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The Nainital district of Uttarakhand is known as the home of Sattal or Sat Tal. Sattal derives its name from the seven freshwater lakes that interconnect to forge it. Since Sattal lies at an altitude of 1,370 meters, it is a part of the Lower Himalayan Range. Nestled amidst thick forests of pine and oak, the region boasts of extremely diverse biodiversity. With five hundred species of resident as well as migratory birds, five hundred species of butterflies and a large variety of moths, bugs, beetles and other crawlers, this place is a beautiful home to many.
To observe the exciting and thriving avian diversity, you can head over to Chopta. Apart from the exotic natural beauty, Chopta is the perfect place for any birder. Chopta lies in the Western Himalayan Mountain Ranges; it’s also an integral part of Kedarnath Wildlife Sanctuary. Surrounded by thick forests of Oak, Himalayan fir, Deodar, and Rhododendron, it’s no wonder that Chopta has enviable biodiversity. Chopta’s astounding biodiversity has successfully made it into a birding hotspot. Many birds like lammergeier bird, Himalayan Monal, Himalayan tahr, Scarlet Finch, Mountain Hawk Eagle, Cheer Pheasant, GoldenEye, Hill Partridge, and Himalayan vulture (Himalayan griffon vulture is also called Himalayan vulture) are found here. Over two hundred and forty such bird species have been identified; the region comes under the Important Bird Area, as per BHNS and Birdlife International.
The region is filled with many residential as well as migratory birds, such as lammergeier bird, Himalayan Monal, Goldfinches, Himalayan vulture (Himalayan griffon vulture is also called Himalayan vulture) and many more. Undoubtedly, any bird-enthusiast will have loads of fun on this birding trip.
You'll be picked up from the Haridwar Junction and taken to Chopta; it's a nine-hour drive amongst meandering rivers and the picturesque Himalayas. Reach your accommodation at Chopta by lunch-time.
After a hearty lunch, explore the surroundings and go for a birding experience at Makku Farm. You'll be staying in Chopta for the night.
Searching for birds
Go on an adventurous early morning drive, in search of the Koklass Pheasant with a long, black crest. After pursuing the Koklass Pheasant for the first hour, you'll pursue the Himalayan Monal. Next, explore the region in search of other forest species like woodpeckers, tits, bullfinches, yuhinas, babblers, warblers, laughing thrushes, etc.
After an entire day's birding experience in Chopta, you'll be spending a luxurious night at your accommodation in Chopta itself.
Drive to Tungnath base
Our expedition to Tungnath base begins right early in the morning. At the crack of dawn, you'll start climbing the steps to the famous Tungnath Temple. The expedition will be extremely worthwhile as you'll catch frequent glimpses of many birds like the Snow Partridge, Accentors, Red-fronted Rosefinch, Plain Mountain Finch, Tits, Himalayan Monal and Winter Wren. You'll revert to the Tungnat base in the afternoon, have a delicious lunch, and head towards Mandal. The birding experience doesn't stop for a second, as you continue to spot the White-collared Blackbird, Grey-winged Blackbird, Long-billed Thrush, Chestnut Thrush, and so on, on your way.
You'll be spending your night at Mandal itself.
On towards Rosefinch Point
Another day for an early morning adventure! You'll be driven to Rosefinch point, famous for spotting beautiful birds like the Scarlet Finch, Pink-browed Rosefinch, Rock Buntings, Spot-winged Rosefinch, Scimitar Babblers, Tesia, Warblers, Laughing Thrushes, Sunbirds, etc. The afternoon is reserved for a visit to the river in Mandal. You'll observe the surroundings to catch any glimpses of Brown Dippers, Fortails, Restarts, Flycatchers, etc.
You'll be spending your night at Mandal itself.
Drive to Sattal
The walk to Bhutiya Gaon begins early in the morning. Despite the name, it's an interesting place for birding observations. If you're attentive, you'll catch glimpses of the Red-Headed Bullfinch, Yellow-Breasted greenfinch, Tits, Woodpeckers, Minivets, European Goldfinch, etc. After a pleasant breakfast, you'll head towards Sattal. It'll take you ten hours to drive from here to Sattal. Most probably you'll reach Sattal by evening.
You'll be spending the rest of your day and night at Sattal itself.
Birding session in Shyamkhet
Get ready for an early-morning birding session at Shyamkhet. Shyamkhet is known for its finches, treecreepers, woodpeckers, and thrushes. You'll have lots of fun trying to observe the aforementioned birds. After your session and a delicious breakfast, you'll be driven to the Chanfi river, in hot pursuit of Fish Owls, Forktails, and Kingfishers. After a scrumptious lunch, get ready for a hide-session for birds that'll go on for the rest of the day.
You'll be spending your night at Sattal.
A visit to Christian Ashram Hide
An early morning session at Christian Ashram Hide is the perfect way to end this beautiful birding trip. After this session, you'll be spending your day birding at Sattal Studio areas as well as Mahesh Khan Forest.
After proper breakfast and lunch, you'll depart to the nearby railway station in the evening.