Sunday, 15 April 2018

Day 16 – Tea Gardens then Guwahati

A quick trip around the Tea Plantation at 5.00am prior to heading to Guwahati for our plane to Delhi yielded two more ticks in the form of Greater necklaced Laughingthrush and Blue-throated Blue Flycatcher. Despite the presence of another local guide on the walk we again failed to connect with Blue-naped Pitta.

After breakfast we boarded our mini bus and headed for Guwahati for another finger chewing driving experience. Soon we stopped for lunch at Beeparbhal Lake where we added five more species bring the group total to 445 for the holiday, personally I managed to see 433 including 150 new species which is a phenomenal total for 16 days.

Apart from missing a few of the targets, the most painful of which for me was Himalayan Monal it was a tremendous trip. The company was good making new friends is aways a satisfying experience and as a group we gelled well with no problems. The accommodation was the best available and the camps, which we were all a little apprehensive about were above our low expectations whilst the food provided in them was better than the hotel at Dirang which remained a slight disappointment.

The two guides were excellent and India Nature were their usual well organised selves, leaving nothing to chance from start to finish. We had all the relevant information from the moment we arrived at the airport until we left all our needs were catered for, leaving us to concentrate on birding. I can heartily recommend them.

The food at times was a little bland but I didn’t go for the culinary experience. Also being a carnivore a little more choice would have been nice, especially in the hotels, but on the whole I was expecting to have vegetarian only meals in the camp so I was prepared for it. On the positive side I lost 8lb in weight which was a welcome bonus!

We had our last meal together in the hotel in Delhi before saying our goodbyes, we went a little earlier than we needed as we joined Nick and Raj in the minibus to the airport. We were that early that we couldn’t book in our baggage for a further hour. We then found Nick and Raj in the departure lounge to say our goodbyes.

Keith and I boarded our flight which was stopping at Amritsar, we had aisle seats with a gap between us which was taken by a Chinese lad with a face mask, he pushed past me sat down then went straight to sleep, he then lent on me and Keith and only woke twice, once to say he didn’t need breakfast and second to get off at Amritsar.

Sleeping Beauty.
On arrival at Birmingham Airport we had the usual wait for our baggage, this must be one of the countries worst! After waiting nearly 45 minutes our baggage trundled out and Joy was waiting to pick us up. The Captain had a quick cup of coffee then he left to complete his journey to sunny Scarborough! I see more of him abroad now than in this country!

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