Bird Watching Places in Himalaya
The hill state of Uttarakhand has terrific avifaunal diversity. Of the 1303 bird species recorded from India more than 50% (724 approximate) are found in Uttarakhand. The state’s bio-geography varies from the Terai region in the plains, the bhabhars (the outermost foothills of the Himalayas), the Lower Himalaya and finally, the high altitudinal Greter Himalayas. The amazing diversity in habitat from the plains up to the numerous mountain peaks that exceed altitudes of 7,000 meters results in marvelous avifaunal diversity. Within the
- 6 National Parks
- 7 Wildlife Sanctuaries and
- 3 Conservation Reserves in the state
and outside these areas too, opportunities for bird watching abound. Uttarakhand is home of 14 important Bird Areas as listed by Indian Bird Conservation Network are priority sites of conservation.
Rajaji National Park (Rajaji Tiger Reserve)
A total of 384 bird species has been recorded. Of these, 151 are residents, 87 migrants, and 49 are altitudinal migrants, 7 are local migrants, while the status of the remaining is unknown. For some species, Rajaji forms the western edge of their range, e.g. Great Pied Hornbill Buceros bicornis and Golden-fronted Leafbird Chloropsis aurifrons. Rajaji National Park is extremely rich in forest birds. For example, it has 11 species of woodpeckers, 5 species of barbets and 3 species of hornbills, including the Near Threatened Great Pied Hornbill. There is a barrage on the River Ganga near Haridwar city. The backwaters of the reservoir, as well as a small stretch of the River Ganga, lie in the Rajaji NP. These water bodies attract a lot of resident and migratory waterbirds in winter. Thirteen species of birds have been identified at the reservoir, including Darter Anhinga melanogaster, Painted Stork Mycteria leucocephala, Black-necked Stork Ephippiorhynchus asiaticus, Ferruginous Pochard Aythya nyroca and Black-bellied Tern Sterna acuticauda, birds considered as Near Threatened by BirdLife International (2001).
ASAN Conservation Reserve
The Asan Conservation Reserve (400 m) in Dehradun district at the bank of river Yamuna is India’s first conservation reserve, established in 2005. It covers 4.5 sq.km. area, this is situated at the junction of the Yamuna and Asan rivers. Asan is listed as an Important Bird Area (BNHS and BirdLife International). Its is popular for winter migrated birds.
As per the records, more than 250 bird species including 80 water birds were recorded. It is marked by presence of Brahminy ducks, Rudely Shel duck, Dabbling Duck, Diving Duck. Birds; Herons, Egrets, storks, Ibises are Geese, which are seen during winter season (Nov to Feb).
It has a 30-year old nesting site of the Vulnerable Pallas’s Fishing Eagle Haliaeetus leucoryphus. During winter, it is not unusual to count up to 5,000 waterfowl, with high species diversity, as Asan Barrage has both shallow and deep water and the River Yamuna flows close by. Brahminy Duck Tadorna ferruginea, Mallard Anas platyrhynchos, Red-crested Pochard Rhodonessa rufina, Common Pochard Aythya ferina, Tufted Pochard A. fuligula, Wigeon Anas penelope, Northern Shoveller A. clypeata and Common Teal A. crecca are commonly seen. It is one of the best sites for large congregations of Brahminy Ducks and other birds.
Sattal literally means ‘Sat Tal or seven lakes’. The lakes are freshwater and interconnected. These lakes are set among the Oak and Pine forests. The lake has an altitude of 1370 metres. Sattal is unique for its biodiversity and ecological amplitude. It has 150 species of resident and migratory birds, 20 species of mammals, over 525 species of butterflies and over 11,000 species of moths, beetles, bugs and other insects. A combine tour of Pangot-Sattal is appropriate for best birding experience.
Studio place :
Sattal have one place called studio which is no less than a miracle where one can just sit with his camera or binocular and the birds comes for bath both in summers and winters.
Green-tailed sunbird, Eurasian griffon, stork-billed kingfisher, red-billed blue magpie, grey-capped pygmy woodpecker, lesser yellownape woodpecker, kingfishers, blue-throated and brown-headed barbets, lineated barbet, golden-throated barbet, crimson-fronted barbet, coppersmith barbet plum-headed parakeet, slaty-headed parakeet, chestnut bellied rock thrush, tits, babblers, jungle owlet and many more…
Chopta (Kedarnath Wildlife Sanctuary)
Kedarnath Wildlife Sanctuary lies in Chamoli district of the Garhwal Himalaya. The Sanctuary was created in 1972, and takes its name from the famous Hindu shrine at Kedarnath. It is situated about 300 km northeast of Delhi, covers an area of 97,500 ha, and is one of the largest protected areas in the Indian Himalayas. The entire Sanctuary lies in the southern catchment area of the Alaknanda river, which is one of three major tributaries of the Ganga. The high rainfall in the area has led to lush broadleaf dominated forests in the temperate and subalpine zones. The Sanctuary also has some eastern Himalayan elements. The highly threatened Musk Deer Moschus chrysogarter, is still found in the Sanctuary in good numbers. Mountain peaks border the Sanctuary at over 6,000 m above msl in the north, and in the by south the Mandal-Okhimath road to the south. Altitude ranges from 1,400 m (near Phata) to 7,068 m (Chaukhamba peak).
The site falls in the Western Himalayas Endemic Bird Area (Stattersfield et al. 1998). Owing to its great altitudinal variation from about 1,000 m to more than 7,000 m, three biomes (Sino-Himalayan Subtropical Forest, Sino-Himalayan Temperate Forest and Eurasian High Montane (Alpine and Tibetan), described by BirdLife International (undated), are found in this IBA.