Namdapha Tiger Reserve and Dibru Saikhowa Birding Tour (15 Days; # 112)
Spread over an area of 1985km2 Namdapha is among the larger protected areas of India. The park is at the eastern end of the province in Changlang, Arunachal Pradesh. The area is mountainous, criss crossed by innumerable watercourses forming part of the catchment for the Brahmaputra through the Noa-Dihing (Diyun) river system. The park is named after the Nampdapha river, a main tributary of the Noa-Dihing. Managed under Protected Tiger since 1983 the sanctuary is reputed to be unique in harbouring all four big Himalayan cats: Tiger, Leopard, the rarely seen clouded Leopard and the almost mystical Snow Leopard. Also, there is a great diversity in avifauna as well. The area boasts 665 recorded bird species including Blyth’s Tragopan, Ward’s Trogon, Rufous-necked Hornbill, Blue-naped Pitta, Wedge-billed Wren Babbler, Snowy-throated Babbler and Beautiful Nuthatch.
Our next highlight of the journey is Dibru-Saikhowa Wildlife Sanctuary. The 340 km2 Reserve encompasses a patchwork of seasonally flooded forests, beels, and grassy pockets in between the braided arms of the river Dibru and Brahmaputra. The sanctuary is the perfect place to spot the rare specialised grassland and swamp forest birds such as the threatened Marsh Babbler, Jerdon’s Babbler, Black-throated Parrotbill, Rufous-vented (Swamp) Prinia, and Jerdon’s Bushcat. Several other rarely observed species can be found in the extensive grasslands, wetlands, and riverine forests. These include Baer’s Pochard, White-winged Wood Duck, Bengal Florican, Jerdon’s Bushchat, Black-breasted Parrotbill, Pale-capped Pigeon, and Rufous-rumped Grassbird, Jerdon’s Babbler, Chestnut Thrush. Some birds listed by Mike Prince in one of his trip reports: Mishmi Wren Babbler, Purple and Green Cochoa, Violet and Emerald Cuckoos, Satyr Tragopan and Blood Pheasant, Gould’s Shortwing, White-hooded Babbler, Pale-headed Woodpecker, Pale-capped Pigeon, Ruddy Shelducks, Osprey, Common Buzzards, Crested Goshawk, Common Kestrel, Grey-cheeked, Buff-barred, Ashy-throated and a single Blyth’s Leaf Warbler. Long-tailed Sibia, Beautiful Sibia, White-throated Bulbuls, Grey-backed Shrike, Short-billed Minivet, Hill Blue Flycatcher, Yellow-throated and Streak-throated Fulvettas, Sultan Tits, Streak-throated Barwings, Streaked Spiderhunter and Dark-throated Rosefinch, White-bellied Yuhina, White-bellied Erpornis, Striated Bulbuls, Black Bulbul, White-capped and the Plumbeous, while the Blue-fronted Redstart, Chestnut-capped and Black-faced Laughing Thrush, Rufous-vented Yuhinas, Chestnut-tailed Minla and Mrs Gould’s Sunbird, Chestnut Thrush, Black-throated Sunbird, Himalayan Griffon, Eurasian Sparrowhawk, Black Eagle, Vivid Niltava, Common Green Magpie, Brownish-Flanked Bush Warbler. Slaty-backed and Black-backed Forktails, Khalij Pheasant, White-crested Laughingthrush, Coral-billed Scimitar Babbler, Red-headed Trogon, Greater Yellownape, Blue-eared Barbet, Great Barbet, Hodgson’s Redstart, Brown Dipper, Himalayan Swiftlet, Wreathed Hornbill, Grey-throated and Golden Babbler, Red-tailed Minla, Red-faced Liochicla, Long-tailed Broadbill, Grey-bellied Tesia, Golden-throated Barbet, Grey-sided Laughingthrush, Barred Cuckoo Dove, Fairy Bluebird, Orange-bellied Leafbird, Black-faced Warbler, Pygmy Wren Babbler, Racquet-tailed drongo, White-browed Piculet, Black Stork, White-rumped Vulture, Great Created Grebe, Pallas’s Gull, Mallard, Gadwall, Sand Lark, Tufted Duck, Baer’s Pochard, , Common Teal, Northern Pintail, Ferruginous Pochard. Little Ringed and Lesser Sand Plovers, Temminck’s Stint. Spotted Owlet. Small Niltava, Common Iora, Pied Flycatcher, Black-winged and Large Cuckoo Shrike, Pompadour Green Pigeon, Emerald Dove, Golden Babbler, Black-headed Shrike Babbler, Streak-throated Fulvetta, Sclater’s Monal, Hill Blue Flycatcher. Mammals: Yellow-throated Marten, Hoolock Gibbon, Gangetic Dolphin.