Crowned in the verdant hills of Uttarakhand lies a small Kumaoni village by the name of Pangot. Don’t see it like any other ordinary village, this is a place that has been attributed for supporting and protecting the lives of many rare Himalayan birds. Although for many Indians Pangot still remains a hidden gem of Uttarakhand however amongst the birdwatchers and wildlife communities it has earned the reputation of being one of the finest birding destinations on the planet. While cruising through the virgin forest of Kilbury one can also take some time off to behold the ever-gleaming snow clad Cheena peaks.
Pangot is a rare hill station where the hovering clouds will welcome your benign presence in the picturesque valley of Himalayas. Carrying the charm of the vast bird colonies peacefully settled in its territory, one will get ample opportunities to photograph them from various angles. There are congregations of birds perching on every corner of this scenic place.
Birds such as Red-billed blue magpie, Streaked & White-throated Laughingthrush, Black-headed Jay, Verditor Flycatcher, Barn swallow are quite common to sight. There is a host of beautiful and rare birds living in the unspoilt forests of pine and oak trees. Siberian Rubythroat is one of them, a small insectivorous bird who arrives in this Kumaoni village just to avoid the bone-chilling winters of Siberia. Although the species is considered to be the least concerned in the conservation status, it is extremely rare vagrant in Western Europe. The frequency of Siberian Rubythroat in this part of the world has invited many birdwatchers to get a closer view of the species.
Cheer Pheasant is another bird that has caught the eyes of many ornithologists. There was a time when its population was spread all over the Himalayan belt but the growing infrastructure and pollution have limited their colonies to a handful of pockets and Pangot is one of them. A separate Cheer Point in the region is now a safe haven for this vulnerable species.
As you commence trailing in the untamed forest of Pangot you will come across more than 350 species that includes Koklas, Khalij Pheasant, Paradise Flycatcher, Painted Francolin, Slaty and spotted backed forktail, Blue-winged minla, Grey-headed Canary-flycatcher and many more.
With so many birds flying around it is the Grey-crowned Prinia that has been the talking point in the birding communities.
Fortunately or unfortunately Pangot is the last surviving ground for this critically endangered species. Many conservationists have visited the place back and forth to study their behavior and to hatch a plan that could prevent them from meeting the destiny of Himalayan Quail. Pangot is also a place where India’s oldest birding lodge was established. Without compromising with the ethos of the surrounding, the lodge offers an environment where people can experience living with the Himalayan birds.