ARUNACHAL PRADESH

We had read about Eaglenest Wildlife Sanctuary in Oriental Bird Club publications, Forktail 19, and Birding Asia 4 and Birding Asia 7.   Indian Government permits are required for Arunachal Pradesh so fully independent travel there is unfeasible.  We booked the trip through Ramana Athreya’s KAATI TOURS , noting his dedication to the Eaglenest project and support for the local community. 

Kaati Tours prices vary from US75 to US175 a day.  We had a vehicle to ourselves and local guides.  They had recordings of all the key birds and knew where the key species had been found before.

We saw the famous Bugun Liochichla, as well as Beautiful Nuthatches, Rufous-necked Hornbill, Greater Rufous-headed Parrotbill and Coral-billed Scimitar Babbler...

Eaglenest has access to higher elevation birding along the Mandala Road and near Dirang, where Ibisbill can also be seen.  There is interesting birding in adjacent parts of Assam at Nameri and Kaziranga.

In terms of dollars per bird Eaglenest can be good value compared to Bhutan.  Some of the other birds of the area are good for your  India List but may be seen more cheaply in China’s Yunnan Province.   Birds such as Slender-billed Scimitar Babbler, Ward’s Trogon, Fire-tailed Myzornis, Yellow-throated Fulvetta and Laughingthrushes such as Scaly, Black-faced, White-throated and Spotted, are also in the Gaoligongshan in Yunnan.


CLIMATE

If you go to Eaglenest in winter, as we did, be prepared for the cold at night, temperatures drop below freezing.  Thermal underwear and your own high-performance sleeping bag would be well-worth taking.


STRIKES

In December 2007, Assam State was subject to Labour Strikes where all vehicular movement stopped during daylight hours.  Our transfer to Nameri had to be done at night and other guests at Eaglenest had to leave early. 


KAZIRANGA


Kaziranga in Assam is a splendid reserve on the plains of the Bramaputra River.  As well as different kinds of deer,  the Indian One-horned Rhinoceroses are a great sight.  Birds can include Swamp Francolin, Bengal Florican and Grey-headed Fish Eagle.

There are now a number of privately run resorts near the reserve boundaries.


NAMERI

The Jia Bhorelli River  separates Nameri Reserve from the very pleasant accommodation at the Angler’s Association POTASALI ECO CAMP.  Ibisbill may be seen on their rubber dingy boat trips but their dingies look too fragile to take camera and long lenses onto.   We were led to White-winged Duck on ponds in the forest at Nameri, about 2Km downstream from the river crossing.