Connecting the Dots….

Ship of Theseus reminded me of Polish director Krzysztof Kieslowski’s masterpiece, The Decalogue, each episode of which dealt with one of the ten commandments from a moral perspective and brought it into everyday life. Similarly, this film too delved into the moral conflicts faced by the characters, which relate to the way we lead our lives. The beauty of both films is that they manage to incite these questions without becoming self-righteous or didactic, and yet remain accessible in the way the subject is presented.

Watching Ship of Theseus was an intensely personal experience. It resonated with me at so many levels that I was unable to articulate initially. It says something about the movie that it needed to be mulled over for a few days before I could come up with a coherent response. Friends who watched the movie have pointed out the flaws…. It was too slow-paced in parts, editing could have been crisper, some stories felt contrived, etc. I agree with all those assessments. But those assessments in a way reflect the expectations we have from cinema as entertainment in the modern age. We find ourselves fidgeting if the camera lingers for a few seconds longer than it should on a subject, we watch the mainstream Bollywood fare without batting an eyelid, but in such non-mainstream movies we are unwilling to tolerate the slightest suspension of disbelief. In this case, I was willing to overlook the flaws as they did not detract from the film’s powerful message.

The first story in the film deals with a blind photographer who relies on her senses of touch and hearing (and assistance from a supportive boyfriend) to create amazing images but is bothered by the question of whether she is being appreciated on the strength of her talent or because of her handicap. A long-awaited cornea transplant comes through, but it upsets the delicate balance she has maintained so far with her environment. In the process of gaining ‘sight’, she loses her intuitive ‘vision’. This story is inward looking compared to the other two, and while it features a fantastic performance by Egyptian actress Aida El-Kashef, in my opinion it was somewhat tangential to the central theme of the film as an exploration of moral dilemmas in the modern world, except in the last scene where the photographer seems finally ready to embrace and engage with the world, as opposed to simply documenting it on camera as an outsider.

The second story is perhaps the most powerful, as several reviews have already pointed out. There are many aspects brought out so beautifully in this story that it could have been made into a full length feature on its own and expanded further. The monk Maitreya, while driven by his beliefs, comes across as an immensely likeable and non-preachy character, one who is pragmatic as well as humorous in his outlook. The main theme is of course the abhorrence of violence in any form – from being vegan to opposing animal testing by pharmaceutical companies. But there are so many secondary sub-texts in this rich and layered story.

All of us in the modern world lead lives that are often at great variance with the beliefs we hold, and sometimes we are not even aware of it. We worry about global warming, yet we don’t think twice about taking flights or taking the car out for an unnecessary trip. We want others to reduce their carbon emissions, but are unwilling to compromise anything in our own lives. We complain about traffic in our cities, yet we drive long distances to work in single occupant vehicles. We want our cities to be clean, yet we throw out our own garbage which often ends up in landfills in the countryside. The list is endless.

Many a times we do not connect the dots, we do not see the big picture of how our daily actions relate to the bigger issue, we do not realize that we are part of the problem, and unless we change that, the problem will never go away. Yet there are many people who constantly strive to bridge this divide between what they believe and how they lead their lives. Take this idea to an extreme and you have the monk Maitreya, leading his life unflinchingly in accordance with his beliefs, to the extent of wanting to give up his life rather than compromise on them. In the end he too must compromise, but not without an intense battle with himself.

The young lawyer (representing Charvaka or hedonism) provides the counterpoint to the monk’s beliefs, and the arguments between the two exemplify the conflicts each of us face in this daily battle between our beliefs and our actions. In the modern world, it is impossible for us to live like Maitreya, and compromise we must. We rationalise our choices, telling ourselves (as the disciple tells Maitreya) – what does an individual matter in the larger scheme of things – the same argument many of us use to justify our own inaction. What does it matter if I segregate my waste when my neighbour is not, if I conserve water while the community as a whole uses it wastefully. We forget the whole is the sum of its parts, and our daily actions have a deep consequence.

Neeraj Kabi is utterly convincing as Maitreyi, delivering loaded dialogues with a twinkle in his eye. The sparkling conversation between the monk and his disciple is certainly one of the high points of the story. I also enjoyed the subtle nuances like Maitreya looking distinctly uncomfortable when his fellow monk exhorts the audience to make good their promise of donations to the cause. But the lasting image from this story for me was the visual of the group of monks walking through a surreal landscape surrounded by giant windmills and electricity transmission towers. The scene is slow and languid, giving one ample time to reflect on the fast-paced dialogue between the monk and the disciple that took place in the previous scene. The monks reach their destination, a remote monastery, and spread out their meagre piece of cloth to lie down for a rest, leaving the viewer with the question – how much or how little do we really need for a meaningful life?

While the first two stories feature somewhat larger-than-life characters doing extraordinary things, the third, in contrast, is about an ordinary, run-of-the-mill character. Sohum Shah plays a stock-broker who, according to his grandmother, chooses to live in his own money-centric universe, giving back nothing of value to society as a whole. The grandmother’s exhortation to engage with society is one that many of an earlier generation might relate to, while lamenting the rampant materialism and consumerism in the young working class. The stock-broker lashes back at this harsh assessment of his character, and points out that despite all her talk, she hasn’t managed to achieve much by way of her so-called activism either.

A chance encounter leads him to step outside his comfort zone to investigate a kidney-stealing racket, which he follows halfway across the globe to seek justice for the victim, in a somewhat far-fetched and contrived scenario. Some twists and turns later, he is back at his grandmother’s bedside, which leads to the sub-text of this particular story – the conviction that every individual action does matter, no matter how seemingly insignificant the outcome. The world is a better place because you tried to engage with it, instead of looking away. The message is one of hope, of taking responsibility for one’s actions.

The three stories come together in the end, in a somewhat predictable manner. However, this is much more than a film about organ donation. The conundrum implicit in the title is perhaps also not relevant or important. The stories loosely tie in to the so-called Theseus Paradox, but I personally choose to view the Ship as this living, breathing planet we call home, encompassing something larger than the sum of its parts but suffering the consequences of the actions of each of its myriad units. Perhaps you might view it differently. But this, then, is the hallmark of truly great cinema – to make the viewers reflect and interpret the film in their own way, coloured by their personal experiences. Anand Gandhi has accomplished that beautifully.

 

PS: The movie has been made available for free legal download for Indian viewers! It can be downloaded here: http://vimeo.com/84744058

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In the killing fields of Nagaland

On the 6th of May 2013, Rajneesh Suvarna, Jitendra Bhatia, Suja Rangaswamy and myself were on the way back from Pungro in Eastern Nagaland to Kohima. We had been in Nagaland for 6 days and had noticed that guns were common and hunting accepted as a way of life. The few local Nagas we met were surprised that we had come all the way for watching birds, and indeed were skeptical that we would have seen any. Our birding experience too had been less than ideal in the state. We had seen quite a few specialities only found south of the Brahmaputra, but the birds were extremely skittish, kept their distance, and would disappear before our binoculars could reach our eyes. This wasn’t surprising given the widespread hunting taking place, especially further away from Kohima.

Amur Falcon feeding on a dragonfly mid-airGiven this context, we were surprised to see a flock of birds circling low over Kikruma village, just after we crossed Pfutsero, 45 km before Kohima, at around 2.30pm. As we stopped the car and rushed out, a wave of excitement passed through us as we realized that these were Amur Falcons, presumably on their return migration back to their breeding grounds in Central Asia. We clicked away on our cameras, and a quick count showed up 16 birds. They appeared to be swooping and hunting dragonflies, and we could observe them feeding in mid-air.

Boy at Kikruma holding a female Grey Bushchat in his handA small crowd of ~ 10-12 year old kids soon gathered around us, just out of school for the day. Seeing our obvious interest in birds, one of the kids proudly revealed a female Grey Bushchat he was holding, and whose legs he had already broken. Another friend of his held out a perfect blue egg in his palm, belonging to the Bushchat. We tried to tell them to release the bird, but the kids understood no Hindi or English, so any attempt at communication was futile. We turned our attention back to the falcons, when Suja noticed a man on the adjacent hill, taking aim at the Amurs with his rifle. Our exultation at the Amurs sighting quickly turned to horror and rage, and we started screaming across the hill, asking him not to shoot.

Hunter in Kikruma village aiming at the flock of falcons

The commotion may have spooked the falcons, as they quickly disappeared, while our hunter noticed us frantically gesticulating and screaming, lowered his rifle, and posed for our cameras, grinning. Clearly, the hunter and the kids seemed to be bemused at our behaviour, and the thought that it might be wrong (illegal, really) to hunt birds – resident or otherwise – had not even crossed their minds. We made a few phone calls to friends who could advise us on the next course of action, and were told that the best (and least) we could do was to write about the incident.

On the rest of the journey we vented our frustrations, and discussed what in our opinions were possible solutions to end the killing. We hoped that with younger people getting educated outside the state, some amount of environmental awareness might set in. However with a hunting culture so deeply entrenched, any kind of education/awareness initiatives would take time to bear fruit, and we fear that by then the double whammy of wanton hunting by an exploding population coupled with habitat destruction due to the practice of jhoom (slash-and-burn) cultivation would sound the death knell for several unique species, unless immediately redressed through some kind of state intervention.

PS: This note was published by Conservation India.

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“Dally” birding – Part 1

New Year resolution – write more frequently! 🙂

27 Nov 2010
An impromptu decision to spend a birding weekend in Delhi (ostensibly to intersect with hubby’s holiday in the north) found me landing at Delhi airport in the wee hours of Friday night, on a flight 4 hours delayed from Bangalore. The programme for Saturday morning was set already – with a taxi hired for the day and a guide arranged to take me around Sultanpur and Basai. Armed with a goldmine of information from AMS, I crept out of Anu’s house in Gurgaon early on Saturday and was greeted at Sultanpur by Sanjay and a most promising sky. After a brief foray inside the sanctuary (where I finally managed to see a red-throated flycatcher with a red throat, and we checked on a pair of collared scops owls), Sanjay decided we should head to Sultanpur flats first to check for some of my target species – long-billed pipit, Indian courser. Both eluded us, but we did get a few greater short-toed larks, along with a flock of ashy-crowned sparrow larks; desert wheatears; bay-backed, long-tailed and rufous-tailed/Isabelline shrikes, and hoopoes as numerous as crows.

It was late morning by the time we got back inside the sanctuary, with the sun beating down and the jheel bursting with thousands of ducks, a thrilling sight for a birder from down south starved of water birds. Numerous raptors did the rounds, including juvenile and adult Steppe eagles, Indian spotted eagle, oriental honey buzzard and a lone osprey, and I watched the ducks cloud the sky, circle the lake and settle down again. A small flock of bar-headed geese circled around and flew away, while greylags floated placidly in the lake. Another futile search for long-billed pipit in the scrub around the far end of the lake, and by this time Sanjay was getting anxious to show me at least one lifer, when suddenly some black-breasted weavers in the reed bed got me excited. A rather taken-aback Sanjay concluded that a better strategy would be to look through my book and see what species I hadn’t checked off, and soon discovered that white-tailed lapwing was one of them.

We crept towards the marshy area around the lake, where white-tailed and red-wattled lapwings gave side-by-side comparisons but were wary of our presence. We also flushed a group of snipes that were impossible to ID. After spending some time watching the ducks (mostly common teals, with some shovelers, pintails, garganey and a lone wigeon), we slowly started back towards the car, adding tree pipit to the list, while I somehow convinced Sanjay that a break for lunch was necessary. The alu parathas at the Rosy Pelican lived up to their reputation, and post-lunch we started out for another location close to Sultanpur village where Sanjay was hopeful of getting coursers. Again we were disappointed, but managed to add a few species to the count, including tawny pipit.

Final stop was Basai, where literally thousands of ruffs jostled for space among smaller numbers of common and green sandpipers, again a sight to behold. Another lifer for me here was common starling – maybe a hundred or so in flight! We walked to the end of the dirt path and towards the left along the canal, where Sanjay hoped to find sind sparrow. Again this eluded us, but along the way we got a pair of pied cuckoos, and in the far fields at the back, Eurasian curlews. As we made our way to get a closer look at the curlews, a family of Sarus cranes flew in, the parents with a juvenile, and this was surely a fitting close to an intensive but very enjoyable day of birding! I wonder though how long these areas would survive – given the tree felling inside Sultanpur sanctuary, and the ever expanding concretization around the Basai wetland.

More pics:

 

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An action packed Q1 2010

A flurry of trips in the first 3 months of this year, none of which I have managed to blog about, as I have been drowning under a deluge of work the last few months (yeah right, just an excuse for laziness!). At least a brief update is in order, and a taste of what is to come (soon, hopefully!). January – kicked off the new year with a brilliant trip to Thattekad and Munnar in Kerala (I was there ostensibly for a colleague and fellow birder’s wedding), and a brief trip to Sewri in Mumbai to see the flamingoes.

February – joined up with my dad on part of a 3-week long Rajasthan trip that he was doing with my uncle and aunt from UK. We met up for 3 days in Desert National Park (Jaisalmer), followed by an en-route halt at Phalodi to see the awe-inspiring spectacle of demoiselle cranes who spend the winter around the nondescript village of Khichan and arrive in the thousands every morning to feed on grain left for them by the villagers. Some relaxed birding on return to Jaipur and then a rather eventful trip to Tal Chhapar blackbuck sanctuary. A veritable vulture and raptor fest, this trip had many memorable moments, one of them was the sight of 4 types of vultures feasting on a carcass at DNP.

March – an impromptu decision by BULBs and 9 of us were off to Goa for a weekend of intense birding! Started with gulls and terns galore on an evening at Morjim beach, followed by a morning at Bondla wildlife sanctuary, stopping on the return journey for ducks and waders. The next morning was spent on the Zuari river, cruising through the mangroves where we got the promised 6 types of kingfishers (not including the bottled variety)! No time for lounging on the beach, and nearly every waking moment was spent birding  🙂

The following week I was off to Assam on a trip organized by NatureIndia. Several in the group were birding friends (5 of us from Bangalore), plus my dad and some friends from Mumbai, so it felt like a reunion of sorts. Enroute birding happened in Kolkata (at least I managed to blog about that promptly!), followed by Nameri and Kaziranga. One of the high points of the trip was an amazing sighting of the notoriously shy (and endangered) white-winged duck in Nameri, a pair of which surprisingly allowed 15 excited birders to get good looks through the spotting scope.

Closer home, with 4 trips to Nandi Hills (highlights pied thrush and a family of shaheen falcons), one to Mysore (a wild goose chase for bar-headed geese), one to Galibore (fabulous sightings of blue-bearded bee-eaters and pied cuckoos) and several to Valley school, I am happy to proclaim that the birding season was very well spent indeed!

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Birding in Sikkim (courtesy Madhavi)

With permission from Madhavi, I reproduce below her delightful cartoon on birding in Sikkim! (For the full story, check out the Sikkim report – part 1 and part 2)

If you liked it, please leave a comment which will spur Madhavi to create more of these  🙂

And for those interested, here are some “Bird toons” by Rohan Chakravarty that I have enjoyed immensely!

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Through the looking grass *

I never can resist the chance to spend a few days in the city of my birth and childhood memories, the place that will always be “home” – Kolkata. A trip to Nameri/Kaziranga in March presents just such a chance, with an extra day on each side to spend in one of my favouritest places on earth. I reach Kolkata past midnight on Friday, and before anyone at home can register my presence, am whisked off the next morning to experience the most talked-about birding location in the East, the marshy area of Joka, recently found to host some exceedingly rare winter migrants.

It is still dark when we reach Joka, enroute we have run into dense fog which envelopes us like a blanket. We turn off the main road onto a mud path, but soon find an unexpected road block in the form of a pile of sand deposited across the path. A couple of labourers obligingly clear a section for us with their shovels, just wide enough for the car to pass through. Driving further, we startle several men caught in the middle of their morning ablutions, in an area which my companions lovingly refer to as “potty park”. Finally the car can go no further, we step out and make our way in the pre-dawn darkness to the focal point of the marsh, a thatched hut with a “birding platform” from where a ringside view of the rarities is promised. To get there through the tall grass and reeds a delicate balancing act is required, along a precarious bamboo ‘bridge’ on which I focus my intense concentration.

The entire exercise has a touch of the surreal about it, and I can’t help but feel like Alice in Wonderland, escorted by the Mad Hatter, the March Hare and the White Rabbit. At the platform we meet the person credited with discovering Joka as a birding area, along with his young assistant who has just appeared for his higher secondary examination (or perhaps spent it birding at Joka). The fog shows no signs of clearing. Now we wait. And smoke, if so inclined.

Slowly the bird activity starts picking up, and I walk around the area trying not to step on anything offensive. The hazards underfoot are soon forgotten, though, as lifers start popping up around me – a tantalizing glimpse of a rusty-rumped warbler skulking in the hyacinth, a yellow-bellied prinia perched on a blade of grass, singing the fog away, and most amazingly, a rufous-rumped bristled grassbird which gives a viewing for ten full minutes, oblivious to our presence. As the fog slowly lifts, we hear a response from the star attraction of Joka – the lanceolated warbler. This is one of the rarest winter migrants to the subcontinent, and Joka is the only known and confirmed location in India to see it. We watch this exceedingly beautiful, heavily streaked warbler skulking inside the reeds and almost completely obscured behind a curtain of grass. I capture sections of it in my camera, half expecting it to fade like the Cheshire cat. Was this worth losing sleep over? You bet! Mission accomplished, and we head back to the “real” world, a Bengal bushlark nicely rounding off my morning of lifers down the rabbit hole.

(*) with apologies to Lewis Carroll

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Sikkim Part 4: Yuksom and back

Continued from part 3….

Day 7 3rd Dec: Yuksom

Yuksom was located in a valley, the base for treks to Kanchendzonga National Park, and one of the tubes had been there before on a Singalila trek, of which he had rather painful memories. The high point of Yuksom cuisine was Gupta restaurant, which stocked canned food, and served comfort food for homesick trekkers. Having been utterly spoilt by the luxuries at Mount Pandim hotel in Pemayangste (which included 6-course lunches, heaters in the rooms and hot water bottles in the bed), Hotel Tashigang in Yuksom seemed woefully inadequate, and we quickly zeroed in on Mr. Gupta as the answer to our culinary needs.

On this last leg of the trip the battle lines had become clearly drawn, with the Tubes who had briefly defected to the birders side now firmly back in their own team. This morning the Tubes made plans for an ambitious full-day trek to a monastery, stocked up on munchies and snacks, and threatened to disappear for good and take up the Buddhist way of life. The Bulbs, knowing them all too well, chuckled inwardly and laid bets on whether they would be back for lunch.

At the hotel we parted ways, with the intrepid explorers setting off maps in hand, while the birders jumped into the car for a short ride to Norbugang Coronation throne, which was supposed to have some good birding. At the hotel itself I had seen a large niltava and rufous bellied niltava while waiting for the others, and as soon as we entered Norbugang we got excellent views of a rufous-gorgeted flycatcher, its prominent white supercilium and orange throat patch clearly visible. This was soon followed by a good spotting of jungle owlet, which appeared to be a resident.

The compound was full of very tall trees and soon a brown-throated treecreeper appeared, which we followed from tree trunk to tree trunk. The Norbugang campus housed a school for monks-in-training, and as we birded there a few kids started trickling in, teasing and playing. A flock of red-tailed minlas were found feeding at eye-level around the back of the campus, and along with them a blue-winged minla gave a brief sighting. A large niltava was seen around the entrance to the compound, and then a double bonanza of a greater yellownape followed by a lesser.

It was a satisfied lot that left Norbugang, and from there we headed to the Yuksom helipad area. Apart from common stonechats in the scrub leading to the helipad, and a grey bushchat perched on every other available stick, we were pleased to discover a pair of Hodgson’s redstarts, which provided a welcome change after the ubiquitous blue-fronted. Not much else was seen, as it was now late morning, and so we headed down towards the main road to look for forktails and dippers near the streams.

We soon came to a fairly big stream gushing over a rocky stretch, with an overlooking bridge, and knew this would be a good spot. True to form, a pair of plumbeous water-redstarts showed up and kept us entertained. A tattered raptor flew overhead, later IDed as black eagle. A little further on, a smaller stream where a little forktail pranced about, and just as we had decided to leave, a brown dipper appeared far off and charmed its way into our hearts with its cute routine of sticking up its neck and cocking its tail every few seconds like a cuckoo clock. 

Heading back, we thought of checking on the Tubes, and were amused to find that they had cut short their arduous trekking plans and had already settled into Gupta restaurant! Post lunch we continued our birding at Norbugang, where J got excellent shots of the jungle owlet.

Day 8 4th Dec: Back

Our train from New Jalpaiguri was in the evening, and so we decided to avail of the morning birding session, once again at Norbugang. Just outside the campus, two little boys prowled with catapults, and on being questioned, replied that they eat the birds. Inside the compound, it was a different story, with the red-tailed minlas feeding in one corner, and the large niltava hopping in and out of a patch of sunlight as it hunted for insects, its contrasting blue shoulder patch glinting brilliantly. Norbugang added only one more species to our list – an orange-bellied leafbird perched along with rufous sibia, but it was a lovely serene place, and we spent another enjoyable morning there, reluctant to leave.

After Norbugang we turned our vehicle towards the Pelling road, but the birding was unproductive, with only a common kestrel added to our list (surprisingly the first of the trip), and we soon headed back to the hotel to pack and get ready for the return journey.  When we left the Tubes had been toying with the idea of going for a trek/walk, but we got back to find them sprawled in front of the TV watching the India-Sri Lanka cricket match!

All this while our driver had been fidgety and desperate to start the return journey, a drive of 6+ hours, teling us that there was a “light problem”. We ignored him and proceeded with brunch plans at Gupta restaurant. When finally we got going, the Tubes promptly banned all birding stops, suggesting that the Bulbs were responsible for the delay. We complied largely, except when a resplendent red-billed blue magpie flew across the road, and later when I demanded a stop complaining about being cooped up in the back seat (but in reality wanted to click some spangled drongos in the valley below, and increase our “score”, just as the Tubes checked on the cricket score on their mobiles).

The road condition was poor and as darkness fell around us we realized the reason for our driver’s discomfort – it appeared the “light problem” was nothing to do with the vehicle, as we had assumed, but more to do with the fact that he couldn’t see very well at night. His speed dropped drastically as he struggled to follow the vehicle in front, and we kept our sanity by coming up with whacky cryptic bird clues. Thankfully, we managed to reach NJP in one piece, just in time for our train, and thus ended our fantastic and memorable trip to the eastern Himalayas, certainly a region deserving several repeat visits in the future.

Extra: Here’s Madhavi’s cartoon on birding in Sikkim!

Complete bird list:

1    Mallard
2    Common Merganser
3    Lesser Yellownape
4    Greater Yellownape
5    Grey-headed Woodpecker
6    Great Barbet
7    Golden-throated Barbet
8    Blue-throated Barbet
9    Green bee-eater
10  Green-billed Malkoha
11   Asian Koel
12   House Swift
13   Asian Barred Owlet
14   Jungle Owlet
15   Rock Pigeon
16   Oriental Turtle Dove
17   Black Kite
18   Black Eagle
19   Greater Spotted Eagle
20   Steppe Eagle
21   Rufous-bellied Eagle
22   Mountain Hawk Eagle
23   Common Kestrel
24   Common Buzzard
25   Indian Cormorant
26   Intermediate Egret
27   Cattle Egret
28   Indian Pond Heron
29   Orange-bellied Leafbird
30   Brown Shrike
31   Long-tailed Shrike (tricolor)
32   Grey-backed Shrike
33   Eurasian Jay
34   Red-billed Blue Magpie
35   Common Green Magpie
36   Grey Treepie
37   Red-billed Chough
38   House Crow
39   Large-billed Crow
40   Black Drongo
41   Ashy Drongo
42   Spangled Drongo
43   Brown Dipper
44   Chestnut-bellied Rock Thrush (female)
45   Blue Rock Thrush
46   Blue Whistling Thursh
47   Rufous-gorgeted Flycatcher
48   Verditer Flycatcher
49   Large Niltava
50   Rufous-bellied Niltava (male)
51   Grey-headed Canary Flycatcher
52   Orange-flanked Bush Robin
53   Golden Bush Robin
54   Hodgson’s Redstart (male, female)
55   Blue-fronted Redstart (male, female)
56   White-capped Water Redstart
57   Plumbeous Water Redstart
58   Little Forktail
59   Slaty-backed Forktail
60   Grey Bushchat (male, female)
61   Common Stonechat
62   Asian Pied Starling
63   Common Myna
64   White-vented Myna
65   Northern Hill Myna
66   Chestnut-bellied Nuthatch
67   White-tailed Nuthatch
68   Velvet-fronted Nuthatch
69   Rusty-flanked Treecreeper
70   Brown-throated Treecreeper
71   Green-backed Tit
72   Yellow-cheeked Tit
73   Grey-crested tit
74   Sultan Tit
75   Black-throated Tit
76   Striated Bulbul
77   Himalayan Bulbul
78   Red-vented Bulbul
79   Mountain Bulbul
80   Oriental White-eye
81   Common Tailorbird
82   Hume’s Warbler
83   Blyth’s Leaf Warbler
84   Golden-spectacled Warbler
85   Grey-hooded Warbler
86   Grey-cheeked Warbler
87   White-throated Laughingthrush
88   Striated Laughingthrush
89   Chestnut-crowned Laughingthrush
90   Red-faced Liocichla
91   Jungle Babbler
92   Red-billed Leiothrix
93   Green Shrike Babbler
94   Black-eared Shrike Babbler
95   Hoary-throated Barwing
96   Blue-winged Minla
97   Chestnut-tailed Minla
98   Red-tailed Minla
99   Rufous-winged Fulvetta
100  Nepal Fulvetta
101  Whiskered Yuhina
102  Stripe-throated Yuhina
103  Rufous Sibia
104  Fire-breasted Flowerpecker
105  Green-tailed Sunbird
106  House Sparrow
107  Eurasian Tree Sparrow
108  Grey Wagtail
109  Olive-backed Pipit
110  Rufous-breasted Accentor
111  Yellow-breasted Greenfinch
112  Dark-breasted Rosefinch (male)
113  Little Bunting

Where we stayed: 
Kalimpong – Orchid Retreat
Ravangla – Mt. Narsing Resort
Pemayangste – Elgin Mount Pandim
Yuksom – Hotel Tashigang
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