The State of Sikkim is situated between Nepal in the east, Tibet in the North and Bhutan in the West. Of the 590 species of birds seen here, most belong to the Eastern Himalayas and Palearctic species. Due to inaccesibilty, most of the birding is restricted to southern and western Sikkim. Birding areas are around Gangtok (Fhambong Lho), Tsongo Lake, Ravangla, Pelling (Pemeyangtse Gompha & Sanga Chelling Monastery), Kechipelri Lake and Yuksom.
Pemayangtse is just 1km from Pelling. A trail opposite the Mount Pandim Hotel encircles the Pemayangtse Gompa (monastery). The trail is dark and wet and provides a good chance of seeing some of the laughingthrushes and other skulking forest birds. Some of the birds seen here are Mountain Hawk Eagle, Ultramarine Flycatcher, Golden Bush Robin, Rusty-fronted and Hoary-throated Barwings, Pygmy Wren Babbler, Fire-tailed Myzornis, Rufous-breasted and Maroon Accentors.
The Sangachoeling Gompa is about 2kms trek from Pelling helipad. The uneven trail is quite open at the beginning and then goes through dark and moist forest for the last ½ km. It is a splendid trail for birds and can also be taken well beyond the monastery itself. Some of the birds seen here are Mountain Hawk Eagle, Steppe Eagle, Ultramarine Flycatcher, Large Niltava, Chestnut-crowned Warblers, Grey-sided and Black-faced Laughingthrushes, Slender-billed Scimitar Babblers, White-browed Shrike Babbler, Fire-tailed Myzornis, Rufous-breasted Accentor, Dark-breasted Rosefinch.
Rabdentse, near Sikkim, is now an archaeological site and was the second capital of the Kingdom of Sikkim. The footpath leading up to the ruins passes through good forest and scrub. The scrub at the rear of the throne proved a good spot to see hunting parties in action and the high viewpoint was a good place to observe migrating Steppe Eagles. Some of the birds seen here are Steppe Eagle, Striated Bulbul, Chestnut-crowned Warbler, Scaly-breasted Wren Babbler, Rufous-capped Babbler, Black-eared Shrike Babbler, Dark-breasted Rosefinch.
Khecheopari Lake, Sikkim
Khecheopari Lake is a sacred lake 29kms from Pelling and at an altitude of 1800m. Undisturbed forests and reeds surround the lake. The path leading to the lake was good for tesias and wren-babblers, although both were heard more often than seen. Some of the birds seen here are Mallard, Goosander, Bay Woodpecker, Golden-fronted Leafbird, Slaty-backed Flycatcher, Hodgson's Redstart, Chestnut-headed Tesia, Little Bunting.
Maenam Wildlife Sanctuary, Sikkim
Maenam is approximately 65kms from Gangtok. The Sanctuary starts from 2575m and climbs up to 3120m. The forest is thick with oak and rhododendron. It is a home of Himalayan Black Bear and Red Panda, and has a good population of Satyr Tragopan. Some of the birds seen here are Kalij Pheasant, Ashy Wood Pigeon, Broad-billed Warbler, Pygmy Wren Babbler, Hoary-throated Barwing, Fire-tailed Myzornis, Rufous-breasted and Maroon-backed Accentors, Dark-breasted and Pink-browed Rosefinches.
Fambong Lho Wildlife Sanctuary, Sikkim
Fambong Lho is 25kms from Gangtok and covers an area of 51.76 square kilometres. The main vegetation here is oak, rhododendron and thick bamboo and ferns. It is a great place to see several species of laughingthrush including Red-faced Liocichla. Some of the birds seen here are Golden Bush Robin, Striated and Mountain Bulbuls, Brownish-flanked and Grey-sided Bush Warblers, Yellow-browed Warbler, several Laughingthrushes including Blue-winged, Black-faced and Red-faced Liocichla.
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Nearest Railhead: New Jalpaiguri
Nearest Airport: Bagdogra.
Approx travelling time : Gangtok/Rabongla/Pelling/Yuksom is 4 to 6 hours drive from New Jalpaiguri/Bagdogra
Accommodation: Mainly private hotels and resorts, however birders in Khangchendzonga National Park area have essentially to put up in trekkers' huts or tents.
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