Visit to a birding paradise- Latpanchor (WB) #bestof2018

Tripoto
18th Dec 2018
Photo of Visit to a birding paradise- Latpanchor (WB) #bestof2018 1/14 by Srijita Kundu
View from Homestay
Photo of Visit to a birding paradise- Latpanchor (WB) #bestof2018 2/14 by Srijita Kundu
Sunrise from Homestay balcony
Photo of Visit to a birding paradise- Latpanchor (WB) #bestof2018 3/14 by Srijita Kundu
While on the way to the forest for birding
Photo of Visit to a birding paradise- Latpanchor (WB) #bestof2018 4/14 by Srijita Kundu
Walk to the forest along with man's best friend
Photo of Visit to a birding paradise- Latpanchor (WB) #bestof2018 5/14 by Srijita Kundu
Here they are- Hunter and Motlu
Photo of Visit to a birding paradise- Latpanchor (WB) #bestof2018 6/14 by Srijita Kundu
Another homestay in the jungle
Photo of Visit to a birding paradise- Latpanchor (WB) #bestof2018 7/14 by Srijita Kundu
the jungle roads
Photo of Visit to a birding paradise- Latpanchor (WB) #bestof2018 8/14 by Srijita Kundu
The snow capped mountains
Photo of Visit to a birding paradise- Latpanchor (WB) #bestof2018 9/14 by Srijita Kundu
Hornbillnest Homestay - maintained by Mr Padam Gurung
Photo of Visit to a birding paradise- Latpanchor (WB) #bestof2018 10/14 by Srijita Kundu
The best breakfast table to have
Photo of Visit to a birding paradise- Latpanchor (WB) #bestof2018 11/14 by Srijita Kundu
A dream home location for many
Photo of Visit to a birding paradise- Latpanchor (WB) #bestof2018 12/14 by Srijita Kundu
The Kanchenjunga
Photo of Visit to a birding paradise- Latpanchor (WB) #bestof2018 13/14 by Srijita Kundu
Birding enthusiasts - the guide, the driver and a fellow team member
Photo of Visit to a birding paradise- Latpanchor (WB) #bestof2018 14/14 by Srijita Kundu
A mountain rivulet locally called Khola

The trip to this birding paradise Latpanchor, the highest point of Mahananda Wildlife Sanctuary was a sudden overnight plan and just a weekend visit plan. The trip starts with reaching New Jalpaiguri station early morning on day 1, where we had our car (apna desi tata sumo) waiting for pick up. On the way we stopped to have our breakfast comprising of yummy steamed momos and off we went towards our destination, Latpanchor. With the road conditions deteriorating as we started our ascend towards Latpanchor after taking a turn from the highway. After around 2 hours of jumping and rocking we reached our haven for the night, Hornbillnest Homestay run by Padam Gurung and family. The day wasnt one of the best days for birding (with heavy cloud cover and drizzling rains), we settled in our rooms and relishing the cloudy mountains as visible from the balcony. After lunch as we made up our minds to rest indoors for the day and enjoy our view with tea and pakodas, that is when our assigned birding guide came to call us for going on a short birding trip to the nearby forest area, in the upper Mahananda WLS as the rains had stopped. As me and my friend wanted to just stay indoors and enjoy the calm and cold, our better halves (the birding enthusiasts) geared up for their first birding session. Although the session wasn't completely a waste but not a great success as well. After enjoying the home cooked dinner we all went to bed with the hope of waking up to a sunny morning the next day.

Day 2 started as we happened to accidentally wake up in the wee hours of the morning (to answer natures call), we were dumbfounded by the sheer beauty that nature behold outside our window. Even in the freezing cold we couldn't resist from grabbing our phones and cameras and rushing outside to capture the beauty of nature's canvas as the sun started to rise and the horizon burst into a canvas of colors. After enjoying the full sunrise along with a hot cup of tea served at the right time, it was time to get ready for the next birding session. Thanking our good lords for the bright sunny morning we all started our hike with good hopes in our minds in search of the rare birds. A long lazy morning hike and a good amount of great captures and some good finds like grey treepie, Blue throated barbet, maroon oriole, asian barred owlet, the much rare red headed trogon and many more made the day a successful one but it was also the day to bid goodbye. After a hearty outdoor breakfast we were informed by our guide about the next plan, which was to get ready and leave by noon and go to Ahal Dara the viewpoint for Kanchenjunga and then continue with birding while on the way down to New Jalpaiguri. We all stuck to the timeline and managed to reach Ahal Dara well in time, that is before the clouds could catch us. The view from Ahal Dara was magnificent in one word. A view of the Himalayas has proved time and again to be the best medicine to calm me down to the inner core. After spending some good amount of time we moved on for the 3rd session of birding in the lower Mahananda wildlife sanctuary as we descend to Siliguri. But the rain gods didnt seem to have a good day and the weather again started becoming foggy and cloudy, although I was the one who was enjoying this weather as much I enjoyed the morning sun. After passing though some quiet villages, tea gardens and hilly streams(kholas in local language) we had our lunch stop quite late in the afternoon. The lunch comprised of wai wai instant noodles with egg and a cup of hot darjeeling tea for all. Finally we moved on and reached Siliguri by the evening and bid adieu to our guide and driver, who were among the best I am sure.

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