Friday, January 06, 2012

Pangot (North India - Day 13)

After a hearty breakfast of flat fried rice with masala omelette, we headed out for a location known for a rare pheasant. We were early so had time for a couple of stops, including one replete with Tit species, including the Spot-winged Tit:

Green-backed Tit (identical to our Great Tit, whereas India has a Great Tit, with the same Latin name as ours, that is notably different in plumage to ours... weird):

the local bird guide was quite excited to see this Yellow-browed Tit:

Another group at another site included Great Barbets:

We got to the right spot but after fully 90 minutes of trying agreed we'd dipped out on the Cheer Pheasant. We did however enjoy the fly-overs from Eurasian Gryphon Vultures:

On the way back, we were dropped off at the top of a trail for us then to walk down to the camp. We enjoyed seeing White-tailed Nuthatch:

Bar-tailed Treecreeper:

Grey-hooded Warblers:

and a female Maroon Oriole:

Back at camp it was filling up with people checking-in. They all saw me run from lunch to grab my camera to capture this Rusty-cheeked Scimitar Babbler:

Harry wanted to know why I fussed, apparently they'd been out by the kitchen every time he popped down for a meal...

Lunch was typically fabulous so we enjoyed a brief pause before then heading out again, this time driving through Nainital on New Year's Eve in the middle of the afternoon. Suffice to say it was absolutely stuffed with people, the vast majority tourists from Delhi. It was heaving, really madly busy and took ages to navigate through.

I was expecting with a name like 'the dumping yard' it would be a tipping site, walled in, for the local waste. It is in fact, typically for India, a cliff-edge over which huge amounts of rubbish is chucked. Hence it is frequented by lots of Steppe Eagles:

I wish I'd taken a picture of the litter. It's an appalling blemish, as it is pretty much everywhere in India, with the exception of the National Parks. If I was in government I'd build incinerators to burn the rubbish and provide energy to the local communities that provide it, thereby providing an incentive for the rubbish to be collected and removed. In our whole time in India we saw one group of people collecting rubbish, and they were young American volunteers. It's a hopeless task currently though.

Anyway, back from Nainital the view again was stunning:

As was the sunset.

So. New Year's Eve. Time then of course for a few beers (I had bulk bought some earlier in our travels) and then an early night. We crawled into bed around 9:30pm, apparently the Indian guests wrapped up around 1:30am having got through loads of spirits (they don't drink beer during the cold spell of winter to avoid catching cold). We woke up occasionally to the revelling and the music from a few nearby parties, but mostly slept through ahead of another early start...

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