India has around 1371 birds recorded till now. Out of that, over 940 species are found in the Himalayan region! But out of all the treks, there is one trek which is brilliant for birding. That is the Deoriatal-Chandrashila!
Deoriatal-Chandrashila (situated in the Kedarnath Wildlife Sanctuary) is famous for its dense jungle and wildlife On this trek, you can easily spot 70-100 varied species of birds.
“I still have an old video that I was recording at Deoriatal. We have never published that video. Because in that video you cannot hear me at all. My voice is drowned by the chirping of birds,” recalls Arjun Majumdar, Founder-CEO, Indiahikes. (Take a look at the birds on the Deoriatal-Chandrashila trek)
Once Deoriatal-Chandrashila gained popularity as the trek for birding, a lot of our trekkers who were also birders set foot on this trail. They were left stunned. Here is an interview with one such birding enthusiast, Ajit Hota
Top 5 most interesting birds to look out for while on a Himalayan trek
1. The Himalayan Monal - Probably the most well-recognized bird due to its vibrant feathers, it’s found in elevations from 7,000 to 15,000 ft.
Th vibrant Himalayan Monal. Photo by Ajit Hota
2. Himalayan Woodpecker- Recognized by a constant knocking sound. Spot them at altitudes ranging between 4,900 and 10,500 ft.
Himalayan Woodpecker seen on the ground. Photo by Ajit Hota
3. Tibetan Snowcock- They are found above the tree line, at altitudes over 12,000 ft. During winters, they descend to lower altitudes.
Tibetan Snowcock on the boulders of the Goechala trek. Photo by Sahana
4. Himalayan Griffon- With a wingspan of up to 10 feet, they are the largest and heaviest birds found in the Himalayas. They can be spotted at altitudes ranging from 3,900 to 18,000 ft).
A flock of Himalayan Griffons. Photo by Jay Gandhi
5. Snow Partridge- Beautiful striations characterize this bird that is found in the higher altitudes of the Himalayas.
A Snow Partridge moving swiftly on the Deoriatal - Chandrashila trek. Photo by Ajit Hota
What can you expect from our bird-watching trek?
In spring, your bird-watching trek will be action-packed. "This is the migratory season for the birds. So you'll spot quite a few birds that are not traditionally from our mainland," says Jothiranjan, Head Photographer at Indiahikes, who specialises in wildlife photography.
There's a lot you'll learn while spotting these various species of birds
- Birds and their habitat: You'll learn in detail about the lives and habits of the birds. How do they look like, what they eat, how they build their nests, how to identify their unique birdsongs. This knowledge is crucial for spotting the birds in the dense jungle of Deorital-Chandrashila.
- How to plan for birding: Birds become active during certain times of the day. On the birding trek, you'll learn to recognise their rhythm. This helps in spotting rare birds in the forest.
- Photography for birders: Capturing birds though your lens is not easy. You need to be observant and very nimble. "Your eyes are your primary tools for spotting birds," says expert birder Ajit. But taking a bird's photo needs specialised technical skills. "It's a part of wildlife photography," says Jothiranjan, "On this trek, you'll learn to take action shots, use telephoto lens and other technical equipment that help in taking great bird photographs."
The experience will be facilitated by our Senior Trek Leader Sharwari Brahme who specialises in bird-watching.
Spotted a Jay Bird. Photo by Deepali Bansal.
Whom is this trek meant for?
Whether you are an amateur looking to learn about birding or an expert birder looking to spot some rare birds, this trek is for you.
Joining this trek means getting to spend 6 days together with like minded people who enjoy birding as much as you do.
Why spring/autumn are great seasons for a bird-watching trek?
You spot a variety of birds in the Himalayas all round the year. Even in peak winters. But during certain seasons you witness a large number of birds. These seasons are considered to be great for birding in the Himalayas.
For two reasons:
- The forest is buzzing with birdsong. Birds get busy marking their territory, and attracting their mates during the spring season. They use their voice to attract mates. This is why in spring the forest comes alive with birdsong.
- A time for sunning. When temperatures get warmer, birds step out to sun their feathers. This is a natural way to control mites in their feathers. You’ll notice many birds flapping out in the warm sun, sunning their feathers in this season.
- Breeding birds: Spring/autumn in the Himalayas sees a lot of breeding birds. During this part of their life cycle you’ll spot them flying to and fro carrying twigs and other raw materials for making their nests.
- Migratory birds: Spring/autumn is one of the prime seasons of migration. This is the time to spot birds that don't originally belong to our mainland.
Interested in a bird-watching trek?
If you are interested in going for a bird-watching trek, write to Nandana Kamasani, Head of Experience Coordination at Indiahikes. Her email id is firstname.lastname@example.org.