Adjutants Chinese Border Forest Birding Himalayan Forests Hodgeson's Redstart Kids at the Dump Large Hawk Cuckoo
  • Adjutants
  • Chinese Border
  • Forest Birding
  • Himalayan Forests
  • Hodgeson's Redstart
  • Kids at the Dump
  • Large Hawk Cuckoo


Trip Report


Trip Report for Venture to
North Eastern India

January 4 - 13, 2015,

Leader: Mark Welford



    Karen, Terry, Kay and I arrived in Guwahati on the 3rd, and then with our guide - Rofik birded Deepor Beel, a shallow-water lake near the Guwahati airport before John and Fred turned up just after noon on the 4th. We found some great bird species among them: Bronze-winged Jacana, Greater Adjutant storks, several Tufted Duck, approximately 1000 Northern Pintails, a single Red-crested Pochard and a Common Pochard, several Black-headed Gulls, a Citrene Wagtail, Striated Grassbird, three Mynas including White-vented or Great Myna, Chestnut-tailed Starlings, Pied Starlings, Little and Temmick’s Stints, Black-winged Stilts, a Common Tailorbird, Indian Roller and Plain Martin. Deepor Beel is an IBA and is in much need of conservation – too many fisherman were out fishing in what is a small shallow lake. Before going to the airport, we visited the town dump and got one additionally a Lesser Adjutant, five Hoopoes and a Stonechat. The dump itself is overwhelming – with 75-100 people picking garbage and beating off the aggressive storks, cattle egrets, crows and cows. At a pond before the airport we also got Purple Swamphen, a White-breasted Waterhen, a Gray-backed Shrike and a White-throated Kingfisher – the first of 100s. So we started the trip with 50 odd species. After picking up John and Fred we set off toward the Eagelnest. Before arriving at the Nameri co-Camp, our first night’s stop, we also got a Yellow-footed Green-Pigeon, Asian Palm-Swift and Rufous Treepie. Before retreating for the night, I got Rofik and our drivers to commit to returning to the dump and Deepor Beel before we left on the 13th so Fred and John could get some of the birds they missed.


    The next morning, January 5th, we headed out for an early morning walk. Though overnight we did hear a Brown Hawk-Owl – well Rofik and I did! Walking to the river we got among others: a Barred Owlet, Greater Flameback, Oriental White-eyes, a Gray-headed Canary-Flycathcer, Yellow-browed Warbler, several Hill Mynas, Verditer Flycatcher, a beautiful Lesser Pied Flycatcher, a male and female Black-necked Monarch, an Oriental Turtle-Dove, Tickell’s Leaf Warbler, several Abbott’s Babblers – a local specialty, Forest Birdingand a fly-by of four Black Storks. Back at the camp we also got a Besra and a fly-by of several Red-breasted Parakeets. After a late breakfast we headed off toward the Tenga Valley and Eaglenest – our principle destination for the trip. Along the way at a truck stop we got an obliging Dusky Warbler and several Nepal Martins wheeling around overhead. Climbing into the foothills along the road we got a White-capped Redstart and one beautiful Streaked Spiderhunter. We also got a decent flock – a sign of things to come, that included several White-browed Scimitar-babblers, a White-hooded Babbler, a Lesser Rufous-headed Parrotbill and our first Bronzy Drongo. Other stops got us a group of Red-billed Scimitar-babblers and a magnificent male Hodgon’s Redstart, several Plumbeous Redstarts and many Large-billed Crows. After what seemed like days on the road we started our ascent out of the Tenga Valley up toward the Eaglenest. Along the dirt road we got: a Long-tailed Shrike, one lone Tibetan Siskin amongst a 100 or more Yellow-breasted Greenfinchs, a Crested Goshawk, the first of many Beautiful Sebias, a Greater Rufous-headed Parrotbill, a Great Barbet, a Golden-throated Barbet, a fly-by of several Wedge-tailed Green-Pigeons, 20 or so Ashy Wood-Pigeons, a Striated Laughingthrush and we heard the first of many elusive Hill Partridges. Not a bad introduction to the Eaglenest – but we dipped out on the Bugun Licichla. That night several of us used pee bottles for the first time…
Chinese Border    The next morning, January 6th, we walked downhill from Lana Camp, where we stayed for the first of two nights. Again, we heard but didn’t see a Brown Hawk-Owl in the night, but our first flocks before breakfast yielded among others: Orange-bellied Leafbird, Rusty-fronted Barwing, a beautiful male Green-tailed Sunbird, several energetic Black-faced Warblers, three Streak-breasted Scimitar-babblers and several Maroon-backed Accentors working the grassy verge. After an excellent breakfast, the porridge is to die for, we went further downhill and got Whiskered Yuhinas, three Bar-throated Siva (Minla), a single White-throated Nuthatch, a beautiful male Fire-breasted Flowerpecker, more Beautiful Sebias, a soaring Rufous-bellied Hawk, a White-tailed Minla, a Rufous-winged Fulvetta, a flock of rapidly disappearing Red-billed Leothrix, a Lemon-rumped Warbler and a Gray-cheeked Warbler. All great birds but we were starting to see a pattern – nearly all the species (except pigeons and hawks) were found in single or mixed-species flocks that just bombed through the vegetation. Walking back up the valley we also got Himalayan Black Bulbul (thankfully sitting upright in a tree), Mountain Hawk-Eagle, a Black Hawk, a female Gold-naped Finch, one obliging Slender-billed Scimitar-babbler,Himalayan Forests our first of many Chestnut-crowned Laughingthrushes, a Blue-fronted Redstart and a Himalayan Bluetail. In the afternoon, among others, we got: one Olive-backed Pipit, Stripe-throated Yuhina, Bhutan Laughingthrush, a Golden Babbler, Rufous-capped Babbler, Rufous-winged Fulvetta, 20+ Speckled Wood-Pigeon, two cute Striated Bulbuls and a Chestnut-bellied Rock-Thrush. A great day and dinner was excellent.


    The next morning, January 7th, saw us bird around the freezing camp from 6-8 am and get Bay Woodpecker, Black-throated Tit and several of us got a flash (but a non-tickable flash) of the crippling rare and elusive - Bugun Liocichla – our target bird at the Lana camp. It is estimated there are only 240 individuals of this bird and they are all found in and around the valley below the Lana camp. The night of the 6th was cold, below freezing, thankfully the camp provided good sleeping bags. No–one really complained!!! After breakfast we headed to the pass and Bompu camp within the Eaglenest. At the pass we got Spotted Nutcracker (I hadn’t see this bird since I was a 15 year old, many moons ago), Gray-headed Bullfinch – a beautiful bird, several Streak-throated Barwing, Dark-breasted Rosefinch, Yellow-browed Tit and our first Wren-babbler – a Bar-winged Wren-babbler. Along the road below the pass we got, among others: Rufous-vented Yuhina, a Green Shrike-babbler, a male Black-eared Shrike-babbler seen amongst a flock including Whiskered Yuhinas and a Fire-breasted Flowerpecker, and a Gray-sided Laughingthrush. Closer to Bompu camp we got several very good birds including: White-throated Laugingthrushes, Hoary-throated Barwing, a distant Gray-winged Blackbird, a stunning male Fire-tailed Myzornis, another wren-babbler – a Rufous-throated Wren-babbler, a Yellow-throated Fulvetta and a beautiful Large Hawk-cuckoo.


Large Hawk Cuckoo

    The next morning, January 8th, we drove and walked nearly all the way down to the plains and took both breakfast and lunch with us. It did mean our cooks started preparing our meals at 3 am in the morning…. This set the pattern for the rest of the trip – we would get up early, while still cold, clean our teeth, do our ablutions and off we would go! Our first bird was our first seen partridge – a Rufous-throated Partridge, and then we had our fourth scimitar-babbler – the amazing Coral-billed and we had at least 20 of them in a single-species flock. Shortly afterwards we got a Barred Cuckoo-dove and a Lesser Yellownape. Our first big mixed-species flock at 7:45 am yielded 5 Blue-winged Minlas, 4 Himalaya Cutia, what a bird, our first Long-tailed Sebias, a Crimson-breasted Woodpecker, a Rufous-gorgeted Flycatcher, a Greenish Warbler and a White-naped Yuhina. Fred also got a Eye-browed Thrush. Immediately after breakfast we got a White-browed Piculet, Collared Treepie, Chestnut-breasted Partridge, Yellow-browed Warbler, White-throated Fantail and Ashy Drongo. At 10:30 am we had a mega-flock that included Sultan Tit, Lesser Racket-tailed Drongo, White-browed Shrike-babbler, 2 Beautiful Nuthatches, a Maroon Oriole, 2 Himilayan Cutias, and 2 Rufous-backed Sebias among others. At one point most of us had a Cutia, Nuthatch and Sebia in the same binocular view – sweet!!! Shortly afterwards we had another wren-babbler – a Long-billed Wren-babbler. Eat your heart-out Simon! I thought these were elusive! We also got a Yellow-bellied Fantail and Brown-throated Treecreeper in a landslide clearing in the same tree. In the afternoon we also got a flock of Black-chinned Yuhinas, one Chestnut-headed Tesia, several dozen Nepal Martins, both Greater and Lesser Necklaced Laughingthrushes in a mixed flock, two Blue-winged Laughingthrushes, an Emerald Dove and a Slaty-headed Tesia. We also got a Black-throated Sunbird. That morning I was the first to wash my hair – most were too cold to try. In the evening I also had a strip-down, stand-up, hospital-style bath, I just cleaned the stinky bits…. At this point Fred, John, Terry, Kay and Karen were resigned to going without baths….


Hodgeson's Redstart

    Rather than going up the road from the Bompu camp we decided on the 9th to return to the lower slopes of the Himalayan front-range. Before breakfast we got a Yellow-bellied Warbler and Rufous-faced Warbler, several Mountain Imperial-Pigeons, quite a few Asian House-Martins, a White-gorgeted Flycatcher, a beautiful Black-winged Cuckoo-shrike and a Nepal Fulvetta. After a delicious breakfast served at the side of the road (thanks to our cooks and served by our excellent drivers), we got amazing looks at six Silver-eared Mesia, three Red-faced Liocichla, a male Short-billed Minivet, a White-throated Bulbul, Chestnut-bellied Nuthatch, a White-bellied Yuhina, another wren-babbler – this time an Eyebrowed Wren-babbler, a beautiful Sapphire Flycatcher, a fleeting look at a Northern Goshawk. We also got a small warbler flock that included a Rufous-fronted Babbler, Chestnut-crowned Warbler, White-Spectacled Warbler, Whistler’s Warbler and a Black-throated Sunbird. After lunch we had a subdued afternoon birding but still got the following excellent species: Red-tailed Minla, Scarlet and Short-billed Minivets, Gray-headed Parrotbill, Ashy Bulbul, Greater Racket-tailed Drongo, scoped-views of three beautiful Rufous-throated Hornbills, a female Red-headed Trogon, and a Kalij Pheasant. We also heard a Pale-headed Woodpecker, a bamboo specialist. If I recall correctly that evening, Karen and Kay broke down and had a hospital-style wash – both felt very refreshed afterwards. We also got the cooks to make a birthday cake for Fred – he was completely surprised!


Kids at the Dump    The next morning, January 10th we took our breakfast and lunch and headed above the Bompu camp and got Golden-breasted Fulvetta and Yellow-throated Fulvetta in a flock in bamboo. Along the road we also got Himalayan Bluetail, 50+ Eyebrowed Thrushes, a White-browed Bush-Robin, a Dark-rumped Rosefinch, one Plain-backed Thrush, and four Ludlow’s Fulvettas. After lunch we also got for the trip a Slaty-backed Flycatcher and a brief view of a Himalayan Wedge-billed Wren-babbler – our fifth wren-babbler for the trip. We also heard a Green Peacock-Pheasant, and got a female Blue-throated Flycatcher.


    On January 11th we had to begin our return to Guwahati and so drove back to Lama camp for another night. Before we left Bompu camp we got great scoped-views of a female Eurasian Sparrowhawk found by Fred. Driving and walking up to the pass – we got a Rufous-bellied Woodpecker, a single Himalayan Griffon, several Brown Bullfinches, our sixth and last wren-babbler, a Scaly-breasted Wren-babbler, and a Scaly Laughingthrush among others. At Lama camp we tried for and found two Bugun Liocichla following a flock of Rufous-fronted Barwings just below the camp. At last we got our number 1 target bird and what a bird! As we were celebrating we also got four Yellow-billed Blue-Magpies!


The next day, January 12th we loaded up for the long drive back to Guwahati. In the Tenga Valley along the side of the road we got a Brown Dipper, Plumbeous Redstart, a White-capped Redstart, White Wagtail and a Common Tailorbird. Leaving the valley at a water-fall we got great views of both Little and Spotted Forktails! Further down, about 50 Km up river from Tezpar we stopped to look for Ibisbill along a wide, shallow river and got several Little Pratincoles, a female Common Merganser, two Ruddy Shelducks, two Black Storks, a Pied Kingfisher, a River Lapwing, one Ashy Woodswallow and one beautiful Ibisbill – the bird of the trip! We had given up searching for the Ibisbill after we found the River Lapwing, but I persisted and we got our reward.


Before jetting back to the US, our guide and Adjutantsdrivers offered to take us back to Deepor Beel and the Guwahati dump and the visit didn’t disappoint. We got both Adjutant storks, several Plain Prinia, a Benegal Bushlark, a Paddyfield Pipit, four Gray-headed Lapwings, three Northern Lapwings, a Magpie Robin, four Scaly-breasted Munias, a Striated Grassbird, one male Eurasian Wigeon and several Graylag geese - so all told we got 268 trip birds. All told it was a great trip but next time we need to stay longer and see more places…



Mark Welford

Ventures Birding Tour Guide

Birds seen or heard on our

Venture to NE India  
January 4 – 13, 2015


Little Grebe
Little Cormorant
Indian Cormorant
Great Cormorant
Fulvous Whistling-Duck
Lesser Whistling-Duck
Greylag Goose
Ruddy Shelduck
Eurasian Wigeon
Green-winged Teal
Northern Pintail
Northern Shoveler
Red-crested Pochard
Common Pochard
Tufted Duck
Common Merganser
Little Egret
Intermediate Egret
Purple Heron
Great Egret
Cattle Egret
Indian Pond-Heron
Asian Openbill
Black Stork
Lesser Adjutant
Greater Adjutant
Black Kite
Himalayan Griffon
Crested Serpent-Eagle
Crested Goshawk
Eurasian Sparrowhawk
Northern Goshawk
Black Eagle
Rufous-bellied Eagle
Mountain Hawk-Eagle
Peregrine Falcon
Hill Partridge
Rufous-throated Partridge
Chestnut-breasted Partridge
Red Junglefowl
Kalij Pheasant
Gray Peacock-Pheasant
White-breasted Waterhen
Purple Swamphen
Common Moorhen
Bronze-winged Jacana
Common Snipe
Wood Sandpiper
Little Stint
Temminck's Stint
Black-winged Stilt
Small Pratincole
Little Ringed Plover
Northern Lapwing
River Lapwing
Gray-headed Lapwing
Red-wattled Lapwing
Common Black-headed Gull
Rock Pigeon
Speckled Wood-Pigeon
Ashy Wood-Pigeon
Oriental Turtle-Dove
Spotted Dove
Barred Cuckoo-Dove
Emerald Dove
Yellow-footed Pigeon
Wedge-tailed Pigeon
Green Imperial-Pigeon
Mountain Imperial-Pigeon
Red-breasted Parakeet
Large Hawk-Cuckoo
Brown Wood-Owl
Asian Barred Owlet
Brown Hawk-Owl
Asian Palm-Swift
Red-headed Trogon
Common Kingfisher
White-throated Kingfisher
Indian Roller
Rufous-necked Hornbill
Great Barbet
Golden-throated Barbet
White-browed Piculet
Rufous-bellied Woodpecker
Crimson-breasted Woodpecker
Lesser Yellownape



Greater Flameback
Pale-headed Woodpecker
Bay Woodpecker
Yellow-bellied Fantail
White-throated Fantail
Black-naped Monarch
Black Drongo
Ashy Drongo
Bronzed Drongo
Lesser Racket-tailed Drongo
Greater Racket-tailed Drongo
Gold-billed Magpie
Rufous Treepie
Collared Treepie
Eurasian Nutcracker
House Crow
Ashy Woodswallow
Black-hooded Oriole
Maroon Oriole
Black-winged Cuckoo-shrike
Short-billed Minivet
Scarlet Minivet
Orange-bellied Leafbird
Brown Shrike
Long-tailed Shrike
Gray-backed Shrike
Southern Gray Shrike
Brown Dipper
Chestnut-bellied Rock-Thrush
Plain-backed Thrush
Gray-winged Blackbird
Eyebrowed Thrush
Chestnut-tailed Starling
Asian Pied Starling
Common Myna
Jungle Myna
White-vented Myna
Hill Myna
Slaty-backed Flycatcher
Rufous-gorgeted Flycatcher
Tiaga Flycatcher
White-gorgeted Flycatcher
Little Pied Flycatcher
Sapphire Flycatcher
Verditer Flycatcher
Small Niltava
Blue-throated Flycatcher
Tickell's Blue-Flycatcher
Gray-headed Canary-flycatcher
Himalayan Bluetail
Golden Bush-Robin
White-browed Bush-Robin
Oriental Magpie-Robin
Hodgson's Redstart
Blue-fronted Redstart
White-capped Redstart
Plumbeous Redstart
Little Forktail
Spotted Forktail
Chestnut-bellied Nuthatch
White-tailed Nuthatch
Beautiful Nuthatch
Brown-throated Treecreeper
Winter Wren
Bank Swallow
Plain Martin
Barn Swallow
Asian Martin
Nepal Martin
Striated Bulbul
Red-vented Bulbul
White-throated Bulbul
Ashy Bulbul
Black Bulbul
Oriental White-eye
Plain Prinia
Chestnut-headed Tesia
Slaty-bellied Tesia
Common Tailorbird
Dusky Warbler
Tickell's Leaf-Warbler
Ashy-throated Warbler
Lemon-rumped Warbler
Inornate Warbler
Greenish Warbler
Whistler's Warbler
White-spectacled Warbler
Gray-cheeked Warbler

Chestnut-crowned Warbler



Rufous-faced Warbler
Black-faced Warbler
Yellow-bellied Warbler
Striated Grassbird
White-throated Laughingthrush
Lesser Necklaced Laughingthrush
Striated Laughingthrush
Gray-sided Laughingthrush
Bhutan Laughingthrush
Blue-winged Laughingthrush
Scaly Laughingthrush
Chestnut-crowned Laughingthrush
Red-faced Liocichla
Bugun Liocichla
Abbott's Babbler
White-browed Scimitar-Babbler
Streak-breasted Scimitar-Babbler
Red-billed Scimitar-Babbler
Coral-billed Scimitar-Babbler
Slender-billed Scimitar-Babbler
Long-billed Wren-Babbler
Eyebrowed Wren-Babbler
Scaly-breasted Wren-Babbler
Rufous-throated Wren-Babbler
Bar-winged Wren-Babbler
Wedge-billed Wren-Babbler
Rufous-fronted Babbler
Rufous-capped Babbler
Golden Babbler
Silver-eared Mesia
Red-billed Leiothrix
White-browed Shrike-Babbler
Green Shrike-Babbler
Black-eared Shrike-Babbler
White-hooded Babbler
Rusty-fronted Barwing
Hoary-throated Barwing
Streak-throated Barwing
Blue-winged Minla
Chestnut-tailed Minla
Red-tailed Minla
Golden-breasted Fulvetta
Yellow-throated Fulvetta
Rufous-winged Fulvetta
Ludlow's Fulvetta
Nepal Fulvetta
Rufous-backed Sibia
Beautiful Sibia
Long-tailed Sibia
White-naped Yuhina
Whiskered Yuhina
Stripe-throated Yuhina
Rufous-vented Yuhina
Black-chinned Yuhina
White-bellied Yuhina
Fire-tailed Myzornis
Gray-headed Parrotbill
Black-browed Parrotbill
Rufous-headed Parrotbill
Green-backed Tit
Yellow-cheeked Tit
Yellow-browed Tit
Sultan Tit
Rufous-winged (Bengal) Bushlark
House Sparrow
Scaly-breasted Munia
White Wagtail
Yellow-hooded Wagtail
Oriental Pipit
Olive Tree-Pipit
Rosy Pipit
Maroon-backed Accentor
Fire-breasted Flowerpecker
Green-tailed Sunbird
Black-throated Sunbird
Streaked Spiderhunter
Tibetan Serin
Yellow-breasted Greenfinch
Dark-breasted Rosefinch
Dark-rumped Rosefinch
Brown Bullfinch
Gray-headed Bullfinch
Gold-naped Finch


Also seen by Fred
Eurasian Hobby
Greater Necklaced Laughingthrush
Blue Whistling-Thrush
Green Magpie

Total seen on trip – 268 species.