White-faced heron

Birding—A hobby that takes new wings during the monsoons

Author: TourGenie
Date: 2022-08-02

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Northeast India is a biodiversity hotspot comprising grasslands & savannahs, wetlands, rivers & streams, forests, and alpine tundra that serve as habitats for a variety of wildlife. It’s not surprising that it holds the highest diversity of birds in the entire oriental region.

Assam, Meghalaya, Manipur, Mizoram, Nagaland, and Sikkim are great birding destinations, and there are plenty of birding tours for both amateurs and professionals that let you capture rare Himalayan species and migratory birds.

BIRDWATCHING DURING THE MONSOONS

Monsoon season in Northeast India: May-September

Everyone in the birding community knows that winter is the best time for birdwatching as it provides pleasant enough temperatures to stay outdoors for long hours and you get the chance to spot thousands of migratory birds that arrive from foreign shores at waterbodies across the country such as Siberian Cranes, Greater Flamingo, and Demoiselle Crane.

However, birdwatching during the monsoon can be equally thrilling and many serious birdwatchers eagerly wait for this season. The beginning of monsoon is the breeding season for many birds, hence, they come out of hiding to call their mates and take on colourful breeding plumage at this time. You can also capture the different antics of birds as they go about building nests and rearing their young.

Caution: Do not disturb the birds to get that perfect shot as many nestlings hatch during this time. If the parent bird gets disturbed by your close proximity, it can result in the parent abandoning the nest, leaving the nestlings to die without food.

NORTHEAST INDIA- A BIRDER’S PARADISE

The onset of monsoons heralds some magnificent birds at river banks and wildlife national parks throughout Northeast India. Listed below are some places perfect for bird watching and names of the winged beauties you can spot there:

(1) Deepor Beel Bird Sanctuary, Assam

This large natural wetland is a birder’s paradise during the monsoon. Covering a total area of 40 km, 4.14 km has been declared a bird sanctuary and is a breeding ground for a variety of birds including migratory waterfowls.

Birds spotted: Different species of ducks, geese, egrets, painted storks, grey herons, pelicans, and more.

Painted stork

Painted stork

(2) Silk Route, East Sikkim

The silk route was once an ancient trade route that connected China to India. It passes through many small hamlets including Zuluk, located in the Pangolakha Wildlife Sanctuary, to end at Nathang Valley before crossing over to West Bengal. The virgin forests along this route provide plenty of opportunities to photograph birds.

Birds spotted: Little Fork Tail, Oriental White Eye, Himalayan Monal, Stayr Tragopan, Brown Dipper, Blood Pheasant, and Citrine Wagtail.

Oriental White Eye

Oriental White Eye

(3) Khecheopalri Lake, West Sikkim

Khecheopalri Lake, nestled in a dense forest cover, is a sacred lake believed to be 3500 years old. The lake hosts migrant ducks and on occasion, rare species such as the Black-tailed and Black-necked crane make an appearance.

Birds spotted: Emerald Cuckoo, Black-necked Grebe, White-naped Yuhina, Speckled Woodpigeon, Greater Scaup, Laughing Thrushes, and more.

Emerald Cuckoo

Emerald Cuckoo

(4) Dzuleke, Nagaland

National Geographic listed Nagaland among the top 10 birding destinations in the world and is home to some very exotic birds such as the Naga Wren Babbler, Chestnut-vented Nuthatch, Mountain Bamboo Partridge, Rufous-capped Fulvetta, and more. Dzuleke is surrounded by lush green rainforest with very few human inhabitants, leaving the landscape largely untouched, and allowing you to spot many endemic birds here.

Birds spotted: Yellow-throated Laughingthrush, Grey-headed Parakeet, White-browed Laughingthrush, Striped Laughingthrush, and more.