Eaglenest: A walk in the clouds and birds in the bushes

It was on my bucket list for a while to visit Eaglenest Wildlife sanctuary. Eaglenest is a stretch of abandoned road that connects Tenga valley in the north and Telamara in the south. This is in the western part of Arunachal pradesh and is known for some of the rare species that are endemic to the region.



Finally I could manage some time to visit in March,2016 with Toehold Photography. Thanks a lot to Sachin Rai and Santosh Saligram  of Toehold cortsey whom we we had a wonderful week.

The place is one of the most pristine jungles that I have ever visited with trees which I am sure would be 300 years old. Just to give you sense of the forest



We started our birding after crossing Bhalukpong. The first one to greet us was a Streaked spider hunter. What a start with a lifer !!



This was followed by a Blue throated barbet



Black bulbuls and Hodgson's redstart ( female)







Near the Army cantonment at Tenga valley we saw some brown dippers frolicking in a river.




We reached Eaglenest sanctuary in the evening and stayed at the Lama camp. It was biting cold. A great experience staying in tents without light ( for most part) and running water. But the view from the tent made up for it




The first sighting the morning was not a bird but an orange breasted squirrel, endemic to the region.




Sibias both the Beautiful sibia and the Long tailed Sibia are common.








There are a variety of Yuhinas. Spotted quite a few . Here are some shots

Stripe throated Yuhina




Rufous vented Yuhina




Warblers are seen in abundance. We saw grey cheeked warbler



Ashy Throated Warbler




Chestnut crowned warbler




Green tailed sunbird






A bhutan laughing thrush at a kissing distance !!





Olive backed pippit




We then proceeded towards Bompu camp with lot's of birding on the way. We saw a crimson browed rosefinch




A black faced laughing thrush



Brown Parrotbill which was the most fidgety and shy bird I ever photographed.



A Mountain Imperial pigeon whose call resonates through the valley


The birding near Bompu camp started with a curious grey headed canary flycatcher




A rufous bellied woodpecker


A typical shot taken through the bushes, a yellow bellied fantail



A striated bulbul



Sultan Tit




Large woodshrike



Saw a few wren babblers which are endemic to the region. It's amazing that such small birds have calls that were so musical. A rufous throated wren babbler



A maroon backed accentor



A fire breasted flower pecker




A rufous winged Fulvetta



Back in Lama camp on our way back a Striated laughing thrush



Can you spot the bar throated Siva?




Yellow bellied blue magpie




Spent a lot of time looking for the Bugun Liocichla , but was rewarded with this Cutia



On our way back from Eaglenest we saw orange bellied leafbirds






Black throated tit



Eaglenest is not an easy place to bird. The birds are not used to humans and you seldom get a clean shot. So is it worth the travel and the hardships ?

Well you get to see over 100+ species in a 5 day trip and if it is your first time in Arunachal Pradesh most likely 80% of them would be lifers. Though you can't photograph many of them, you leave with a lot of memories of birds which are very rare and a forest that is so unique.




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