Tour Overview - Himalayan Birding & Red Panda Tour
Also one of India’s most well-known trekking circuits, Sandakphu is the highest peak of West Bengal located at the Northwestern tip of the state, at the border of India & Nepal, inside the protected Singalila National Park. A heaven for biodiversity :
- Close to 200 Himalayan Bird Species including specialities from the Eastern Himalayas such as Fire-Tailed Myzornis, Satyr Tragopan, Black-throated Parrotbill and Blood Pheasant.
- Probably the best place in the world to find the endangered Red Panda or “Firefox”.
- 600 species of Orchids amongst various other beautiful vegetation in this pristine habitat.
Detailed Itinerary - Himalayan Birding & Red Panda Tour
On arrival at the airport our representative will meet you. He will hand over the travel related documents and transfer you to the hotel for an overnight stay.
Early breakfast, and transfer to the airport in the morning to board a flight at 0800 hours to arrive Bagdogra at 1000hrs. Met at the airport and drive to Singalila National Park gate (Manebhanjan) takes around 4 hrs. Then take safari Land Rovers to the Lodge which takes another 2-2.30 hrs through the National Park. On arrival check into the Lodge. Dinner and overnight stay at the L the Lodge.
Spend the evening looking for birds around the lodge. Laughingthrushes, Parrotbills, and Flycatchers aplenty. The sunset will capture you.
Dinner and overnight stay at the lodge.
Sandakphu itself is a legendary spot, where, at sunrise, it offers a most beautiful panoramic view of 4 out of the 5 highest peaks of the world: Mount Everest, Kanchendzonga, Lhotse & Makalu all towering over the subcontinent at over 8000m above sea-level. Golden rays of the sun illuminate the gigantic ranges, giving an insight into heaven on Earth.
The morning begins with exploring the various trails around the lodge after breakfast. Utilize the in-house bird studio to capture the morning flurry of bird activity including exotic mixed hunting parties of the Eastern Himalayan birds.
Fire-tailed Myzornis, Golden Breasted Fulvetta, Darjeeling Woodpecker, Scaly Laughingthrush, Spotted Laughingthrush, Green Shrike-Babbler, White-tailed Robin and Blue-fronted Robin all waiting to be seen.
The day is spent going deep into the National Park in search of various species including the Red Panda, with packed lunch served during the full-day excursion or at the lodge, depending on the tracker’s recommendation/your expectation. Our spotters keep track ahead, for signs of the Red Panda amongst their various roosts or feeding sites within the dense bamboo thickets.
Dinner and overnight stay at the lodge.
The schedule followed is the same, with whole-day excursions in the trails of the National Park or around the lodge – for various species of birds and the Red Panda with chances of other mammals such as the Yellow-throated Marten, Barking Deer, and Ghoral.
The incandescent view of Kanchenjunga Massif adorn the clear blue skies above the park. Each and every turn unfurls a pleasant surprise of wilderness and scenic beauty. Located in the Eastern Himalayas, you get the virgin views of the mountains spanning from Nepal to Bhutan. You may get tired of clicking photos from your DSLR, but the park won’t stop bombarding you with beautiful vistas and wonders of nature.
The Singalila ridge itself is accessible for its famous birding routes from 2000m to 3650m above sea-level. The forest type broadly ranges from Temperate Broad-leaved, Mixed Forests to Alpine vegetation, and the Rhododendron blooms during Summer(March-May) erupt in a riot of colors leaving one awestruck at the natural heritage that the area has to offer.
Look out for Parrotbill Species such as Great Parrotbill, Black-throated Parrotbill, and Fulvous Parrotbill. Chances of spotting Pheasants such as the Satyr Tragopan, Himalayan Monal, and Hill Partridge exist in the quiet, less disturbed areas. Their activity peaks during the summer period when the understory is at its minimum.
With some luck, Wren Babblers such as the Scaly-breasted Wren Babbler, Rusty-throated Wren Babbler and Pygmy Wren Babbler.
Morning breakfast at the lodge, continue your search for the Red Panda and also keep a lookout on the tops of the dead trees for Dark-rumped Rosefinch, Beautiful Rosefinch, Red-headed Bullfinch, Brown Bullfinch, Maroon-backed Accentor, Yellow-breasted Greenfinch, and Collared Grosbeak.
The flowering season brings an array of Sunbirds to the area such as Fire-tailed Sunbird, Mrs.Gould’s Sunbird and Green-tailed Sunbird.
The mixed forests are home to some striking species such as the Purple Cochoa, Green Cochoa and Shortwings such as the White-browed Shortwing, Rusty-belled Shortwing and Gould’s Shortwing.
Through the day, amongst the open patches, chances of spotting the Golden Eagle, the Himalayan Griffon and the rare Slender-billed Vulture also remain high.
Dinner and a relaxing overnight stay at the lodge.
Spend some time in the morning admiring this heavenly view once last time. Continue birding nearby if time permits.
After Breakfast check out from the lodge, and drive to Bagdogra. After reaching the airport board a flight to New Delhi at 1730hrs. Arrive New Delhi at 2000hrs and transfer to the hotel. Overnight stay at the New Delhi hotel.
After breakfast transfer to International airport to board flight back home or onward destination.