normal Digboi

9 years 7 months ago #298 by Sam Forest
Digboi was created by Sam Forest
Any India listers out there who know whether Digboi in Assam is still a worthwhile destination?
Thanks

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9 years 6 months ago #318 by Mike Prince
Replied by Mike Prince on topic Digboi
Hi Sam

I passed this on to a few other Indian birders but it seems no-one has up to date knowledge for Digboi. General opinion is that it must be worth visiting, so if you make it I'd be very interested to hear how you get on!

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9 years 6 months ago #319 by Sam Forest
Replied by Sam Forest on topic Digboi
Xmas eve in Varanasi and the bhang is kicking in, so I'll write later, but for now I'll say "It was tough". Birds were not thick on the ground, and leeches were the dominaant species. However, Hooded Pitta made it all worthwhile.
More to follow.
Sam

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9 years 6 months ago #337 by Mike Prince
Replied by Mike Prince on topic Digboi
Just got this information from Pritam Baruah:

Imo Digboi is still quite worthwhile actually. A good stretch of primary lowland dipterocarp forest still remains (> 600 sq kms in Assam with contiguous habitat in Arunachal Pradesh and Burma) but I am not sure about the current safety situation. Access to that will need hard-to-obtain permissions from the DFO. Some of the surrounding secondary forest however is accessible from the Digboi Oil Field Reserve and a day visit can be quite productive. Last time I went there, I counted 23 different species in a mixed feeding flock (highest I have observed anywhere in India) which is perhaps a testament to the past glory of this area. I personally suspect this area may hold the Red-Legged Crake (I spotted a crake once that I could not identify 100%). Of course the star bird is the Chestnut-backed Laughingthrush - DOF is possibly the only reliable place for this bird across its limited range. Nearby Choraipung is worth a visit too.

Hope it helps any future visitors.

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9 years 6 months ago #344 by Sam Forest
Replied by Sam Forest on topic Digboi
Ok, back to business.
I had a difficult time finding anyone who even knew there was meant to be a reserve here. Finally, having registered with police, the head of security for the oilfield, reluctantly gave permission to me, whom he thought was very foolish to risk elephants and "terrorists" in order to be eaten alive by leeches.
Not having my own transport meant arranging local auto rickshaws and taxis, and at 5:30 in the morning, these were most unreliable, and early mornings were sometimes lost, and evenings I sometimes had to walk about 8 miles back to town in the dark, but was usually able to hitch a lift.
There is one main road through the oilfield and many small roads off this.I saw a few good birds as can be seen on my listing, and those are only the lifers, but I never had any great bird waves, or saw many numbers of birds at all. The Hooded Pitta was certainly my highlight, being probably out of season
I spent 5 days in Digboi after positive reports that were 10 years old. I don't hesitate in saying that it is probably not as good as it was, something I would add about Shillong where I also spent 5 days, and was frustrated again by lack of numbers, and a continual presence of boys and men with air guns and slingshots, last seen firing at my best bird there, a probable Chestnut Thrush of the gouldi variety.
While I'm moaning, I may as well add that Dibru was very unsatisfying, and without tape lures, local guides could not show me very much at all, although a few Lesser White Fronted Geese was a rare treat.
Next time Arunachal, good guides, good transport, and spend a bit more than I like to.
Cheers
Sam

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