North Bengal
Trip Report

 
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Trip Report symbol © Sumit Sen                                        North Bengal
                                  by Sumit Sen
                          13 March -17 March 2005

 


© Sumit
Mt. Kabru from Pelling, Sikkim

Trip List   Karmi    Duars


Introduction

This report covers a short exploratory visit to Karmi Farm, a new destination in North Bengal combined with a couple of days spent in the Gorumara duars. Karmi Farm is located near the Singalila National Park to the north west of Darjeeling. At a height of 4500 feet, the location is suitable for middle hills species. You can read more about the area at: Karmi Farm

The objective of the trip was reconnaissance mixed with photography. Species counts (143) increased due to an unplanned diversion on my journey back to Bagdogra Airport which took me past the bird-rich Gajoldoba Barrage on the River Teesta. Good birds seen on the trip included Asian Fairy Bluebird at Chapramari, White-bellied Yuhina at Karmi and a resident pair of Little Pied Flycatchers, also at Karmi. Most of the birding was armchair at Karmi and species variety would undoubtedly have been better if more aggressive birding was pursued.

Itinerary

Day 1: Arrive Bagdogra airport (p.m.) and travel by Karmi Farm via Ghoom and Bijonbari (6 hr). Stay at Karmi Farm Eco-resort.
Day 2: Birding at Karmi Farm.
Day 3: Birding around Karmi Farm and p.m. drive to Gorumara Jungle Camp via Mungpo (6 hrs). Stay at Gorumara Jungle Camp.
Day 4: a.m. birding at Gorumara National Park. Afternoon birding at Chapramari WLS. 
Day 5: a.m. birding around Chapramari WLS. Depart for Bagdogra via Gajoldoba Barrage. 

Highlights

Day 1: Arrive Bagdogra and drive to Karmi Farm. The drive up Hill Cart Road was rewarding with a splendid male Crested Bunting and a Yellow-cheeked Tit recorded on the road. 
Day 2: Birded around the Karmi farm resort, mainly from the open deck overlooking the valley. Two male and a female Small Niltava and many Mountain Bulbuls were observed around the road leading to Karmi. A fruiting ficus tree was the centre of attraction for three barbet species and hundreds of Black Bulbuls. The deck was a great place to see the smallies which included a spanking pair of Little Pied Flycatchers. A circling pair of Black Eagles was also of interest.
Day 3: Morning walk outside the farm area threw up a foraging female Hill Partridge and a mixed flock consisting of Golden-spectacled Warblers and Nepal Fulvettas. The deck area was visited by a Greater Yellownape and many mixed flocks which included Blue-winged Minlas and two White-bellied Yuhinas. Spot-winged Grosbeaks were recorded at the same place a week later by Sujan Chatterjee. The afternoon drive to Gorumara had many Spangled Drongos feeding at flowering roadside trees.
Day 4: Gorumara National park was unusually crowded and development work had restricted access to some parts. However, the usual species were  encountered and a family of Greater Flamebacks were of interest as were large numbers of  Chestnut-headed Bee-eaters. The highlight of the afternoon visit to Chapramari was surely the large tusker at the water hole. But good birds included vocal Asian Fairy Bluebirds, Collared Falconet and a roosting flock of Black Ibis.
Day 5: Morning birding around Chapramari in inclement weather threw up a Streaked Spiderhunter and a Rufous Woodpecker. The drive to the airport via Gajoldoba (birds observed from the car) added 40-50 Common Shelducks to the list

The trip was arranged by Help Tourism


LIST OF BIRDS OBSERVED IN North Bengal

Incorporates 34 images from the trip

1. Hill Partridge Arborophila torqueola
Single female seen at dawn feeding on the field below Karmi Farm
2. Red Junglefowl Gallus gallus
Chapramari WLS
3. Indian Peafowl Pavo cristatus
Chapramari WLS and Gorumara National Park
4. Common Shelduck Tadorna tadorna
Many seen during the drive past Gajoldoba Barrage 
5. Gadwall Anas strepera
Small flock in overhead flight at Gorumara and many at Gajoldoba
6. Mallard Anas platyrhynchos
Common at Gajoldoba Barrage
7. Common Teal Anas crecca
Few seen at Gajoldoba
8. Garganey Anas querquedula
Gajoldoba Barrage
9. Northern Pintail Anas acuta
Gajoldoba
10. Northern Shoveler Anas clypeata
Small numbers at Gajoldoba
11. Common Pochard Aythya ferina
Only aythya of the trip again at Gajoldoba, where seen in good numbers.
12. Rufous Woodpecker Celeus brachyurus
One at Chapramari WLS
13. Grey-capped Pygmy Woodpecker Dendrocopos canicapillus
Noisy pair at Gorumara Jungle Camp
14. Fulvous-breasted Woodpecker Dendrocopos macei
Single at Karmi
15. Greater Yellownape Picus flavinucha 
Common at Karmi
16. Grey-headed Woodpecker Picus canus
At Karmi. Possibly pecking out a nest hole.
17. Greater Flameback Chrysocolaptes lucidus
Four at dawn near Gorumara National Park gate.  
18. Great Barbet Megalaima virens 
Noisy at Karmi, where seen at a fruiting tree through the day.
19. Lineated Barbet Megalaima lineata
Small numbers at Gorumara. 
20. Golden-throated Barbet Megalaima franklinii
Seen regularly in small numbers at Karmi 
21. Blue-throated Barbet Megalaima asiatica 
Found throughout the area.
22. Oriental Pied Hornbill Anthracoceros albirostris
Common at Gorumara.
23. Common Hoopoe Upupa epops
Single bird at Gorumara Jungle Camp
24. Indian Roller Coracias benghalensis affinis
A few seen on the road. Also at Gorumara. 
25. White-throated Kingfisher Halcyon smyrnensis 
Only kingfisher species of the trip. Seen both at Karmi and the plains.
26. Chestnut-headed Bee-eater Merops leschenaulti
Pairs at Gorumara NP
27. Common Hawk Cuckoo Hierococcyx varius 
Heard regularly at Gorumara
28. Indian Cuckoo Cuculus micropterus
Heard at Karmi
29. Eurasian Cuckoo Cuculus canorus
Call of this species recorded at Gorumara Jungle Camp.
30. Asian Koel Eudynamys scolopacea
Common in the Gorumara area where already very vocal.
31. Alexandrine Parakeet Psittacula eupatria 
Common in the Gorumara area
32. Red-breasted Parakeet Psittacula alexandri 
Gorumara 
33. Asian Palm Swift Cypsiurus balasiensis 
34. Asian Barred Owlet Glaucidium cuculoides 
Single bird at Gorumara. 
35. Brown Hawk Owl Ninox scutulata
One bird at the Gorumara Jungle Camp.
36. Rock Pigeon Columba livia 
37. Green Imperial Pigeon Ducula aenea 
Rhino Point Watchtower, Gorumara. 
38. Oriental Turtle Dove Streptopelia orientalis 
Common at all sites.
39. Spotted Dove Streptopelia chinensis 
Common
40. Red Collared Dove Streptopelia tranquebarica
At Gorumara NP.
41. Eurasian Collared Dove Streptopelia decaocto 
On the road to Gorumara from Karmi.
42. Yellow-footed Green Pigeon Treron phoenicoptera
Many at Rhino Point, Gorumara. 
43. Common Moorhen Gallinula chloropus
One on the road near Gorumara
44. Red-wattled Lapwing Vanellus indicus
Chapramari WLS.
45. Black Kite Milvus migrans 
Siliguri and Gorumara area. 
46. White-rumped Vulture Gyps bengalensis 
Two birds seen overhead at Gorumara.
47. Himalayan Griffon Gyps himalayensis 
Single bird flying over Karmi Farm.
48. Crested Serpent Eagle Spilornis cheela 
Gorumara area.
49. Black Eagle  Ictinaetus malayensis 
Pair at Karmi. Apparently common at the location. 
50. Eurasian Sparrowhawk Accipiter nisus
One circling over Gorumara Jungle Camp. 
51. Mountain Hawk Eagle Spizaetus nipalensis 
One seen on the drive to Karmi.
52. Collared Falconet Microhierax caerulescens
Single bird at Chapramari.
53. Great Crested Grebe Podiceps cristatus
Observed at Gajoldoba Barrage.
54. Little Cormorant Phalacrocorax niger 
Gorumara National Park
55. Great Cormorant Phalacrocorax carbo 
On the Teesta and at Gajoldoba Barrage
56. Little Egret Egretta garzetta
Plains
57. Great Egret Casmerodius albus
58. Intermediate Egret Mesophoyx intermedia
Gorumara National Park
59. Cattle Egret Bubulcus ibis 
Common lowlands. 
60. Indian Pond Heron Ardeola grayii 
Chapramari
61. Black Ibis Pseudibis papillosa
A flock of eight birds coming in to roost by the roadside on NH 31. Chapramari.
62. Asian Fairy Bluebird Irena puella
Pair at the Chapramari entrance. Very vocal.
63. Golden-fronted Leafbird Chloropsis aurifrons
Gorumara National Park, where seen on all trips.
64. Brown Shrike Lanius cristatus 
Many on  the road from Siliguri to river Teesta. Also at Gorumara. 
65. Long-tailed Shrike Lanius schach tricolor
At Gorumara. ssp. erythronotus.
66. Grey-backed Shrike Lanius tephronotus 
Karmi area.
67. Common Green Magpie Cissa chinensis
Common in the Karmi Farm area.
68. Rufous Treepie Dendrocitta vagabunda 
Plains
69. Grey Treepie Dendrocitta formosae
At Karmi 
70. House Crow Corvus splendens 
71. Large-billed Crow Corvus macrorhynchos 
Seen on all days of the trip
72. Ashy Woodswallow Artamus fuscus
Gorumara National park
73. Black-hooded Oriole Oriolus xanthornus
Gorumara area. 
74. Large Cuckooshrike Coracina macei
Gorumara area.
75. Scarlet Minivet Pericrocotus flammeus 
Karmi and Gorumara area.
76. White-throated Fantail Rhipidura albicollis
Karmi Farm
77. Black Drongo Dicrurus macrocercus 
Common in the lowlands. 
78. Ashy Drongo Dicrurus leucophaeus 
Seen on all days.
79. Spangled Drongo Dicrurus hottentottus 
On the road around Karmi Farms where actively feeding on the Flame of the Forest.
80. Black-naped Monarch Hypothymis azurea
Pair at Gorumara.
81. Common Iora Aegithina tiphia
Gorumara NP.
82. Blue Rock Thrush Monticola solitarius
Gorumara
83. Blue Whistling Thrush Myophonus caeruleus
84. Grey-winged Blackbird Turdus boulboul
At Karmi and surprisingly in the plains at Gorumara Jungle camp.
85. Red-throated (Taiga) Flycatcher Ficedula albicilla 
Gorumara Jungle Camp.
86. Little Pied Flycatcher Ficedula westermanni
Pair seen on all days at Karmi Farm.
87. Verditer Flycatcher Eumyias thalassina 
Common at Karmi.
88. Small Niltava Niltava macgrigoriae
Three birds at Karmi Farms. 
89. Rufous-bellied Niltava Niltava sundara 
Pair at Gorumara NP.
90. Grey-headed Canary Flycatcher Culicicapa ceylonensis 
Gorumara area.
91. Oriental Magpie Robin Copsychus saularis 
92. White-rumped Shama
Male at Gorumara National Park 
93.. White-capped Water Redstart Phoenicurus leucocephalus 
94. Plumbeous Water Redstart Phoenicurus fuliginosus
On the Little Rangit, Karmi area. 
95. Siberian Stonechat Saxicola torquata
Several spotted on fallow land around Gorumara Jungle Camp.
96. Grey Bushchat Saxicola ferrea
Karmi area.
97. Chestnut-tailed Starling Sturnus malabaricus 
Gorumara area.
98. Asian Pied Starling Sturnus contra 
Lowland areas. 
99. Common Myna Acridotheres tristis 
100. Hill Myna Gracula religiosa 
Gorumara NP. 
101. Chestnut-bellied Nuthatch Sitta castanea 
Gorumara. 
102. Velvet-fronted Nuthatch Sitta frontalis 
Common at Karmi where up to 5 seen.
103. Great Tit Parus major
Gorumara.
104. Green-backed Tit Parus monticolus 
Resident pair at Karmi Farm.
105. Yellow-cheeked Tit Parus spilonotus
On the road to Karmi at about 4000 feet.
106. Black-throated Tit Aegithalos concinnus
Daily at Karmi Farm.
107. Barn Swallow Hirundo rustica
108. Nepal House Martin Delichon nipalensis
At Karmi.
109. Striated Bulbul Pycnonotus striatus
Karmi Farms.
110. Black-crested Bulbul Pycnonotus melanicterus
Both at Karmi and in the Gorumara area.
111. Himalayan Bulbul Pycnonotus leucogenys 
Karmi area.
112. Red-whiskered Bulbul Pycnonotus jocosus
Gorumara.
113. Red-vented Bulbul Pycnonotus cafer 
114. Mountain Bulbul Hypsipetes mcclellandii
Impressive presence at Karmi, where possibly breeding.
115. Black Bulbul Hypsipetes leucocephalus
Hundreds at Karmi Farm.
116. Oriental White-eye Zosterops palpebrosus
117. Common Tailorbird Orthotomus sutorius 
Gorumara.
118. Ashy-throated Warbler Phylloscopus maculipennis
Karmi Farm
119. Hume's Warbler Phylloscopus humei 
Karmi
120. Yellow-browed Warbler Phylloscopus inornatus 
Several at Karmi
121. Grey-hooded Warbler Seicercus xanthoschistos 
Karmi Farm area.
122. Golden-spectacled Warbler Seicercus burkii
Karmi
123. White-crested Laughingthrush Garrulax leucolophus
Heard at Karmi.
124. Rusty-cheeked Scimitar Babbler Pomatorhinus erythrogenys
Karmi Farm 
125. Striped Tit Babbler Macronous gularis
Gorumara area.
126. Jungle Babbler Turdoides striatus
Gorumara Jungle Camp.
127. Blue-winged Minla Minla cyanouroptera
Daily with mixed hunting flock of smallies.
128. Nepal Fulvetta Alcippe nipalensis 
Karmi Farm
129. Whiskered Yuhina Yuhina flavicollis 
Most common species at Karmi where large numbers seen.
130. White-bellied Yuhina Yuhina zantholeuca 
Two seen with a mixed hunting flock of warblers.
131. Rufous Sibia Heterophasia capistrata 
Karmi Farm.
132. Pale-billed Flowerpecker Dicaeum erythrorynchos
Gorumara.
133. Scarlet-backed Flowerpecker Dicaeum cruentatum
Male at  Gorumara National Park did not fail to disappoint. 
134. Fire-tailed Sunbird Aethopyga ignicauda
Single moulting male at Karmi
135. Crimson Sunbird Aethopyga siparaja
Gorumara.
136. Streaked Spiderhunter Arachnothera magna
Chapramari WLS.
137. House Sparrow Passer domesticus 
138. Eurasian Tree Sparrow Passer montanus
Karmi 
139. Grey Wagtail Motacilla cinerea
On the road.
140. Paddyfield Pipit Anthus rufulus
In dry scrub outside Gorumara Jungle Camp.
141. Olive-backed Pipit Anthus hodgsoni 
On the road from Karmi.
142. Crested Bunting Melophus lathami
On the road towards Ghoom.

Unidentified:
143. Raptor sp.
Possibly a Changeable Hawk Eagle seen from a distance at Chapramari watering hole.

List of Mammals

1. Rhesus Macaque Macaca mulatta
Gorumara National park.
2. Assamese Macaque Macaca assamenis
On the Sevok Road, Teesta River.
3. Gaur Bos gaurus
Chapramari WLS.
4. Wild Pig Sus scorfa
Gorumara National Park.
5. Asian Elephant Elephas maximus
Tusker at Chapramari WLS
6. Greater One-horned Rhinoceros Rhinoceros unicornis
Gorumara National Park
7. Yellow-throated Marten Martes flavigula (?)
Three at Karmi Farm.
8. Hoary-bellied Himalayan Squirrel Callosciurus pygerythrus
Gorumara NP.
9. Spotted Deer Axis axis
Gorumara NP
10. Indian Muntjac Muntiacus muntjak
Gorumara NP.

REFERENCES 
[1] Birds of the Indian Subcontinent; Richard Grimmett, Carol Inskipp & Tim Inskipp; Christopher Helm; 1998. 
[2] A Field Guide to the Birds of the Indian Subcontinent; Krys Kazmierczak & Ber van Perlo; Pica Press; 2000; 
[3] A Birdwatchers' Guide to India; Krys Kazmierczak & Raj Singh; Birdwatchers' Guides, Oxford University Press
[4] Birds of South-east Asia ~ Craig Robson; New Holland 
[5] Handbook of the Birds of the India and Pakistan; Ali & Ripley; OUP
[6] Birds of the Eastern Himalayas;  Salim Ali 
[7] Oriental Bird Images Gallery - OBC

Kolkata, India December 2004. 
© Sumit K Sen 2004 

   
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