Dima Hasao’s Falcons

Assam’s Dima Hasao district turns into a picturesque delight from October. While its hills and valleys are charming the year round, it is especially visit-worthy now—the season of Amur Falcons, the world’s longest travelling raptors. Umrongso, 250 km from Guwahati, turns into a roosting hub for these birds flying in from near Amur river that lies along the border between Russia and China.

Sheltered by the hills and waters of the dammed Kopili river, the falcons forage on insects and build their body mass here. Many a time they can be seen perched on trees, at others taking flight on their crisp wings. A mere 150gm in weight, an Amur Falcon travels to South Africa from Russia & China, more than halfway across the world. This is reason enough why birding of these falcon flocks, who paint the skies with their flights, is worth experiencing.

It is in mid-November that these birds fly out from Umrongso (also from Nagaland), onwards to South Africa, non-stop across Arabian Sea for three-and-half days! This coincides with the migration of dragonflies—the Amurs’ food during the most arduous part of their migration route. For next few weeks their flight is southwards until they reach South Africa.

However, Dima Hasao is more than Amur Falcons. Halflong (330km from Guwahati), the district’s headquarters is Assam’s only hill station. Known as white ant hillock and defined by the Borail range of hills, green valleys, Jatinga, Maibang, Halflong lake, Hajong  lake and many more – the district is an ideal destination for adventure seekers.  Panimur (215 kms from Guwahati), where the Kopili river transforms into a thrilling waterfall, is another attraction. And of course, long stretches of sugarcane fields to Panimur, with crop stalks swaying merrily in anticipation of producing jaggery (gur) to flavour the traditional til pitha.

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