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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, as well as the Assam plains. Our Eaglenest & Beyond tour produces an amazing number of Himalayan and plains birds, including numerous specialities, amidst some superb scenery.The itinerary features Orang National Park in the Assam plains (Bengal Florican, Slender-billed Babbler and Asian One-horned Rhinoceros), Nameri National Park at the base of the Himalayas (White-winged Duck and much more), the Dirang region including the Sela Pass (Snow Partridge, Himalayan Monal, Bhutan Laughingthrush, Ludlow’s Fulvetta and Fire-tailed Myzornis) and finally the superb Eaglenest Sanctuary, home to a dazzling array of eastern Himalayan specialities including the recently-described Bugun Liocichla.
Sunday 9th April —
Tuesday 25th April 2017
Leaders: Hannu Jännes and a local bird guide
Group Size Limit: 8
Tour Category: Easy to moderate walking; accommodations range from comfortable to fairly simple
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 both Orang and Nameri National Parks to the south, 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 Orang National Park, which is sometimes referred to as ‘the little Kaziranga’, where we have good opportunities to see grassland specialities of the Assam plains, such as Swamp Francolin, Bengal Florican, Slender-billed Babbler, and both Bristled and Indian Grassbirds, as well as the magnificent but endangered Asian One-horned Rhinoceros.
Next we will explore Nameri National Park, situated at 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 Black-tailed Crake and Long-billed Plover 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.
Accommodation & Road Transport: The hotels at Tezpur and Dirang are of medium to good 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. At Eaglenest we will stay in permanent tented camps. Sleeping tents are of the large, 2-person, walk-in size with two beds (but are available for single occupancy). We will also have toilets, washrooms and large dining areas. 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 quite good.
Important Information for Pound Payers: Kindly note that the Pound prices shown here are based on post-EU-referendum exchange rate reality, unlike the website prices of most UK bird tour operators which are still based on outdated and hugely higher pre-referendum exchange rates. Consequently you can rest assured that we will not have to adjust these prices upwards at invoicing, unless the Pound falls significantly further, and if there is any recovery by the Pound you will receive the full benefit of the cost-saving by way of a price reduction at invoicing.
Tour Price: £3490, €4120, $4570 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.
Base prices for this tour are determined in US Dollars, the currency in which we pay for most tour services. The exchange rates applied at the time of costing were: £1 = $1.310 and €1 = $1.110. For those not paying us in US Dollars, prices may be adjusted (either downwards or upwards) at the time of invoicing should there be a change in the exchange rate. See booking information.
Single Accommodation Supplement: £576, €680, $755.
Deposit: £400, €550, $600.
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.
Many of the flights and flight-inclusive holidays on this website are financially protected by the ATOL scheme. But ATOL protection does not apply to all holiday and travel services listed on this website. Please ask us to confirm what protection may apply to your booking. If you do not receive an ATOL Certificate then the booking will not be ATOL protected. If you do receive an ATOL Certificate but all the parts of your trip are not listed on it, those parts will not be ATOL protected. Please see our booking conditions for information, or for more for more information about financial protection and the ATOL Certificate go to: www.atol.org.uk/ATOL Certificate
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