Standalone birding destinations are ones that are popular for getaways and visited on a standalone basis. Destinations like Bharatpur (Rajasthan), Nakhatrana (Kutch), Thattekad (Kerala), Mudumalai (Tamil Nadu) are some of the most popular standalone bird watching getaways.
Nivalink organises bird watching getaways on an ongoing basis based on access, time on hand, Season and birder sophistication (If any Target bird list) etc.
Standalone Birding Destinations in Western India
Western India is part of Western Ghats (Western Ghats extend from South Gujarat all the way upto Kerala), which are home to many exotic species, both migratory as well as resident bird species. Travellers from Mumbai and Pune popularly visit destinations in and around Western Ghats as standalone getaways. Some of the destinations are
Pawna Dam around Lonavala (120 kms from Mumbai, 80 kms from Pune) - Visited for migratory Waterbirds as well as birds of the Western Ghat
Bhigwan lake (100 kms from Pune) - Visited for migratory Waterbirds
Chiplun (250 kms from Mumbai, 300 kms from Pune) - Visited for birds of the Western Ghat especially Oriental Dwarf Kingfisher
Mollem (55 kms from Panjim Goa) - Visited for common birds of the Western Ghat and rare species like Ceylon Frogmouth. This is recommended for advanced bird watchers looking for exclusive bird watching experience.
Dandeli (100 kms from Panjim Goa and 80 kms from Belgaum). Visited for its hornbill population (Great Hornbill, Pied Hornbill and Grey Hornbill), Woodpeckers, raptors and wide ranging exotic birds. This is recommended for advanced bird watchers looking for exclusive bird watching experience.
Salim Ali Bird Sanctuary (near Panjim Goa) - Visited for its wide ranging water birds and common western Ghat species
Gujarat - State of Gujarat in Western India is home to many bird watching destinations that are also visited as part of birding circuits (As documented separately under birding circuits). Nalsarovar (55 kms from Ahmedabad), Thol (30 kms from Ahmedabad), Little Rann of Kutch (90 kms from Ahmedabad) are areas that are teeming with wide ranging bird life offering bird watchers exclusive bird watching experience. These are the areas where one sees large population of big birds (like Flamingos (Lesser and Greater), Pelicans, Storks, Cranes), Waterbirds and raptors etc..
Velavadar (160 kms from Ahmedabad) is a tropical grassland where one finds Indian Courser besides many other migratory birds in Winter. Sasan Gir is a renowned wildlife getaway (for its Asiatic Lion Population), however farms around Sasan Gir receives large flocks of bird migration and therefore are excellent for bird watchers in Winter.
Porbandar and Jamnagar are lesser known areas that offer most exclusive bird watching. Narara Island, Khijadiya Lake and many areas in and around Jamnagar offer exclusive bird watching experience with some rare birds being regularly sighted. Porbandar area is renowned for its large Flamingo population and lakes around Porbandar are teeming with bird life that is a photographer's delight.
Desert areas, Lakes and Banni Grassland areas near Nakhatrana (50 kms from Bhuj) offer one of the most exclusive bird watching experiences in Greater Rann of Kutch area. In 3 days one is able to sight as many as 150-200 species, some of them rare and exclusive (such as Grey Hypocolius)
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Pied Bushchat - Female (Jan - 2015) near Pawna Dam
Standalone Birding Destinations in South India
Western Ghats of South India offer excellent bird watching experience for travellers as a standalone destination as well as travellers on a birding circuit.
Plantation Highlands - Plantation highland areas (Tea, Coffee, Spice and Cardamon) of Coorg (120 kms from Mysore), Munnar (130 kms from Cochin), Valparai (100 kms from Coimbatore), Meghamalai (140 kms from Madurai), Sakleshpur (200 kms from Bangalore), Thekkady (85 kms from Meghamalai, Wayanad Area (North Kerala - 80 kms from Calicut) and 110 kms from Munnar) are renowned for their bird watching. Plantation walks with bird watching are popular. These destinations also combine well with other destinations to form a bird watching circuit.
Birding in Wildlife Destinations - Nagarhole (Kabini) (80 kms from Mysore) and Bandipur (80 kms from Mysore) are wildlife destinations that double up as Bird watching destinations. Standalone wildlife getaways like Topslip (70 kms from Coimbatore), BR Hills (180 kms from Bangalore, 86 kms from Mysore), Bhadra Reservoir (300 kms from Bangalore), Daroji (near Hampi), Vilaspur Lake (18 kms from Bidar) also offer excellent bird watching for travellers.
Standalone Birding Getaways - Thattekad (40 kms from Cochin Airport) is an area surrounding Rubber plantations and is considered one of the top 3 birding getaways in India, especially for Western Ghat bird varieties.
Standalone Resorts such as Anantya Resort (50 kms from Trivandrum) and Wild Woods Spa and Resort (130 kms from Mangalore in Coastal Karnataka) offer excellent Western Ghat bird watching opportunities for travellers.
Eastern Ghats - Areas in Tamil Nadu such as Yercaud, Koli Hiills are part of what is generally termed as Eastern Ghats and form popular ex-Bangalore getaways (200-300 kms) for bird watchers. Bird watching here is not as organised as some of the other areas.
Other - There are many areas like Pulicat Lake (50 kms of Chennai), Vallam Reserve Forest (50 kms from Chennai) that are excellent for local bird watchers of the area.
Malabar Parakeet in Thattekad (Sept 2014) - A sought after birding destination
Standalone Birding Destinations in North India
South - Western Rajasthan - State ofRajasthan besides its forts and palaces has many renowned bird watching areas to explore in Winter. Kheechan (170 kms from Jaisalmer - renowned for Demoiselle Cranes), Desert National Park around Jaisalmer (50 kms), Jawai Bandh (150 kms from Udaipur).
Some of the heritage getaways that were earlier popular stopover retreats for Inbound traveller groups now double up as standalone Bird watching and experiential getaways. Some of them area Deogarh Mahal, Kesar Bagh, Chhatra Sagar, Shahpura Bagh, Udai Bilas Palace, Bhainsrorgarh Fort
North - Eastern Rajasthan - Wildlife destinations / getaways of Ranthambhore and Sariska double up as birding getaways. Lakeside areas near Ranthambhore (Surwal Lake), Sariska (Silserh Lake) and Chambal river areas near Ranthambhore (Savti - 35 kms), Dhoplur (50 kms South of Agra) and Bah (70 kms South of Agra) offer exclusive bird watching getaways around Chambal Sanctuary (area is especially renowned for its Indian Skimmer sighting besides offering premium birding experience).
Areas like Tal Chapper are grasslands 180-200 kms from Jaipur, specially renowned for their Raptor population and therefore popular with experienced bird watchers.
Around Delhi - Sultanpur, Okhla Bird Sanctuary, Bhardwaj Lake, Najafgarh etc (within 50 kms radius) are good day visit options for travellers to Delhi.
Himalayas - Both Garhwal and Kumaon regions of Uttarakhand is visited as part of Bird watching circuits (documented as part of Birding circuits). Areas like Corbett, Pangot, Binsar and Sattal are renowned bird watching areas in Kumaon.
Dehradun area has excellent walks, treks offering excellent bird watching for standalone getaway. Lansdowne, Rajaji National Park, Upper Garhwal areas (Chopta Valley) are popular with advanced bird watchers looking for bird watching experience.
Great Himalayan National Park area (around Tirthan Valley - 200+ kms from Chandigarh) are renowned as bird watching getaway for travellers looking to combine Himalayan walking, trekking with bird watching. One can find here sightings of specialities of the region such as Pheasants and Tragopans.
Others - Pong Dam area near Pathankot (50 kms) is renowned for its waterbirds and wide ranging migratory arrivals in Winter.
Chambal River Safari near Bah (70 kms from Agra) (Jan - 2010)
Standalone Birding Destinations in Central India
Tiger Parks as birding destinations - Tiger centrlc National Parks of Pench, Kanha, Bandhavgarh, Panna and Tadoba are excellent getaways for bird watching where one can sight wide ranging bird life. These parks have excellent safari infrastructure and hotel accommodations, however as entry is restricted entry permits remain a bottleneck and therefore needs advance planning.
Madhai Range of Satpura National Park (150 kms from Bhopal) is a bird watching destination set around a reservoir offering top experience for experienced bird watchers and remains one of the sought after bird watching getaways of Central India.
Some of the Parks around Nagpur such as Melghat, Bor, Nagzira, while have some Tiger population, are excellent local bird watching getaways.
Areas in Chhattisgarh such as Barnawapara (100 kms from Raipur) and Achanakmar (near Bilaspur) are lesser known but are known to have good birdlife and therefore can be considered as bird watching getaways for offbeat travellers.
Indian Pitta in Nagzira (June 2013)
Standalone Birding Destinations in East India
North Bengal - Siliguri (Mahananda Wildlife Sanctuary),Kalimpong (Lava and Loleygaon), Gorumara and West Sikkim are standalone birding getaways in and around North Bengal accessible via New Jalpaiguri (Railhead) / Bagdogra (Airport). These destination also form part of a bird watching circuit of the area.
North East - Kaziranga, Nameri, Manas and Pabitora in Assam form a bird watching quadrangle and is visited as a standalone getaway or as part of a circuit.
Eaglenest Sanctuary in Arunachal Pradesh is considered one of the most exclusive bird watching experiences in India and recommended for experienced International bird watchers.
Orissa - Chilika Lake near Bhubaneshwar / Puri (100 kms) is one of the largest lakes in India offering a bird watching experience. Bhitarkanika (100 kms from Bhubaneshwar) is set around Mangroves offering excellent birding.
Simlipal National Park (250 kms from Bhubaneshwar is better known for its Tiger Population but offers good birding. These three are more popularly visited as part of standalone birding getaways but also can be visited as part of a circuit.