24.10.2004 18 °C
A rare window onto one of the world's most exciting ecosystems, replete with many mega-charismatic and often globally endangered species; exceptional opportunities for seeing and photographing fabulous numbers of large mammals and birds—elephants, water buffalo, rhinoceros, waterbirds, and eagles.
Located on the south bank of the mighty Brahmaputra River, Kaziranga's mosaic of marshes, vast reed-beds, riverine woodlands, and lowland subtropical forests literally teem with birds and big mammals.
Kaziranga provides a rare window into what wild Asia must once have looked like. On our previous tours to this reserve we have recorded more than 230 species of birds and a large number of very spectacular mammals, including multiple close studies of great one-horned rhinoceros, Asian elephant, and the evocative-sounding hoolock gibbon. The photographic opportunities on this tour are outstanding. We will stay at the delightful Wild Grass Lodge where the comfort and service of the accommodations has added immeasurably to the overall enjoyment and success of our time in Kaziranga.
Some of the bird and mammal highlights from our previous tours to Kaziranga National Park include hundreds of the globally threatened Spot-billed Pelican flying in to roost; a lingering, close study of the richly colored Cinnamon Bittern; six species of stork including the severely endangered Greater Adjutant and the impressive Black-necked Stork; Pallas's Fish-Eagle bugling from its nest; four species of vultures at a kill, including four Eurasian Griffons; point-blank looks at the globally threatened Swamp Francolin; incredible views of two male Bengal Floricans, yet another globally endangered species; mouthwatering views of a male Red-headed Trogon; a gigantic Great Hornbill perched obligingly; an exquisite male Little Niltava; a surprise pair of stunning, migrant Siberian Rubythroats singing in full view; and, perhaps most astonishing of all, a male Grey Peacock-pheasant working right in front of the entire group in response to our tape.
On previous tours our groups were the first birders to ever see the rare, virtually unknown, and spectacular Black-breasted Parrotbill. We also enjoyed sensational views of the similarly little-known Jerdon's Babbler. All this was to the accompaniment of trumpeting herds of Asian elephants, indignant at our close proximity to their young, and hoolock gibbons ululating through Panbari forest, raising the hairs on everyone's necks. Common and nonchalant great one-horned rhinos, capped langurs, and giant squirrels beguiled even the most focused birder. And there is so much more! Tiger, fishing-cat, Wreathed Hornbill…the list is seemingly endless.
In addition, we have added a couple of days at the lovely, but little-known Nameri reserve where, in addition to many of the species mentioned above, we will seek out several very special birds such as Black and Jerdon's bazas, the irrepressible Sultan Tit and, with luck, the rarely encountered White-winged Duck.
Accommodations include the attractive Wild Grass Lodge and the equally attractive walk-in tented camp at Nameri; travel by coach and largely by jeep; some moderate walking on level terrain; weather at this time of the year is delightful and ideal for photography.