Wednesday, January 04, 2012

Birding in Keoladeo National Park, Bharatpur (North India - Day 5)

The morning start was somewhat delayed by the winter fog, a phenomena that is basically wood smoke driven smog and widespread on the plains of the North, we found out, from mid-December though to late January.

When we did get going the sun was burning through and providing some great lighting:

An initial search for a Siberian Rubythroat was unsuccessful but we did locate White-eared Bubuls:

Having tried our luck off the beaten path we then set-off on the walk through the preserve, seeing first these Yellow-footed Green Pigeons:

A much harder bird to capture was this Tickell's Thrush, as you can see it was deep in cover and out of the light:

The Owls here are so bold, this is another Spotted Owlet:

Plain Prinia:

Rose-ringed Parakeet in relative close-up:

We tried hard to find the rumoured Nightjar but failed. A mile further along the track, having watched Bluethroats, various Warblers and Flycatchers, another guide was able to give us precise directions so we walked back the mile at a fair trot to locate this Large-tailed Nightjar:

The round trip of two miles took about 40 minutes including the photography but we retraced our steps and headed on as the number of locals and other visitors started to build up. In the trees our only sighting of a Eurasian Golden Oriole of the whole trip:

The next bird and one of the highlights of the visit can be heard well before you see them. There are literally hundreds of Painted Storks nesting and breeding here, I photographed a group of mainly adults away from the nest:

A Bluethroat stopped long enough to be snapped:

Black Redstart:

In a clump of tall reeds this Baya Weaver was one of a group:

A very active Honey Bee nest:

We stopped to eat our packed lunch and drink some tea at a cafe facility at the end of the main trail into the reserve. I fed the House Crows and Jungle Babblers and Helen ended up eating some of the guide's lunch as the food they had prepared was just too hot.

With a refreshing cup of masala chai added to lunch we carried on the walk, entering more of a true wetland habitat on a quieter path. Here we saw migrant Bar-headed Geese (who cross the Himalayas twice each year):

Together with Eurasian Spoonbill and wild Greylag Geese:

We also saw an Indian Python just off the edge of the path, which was far too close and far too big for either of us to photograph. Thankfully, it decided to head into the undergrowth....

Having walked around 8 miles in all, carrying quite a lot of kit and with the sun heading towards the horizon our guide called a cycle rickshaw for us which took about 30 minutes to arrive so we stopped up for a rest before walking a little further on:

This is our rickshaw driver with us ensconced:

There was a bit of a kerfuffle when we got back to the car as the guide expected to pay Indian prices but the driver expected us to pay Foreigner prices (500 rupees instead of 100 rupees). He was happy I think with the 300 we settled on.

Back at the Bagh the dinner experience went up a gear. Having eaten Indian the previous night my main curry, just as hot, was served with 'mint sauce'. The mint sauce it turned out was mushed green chillies with a hint of mint, salt and garlic. I ate it in front of another small audience of waiting and kitchen staff. It was all delicious!

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dear Madam,

I am writing on behalf of Pearson Education India.

This is regarding a request for permission to include image of Birding in Keoladeo National Park in our upcoming GK Book specially meant for children.

I would be grateful if you could give us permission to reproduce the above mentioned as a part of our forthcoming publication.

I'm looking forward to hearing from you shortly.

Sonia Bali
Permissions Coordinator
Rights and Royalties
Pearson Education

7:44 am  
Blogger Michael said...

Sonia - sorry for the delay in responding, i have only just seen this. Please let let me know how i can contact you (email address?). Thank you.

5:15 pm  

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