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Sunday, December 26, 2010

Lama Birding Camp: The den for birdwatching in Eaglenest Wildlife Sanctuary, Arunachal Pradesh, India

The Eaglenest Wildlife Sanctuary is one that is not well known among the tourist circle. Named after the Indian army post ‘Eaglenest’ bordering Bhutan, it is situated on the western end of Arunachal Pradesh in North East India.

Covering a wide range in altitude, this wildlife sanctuary bordering the famous Pakhui Tiger Reserve is famous for its bird life. It is home to a lot of small birds that include the family of yuhina, laughing thrush, flowerpecker, tesia, fulvetta, flycatcher, nuthatch, sibia, slender bill, warbler, tit, sunbird, milna, babbler, hill partridge, khalid pheasant, Satyr Tragopan, bush robin and others. In fact, some of the species can be hardly found any where else. Many birders come here in search of the ‘Beautiful Nuthatch’. The Bugun Lev Chikla is a bird that was christened here.

One can access the Eaglenest Wildlife Sanctuary from the town of Tenga that is situated on the route to Tawang in the Western Kameng district of Arunachal Pradesh. A steep 22 kilometre dirt track takes one to the Lama Birding Camp that is the only accommodation currently available in this wildlife sanctuary. The Sessa Orchid sanctuary is to the south west of Eaglenest.

The Lama birding camp offers simple tented accommodation that is set up on wooden stilts. The facilities here are pretty basic with no electricity, a common dining hill and common washrooms. Though this place lacks in facilities, it makes up in sheer natural beauty. One can catch stunning views of the snow capped peaks of the Eastern Himalayas by just looking out from their respective tents. Even better when you can wake up to the melodious songs of the laughing thrushes.

The Lama Birding Camp equipped with very knowledgeable birding guides will take you to all kinds of terrain depending on the birding of your interest. Terrain varies from thick bamboo thickets to high altitude alpine forests. Commute varies from hiring a jeep to your own pair of reliable legs to go deeper into the forests. The best part about this place is its remoteness and hence offers you an experience that cannot be felt elsewhere.

The best way to explore this wildlife sanctuary would be to stay at the Lama Birding Camp for at least for three days, though a week is the best way to do some quality birdwatching. That way, you get to cover all the various spots within this wildlife sanctuary. And if you get lucky, you will spot some of the mammals like elephant, leopard and red panda that are  known to inhabit these jungles.

This place is run by Mr. Indi Glow (locally known as Indi Babu), an ex-forest department employee who himself is a very passionate naturalist and is evergreen in lending a helpful hand to the tourists. I was at the Lama birding camp last month and was very happy with my experience there. Khandu Tamang was my birding guide there and I found him to be extremely knowledgeable and helpful.

If you are interested in visiting Eaglenest Wildlife sanctuary and wish to stay at Lama Birding Camp, you can reach out to Mr. Indi Glow at +91-94362 51508 or phuarung@gmail.com.



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