Friday, January 06, 2012

Corbett to Pangot via Mangoli (North India - Day 13)

From Corbett it was time, after an early breakfast, to drive up into the foothills of the Himalayas, destination Pangot. We stopped for a walk on the way at Mongoli, a small village around the road, walking down a trail on the mountainside.

The Streaked Laughingthrush was really hard to pick while it rummaged in the undergrowth under the shrubbery but eventually conceded and sat in the sun for me:

A Russet Sparrow joined some Red-vented Bulbuls having a drink:

Followed then by a Black-headed Jay:

Below the path and again another hard bird to see was this Rufous-breasted Accentor:

A female Plum-headed Parakeet let me take this picture before squawking away:

A Chestnut-bellied Nuthatch came remarkably close:

From Mangoli we headed up, past Nainital, stopping to admire the view on the way. This is Truchal, or the Trident, a 3-peak mountain in the Indian Himalayas:

Some hillside cultivation:

A sense of the scale of the foothills and indeed the mountains:

The ants around these parts nest up trees:

We checked-in to the Bird Lodge in Pangot, had a great lunch (the food was the healthiest and some of the tastiest we had on the whole trip, we tucked in!) then headed out in the afternoon looking for more birds.

We weren't disappointed, first a White-browed Shrike-Babbler:

This is our driver Harry (it isn't spelt like that but it's our best guess), sat at the base of a tree, smoking, while we wandered about:

A tree of bushes:

Next the extraordinarily tailed Red-billed Blue Magpie:

Female Grey Bushchat:

Fulvous-breasted Woodpecker:

Back at camp we settled in to our room before having a wander around the camp, spotting Streaked Laughingthrush:

Black-throated Tit, fabulous little birds:

Striated Prinia:

And initially mistaken, a Blue-fronted Redstart:

He was a regular in the garden, sallying around for food.

We sat on our balcony watching the setting sun as it moved to the valley floor:

Then started to freeze! It was so cold and the rooms are built for cool, with warped wood in the windows and doors. We had a single fan heater to combat the unusually bitter cold (even in the mountains it was unusually cold for this time of year) and pleaded for help. They very kindly gave us a gas heater, which we figured would be sufficiently well ventilated in our room. It took until 4am for the room to regain a sensible temperature.

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