North-East India especially Assam and Arunachal Pradesh is an avian lovers paradise. Because of the terrain, the location and the river bodies, this area plays host to both migratory birds and non-migratory birds.
So when I got a call in Guwahati if I would be interested in accompanying an avid birder and naturalist on one of his bird spotting trips, I jumped at the opportunity. The goal of the trip was to spot the ringed plover which apparently had just arrived in the city.
The smaller river birds require quite some patience and a keen eye to spot them. This is because it is difficult to sight them against the neutral colour of the sand.
The best locations for birding in Guwahati are
- The Guwahati Refinery Colony – This area by the banks of the Brahmaputra plays host to quite a few known birds. Since the river is accessible from this place, it is quite easy to hop onto the mud flats and look for river birds. (marked in the picture above)
- Navagraha Hills – The hills around the Nabagraha temple are another excellent location to spot birds.
- IIT Guwahati – The IIT Guwahati campus in northern Guwahati is a famous bird watching destination.
The Navagraha temple is a temple dedicated to the nine major celestial bodies of Hindu astronomy and was built by an Ahom king in the 17th century. The original temple was destroyed in the great Assam quake of the 18th century. Local folklore though dates the temple much beyond the 10th century.