Blogger and photographer Arun Bhat will be sharing some of his unique experiences in this post as he travels to the Eagle Nest National Park in Arunachal Pradesh
My introduction to EaglenestNational Park happened through a forwarded email. It was the first time I was hearing about this place, but since I had been contemplating a visit to North East India for some time, I decided to take another look. It was a park recently opened to tourists in the remote corner of the country, bordering Bhutan and China. Probing further revealed that the park had a biodiversity unheard of in rest of the country. I wasted no time in signing up for the tour and booking my tickets.
The days before the visit were spent browsing through bird book and remembering names of bird species that I had never heard of, and reading about a landscape that varied so much across the park that you would barely need a sweater in one corner of the park in a season when it snows at the other corner. While the southern edge of Eaglenest was less than 1000 feet in altitude, the other end was more than ten thousand feet high. There was tropical rainforest in one end while the other end sported conifers. No wonder Eaglenest boasted of so much diversity.
Walking the park from end to end and looking for birds in the forest, I was surprised to see absence of any kind of birds I have seen before, except the ubiquitous crows. They came in all shapes and colours, though most of them were small and had bright plumage. The cutias, as the name indicates, were so beautiful that I lost track and nearly fell into a gorge when I kept my eyes craned on one of them and walked behind it.
The yellow-bellied fantails with their lemon-yellow colour fanned their tails and moved quickly from branch to branch, never stopping to post for a picture. Mrs. Gould’s sunbirds revealed so many hues on its back that I had to stop counting after sometime. It was like being in a bird-heaven full of avian apsaras.
The forest itself was as beautiful as the birds. I walked through paths littered with bright red rhododendrons, bunch of purple wildflowers and trees full of drooping lichens. The thick trees never revealed all the animal life hidden in their depths, but we knew Eaglenest was home to a large number of elephants and an existing population of large cats. They could wait for another visit, but the birds surely kept me occupied and entertained in the seven days I spent at the park.