We say our goodbyes to Nameri and set off on the long drive to Hotel Pemaling at Dirang. Initially, the drive is along a flattish river valley where we saw ashy woodswallow and hordes of migrant Nepalese workers repairing the road. It looks like unbearably hard work and many of them are living with children under simple tarps right next to the road. The Health and Safety Act work act is non-existent.

Rufous-gorgeted flycatcher
Soon we are heading up into the mountains. Breakfast is taken on a pull out on a sharp bend in the road on a steep pass.  Abid hears a bird and declares ‘Rufous-gorgeted flycatcher’ and soon enough we are admiring a nice male as he perches on a 20 foot high length of bamboo.

Further up we stop for rufous-necked hornbill which we can hear calling on the other side of the steep valley. We fail on the hornbill but a skulking  red-headed trogon is seen by way of compensation.

The long drive continued up and down endless valleys with many birding stops. The highlight of which for me was one of my bogey birds - wallcreeper. We had a very spicey (but nice) meal at a small roadside town just after the wallcreeper.

Typical valley town
Eventually we arrive at the hotel as dusk falls. Though we can’t see the landscape, it feels like we are somewhere really special and we are made to feel really welcome. Though basic, the rooms are perfectly adequate with electric heaters (we didn’t bother with them), hot water for the bucket shower and comfy beds. The dining room somehow seems colder than outside and we dine well wearing fleeces, hats and down jackets!

More images from today here.

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