7 places to go if you are an avid birdwatcher, a great checklist for nature enthusiasts
Bird watching is more than a simple hobby, it is a way of life. It does not require expensive equipment or hard-core training but demands discipline, passion along with innate curiosity with a chance of getting outdoor from urban life and close to nature. One may calmly wait by a water body with a pair of binoculars to get close to the beaks searching for food, or run to catch a glimpse of the fleeting wings and capture the moment in the camera in hand, but the action is rewarded with magnificent colourful feathers and the beautiful songs of the avian world which is a marvel of Mother Nature herself. With a collection of diverse forest eco-systems, Bengal and her neighbours present a chance for the birdwatchers to experience a plethora of unique species of birds and other wildlife from up close in these following amazing places.
01 – Lolaygaon
A peaceful Lepcha Village near the famous Neora Valley forest are, Lolaygaon enchants visitors not only with a 180 degree panoramic Kanchenjunga view but also with the beautiful canopy of Cyprus and Oak trees which surrounds the village. Lolaygaon Valley Retreat is the perfect place to stay with fresh organic meals and to take a hike in search for birds like Mountain Hawk-eagle, Himalayan cuckoo, or a nightjar.
02 – Tarkhola
A small mountain hamlet tucked near Kalimpong, amazing view of River Teesta and the Kanchenjunga, this place is perfect for a break from the daily life and relax with a chance of an encounter with birds like Blue-whistling thrush, Himalayan Bulbul or an Ashy Drongo. Tarkhola Village Homestay offers a great garden view and the chance of birding. Also, paragliding at nearby Delo can be a great experience too.
Surrounded by foggy Pine forests, this sleepy hamlet near Lamahatta offers amazing Mountain View and chance to see birds around the forests and tea gardens. Collared and spotted owlets, Coppersmith Barbet, Small Minivet and Scarlet Minivets are the major species sighted near this place. Pine View Resort Tinchuley is a great place to stay during a weekend here.
A quiet and romantic place, with a touch of British Indian history and heritage homes with classic architecture, Takdah is a serene and less explored option at a height of 4000 feet. With misty roads and trails passing through dense forests, great orchid centers, and tea gardens, this place is amazing for birding too. Staying in Takdah heritage home is a great option, as in the surrounding gardens and forest along the mountain ridges, you may come across Himalayan shrike-babblers, fantails, Shrikes and Fire-breasted flowerpeckers.
Sikkim has an amazing local and migratory avifauna density too, and Borong, a picture perfect charming village in South Sikkim is a great place to come across the winged beauties. Surrounded by snow-capped mountains, historical monasteries, and emerald forests, Birders Farm stay, Borong gives the chance to experience life in an ethnic Sikkim village staying close to nature which results in frequent sightings of Cormorants, Green-tailed sunbirds, Fairy Bluebirds, and Pied hornbills.
06 – Daranda
This small village is near Bolpur gives you a chance to visit Shantiniketan, the place related to the great bard of Bengal. Also, the surrounding paddy fields, Choupahari forest and banks of Ajoy River are amazing places to relax and watch various birds relaxing or searching for food. Daranda farm stay with its open courtyard provides a perfect opportunity to relax and watch the nature. Purple Swamp hen, various types of Robins, Grebes and Barbets, Quails, Collared Doves can be seen here frequently.
Amidst Casuarina forests and green fields, near the virgin beaches on which the elusive red crabs play hide and seek, Tajpur is a gem of a place to see the sea-birds as this place is not frequented by the huge crowd like the nearby sea beaches. Tajpur Eco Resort, with beautifully curated garden and lawns with a lake, is a great place to relax in the cottages and go for a walk in the surrounding area where birds like White-throated and Pied Kingfishers, Rufous Woodpecker, Indian Robin, Pied Bushchat, Jungle Myna and various kinds of Barbets can be seen frequently.