NE India, Days 9-10, 15-16 March 2023 - Digboi & Dihing Patkai WLS

Leaving the banks of the mighty Brahmaputra we struck south to the town of Digboi.

After a long day the check-in process at Namdang House hotel just outside Digboi was dreadful. 30 minutes to photocopy 4 passports was ridiculous and the staff were made aware of my displeasure! The hotel was also filthy but also the only place on the whole trip that had wifi! 

The following morning we fought our way through the busy and extremely grimy town stopping at a tree that contained 2 Oriental Pied Hornbills, 20+ Yellow-footed Green Pigeons, Coppersmith Barbet and several Blue-throated Barbets. Finally we made it out to the Dihing Patkai WLS which promsed some good birds. The entrance track came up with the first goodies - 4 Kalij Pheasants and both Black-backed Forktail and White-crowned Forktail. Stopping at a large clearing we then scooped Greater-necklaced Laughingthrush, Grey-headed Woodpecker and Long-tailed Broadbill. Reaching the park HQ and the rain started in earnest as a storm passed through. An hour later it cleared and an armed guard joined us for a walk into the forest. We kicked-off with a Greater Yellownape followed by White-bellied Epornis, Sultan Tit, Dark-necked Tailorbird and Yellow-bellied Warbler. A big target of this area is the rare Pied Falconette and we were lucky to locate one sat distantly in the top of a bare tree protruding from the canopy. Distant it may have been but scope views were superb! A Common Hill Myna joined it briefly. As we retraced our steps 2 Red-headed Trogons showed briefly before melting away.


Back on the entrance road we walked a long way back in the direction we'd driven in. A showy Plaintive Cuckoo beside the road was nice but entering the forest on a small path took us to a clearing where c65 Green Imperial Pigeons were feeding in the treetops. Approaching carefully I was lucky to be in the right place as 2 Pale-capped Pigeons took flight, flew across the clearing and away. These rare and shy birds are another big speciality of the area and together with our guide I was the only one to see them.


The afternoon session was at another location in the forest but one not requiring an armed escort. The walk along a track was productive with the major highlight being a bird we'd been searching for all day - Austen's Brown Hornbill. Also seen were Common Green Magpie, Black-hooed Oriole, Black-crested Bulbul, White-throated Bulbul, Long-tailed Minivet, Hume's Leaf Warbler, quite a few Large Woodshrikes, Common Woodshrike, Pin-striped Tit-babbler, Nepal Fulvetta, Lesser Necklaced Laughingthrush, Orange-bellied Leafbird and Golden-fronted Leafbird while I also picked up a single Blue-bearded Bee-eater sitting in a tree.

The following day dawned very wet so our birding was limited to the marshy fields opposite Namdang House. Today had the potential to be a 'no tick day' but luckily that was saved as I found 2 Grey-headed Lapwings on the aforementioned field! A Common Snipe there was also a trip tick.


Most of the day was taken up with long drives. First to Dibrugarh to drop Thierry off at the airport as he left the tour and then the long trawl westwards to Kaziranga. Without our guide as we only had our driver to take us to Kaziranga birding was limited. He did however stop at a series of roadside floods in one area where we had an astounding c600 Grey-headed Swamphens! Also there we clocked up Purple Heron, 6 Lesser Whistling Ducks, 2 Little Ringed Plovers, Wood Sandpiper, Green Sandpiper, 2 Glossy Ibis both Jacanas and Indian Pond Heron


After checking in at the lovely Dubori Homestay at Kaziranga I went for a solo stroll finding Red-breasted Parakeet, 35 Yellow-footed Green Pigeons and 2 Chestnut-tailed Starlings.              

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