Click on the flag to view more images from India's Dawn Chorus

Country: India

Organisation: EBU - All India Radio (AIR)

Location: Sattal Bird Sanctuary, Lower Himalayas

Sattal (Hindi for 'seven lakes') is an interconnected group of seven freshwater lakes, situated in the lower Himalayan range near Bhimtal, in the Nainital district of Uttarakhand province in India.  The lakes sit at an altitude of 1370 metres below lush orchards in the Mehragaon valley.  Set amongst dense forests of oak and pine trees, Sattal is one of the few unspoiled and unpolluted freshwater biomes in India. These lakes are a paradise for migratory birds.  It has 500 species of resident and migratory birds, 20 species of mammals, over 525 species of butterflies and over 11,000 species of moths, beetles, bugs and other insects.  The unique avian fauna of Sattal includes red-billed blue magpie, plum-headed parakeet, crimson-breasted woodpecker, crested serpent eagle, and blue-eared kingfisher, and many more!

On Air: Sunit Tandon (Presenter), Dr. Surya Prakash (Zoologist), Pankaj Gupta (Bird Expert) & Hari Lama (Birding Guide in Himalayas)

Clockwise from top left: Sunit Tandon, Dr. Surya Prakash, Hari Lama and Pankaj Gupta

Sunit Tandon: Sunit is a veteran news and current affairs anchor on Indian national television and Radio.  He had been the Director General of Indian Institute of mass communication and journalism and presently the Director at India Habitat Centre. He is also active as theatre director and actor with about 150 productions to his credit. He had been the Director of Yatrik, New Delhi’s oldest theatre group.

Dr. Surya Prakash: a passionate nature lover and avid birdwatcher, he joined Jawaharlal Nehru University, in Delhi, in July 1985 and ever since exploring the campus in his leisurely time.  Today he has made the data bank of almost all birds, reptiles, mammals, butterflies and of course the native species of ridge trees of the JNU campus but also of entire southern ridge.  Apart from rescuing stressed wild animals he, organizes nature trails, awareness programs, illustrated talks and issues related to conservation of Mother Nature within and outside the campus. Honorable LG –Delhi & WWF-India have felicitated him and appreciated his work and efforts for restoration of Sanjay Van & other conservation efforts.

Pankaj Gupta: Pankaj has been actively birdwatching since 2008 (about 11 years).  He does volunteer work as a Reviewer and Hot spot Manager for Ebird (NCR Zone).  Ebird is a citizen since programme managed by Cornell Lab of Ornithology (USA).  With the help of Delhibird foundation, he has been highlighting and fighting for Environmental cause in Delhi & NCR region.  He has started two Facebook pages dedicated to Birds and their habitat: Birds of Delhi and Surrounding Birds, and Birds Habitat of Delhi and Surrounding.   He is also the Admin for a few other groups like Indian Birds, Ask IDS of Indian Birds, and regularly leads bird walks for other birdwatchers and schools.  He has done multiple walks for WWF and BNHS.

Hari Lama: Born in Nepal, Hari Lama has been birding since ages in Nepal and Northern India. He has excellent command of birds in the region and hence guides birders from India and Overseas every year. He has many years of experience and knows the area of his study very well. His greater interest is working as freelance guide in Northern India. He can speak and understand English, Hindi and Nepali.

Key Species: Great Barbet, Blue throated barbet, Grey treepie, Blue whistling thrush, Verditer flycatcher, Orange headed thrush, Black hooded oriole, Red Jungle fowl, Kaleej pheasant, Grey-winged blackbirds, Jungle crow, Himalayan bulbul, Black Himalayan bulbul.

Some of the birds that can be found in Sattal; clockwise from top left: Brown Wood Owl; Night Jar; Red Billed Magpie; Blue Throated Barbet (photos: Ashwani Dagar, AIR Engineer)

To read an article about India and the Dawn Chorus from The Hindu, click here.