The taxonomy, sequence
& nomenclature in this report follow Grimmett, Inskipp &
Note that where estimates of numbers of birds seen are given,
these are largely based on personal
observations. Hence the actual numbers seen on the trip by the
group is likely to be greater in many instances. In addition,
where a species was only seen by one member
of the group (which, typically for forest birding, happened on a
number of times) this is usually indicated in the text below.
One calling bird heard from the Lava to Algarah road
was the only record.
Heard calling from near Pelling and from the Lava to
At least four were heard calling from the Khunia
watchtower at Gorumara, with one heard also
from the Rhino Observation Point nearby the following day.
Ones or twos recorded from Pemayangtse, Maenam, Rashet
and Lava but never seen well enough to
determine the subspecies. Likely to have been
At least ten seen from the Khunia watch tower at
Gorumara with a few other sightings in the
A family party of five were seen on a small pond from
the Khunia watch tower at Gorumara.
Four on the Teesta river at Kalijhora, about five along
the river at Gorumara and large numbers (at
least 200) at Gazoldoba.
A very noteworthy sighting was of seven on the Teesta
river at Gazoldoba on 23/11.
Seven on the Jaldhaka river at Bindu consisted of three
males and four females and coincidentally
seven seen on the Teesta river near Kalijhora were also of the same
composition. Otherwise it was probably the commonest duck at
Gazoldoba with at least 2500 there.
An excellent sighting of this very rare winter
visitor to northern India was of a pair at
Gazoldoba. Mike had just picked out two female Garganeys there and
passed the scope for Bill to see them, only
for a fantastic drake Falcated Duck to be swimming
through the view as Bill looked through, immediately obscuring
any thoughts of looking at the Garganeys!
Very good views were had of both male and female.
Approximately 40 seen at Gazoldoba.
Common amongst the ducks at Gazoldoba, an estimate of
about 400 being a noteworthy number in
India. One lone male was seen on Khecheopari Lake.
About 80 seen at Gazoldoba.
Common at Gazoldoba, although not the dominant duck
species there as is often the case further
west in north India. Approximately 300 were seen.
About 200 were at Gazoldoba.
Two females were quite a good sighting at Gazoldoba
since Garganeys generally winter much
further south in India, with relatively few mid-winter records from
Very common, at least 2000, at Gazoldoba.
At least 50 were seen at close range at Gazoldoba.
About 150 at Gazoldoba.
About 100 were seen at Gazoldoba, making this an
important wintering site for this species,
classified as ‘near-threatened’ by BirdLife International.
The scarcest of the diving ducks at Gazoldoba, although
there were still about 80 seen.
Nine birds were seen on Khecheopari Lake.
One seen from the balcony of the Shivaji Tourist Inn in
Bindu flew across the river into Bhutan. It
was noted as being especially brown above and therefore was
probably of the
chinensis subspecies, which is known to be a winter visitor
to eastern India .
One was seen well in a mixed species feeding flock at
Two or three seen on both days at Gorumara. The
subspecies would have been
although no specific note was made of the more extensive red at the
sides of the crown.
Two seen at Suntalekhola, one at Khecheopari Lake and
one at Rumtek. The latter at least showed a
slight orangey tinge to the yellow nape typical of the nominate
subspecies, although Ali & Ripley  do state that there is a
cline between this and the more westerly
Singles seen at Suntalekhola, Kalijhora and
Singles seen, or more commonly heard, at Sangachoeling,
Rabdentse, Khecheopari Lake, Rashet and
The only sighting was of one at Gorumara.
A calling bird was heard near the Samsing Forest Rest
House, one seen on shade trees in a tea
plantation between Gorumara and Gazoldoba and three seen on the
Mahakal Trail at Gorumara.
Two noisy birds were seen briefly in the forest above
Khecheopari Lake. The distinctive bill was
not seen, although extensive red on the back of head of the male
confirms this species and not Rufous Woodpecker. The black
barring on brown plumage was quite similar
to a hepatic female cuckoo.
Commonly heard calling and seen on a number of
occasions. Recorded from all sites visited
in the hills in both North Bengal and Sikkim.
Only seen at Gorumara, with at least eight there.
Five were seen at Suntalekhola and singles were at
Rumtek and Gorumara. Also one en-route
sighting in North Bengal and one in Sikkim.
The only record was of seven seen by a single observer
Oriental Pied Hornbill
Two were seen in trees by the Teesta river at Kaljhora
and more seen at Gorumara included four from
the Khunia watch tower.
Small numbers seen en-route in the lowlands of North
Bengal on a few occasions.
One was seen in Sikkim on a river en-route from
Rabangla to Gangtok. Not seen again until
singles daily at Gorumara with one also at Gazoldoba.
One seen, by a single observer, by the small
stream on the Mahakal Trail at Gorumara was
the only sighting.
Aside from one at Khecheopari Lake, only recorded from
the Gorumara area including three at Khunia
and en-route from Gorumara to Bagdogra.
Two were seen on the Jaldhaka river south of Bindu and
one was present at Bindu itself, both on the
Indian and Bhutan sides of the river. There are few records for the
state of West Bengal, although birds are presumably resident in
these underwatched areas. In Sikkim, three
were seen en-route between Gangtok and North
Bengal on 20/11.
One seen in flight at Gazoldoba was the only sighting.
Just one record of four seen en-route in the lowlands
Four near Samsing Forest Rest House were the only ones
Large Hawk Cuckoo
Very good views of a late migrant at Todey on 9/11.
One near the Samsing Forest Rest House and one at
One seen at Kalijhora was the only sighting of the
Two were seen in the grasslands from the Khunia watch
tower at Gorumara and also heard calling
from there. One bird was seen perched for a few seconds,
although only the head and neck were visible. Otherwise brief
flight views were obtained on two occasions.
Vernal Hanging Parrot
Seen on both days at Gorumara and pleasingly gave good
perched views, typically hanging upside-down
from a tree trunk.
Following three in flight at Samsing the only records
were from Gorumara, where it was relatively
Surprisingly the only record from the entire
trip was of two at Gorumara.
A flock of at least 40 parakeets was seen between
Pelling and Sangachoeling on 15/11. It was
difficult to get good views but flight views showed obvious yellow in
the tail, particularly from below, and at
least one bird had a red upper mandible. At least
some were therefore Slaty-headed, and it seems likely that most
One bird from the flock between Pelling and
Sangachoeling that was seen particularly
well had a pale grey head and yellow bill, plus a small
maroon-coloured shoulder patch. This
combination of features mostly closely fits female Blossomheaded,
although some of the literature referred to since states that
the lower mandible is supposed to be
15 were seen at Samsing and up to 30 at
Up to five seen on both days at Gorumara.
Asian Palm Swift
A flock of about ten over palms en-route to Gorumara,
plus five at Gorumara Jungle Camp.
Asian Barred Owlet
Due to its relatively diurnal nature birds were seen on
several occasions, including Suntalekhola,
Pemayangtse (two there), Khecheopari Lake, Fambong Lho, Lava
Single birds heard at both Kalijhora and Gorumara.
One heard calling at Gorumara Jungle Camp.
One bird was seen well in flight after dusk at
Suntalekhola on 6/11. There was only one
other nightjar recorded on the entire trip: one in flight over fields
near Gorumara was most likely to have been a
Common in all but the most forested areas.
Ashy Wood Pigeon
Three were seen in flight
at Maenam, followed by sightings at Lava and Neora
Oriental Turtle Dove
Considerably less common
than last year (when it was recorded nearly every day):
two at Karmi Farm were the only sighting during the first week.
Seen more frequently in Sikkim although only
one sighting, six at Rumtek, was of more than
one bird. More common at Gorumara with up to 40 there. The grey
sides and tip to the tail eliminate the
and the obvious pinkish colour of the head,
neck and underparts suggest the more easterly
Small numbers seen en-route in both North Bengal and
Sikkim but not common. One recorded from
Suntalekhola and up to three from Gorumara.
Red Collared Dove
Quite common at Gorumara with up to 15 there, the only
other record being from Siliguri.
Eurasian Collared Dove
Surprisingly only one was seen on the entire trip, and
that just outside Bagdogra.
Barred Cuckoo Dove
Two were seen in flight at dusk at Mount Narsing. As
last year, when we recorded just one
probable, this species is presumably difficult to find at this time of
year: it is frequently reported in the
One was seen by a single observer at Gorumara.
Yellow-footed Green Pigeon
Only recorded from Gorumara where about 50 birds were
seen from the Rhino Observation Point as
they came to salt in the morning along with other pigeons and
doves. The northern subspecies
quite distinctive with obvious separation
between the grey belly and the mustard-yellow breast.
Pin-tailed Green Pigeon
One, lacking the “pin-tail”, was seen with other
pigeons at Gorumara.
Wedge-tailed Green Pigeon
About six at Sangachoeling, two at Maenam, four at Lava
and a flock of 20 seen in flight at
Green Imperial Pigeon
Very good views of 18 with other pigeons and doves at
Rhino Observation Point, Gorumara. Also seen
from the Khunia watch tower and on the Mahakal Trail.
One heard calling from the Khunia watch tower at
Gorumara was the only record.
Only recorded from Gazoldoba where at least 150 were
An excellent record was of one feeding by the roadside
towards dusk along the Lava to Algarah road
on 20/11. It flew up and landed in the leaf litter, although was
only seen again in flight when we flushed it from there whilst
attempting to refind it.
Two were seen in flight at Gazoldoba.
Seven were seen at Gazoldoba.
One was seen on the river at Gorumara and a large flock
of at least 150 was at Gazoldoba.
One seen at Gorumara was the only sighting.
Two were seen at Gazoldoba.
A flock of about 20 were present at Gazoldoba.
Greater Painted Snipe
Brief flight views were had of one seen from the Khunia
watch tower at Gorumara on 22/11.
Little Ringed Plover
Two were seen along the river at Gorumara and three at
Lesser Sand Plover
A non-breeding plumaged bird was present with Little
Ringed Plovers at Gazoldoba.
A flock of seven were seen along the river at Gorumara.
An unusual bird in West Bengal, so a total of 200 at
Gazoldoba was a remarkable record. 90 were
present on a sand bar there and two flocks totalling 110 flew over.
Surprisingly scarce with just two birds seen from the
Khunia watch tower at Gorumara and none at
all en-route in the lowlands.
One was present with ducks and waders on a sand bar at
Excellent views of one in flight at Gazoldoba.
One was seen and photographed from Sangachoeling on
16/11 and five singles flew over Rumtek on
20/11. These were all seen apparently migrating and looked
larger and longer-winged than the sedentary Indian birds,
typical of the migratory Siberian subspecies
Just small numbers recorded en-route in the lowlands.
Lesser Fish Eagle
One immature was seen soaring over the edge of the
forest and grassland at Gorumara on 23/11.
Difficult to distinguish from Grey-headed Fish Eagle at this age,
but the uniform dark brown tail suggests that it was a Lesser.
Birds seen en-route in the North Bengal lowlands
on three occasions, including six on 22/11
and an impressive soaring flock of 24 at Bagdogra on 24/11.
Five birds were seen soaring with White-rumped Vultures
at Bagdogra on 24/11.
One adult was seen not far from Kalijhora, two birds at
Rumtek and one at Gorumara.
Crested Serpent Eagle
Singles were seen en-route in North Bengal on two
occasions, two calling birds in flight at
Lava and daily sightings at Gorumara. Also two birds were seen
together en-route in Sikkim.
Eurasian Marsh Harrier
A female or immature was seen at Gazoldoba.
Eastern Marsh Harrier
One bird was seen very well at Gazoldoba on 23/11. A
female or immature bird, it clearly showed
off-white patches on the primaries below much like a
whitish upper-tail coverts. Size and structure appeared
identical to Eurasian Marsh Harrier and its
behaviour was exactly the same, quartering over the reeds with
wings held in a V and alighting on several occasions.
A superb adult male flew directly through at Gazoldoba
on 23/11, making this an excellent site for
a variety of harriers!
The only record was of one en-route in North Bengal
that was seen to catch a passerine, probably
Singles at Suntalekhola, Karmi Farm, Rabdentse,
Khecheopari Lake, Rumtek, Rashet and Lava,
plus two at Maenam. One of the Maenam birds was
photographed at close range and may have been a female of the
than the Himalayan
melaschistos (which was also
gentilis One in flight over
Karmi Farm typically had a steady flapping flight without the flap-and-glide
of a Eurasian Sparrowhawk.
One was seen very well en-route to Kalijhora.
Thereafter a presumably migrating individual
overflew Rumtek on 20/11 and one was seen in the Gorumara
One seen briefly at Karmi Farm with a Eurasian
Sparrowhawk and good views of one seen
en-route between Khecheopari Lake and Mount Narsing.
Greater Spotted Eagle
Two individual migrating birds were seen within ten
minutes of each other over Kalijhora on
Migrating birds were seen on a few occasions with eight
at Karmi Farm, one at Kalijhora, 12 in the
late afternoon at Rabdentse and six nearby at Sangachoeling
the following morning, and one also at Fambong Lho. There is
probably a considerable passage through this
region although the dates would suggest that the
peak is probably a few weeks earlier. Birds were flying between
west and south. Whether these birds continue
west to winter in northeast Africa with the bulk of the
Steppe Eagle population, or are part of the smaller population
that winters in India, is unknown.
Mountain Hawk Eagle
Singles of the nominate Himalayan subspecies
were seen at Sangachoeling, Pemayangtse,
Rumtek and Neora Valley, and en-route sightings in Sikkim included
four between Khecheopari Lake and Mount Narsing.
Single birds were seen at Bindu (including in Bhutan),
Kalijhora, Maenam and enroute in both North
Bengal and Sikkim on two occasions each.
Two birds were seen at Gorumara from the Rhino
Observation Point on 23/11 and two were also
seen at Gazoldoba later the same day. One of the Gorumara birds
was constantly mobbed by Ashy Woodswallows.
Two were seen at Gazoldoba.
Great Crested Grebe
Eight were seen at Gazoldoba on 23/11.
Three were seen at Gazoldoba on 23/11. Few records from
West Bengal, but undoubtedly overlooked as
in much of the rest of north India.
Only seen in the lowlands with a couple of records
en-route plus birds seen at Gorumara and
At least one was seen at Gazoldoba, but probably
Four seen on the river at Kalijhora, small numbers
en-route on the rivers in Sikkim, plus a few
Only recorded en-route once and with a single on the
river at Gorumara.
One was seen at Gazoldoba.
A single at Gazoldoba and one at Gorumara.
Up to three at Gorumara were the only ones seen.
Recorded on a few occasions in the lowlands of North
Bengal, but not seen in Sikkim.
Indian Pond Heron
Recorded at Gorumara but only one other en-route
sighting in North Bengal.
Two were seen at Gorumara, probably the easternmost
point of their range.
About eight were seen at Gazoldoba.
A single was seen on the river at Kalijhora and two
were at Gorumara National Park.
Asian Fairy Bluebird
species in the last 29 days in
A pair seen in the early morning of 24/11 on the
Mahakal Trail was Mike’s
Good views of six during a brief stop at Chapramari on
10/11 and at least three on the Mahakal
Trail on 24/11.
One was seen at Khecheopari Lake and three at Gorumara
and the Mahakal Trail.
A pair were seen at Suntalekhola, two also at
Sangachoeling and one at Rashet in the lower
A few sightings en-route in the lowlands, including
four on 22/11.
Recorded three times en-route in North Bengal and twice
in Sikkim. Otherwise two were seen from the
Khunia watch tower and two at Gazoldoba. All birds were of the
Singles at Bindu, Karmi Farm and Sangachoeling, two
from the Khunia watch tower and a number of
en-route sightings; the commonest shrike species encountered.
Yellow-billed Blue Magpie
Two noisy birds at Tiger Hill, four at Fambong Lho and
one at Neora Valley. Not seen well enough to
note the subspecies, although presumably they would have
been the nominate, with pale yellow underparts and a greyer
mantle than the western
Although not recorded last year ones or twos
were seen at several sites this year,
including Suntalekhola, Bindu, Todey, Karmi Farm, Rabdentse,
Khecheopari Lake, and ten were seen at the
botanical garden at Rumtek.
A few sightings in the lowlands, including Gorumara,
but only one sighting, of two birds at
Suntalekhola, at any significant altitude.
Much the commoner treepie seen with records from most
hill sites visited in both North Bengal and
Generally common especially in the lowlands, but with a
few also seen around habitation in the
Small numbers regular at several sites. No notable
counts were made. All the birds seen
appeared to be “Jungle Crows”, i.e.
none approaching the more raven-like
About six seen at Suntalekhola with a similar number at
Samsing and up to 15 at Gorumara, where they
did not tolerate the presence of a Peregrine there.
One was seen and heard briefly on the Mahakal Trail.
Two near the Samsing Forest Rest House and up to four
at Gorumara and the Mahakal Trail were the
only ones recorded.
Excellent views of two at Suntalekhola, singles seen at
Kalijhora, Pemayangtse, Khecheopari Lake,
Maenam and up to four at Gorumara and the Mahakal Trail.
Two noisy birds were seen and heard (a call not unlike
that of Plum-headed Parakeet) at Gorumara.
Presumably they were of the Himalayan foothills
One was seen at Samsing Forest Rest House and up
to four were at Gorumara National Park and
the Mahakal Trail.
One male was seen amongst other minivets at
Suntalekhola on 7/11, although it is quite
possible that others were overlooked there.
Two were seen at Sangachoeling.
A good sighting of about 100 came from Suntalekhola and
there were also six at Kalijhora.
About 40 were seen at Suntalekhola with Short-billed
Minivets and small numbers were recorded at
Samsing, Chapramari, Karmi Farm and Kalijhora. At Gorumara
there was up to 60 seen, and a flock of 40 was seen en-route in
North Bengal. There was just one en-route
sighting of four in Sikkim.
Six at Suntalekhola, six at Bindu and eight at
Kalijhora showed a brown mantle and were
clearly of the capitalis
Three were seen at Sangachoeling, singles at
Khecheopari Lake, Maenam, Fambong Lho and
Rumtek, and three at Rashet.
Singles, of one the dark-breasted races, seen at
Suntalekhola, Karmi Farm, Kalijhora,
Pemayangtse, Rumtek and Gorumara.
Recorded en-route on a few occasions, in the lowlands
only, and in the Gorumara area.
Small numbers seen at Suntalekhola, Samsing, Bindu,
Kalijhora and Gorumara in North Bengal, with
Sikkim records restricted to one at Fambong Lho and about six
at a stop en-route between Khecheopari Lake and Mount Narsing.
These were a distinctive paler grey than the
more western birds and were therefore probably of
Common at Suntalekhola where up to eight were seen.
Also seen at nearby Samsing and Bindu, with
ones or twos from Kalijhora, Lava and Gorumara. The only
Sikkim record was of two en-route between Khecheopari Lake and
Mount Narsing, seen together with Ashy
Lesser Racket-tailed Drongo
Two were seen on the Mahakal Trail.
Up to three were seen at Suntalekhola, Samsing, Bindu,
Chapramari and Kalijhora, with daily
sightings from the Gorumara area including six near the Khunia watch
tower. One seen briefly with the Ashy and Bronzed Drongos
between Khecheopari Lake and Mount Narsing
was the only one recorded from Sikkim
One was seen well at Suntalekhola and there were brief
sightings of two at Gorumara on two
Three were seen at Suntalekhola and there was one at
The only records were of four at Kalijhora and one at
Good views of a feeding flock of 15
pelvica birds on
the Mahakal Trail.
Seen on the river Jaldhaka at Bindu, both in India and
in Bhutan, and also seen briefly at
A pair were seen at Karmi Farm with another pair at
Sangachoeling, then singles at Khecheopari
Lake and twice en-route stops in Sikkim.
Blue Rock Thrush
Two were seen from the balcony of Shivaji Tourist Inn
at Bindu and singles were seen at Kalijhora,
twice en-route in Sikkim, at Gazoldoba and at Gorumara.
Blue Whistling Thrush
Common with records from nearly every site visited. An
interesting lowland sighting was of one in a
tea plantation between Gorumara and Gazoldoba.
One was seen by a single observer at Rashet in the
lower Neora Valley.
Brief sightings of one at Tiger Hill and one at Rashet.
The undoubted highlight of
the trip for Mike and Sujan was one seen well at Tiger
Hill. First seen by Mike it gave excellent views for about 30
seconds, plus a few seconds for a breathless
Sujan who arrived just in time after hearing Mike’s frantic
shouts! This species is mentioned for Tiger Hill by Kazmierczak
and Singh  although there are very few
Two were seen at Suntalekhola, two at Bindu and one at
Todey, although there were no sightings
A pair were seen at Khecheopari Lake and one at
Several sightings included three at Karmi Farm and at
Fambong Lho, plus ones or twos at Tiger
Hill, Pemayangtse, Sangachoeling, Khecheopari Lake, Rumtek,
Rashet and Lava.
Ones or twos were seen at Suntalekhola, Samsing, Bindu,
Kalijhora, Khecheopari Lake and Rashet, with
three at Gorumara. About one bird in four were seen well
enough to assign to subspecies and all of these were, as
expected based on range,
Singles were seen at Sangachoeling and Pemayangtse.
Two seen at Bindu, one in India and one in Bhutan, were
the only definite sightings.
A single observer sighting of one at Rumtek was the
One bird was seen at Karmi Farm and two were at the
botanical gardens in Rumtek, plus there was
one en-route sighting in North Bengal.
A pair was seen briefly not far from Bindu and singles
were seen in Sikkim at Sangachoeling and
One was at Suntalekhola, two at Bindu and one at Rumtek.
Singles at Suntalekhola and Todey, followed by two at
Kalijhora, one at Rumtek and an en-route
sighting in Sikkim.
Seen at all sites visited in North Bengal except Tiger
Hill, the Lava area and Gazoldoba, the
maximum being four at Kalijhora. Interestingly in Sikkim we only
recorded one bird, at Pemayangtse
Orange-flanked Bush Robin
One bird at Kalijhora was giving short bursts of song
and was presumed to be an immature male.
Otherwise one was seen at Sangachoeling with two in the Neora
Golden Bush Robin
A male was seen in the garden of Mount Pandim hotel,
Pemayangtse, on two occasions, and two were
seen at Fambong Lho.
White-browed Bush Robin
A female was seen briefly from the trail to Tiffindara
Oriental Magpie Robin
Recorded from Bindu and Gorumara, with en-route
sightings in both North Bengal and Sikkim on
a couple of occasions.
Seen and heard singing at Kalijhora and on three
occasions in the Gorumara area.
One female seen at Suntalekhola was the only sighting.
Excellent views were had of four at Bindu, including
one in Bhutan. One was also seen at
One was seen at Todey and it was particularly common at
Tiger Hill with at least 20seen there. Also seen at Lava in North
Bengal and noted to be very common in
Sikkim, where records came from all sites.
White-capped Water Redstart
Regularly seen on or near most rivers, the peak count
was five at Bindu and at least eight on the
journey between Khecheopari Lake and Mount Narsing in Sikkim.
Plumbeous Water Redstart
Very similar status to White-capped Water Redstart and
very frequently seen together. Six seen at
Bindu and eight between Khecheopari Lake and Mount
Narsing were the maximum counts.
Three were seen at Bindu and one en-route not far from
there, with en-route sightings at
road-crossing streams on two occasions in Sikkim.
Quite commonly encountered en-route where the road
crossed any streams. One was at
Suntalekhola, two displaying birds at Bindu (seen in both India and
Bhutan) and three en-route birds were seen
between Bindu and Todey. Seen at five
separate occasions in Sikkim, with one bird also on a stream at Rashet.
Two seen at Bindu, with one also on the Bhutan side of
the border there, and singles at Kalijhora,
Khecheopari Lake and on three other occasions in Sikkim. At
least six seen in the Gorumara area.
One seen en-route from Lava to Gorumara was the only
sighting of the trip.
Two were seen at Suntalekhola, Todey and Karmi Farm,
three at Fambong Lho,one at Rumtek and singles en-route on three
A flock of 30 were seen at Samsing, 20 at Chapramari
and up to 40 at Gorumara.
Asian Pied Starling
Noted on several occasions in lowland areas where it is
clearly common, including at Gorumara.
Very common in lowland areas, with a number of records
of small numbers also from higher altitudes.
One en-route between Lava and Gorumara was the only
sighting away from Gorumara National Park
itself. Here up to 30 were seen from the Rhino Observation
Several were seen in the Suntalekhola and Samsing area,
including one flock of about 50 birds. Also
noted were 15 at Bindu, 40 at Chapramari, one at Karmi Farm,
40 at Kalijhora and up to eight at Gorumara, plus a remarkable
500 near Samsing on 22/11.
Seen at Samsing, Bindu, Todey (with three there), Karmi
Farm, Tiger Hill, Kalijhora, Gorumara plus
on one occasion in Sikkim en-route between Maenam and Gangtok.
Generally found to replace Chestnut-bellied Nuthatch at
higher altitude sites, one was seen at Tiger
Hill and there were records also from Sangachoeling, Rabdentse,
Pemayangtse, Khecheopari Lake, Maenam, Fambong Lho plus the
Lava and Neora Valley area.
Up to four seen at Karmi Farm, one at Tiger Hill and
two at Gorumara.
A treecreeper seen at Karmi Farm was thought to be this
species. Otherwise just two other
treecreepers were seen on the entire trip and these, at Samsing, were
only seen briefly and could not be identified.
One, a dark bird probably of the
subspecies, was seen at very close range on
the Lava to Algarah road.
One seen well in the Neora Valley had a greyish belly
and was therefore of the subspecies
Singles were seen at Karmi Farm and Tiger Hill, five at
Sangachoeling, at least 12 at Rumtek and ten
in the Neora Valley.
Easily the commonest tit species recorded with records
from Todey (about 15), Karmi Farm (at least
25), Pemayangtse, Sangachoeling, Khecheopari Lake, Mount
Narsing, Maenam, Fambong Lho, Rumtek, Rashet and Lava.
Three were seen at Karmi Farm and there were one or two
at several Sikkim sites, including
Sangachoeling, Rabdentse and Khecheopari Lake. More notable counts
were 10 at Rumtek and eight in the Neora Valley.
Three were seen at Suntalekhola on 7/11. Two of these
were in a tree inside the grounds of the
Suntalay Khola Wilderness Camp, but unfortunately all were only
Up to 20 were seen at Karmi Farm and there were other
flocks of about this size seen at
Sangachoeling, Rabdentse, Khecheopari Lake, Neora Valley and Lava,
with smaller numbers from Fambong Lho and
Only seen near the river at Kalijohora and between
Gorumara and Bagdogra.
One juvenile was seen with Wire-tailed Swallows at
Four birds were seen perched on wires at Gazoldoba.
Extremely unusual in this area, with just a
single record highlighted by Grimmett, Inskipp and Inskipp .
Nepal House Martin
A flock of about 50 was seen on two occasions not far
from Kolbong in North Bengal. In Sikkim five
at Pemayangtse and 30 at Sangachoeling were eclipsed by a
flock of at least 200 seen not far from Khecheopari Lake.
Five were seen in pines at Sangachoeling Gompa, about
10 in the Neora Valley and four in the
grounds of the Lava Forest Rest House.
Excellent views of two in a large feeding flock of
smaller birds at Rabdentse, followed by nine
at Fambong Lho. Also recorded from Rashet and Lava.
flaviventris subspecies was seen twice, with six at
Kalijhora and four at Gorumara.
Three at Samsing, about ten at Kalijhora and at
least 20 in the Gorumara area.
Small numbers recorded from Todey, Karmi Farm and three
occasions in Sikkim, including at Rumtek.
One of the darker subspecies, probably
fairly common at most sites visited in both
North Bengal and Sikkim, although no notable counts were
Three birds were seen in pines at the top of the ridge
Three birds were seen well bubt briefly at Karmi Farm,
with two seen also at Fambong Lho.
Pale grey birds of the subspecies
quite common in the hills with sightings
from Suntalekhola, Karmi Farm, Sangachoeling, Khecheopari Lake,
Maenam, Fambong Lho, Rumtek, Neora Valley and Lava.
The only records were of one at Gazoldoba and one
between Gorumara and Bagdogra.
Quite common, unlike last year when we only had one
sighting. This year recorded from
Suntalekhola, Bindu, Todey (where there were at least 50), Karmi Farm,
Kalijhora, Khecheopari Lake and Rumtek.
There were brief sightings of birds at Chapramari,
Karmi Farm, Khecheopari Lake, Rumtek (two)
and once at an en-route stop in Sikkim. Calls that were probably this
species were heard on several occasions and it is presumably
One bird seen briefly at Chapramari, a few metres from
a Chestnut-headed Tesia, was followed by one
seen well (and photographed) at Gorumara on two consecutive
Very good views had of two at Sangachoeling, with one
other seen at Fambong Lho.
One was seen at Tiger Hill and one briefly in the Neora
Grey-sided Bush Warbler
Two were seen by a single observer at Fambong Lho.
Very good views had of one in thick scrub and lantana
at Samsing. Also one seen from the Khunia
watch tower at Gorumara and two from the Rhino Observation
One or two birds recorded from Samsing, Todey, Rumtek,
Gorumara and en-route in Sikkim.
One was seen in the grasslands from the Khunia watch
tower in Gorumara.
One seen by a single observer in the botanical gardens
at Rumtek was, surprisingly, the only
Regularly recorded and usually common. Birds were seen
at Suntalekhola, Todey, Karmi Farm (at least
30), all sites visited in Sikkim, Lava and the Neora Valley.
Small numbers seen at various sites, including
Suntalekhola, Bindu, Karmi Farm, Khecheopari
Lake, Fambong Lho and Rumtek, where the peak of about ten was
Two were seen (and heard) at Fambong Lho and there were
sightings also at Rumtek and Gorumara.
Relatively common with sightings from Suntalekhola,
Bindu, Todey, Karmi Farm (at least 15),
Tiger Hill, Kalijhora, Sangachoeling, Khecheopari Lake, Maenam,
Fambong Lho, Rumtek, Neora Valley and Lava.
Blyth's Leaf Warbler
Two were seen briefly at Sangachoeling.
One was seen well at Suntalekhola, one at Kalijhora and
one also at Gorumara.
Records of either Golden-spectacled Warbler or
Whistler’s Warbler came from a number of
sites, although only a small proportion could be confidently assigned
to either species due to lack of knowledge
of the key distinguishing features. Criteria
used for identification were mainly from the Family Introductions
section of Kazmierczak and van Perlo ,
although on a few occasions birds were seen that
appeared to show some pro Golden-spectacled characters and some
pro Whistler’s characters. The most useful
features appeared to be the blackness of the lateral
crown stripes and the extent of the extension of these towards
the bill, plus the strength of the yellow
colouration below. However, these features were still
indeterminate with the views possible for the majority of birds
seen. The presence or absence of a wing-bar
was considered to be of little use for identification, as was
altitudinal range outside of the breeding season. Two birds
seen at Suntalekhola on 7/11 were considered
to be Golden-spectacled, whilst birds at Bindu, Todey, Karmi
Farm (where five were seen together), Tiger Hill and Gorumara
were not positively identified.
One definite was seen at Sangachoeling, two at an
en-route stop between Khecheopari Lake and
Mount Narsing, up to ten at Rumtek and one in the Neora
Widespread although not as common as further west in
the Himalayas. Recorded at Suntalekhola,
Karmi Farm (with up to 25 there), Sangachoeling, Pemayangtse,
Rabdentse, Khecheopari Lake, Maenam, Fambong Lho and Rumtek.
One was seen well at Rumtek. One seen at Suntalekhola
was either this species or Grey-cheeked
There were single observer sightings at Sangachoeling
and at a stop between Maenam and Gangtok,
plus another seen well at Rashet.
This attractive bird proved quite widespread. Following
singles at Suntalekhola and Todey there were
three at Karmi Farm and ones or twos at Rabdentse,
Sangachoeling, Fambong Lho, Rumtek, Lava and the Neora Valley.
Brief views were had of one at Tiger Hill and a flock
of four at Maenam, plus a single en-route
between Maenam and Gangtok.
The only one was a single observer sighting at a
roadside stop between Maenam and Gangtok on
One heard singing at Gazoldoba was the only record.
After four at Suntalekhola, the only other sighting was
of an impressive flock of 80 birds at
Flocks of up to 10 were seen at Suntalekhola, Karmi
Farm, Rumtek and twice enroute in Sikkim.
One was seen briefly with White-throated
Laughingthrushes at Suntalekhola and a flock
of about six where seen from the Rumtek to Song road.
A flock of 20 was seen at Bindu, on the Bhutan side of
the river. Seen in the late afternoon they
were actively feeding in low bushes and consequently we had very
In North Bengal a flock of four were seen at Todey,
birds were heard at Karmi Farm and small
numbers were recorded at Lava and Rashet. In Sikkim there were several
sightings of up to four birds, including at Sangachoeling,
Rabdentse, Pemayangtse, Maenam, Fambong Lho
About four were seen briefly at Tiger Hill by a single
Two were seen briefly at Sangachoeling whilst two
flocks totalling about ten birds pleasingly
gave very good views at Rashet in the Neora Valley.
Not the common bird that it is in the western
Himalayas, but up to six birds were seen at
Pemayangtse, Sangachoeling, Mount Narsing and Rashet.
About four were seen briefly in bamboo at Tiger Hill,
one was seen briefly at Maenam, about eight
gave good views in a flock at Fambong Lho that contained
four different species of laughingthrushes and it was also
recorded from Rumtek and Lava.
One at Sangachoeling and four at Fambong Lho were the
only sightings. Interestingly recorded as
“relatively common” last year.
Following up to six at Tiger Hill this proved to
be the most widespread of the
laughingthrushes, with sightings from all Sikkim sites visited,
including ten at Fambong Lho, plus small
numbers from Lava and the Neora Valley.
One of the highlights of the trip, five were seen at
Fambong Lho. One gave brief views in a mixed
flock of laughingthrushes and then four were seen reasonably well
as they moved through the low vegetation, although never really
showing in the open.
Two seen at Mount Narsing was the only sighting.
One was seen quite well in dense vegetation at
Sangachoeling and another was seen in the
Excellent close views were had of one in a mixed
species feeding flock at Sangachoeling, and
two were seen in thick bamboo in the Neora Valley.
Scaly-breasted Wren Babbler
One rufous morph seen at Todey gave excellent views and
was photographed. Another heard calling at
Rabdentse eventually showed itself very briefly and finally a
white morph was seen at Rashet.
Pygmy Wren Babbler
One at Sangachoeling, one at Khecheopari Lake, two at
Maenam and one at Gorumara. Also birds
en-route in Sikkim on three occasions included three (one
seen and two heard) within a 300m stretch between Maenam and
Seen amongst flocks of other species,
particularly Rufous-winged Fulvettas, at
Samsing, Rabdentse, Sangachoeling, Fambong Lho, Rumtek, Rashet and
Lava, where the maximum count of four was
Six were seen well at a roadside stop between Maenam
and Gangtok, with another five seen at
Although not recorded last year, this time small
numbers were quite common at several sites,
i.e. Suntalekhola, Karmi Farm, Rabdentse, Sangachoeling, Rumtek
(where the maximum count of six occurred), Rashet and Lava.
Striped Tit Babbler
About six, constantly calling birds, were seen very
well at Kalijhora. Another that was heard,
and then seen, from the Rumtek to Song road, was at an unusually high
altitude of about 1700m: it is listed as occurring from the
duars (plains) to 600m in , up to 900m in
 and in the “foothills” in .
Two recorded en-route in the North Bengal lowlands was
the only sighting.
Some reasonably large flocks were seen at Tiger Hill,
Rabdentse, Maenam, Fambong Lho (at least
40), Rumtek, Rashet and Lava. The central and eastern
Himalaya birds are of the subspecies
White-browed Shrike Babbler
One male was seen briefly at Sangachoeling.
Black-eared Shrike Babbler
A good series of records with one at Suntalekhola, up
to three at Karmi Farm, one at Rabdentse
which gave exceptionally good views in a large feeding flock, five at
Maenam and two roadside birds between there and Gangtok.
Very good views of up to seven at Pemayangtse where
they were seen daily, four at Khecheopari
Lake, five at Fambong Lho and also recorded at Lava.
One at Pemayangtse and five at Maenam were the only
Several were recorded in the first week in North
Bengal, with up to 12 at Suntalekhola, six
at Samsing, six at Todey, and up to 12 at Karmi Farm where it
was recorded on each of the three days there. Surprisingly no
further records, and therefore none were
recorded from Sikkim.
Recorded at several sites including five at Karmi Farm,
small numbers at Tiger Hill,Sangachoeling, Rabdentse, Pemayangtse,
Khecheopari Lake, about 30 at Maenam, ten at
Rumtek and up to 15 at Lava and in the Neora Valley.
Two at Suntalekhola, two at Todey, daily sightings from
Karmi Farm with an impressive maximum count
of 40 there. Fewer in Sikkim with one at Sangachoeling,
one at Maenam and three at Fambong Lho.
A fantastic flock of about 15 was seen at Tiger Hill,
one was seen at Pemayangtse and four in the
Quite common in the hills with records from Karmi Farm,
Tiger Hill, Pemayangtse, Rabdentse,
Sangachoeling, Fambong Lho, Lava and the Neora Valley. Large flocks
were seen at Rabdentse (about 40), Sangachoeling (about 30) and
Lava (about 25).
Only seen on three occasions but in large numbers each
time. It was the commonest species seen at
Tiger Hill and there were about 20 seen at both
Maenam and Lava. The birds showed the lightly streaked throat
of the chumbiensis
Small numbers were quite regular constituents of
feeding flocks, with records from
Suntalekhola, Karmi Farm (about ten there), Pemayangtse, Rabdentse,
Sangachoeling, Fambong Lho, Rumtek and Rashet.
One of the most common birds in the hills, with
sightings at Todey, Karmi Farm, Tiger Hill,
Kalijhora, all sites visited in Sikkim, plus Lava and Neora Valley.
Excellent views of five seen at Suntalekhola.
Six were seen at Suntalekhola.
After a single at Suntalekhola, eight were seen at
Todey, ten at Tiger Hill and then many in
Sikkim. Records were from all sites with a peak of about 30 at Fambong
Lho. Also common at Lava and the Neora Valley.
Common at Tiger Hill where up to 30 were seen but only
recorded otherwise from Rumtek and Neora
Six were seen at Tiger Hill, a few at Sangachoeling and
Pemayangtse and then several in the Neora
Valley and at Lava, where up to 40 included a large flock at
dawn that had obviously roosted together.
A fast moving flock of 10 were seen at Suntalekhola.
Eight were seen at Suntalekhola, singles at Todey and
Karmi Farm, five at Kalijhora and one at
Following poor and very brief views of one at
Pemayangtse, one was seen well at
Sangachoeling and there were other brief views of one at Maenam and
one in the Neora Valley.
About six were seen well in thick bamboo at Tiger Hill.
The only record was a single observer sighting of two
flocks in the Neora Valley.
Six were seen on the muddy flats at Gazoldoba.
Two seen at Chapramari and two at Khecheopari Lake were
the only sightings.
Relatively common in Sikkim with records from all sites
visited with maximums of six at
Sangachoeling and five at Khecheopari Lake. Not so many in North
Bengal, but records still from Suntalekhola,
Todey, Karmi Farm and in the Neora Valley.
About four were seen well at Gorumara.
Mrs Gould's Sunbird
The only record was a single observer sighting of one
in the Neora Valley.
By far the commonest sunbird. After one at Karmi Farm
they were seen frequently in Sikkim, with
records from Pemayangtse, Sangachoeling, Khecheopari Lake,
Maenam, Fambong Lho and Rumtek. Also a few noted at Lava and in
the Neora Valley.
One was seen briefly at Todey.
Three were seen at Kalijhora but these were the only
Four were seen at Karmi Farm and four also at
Sangachoeling. Unlike Green-tailed, which
were usually seen in ones and twos, the Fire-tailed Sunbirds were seen
The only record was a single observer sighting of one
Recorded a few times in habitation en-route and at
Bindu and Maenam.
One female was seen en-route between Pemayangtse and
Eurasian Tree Sparrow
Replaced the House Sparrow at higher elevations in
Sikkim and in Lava village.
One bird at Suntalekhola, a few at Kalijhora and one
en-route sighting in Sikkim. Several at
Gorumara included at least 200 roosting near the Khunia watch tower
and 40 were also seen at Gazoldoba. The only subspecies
definitely recorded was
Two seen by the river at Bindu, including in Bhutan,
and recorded also from Kalijhora and
One was seen at Gorumara and about 15, probably
thunbergi, seen at
A few were seen in the Bindu area and one or two
regularly en-route in Sikkim as well as at
Fambong Lho. Four were seen at Lava.
Two were seen at Gorumara and one en-route between
Gorumara and Bagdogra.
Small numbers were recorded at all sites except
Suntalekhola, Samsing, Bindu and Chapramari,
with the peak counts being ten at Karmi Farm and 20 at
Singles were seen well at Sangachoeling, Pemayangtse
Although not recorded last year there were several
sightings of small flocks this time around.
Six were at Pemayangtse, eight at Maenam, a total of at least 25 in
the Neora Valley and ten at Lava. All the
sightings were of small parties feeding on
paths in the forest, and they seemed particularly faithful to the same
At least one was seen at Gazoldoba although a flock of
about 40 weavers there was probably this
Only recorded by one observer in Siliguri itself. This
is slightly outside of its known range, and
may indicate a captive origin, or a possible eastwards range
Recorded near Bagdogra and then a single bird in flight
at Khunia, Gorumara.
Three white-bellied birds were seen at Gazoldoba.
Small flocks were seen at Pemayangtse, Sangachoeling
The most frequent rosefinch seen although most
sightings were of females or immatures.
Records came from Sangachoeling, Rabdentse, Pemayangtse,
Maenam, Fambong Lho, Neora Valley and Lava. Note that none of
the female or immature birds seen showed a
darker breast as depicted in Grimmett, Inskipp &
Inskipp , but all had uniform brown underparts. However,
there is no mention of a darker breast
within the text so it is presumed that the plate is wrong.
A single female was seen at Maenam. A notable record
since this species is relatively uncommon in
the east of its range.
Four females or immatures seen at Neora Valley were the
only sighting. They were feeding deep inside
the same bush they were noted in there the previous year.
A pair were seen along the track at Rashet. A scarce
species in India, with records generally
restricted to areas considerably further north.
One was seen by a single observer at Sangachoeling and
two more were seen at Khecheopari Lake.