Welcome to Birdquest
Birdquest's Eaglenest & Beyond birding tour features the western part of Arunachal Pradesh in Northeast India, an area that has recently stormed onto the birdwatching map. Our Eaglenest & Beyond tour produces an amazing number of Himalayan birds, including numerous specialities, amidst some superb scenery.
Saturday 20th April —
Sunday 5th May 2013
Leader: Craig Robson
Group Size Limit: 9
Tour Category: Easy to Moderate
Imagine stunning mountain scenery and birding along a drivable jeep track through magical, untouched old-growth montane forest, where waves of beautiful birds sweep by, and almost every turn brings another rarely-seen Eastern Himalayan speciality!
This dream can now become a reality with this exciting tour to the amazing Eaglenest Wildlife Sanctuary, situated just a stone’s throw to the east of the Bhutan border, in western Arunachal Pradesh in Northeast India. It was here that the most sensational ornithological discovery in India for over half a century was recently made, in the form of a new species for science, the beautiful Bugun Liocichla. Add to this a visit to the little known Dirang region to the north, and Nameri National Park to the southeast, and you will have the opportunity to taste the full range of northeast India’s rich birdlife.
Arunachal Pradesh is now recognised as one of the worlds top biodiversity hotspots, the profusion of species being due to its unique location (at the junction of the Palearctic Region with both the Indo-Malayan and Indian sub-regions of the Oriental Region), topographical range (with 7000m peaks on its northern border with Tibet, looking down on the Brahmaputra Valley in Assam which, just 150 kilometres away, has an elevation of only 100m or so), and high rainfall.
We begin this mouth-watering tour at Nameri National Park, on the edge of the Assam Plains. Based at a comfortable tented safari-style camp, we will be searching, amongst a wide range of lower elevation species, for the rare White-winged Duck, as well as the restricted-range White-cheeked Partridge and Pied Falconet.
From Nameri, we will penetrate deep into the main Himalayan range, winding our way through deep valleys, to Dirang, a small town situated along the road to the famed Buddhist monastery at Tawang. Based at Dirang, we will reach our highest altitudes of the trip, notably when we ascend to almost 4200m at the Sela Pass, one of the highest road-passes in the Himalayas. Here, we will seek out Snow Partridge, Blood Pheasant, Himalayan Monal and Grandala, while closer to Dirang, in the Sangti Valley and along the wonderful Mandala road, we will find species ranging from Long-billed Plover and Ibisbill to Bhutan Laughingthrush, Ludlow’s Fulvetta and Fire-tailed Myzornis.
Finally, we will move on to Eaglenest Wildlife Sanctuary, the main focus of the tour. We will use two established camps for bases, have vehicles at our disposal throughout, and the walking effort will generally be easy. There is no need to trek at Eaglenest because of the good road access, and we aim for maximum comfort and flexibility. Along a drivable jeep track through the awe-inspiring forests, we will be searching for a mouth-watering selection of Eastern Himalayan gems, ranging from Chestnut-breasted Partridge, Blyth’s Tragopan and Ward’s Trogon, to Long-billed and Rufous-throated Wren-Babblers, Sikkim Wedge-billed Babbler and Beautiful Nuthatch. We will, of course, make a particular effort to see the recently described Bugun Liocichla, which is still only known from Eaglenest and its border areas. All in all this wonderful new area offers disciples of Himalayan birding an extraordinary experience.
Birdquest has operated tours to northeast India since 1989.
(Note: The above is a summary of the tour. For more information please download the detailed, day-by-day itinerary. The button is at the top right of the page.)
Accommodation & Road Transport: The hotel at Dirang is of medium standard. The tented camp at Nameri is an African-style safari camp with large, comfortable, walk-in tents with attached brick-built bathrooms, a pleasant dining area and attentive staff. For eight nights at Eaglenest we will stay in simple tented camps specially erected by our friendly local camp staff. Sleeping tents are of the large, 2-person, walk-in size with two camp beds (but are available for single occupancy). We will also have toilet shelters, wash shelters and a large dining shelter (fixed structures will be used where available). Hot water is available in buckets/bowls for washing on demand. So the whole experience is quite comfortable and the settings delightful. Road transport is by large, jeep-like cars and roads are variable in quality (on average good, although the track through Eaglenest is quite rough in places).
Walking: The walking effort is easy to moderate.
Climate: In the Himalayas it is cold to warm, and sunny periods alternate with occasional wet and overcast spells. It will be distinctly cold at night at higher elevations and there may even be some snow. Conditions at this season in the plains and low foothills are typically hot, dry and sunny, but it is sometimes overcast and cooler.
Bird Photography: Opportunities are worthwhile.
Tour Price: $4450 Guwahati/Guwahati. Price includes all transportation, all accommodations, all meals, bottled water, some drinks, all excursions, all entrance fees, all tips for local drivers/guides and for accommodations/restaurants, leader services.
Single Room/Tent Supplement: $538.
Deposit: 10% of the tour price (excluding any single supplement).
Air Travel To & From The Tour: Our in-house IATA ticket agency can arrange your air travel in connection with the tour from a departure point anywhere in the world, or you may arrange your own air travel if you prefer. We can tailor-make your itinerary to your personal requirements, so if you would like to travel in advance of the tour (and spend a night in an hotel so you will feel fresh when the tour starts), or return later than the end of the tour, or make a side trip to some other destination, or travel business class rather than economy, we will be happy to assist. Please contact us about your air travel requirements.
We can arrange internal flights in India for anyone needing only those flights.