A new country to visit for Birdtour Asia, and the wider bird tour community as we go iin search of the Endangered Masked Finfoot. A bird regularly seen in Thailand and Malaysia up until the turn of the century, it has since become one of the least-known and seldom-seen Asian species due to its steep decline. Known to breed in out-of-bounds areas of northern Myanmar and Cambodia, the only accessible site where the bird can be readily encountered is in the Sundarbans of Bangladesh. In fact, it's so rarely-seen, even Rob and James have only seen it twice between them!
Here, by boat, we travel down quiet tributaries and rivers in search of the bird during its breeding season with the help of researchers who study the bird here. In addition, we also search for Cachar Bulbul, a recent split from Olive Bulbul and one of Asia's most seldom-seen bulbuls. This bulbul is so seldom-seen, that we have only seen it once on any previous tour (in Myanmar, several years ago).Please note: profits from this tour go towards local Bangaldesh bird conservation projects.
International arrivals into Dakha International Airport for onward connection to Jessor, followed by a drive to Khulna. Night at Khulna.
In the morning we relocate on to our houseboat, and spend the day cruising into the heart of the Sundarbans. Night on houseboat.
Three full days inside the Sundarbans, living on our private houseboats as we go in search of Masked Finfoot, inside the flooded forest. The finfoots feed in the quiet, shallow, narrow waterways, but can also be found wandring across the muddy edges, or even perched up on low hanging branches. The Sundarbans are the only accessible site that gives a good chance of seeing the species anywhere. Other species could include Mangrove Pitta, Brown-winged Kingfisher and Buffy Fish Owl, among others. Mammals here include Asian Small-clawed Otter and Fishing Cat, while the area is famous for its healthy Tiger population, though the chances of seeing one are very slim! Nights on houseboat.
Make our way out of the Sundarbans, and back to Khulna.
A travel day, as we drive back to Jessor for our flight back across to Dakha and head towards Satchari.
Visiting the Satchari National Park in search of the little-known Cachar Bulbul, where outside of Bangaldesh it's been seen by very few birders due to it largely being restricted to the border areas of Myanmar and the South Assam Hills - both largely off-limits to foreigners. In addition, White-cheeked Partridge is possible, and while we will probably hear Blue-naped Pitta, it is typically very difficult to see.
After final mornings birding at Satchari National Park, head back to Dakha. Night in Dakha.
Departures from Dakha International Airport.
Deposit: £ 400 or $ 700
Single room supplement: £ 110 or $ 140
Maximum group size: 4
Tour cost includes: all accommodation, main meals, internal flights (as stated in itinerary), overland transport, entrance fees, drinking water, guide fees and donation to local conservation projects.
Tour cost excludes: International flights and departure taxes, visa, travel insurance, drinks, tips, and other items of a personal nature.
Accommodation: comfortable twin-bed, and single rooms, all with private facilities on five nights. On the boat, twin cabins with basic facilities and shared bathroom.
Walking difficulty: easy throughout. For several days remaining on houseboat.
Expected number of species: 150+ species.
Number of endemics or range-restricted species: The tour is specifically concentrated to see Masked Finfoot, a species that is unlikely to be seen outside of this remote area of Bangladesh.