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Birding Tours in Eastern India.... and beyond

DUARS or THE FOOTHILL FORESTS OF NORTH BENGAL

Duars or the gateway to the hills of Nepal and Bhutan and northeast India is the area where Jaldapara Wildlife Sanctuary, Gorumara National Park and Chapramari Wildlife Sanctuary is located in West Bengal. The area lying in the Himalayan foothills has great natural beauty and is home to some of the most varied flora and fauna. While the Gorumara National Park located on the bank of rivers Murti and Raidak has vegetation of riverine grasslands interspersed with savannah woodlands, Chapramari is more of woodland with very tall trees and thick canopy cover.

Besides the One-horned Rhinoceros, the fauna of the area include Asian Elephant, Gaur, Leopard, and two of deer.

Lowland bird species dominate and you are likely to see Black Stork, Common Merganser, Blue–eared Kingfisher, Grey-capped Pygmy Woodpecker, Oriental Pied Hornbill, Dollarbird, Green-billed Malkoha, Asian Barred Owlet, Barred Cuckoo Dove, Pompadour Green Pigeon, Thick-billed Green Pigeon, Pin-tailed Green Pigeon, Wedge-tailed Green Pigeon, Black Baza.

You are also supposed to find : Collared Falconet, Lesser Adjutant, Long-tailed Broadbill, Maroon Oriole, Spangled Drongo Lesser Racket-tailed Drongo, Greater Racket Tailed Drongo, Blue Rock Thrush, Rufous-bellied Niltava, White-rumped Shama, Northern Hill Myna, Sultan Tit, Black-crested Bulbul, Scarlet-backed Flowerpecker, Streaked Spiderhunter in the area.

Accommodation: Gorumara National Park & Chapramari Wildlife Sanctuary: Our own Gorumara Jungle Camp at Mangalbari, Chalsa. There are few small and basic hotels in Lataguri, which is approx 20 kms from the park. Sinclair’s Resort at Chalsa hilltop is the only luxury hotel.

Buxa Tiger Reserve:
Gracy Lips tourist lodge at Rajabhatkhawa is a clean, basic family-run hotel.

Jaldapara Wildlife Sanctuary:
Hollong Forest Lodge, inside the park or Government Tourist Lodge at Madarihat about four km from the park.

Mahananda Wildlife Sanctuary:
Day birding is also possible from Siliguri, which is 8km from Siliguri.

Approximate Travelling Time: Gorumara National Park & Chapramari Wildlife Sanctuary: Two hours drive from New Jalpaiguri and two and half hours from Bagdogra. Buxa Tiger Reserve & Jaldapara Wildlife Sanctuary: One and one and half-hour from Alipurduar and Coochbehar respectively. It takes three hours to reach Jaldapara from New Jalpaiguri/Bagdogra.

Nearest Railhead: New Jalpaiguri for Eastern Duars (Gorumara National Park and Chapramari Wildlife Sanctuary) and Alipurduar / Coochbehar for Western Duars (Buxa Tiger Reserve). The Central Duars (Jaldapara Wildlife Sanctuary) can be accessed equally conveniently both from Alipuduar Junction and New Jalpaiguri. For Mahananda Wildlife Sanctuary New Jalpaiguri or Alipurduar / Coochbehar is the nearest entry-point.

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