Thursday, February 26, 2015

Birding in SIKKIM - A dream destination - 3rd to 9th May, 2015

The long wait is over... Get ready for a birding feast in one of the "Best & Beautiful birding hotspots in the World". With over 550 species of birds, this has to be a dream destinations for any bird-watcher.

Nature India is immensely happy to announce, meticulously planned & carefully organised, Bird-watching trip to Sikkim (North-East India) from 03rd May to 9th May 2015 (Travel Days excluded). Only few seats are available, so you know what to do!! Book fast...
Bird-watching in Sikkim - A Dream Destination

With around 650,000 inhabitants, Sikkim is the least populous state in India and the second-smallest state after Goa in total area, covering approximately 7,096 sq. km. Sikkim is nonetheless geographically diverse due to its location in the Himalayas.

Over the years Sikkim has become the most favored location for birders all over world. Sikkim is like a small piece of land surrounded on all sides by mountain walls. Within an area of 80kms, the elevation rises from 225 mtrs in Tista river valley to 8600 mtrs at Kanchendzonga, India highest & World's third highest mountain peak. Separated by Singhalila Range from Nepal in the west & Dongkya Range from Tibet to the east, Sikkim, is like a "bird catchment area." Nowhere in the world in such a small area can one find flora and fauna of all varieties - Tropical to the Alpines.

Nature India announces, for the second time, an exclusive bird-watching trip to this dream destination from 03rd May to 9th May 2015…. The details are given at the end. Amongst the places that we intend to cover are Meanam WLS, Ravangla / Damthang area, Yuksam, Kanchendzonga National Park, Pelling (Pemayanste monastery) etc...
Meanam Wildlife Sanctuary

The Maenam wildlife sanctuary is famous for Satyr Tragopan (Tragopan Satyra) which is one of the rare species of Pheasants found in Eastern Himalayas, the other star bird species to look for is Fire-tailed Myzornis. Also Rufous vented Tit, Grey Crested Tit, Rufous- fronted Tit, Green Shrike Babbler, Tibetan Siskin, Dark breasted Rosefinch, White browed Rosefinch, Spotted Laughingthrush, White collared Black Bird, Darjeeling woodpecker, Crimson breasted Woodpecker, Himalayan Cutia etc... can be seen. In The lower valleys of Tashiding the birds that habitat are the great Sultan Tit, Puff-throated Babbler and Streaked Spiderhunter. Some common birds in the surrounding are the Great Himalayan Barbet, Grey Treepie, Green Magpie, Wedge-tailed Green Pigeon, Black Bulbul and many more. Maenam wildlife sanctuary is also home to the rare beautiful state animal of Sikkim the Red Panda or Firefox.

Damthang / Ravangla Area

Damthang is located at an altitude of 1650 meters above sea level and Ravangla at 2100 mtrs. This area is very famous among the bird-watchers visiting Sikkim. Ravangla is on the state highway connecting Gangtok and Pelling/Pemayangtse and rests at the foot of snow capped Mt. Narsing (19600 ft). This silent valley is favoured stop for birding the nearby Damtang forest (2 kms). Ravangla itself has scrub forest which attracts a rich variety of Himalayan birds. Verditer Flycatchers, Blue-fronted Redstarts, Grey Bushchats, Dark-throated Thrush, Blue-whistling Thrush, Green-backed Tit and White- browed Fantails are very common and cannot be missed. The forests around Ravangla resound with the unmistakable calls of Laughingthrushes, Babblers, Cuckoos and Hill Partridge. The rare Satyr Tragopan makes Maenam a home and the lucky can hear its breeding call from the higher reaches of Ravangla.

Kanchendzonga National Park

The term Kanchendzonga means 'the Abode of Gods consisting of Five Treasure Houses'. The Kanchendzonga National Park is situated in the North District of Sikkim (Yuksom), spreading over an area of 850 square kilometers. The elevation range from 1800 meters to 8600 meters approximately, one of the highest park in the country. The area of the park of spectacular wilderness with one of the highest mountain peaks towering above virtually undisturbed forest cover. The variation of altitude and vegetation has enriched the park area with rich variety of flora.

The birds that you might encounter are as following Streak breasted Scimitar Babbler, Slender-billed Scimitar Babbler, Striated Bubul, Slaty-bellied Tesia, Himalyan Cutia, Black-eared Shrike Babbler, Rufous-capped Babbler,Hill Prinia ,Scaly-breasted Wren Babbler and so on.
Pelling and Pemayangtse Monastery
Pelling is on the state highway connecting Gangtok and Yoksum and rests at the foot of snow capped Mt. Kanchenjunga. The important Pemayangtse monastery is a few kilometers from Pelling and is situated on a hilltop (2133 mtrs) which is covered by moist temperate Oak forests decorated with moss and lichens.

Pelling and Pemayangtse are well wooded and the moist forests hold Maroon-backed and Rufous-breasted Accentors, Green-tailed Sunbirds, Rufous-gorgeted Flycatchers, Blue-fronted Redstarts, Brownish-flanked Bush Warblers, Scarlet and Long-tailed Minivets, White-tailed Robin, Coal, Green-backed and Black-throated Tits, various Yuhinas, Fulvettas, Shrike Babblers, Scimitar Babblers, Laughingthrushes and Babblers.

Trip Details & Itinerary :

Date: 03rd May 2015 (Sunday) to 9th May 2015 (Saturday)

Mode of Travel : 
Mumbai - Bagdogra - Mumbai (by Air/Rail on personal expenses)

Local travel in jeep from Bagdogra – Sikkim – Bagdogra (By 
Nature India)

Travel Details:

By Air: We suggest you to book tickets for following flight;

Mumbai - Bagdogra:
Option 1: Indigo flight no. 6E434, 07.25 (Mumbai) to 10.25 (Kolkata) & 11.10 (Kolkata) to 12.10 (Bagdogra)

Option 2: Air India Flight No. AI-675, 06.10 (Mumbai) to 08.45 (Kolkata) & Air India Flight No. AI-721, 13.30 (Kolkata) to 14.30 (Bagdogra)

Bagdogra - Mumbai:
Option 1: Indigo flight no.6E433, 16.15 (Bagdogra) to 17.15 (Kolkata) & 17.45 (Kolkata) to 21.20 (Mumbai)

Option 2: Air India Flight No. AI-880, 13.45 (Bagdogra) to 16.00 (Delhi) & 18.20 (Delhi) to 20.10 (Mumbai)

Several other options available, however, Please check the arrival & departure timing at Bagdogra for to & fro flights as per the itinerary. Book fast to get concessional rates.

Alternate Travel Option: 
Alternately (to save costing), you may travel to Kolkata by flight on 2nd May'15 and then take an overnight train to Siliguri (Just 10 kms from Bagdogra) and we shall pick you up from here.....similarly you can take train from Siliguri/New Jalpaiguri to Kolkata on 9th May'15 and then fly from Kolkata on 10th May'15......however, Nature India would not be able to assist in travel bookings as we are on tours. 

Rough Tour Itinerary (Complete details of stay etc will be provided after registration)

Day 1: Sunday, 03rd May, 2015 - Bagdogra- Ravangla
South Sikkim
We will meet at airport @ 14:00 Hrs and drive towards Sikkim - 05 hours straight but we will drive birding all the way as we come across the Tendong RF, part of Maenam WLS.
The species you will encounter in this forest are as follows.... Slender-billed Scimitar Babbler, Streak- breasted Scimitar Babbler, Red headed Bullfinch, Lesser Shortwing, White-browed Shortwing, Indian Blue Robin, Red flanked Blue Tail, Large Niltava, Yellow billed Megpie ,Fire tailed Sunbird, Fire Tailed Myzornis, Nepal House Martin and Fork-tailed Swift nesting on the rock slope after Damthang and many more birds.
Overnight Stay @ a Good resort in Ravangla

Day 2: Monday, 04th May, 2015 - Maenam WLS
Early morning after breakfast head via vehicle crossing Ravangla town and towards Maenam Wildlife Sanctuary entry gate 10 Km – 25 minutes drive [Maenam WLS has an altitudinal gradient ranging from 2300 m – 3263 m. The sanctuary is most famous for Satyr Tragopan ( on the top of the hill) a rear Pheasant found in Eastern Himalayas, Fire tailed Myzornis, Rufous vented Tit, Grey Crested Tit, Rufous- fronted Tit, Green Shrike Babbler, Tibetan Siskin, Dark breasted Rosefinch, White browed Rosefinch, Scaly Laughingthrush, White collared Black Bird, Darjeeling woodpecker, Crimson breasted Woodpecker, Himalayan Cutia and many more. We will scan for the state animal of Sikkim Red Panda.
Time taken to reach the top –four to six hours - Pack -lunch will be served during the trek.
Overnight stay @ a Good resort in Ravangla.

Day 3: Tuesday, 05th May, 2015 - Ravangla-Damthang road + Ralong
West Sikkim
Full day biding in Damthang and Ralong Road
Lunch in Ravangla ..... Overnight stay @ a very good resort in Ravangla.

Day 4: Wednesday, 06th May, 2015 - Tashiding- Yuksam
West Sikkim
After Breakfast head via vehicle towards lower valley of Kewzing and Tashiding (02 hours straight drive) and full Day birding to look out for low altitude species like Sultan Tit, Streaked Spiderhunter, White bellied Yuhina, Black-chinned Yuhina, Bar-winged Flycatcher Shrike, White-browed Piculet, Ashy Bulbul, Puff-throated Babbler, Long-tailed Broadbill, Chestnut-bellied Nuthatch, Velvet fronted Nuthatch, Crested Kingfisher, Brown Dipper and Ibisbill ,little forktail in Ranjit River and many more
Overnight stay @ Hotel Tashigang in Yuksam

Day 5: Thursday, 07th May, 2015 - Yuksam - Pelling
Early morning before Breakfast Head towards Dzongri trail (part of Kanchendzonga National Park) through the trekking trail birding all the way.... The birds that you might encounter are as following Streak breasted Scimitar Babbler, Slender-billed Scimitar Babbler, Striated Bubul, Slaty-bellied Tesia, Himalyan Cutia, Black-eared Shrike Babbler, Rufous-capped Babbler,Hill Prinia ,Scaly-breasted Wren Babbler and so on.....return by Lunch and proceed towards Pelling .....Birding on the way.
Overnight stay @ a Good hotel in Pelling 

Day 6: Friday, 08th May, 2015 - Pelling- Pemayangtse
The entire day will be done around pelling, Kecheopalri Lake and pemayantse monastery. This monastery is renowed for the abundance in birdlife. A very small area surrounding the monastery environs may produce gems like White-tailed Robin, Snowy-browed, Little Pied, Verditer, Blue-throated Flycatchers, Scarlet-backed Flowerpeckers, Red-tailed Minla, Small & Large Niltava, Green Shrike Babbler, Grey-sided Laughing Thrush and a variety of birds that will mesmerize you. ......overnight stay in Pelling.

Day 7 : Saturday, 09th May, 2015 - Pelling to Bagdogra
Early morning birding along with packed Breakfast - After breakfast head towards Bagdogra to the airport to catch a flight @ 14:00 Hrs, while birding on our way (Lunch not included)

Conclusion and farewell of the tour.....

Trip Charges: (Bagdogra to Bagdogra only)...

Rs.38900 /-only
Includes Stay on twin sharing basis at Ravangla, Kewzing, Yuksam & Pelling resort, Local transport by Jeeps, Park entry charges, Local Expert charges, vegetarian food, Entry permits for Sikkim, Articles on Sikkim and bird checklist, on board mineral water and snacks, Camera Charges if any………

Please Note: That this is the most affordable, yet luxurious trip planned with very good resorts and arrangements.
PS: Unfortunately, if any flights / trains are cancelled due to bad weather or for any other reasons, Nature India will not to be responsible for making stay arrangements. Although, Nature India will assist for hotel bookings.

Stay Arrangements:
Hotel Maenamla, Ravangla

Tashigang Resort, Yuksom

Registration: You can register by sending a confirmatory mail to and by paying a non refundable Advance of Rs.20000/- after getting a registration mail from us.......the remaining amount will be collected later as mentioned below.......Please Register at the earliest as only 12 seats are available.

Payment terms:
Phase 1 - Rs. 20000/- as non-refundable Advance to be paid immediately, to confirm the participation. We need to forward this as an advance for logistics & to block our seats.

Phase 3 - Balance amount (Rs.18500/-) to be paid before 30th March 2015.

Resource Persons:Mr.Adesh Shivkar, Mr.Mandar Khadilkar & a Local Expert

Mode of Payment: You can either
Transfer non-refundable advance amount of Rs.20000 /- directly to the HDFC A/c : (please call Mandar @ 9930318665 for A/c no.) .... please mention your name, date and other details….

Courier a cheque of Rs.20000/- to the following address and forward the details.
Name: Mr. Mandar Khadilkar
Address: B/702, Neha Apartments, Ashish Complex, Dahisar-East, Mumbai-400068.

Please Note:

1) Once registered, the advance amount of Rs. 20000/- (Phase 1) is strictly non-refundable
2) Alcohol & Smoking is strictly prohibited on Nature India Tours
3) Nesting photography is prohibited.
4) Kindly register on this trip only if you agree with  Nature India's rules and policies

Please revert on ID, in case you need any clarification.
For any other queries we are available on 9930318665 / 9967518665 (Mandar) or 9869071091 / 9820455713(Adesh)

Hope to see you for this wonderful trip

Thanks for your patience.

Warm Regards,

Adesh Shivkar & Mandar KhadilkarNature India
Appreciate, Respect & Conserve

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