AMBOLI – LAND OF THE FLYING FROG
Nestled at the crest of the Western Ghats at a height of above 2000 feet, Amboli is the last hill station in Maharashtra before the coastal highlands of Goa. Misty weather, rejuvenating rain, cool climate and lush evergreen forest form the perfect setting to see reptiles and amphibians. It is also one of the best places to see the Malabar Gliding Frog. The forest here reverberates with the calls of various frogs and toads in colourful and loud display, singing in beautiful synchronization to attract their lady loves. Amboli is part of a biodiversity hotspot, and we can see amphibians and reptiles like Fungoid Frog, Bicolour Frog, Amboli Bush-frog, Amboli Toad, Beddome’s Cat Snake, Ceylon Cat Snake, Green Vine Snake, Malabar Pit Viper, and various caecilians.
Batch I: 4th – 6th July 2014 (one seat remains for a female participant)
Batch II: 11th – 13th July 2014 (Registrations open)
Group leaders: Mr. Vandan Jhaveri
Camp Charges: Rs. 5,300/- for members and Rs. 5,900/- for others (ex-Sawantwadi)
Accommodation: Twin sharing basis.
Reporting: Pick up at Sawantwadi ST Bus Depot at 9.00 a.m. on day one. Drop off at Sawantwadi ST Bus Depot at 4.00 p.m. on the last day. Kindly book your tickets accordingly.
How to get there: Bus – This is the best option to reach Sawantwadi; Every Mumbai – Goa bus halts at Sawantwadi. Buses can be booked through www.redbus.in.
Train – Sawantwadi Railway station is about 8 km from the ST Depot.Konkan Kanya Express (10111) reaches Sawantwadi at 8.22 a.m. Note: The train timing and schedule for Konkan Railway during monsoon is very fluctuating and prone to delays due to landslides.
KAAS – MAHARASHTRA'S VERY OWN VALLEY OF FLOWERS
Kaas is popularly known as the Valley of Flowers of Maharashtra. This plateau is situated about 22 km from Satara. Visited in the right season, Kaas has an enchanting view of carpets of flowers of different shades. One can see a variety of orchids like Habenaria, insectivorous plants like Drosera and Bladderwort, rare flowers like Ceropegia, purple carpets of Catkins and pink carpets of Balsam – such are the spectacular sights at Kaas.
Batch 1: 6th – 7th September, 2014 (Sat-Sun)
Batch 2: 11th – 12th September, 2014 (Thu-Fri)
Batch 3: 20th – 21st September, 2014 (on demand)
Accommodation: Twin sharing basis in hotel at Satara.
Group leaders: Mr. Vandan Jhaveri
Camp Charges: Rs. 5,250/- for members, and Rs. 5,850/- for others (ex-Mumbai).
Reporting: On day one, bus will leave at 06:30 a.m. from Dadar (near Chandu Halwai), 06:50 a.m. from Chembur (near Diamond Garden), and Vashi Junction at 07:10 a.m.
The group will return late evening to Dadar on day two.
LADAKH – ROOF OF THE WORLD
Ladakh is bounded by two of the world's mightiest mountain ranges, the Great Himalaya and the Karakoram. The amazing landscape is nature’s own sculpture by wind and water over millennia. Embark on this land safari to explore Ladakh’s wilderness; we will journey through this vast landscape exploring the lakes of Ladakh, the world’s highest motorable road, a high altitude desert and one of the highest national parks in the world. We can spot birds like Black-necked Crane, Golden Eagle, Bearded Vulture, Fire-fronted Serin, Winter Wren, White-winged Redstart, Horned Lark, Wallcreeper, Alpine Accentor, Brandt’s Mountain-finch, Common Rosefinch, Himalayan Griffon, Common Merganser, Chukar partridge, and Bar-headed Goose. Also mammals like Kiang (Tibetan Wild Ass), Himalayan Blue Sheep, Mountain Stoat, Royle’s Pika, Himalayan Marmot, and Long-tailed Marmot. The rare Apollo butterfly can be seen at this altitude.
Batch I: 15th – 25th August 2014 (One seat remains for male participant)
Batch II: 25th – 4th September 2014 (Registration open)
Group leader: Mr. Asif Khan
Accommodation: Twin sharing in hotels.
Reporting: Leh Airport.
Camp Charges: Rs. 36,500/- for members and Rs. 37,100/- for others
Note: Kindly book your flight tickets early to avail of good rates.
A medical certificate from a qualified physician stating that you are fit to travel at 18,000 feet is compulsory.
WILDLIFE SANCTUARIES OF GOA
Chorla Ghat region of the Western Ghats of Goa has been acknowledged as a mega biodiversity hotspot. Using Wildernest Resort as a base, we will explore the forests of Mhadei Wildlife Sanctuary, Mollem National Park, and Bondla Wildlife Sanctuary. Wildernest Resort is situated in the lap of the Chorla Ghats. The resort itself is a symbol of wildlife conservation, the forest around the cottages is pristine and home to an array of wildlife. Just a stroll outside the eco-cottages at Wildernest can reward the participants with a variety of life forms. Birds like Malabar Grey Hornbill, four types of bulbul namely Grey-headed, Yellow-browed, White-browed, and Square-tailed Black Bulbul, can be seen during this camp. Other wildlife like Malabar Giant Squirrel, Sambar and Cheetal Deer, Hump-nosed Pit Viper, Green Vine Snake, Bronze-backed Tree Snake, Malabar Gliding Frog, and Blue Mormon butterfly are seen here.
Batch I: 14th – 17th September 2014
Batch II: 18th – 21st September 2014 (On Demand)
Group leaders: Ms Prachi Galange
Camp Charges: Rs. 13,000/- for members, and Rs. 14,200/- for others (ex-Thivim)
Accommodation: Twin sharing basis in Eco-cottages in Wildernest (www.wildernest-goa.com).
Reporting: Pick-up and drop timing will be according to timings of the Konkan Kanya Exp on the respective dates.
How to reach: Konkan Kanya Express (10111) starts from Mumbai CST.
Return: Konkan Kanya Express (10112) from Thivim.
Air: Closest airport is Dabolim, Goa which is 50 km from Thivim Railway Station. Participants can take early morning flight which reaches at 6:25 a.m. on the same day.
Cost includes: Accommodation, all meals (first day Lunch to last day Lunch), transfers to/from Thivim Railway Station, and visit to Sanctuaries.
NAMDAPHA NATIONAL PARK
Namdapha National Park is situated at the southeastern tip of Arunachal Pradesh and bounded by the international boundary with Myanmar to the south and east. Due to great altitudinal variation, diverse habitats occur in the area, from tropical wet evergreen in the lower areas to subtropical and temperate forests, to alpine region in the higher mountains. The BNHS camp will be at low altitude and there is no strenuous trekking involved.
Walking in the dense evergreen forests is truly an unforgettable experience, one can see birds like five species of hornbills namely Brown, Rufous-necked, Great Pied, Oriental Pied, and Wreathed Hornbill; White-bellied Heron, Pied Falconet, Greater and Lesser Necklaced Laughingthrush; Sultan Tit. In addition, mammals like Hoolock Gibbon and Yellow-throated Marten can also be seen. The Northeast is a butterfly watcher’s paradise and Namdapha attracts many butterflies like White Dragontail, Popinjay, Great Windmill, Powdered Baron, Punchinello, Common Lascar, Red-base Jezebel, Staff Sergeants, Archduke, Purple Emperor, Fluffy Tit, Great Nawab, Variegated Rajahs and many more.
The camp will be led by Mr. Isaac Kehimkar renowned butterfly expert and author of “The Book of Indian Butterflies”, who is, as you will soon discover, an avid lepidopterist and entomologist He will also give tips on how to observe and how to take photographs of these fascinating insects.
Mr. Kehimkar has also been a consultant to various butterfly parks, advising them on how to provide ideal habitats for butterflies.
Dates: 9th – 16th October 2014
Group leader: Mr. Isaac Kehimkar
Camp Charges: Rs. 25,500/- for members, and Rs. 26,700/- for others (ex-Guwahati)
Accommodation: Twin/triple sharing in Forest Guest House.
Reporting: Reporting on Thursday, 9th October (Day One) at Guwahati at 4.00 p.m. (evening) at Hotel Mayur, Phaltan Bazaar, near Guwahati railway station.
Travel by overnight bus to Miao by Network Travels. Return to Guwahati on 16th October 2014 early morning. Participants are advised to arrive at Guwahati ONE day prior and book return tickets from Guwahati after 12.00 noon on 16th October.
How to reach: Guwahati is well connected by air and rail.
All luggage will be carried separately in vehicles.
COORG AND BHADRA WILDLIFE SANCTUARY
Madikeri, Coorg: Madikeri is a small hill station in the Coorg district of Karnataka, situated in the heart of the Western Ghats. Madikeri is an ideal place for birds and butterflies. It is an excellent destination to see endemic birds like Malabar Grey Hornbill, White-cheeked Barbet, Malabar Trogon, Small Sunbird, Malabar Parakeet, Grey-fronted Green-pigeon, Square-tailed Black Bulbul, Flame-throated Bulbul and Malabar Barbet. This season is also good for butterflies, if you are lucky you can spot the largest butterfly in India, the Southern Birdwing. You can also spot Blue Mormon, Common Map, Paris Peacock, Dark Blue Tiger, and Colour Sergeant.
Bhadra Wildlife Sanctuary: A tiger reserve under Project Tiger and a biodiversity hotspot, the Sanctuary is covered by dry deciduous, moist deciduous and semi-evergreen forest. Large mammals like Tiger, Indian Bison (Gaur), Asian Elephant, Wild Dog, Sloth Bear, four types of deer namely Sambar, Barking, Spotted, and Mouse Deer. Malabar Giant Squirrel and Indian Giant Flying Squirrel can be seen here. A boat ride in the Bhadra river gives great opportunity for a close encounter with Marsh Crocodile and waterbirds. Bhadra is also home to endemic birds like Red Spurfowl, Grey Junglefowl, Malabar Pied Hornbill, White-bellied Treepie, Nilgiri Flycatcher, Blue-faced Malkoha, and other forest birds like Vernal Hanging-parrot, Great Pied Hornbill, Orange-breasted Green-pigeon, Jerdon’s Leafbird, Greater Racket-tailed Drongo, and Greater Flameback.
Dates: 29th October – 2nd November 2014
Group leader: Ms Prachi Galange
Camp Charges: Rs. 28,200/- for members, and Rs. 29,400/- for others (ex-Mangalore)
Accommodation: Twin sharing basis in Bhadra and upto 4 sharing in Coorg.
Reporting: Pick-up on Day One outside Mangalore Central Railway Station at 8:00 a.m. Drop on last day at 1:00 p.m. outside Mangalore Central Railway Station.
How to reach: Matsyagandha Exp (12619) starts from LTT (Mumbai) at 3:20 p.m., and reaches Mangalore Central at 7:30 p.m.
Return: Matsygandha Exp (12620) starts from Mangalore Central at 1:30 p.m.
Air: Mangalore is well connected by air with several direct flights.
Cost includes: Accommodation, food, transfers to/from Mangalore, and visit to Sanctuaries and safaris.
BANDIPUR AND NAGARHOLE NATIONAL PARK (KABINI)
Bandipur National Park: Once the hunting ground of the Maharaja of Mysore, Bandipur is primarily a dry deciduous forest. Together with Wayanad Wildlife Sanctuary, Nagarhole, and Mudumalai National Park it forms the Nilgiri Biosphere Reserve, making it part of the largest protected area in southern India.
Bandipur has a good population of Asian Elephants, Tiger, Leopard, Cheetal and Gaur. Apart from these animals one can spot birds like Red Spurfowl, Lesser Adjutant, Crested Serpent Eagle, Spot-billed Pelican, Emerald Dove, Indian Nightjar, Stork-billed Kingfisher and White-bellied Woodpecker.
Nagarhole National Park: This Park is most famous for its Leopard sightings due to the high density of its Leopard population. The Park has a variety of habitats from grassy swamps to moist and dry deciduous forests, with an abundance of wildlife and biodiversity. Large mammals like Tiger, Leopard, Dhole, Sloth Bear, Asian Elephant, Gaur, Barking Deer, Sambar, Grey Mongoose, Striped Hyena, Wild Boar, Indian Giant Flying Squirrel, and Malabar Giant Squirrel can be seen during the camp. Birds like Red Spurfowl, Grey Junglefowl, Pallas’s and Grey-headed Fish-eagle, Nilgiri Wood-Pigeon, Grey-headed and Yellow-footed Green-pigeon, Vernal Hanging Parrot, Malabar and Blossom-headed Parakeet, Malabar Trogon, White-cheeked Barbet, Black-rumped Flameback, White-naped Flameback, Common Flameback and Greater Flameback, Purple Sunbird, Loten’s Sunbird, Small Sunbird, and Purple-rumped Sunbird can be seen here.
Dates: 22nd – 26th November 2014
Group leader: Mr. Vandan Jhaveri
Camp Charges: Rs. 40,000/- for members, and Rs. 41,200/- for non-members (ex-Bangalore)
Accommodation: Twin sharing basis, in Bandipur Safari Lodge (2 nights), & Kabini River Lodge (2 nights).
Reporting: Pick-up on Day One outside Bangalore City Jn. Railway Station, 06:00 a.m. Drop on last day at 05:00 p.m. It is advisable to arrive one day earlier in Bangalore.
How to reach: Coimbatore Exp (11013) and Udyan Exp (16529) running daily to Bangalore.
Return: Udyan Exp (11302) Departure from Bangalore at 08:10 p.m.
Air: Bangalore is well connected by air with several direct flights.
Cost includes: Accommodation, food (first day Lunch to last day Breakfast), Transfers to/from Bangalore and visit to Sanctuaries, safari charges, and entry to the park.
LITTLE RANN OF KUTCH
Known for being the last refuge for the Indian Wild Ass, Little Rann of Kutch is a large salt marsh situated in Gujarat. The Little Rann of Kutch is a birding paradise and a Ramsar Site. Birding at the lakes and marshes is very rewarding. In winter, Demoiselle and Common Crane are seen in large numbers. Flamingos, pelicans, storks, ibises, spoonbill, a variety of ducks and other waterfowl are also seen. The Rann is also the hunting ground of raptors like the Short-toed Eagle, buzzards, Aquila eagles, six species of falcon, and three species of harrier. It is one of the few places where hundreds of harriers can be seen roosting on open ground at night. And of course, it is the perfect place to see the Indian Wild Ass. The main carnivores of the Little Rann are the Indian Wolf, Desert Fox, Indian Fox, Jackal, Desert and Jungle Cat, and Striped Hyena. The elegant Blackbuck, Nilgai or Blue Bull, and Chinkara are the other mammals seen.
Batch I: 12th – 15th December, 2014
Batch II: 16th – 19th December, 2014 (On demand)
Group leader: Ms Prachi Galange
Camp Charges: Rs. 15,500/- for members, and Rs. 16,700/- for others (ex-Ahmedabad)
Accommodation: Twin sharing at Rann Riders
Reporting: Ahmedabad railway station at 08:00 a.m. on Day One. Drop off at Ahmedabad at 06:00 p.m. on the last day
How to Reach: Ahmedabad is well connected by air, rail, and road with major cities.
Rail: You can take BCT Duronto Exp (12268) which leaves Mumbai late at night and arrives in Ahmedabad early next morning; there are many other trains as well which arrive in Ahmedabad early morning.
GREAT RANN OF KUTCH
Explore the areas bordering the Great Rann of Kutch and other interesting places like Banni grassland, and Chhari-Dhand for bird watching and observing fossils. Winter is the perfect time to watch a variety of migratory birds that come to these places in thousands. It is also a good time to see Short-eared Owl, Greater Spotted Eagle, Tawny Eagle and Steppe Eagle, Chestnut-bellied Sandgrouse and Painted Sandgrouse, Grey Francolin and Black Francolin, Cream-coloured Courser and Indian Courser, Sykes’s Lark, Great Indian Bustard, Crab Plover, Greater Flamingo and Lesser Flamingo, Common Crane, Oystercatcher, Great Thick-knee, White-naped Tit, White-bellied Minivet, Rufous-fronted Prinia, buntings, Grey Hypocolius, Indian Nightjar, Savanna Nightjar, Sykes’s Nightjar, Graceful Prinia, Red-tailed Wheatear, and many more.
Dates: 16th – 20th December, 2014
Group Leader: Mr. Vandan Jhaveri
Charges: Rs. 12,700/- for members, and Rs. 13,900/- for others (ex-Bhuj)
Charges Include: Transport from Bhuj railway station, local travel, entry fee, simple vegetarian meals and basic accommodation on twin-sharing basis).
Reporting: Bhuj Station at 7:30 a.m. on Day One, drop at Bhuj Station at 06:00 p.m. on the last day.
How to Reach: BDTS Bhuj Exp (19115) which leaves Bandra daily at 02:50 p.m. and reaches Bhuj at 07:25 a.m. next morning
Return: Bhuj BDTS Exp (19116) leaves Bhuj at 10:15 p.m. and reaches Bandra next day at 01:55 p.m.
Tal Chhapar, Jorbeed, Kheechan and Desert National Park
Join BNHS on an expedition through Rajasthan, exploring some of the most spectacular sites for desert life. Witness one of the most misunderstood and interesting habitats of our country.
Kheechan: Witness one of the most amazing spectacles of bird congregation, over 9,000 Demoiselle Cranes in small village of Kheechan. Every winter the village plays host to these cranes, which make Kheechan one of the best places to see and photograph these normally shy birds.
Jorbeed: An ideal place to see endangered vultures is the carcass dump at Jorbeed. This place also attracts large flocks of other raptors. Jorbeed is also famous for the rare and Vulnerable Yellow-eyed Pigeon which are seen in flocks around the dump, and birds like Griffon Vulture, Cinereous Vulture, Steppe Eagle, Tawny Eagle, Punjab Raven, and Imperial Eagle.
Desert National Park: This is one of the largest national parks in India and the best place to see the Critically Endangered Great Indian Bustard, 20% of its landscape is formed by sand dunes making Desert National Park unique in India. During winter, the park comes alive with an array of migrants like four species of wheatears namely Isabelline, Desert, Variable, and Red-tailed Wheatear, Pallid Harrier, Steppe Eagle, Common Kestrel, Critically Endangered White-rumped Vulture and Indian Vulture, Endangered Egyptian Vulture, Vulnerable Houbara Bustard, and White-browed Bushchat, Desert Warbler, Crested Lark, Desert Lark and Bimaculated Lark, Black-crowned Finch-Lark, Short-toed Eagle, Long-legged Buzzard are found here. Mammals like Desert Fox, Chinkara, Desert Cat, Indian Wolf, and Indian Gerbil can be seen here.
Tal Chhapar Sanctuary: If your idea of paradise is golden grasses with graceful antelopes leaping about and birds of many kinds living in harmony, then Tal Chhapar is the place to be. It is the perfect place to see raptors and passage migrants. You are likely to see Greater Spotted Eagle, Lesser Kestrel, Merlin, Laggar Falcon, Bimaculated Lark, Greater Short-toed Lark, Rufous-tailed Lark, Sand Lark, White-browed Bushchat, and Sociable Lapwing. It is also one of the few places where you can see the rare Spotted Creeper. But mammal lovers need not despair, this desert landscape is home to one of the largest populations of Blackbuck, a graceful Near Threatened antelope. You can also feast your eyes on Desert Fox, Desert Cat, Desert Gerbil, Jungle Cat, and Spiny-tailed Lizard.
Dates: 20th - 25th December, 2014
Group Leader: Mr. Asif Khan
Charges: Will be announce on the website on or before 30th July 2014.
Charges Include: Pick up and drop as per itinerary, local travel, entry fee, all meals and accommodation on twin-sharing basis. Reporting: Day Oneat Jaipur Jn. railway station at 07:30 a.m. Drop on last day at Jodhpur railway station at 06:00 p.m.
How to Reach: Jaipur – DEE Garibrath (12216) reaches Jaipur Jn. at 07:05 a.m. Return: Jodhpur–Surya Nagri Exp (12479). Flight – Jaipur and Jodhpur is also connected with direct flights.
Floating in splendid isolation, east of mainland India in the Bay of Bengal is the archipelago of emerald islands, the Andaman Islands. Explore enchanting islands, consisting of about 527 islands, both small and large. Of the 527 islands, only 38 are inhabited by humans. The Andaman group is famous for endemic flora and fauna, that are found only on these islands, which is the reason it is called the island of endemism; the islands have a very high forest cover of over 85% of the area. Andaman Island is a treat for nature lovers and enthusiasts. One can see endemics like Andaman Teal, Andaman Serpent Eagle, Andaman Crake, Andaman Coucal, to name a few other birds like Black Baza, Pied Imperial Pigeon, Collared Kingfisher and Blue-eared Kingfisher.
Dates: January, 2015 (ex-Port Blair)
Group Leader: Mr. Asif Khan
MARINE CAMP AT LAKSHADWEEP
Lakshadweep is a group of islands, 200-440 km off the south west coast of India. These islands form the smallest union territory of the country. The Lakshadweep region has about 600 species of fish, 78 species of coral and over 100 species of other marine invertebrates. This is a perfect opportunity to explore the fascinating marine life under the sea.
Participants will get training in snorkeling as part of the camp activity. You need not worry if you do not know swimming; you can still enjoy the deep blue sea and moving among the amazing corals, fishes, shells, shrimps and crabs. Most of the snorkeling will be in waist-deep coral lagoons.
Dates: February, 2015
Group Leader: Mr. Isaac Kehimkar
BHITARKANIKA, MANGALAJODI and CHILIKA
Bhitarkanika National Park: With 55 out of 58 species of mangroves in India present here, Bhitarkanika is a rich, green and luxuriant ecosystem. Bhitarkanika is one of the best places to see the Estuarine Crocodile basking languidly along the banks as your boat steers lazily across the water. Known to be home to more than 200 species of birds, one can spot seven species of Kingfishers here, namely Common, Pied, Black-capped, Brown-winged, Stork-billed, White-throated and Collared Kingfisher. Other birds that can be seen are Black-bellied Tern, Pallas’s Fish-eagle, Brown-fish Owl, Jack Snipe, Black-necked Stork, and Black-breasted Baya.
Mangalajodi Bird Sanctuary: The marshy waters of the Northern Banks of the Chilika Lake are home to a whole array of birds. Mangalajodi which has been declared as an Important Bird Area (IBA) is a treat for birders and photographer alike, boat rides through the marshes can get you up-close to birds like Baillon’s Crake, Wood Sandpiper, Common Snipe, Streaked Weaver, Grey-headed Lapwing, Black-tailed Godwit, Ruddy Shelduck, Comb Duck, and Plaintive Cuckoo.
Chilika Lake: Chilika, India’s largest brackish-water lake is home to a whole array of birds. It is also the largest wintering ground for migratory birds in the Indian subcontinent. Chilika is famous for the only known population in India of the Vulnerable and rare Irrawaddy Dolphin; the Bottlenose Dolphin can also be seen here. During this season one can see huge flocks of waterfowl; birds like Fulvous Whistling Duck, Lesser Whistling Duck, Northern Pintail, Spot-billed Pelican, Northern Shoveller, Ferruginous Duck, Red-crested Pochard, Comb Duck, Ruddy Shelduck, Tufted Duck, Greater Flamingo, Lesser Flamingo, Great White Pelican, Osprey, and White-bellied Sea-eagle.
Dates: February, 2015