Dispatch from #100DaysInHimalayas: The Twitter of Singalila National Park

The colourful, chirpy avian residents of the Himalayas.  
Singalila National Park Sunbird West Bengal
Fire-tailed sunbirds enjoy the nectar of the scarlet rhododendron. Photo: Dhritiman Mukherjee

The red panda is perhaps the biggest draw of Singalila National Park (49km/2.5hr from Darjeeling), but the animal eluded wildlife photographer Dhritiman Mukherjee and music director Shantanu Moitra on their recent visit for project #100DaysInHimalayas. Between February and December 2016, the duo will make a series of trips in the Himalayas covering reaches running from Kashmir to Arunachal Pradesh, and into the neighbouring foothills of Nepal and Bhutan—and they’re taking National Geographic Traveller India along for the ride.

In Singhalila, cloudy skies and heavy showers made sighting the shy, endangered red panda impossible, but between the birds and blooms, the twosome had plenty to keep them occupied. “You have to depend on what nature gives you,” Mukherjee said, “Every time you go to see something and fail, you bring back the unexpected. Keep your mind open to seeing new things.” Scroll through for photos of the dazzling creatures nestling against the magnolia and rhododendrons of the forest.

Singalila National Park West Bengal Bird

The blue whistling thrush brightens up the forest with its glossy plumage and sharp, shrill call. Photo: Dhritiman Mukherjee

Singalila National Park West Bengal Bird

The lush, temperate forests of Singalila National Park provide the perfect habitat for the white-browed fulvetta. Photo: Dhritiman Mukherjee

Singalila National Park West Bengal

Visit Singalila National Park between March and May to see its oak, bamboo, fir, magnolia, rhododendron, and orchids in full glory. Photo: Dhritiman Mukherjee

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    Saumya Ancheri is Assistant Web Editor at National Geographic Traveller India. She loves places by the sea, and travels to shift her own boundaries. She tweets as @Saumya_Ancheri.

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    Dhritiman Mukherjee is as elusive as the animals he photographs. His photographs have appeared in National Geographic Traveller, The New York Times, Lonely Planet, WWF, UNESCO, Birdlife.

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