Access to the region is reached most easily through Kolkata, and we arrived a day early to recover from jetlag before the trip and a have a quick look at India's most populous city, visiting local attractions such as Victoria Museum and the Eden Garden Cricket Ground.
|Victoria Museum, Kolkata|
|Greater Adjutants at Guawahit Rubbish Tip|
|The Show Gets on the Road - Greg, Tony, Bill|
seen included the only Black-bellied Terns of the trip and several Lesser Adjutants among the numerous Asian Openbills in the wetlands, grasslands and paddy fields of the Assam lowlands. In and around the grounds of the camp were some nice critters including Asian Barred Owlet, Red-breasted Parakeet, Great Hornbill and Capped Langur.
|Nameri National Park|
|White-winged Duck Pool - Nameri|
|Tiger Paw Print|
Duck (most unexpectedly) flew close overhead. The next morning, we headed north towards the Eastern Himalayas, crossing the border from the state of Assam to Arunachal Pradesh at Bhalukpong. As we headed slowly uphill, passing through an area of bamboo we saw a group of (Indian) White-hooded Babblers and the often difficult Rufous-faced Warbler. Other welcome additions to a rapidly growing trip list were a singing Yellow-vented Warbler and a White-breasted (Greater Rufous-headed) Parrotbill. Soon after, a skulking Long-billed Wren-Babbler showed well by the road.
|White-breasted (Greater Rufous-headed) Parrotbill|
|Himalayan Black Bulbul|
and more of the numerous small warbler species we were to see over the next three weeks: Lemon-rumped, Blyth's, Large-billed, Yellow-bellied, Grey-cheeked, Grey-hooded and Black-faced. Many of the Phylloscopus warblers were nesting and vocal during the trip. Rufous-fronted and Rufous-capped Babblers were both chalked up during the drive to Dirang, as was Plumbeous Water Redstart and Nepal House Martin. A White-tailed Robin flicked across the road. We arrived at Dirang (altitude 1400 metres) at our accommodation, the adequate Hotel Pemaling, early that evening, looking forward to heading higher into the mountains in the coming days. We then explored Sela Pass and Mandala Road.