Suntalekhola (Southeastern edge of Neora Valley National Park) & Samsing
Suntalekhola is situated in West Bengal at an altitude of 750 metres. It is 75 kilometres from Bagdogra Airport. We did our birding on the south-eastern fringe of the Neora Valley National Park. A trail leads to the left from the first bend of the tar road approached from the bungalows and ends at Lava after a three-day trek (which needs permission from the Wildlife Department). The trail leads steeply through thick broadleaved tropical and semi-tropical forests via Mouchouki, Rechila Top (4500m), Alubari and Pankhasari Ridge. Four double room cottages with non-attached toilets are available at Suntalay Khola Wilderness Camp. Some birds seen here are Grey Nightjar, Orange-bellied Leafbird, Maroon Oriole, Grey-chinned and Short-billed Minivets, Greater Racket-tailed Drongo, Slaty-backed Forktail, Sultan Tit, Ashy Bulbul, Yellow-vented, Golden-spectacled and Chestnut-crowned Warblers, Greater Necklaced Laughingthrush, Long-tailed Sibia, White-naped and Black-chinned Yuhinas.Accomodation at West Bengal Forest Devlopment Coprporation Lodges. Contact Helptourism for reservations.
Samsing is the Range Office of the Neora Valley National Park, 3kms before Suntalekhola. Some mature broadleaved trees and some scrub surround the Range Office and the Forest Rest House. It is generally good for bee-eaters and orioles amongst other species. Some birds seen here are Chestnut-headed Bee-eater, Green-billed Malkoha, Thick-billed Warbler.Accomodation at Gorumara Jungle Camp. Contact Helptourism for reservations.
At 600m, Bindu is a small village on the border with Bhutan. It is 80kms from Siliguri and has developed based on a hydroelectric (hydel) power project. The River Jaldhaka, forming the India – Bhutan border, provides some good birds and can be viewed well from the barrage. Some birds seen here are Eurasian Wryneck, Crested Kingfisher, Brown Dipper, Hodgson's Redstart, Slaty-backed Forktail, Little Forktail, Rufous-necked Laughingthrush. Accomodation at Private Lodges. Contact Helptourism for reservations.
Todey is a village one hours drive from Bindu and is situated at an altitude of 1300 – 1500m. It comprises of secondary forest cover and extensive cardamom cultivation. Some birds seen here are Large Hawk Cuckoo, Green Magpie, Large Niltava, Scaly-breasted Wren Babbler, Black-throated Sunbird. Accomodation at Lodges in Bindu. Contact Helptourism for reservations.
Gajoldoba (Teesta Barrage)
Gazoldoba is an hour’s drive from Siliguri and is a large barrage on the River Teesta. It has an excellent wintering population of ducks, including all regular plus a few unusual species, and a few waders. It was a good place to see migrating and wintering raptors, plus grebes. Some birds seen here are Common Shelduck, Falcated Duck, Garganey, Red-crested Pochard, Ferruginous Pochard, Lesser Sand Plover, Northern Lapwing, Osprey, Western and Eastern Marsh Harriers, Hen Harrier, Peregrine, Great Crested and Black-necked Grebes. Accomodation at Gorumara Jungle Camp or Siliguri. Contact Helptourism for reservations
Karmi Farm is a small private property owned by a British expatriate (see www.karmifarm.com). The farm is located about 2½ hours drive from Darjeeling via Bijonbari. It is at an altitude of 1500m and has moderate broadleaved tree cover and cardamom plantations. It hosts some good birds such as Grey-throated Babbler and Speckled Piculet and is a very pleasant, relaxing place to stay. Particularly recommended is the homemade tongba, a mild alcoholic drink made from millet and drunk from a bamboo tankard! Some birds seen here are Speckled Piculet, Northern Goshawk, Black Eagle, Rufous-gorgeted Flycatcher, Velvet-fronted Nuthatch, Yellow-browed Tit, Black-eared Shrike Babbler, Blue-winged, Chestnut-tailed and Red-tailed Minlas, Nepal House Martin, Fire-tailed Sunbird. Accomodation at Karmi Farm. Contact Helptourism for reservations.
Kalijhora is a small area of forest on the northern edge of the Mahananda Wildlife Sanctuary, at an altitude of 300m. It is one hours drive from Bagdogra. A small Forest Rest House and a PWD bungalow are the only places to stay nearby. Its a good place to see several lowland forest species. Some birds seen here are Oriental Pied Hornbill, White-rumped Vulture, Greater Spotted Eagle, Steppe Eagle, Black Stork, Grey-backed Shrike, Maroon Oriole, Short-billed Minivet, Brown Dipper, Orange-flanked Bush Robin, White-rumped Shama, Hill Myna, Yellow-vented Warbler, Striped Tit Babbler, Crimson Sunbird, Streaked Spiderhunter. Accomodation at Forest Rest House & PWD Lodge. Contact Helptourism for reservations.
Also visit our dedicated birding website EastIndiaBirding.com