Bird Watching in Darjeeling
When it comes to Bird Watching in Darjeeling, It’s the Singalila National Park in Darjeeling or the Neora Valley Reserve Park in the District of Kalimpong in Darjeeling Hills. Even though birds are a commom sight in small towns and villages in the eastern Himalayas, the Singalila National Park and the Neora Valley Reserve Park stands out for Darjeeling Bird watching Tour, because of it’s dense protected forest area which makes it a hot spot for a variety of Birds which can be permanent resident or migratory.
Birds found in Darjeeling
Different varieties of birds that can be spotted while on the Darjeeling Bird watching Tour in the Singalila National Park and the Neora Valley Reserve Park in Darjeeling hills are the famous Satyr Trogopan, Blood Pheasant, Golden Breasted Fulvetta, Blue Capped Rock Thrush, Mrs.Gould’s Sunbird, varieties of Magpies, Woodpeckers, Munias, Himalayan Cutias, Fly Catchers, Babblers, Robins, Orioles etc.
Singalila National Park has a diverse habitat because of which it supports 350 variety of Birds, ranging from small sized birds like warblers, Sunbirds, Flowerpeckers to the medium sized Birds like the Raptors, Magpies, Jays and Thrushes.
But Some of the prominent birds are Pheasants and Partridges like the Satyr Tragopan, Blood Pheasant, Kaleej Pheasant, Hill Partridge and Rufous-throated Partridge. Other small birds include Nuthatch, Firetail Myzornis, Fire-tailed Sunbird, Crimson Sunbird, Brown Parrot Bill and the big Himalayan Griffon Vulture.
Bird Waching in Latpanchar – Spotting the Rufous Necked Hornbill
Latpanchar, a small hamlet thirty five Kilometres out of Darjeeling is particularly famous for the Rufous Necked Hornbill. Besides the numerous species of birds found here, Birding in Latpanchar has been made famous by the nesting of the beautiful Rufous Necked Hornbill. Every year during the breeding season These magnificent birds flock to this small village for breeding. Birding in Latpanchar also covers the small Hamlets of Sittong and Selpu along with Latpanchar a small village in the District of Darjeeling.
Out of the 815 species of Birds sighted in the state of West Bengal 286 species are sighted here in Latpanchar. Besides the Hornbill, other birds that are commonly sighted are the Drongos, Sunbirds, Blue Whistling Thrush, Minivets, BulBuls, Barbets, Woodpeckers, scaly laughing Thrush, Broad Bill and a host of other Birds. But, the main attraction during spring is the Nesting of the Hornbills which has made Latpanchar famous as a destination for Bird Watching in Darjeeling.
The Season for Bird Watching in Latpanchar Starts from the month of October and follows it up till May.
Best Route for Birding Tours in Darjeeling
Darjeeling Singalila Trek Route is often taken when embarking on the Darjeeling Bird watching Tour as the route goes through the Singalila National Park and the Singalila Ridge which forms the backbone of the Singalila National Park is home to a variety of birds. The other route taken while Bird Watching in Darjeeling is the famous Rachela Pass Trek in the Neora Valley Reserve Park in Kalimpong. Therefore, the Darjeeling Bird watching Tour combines trekking and bird watching in Darjeeling altogether.
If you are not keen on trekking for a long period for Bird watching than Tiger Hill just on the outskirts of Darjeeling is also a haven for bird watching in Darjeeling. One can get a glimpse of the Hill partridge, Khalij Pheasant, Large Hawk Cuckoos, Oriental and Lesser Cuckoo, Spot bellied Eagle Owl, Collard Owlet, Himalayan Swiftlet, Fork Tailed Drongo, House Swifts, White throated Needletail, Darjeeling Woodpecker, Streak breasted Scimitar and a host of other variety of birds.
The Neighbouring state of Sikkim with it’s few National Parks scattered around the state is also home to a lot Birds and Bird watching in Sikkim can also be organized. One day bird watching tour in Sikkim can be organized in the Fambyongla National Park on the outskirts of the capital Gangtok. Like wise a days tour of Bird watching in Sikkim is possible in the Maenam wildlife Sanctuary on the outskirts of Ravangla, a small town in West Sikkim.
For the adventurous one can embark on the Yuksom Dzongri Ridge Trek, a short trek in Sikkim Himalayas in the Kanchenjunga National Park. The area between Yuksom and Dzongri Ridge with it’s large dense protected forests of the Kanchenjunga National Park, a UNESCO world heritage site is a Bird watchers Paradise. Therefore, In Sikkim too one can combine Short Trekking and Bird Watching in the Kanchenjunga National Park.
- Type of Tour : Moderate Trek.
- Minimum No. of Participants : 2 Pax.
- Total No. of Days : 7 Days.
- Style of Trek: Camping/Lodge
- Starting & Ending Point: Bagdogra Airport/NJP Rail Station/Nepal Border.
- Best Season : April – June & September to December.
- Availibility : Only Private Tours can be arranged for a minimum of two persons on request on a date of your choice.
Itinerary for Darjeeling Bird Watching
DAY 1 : Arrive at Bagdogra Airport. Drive to Dhottrey (90Km/3Hrs). Overnight Homestay (All Meals).
DAY 2 : Trek to Tongloo (6Km/10.130ft) and onwards to Tumling through dense forest of the Singalila National Park. Take your time for Bird Watching. A night Halt in Tongloo / Tumling .
DAY 3 : Wake up in the morning for views of the mountain range and as well the birds to be witnessed in the early morning sunlight. After Breakfast A short Trek to Gairibas ( 2162m/ 9Km / 2Hrs) through the singalila National Park. Venture out in the dense forest for Bird watching, these areas also famous for Red Pandas. Overnight Trekkers Lodge.
Day 4 : Trek to Kayyakhatta (3Km) a short watching the Birds while we trek. Entire Day we spend watching the Birds in the forest. This is small village on the Nepal Side of the border with a couple of houses and a lodge run by a local family. Red Pandas can be seen around this area. Overnight Lodge.
DAY 5 : Trek to Sandakphu (3636m/11Km/5Hrs). Overnight Trekkers Hut/Lodge.
DAY 6 : Trek Sandakphu to Timburey(1800m/12Km/4Hrs). Overnight Homestay.
DAY 7 : Early morning after Breakfast start the trek to Rimbik(15Km) through the dense forest locally known as black forest. Sighting of various variety of birds can be sighted as we trek through this forest until we reach Rimbik where we will have our lunch and drive back to Darjeeling. Overnight Hotel/Home Stay in Darjeeling.
DAY 8 : Drive to Bagdogra Airport for Final Departure. End of Bird Watching in Darjeeling.
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Note: The above itinerary is a sample, intended to give you a general idea of the likely trip schedule. Numerous factors such as weather, road conditions, physical ability of the participants etc. may dictate itinerary changes either before departure or while on the trail. We reserve the right to change this schedule in the interest of the trip participant’s safety, comfort and general well being.
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