NE India, Day 0, 6 March 2023 - The Brahmaputra at Dibrugahr and Maijan Grasslands

We dubbed this 'day zero' because we all arrived the day before the official tour start.

Checking in to the Dibrugahr Gymkarna Club where we were given associate membership (I kid you not!) late morning meant we had some time for independant birding despite being knackered.

We headed out for a walk to the edge of the mighty Brahmapitra River which was only 10 minutes away. We were immediately the subject of much interest with the locals with numerous requests for selfies and people tagging on to our walk. Nonetheless we found some nice birds to start us off. The undoubted highlight was a single Greater Adjutant on a sandbank, an endangered species we were delighted to see so quickly. Also along the waters edge were Little Egrets, Little Ringed Plover, Eastern Yellow Wagtail, White Wagtails of 2 races (leucopsis and alboides), Common Tailorbird and the ubiquitous Tree Sparrow. In the urban setting of our accommodation Great Mynas, Jungle Mynas, Common Mynas and Asian Pied Starlings were common. A White-breasted Waterhen flew out of the top of a palm tree too!

                                                                                                                                Greater Adjutant
                                                                                                                                 Great Myna
                                                                                                                                   Spotted Dove
                                                                                                                                 Asian Pied Starling
                                                                                                                                     Jungle Myna
                                                                                                                            Eastern Yellow Wagtail
                                                                                                                          White Wagtail (leucopsis)

After lunch at 'the club' we decided to get a taxi to the Maijan Grasslands a few miles away to the east. These weren't really a grassland, rather a couple of large lagoons straddling a road in a tea plantation with a scrubby margin. With the taxi waiting our walk yielded 2 Grey-backed Shrikes, Red-vented Bulbuls, Red-whiskered Bulbuls, a dashing Shikra, 2 Ferruginous Ducks, 20+ Grey-headed Swamphens, Little Cormorants, 3 Pheasant-tailed Jacanas, White-throated and Common Kingfisher, Rufous Treepie, Cinereous Tit, Rufescent Prinia, Citrine Wagtail and Chestnut-tailed Starling of note.

                                                                                                                            Grey-backed Shrike
                                                                                                                             Red-vented Bulbul

NE India, Arunachal Pradesh & Assam, March 2023 - Intro and Logistics

This 3 week trip was arranged and booked through local company East India Birding who handled all the logistics including drivers, guides, accommodation, park entry fees, permits and food.

We had to arrange our own visas and get to the start point of the tour at Dibrugahr and home from the finish point in Guwuhati. 

For me this involved return flights from Heathrow to Delhi with Virgin Atlantic and internal flights to and from Delhi with IndiGo. 

Our small group consisted of myself, Graham Sorrie, AbdulRahman Al-Sirham and Thierry Jean. Thierry joined us just for the first half of the trip having to get home early for business reasons. 

At just over GBP2500 plus flights the trip was extremely good value for money. 

Visas and Permits

A tourist visa is required to visit India and at the time of my application this involved an appointment in London at an Indian Visa Centre. Since then the Indian authorities have re-introduced a online 'e-visa' which is much cheaper and more convenient.

To visit Arunachal Pradesh as a foreigner a 'Protected Area Permit' is needed. East India birding arranged these for us. Indeed the only realistic way to obtain these is through your tour company as part of an organised tour.

Guides and Drivers

We had 3 different guides and drivers

For the first half of the trip - Probin Hatibaruah

At Kaziranga - Pallab Prakash Saikia

For the second half of the trip - Lobsang Tsering

All were excellent, particularly Lobsang who tried so hard to find us the birds, often in some challenging weather conditions. He was also very personable and good company. 


This was in a mixture to basic to mid-range hotels/homestays plus 3 nights in tented camps at Eaglenest. All were adequate except the camps. These were extremely basic with no running water, damp tents and poor food. Lama Camp is about 40 mins drive from the town of Tenga with a nice hotel so we opted to save a 4th night in squalid conditions by paying for the hotel ourselves. The other camp, Bompu Camp is more remote so staying there is a must. It was also slightly better with buckets of hot water, better food and more reliable (albeit time-restricted) electricity.

We only enjoyed wifi at one hotel. It seems this part of India hasn't caught up with the modern world! 

These were where we stayed in chronological order:

The Dibrugarh Gymkarna Club

Government Cottage, Yatri Niwas

Dibang Jungle Camp

Padmini Resort, Maguri Beel

Namdang House, Digboi

Dubori Homestay, Kaziranga

Eaglenest Residency, Tenga

Lama Camp, Eaglenest

Bompu Camp, Eaglenest

Hotel Pemaling, Dirang

Balgora Eco Camp, Nameri



Our route took us birding at the following places in chronological order:

Dibrugarh - Brahmaputra River and Maijan Grasslands

Jia Grasslands

Mishmi Hills (all elevations)

Maguri Beel

Dihing Patkai


Eaglenest (all elevations)


Sela Pass

Sangti Valley, Dirang