Wednesday, January 04, 2012

Jaipur, The Lake & Birding (North India - Day 1)

We stopped for lunch in the city before starting at the lake, eating at a restaurant called the Peacock, selected it turned out because the foreigners pay so the guides get to eat free. This proved the start of my Indian food adventure. In South India the locals had resolutely refused to feed me spicy food but I persuaded our guide to request the Hot and Sour soup at a local temperature. I finished, the local guide did too, Helen stopped after about two-thirds and our bird guide managed about half! They then ordered me raw green and roasted green chillies to see how far I could take it, all watched by a selection of waiting and kitchen staff...
After lunch and having said goodbye to our local guide (already there was a theme developing of guides taking a shine to Helen which was getting irritating), we parked up at the start of the lake and took a walk along a new road, closed to all but two-wheeled traffic. In the adjacent ponds we started to add species to the holiday list, including Red-wattled Lapwing:
Black-winged Stilt:
together with new lifers, including Red-throated Flycatcher:
Purple Sunbird:

Oriental Turtle Dove:

And more that we've seen in India before, like this Oriental Magpie Robin:
While watching the birds moving around we spotted a Long-tailed Common Mongoose, which stopped briefly to watch us too:
The view across the lake from the road:
Then from the main road running alongside the lake:

And of the water palace on the lake, which looks to me to be partially submerged:

A Black Drongo, a lifer, in some reeds on the lake:

A Green Bee-eater:
And a Large Grey Babbler (another lifer):

As well as the birds and the mammals we were befriended by a local dog which, when fed, took to guarding us against all-comers, irrespective of whether they were passing-by or stopping to stare and standing right next to us.
Anyway, more birds, the Indian Robin, male:

and female:

A five-striped squirrel (apparently):
And a fabulously plumaged starling, the Brahminy Starling:

Together with a common city bird, the Bank Myna:
seen here in close proximity to the Common Myna:

Another starling, this the Asian Pied Starling:

Next up Ashy Prinia:

And finally Rufous Treepie:
We really enjoyed our first day back in India again and retired, skipping dinner (lunch had been so big), for an early night ahead of an early start on Monday morning and our drive to Ranthambore National Park.

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