Birding in Gwaldam


I have visited Gwaldam in Uttrakhand for birding during the first week of October 2014. The birding was done around Gwaldam particularly the forest area around SSB training Academy. Following birds have been spotted-

Scaly Breasted Munia

Pied Bushchat

Yellow Breasted Greenfinch

Black naped Monarch

Ultramine Flycatcher

One Flycatcher to be Identified

Verditer Flycatcher

Spangled Drongo

Black Drongo

White Cheeked Nuthatch

Kashmir Nuthatch

Grey Bushchat

White throated Laughingthrush

Rufous Naped Tit

Grey Cheeked or Grey Hooded Warbler

Himalayan Bulbul

Fire Capped Tit

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Trek to Gwaldam Nag Temple


Trek on 5 October 2014.
Weather was good and no heavy woolens are required.

Guide for trek is must as there are so many pathways branching out from main trek leading to villages around.

I was excited about the trek to Gwaldam Nag temple. Gwaldam Nag temple trek begins from the vicinity of SSB training academy located in Gwaldam. Gwaldam Nag trek is of around 5 KM from the road. The trek follow trail all through the forest till you reach on the top of mountain. The trek is initially steep and then moderate. As I moved into the forest there was sound of firing from the firing range of academy. On the route one can spot beautiful birds and lot of orchids and wild mushrooms. Mushroms with lot of hues and colors and one in particular looking like white coral. As I moved there was music of Small Minivtes both male and female. We stopped for a while and captured them in camera.
After trekking for half an hour we took rest for almost 15 minutes and moved forward. On the way we found some plants which are being used in Vico Vajradanti. There was a plain area which is being used for picnic. After trekking again for 15 minutes we reached on the top of hill and it was the first view of Bugyal covered with a carpet of white flowers.
From the top of hill one can have magnificent view of Trishul, Nanda devi peaks. The bugyal is clearly being used by the locals as grazing grounds. The Gwaldam Nag temple has been renovated and newly built construction under which Nag Devta is now presiding. Earlier it was only stone structure. The site is also preserved by the Archeological Survey of India. We had darshan of the Nag Devta and it was surprising to see that even in the morning someone came and lit the Jyoti in the temple.
While returning back we lost the way and went into the dense forest. After walking fr few KM there was steep slope and it was not possible to climb down. We found one way to further climb down and we found a water pipeline passing through there. It was a prudent decision to walk along the water pipeline for few KM and then we climbed up again to the Nag Mandir. Thus it was a trek of another 6 KM to climb down and climb up over a highly steep slope to reach on the top. But this trek gave a feeling of steep trek in dense forest with no trail. It was during this trek we spotted the Monal and Nutach.
Once we reached at the top we took a sigh of relief and followed the right trek to climb down. Climbing down was more difficult as usual with the surface very slipper due to green lichens grown over it. As we started the trek around 9 Am and reached back to our place at around 2:30 PM to find the lunch waiting for us.
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Munsiyari: Land of Meadows and Gateway to Tibet


Heard about Munsiyari from my friends as a beautiful town in Kumaon Himalayas. Planned a trip for the Munsyari from 8th June 2013 onwards. Due to some commitments i left Delhi on 8th June (Saturday) in afternoon with a target to reach Almora by evening. The road near Bilaspur was under construction leading to huge traffic jam and it took us to clear Bilaspur three hours. After that we drove direclty to Almora via Bhimtal. Next Day we started from Almora and drove up to Munsiyari. We reached Munsiyari in night around 10 PM. it was just before Numsiyari that our car also got punctured. It was scary to change the Tyre in night in jungle.

On the Ridge

On the Ridge

Munsiyari Town

Munsiyari Town

Anyhow we managed to reach Hotel Vijay Mt View in night. On the 9th morning we started our short trek to temple of Nanda Devi via ridge passing through the ITBP Post. The trek passes through small Jungle just before the temple. It was during this trek that we spotted many birds including Minivets, Monal, Himalayan Vulture,verdit Flyctacher, Blue whistling thrush etc. the highlight of the trek was sighting of Yellow Fronted Marten.Yellow Fronted Marten is endangered species in Kumaon Himalayas. The couple just walked ahead of us. The whole day was cloudy and our hope for clear sky and magnificent view of Panchachli does not realized. we planned for Khalia top trek next day and arranged for the same. we went to bed, mentally prepared for the trek to khalia top and view of Panchachuli.

Yellow Fronted Marten

Yellow Fronted Marten

View from ridge

View from ridge

Panchachuli Peaks

Panchachuli Peaks

When we woke up in morning, it was all cloudy and raining heavily. we packed ourselves in room. as we were getting bored, we decided to drive when it was raining around the Munsiyari. we drove via saras market to Darkot. It was a very pleasant drive. While returning back, we stopped at Saras Market and visited handicraft shop. The material was though handwoven, but wa dcostky by any means and we eneded up in buying one folk song CD (Johar Music).we were disappointed as we were not able to trek to khalia top. Moreover heavy rains gave the sign that we may nit able to see even Panchchuli. But weather changed dramatically in evening and all the peaks of Panchachuli were visible to us. we hurriedly took lot of pictures of the mountains, as we were worried taht at any point of time peaks will again wear the clothes of clouds.

Panchachuli Peaks

Panchachuli Peaks

Panchachuli Peaks

Panchachuli Peaks

Panchachuli Peaks

Panchachuli Peaks

Panchachuli Peaks

Panchachuli Peaks

It is said that the pandavas went to Swarga via munsiyrai and these five peaks are symbols of five CHULHAS of Dropdi. It is said that here they cooked there last meal before proceeding to heaven. Trek to Milam Glacier also starts from Munsyari. This trek was used in the ancient time by the Bhotias for trading with Tibet (Old salt road).

Road Ahead

Road Ahead

Looking at the short time available with us, we left Munsiyari, next day for Champawat. the drive from Musiyari to thal is very scenic. It was sad to know that the tragedy in Uttrakhand after cloud burst has destroyed infrastructure and many people died just after our return from Kumaon.

Hope to visit again and do the Milam Trek.

Birds of Kumaon: June 2013


Forest areas around Almora, Bageshwar and Champawat. We have spotted around 80 birds during week long trip.The pine trees around Almora were hosting the woodpeckers, thrushes etc. The road to Bageshwar passes through the forests of Binsar. On the way to Bageshwar, we have spotted Kalij Pheasants, Owl, Black Headed Jay, Drongos, Bulbuls etc. The forest area around , Nanda Devi temple hosts lot of birds and is an idael spot for birding around Munsiyari. The road between the Munsiyari and Ratapani is full of bird activities particularly in morning. Around Champawat, forest area around the Laluwapani is ideal for birding particularly in evening.

The list of birds is as follows-
Around Almora/Binsar
1. Common Mayna
2. Indian Nuthatch
3. Blue Whistling Thrush
4. Jungle Fowl
5. Pigeon
6. Spotted Dove
7. Hmalayan bulbul
8. White cheeked bulbul
9. Babbler
10. Oriental whiteye
11. Black-Kite
12. Tree creeper
13. Rose ringed parakeet
14. Wedge tailed green pigeon
15. Russet Sparrow
16. Kalij Pheasant
17. Jungle Babbler
18. Himalayan bulbul
19. Grey Bushchat
20. Spotted Dove
21. Red Vented Bulbul Bengalenisis
22. Black Drongo
23. Blue Whistling Thrush
24. Spangled Drongo
25. Yellow Billed Magpie
26. Barn Swallow
27. Black Headed Jay

Around Munsiyari

28. Grey Chinned or long tailed minivet?
29. Scarlet /minivet
30. Grey Bushchat
31. Northern Raven
32. Yellow breasted greenfinch
33. Little pied flycatcher
34. Black Redstart
35. House Sparrow
36. Streaked Laughing Thrush
37. Indian Cuckoo
38. Himalayan Woodpecker
39. Verditer flycatcher
40. Grey winged black bird
41. Scaley Billed Woodpecker
42. Black-lored Tit
43. Grey Headed Woodpecker
44. Yuhina
45. Black and Orange Flycatcher?
46. Great barbet
47. White capped redstart
48. Chest nut bellied rock thrush
49. Plain backed thrush
50. Plumbeous Water Redstart
51. Striated Laughing Thrush
52. Black bulbul?
53. Eurasian collared dove
54. Oriental magpie robin
55. Brown Hawk Owl
56. White Browed Shortwing

Around Chamapawat

57. Jungle Myna
58. Pied Bushchat
59. Himalayan Vulture
60. Rufous Sibia
61. Oriental White-eye
62. Common Redstart?
63. Great Tit
64. Hoopoe
65. Red-billed Blue Magpie
66. Lesser Yellownape
67. Oriental Turtle Dove
68. Small Minivet?
69. Grey Treepie
70. Ashy Drongo?
71. Asian Fairy Bluebird?
72. Black-eared Kite
73. Slatey Headed parakeet
74. Golden Fronted Leafbird
75. Red Wattled Lapwing
76. Greater Yellownape
77. Crow-billed Drongo

following are pictures-

Olive Backed Sunird-2

ASHY DRONGO
ASHY DRONGO
BAR TAILED TREECREEPER




Black-headed Jay







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BLACK-EARED KITE???????????????????????????????

Trip to Ranikhet (From 29 September to 2October, 2012)


Blue whistling Thrush

We started on 28th September in the afternoon and reached Pantnagar in the night. Stayed at Pantnagar in night and in morning left for Ranikhet. After crossing haldwani and kathgodam, we took the road to bhimtal. The lake was full of water but since it is not a normal tourist season, there was a silence around the lake and there were few locals around it. We stopped there for a while, bought some medicines and moved forward toward the destination. i was shocked to se the traffic jam at bhowali. I remember that decade ago when we used to cros bhowali, there were few shops only. Bhowali is the fruit mandi in this region. somehow we he jam and moved towards kainchi mandir. there are few decent hotels on the bank of river new kainchi mandir. We stopped here for breakfast. After having breakfast we started towards Ranikhet. after few KM from kainchi mandir, road diverts for Ranikhet along with kosi river.
In afternon, we reached Ranikhet. After taking rest for some time, we drove to chaubatia garden. Since aples are plucked in the month of august here, we werea ble to see only few flowering and medicinal plants.We spotted many beautiful birds in chaubatia garden including minivets. Next day we went to golf course and Binsar Mahadev. Binsar Madaev temple is located in a valley. A small stream flows through it. there is an intermediate residential school being run in its compound including sanskrit school.
Next day we had walks through the jungle. In the evening i had a trek of around 12 km.

I had an excellent birding experience around Ranikhet and many birds wer spotted. the list is as follows-

Ultramine flycaycher
Himalayan bulbul,
Jeordans buschat,
Oriental whiteeye,
Brown fronted woodpecker,
Grey Bushchat,
Long tailed minivet,
Verditer flyctacher,
Himalayan woodpevker,
Black headed jay,
Blue whistling thrush,
Greyheaded canary flycatcher,
White throated kingfisher,
Spoted dove,
Black lored tit,
Green backed tit,
Bar tailed trecreeper,
Owlet,
yellow breasted green finch,
Great barbet,
Red headed vulture,
Grey wagtail,
Commom myna,
Chestnut bellied nutatatch,
Greate yellownap,
Brown dipper,
Blacklored tit,
Wedge tailed green pegion,
bScarlet minivet,
Scaley breasted munia,
Crested kingfisher,

Red Billed Blue Magpie

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Red Billed Blue Magpie


Red Billed Blue Magpie


Spotted Dove


Green Backed Tit


Grey Bushchat

Grey Bushchat


Spotted Dove


Grey Wagtail


Long tailed minivet


Ultramine Flycatcher


Utramine Flycatcher


yellow breasted green finch

Chestnut bellied nutatatch

Chestnut bellied nutatatch

Greater yellownap


Greater yellownap


Brown dipper


Black Lored Tit


Black Lored Tit

Black Lored Tit

White Throated Fantail


Wedge Tailed Green Pigeon


Scarlet Minivet

Scarlet Minivet

Scarlet Minivet

Scaly breasted Munia

Himalayan Bulbul

Himalayan Bulbul

Chestnut Bellied Nutatch


grey wagtail

Brown Fronted Woodpecker

Common Hoopoe


Bird to be identified-2



Red headed vulture


Red headed vulture

Red headed vulture

Great Barbet


Black Headed Jay


Black Headed Jay

Owlet


Grey Bushchat


Bar tailed trecreeper


Green backed Tit



Indian yellow tit

To be Identified-3

To be identified-4


Blue whistling Thrush