Travelling in the North-East in the summer of 2006
Guwahati >> Eaglenest >> Tawang >> Nameri >> Kaziranga >> Shillong >> Cherrapunjee
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We spent most of our day time walking and looking for birds. The second day, we walked to Sessni and back, covering more than 20km in the day. We saw many rare and stunningly beautiful birds, prize catch of the day being a pair of Rufous Necked Hornbills and a Cutia.
We were walking past a when our guide Shashank heard the hornbills and waited. They sounded like a sweetened version of balloon-horns in old vehicles and auto-rickshaws. The call propagated all the way to us from somewhere in the bottom of the valley. Soon emerged a Rufous Necked Hornbill and another one – a female – followed. They gave us a display of their swooshing wings and flew all around the valley, before returning to their yet to be readied nest.
Somewhere during the walk I fell behind from rest of the gang, and to my good luck, spotted a Cutia which was a combination of dazzling colors and beautiful patterns. Shashank screamed with excitement when I showed it’s image and cursed himself for not being there. Cutias are sufficiently rare that most of the gang never got to see it during our stay in the camp. In fact I had seen such pretty birds along with cutia, like the black faced warbler, chestnut tailed minlaw and the verditer flycatcher, that I walked ahead looking at them with great excitement and nearly fell off a cliff!
Flowers on the forest floor on the way to Sessni
We reached Sessni camp for lunch time. The camp had “Dham Dhooms” to worry about. Funny their name is, but they are dangerous flies that attack you in large numbers, bite so badly that they tear apart your skin and leave you swollen and bleeding in a matter of minutes.
Children of the forest guard at Sessni
Shashank spoke to us about his horrible experience when he had his entire hand bitten by these flies and had to spend many difficult days. “It was so bad,” he said, “I had to tie my hands and sleep every night because, otherwise I would keep scratching the bites all night and wake up to a bloodies bed-sheet next morning!” Luckily, Dham Dhooms don’t come out in the sun and it was a warm day. There were very few of them and some of us did get a few minor bites. We were all spared, but I wondered how the people who live in Sessni take care of themselves.
We saw Rhododendrons in the higher regions on the way to Lama Camp
Next day we moved on to Lama camp at higher altitude. While most people walked the way birding, I was down with high temperature and piled myself with the jeep carrying our luggages to Lama camp.