Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Birding in Assam (Kaziranga National Park & Gibbon WLS, Assam - 16th March to 20th March 2014

In Sanskrit, "Asom" means unparellel or eneven. Both meaning suits the land of Assam perfectly. It is believed that the name Assam is derived from "Asom". Assam, a gateway to North-East India, is one of the hottest bio-diversity spots in India.

Nature India has meticulously planned and organized bird watching & wildlife trip to Kaziranga National Park and Hoollongapar Gibbon Sanctuary in Assam from 16th March to 20th March 2014. Only few seats are available, hence please register very fast. (See details at the end).....

Kaziranga National Park

A girl named Ranga, from a nearby village, and a youth named Kazi, from Karbi Community, fell in love. This match was not acceptable to their families and the couple disappeared into the forest, never to be seen again, and the forest was named after them as Kaziranga.

A world heritage site, Kaziranga NP, covers an area of 378 sq. km. Northern & Eastern boundaries of park are covered by Bramhaputra river. The park hosts two-third of the world’s Great One-horned Rhinoceros. You can see a vast expanse of tall elephant grass (ideal for Rhinos), marshland and dense tropical moist forest. Kaziranga has one of the highest densities of Tigers among protected areas of the world, though sighting one is difficult in the tall grass. The park is also known for large breeding population of Indian Elephants, Wild Buffalo and Swamp Deer.

Declared as Important Bird Area (IBA) by Birdlife International, Kaziranga has about 478 bird species including resident and migratory birds. Some important birds seen in Kaziranga NP are Bengal Florican, Spot-winged Starling, Swamp Francolin, Green-billed Malkoha, Jerdon’s Babbler, Marsh Babbler, Bristled Grassbird, Black-breasted Parrotbill, Rufous-vented Prinia, Grey-headed Fish Eagle, Grey-headed Lapwing, Hill Myna, Rufous-capped Babbler to name a few.

The park has three routes open for visitors, namely, Central, Eastern and Western. Central route is most visited one, as it covers high population of mammal species found in Kaziranga NP. Central route is also good for birds like Spot-winged Starling, Swamp Francolin etc. Eastern route, part of which goes along side huge Brahmaputra river is well known for waterfowls like Lesser-white Fronted Goose, Ferruginous and Bear’s Pochard and forest birds like Blue-naped Pitta, Green-billed Malkoha, Black-breasted Parrotbill etc.

Birding in Hoollongapar Gibbon Sanctuary, Eastern Assam

Perhaps the best known site to see India’s only Ape, the Hoolock Gibbon is situated in Jorhat district of Assam – The Hoollongapar Gibbon Sanctuary, formerly known as the Gibbon Wildlife Sanctuary. "An oasis in the desert" is the metaphor that well suits the Gibbon Wildlife Sanctuary. It is an island of dense evergreen rain forest patch in the midst of sprawling tea gardens all around. The sanctuary was officially constituted and renamed in 1997 and is approx.22 sq.kms. Set aside initially in 1881, its forests used to extend to the foothills of the Patkai mountain range. Since then, the forest has been fragmented and surrounded by tea gardens and small villages. In the early 1900s, artificial regeneration was used to develop well-stocked forest, resulting in the site's rich biodiversity.

The sanctuary has a rich biodiversity and is home to the only apes in India, the Western Hoolock Gibbon (Hoolock hoolock), and Northeastern India's only nocturnal primate – the Bengal Slow Loris. The upper canopy of the forest is dominated by the Hollong tree (Dipterocarpus macrocarpus), while the Nahar (Mesua ferrea) dominates the middle canopy. The lower canopy consists of evergreen shrubs and herbs. The Forest had been named after the species of trees - Hollong and Agar. The habitat is however, threatened by illegal logging, encroachment of human settlements, and habitat fragmentation.

Gibbon Wildlife Sanctuary is popularly known for its staggering primate community and it is one of the highest primate density areas in the world. Other primates include the Stump-tailed Macaque (Macaca arctoides), Northern Pig-tailed Macaque (Macaca leonina), Eastern Assamese Macaque (Macaca assamensis assamensis), Rhesus Macaque (Macaca mulatta), and Capped Langur (Trachypithecus pileatus). Also found at the sanctuary are Indian elephants, tigers (Panthera tigris), leopards (Panthera pardus), jungle cats (Felis chaus), wild boar (Sus scrofa), three types of civet, four types of squirrel, and several other types of mammal.

At least 230 species of birds are recorded from this small sanctuary making it a must visit for any birder visiting the nearby Kaziranga National Park. The varied birdlife here includes some North-east exotic species like Collard Treepie, Green-tailed & Ruby-cheeked Sunbird, Scarlet-backed Flowerpecker, Sultan Tit, Rufous-bellied & Large Niltava’s, Beautiful & Long-tailed Sibia, Mountain Tailorbird, Abbot’s & Marsh Babblers, Great & Oriental Pied Hornbills, Speckled & White-browed Piculet, Ashy & Purple Wood Pigeons, Red-headed Trogon, Several species of Minivets, Woodpeckers, Owls, Parakeets, Barbets, Bulbuls, Bee-eaters, Laughing Thrushes, Yuhina’s & Flycatchers……an amazing density and diversity of birds !!

Click here to see the impressive list of Birdlife in Gibbon Sanctuary….

Click on below links to see trip images by Nature India Participants...



Come, explore the amazing wildlife in Assam...

"Bogakoi Bogoli Boholai Bohise Bolukat Biyoli Bela"
.... a famous tongue twister in Assamese meaning,
"The white cranes are spreading their wings wide, sitting on the sand in the evening."


Date: 16th March 2014 (Sunday) 11.30 am to 20th March 2014 (Thrusday) aft. 4.00 pm (travel days included)

Mode of Travel :
Mumbai - Guwahati - Mumbai (by Air/Rail on personal expenses)
Local travel in jeep from Guwahati – Kaziranga – Jorhat - Guwahati (By Nature India)

From Mumbai to Guwahati & Back (To be taken care by participants themselves)

By Air:
By Air: We suggest you to book tickets for following flight;

Mumbai - Guwahati
  • Indigo Flight (only non-stop flight) No. 6E-434, on 16/03/2014 at 07.25 Hours reaching Guwahati at 10.35Hours. 
  • Jet Airways Flight No. 9W-619, on 16/03/2014 from Mumbai at 06.05 Hours reaching Guwahati at  10.30 hours.
Guwahati - Mumbai  
  • Indigo Flight (only non-stop flight) No. 6E-433, on 20/03/2014 at 17.55 Hours reaching Mumbai at 21.35Hours. 
  • Jet Airways Flight No. 9W-7014, on 20/03/2014 at 18.55 Hours reaching Mumbai at 00.10Hours.
There are other flights also available.... Please check the arrival & departure timing at Guwahati for to & fro flights.

By Rail:
One can reach Guwahati by 5647 Guwahati express, but it runs only on Fridays and takes about 53 hours :-(

*Nature India will not assist in booking for air/train tickets*

1. Sunday, 16
th March, 2014: Pick-up at Guwahati Airport at 11.30am…..Departure in jeep for Kaziranga NP. On the way stop over to see first lifer of the trip..... Stay overnight at Jupuri Ghar Resort, Kaziranga. 

2. Monday, 17th March, 2014: Kaziranga NP, morning safari in Eastern range...return to resort for lunch... evening safari in Central range - Return to Jupuri Ghar Resort, Kaziranga for night stay. 

3. Tuesday, 18th March 2014: Early morning Safari in Central range ... Lunch...proceed to Gibbon Sanctuary --- Evening bird-watching in Gibbon Sanctuary - Stay in Jorhat 

4. Wednesday, 19th March, 2014: Full Day  bird & butterfly watching at Hoollangapar Gibbon Sanctuary... Overnight Stay in Jorhat 

5. Thursday, 20th March, 2014: Early morning bird watching at Hoolangapar Gibbon Sanctuary - breakfast - Proceed to Guwahati and reach by 04.30pm.
More details on the iterinary will be given to those who register....

Trip charges : Rs.19800/- (Guwahati to Guwahati)….

Includes Stay in Twin sharing basis in Jupuri Ghar resort in Kaziranga and hotel in Jorhat, Pick-up & Drop from Guwahati Airport to Kaziranga / Jorhat, Local transport by Jeeps, Park entry charges, Safari by 4x4 open gypsies, local guide charges, All meals (Veg. / Non-Veg food), Articles on Gibbon WLS & Kaziranga NP and bird checklist, on board mineral water and snacks………

This does not include any other charges and also any individual camera charges ....Individuals will have to pay additional charges if any to the forest dept. as per the rules.

Stay Arrangement

Jupuri Ghar Resort, Kaziranga (Twin Sharing stay)

 PS: Unfortunately, if the flight from Guwahati to Mumbai is cancelled due to bad weather or for any other reasons, Nature India will not to be responsible for making stay arrangements. Although, Nature India will assist for hotel bookings.

Registration: You can register by sending a confirmatory mail to natureindiatours@gmail.com and by paying a non refundable Advance of Rs.9000/- after getting a registration mail from us. (The seats will only be confirmed after receiving the advance amount) …..the remaining amount can be sent by 5th Feb'2014.......Please Register at the earliest as only 12 seats are available. 

Payment terms:

Phase 1 - Rs. 9000/- as non-refundable Advance to be paid immediately. We need to forward this as an advance for logistics & to block our seats.
Phase 2 - Remaining amount by 05th Feb'2014.

Resource Persons: Mr.Adesh Shivkar & Mr.Mandar Khadilkar

Mode of Payment: You can either
  1. Transfer the advance money directly to HDFC A/c : (please call Mandar @ 9930318665 for HDFC A/c no.) .... please mention your name, date and other details….
  2. Courier a cheque of Rs.9000/- to the following address
    Name: Mr. Mandar Khadilkar

    Address: Flat No.2, Blossom Apartments, Below Shantighan Hospital, Kandarpada, Dahisar-West, Mumbai-400068.

Please Note:
  1. Once registered, the advance amount of Rs. 9000/- is strictly non-refundable
  2. Alcohol & Smoking is strictly prohibited on
    Nature India
  3. This is primarily a Bird-watching trip
  4. Nature India will not be responsible for any days lost due to bad weather. 
  5. Kindly register on this trip only if you agree with Nature India's rules and policies

Please revert on natureindiatours@gmail.com ID, in case you need any clarification.

For any other queries we are available on 9869071091 / 9820455713(Adesh) or 9930318665 / 9967518665 (Mandar).........

Hope to see you for this wonderful trip

Thanks for your patience.

Warm Regards,

Adesh Shivkar & Mandar Khadilkar
Nature India
Appreciate, Respect & Conserve

Friday, December 27, 2013

Tal Chappar and Bikaner, Rajasthan - Raptors Galore (26th Feb'14 to 1st Mar'14)

Date: 26th Feb'14 08.00 am to 1st Mar, 2014 12.30 pm (travel days excluded). The bookings for our Super-Hot Destination Tal Chappar Wild Life Sanctuary & Bikaner - Bird- watching trip are on…..book your seats now (see the details at the end)..... Tal Chappar is an exciting Destination with a unique Grassland habitat surrounded by Desert that has recently come to limelight because of its Rarities....while Bikaner is wellknown for hundreds of Vultures and Eagles .... An offbeat destination that surprises any birder with its amazing quality and quantity of birdlife.....

TAAL CHAAPAR - A Grassland Oasis, Rajasthan

"Kesariya Baalam Aavo Ni, Padharo Mhare Des" this sign can be seen throughout the Shekhawati region of Rajasthan, to signify that THIS is the gateway to India. Perhaps this sign is best applied for the Migratory birds that enter the mainland India through this corridor..............
There are several incredible Bird-watching destinations in India.... some are frequently visited for their abundance and variety, while some are visited for the endemic species that they offer. However, there are very few destinations which can be termed as "Hidden treasures" and which have been seldom visited due to either ignorance or poor logistics..... Amongst them Tal Chappar WLS is on Top of the list.... It is truely an Oasis for Birds surrounded by Desert.

It is only in recent times that Tal Chappar has come to limelight, due to some credible work by Rajasthan's forest Dept. especially by the current DFO Mr.Surat Singh Poonia. He has transformed this place from a dry featureless scrubland to a bird rich habitat where amazing varieties and Rare species of birds can now be encountered.

The Tal Chappar sanctuary is located on the fringe of the Great Indian Desert and is Located at a distance of 220 km from Jaipur. It is a small but rich wildlife sanctuary in Churu district of Rajasthan between Ratangarh & Sujjangarh. The word "Tal" means plane land which is actually a flat saline depression with open grassland scattered with acacia and prosopis trees which give it an appearance of a typical Savanna. Tal Chappar Sanctuary is known for its enchanting natural beauty and a unique fragile ecosystem spread across 719 Ha. And is more famous for the amazing population of Black Bucks, having highest density in India harboring more than 2000 of these elegant antelopes.

The location of the sanctuary makes it suitable as a passage stop for many migratory birds travelling to India. Thousands of birds of various species either stop-over here on their passage to mainland India or spend most of the winter months in this bio-diversity rich grassland habitat.

Rarities Galore: Tal Chappar WLS has especially shot up in prominence due to some of the rare birds recorded here that include Yellow-eyed PigeonsStolickza’s BushchatSpotted CreeperLaggar FalconSpanish Sparrow, Eastern Imperial Eagle, Flocks of Demoiselle Cranes, European Turtle Dove, Lesser Kestrel, Rufous-tailed Scrub Robin, Spotted Flycatcher, Singing Bushlark, Eurasian Skylark, Water Pipit, Sociable Lapwings, Black-crowned Sparrow Lark, Raven etc.

The bounty of bird, spiny-tailed Lizards and rodent population also ensures incredible variety of Raptors including Greater & Indian Spotted Eagles, Tawny, Imperial & Steppe EaglesShort-toed, Booted and Bonelli’s Eagle, Harriers, Falcons, Sparrowhawks, White-eyed Buzzard , Indian Eagle-owl and several species of Vultures.

The park also harbours several other migratory and resident birds in good numbers including collard Doves, Greater Short-toed, Rufous-tailed, Crested, Indian Bush, Bimaculated and Oriental Sky Larks, Peafowls, Wheatears, Pipits, FrancolinsQuails, Wyrnecks, woodpeckers, Bee-eaters, coursers, Cuckoos, Warblers, Wagtails, Shrikes, Rollers and owls.

The Saltpans near the North-western corner of the Park attracts a number of waders and other waterbirds including Sandpipers, Godwits, Avocets, Ibis, Storks, Stints, Egrets, Herons etc. which adds significantly to the list of this unique landscape.

Apart from the rich avifauna, Tal Chappar also hosts several other fauna that can be encountered easily including huge nos. of Blackbucks, NeelgaiDesert Jerbils, Desert Fox and Desert CatIndian FoxHedgehogs, Mongoose, Spiny-tailed Lizard.

It is just amazing to see the plethora of fauna in a land otherwise known as impoverished desert….. The best time to visit the Tal Chappar Wildlife Sanctuary in Churu is from September to March.

(Some of the images in this blog are courtesy: Mr.Nirav Bhatt)

BIKANER -  Where Eagles & Vultures Rule the Sky

Do you know the only place in India, where the critically endangered species of Vultures are still found in thousands or Aquila Eagles cover the skies in huge flocks ????..... there is only one place - Bikaner 

Bikaner is a city in the northwest of the state of Rajasthan in northern India. It is located 330 kms northwest of the state capital, Jaipur. The city was founded by rajput Rao Bika in 1486 and from its small origins it has developed into the fifth largest city in Rajasthan.... it is more famous for sweets and snacks (or namkeens in Hindi).

One of the reasons why such huge congregations of Vultures and Eagles are still found in Bikaner is because of the Bisnoi community that dominate this place and their large no. of livestock. The people here do not send their cattle to abattoirs and instead dump the dead animals in the carcass dumping yard situated in a place close to Bikaner. Hundreds of dead animals are brought in here from the nearby places as a result the Vultures and scavenger Eagles are lured to this spot. One should see it to believe it. Literally hundreds of Steppe Eagles and Egyptian Vultures pour over the area like crows in our dumpyards. The trees are full with these raptors.

Apart from hundreds of Steppe Eagles and thousands of Egyptian vultures, there is a fair sprinkling of Tawny, Eastern Imperial and Greater Spotted Eagles..... along with Eurasian Griffons, Cinereous Vultures, Long-legged Buzzards, Laggar, Red-necked & Peregrine Falcons,  etc.

This lesser known place is also home to one of the globally threatened species – Yellow-eyed Pigeons. The nos. Of this species here is amazing and they too come here in hundreds..... a significant world-wide population.

The surrounding region also holds good bird species like Desert & Indian Coursers, Chestnut-bellied Sandgrouse, Black-bellied Sandgrouse, Variable, Isabelline & Desert Wheatears, the rare Stolickza’s Bushchat,  Black Redstart, Crested Larks, Bimaculated Larks, Black-crowned Sparrowlarks, Punjab Raven, Demoiselle Cranes, Indian Peafowl, Tawny Pipit, Long-billed Pipit and numerous other species. 

Nature India has organized an exclusive Birdwatching trip to this paradise from 26th February, 2014 to 1st Mar, 2014 (travel days excluded). We shall cover The Grasslands of Tal Chappar, The surrounding Scrubland and Carcass dumping ground in Bikaner.

read our last years experience...


Have a look at some of the Trip reports & photoblogs on Tal Chappar WLS, Rajasthan


Tour Itinerary & Other Details:

Date: 26th Feb'14 morning 08.00 am to 1st Mar'14 eve 12.00 pm (travel days excluded)

Mode of Travel : Tavera Jeeps (From Jaipur to Tal Chappar to Bikaner) 

Overnight train travel can be booked from Mumbai..... however since it is a busy sector, the train bookings should be done soon to get the desired train and class .... there are several trains available for Jaipur from Mumbai....Nature India can ASSIST in bookings if required.

Rough Tour Itinerary:( Ex.Mumbai)
25th Feb'14 (Tuesday): Departure from Mumbai to Jaipur 12216 +DEE Garibrath Express. at 12:55 Hrs (from Bandra) or 12979 Jaipur Sup Fast Exp @ 15:45.

26th Feb'14 (Wednesday): Arrival in Jaipur (7.10am) - Breakfast - Proceed to Tal Chappar Sanctuary - check-in hotel at Sujjangarh-  Birdwatching in the park in evening - Night stay at Hotel in Sujjangad (10 kms from Tal-chhapar WLS)

27th Feb'14 (Thursday): Early morning bird watching @ Tal Chappar for Grassland species - Lunch - Proceed to the Scrubland and Saltpans towards North of Park and Cow shed area -  Return to Hotel in Sujjangad - Dinner and Night Stay.

28th Feb'14 (Friday): Early morning check-out and proceed to Bikaner city (160 kms) - Breakfast on the way - Visit the Bikaner carcass dumpyard for Eagles and Vultures - Lunch - Continue birding till evening - Checkin hotel in Bikaner for night stay.

1st Mar'14 (Saturday): Early morning Checkout from Hotel and visit other birding sites in Bikaner to see Yellow-eyed Pigeons, Desert Coursers, Black-crowned Sparrowlarks, Wheatears etc - Lunch and proceed to board 12489 +BKN Dadar SF Exp @ 13:50 from Bikaner

2nd Mar'14 (Sunday): Arrive in Mumbai on 2nd Mar'14 by 12.00 pm.


Trip charges (Jaipur to Bikaner only)............. Rs.15400/-

Includes A/C stay in a hotel in Sujjangad on twin sharing basis with attached toilet and in a Homestay in Bikaner in Non-AC rooms on twin sharing, Travel by AC Tavera Jeeps - Jaipur to Tal Chappar to Bikaner travel, Park entry charges, vegetarian food , Guide charges, Information articles & on board snacks and mineral water…….

This does not include travel charges from Mumbai to Jaipur and Bikaner to Mumbai, Photography fees or any charges other than the above.

Group Size: Max.8 persons only

How to Registration: You can register by sending a confirmation mail to natureindiatours@gmail.com and by paying a non refundable Advance of Rs.7000/- after our registration confirmation on e-mail…..The remaining amount will be collected on the day of travel.

Kindly register soon as the train bookings are not easily available in this sector.

Stay Arrangement:
(In Tal Chappar) At BDS International, Near Sujjangad, Churu District in AC 
rooms on twin sharing basis. Note: This is a remote place in Rajasthan, where the facilities are extremely basic.... and this hotel is the only option for staying near the sanctuary.....however, the Hotel is clean and food is hygenic. the hotel is situated approx. 10 kms from Tal Chappar Sanctuary.
(In Bikaner) Vinayak Homestay, Bikaner

Resource Person: Mr.Adesh Shivkar, Mr.Mandar Khadilkar 

Mode of Payment: You can either
1) Transfer the advance money directly to the HDFC A/c (Please send a mail for details).. please mention your name, date and other details….
2) Courier a cheque of Rs.7000/- as advance amount to the following address

Name: Mr. Adesh Shivkar
Address: D-8, The Adi Janata Society, Behind HP Petrolpump, Near Sion Signal, Sion (East), Mumbai - 400022

Please Note:
1) Once registered, the amount of Rs. 7000/- is strictly non-refunadable
2) Alcohol & Smoking is strictly prohibited on Nature India Tours
3) Nest photography or any collection of specimens is prohibited
4) Kindly register on this trip only if you agree with  Nature India's rules and policies

Please revert on natureindiatours@gmail.com ID, in case you need any clarification …..

For any other queries we are available on 9869071091 or 9820455713 (Adesh) or 9930318665 or 967518665 (Mandar).

Thanks for your patience.

Looking forward for a very rewarding trip with you all !!

Warm Regards,
Adesh Shivkar & Mandar Khadilkar
Nature India
Appreciate, Respect and Conserve

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