Heard on most days at all sites. Good views of a pair on the old road below Sunderview, 8/4.
ST; a pair was seen around noon on the ridge trail north of Sandakphu, 1/4.
ST; heard only, but in several localities including the forest below Megma and c.2km beyond Tonglu 30/3; also in dense bamboo searching for the old jeep track below Kalipokari, 31/3.
1 on the main road through the Sessa Orchid Sanctuary, 14/4.
ENS; 2-3 in bamboo below Sessni camp at 1100m, 11/4. Also heard around Bompu, 12-13/4.
ENS; heard regularly below Bompu. Several seen 11/4, one possibly associating with the above species.
Grey-capped Pygmy Woodpecker
Sh; A pair on the Old Gauhati Road, 15/4.
ENS; A female seen well below Chaku 7/4, and another on the trek to Piri-la 9/4.
ST; 1 at Megma, 29/3. ENS; singles above Bompu, 12/4 and 13/4 (all males).
ST/ENS; 1 at Tonglu 30/3, several at Kalipokari 31/3, and 1 below Sandakphu 2/4. 2-3 around Sunderview 7/4.
ENS; 1 below Sessni at c.1000m on 11/4.
ENS/Sh; 1 below Sessni with Beautiful Nuthatches on 10/4. Also 1 on the Old Gauhati Road 15/4.
1 at Banabitan Park, Kolkata 28/3.
ST/ENS/Sh; heard and/or seen most days below c.2000m.
ENS; several seen below Bompu 11/4, and one above 13/4.
Sh; common on the Old Gauhati Road and at Shillong Peak, 15-17/4.
Several at Banabitan Park, Kolkata 28/3.
Oriental Pied Hornbill
A single bird over the Bhorelli River at Tipi FRH, 5/4.
Buceros bicornis NT
ENS; 1 below Bompu 11/4.
Aceros nipalensis VU
ENS; 1 seen during lunch at Sessni, 11/4. Further singles seen around Bompu 13-14/4. All males.
1 at the Ruby Hospital, Kolkata 28/3.
ENS; several below Bompu, 10-11/4, and 1 above on 13/4.
Harpactes wardi NT/Rr
ENS; a female then the male of a pair were seen in a roadside gully below Sunderview, late on 6/4. The female was seen again 7/4. Heard only on 9/4.
Several seen from the bus between Tezpur and Gauhati, 15/4.
1 at the Nalban wetlands in Kolkata 28/3. Another at Tipi FRH 5/4.
1 at Banabitan Park, Kolkata 28/3.
1 on the Bhorelli River at Tipi FRH, 28/3.
Large Hawk Cuckoo
ST/ENS; heard most days with 1 seen well between Gurdun/Sirikhola, 2/4.
Heard only, above Manebhanjang 29/3 and on the Old Gauhati Road 15/4.
Sh; heard only around Shillong, with one seen 17/4 on the Old Gauhati Road.
ENS; heard often around Bompu. Singles seen well 12/4 and 13/4.
ENS; heard only (below Bompu), 11/4.
1 at Banabitan Park, Kolkata 28/3.
1 at Banabitan Park, Kolkata 28/3.
Several at Banabitan Park, Kolkata 28/3. Apparently feral birds.
ST/ENS/Sh; Seen below 2000m on most days.
Asian Palm Swift
At Banabitan Park, Kolkata 28/3.
At Kolkata 28/3 and around Shillong town, 17/4.
Mountain Scops Owl
ENS; heard regularly at and below Bompu, 10-12/4.
ENS; 1 between Ramalingam FRH and Eagle’s Nest pass, 5/4.
ST/ENS/Sh; heard regularly most days at all sites.
Asian Barred Owlet
ST; heard only, at Kalipokari 31/3.
1 roosting in a bandstand at Banabitan Park, Kolkata 28/3.
ENS; heard around Sunderview 5-6/4. A bird flushed from the road below Bompu on 10/4 was probably this species.
2 flushed from the road between Balukpong and Tezpur, 14/4.
Several in Darjeeling 3/4.
Speckled Wood Pigeon
ENS; a flock of 6 above Bompu on 13/4.
Ashy Wood Pigeon
ENS; 1 below Eagle’s Nest pass 8/4, and another above Bompu 13/4.
Mountain Imperial Pigeon
ENS; small flocks regularly around Bompu 11-13/4.
Oriental Turtle Dove
ST/ENS/Sh; common lower down at all sites.
At Kolkata 28/3, and Sessa Village, 5/4.
Eurasian Collared Dove
At Banabitan Park, Kolkata 28/3.
Several at the Nalban wetlands, Kolkata 28/3. Apparently Swinhoe’s is also here in the winter.
1 on the Bhorelli, on the way to ENS 5/4.
Many at Kolkata, Gauhati and near the land-fill site at Shillong.
ST; the commonest griffon observed, seen as individuals and in loose groups of up to 8 birds on most days of the trek.
ST; 3 approaching Kalipokari 30/3.
ENS; seen regularly around Sunderview, with a pair together on 7/4.
ENS; An untypical female caused us some ID problems at Chaku on 10/4.
ST; singles at Megma 29/3 and on the way to Garibans 30/3.
ST; 1 at the Bikebhanjang tea-shop below Sandakphu, 31/3.
ST/Sh; singles on the way to Kalipokari 30/3, above Rimbik 3/4, and on the Old Gauhati Road 17/4.
ST; 1 above Manebhanjang on 29/3.
1 on the Bhorelli at Tipi FRH, 5/4.
Indian Pond Heron
Several at the Nalban wetlands, Kolkata 28/3.
At the Nalban wetlands, Kolkata 28/3.
1 on the Bhorelli at Tipi FRH, 5/4.
Black-crowned Night Heron
1 at the Nalban wetlands, Kolkata 28/3.
Feral birds at the Nalban wetlands, Kolkata 28/3.
Several overhead at Nalban wetlands and Banabitan Park, Kolkata 28/3 and in the Brahmaputra floodplain from the bus, 15/4.
ENS/Sh; the only leafbird of this trip, seen at Sessa and the lower sections of ENS. Also on the Old Gauhati Road 17/4.
Singles at Ruby Hospital, Kolkata 28/3, and Sessa village 5/4.
Singles at Banabitan Park (ssp.
tricolor) 28/3, and on the way to ENS 5/4.
1 at Shillong Peak 16/4.
Yellow-billed Blue Magpie
ST/ENS; seen regularly in small parties at Megma, and once below Sandakphu 31/3. Also at Chaku 10/4.
Common Green Magpie
ENS; 2 overflew us below Sessni camp on 10/4.
ENS; 1 high in a tree below Sessni on 11/4.
ST/ENS; Singles at Tonglu 30/3 (basking spread-eagled on a rock), and below Sandakphu 2/4. Also around Eagle’s Nest pass 6/4 and 8/4.
At Kolkata and in most lowland towns and villages.
Common in the uplands, where confusable with Raven. ST/Sh all days; 5 & 6/4 at ENS.
ST; at least 1 around Sandakphu, 3 & 4/4.
Several at Banabitan Park, Kolkata 28/3.
ENS/Sh; heard frequently and seen once below Sessni 11/4. Also on the Old Gauhati Road 17/4.
ST/ENS; 1 at Megma 30/3, and at Bompu 12/4.
ENS; seen fairly regularly below c.2000m, in Sessa 5/4, and below Bompu 11,13 & 14/4.
ST/ENS; appears to range higher than the former species. On the way to Megma 29/3, and at Sandakphu 31/3 & 1/4. Also around Eagle’s Nest pass 8/4, and above Bompu 13 & 14/4.
ST/ENS/Sh; the most frequently seen minivet, on most days on the Sandakphu trek and at ENS, except at the highest altitudes. Also common around Shillong.
Seen at Sessa village 5/4.
ENS/Sh; 1 down below Sessni 11/4, and on all days around Shillong.
ST/ENS/Sh; several between Kalipokari and Sandakphu 31/3, frequent on most days at ENS, and in the ravine at Shillong Peak.
At Darjeeling zoo; all days at ENS at lower elevations, and several at Shillong Peak/Old Gauhati Road 16 & 17/4.
Frequent at the Nalban wetlands 28/3, and occasional at other sites in the lowlands.
ST/ENS/Sh; common in the uplands, seen at Garibans 30/3, at Gurdun 2/4, regularly below Bombu 10-12/4, and on all days around Shillong.
ENS; in Sessa OS 5/4, and below Bompu 10 & 11/4.
Lesser Racket-tailed Drongo
ENS; 1 below Sessni 11/4.
ST/ENS; pairs on the river below Sirikhola 2/4, and on the Bhorelli on 14/4.
Blue-capped Rock Thrush
1 male on the journey down to Siliguri 4/4, several females around Sunderview 10/4, and another male at Tenga 14/4.
Chestnut-bellied Rock Thrush
ST/ENS; 1 at Megma 30/3, and on all days except Easter at ENS.
Blue Rock Thrush
1 on the way to Sessa 5/4.
Blue Whistling Thrush
ST/ENS; common both sites below 2000m.
Sh; 2 on the Old Gauhati Road 17/4.
ST; several below Megma 29/3, and between Garibans and Kalipokari 30/3.
ST; 2 probables flushed from the Rimbik trail, 1/4.
ST; a female at Manebhanjang 29/3.
ST; common below Megma 29-30/3, and 1 at Sandakphu 1/4.
ENS; 1 on the morning of our last day at Bompu, 14/4.
ST; 1 approaching Rimbik (ssp.
ENS; a probable (see
Diary) between Lamacamp and Eagle’s Nest pass, 8/4.
Sh; An immature male in the ravine at Shillong Peak 16/4. Another the next day on the Old Gauhati Road, 17/4.
ST/ENS; an immature male in brief flight below Sandakphu 31/3 caused confusion as it was my first (I was unfamiliar with the habit of puffing-out the supercilia to all but cover the forehead). Below Chaku on 10/4, a mature male could only be seen by each of us crawling in turn beneath vegetation on all fours! Once we learned the song, the bird appeared to be fairly common between Bompu and Chaku.
1 at Sessa village 5/4.
1 at Darjeeling zoo, 3/4.
ST/ENS; frequent on all days during the trek, and every day 8-13/4 inclusive at ENS.
ENS; a confiding pair below Bompu, 11/4.
ENS; singles at Sessa 5/4, at Sunderview 9/4 (male), and on the Piri-la trek 10/4.
Little Pied Flycatcher
ST/Sh; singles at Gurdun 2/4, Rimbik 3/4, and the Old Gauhati Road 17/4.
ST/ENS; single males above Gurdun 2/4 and above Bompu 12/4, and a probable at Bompu 14/4.
ENS; brief views of a male at Sunderview, 6/4.
ST/ENS/Sh; around Megma 29-30/3, at Sessa and most days at ENS, and the Old Gauhati Road 17/4.
A pair at Darjeeling zoo 3/4; around and below Bompu 11-13/4, and on the Old Gauhati Road 15/4.
ENS; singles at Sessa 5/4 and below Bompu 11/4.
Grey-headed Canary Flycatcher
At Darjeeling zoo 3/4; several on all days at ENS and around Shillong.
Orange-flanked Bush Robin
ST/ENS; singles on the earlier days of the trek to Sandakphu 29-31/3, around Sunderview and Eagle’s Nest pass 6-9/4, and around Bompu 12-14/4.
Golden Bush Robin
ENS; several around Sunderview 7/4 and between Chaku/Bompu 10/4 (all females/imm. males).
White-browed Bush Robin
ST; close views of a female approaching Garibans 30/3, and another at Sandakphu 31/3.
Rufous-breasted Bush Robin
ENS; the elusive male of a pair was finally seen well by all above Bompu, 13/4. Well worth the wait!
Oriental Magpie Robin
Singles at Banabitan Park, Kolkata 28/3 and at Sessa village 5/4.
ENS; a pair at Bompu camp 12/4, with a probable female there again on 14/4.
ST; a couple of imm. males/females at Sandakphu, 1-2/4.
ST/ENS; frequent approaching and around Megma 30/3, at Sandakphu (with the above species) 1/4. Several on all days except Easter at ENS.
White-capped Water Redstart
ST/ENS; singles at Sirikhola 2/4, Tipi FRH 5/4 and around Sunderview 6-9/4. Also below Bompu 11/4 and returning to Assam 14/4.
Plumbeous Water Redstart
A pair at Sirikhola 2/4 and approaching ENS 5/4.
Sh; this species is readily seen in ravines at Shillong peak 16/4. My final sighting was of a bird appearing to lack white in the (longish) tail. Briefly in sunlight the bird had a distinct inky-blue cast. I have never seen Blue-fronted Robin
Cinclidium frontale and would be extremely hesitant to claim that ultra-rare species. However, future birders to this site take note!
ENS; 1 below Eagle’s Nest pass 8/4.
ENS; 1 below Bompu 10/4.
ENS/Sh; singles on streams at Sunderview camp 8-9/4, and a pair in the ravine at Shillong Peak 16/4. Also heard on the Old Gauhati road 17/4.
1 on the approach to ENS, 5/4.
ST/Sh; several at Rimbik 3/4, and at Shillong Peak 16/4.
Several at Balukpong waiting for a replacement vehicle, 5/4. Also around Shillong 16-17/4.
Asian Pied Starling
At Nalban wetlands, Kolkata 28/3 and in the lowlands 5/4 and 15/4.
Noted at Manebhanjang 29/3, Tezpur 15/4 and around Shillong 15-17/4.
At Darjeeling zoo 3/4, and on both days at the Old Gauhati Road 15/4 & 17/4.
ST/ENS; singles, often within mixed flocks, between Tonglu/Garibans 30/3, at Kalipokari 31/3 and at Sandakphu 1/4. Also Sunderview 8/4, between Chaku/Bompu 10/4, and above Bompu 13/4.
Sitta formosa VU
ENS; our first encounter with this species occurred late on 10/4, below Sessni at c.1200m. We saw at least 6 birds associating with as many Long-tailed Sibias and a Greater Yellownape. On 11/4, possibly the same birds were observed again between Bompu and Sessni at c.1500m, here with Long-tailed, Beautiful and Rufous-backed Sibias, and a White-browed Shrike Babbler. Again, there were at least 6 birds present. The closest nuthatch must have been no more than 8m from us!
Sh; 1 at Shillong Peak 16/4 and a pair on the Old Gauhati Road, 17/4.
ST; around Sandakphu, singles on 31/3-2/4.
ST; singles at Sandakphu 1/4, and between there and Gurdun, 2/4.
ENS; singles between Chaku/Bompu 10/4, and above Bompu 13/4.
ST; singles between Tonglu/Garibans 30/3, and below Sandakphu 31/3.
ST; up to 3 birds daily, 29/3-2/4.
ST; at Sandakphu only, 1-5 birds daily 31/3-2/4.
ST; below and at Sandakphu, 2-3 on 31/3 & 1/4.
ST/ENS/Sh; common at and below Megma 29-30/3, and from above Gurdun to Rimbik 2-3/4. Singles near Sunderview 6/4 & at Chaku 8/4. Several at Shillong Peak 16/4.
ENS/Sh; 1-2 below Chaku 7/4, between Chaku/Bompu 10/4, and above Bompu 12-13/4. Also common around Shillong; up to 3 daily 15-17/4.
ST/ENS; singles in mixed flocks below Kalipokari 30/3, and on most days at ENS.
ENS; a flock of 5-6 birds below Sessni at c.1000m, 11/4.
ST; several at Garibans 30/3, above Rimbik 2/4 and at Darjeeling zoo 3/4.
ST; a flock of 6 about 2 hours below Sandakphu, 2/4.
ST; at Manebhanjang 29/3 and Rimbik 3/4.
ST; 2 with the above species at Rimbik 3/4.
Asian House Martin
ENS; a large flock above Bompu 13/4.
Nepal House Martin
ST; at Manebhanjang 29/3 and above Sirikhola 2/4.
Sh; several with Red-vented Bulbuls at Shillong Peak 16/4.
ENS; singles above and below Bompu, 11-13/4.
At Banabitan Park 28/3, at Sessa 5/4, and all days at Shillong 15-17/4.
ENS/Sh; Singles below Bompu 10/4, and in the ravine at Shillong Peak 16/4.
Sh; common on the Old Gauhati Road, 15 & 17/4.
ENS/Sh; heard more often than seen. Sightings in tall grassland at Chaku 7 & 8/4, and below Sessni 11/4. Also on the Old Gauhati Road 17/4.
Sh; this perky little prinia is common in roadside grass on the Old Gauhati Road, 15 & 17/4.
Several seen in reeds at the Ruby Hospital, Kolkata 28/3.
2 displaying at the Ruby Hospital, Kolkata 28/3.
ENS; heard often but also seen well, below Sessa 5/4, at Bompu 11/4 and below Bompu 12/4.
ENS; we began picking up this species above Bompu at c.2000m; 1 finally seen well 13/4.
ENS; common around Sunderview and down to Chaku. We saw 1-2 birds daily, 6-8/4.
Grey-sided Bush Warbler
ST/ENS; common in scrub approaching Gurdun 2/4, 1 also seen well above Bompu 13/4.
Yellowish-bellied Bush Warbler
ST/ENS; a upper altitude bamboo specialist, common below Sandakphu 1-2/4. Also at Eagle’s Nest pass 6/4 and Piri-la 9/4.
Brownish-flanked Bush Warbler
ST/ENS; heard often (esp. around Bompu camp), and 1 seen well at Manebhanjang 29/3.
Chestnut-crowned Bush Warbler
ST; 1 just below Megma 29/3.
Russet Bush Warbler
ST; heard only, just above Gurdun village 2/4.
A brief view of the well-publicised wintering bird at the Nalban wetlands, 28/3.
Blyth’s Reed Warbler
Several at the Nalban wetlands and Banabitan Park, Kolkata 28/3.
Clamorous Reed Warbler
Several at the Nalban wetlands and 1 at Banabitan Park, Kolkata 28/3
Common at the Nalban wetlands, Kolkata 28/3.
ENS/Sh; singles below Sessni 11/4, above Bompu 13/4, and at Shillong Peak 16/4.
Singles at Banabitan Park 28/3, and at Balukpong 5/4.
ST; heard only, above Sirikhola 2/4
Tickell’s Leaf Warbler
ST; 2 at Rimbik, 3/4.
Sh; 1 at Shillong Peak, 16/4. Reputedly becoming regular here.
ST/ENS/Sh; frequent on most days of the trek, and apparently common at ENS. Several also at Shillong Peak, 16/4.
ST/ENS; 2-3 birds on most days of the trek, and above c.2000m at ENS.
ENS; singles at Sunderview 7/4, and below Sessni 11/4.
Hume’s [Yellow-browed] Warbler
ST/ENS/Sh; several noted between Manebhanjang/Megma 29/3. There was some confusion between this and
P. inornatus at ENS. Singles believed to be this species were seen on 8, 9 and 13/4. Also on the Old Gauhati Road 17/4.
ENS; 1 at least below Sessni on 11/4.
ST/ENS/Sh; several on 29/3, 1 & 2/4 on the trek, and on 7 & 11/4 at ENS. 1 on Old Gauhati Road 15/4.
Blyth’s Leaf Warbler
ST/ENS/Sh; several below Megma 19/3, and before Garibans 30/3. Singles 8 & 10/4 at ENS. Also at Shillong Peak 16/4.
Whistler’s [Golden-spectacled] Warbler
ST/ENS; common at lower altitudes on the trek. Seen also at Darjeeling zoo. 4-6 birds daily at ENS.
ENS/Sh; Singles at Sessa 5/4, below Bompu 11/4, at Shillong Peak 16/4, and the Old Gauhati Road 17/4.
ENS; where there was some confusion between this and
S. poliogenys. At least 1 noted below Bompu on 10/4.
ENS; more frequent than the above species, and noted daily 11-14/4 above and below Bompu.
Singles at Darjeeling zoo 3/4, every day except Piri-la at ENS, and at Shillong Peak 16/4.
Tickellia hodgsoni Rr
ENS; 2 below Chaku 7/4, 1 below Eagle’s Nest pass 8/4, and 2 more between Chaku/Bompu 10/4.
ENS; up to 6 daily in fast-moving mixed flocks above Bompu 12-14/4.
ST; 1-2 daily at Sandakphu, 31/3 and 1/4.
ENS; 6+ birds between Lamacamp and Eagle’s Nest pass, 8/4.
ENS; flocks heard most days below Bompu, 2 seen well 11/4.
Greater Necklaced Laughingthrush
ENS; a lone individual below Sessni 11/4.
ST/ENS; singles at Megma and Tonglu, 30/3, between Bompu/Sessni 11/4, and above Bompu 13/4.
ST; more elusive than I expected; several heard approaching Sandakphu. 1 finally seen on the trek path east of Sandakphu, 31/3.
ST; 1 probable in the burned-over scrub before Gurdun, 2/4.
ENS; heard above and below Sessni, with 1 seen briefly 11/4.
ST/ENS; the most conspicuous laughingthrush at both sites. Parties of up to 8 birds seen most days on the trek, and above c. 2000m at ENS.
ST/ENS; seen just as regularly as the above species, but usually fewer to a group. Birds here are ssp.
Sh; 1 at Shillong Peak 16/4, and another seen well in a flock where the landfill site overspills the top end of the Old Gauhati Road, 17/4.
Sh; persistence earned me good views of a pair of these subtly marked little babblers in scrub towards the top end of the Old Gauhati Road, 15/4.
Streak-breasted Scimitar Babbler
ENS; 1 with several of the following species at Bompu on our last morning, 14/4.
Coral-billed Scimitar Babbler
ENS/Sh; a speciality of dense bamboo around Bompu, although Claudio had a probable well below there on 11/4. At least 2 showed very well just above Bompu 12/4, and again close to the camp 14/4. Also 1 about halfway down the Old Gauhati Road, 17/4.
Slender-billed Scimitar Babbler
ST/ENS; several heard in dense bamboo below Kalipokari. Heard regularly around Eagle’s Nest pass, with 1 being seen there by Ramana on 7/4. Our tape failed to attract the species here, which was surprising as it worked well for me at Tiger Hill (Darjeeling) on a previous trip.
ENS; 1 was brought in by tape playback and gave excellent views on the Piri-la trek, 9/4.
ST/ENS/Sh; heard approaching Rimbik 2/4, in Darjeeling town 3/4, and on most days at ENS. 1 brought in by playback above Bompu on 13/4 provided an excellent opportunity for comparison with the above species.
Spelaeornis caudatus NT/Rr
ENS; 2 attracted by tape at a previously noted site below Chaku, on 7/4.
ENS; 1 attracted by tape c.1km above a previously noted site between Lamacamp and Eagle’s Nest pass, 8/4.
Spelaeornis longicaudatus VU/Rr
Sh; 1 possible in the ravine below the football field at Shillong Peak, 16/4 (see
Diary). The bird did not respond to a tape of this species’ call, however.]
Sphenocichla humei NT/Rr
ENS; at least 2 birds attracted by tape at a previously noted site between Bompu and Sessni on 11/4, and another at Bompu 12/4. The Easter day birds were quite confiding, and Claudio ‘scoped one for a good minute from a range of about 8m. Undoubtedly of ssp.
humei, but Claudio reported a suggestion of rufous on the forehead, while I felt the bird appeared rather scaled (ie. as
roberti) on the throat and breast.
ENS; 2-3 birds on all days, often in mixed flocks.
ENS; several birds daily following our shift to Bompu (11-14/4), always in fast-moving mixed flocks with the above species and Yellow-throated Fulvettas.
2 at Sessa, approaching ENS on 5/4.
ENS/Sh; several in Darjeeling town 3/4, at Sessa OS 5/4, below Sessni 11/4, and on the Old Gauhati Road 17/4.
ST/ENS/Sh; 1 at Manebanjang 29/3, several in Darjeeling town 3/4, and below Sessni 11/4 and at Shillong Peak 16/4.
ENS; below Sessni on 11/4. Our first encounter was with a pair in a mixed flock, while the second came later in the day, involving at least 4 birds (3 males, 1 female) again within a mixed flock.
White-browed Shrike Babbler
ST/ENS; 1 male above Sirikhola 2/4, a female at Darjeeling zoo 3/4. A male between Chaku/Bompu 10/4 and a female with the Beautiful Nuthatches 11/4.
Green Shrike Babbler
ST/ENS; singles below Kalipokari 31/3, and in a mixed babbler flock below Eagle’s nest pass, 8/4.
Black-eared Shrike Babbler
ENS; singles in mixed flocks below Chaku 7/4, and below Bompu 11/4.
ENS; at and below Bompu, 2-3 daily 11, 12 & 14/4. Often with Greater Rufous-headed Parrotbills.
Actinodura nipalensis Rr
ST; common below Megma 29-30/3, 1 also below Sandakphu 2/4.
Actinodura waldeni Rr
ENS; the upper altitude barwing (ssp.
daflaensis - very similar to the above species) at ENS, 1-2 daily 6-10/4.
ENS/Sh; several below Sessni 11/4, and above Bompu 13/4. Also at Shillong Peak and on the Old Gauhati Road, 16 & 17/4, and in Darjeeling town, 3/4.
ST/ENS; 3-4 birds all days on the trek, often in mixed flocks. Similarly on most days at ENS, 6-11/4.
ST/ENS; 2-3 birds within mixed flocks between Manebhanjang/Megma 29/3, Garibans/Kalipokari 30/3, and at Darjeeling zoo 3/4. Similarly around Sunderview 6-8/4, and between Chaku/Bompu 10/4, and Bompu/Sessni 11/4.
ENS; several on the Piri-la trek 9/4, and around Bompu 12 & 14/4, always in bamboo and often with Black-throated Parrotbills.
ENS; in parties of 4-5 birds, often with other babblers and apparently within a distinct altitudinal belt between c.2200-1500m. Seen on all days 10-14/4.
ST/ENS; 2-3 birds daily at lower altitude on the trek (29-31/3), and on all days at ENS, usually in mixed flocks.
ST; 2-3 seen daily 29/3-2/4, not so often in mixed flocks as the above species.
Alcippe ludlowi Rr
ENS; singles below Eagle’s Nest pass 6/4 and 8/4.
Sh; 2 on the Old Gauhati Road 15/4.
1 below Sessa, approaching ENS 5/4.
ENS; at least 2 with Beautiful Nuthatches, 11/4. Several more later below Sessni (1 with the Cutias at c.1000m).
ST; common in parties of +6 birds at lower altitudes on the trek, seen 29/3, 30/3 and 2/4. Also in Darjeeling town 29/3 and 3/4.
Heterophasia pulchella Rr
ENS; equivalent to the above species in terms of status, seen in groups usually as mixed flocks on all days 6-14/4 (ssp.
Heterophasia gracilis Rr
Sh; a speciality of the area, as with the previous two species this is an easy bird to see. 4-5 seen daily 15-17/4, at Shillong Peak and on the Old Gauhati Road.
ENS; at Sessa 5/4 and regularly below Bompu, 10 & 11/4.
ST/Sh; 1 amongst a large mixed flock above Garibans, 30/3 (ssp.
rufigenis), and several on both days at the Old Gauhati Road 15 & 17/4 (ssp.
Yuhina bakeri Rr
ST/ENS; several in the same mixed flock above Garibans, 30/3. Seen at Sessa OS 5/4, and fairly regularly at mid-lower altitude in ENS, 10-13/4, usually with
ST/ENS; also in the mixed flock above Garibans, 30/3, and in Darjeeling zoo 3/4. Regular below 2000m in ENS, 10-12/4 & 14/4, always in mixed flocks.
ST/ENS; the commonest yuhina on the trek, seen all days. At ENS more of an upper species, and very common above 2000m. The most numerous species in mixed flocks on all days 6-10/4.
ST/ENS; also common on the trek, 2-3 seen on all days. At ENS, a similar pattern of observation to
Y. gularis and nearly always accompanying it.
A small party with White-naped Yuhinas at Sessa OS, 5/4.
ST; believe it or not my top-most target for this trip, with my best chance felt to be at ENS. However, on 1/4 I saw 4 birds of a larger group in low bamboo/rhododendron shrubbery, about 1 hour below Sandakphu (c.3400m) beside the Rimbik trekking path. Extremely confiding, I was able to squat within a metre of them hovering to nectar-feed at rhododendron blooms. Absolutely priceless!
ST; 2 attracted by tape below Sandakphu on the trekking path to Rimbik, 1/4 (just after the Myzornis). A further 2 in the basin between the two ridge trails at Sandakphu later in the day.
ST/ENS; 1 at Megma 30/3, and 2 below Eagle’s Nest pass 6/4.
ENS; several birds within mixed flocks below Sessni, 11/4.
ENS; parties of 6-10 birds below Eagle’s Nest pass 6/4, on the Piri-la trek 9/4, and around Bompu 12 & 14/4.
Greater Rufous-headed Parrotbill
ENS; another Bompu bamboo speciality, at least 10 birds in a flock just above the camp on 12/4.
Bengal [Rufous-winged] Bushlark
Several sitting on low walls at Ruby Hospital, Kolkata 28/3.
Also at Ruby Hospital, 28/3.
ENS; a pair briefly between Chaku/Bompu, 10/4.
ENS/Sh; 1-2 birds daily below Bompu, 11-13/4, at Shillong Peak 16/4, and the Old Gauhati Road 17/4.
Mrs Gould’s Sunbird
ST/ENS; singles between Garibans/Kalipokari 30/3, Sandakphu/Gurdun 2/4, and below Eagle’s Nest pass 6-8/4.
ST/ENS; common approaching and at Megma 29 & 30/3, and 3-4 every day at ENS 6-10/4 & 13/4.
ENS; singles at Sessa 5/4 and below Sessni 11/4.
ST; singles and occasional pairs on every day of the trek 29/3-2/4, often within mixed flocks.
ENS/Sh; singles at Sessa 5/4 and below Sessni 11/4. Also at Shillong Peak 16/4.
Noted at Kolkata and Darjeeling.
Sh; a pair at Shillong Peak, 16/4.
Eurasian Tree Sparrow
ST/Sh; noted at Gurdun and Rimbik 2/4, Darjeeling 3/4, and on the Old Gauhati Road 15 & 17/4.
Common at the Nalban wetlands, Kolkata 28/3.
ST/ENS; singles on the Sirikhola 2/4, and a small tributary of the Bhorelli, 5/4.
ENS; singles at Sessa village 5/4 and below Sessni 11/4.
ST/ENS/Sh; small flocks noted every day of the trek, and on most days at ENS. Also on the Old Gauhati Road 17/4.
ST/ENS; several at Sandakphu 1/4, and below Eagle’s Nest pass 6-8/4. 2 at Bompu 13/4.
ENS; several below Eagle’s Nest pass 6/4, around Sunderview 8 & 9/4, and at Bompu 14/4.
A large flock at Ruby Hospital, Kolkata 28/3.
Also at Ruby Hospital, Kolkata 28/3.
ST; 1 between Sandakphu/Gurdun, 2/4.
Plain Mountain Finch
ST; several Kalipokari 30/3, and a flock of c. 20 birds around Sandakphu, 1/4
ENS; single females below Chaku 7 & 10/4.
ST/ENS; 1 at Megma 30/3, and another around Bompu camp 12 & 14/4.
ST; a female at Megma 29/3, then several more at Sandakphu 1 & 2/4.
ST; a female below Sandakphu on the trekking path to Rimbik, 1/4.
ENS; 3-4 birds at Sunderview and later below Eagle’s Nest pass 6/4, and below Chaku 7/4.
ST/ENS; 3 below Kalipokari 31/3, and several associating with the above species at Sunderview 6/4.
ENS; 4-5 below Eagle’s Nest pass 6/4, and below Chaku 7/4.
ENS; an elusive pair below Eagle’s Nest pass 8/4, then regular around Bompu with up to 3 birds on all days 10-14/4.
ST/ENS; single males at Tonglu 30/3, and between Sandakphu/Gurdun 2/4. Singles and a pair below Eagle’s Nest pass 6 & 8/4, a female Chaku/Bompu 10/4 and another at Bompu 14/4.
ENS/Sh; 1 around Bompu camp 12 & 13/4, and 4 at Shillong Peak 16/4.
Several on the way to Darjeeling 28/3.
1 just below Megma, 29/3.
1 on the Old Gauhati Road, 15/4.
Orange-bellied Himalayan Squirrel
Several on the Sandakphu trek.
Himalayan Striped Squirrel
Several on the Sandakphu trek and at ENS.
Heard below Kalipokari on the Sandakphu trek, and at ENS.