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Corbett, Binsar and Nainital
Indian Subcontinent is one of the major birding destinations in south Asia. The region has almost 1300 bird species to offer to the avid birder. Himalayan foothills constitute ideal mix of habitats suitable to a large variety of bird species. This 9 days birding tour takes you from the bird-filled Sal (Shorea robusta) forests and riverine grasslands of Corbett National Park to the Oak-Rhododendron forests of Binsar Wildlife Sanctuary and the beautiful mountainous hill station of Nainital. The area has to offer more than 750 species of birds in addition to various mammals, reptiles and butterflies that can be seen in the wilds of Himalayan foothills. It is also a great experience to observe different facets of India as you travel through the land.
Delhi- Kumerian, Corbett
Morning arrive by flight to New Delhi. Met on arrival and transferred by coach, to the hotel for wash & change.
Later leave for Corbett National Park(296 kms, 6 hrs). The drive from Delhi to Kumerian gives you the opportunity to observe the beautiful Indian landscape and many roadside birds can be spotted. Birds you can see from your coach may include Common Kingfisher, Rose-Ringed Parakeet, Rock Pigeon, Eurasian Collared Dove, White-breasted Water hen, Common Sandpiper, Black-Winged Stilt, Red-Wattled Lapwing, Black-shouldered Kite, Black Kite, Cattle Egret, Indian Pond Heron, Common Myna, Bank Myna, Red-Vented Bulbul, Jungle Babbler and Grey Wagtail.
Enroute enjoy a stop at Garh Mukteshwar on the banks of the Holy River Ganges, which can be very rewarding. 1-2 hours of halt is recommended to check the birdlife on the banks of the River. Among the various species to be seen are Ruddy Shellduck, Indian Cormorant, Palas' Fishing Eagle, Black-headed Gull, Brown Headed Gull, Black-bellied Tern, Indian Skimmer, Common Stonechat, Common Babbler, Sand Lark, and Indian Silverbill. The river is also home to the rare River Dolphins. Spotting one or two of these beautiful aquatic mammals can be very exciting.
Arrive at Kumerian via Ramnagar, a small town situated at a distance of 250 km from Delhi, on the western bank of River Kosi is the gateway to the Corbett country. Interesting birds like Ibisbill, Common Merganser, Crested Kingfisher, Great Thick-Knee, Long- billed Plover, Western Reef Egret and Wallcreeper are known to be sighted from the banks of River Kosi close to the town. 1-2 hours of birding is recommended before proceeding to Kumerian Reserve Forest situated 30 km north of Ramnagar.
On arrival check in to your resort for two nights Overnight at the resort
A birding tour to Corbett is incomplete without a two nights' halt at Kumerian. Morning proceed for full day birding in Kumerian.Birding in the Kosi riverbed and the nearby streams can be very exciting as there are possibilities of finding Speckled Piculet, Lesser Yellownape, Greater Yellownape, Streak-throated Woodpecker, Himalayan Flameback, Great Barbet, Lineated Barbet, Oriental Pied Hornbill, Slaty-Headed Parakeet, Tawny Fishing Owl, Brown Hawk Owl, Pallas's Fish Eagle, Crested Serpent Eagle, Mountain Hawk Eagle, Gold-Fronted Leafbird, Orange-Bellied Leafbird, Red-Billed Blue Magpie, Grey Treepie, Black-hooded Oriole, Small Minivet, Spangled Drongo, Large Woodshrike, Blue Whistling Thrush, Grey-winged Blackbird, Slaty-backed Flycatcher, Rufous-Gorgeted Flycatcher, Snowy-Browed Flycatcher, Slaty Blue Flycatcher, Rufous-bellied Niltava, Grey-headed Canary Flycatcher, Little Forktail, Spotted Forktail, Velvet-Fronted Nuthatch, Black Bulbul, Grey-breasted Prinia, Tickell's Leaf Warbler, Hume's Warbler, Greenish Warbler, Golden-Spectacled Warbler, White-throated Laughingthrush, White-crested Laughingthrush, Black-Chinned Babbler, Blue-Winged Minla, White-Bellied Yuhina and Green-Tailed Sunbird. Some of the very special birds to look for in this area are Brown Dipper, Slaty-backed Forktail and Black-throated Sunbird.
Evening at leisure.
Overnight at the resort
Morning transfer by surface to Dhikala (34 kms,4 hrs). On arrival check in to the Dhikala Forest Resthouse for two nights; situated in the heart of the National Park. Set up in 1936 as the first national park of India and situated in the foothills of Himalayas in the Siwalik ranges, Corbett National Park attracts sub-Himalayan species in the winters. Long distance migrants also spend their winters here. Many passage migrant species use Corbett's protected habitat as resting place on their journey south and on their return journey to far north.
Dhikala is situated on the bank of River Ramgang in the Patli Dun valley. The scenic beauty of the place is awesome. The riverbed is more than a kilometer broad and grasslands, which attract herds of Elephants, Spotted Deer and Hog Deer, surround the resthouse. Among the main mammals to be seen around Dhikala are Tiger, Leopard, Jungle Cat, Indian Elephant, Wild Boar, Rhesus Macaque, Hanuman Langur, Golden Jackal, Sambar, Indian Muntjac, Grey Mongoose and Small Indian Civit. With some amount of luck it is possible to spot Eurasian Otters in the River Ramganga. Sightings of Marsh crocodile and the attractive Fish-eating Crocodile are almost guaranteed. A ride on the back of the domestic elephant from Dhikala is the best way to track the elusive Tiger.
Major birding attractions at Dhikala are Black Francolin, Red Junglefowl, Kalij Pheasant, Indian Peafowl, Brown-capped Pygmy Woodpecker, Scaly-bellied Woodpecker, Greater Flameback, Great Slaty Woodpecker, Blue-throated Barbet, Great Hornbill, Dollarbird, Stork-billed Kingfisher, Blue-bearded Bee-Eater, Green-billed Malkoha, Lesser Coucal, Red-breasted Parakeet, Crested Tree Swift, Brown Fish Owl, Jungle Owlet, Large-tailed Nightjar, Red Collared Dove, Emerald Dove, Pin-tailed Green Pigeon, Ruddy-breasted Crake, Long-toed Stint, Great Thick-Knee, Long-billed Plover, Pallas's Gull, Osprey, Lesser Fish Eagle, Himalayan Griffon, Eurasian Griffon, Cinereous Vulture, Short-toed Snake Eagle, Hen Harrier, Besra, Tawny Eagle, Rufous-bellied Eagle, Changeable Hawk Eagle, Collared Falconet, Common Green Magpie, Ashy Woodswallow, Large Cuckooshrike, Short-billed Minivet, Yellow-bellied Fantail, Verditer Flycatcher, Small Niltava, White-tailed Rubythroat, Desert Wheatear, Brahminy Starling, Bar-tailed Treecreeper, Ashy Bulbul, Zitting Cisticola, Aberrant Bush Warbler, Grey-sided Bush Warbler, Dusky Warbler, Smoky Warbler, Lemon-rumped Warbler, Greenish Warbler, Grey-Hooded Warbler, Puff-Throated Babbler, Rusty-cheeked Scimitar Babbler, Red-billed Leiothrix, Indian Bushlark, Oriental Skylark, Crimson Sunbird, Chestnut-shouldered Petronia, Yellow Wagtail, Long-billed Pipit, Crested Bunting, White-capped Bunting and Chestnut-eared Bunting.
Corbett Tiger Reserve/National Park
Morning and afternoon go for safari drives to the core area of the Corbett Tiger Reserve.
Morning enjoy a safari at Dhikala. Later move out of the park on a birding pace to Kumerian for Lunch. From Kumerian it is 4-5 hours(135 kms)drive to Binsar Wildlife Sanctuary. Drive from Kumerian to Binsar is steep climb and full of birding opportunities. Grey Bushchats, Himalayan Bulbuls, Black Bulbuls, Blue-capped Rock Thrush, Pale-billed Flowerpecker and Blue-Headed Barbets are common birds. With any luck we may have our first sighting of Lammergeier. There can be many Himalayan Griffon, Eurasian Griffon and Steppe Eagles in the sky. By the time we reach our destination it will be dark.
On arrival check into the Tourist rest House for one night. Overnight at the resort
Binsar Wildlife Sanctuary is situated at a distance of 25 km. from the hill town of Almora. The elevation ranges from 1500-2450 meters. Binsar is a protected area covering 45 Sq. Km and from the gate of the Sanctuary. The area initially runs through beautiful Chir Pine forest offering wonderful birding opportunities. The Chir Pine forest makes way for the Mixed Oak-Rhododendron forest. As the road runs along the side of the hill, visibility is good. Where the motor road ends one can take a two km birding trek to the Zero Point, the highest point in Binsar. The trek runs through thick mixed forest but offers good birding. From Zero point one can view the Himalayas and the beautiful valleys around are a treat to the eyes.
An early morning birding excursion may result in sightings of Koklass
Pheasant, one of the rare Himalayan Pheasants. The area happens to fall on
the historic range of elusive Western Tragopan. Among the interesting
birds in the area are Golden Eagle, Black Eagle, Red-headed Vulture,
Common Kestrel, Wedge-tailed Green Pigeon, Slaty-headed Parakeet, Collared
Owlet, Grey Nightjar, Great Barbet, Rufous Woodpecker, Ashy Drongo,
White-browed Shrike Babbler, Chestnut-tailed Minla, Alpine Accenter,
Rufous-naped Tit, White-throated Tit, Eurasian Treecreeper, Eurasian Tree
Sparrow, Red-mantled Rosefinch and Red-headed Bulfinch.
Some of the common birds that may be seen in Binsar are Kalij Pheasant, Himalayan Woodpecker, Asian Barred Owlet, Oriental Turtle Dove, Long-tailed Minivet, Chestnut-bellied Rock Thrush, Grey-winged Blackbird, White-tailed Nuthatch, Spot-winged Tit, Green-backed Tit, Striated Prinia, Chestnut-crowned Laughingthrush and Rufous Sibia.
Binsar is also home to a healthy population of Leopards. Other mammals found in the area are Black Himalayan Bear, Yellow-throated Marten, Wild Boar, Goral, Barking Deer, Kashmir Flying Squirrel and Indian Porcupine.
Morning you will be transferred by surface to Nainital(17 kms,1 hr form Sat-tal) via Almora and Bhowali for 3 hours to birding valleys of Mehragaon and Sat-tal(77 kms,2hrs 30 mins from Binsar) The drive is smooth and at birding pace. Mehragaon, just before Sat-tal is an ideal birding location. Some of the rare birds like Black-Breasted Accenter and Siberian Rubythroat can be seen here. Sat-tal is a densely wooded area having a group of seven small lakes. A day's birding may produce a mix of bird species like Rusty-cheeked Scimitar Babbler, Speckled Piculet, Brown-fronted Woodpecker, White-browed Shrike Babbler, Long-billed Thrush, Scaly-breasted Wren Babbler, Chestnut-Headed Tesia, Golden Bush Robin, Spotted Forktail, Scaly Thrush, Rufous-Breasted Accenter, Vinaceous Rosefinch and Fire-fronted Serin. In the evening the group drives for 1 Hr. to the lovely lake city of Nainital.
On arrival check in to the resort for two nights. Overnight at the resort
Nainital & Mangoli Valley
Another day's birding at Nainital and Mangoli Valley(12 kms,1 hr form Nainital) can be very rewarding. A morning trek for two hours around the hotel in Nainital may produce Great Barbet, Eurasian Jay, Black-headed Jay, Long-tailed Thrush, Plain-Backed Thrush, Pied Thrush, Chestnut Thrush, Chestnut-Belied Rock Thrush, Slaty Blue Flycatcher, Orange-Flanked Bush Robin, Black-Lored Tit, Mountain Bulbul, Black-Chinned Babbler, Fire-breasted Flowerpecker, Mrs. Gould's Sunbird, Russet Sparrow, Olive-backed Pipit, Yellow-breasted Greenfinch, Pink-browed Rosefinch, and Rock Bunting. If one is lucky one may come across Common Hill Partridge, Chir Pheasant or rarely seen Koklass Pheasant.
Mangoli Valley is a beautiful narrow valley situated at 45 minutes distance from Nainital. The rest of the day can be spent here as this place has the reputation of throwing surprises like the rare Scarlet Finch.
Some of the birds to be seen around are Lammergeier, Lesser Spotted Eagle, Greater Spotted Eagle, Golden Eagle, Steppe Eagle, Mountain Hawk Eagle, Common Kestrel, Brown-fronted Woodpecker, House Swift, Grey-backed Shrike, Long-billed Thrush, Blue-throated Redstart, Brownish-Flanked Bush Robin, Long-billed Thrush, Mistle Thrush, Chestnut-headed Tesia, Aberrant Bush Warbler, Smokey Warbler, Golden-spectacled Warbler, Buff-Barred Warbler, Lemon-Rumped Warbler, Ashy-throated Warbler, Grey-hooded Warbler, Goldcrest, Striated Laughingthrush, Rufous-chinned Laughingthrush, Green Shrike Babbler, Scaly-breasted Wren Babbler, Upland Pipit, Rufous-breasted Accentor, Black-throated Accentor, Spot-winged Grosbeak and Vinaceous Rosefinch.
Overnight at the resort.
Morning you will transfer by surface to New Delhi(300 kms,7 hrs 30 mins). On the way we can stop for an hour at River Ganges once again to check the species we may have missed on our first halt here. A couple of rare River Dolphins may also show up as a bonus. We reach New Delhi in the evening and check in to a Luxury hotel for wash & change. After dinner, we depart for the airport to catch our flight back to home.
Itinerary recommended for
Individual birders as well as groups of up to 18-20 pax
Though the area covered under the given itinerary is known for good bird sightings throughout the year we recommend, for the benefit of the western birder, the winter months from November till March. This is the time most of the altitudinal migrant species as well as long distant migrants can be seen in the foothills of Himalayas.
Mode of Transportation
Depending on the size of the group, from light vehicles to 21 seated
buses. Bigger vehicles are not allowed inside Binsar Wildlife Sanctuary.
In Corbett National Park 4x4 petrol-driven Gipsys will be provided for
transfers, wildlife viewing and birding.