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Thread: Reshikhola and Sillory Gaon - The unexplored birding destinations

  1. #1
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    Default Reshikhola and Sillory Gaon - The unexplored birding destinations

    I was relishing a plateful of hot steamed momos along with a mug of creamy milk coffee sitting under a pine tree. The place was surrounded by lush green forests and in every nook and corner of the forest cover I could feel the presence of hundreds of colourful tiny creatures – singing, chirping and moving to and fro. An early morning cool breeze was desperately trying to nullify the effect of slowly raising temperature in the environment.

    Suddenly a pat on my back following my husband’s whispering ‘come with me’ made me follow him a few yards before I could discover a small flock of ‘Grey-sided Laughingthrush’ inside a dense foliage.

    Sighting of this rare beauty was just the beginning of our two days wonderful birding trip to Sillory Gaon and Reshikhola at Kalimpong Sub-Division of Darjeeling district in West Bengal. These places are rapidly gaining popularity among birders and we did not miss the opportunity of visiting there when we could manage to add two more days to expand our weekend in the month of January, this year.
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  2. #2
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    Default Blue-winged Minla

    From New Jalpaiguri railway station we headed towards Sillory Gaon at around five o’clock in the morning and the first halt was at “Silent Valley” way to Sillory Gaon.

    It was around 7.30 am. We were the first customer at a road side food stall where the mouthwatering momos were just prepared for us at these very early hours in the morning.

    In our very short stop over at “Silent Valley” and “Sillory Gaon” not only explored the elusive ‘Grey-sided Laughingthrush’, but some beautiful birds like Himalayan Blue-tail, Blue-fronted Redstart, Blue-winged Minla, White-browed Piculet, Black Redstart, Fire-tailed Sunbird, Rufous-gorgated flycatcher, Rufous Sibia, Rufous-breasted Accentor, Grey-Wagtail, Rosy Pipit, Plain Mountain Finch etc.

    Blue-winged Minla
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    Default Rufous-gorgeted Flycatcher

    Rufous-gorgeted Flycatcher
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    Default Fire-tailed Sunbird

    Fire-tailed Sunbird
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    Default Himalayan Bluetail (Female)

    Himalayan Bluetail (Female)
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    Default Rufous-breasted Accentor

    Rufous-breasted Accentor
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  7. #7
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    Default Rufous Sibia

    Rufous Sibia
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  8. #8
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    Default Little Forktail

    A half-an-hour journey from ‘Silent Valley’ took us to Sillory Gaon. This Himalayan hamlet, can boast of its rich avifaunal treasure. We could explore a plethora of birds there in a whole day birding trip. After the day long birding there we left for our next destination ‘Reshikhola’ an hour journey from Sillory Gaon. The place situated beside the bank of ‘Reshi’ river mesmerized us with its beautiful landscape. As we reached there after sunset, there was no scope of exploring the place that day.

    We booked our accommodation at ‘Reshi River Camp’ for two nights.
    On reaching the camp we received a warm welcome with ‘Tea’ and ‘Chiken pakoda’. Dinner was served within eight o’clock and we retired to bed for an early morning wake up.

    The next morning birding started with the sighting of Scarlet Minivets in flock just around the camp site. Then we decided to look for the Forktails around Reshi river. We had to get down about 100 feet to reach the river bed from the camp site. Our expectation fulfilled with the sighting of Brown Dipper, Slaty-backed Forktail, Little Forktail, Himalayan Kingfisher, White-capped water Redstart and just beside the river stream we explored an Wallcreeper on a rocky inclination.

    Little Forktail
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  9. #9
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    Default White-capped water Redstart

    White-capped water Redstart
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  10. #10
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    Default Whistler’s Warbler

    The next birding session started after a heavy breakfast and we planned to explore inside the forest covers especially for the ‘White-crested Laughingthrush’. Inside the thick vegetation we spotted Whistler’s Warbler, Yellow-bellied Fantail, White-throated Fantail, Pied flycatcher-shrike, Slaty-bellied Tesia, Puff-throated Babbler, Crimson Sunbird, Grey-hooded Warbler, Small Niltava, Little pied Flycatcher, Green-backed Tit, Black-throated Sunbird, Green Magpie, Asian barred Owlet etc.
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  11. #11
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    Default White-crested Laughingthrush

    But our target species the White-crested Laughingthrush kept us running all the day in search of it whenever we heard their trademark call, but was able to catch some glimpses only. Lastly we could spot them clearly on our way back to the camp. A group of four to five birds with unmistakable long white crest and black mask were found hopping inside dense undergrowth.

    They were foraging on ground, were calling one another, bursting out every now and again, where everyone was trying to outshout the rest. We got ample opportunity to observe this typical behavior along with capturing some beautiful moments.

    The next morning we left ‘Reshikhola’ wishing to comeback again to this paradise of Laughingthrushes.

    Written by Swagata Sarkar.
    Photographed by Samrat Sarkar
    Equipment used - Canon 7D + Canon 500mm f4 + Monopod.
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  12. #12
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    Default

    Lovely.. beautiful birds and equally beautiful photographs.good information.Thanks for sharing.

  13. #13
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    Colourful Birds and wonderful photographs from the eastern Himalaya. Sillory Gaon is lovingly being called as New Darjeeling. You are truly showcasing the beauty of eastern Himalaya. Thanks for sharing. SaktiWild

  14. #14
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    Default

    Beautiful photographs. Lovely writing. It took me to the foothills of the eastern Himalayas (on the list from a long time ). Thanks for sharing.

  15. #15
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    Default

    Wow! This is fantastic. Hadn't heard of this sanctuary, but now really feel like visiting it.

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