The one thing that I will always remember about Nameri is the story that the manager at Nameri Eco Camp told me. ‘We had two birders from
Europe who were keenly looking for some bird on a tree with binoculars glued to their eyes. I heard some sudden sound nearby. Just behind us, a python had caught hold of a goat and was wrapping itself around the poor animal. I was excited and called for the visitors’ attention. The python had already started consuming the goat. These people who were searching deeply for some birds on the branches looked back once, said ‘oh! interesting!’ and immediately returned to their search on the tree!’
I do not know if he made up the story. Perhaps he did, but the story gives an idea of avian richness that Nameri possesses. People come from all over the world to Nameri, looking for many rare species of birds. While White Winged Wood Duck and Ibisbill are two most famous residents of the park, there are about three hundred more types that entertain the naturalists. When I think about searching for these birds, I remember a friend’s effort to see the rare White Winged Wood Ducks that number less than a thousand worldwide today. They walked several kilometres deep into the forest that was occasionally marshy and painful to walk through. The ducks were in a remote marshy lake covered with thick vegetation all around it. These people had to be extremely careful not to make noise and not to scare the birds, and had to stand still in a leech infested territory to see the ducks.
I spent just one day in Nameri on the way from Tawang to Kaziranga, so no wonder I never saw these rare ducks. But Ibisbills, the other coveted species, allowed me their sighting. They were relatively easy to spot and were wandering happily along the bed of
at a place where we set out on a raft. Jia Bhoroli River
Talking about rafting, the ride over Bhoroli’s waters was an easy one without any rapids. It was more a pleasure ride than an adventurous tumble. The river’s water was so pristine and the forest around it was so beautiful and untouched, it still comes in my dreams and wakes me up with longings to be there.
Besides rafting, the other memory of Nameri that haunts me often is the sighting of great hornbills. Once we were walking over a grassy open patch when a small flock of hornbills flew across to a nearby tree. While I looked at them for a while and decided to move on, another small bunch followed, and a little later an individual. In a few more seconds came another and another and many more, all of them entertaining us with their superbly graceful flight and the swooshing sound from their wings. We paused for next five minutes, counting hornbills that emerged from the forest and flew across slowly. They numbered about three dozens and all of them assembled in a tree somewhere faraway. Just before I was about to pack up and leave Nameri that morning, these hornbills had organized a send-off that I will never forget.