Why should we plan our Travel during Navratri/ Dussehra and Diwali?

Dussehra, Navratri, Dasara, Durga Puja, Aayudha puja, name it anything, it’s the same time of the year celebrated in different ways, with different names in different regions of the country. For most of us working folks it is the beginning of holiday season lining up around the corner. Here are some fascinating reasons to travel during this time of the year-

Less Crowd and More Peace!

Since most tourists choose to travel during summers and holiday season of the schools, during this time of the year touristy places are a lot less crowded. Peace is what you go looking for, so why should you give up the basic and foremost criterion you go looking for? O

Off- Season Pricing!

Those of you budget travelers this is a great time for you all. This time of the year it is an off season in most part of the country or there are some cool discounts and packages. Get into the negotiations and crack yourself a cool deal. Go grab your opportunity, bring out the traveler in you and explore the world!! 

Explore the Cultures!

Dussehra is a widely celebrated festival in varied forms throughout the country. Instead of staying back at your usual place and celebrating it the usual way why don’t you explore a new tradition or a culture. So, know what’s the way of celebrating navratris in the region you plan to visit, go there experience it first hand and learn a lot more. 

Better Hospitality!

 As said earlier since it is an off season for tourism industry, hosts are more keep on grabbing the guests. You get a special treatment, better prices, less crowd, what more can you as for? 

Different Environment, Different Experience!

You may have visited places mostly during another time of the year. Nature and Environment adorns itself in a varied manner. Experience ‘right after the monsoon’ décor while you travel around in this season. Region around Camp Sparrow is a lush green beauty. Washed up after the rains with new and fresh vegetation all around. 

There are plenty of places within the country providing you a unique experience during Dussehra and Diwali. So, book your stays, tickets, pack your bags, get set, go on the long weekends that’s going to arrive. 

Let’s Help Build Some Homes!Camp Sparrow- Plantation Drive.

How many trees we would have cut down to build our homes? Weren’t they homes to many before us? How many jungles we would have scrapped down for our infrastructures like schools, roads, hospitals and what not? There used to live many more wildlife in harmony unlike humans. Some or the other way we are all guilty of it. Few of us feel it while a few do not. So, take this opportunity to give back to the nature what we have been exploiting from years now. Let us act upon the climate change, let us do what best can be done to save and flourish the existing forest and also let it increase. Healthier forests, purer air, purer water, safer cities and towns so that wild have their homes to stay within and we have ours. 

Visit the page- “Camp Sparrow, Plantation Drive” to take part !

Kalij Pheasants – Our backyard Neighbours!

We are named Kalij Pheasants by our Human friends. We are a family of five who live in the neighbourhood of Camp Sparrow. But resident all around the Himalyan region . Inclusive of males and two females in total, looking and foraging around for food. Every day, we reach backyard of Camp Sparrow in the evening times around 5.30 PM looking for some food and water. Sometimes even during early morning hours we are there with the very first rays of sunlight reaching the ground. But we are very shy creatures and run away the moment we sense humans walking by or any moments or voices similar. Only camouflaged people sitting in silence for a little longer without much bodily moments will be able to sight us. You can come by and visit us. Make sure not to disturb us so that you get to sight us in our most natural behaviour. 

Camp Sparrow- A Detox!

Air so fresh, water so pure and food so succulent that you will start falling in love with a healthy living. Away from pollution, away from traffic jams, away from all the junks is what we aspire to get you. Forget internet, forget the so-called idiot box, forget air conditioners, forget everything that is artificial.  Feel the grass with your bare feet, feel the raw essence of the nature- living in our earthbag houses, give your inner-self sometime. This place is not just a detoxification to your lungs or body. It replenishes and rejuvenates your mind, body and soul. Hence, Camp Sparrow- A Detox, the right thing for you! 

Hammock, Book and a Coffee!

After a long period of work without a break, all you would need is to chill by in calmness away from the hustle and bustle of the cities. Imagine an orchard full of Peach and Pear Trees, with a real nice breeze all day long. Only noise is of birds chirping and the leaves moving due to the breeze. Hammocks and reclining chairs perfectly placed along with some birds nesting right above them on the trees while others looking for materials to nest. A small, yet beautiful collection of books to choose from and a kitchen ready to serve you with your favourite beverages during anytime of the day. Doesn’t this sound like a perfect vacation to chill? If this is what you are looking for, then Camp Sparrow is what you need. Explore and Experience Nature! 

Travel Responsibly.

There are simple measures which can be adopted while traveling which will reduce the impact on the places we visit. There is a constant tension of the damage we are causing to environment for the sake of our travel. In order to bring it down to the least or almost null we can follow certain practices and stick by them. Few are as simple as not Littering! 

Reduce travelling by air

There are fuel efficient engines lately which have a lesser emission of gases into the atmosphere. But, try as much as possible not to take planes to reach places which are accessible through other means. 

Carry your own water bottle

In order to reduce the use of plastic in the form of packaged drinking water bottles, carry your own bottles which can be refilled and reused. Try to refill every place you have an access to clean drinking water. 

Carry your own Toiletries

Bydoing this we you can reduce using the toiletries provided at hotels, which are usually not easily degradable and are disposed within one or two uses. 

Do not Litter

That shall be the biggest contribution towards nature. By only disposing garbage at designated areas and not littering around (especially plastic) a lot of pollution can be reduced. 


Use of Public Transport

While traveling alone or just two people avoid travelling by your own vehicles instead use public transport. This way you are reducing road congestions as well as burning of more fossil fuels. 


Use a soft copy of documents

Vouchers, tickets and other such documents the hard copy of which isn’t required can be maintained in mails or drives instead of printing them. 


Stay at Hotels or accommodations following sustainable practices

 These days more and more hotels/ homestays or campsites are following Eco friendly sustainable practices as they realize their effects on the environment around. By choosing such stays you are choosing nature. 

Camp Sparrow is one such Campsite located near Nainital following eco sustainable practices to the highest extent possible. Explore and Experience Responsible living at Camp Sparrow!! 

Essentials of Birding!

Anyone and everyone can develop a passion for bird watching / birding. This is a kind of interest people usually find boring until they start doing it. It is a very beneficial and easy activity to pick up with some pretty basic essentials. 

Binoculars– You can watch the birds through a naked eye for sure. But binoculors help a lot in observing the birds, their moments, behaviour. It Is so fun and interesting at times. 

Field Guide– If you are serious about continuing the activity, a field guide is very much essential. Though it is a traditional way of referring to bird names, it is lot more user friendly, even in this era of applications and software.   

Notepad– This again is a traditional way of noting down the names and numbers of birds observed. But is the best practice, obviously it can be entered into the electronical database for a better record. 

Camouflaged outfits– Said that need not dress up in camouflaged prints top to bottom, can opt for colours like green, brown, grey and such dull colours. It’s just that flashy colours draw birds and wildlife away, which won’t benefit your birdwatching I suppose. 

That’s all Folks, you are ready to go birding!! 


Add-ons which will help in getting better at birding. 

Camera– Yes, few believe a camera is essential for birdwatching but trust me just watching them so colourful, so playful itself is mesmerizing at times. Not everything can be recorded or captured. 

Guide– It is helpful in identifying birds especially at regions you are not much aware of. Having said that it is not necessary to always hire an expert guide who charges a lot. Your friends and relatives or someone who is knowledgeable. 

E-bird account– This not just helps you stay updated with checklists, but also helps in cross-checking with identities of those which you aren’t sure of. 

Social Group of Birders- Having a group of friends with similar interests is always fun. May it be in real life, on social medias to exchange ideas and views or anywhere for that matter. 

Birding has so many benefits- it is fun, relaxing, develops responsibility towards nature, improves your eyesight, listening skills, patience and many more such attributes. So, start birding start discovering.  

Birds and Birders’ Workshop #2

In a Span of 3 days and 6 birding walks, “Birds and Birders’ Workshop #2” (25th to 28th of April) has observed a total of 114 bird species in the hotspots of Jeolikote,Pangot,Sattal,Chaffi.
This being the season for nesting and mating, ethical practice of biring was followed to observe the birds and their behaviour.

Stay updated with our FB page of “Camp Sparrow”-
https://www.facebook.com/campsparrow.jeolikote/ and Group- “Birds and Birders”-
https://www.facebook.com/groups/328926354382767/ for updates regarding the workshops similar to this or others.


Checklist-

Jungle Babbler
Rusty Cheeked Scimitar Babbler
White Browed Scimitar Babbler
Black Chined Babbler
Great Babbler
Blue Throated Barbet
Chestnut Headed Beeeater
Grey Winged Blackbird
Himalayan Bulbul
Red Vented Bulbul
Black Bulbul
Ashy Bulbul
Mountain Bulbul
Black Crested Bulbul
Grey Bushchat
Common Hawk Cuckoo
Himalayan Cuckoo
Large Billed Crow
Black Winged Cuckooshrike
Oriental Dove
Spotted Dovve
Asian Emerald Dove
Ashy Drongo
Hair Crested Drongo
Bronzed Drongo
Hawk Eagle
White Throated Fantail
Common Rosefinch
Greater Flameback
Fire Breasted Flowerpecker
Gray Headed Canary Flycatcher
Tickell Blue Flycatcher
Ultramarine Flycatcher
Verdieter Flycatcher
Paradise Flycatcher
Slaty Backed Forktail
Black Francolin
Red Jungle Fowl
Common Kestrel
Common Kingfisher
White Throated Kingfisher
Crested Kingfisher
Black Kite
Red- Wattled Lapwing
White Throated Laughingthrush
White Crested Laughingthrush
Straited Laughingthrush
Streaked Laughingthrush
Rufous Chinned Laughingthrush
Orange Bellied Leafbird
Golden Fronted Leafbird
Red Billed Leothrix
Red Billed Blue Magpie
Common Green Magpie
Scarlet Minivet
Rosy Minivet
Long Tailedd Minivet
Blue Winged Minla
Common Myna
Bank Myna
Jungle Myna
Rufous Bellied Niltava
Chestnut Bellied Nuthatch
White Cheecked Nuthatch
Bar Tailed Treecreeper
Collared Owlet
Asian Barred Owlet
Plum Headed Parakeet
Slaty Headed Parakeet
Rufous Throated Partridge
Khalij Pheasant
Cheer Pheasant
Wedge Tailed Green Pigeon
Rock Pigeon
Upland Pipit
Ultramarine Flycatcher
Jungle Prinia
Straited Prinia
Oriental Magpie Robin
White Browed Bush Robin
Rufous Sibia
Russet Sparrow
House Sparrow
Chestnut Tailed Starling
Black Throated Sunbird
Crimson Sunbird
Barn Swallow
Blue Whistlingthrush
Tickell Thrush
Scaly Thrush
Dark Side Thrush
Cinereous Tit
Black Lored Tit
Great Backed Tit
Grey Treepie
Griffon Vulture
Grey Wagtail
Greenish Warbler
Grey Hooded Warbler
Oriental White Eye
Brown Fronted Woodpecker
Fulvous Breasted Woodpecker
Greater Yellownape
Grey Headed Woodpecker
Himalayan Woodpecker
Golden Fronted Pygmy
Whiskered Yuhina
Brown Wood Owl
Rufous Turtle Dove
Blue Capped Rockthrush
Black Headed Jay
Spotted Forktail
Koklass Pheasant
Eurasian Jay

Hide Photography (Birdwatching), an Ethical Conflict!

A hide and constant feed especially around the habitats, some water for them to bathe or drink,
is a great way to attract birds. Green covers, a few benches in front of such a set-up, you are good to go. Charge people on per person basis to sit and click pretty pictures of the birds. Best mantra used by all major bird guides and birding resorts/camps for earning. Even bird photographers are more than happy to visit such places, since is a convenient way to click pictures rather than walking up a trail or forest. More and more hides are coming up in different birding hotspots as a result of this. 

Have we birders given it a thought the affects these set-ups may have on the birds and their habitats? First of all,
such artificial set ups disturb these habitats. Consumption of humanly grown crops, which are the usual feed to birds are dangerous too. Secondly, ability to search for their own food changes in long term if animals/birds are fed on a regular basis. Isn’t it ironic how we are destroying their natural habitats and food yet feeding them with the grains grown by man? It is no less than domesticating them. We are somehow contributing in reducing their foraging, looking for their own food kind of skills, we are disrupting their process of evolution on a whole. 

It is believed that when wildlife is observed in their natural habitat, people realize the significance of conservation. But disturbing them in order to conserve them makes less of a sense. Hence,
anything that’s practiced to attract birds’ like- feeding , attracting them through artificial set up, through playback of calls or nocturnal birding using torches just to click their photographs has always been an ethical dilemma for naturalists. Send in your views and suggestions on the same by writing to us. 

Steppe Eagle

Contributed by Ashish Singh via FB gorup- “Birds and Birders”

Shot this beautiful raptor up close in Lansdowne,Uttarakhand during a short trip in March 2019. 
The steppe eagle like all eagles,belongs to the family of Accipitridae. Steppe eagle’s diet is largely fresh carrion of all kinds, but it kills rodents and other small mammals up to the size of a hare, and birds up to the size of partridges. It also steals food from other raptors.
A crop in throat allows Steppe eagle to store food for several hours before it moves down to the stomach.

for birds & birders!