The alarm clock disturbs a great night’s sleep. Not the chill of a Delhi dawn down here at Nameri, it’s pleasantly mild as we leave the cabin in the dark and head for some pre-breakfast birding. We start off along the trail down to the river, scaly thrush soon falls along with great hornbill and greater flameback and that's before the sun has risen!

On the river bank we are met by our armed guard who will accompany us as we bird the National Park side of the river. The main purpose of the guard is to protect us from elephant, leopard and tiger which roam the park's pristine forests.

The rowing boat soon takes us across and we set off into the forest with white-winged duck being the main target bird. Species of all shapes sizes and colours including Siberian rubythroat and streaked spiderhunter come thick and fast and after a 45 minute walk through the forest we carefully approach a small forest pool and there they are, a pair of white-winged duck. Relief! The birds soon detect our presence and fly off, so we settle down for our packed breakfast.

Sultan tit - what a stonker!
While scoffing our eggs, fruit, jam and bread, one of Paul’s most wanted birds puts in an appearance...Sultan tit, what a stonker! Little pied flycatcher soon follows along with goodies such as black-winged cuckoo shrike, wreathed hornbill and blue-bearded bee-eater. Several Indian thick knees are seen on the far bank but no such luck with the skulking white-cheeked partridge which responds to the tape but refuses to show just a few feet away from us in the undergrowth.

Asian barred owlet
It’s soon back to the camp for an excellent lunch followed by a canoe birding trip down the river for Paul, Mandy and Rachael, their species target being ibisbill. Having seen ibisbill in Sikkim, and being a poor swimmer, I opt out and bird around the camp on my own for the afternoon. Two hours later and they're back having seen, amongst a load of other stuff, ibisbill and Pallas's fish eagle. I have to be content  with good views of Asian barred owlet and small niltava.

Another great meal followed by some unsuccessful night birding... so it's not that early when we hit the sack and guess what? We are off at dawn tomorrow for the long drive to Dirang and some high altitude Himalayan birding.

Rest of today's gallery here

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