This November, arm yourself with binoculars and head out to spot India’s winged visitors.
Nothing is as calming as watching birds go about their daily lives, unaware of our binoculars and prying eyes. November is definitely the month for wildlife enthusiasts and birders to venture out and tour the country for a spot of birding and spotting rare migratory birds. If you’re interested in relaxing amidst foliage and a huge display of feathers and plumes, this is the list for you.
Annamalai Tiger Reserve, Tamil Nadu
Although the reserve is great to travel all year round, November brings out the best in Annamalai and its surrounding areas. Decked with evergreen forests and rainforests, this is a wildlife enthusiast’s dream come true. It is also one of the very few places in the country where you can find the great hornbill (a threatened bird species), the Malabar pied hornbill, grey hornbill, gorgeous parakeets, woodpeckers and orioles. You can also stay in the neighbouring Valparai, a quaint tea estate-laden town, and still look at without entering the reserve.
Little Rann of Kutch, Gujarat
Rann of Kutch is already known for its salt flats and majestic beauty but add to that a flock of birds from November till February, and you’ve got yourself a great holiday! Thousands of lesser flamingoes fly to the Little Rann during this time, creating a flurry of vibrant pink amidst the otherwise vast dreary backdrop. If you’re lucky, you can also spot reef egrets, a plethora of desert bird and the rare houbara bustard. Take a jeep for the journey to make the most of your time and avoid walking the entire stretch.
Pong Dam Wetlands, Himachal Pradesh
If you’re looking for something more offbeat and undiscovered, Pong Dam in Kangra is the place to be. Undisturbed by tourism, this scenic destination becomes home to thousands of birds in the winter. From October to February, you can find one of the largest gatherings of bar-headed geese in the country. Not only can you see other bird species but also enjoy being surrounded by hills and wheat fields. The only downside is that you may have to walk in slush and pebbles to get the great view — but birders wouldn’t mind that at all.
Eaglenest Wildlife Sanctuary, Arunachal Pradesh
Arunachal Pradesh as a whole is already known for its beauty and Eaglenest is famous for its contribution to wildlife and its conservation. Bugun liocichla, a critically endangered bird species was first discovered within the sanctuary. You can work through the sanctuary to truly get a feel of the place and spot tiny birds such as bush robins, sibia and nuthatch along with ibises and cormorants. Eaglenest also house over 165 species of butterflies, making the journey through the forests an incredibly beautiful sight.
Bharatpur Bird Sanctuary, Rajasthan
This list would be incomplete without the mention of Bharatpur and its feathered inhabitants. There’s a reason why the location has been awarded the World Heritage status. Home to the rare sarus cranes, the mating rituals by the bird are a sight to behold. These red-faced creatures mate for life and their displays of affection are adorable. Besides the cranes, waterhens, robins, lapwings and many other birds that visit Bharatpur. Although, there has been a visible drop in the numbers of birds that one can witness because of various reasons including pollution, it still remains one of the biggest and best places to see winged wildlife at its best.