Kumaon Birdwatchers' Beat
Out of the 1200 species of birds found in India, 347 are found in Uttarakhand. About 150 of them are endemic to Nainital district. Binsar is home to over 200 species of birds. A variety of animals such as leopard, musk deer, barking deer, flying squirrels etc. are also found here. With such credentials, it is only natural that the region is a delight for naturalists and birdwatchers, in particular.
You will be accompanied by local expert birding guides on this trip which begins with a stop at Mahesh Khan, near Bhowali in Nainital district. This dense forest of oak, pine and cedar, offers ample opprotunities for spying on the life of birds. Accommodation will be in the forest rest house in Mahesh Khan and the bamboo cottages nearby.
The next stop on the trail is Gaunap, a tiny hamlet in the heart of Binsar sanctuary. Completely devoid of modern trappings, this place is not even connected to the grid or by road. Getting to the village entails a gentle 3km downhill trek from Binsar TRH. You will get to stay in a rural homestay and get to savour a couple of days in the lap of nature. While Binsar is a renowned place for birdwatching, the village is a haven for birds. Simply peek out of the window and you should be able to add scores of species to your birds list.
From Gaunap, Dhaulchhina is an 8km trek, first through an oak and rhododendron forest and then a pine forest at the end of the trail, crossing occasional seasonal streams along the way. After a quick lunch at Dhaulchhina, we will head to Pangot, the final stop on the trip. Pangot is yet another birdwatchers' paradise and is home to about 150 species of birds. One can spot species such as the stunning lammergeier, Himalayan griffon, blue-winged mila, spotted and slaty-backed forktail, rufous-bellied niltava, khalij pheasant and a variety of thrushes.
Difficulty Level: TYL!
Season: mid-September through mid-May
Trip Duration 6 days/5 nights
Trek Duration 5 days
Max Elevation: 2410m (Binsar Zero-point)
Region: Almora and Nainital districts, Uttarakhand
Cost: Available on request
|Day 1||Kathgodam, 6 AM||Mahesh Khan||Drive to Mahesh Khan should take about 4 hours|
|Day 1||Mahesh Khan||Mahesh Khan||All-day bird-watching excusion|
|Day 2||Mahesh Khan||Binsar TRH||About a 3hr drive after breakfast|
|Day 2||Binsar TRH||Gaunap||3km down hill trek. Lunch after reaching Gaunap. Village walk and birdwataching after lunch.|
|Day 3||Gaunap||Gaunap||Early morning walk to the temple. Jungle trek after breakfast.|
|Day 4||Gaunap||Dhaulchhina||9km trek after breakfast. Lunch at Dhaulchhina|
|Day 4||Dhaulchhina||Pango||It's about a 3 hour drive to pangot|
|Day 5||Pangot||Pango||All-day bird-watching in this little Paradise|
|Day 5||Pangot||Kathgodam||Leave for Kathgodam in the evening. 1 hr drive|