look for rufous-chinned & white crested laughing thrush, rufous-breasted accentor, greater yellow-naped flameback, speckled piculet etc. You will be transferred to Pangot (2-hr.), a journey that takes you on one of the world's more spectacular mountain roads as we climb up into the Kumaon Hills on our way to this delightful "lake city." One can stop along the way to look for birds which may include blue whistling thrush, red-billed blue magpie, blue-capped redstart, white capped water redstart etc. Overnight stay at Jungle Lore Birding Lodge.

Day - 3 & 4: Pangot

Birding at Pangot, Baggar, Timla Pani, Cheena Peak & Nainital. One can see slaty-headed & red-breasted parakeet, grey bushchat, long-tailed & grey-backed shrike, common kestrel, besra, chestnut-bellied rock thrush etc. Streaked laughing thrush is a common garden bird here.

Day- 5: Pangot

A trail leads up to Cheena Peak , which at 2610 meters offers views of the snow-clad Himalayan peaks including Nanda Devi . Also a very good birding area is the quiet old road through oak & rhododendron forests. The viewpoint is alive with grey-headed canary flycatcher, white-throated laughing thrush, grey-winged blackbird, green-backed tit. We also look for hill barbet, grey-headed woodpecker, black-chinned babbler, black-headed and maroon oriole. Nearby mountains could include Himalayan griffon vulture, lammergeier and chukar, khalij pheasant, crimson sunbird, fire-breasted flowerpecker etc.

Day - 6: Pangot - Ranikhet

Early start for a 4-hour drive to Ranikhet through the Himalayan roads stopping en route for birding. Birding in the surroundings of the lodge. One can see green-tailed sunbird, scaly-breasted wren-babbler, black bulbul, rufous sibia, black eagle, red-headed & Egyptian vulture, black-throated sunbird, blue-throated barbet, common kestrel etc.

Day - 7: Ranikhet - Corbett National Park

Drive to Corbett National Park in the morning stopping en route for birding at Kumeria. Corbett Tiger reserve has a spectacular avifauna diversity. Great hornbill, Pallas's fish eagle, grey-headed & lesser fish eagle, red-collared falconet etc. are some of the rare birds that are found in Corbett. More birds include tawny fish owl, scaly-bellied woodpecker, red-breasted parakeet, Himalayan swiftlet, stork-billed & crested kingfisher and white-tailed & Siberian rubythroat. Tiger Camp makes an ideal base for birding.

Day - 8: Dhikala Forest Lodge (Corbett National Park)

Drive early morning to Dhikala tourism zone. Arrive at the main tourist complex in the afternoon. Afternoon visit to the grasslands for birding. Overnight stay at Dhikala Forest Lodge. Birding in the lower jungle track along the Ramganga river is very rewarding for water birds such as river lapwings, waders, mergansers and other waterfowl. While relaxing at the lodge or visiting the grasslands one can see long-tailed nightjar, jungle owlet, spot-bellied owl, common stonechat, black francolin, purple and crimson sunbird, golden-fronted & orange-bellied leafbird, black-shouldered kite, hen harrier, changeable hawk-eagle, chestnut-tailed starling etc.

Day - 9: Corbett National Park

Morning elephant safari through the grasslands and dense forests. This is the best mode of transport for tiger-tracking. Return for breakfast and then spend time till lunch on a watchtower overlooking a water hole. Drive to Tiger Camp stopping en route for birding. Some of the best birding areas of Dhikala are Sambhar Road and Khinanauli. One can expect to see great slaty woodpecker, great hornbill, puff-throated babbler, white-rumped shama, pallas's fish eagle etc. Arrive Tiger Camp for dinner and overnight stay.

Day - 10: Corbett National Park

Full day at Corbett with a morning or evening elephant & jeep ride into the park. You may search the boulder-strewn river for the rare and elusive Ibisbill as well as brown dipper. The best birding areas are in the buffer zone along the Kosi River near Tiger Camp. You can also bird-watch across the river from the resort that can be crossed by a bridge a short distance upriver from the hotel or by wading across the Kosi. It can be fairly rewarding as one can see mergansers, crested kingfisher, green heron, egrets and cormorants etc.

Day - 11: Corbett National Park - Delhi

You will explore the river edge at Kumeria for tawny & brown fish owl, Asian barred owlet, plumbeous redstart, brown dipper and the three species of forktails. Other species that are possible in the forest are crested tree swift, spangled drongo, blue bearded bee-eater etc. Drive back to Delhi at noon . Arrive Delhi in the evening (6-hour drive).