Pangot Hill Station: A paradise for bird lovers
Mountains are said to have treasures hidden in its folds, nooks, and crannies, visible only to those who truly want to discover nature. For those who want to experience such pleasant surprises, the Himalayan region is indeed a Pandora’s Box. Tucked in its forests, are the rarest flora and fauna, some of which you will not see or find anywhere else in the world. The tiny village of Pangot at the foothills of the Lower Himalayas is one such treasure trove of the most exotic birds found in the wild and is a bird lover’s paradise. In fact, the huge avian population of the forests of Pangot hill station had given rise to the culture of birding or bird-watching in this region.
The quiet settlement of Pangot is at about 13 Km from Nainital. So if you are traveling from Delhi, you can take a car on rent in Delhi and directly reach Pangot hill station and keep the car for your entire trip.
Even the drive to Pangot hill station is equally enticing. The route passes through thick clusters of Oak, Pine and Rhododendron trees of the Cheena/China Peak Range, via two major bird watching points- Snow View Point and Kilbury.
The most convenient way to reach the place is by booking a taxi in Delhi and the best time to visit is between the months of October to June. However, if you want to view specific species, then you might have to visit in the apt season. For example, the Upper Himalayan birds migrate here during the cooler months and the winter months are ideal to see them.
The birds of Pangot
As per records, there are more than 580 species of resident and migratory birds in this part of the Himalayas, and the forests of Pangot hill station alone house about 150 species of birds. If you are in the right season and lucky, then you might be able to catch a sight of the Lammergeier, Himalayan griffon, Blue-winged Minla, spotted & slate-backed forktail, Rufous-bellied Woodpecker, Rufous-bellied Niltava, Khalij pheasant, different kinds of thrushes, and many more.
To make the most of this bounty of nature, it is better to settle down in Pangot for a few days. While you can enjoy the scenic beauty of this cozy Himalayan hamlet, you also get a chance to spot some of these exquisite avian members at different times.
You can take an early morning walk through the forest trails. Some of the popular birding trails include the Woodpecker Point, famous for the Himalayan Woodpecker and Rufous-bellied woodpecker, and also the Vinayak Point, popular for sightings of Cheer Pheasant and Khalij Pheasant.
You can also head to the nearby Chaafi village to chance a sight of the Crested Kingfisher, Brown Dipper, common Redstarts, Red-fronted serin or the Tawny Fish Owl. A sight of any of these is like being in a wonderland.
For a more professional take on this expedition, you can head to the nearby Sattal Studio, in Sattal. This set up on the forest clearings is a photographers and ornithologists’ hub. You can wait in silence with your cameras and binoculars ready to capture a flying visitor when they come.
Besides birds, the alpine forests and creeks are homes to different tropical mountain animals like leopards, leopards, yellow-throated Himalayan martens, Himalayan palm civets, barking deer and Sambar deer, Himalayan Goral, Wild Boar, Yellow-bellied Himalayan weasel, red fox etc.
Gentle, idyllic, and fascinating, the wilderness of Pangot with its exquisite birds is pure bliss and for the bird-lover, there is nothing more heavenly than spending a few days in this quaint village.
Photo Credits: www.indianholidays.com