BIRDING AROUND THE WORLD

Subtitle

                                                                                                                                           Northern India January 5 - February 5 2008
I decided at short notice to return to India for a month, as earlier plans had fallen through. The main aims were to see
Tiger, Asiatic Lion, a major harrier roost and areas I had not visited before, namely Gujarat and the Himalayan 
foothills around Nainital. I was accompanied by my partner Stella for the first two weeks, then after a two day twitch 
for  Forest Owlet with Peter Kaestner (PK), spent the last two weeks with my old friend Dave Adkin (DPA). The trip
 was very successful as I saw 20 new species, the only major dips being Asiatic Lion, Cheer Pheasant and Nepal
 Wren-babbler, though Tiger was a near thing! Highlights for me were prolonged close views of 2 tigers at Corbett
 (after 4 blank outings at Bandhavgarh, supposedly the best place to see it!), watching two very large harrier roosts 
in Gujarat, observing the rare Forest Owlet, and catching up with some long-wanted species, notably Indian Skimmer, 
Long-billed Thrush, Rufous-breasted Bush-robin, Spectacled Finch and Black-and-yellow Grosbeak – the last 3 all
unexpected. 
The easiest way of doing such a trip is to pay Asian Adventures to organise it, but this is an expensive option for 
only two people. Fortunately, I was able to use the services of Jugal Tiwari and Manoj Sharma for parts of the trip 
and can thoroughly recommend them. I did use the efficient Avian Adventures for some of the arrangements. 

Many thanks for help and advice to Jugal Tiwari, Manoj Sharma, Mohit Aggarwal, Nik Devasar, Arpit Deomurari, Richard Thomas, Iqbal Ahmad, Sander Lagerveld, Krys Kazmierczak and local guides Sanjay Sharma, Ganesh and Lokesh. Peter Kaestner generously provided accommodation and hospitality on several occasions.

jonhornbuckle at yahoo.com

 

ITINERARY

 

5/1

Arrive Delhi 10.30, Shalimar Hotel, Mahipalpur, fly to Ahmedabad 22.00-23.20, local hotel

6/1

Train to Bhuj 08.00 – 15.40, drive to CEDO, walk in thorn forest

7/1

07.30 – 11.30 birding with Jugal around Tishwari, 15.00 – 20.00 trip to Fulay area

8/1

Full day Fulay – Banni Grasslands – Chhari Dhand Lake

9/1

Full day Phot Mahdeo – Lala – Naliya Grasslands

10/1

Drive to Bhuj, then Mandvi. Night at Rukhamavati Guest House, Mandvi

11/1

Long drive to Satan Gir via Rajkot with stop at Junagadh fort. Night at Gir Birding Lodge

12-13/1

Lion safaris and birding at Gir NP

14/1

06.30 -10.30 Lion safari, 11.50 – 16.30 drive to Palitana

15/1

06.00 – 10.00 visit Jain temples, climbing 3000 steps, drive to Velavadar, 15.15 -17.15 drive in the NP, 17.45 – 19.00 watch harrier roost. Night at forest Guesthouse in the NP

16/1

06.00 – 08.30 harrier roost, 09.10 – 17.00 drive to outskirts of Ahmedabad with stop at  Bandhavgarh, local walk. Night at Hotel Ratna Deep

17/1

Flt to Delhi, visit Humayun’s Tomb area. Night at Peter Kaestner’s.

18/1

Morning at airport – seeing Stella off. Evening flight to Nagpur with PK. Night at LB Hotel

19/1

04.00 – 07.00 drive to Paratwada with guide Ganesh, and on to Chaurakund area of Melghat Tiger Reserve. 10.00 – 17.00 Forest Owlet hunt. Night at hotel in Paratwada.

20/1

05.00 – 10.00 Forest Owlet area, drive to Nagpur with stops, best at Norgaon Res. Eve flt to Delhi, delayed, arrives 23.00. Night at PK’s

21/1

Day trip to Okhla. Night at PK’s

22/1

Walk in Lhodi Gardens, meet Dave at airport, 16.10 train to Satna

23/1

Arrive 06.40, taxi to Tala, local birding, 14.45 – 17.40 safari in Bandhavgarh. Night at Kum Kum Lodge

24-25/1

3 Tiger safaris and local birding

26/1

Taxi to Katni. 11.40-16.00 train to Bina, 17.30 – 05.00 train to Delhi

27/1

06.00 – 07.30 taxi to Sultanpur Jheel, 15.00 – 16.15 to PK’s, Delhi. Night train to Ramnagar 21.55 – 05.30

28/1

Jeep to Dhikala, Corbett NP 06.30 – 10.30 with lengthy stop at Kosi River. 11.00-13.30 grassland in jeep. 14.30 – 17.30 Tiger search

29/1

06.50 – 10.45 Tiger search, then birding. 11.30 – 14.00 drive to Ramnagar via Crocodile Pool. 15.00 – 17.00 taxi to Nainital. Night at Hotel Prachant

30/1

06.30 – 07.00 drive to Cheer Pheasant site, 08.30 back to Nainital, drive to Snow View after breakfast, then to Pangot; pm birding near there. Night at Jungle Lore Birding Lodge

31/1

All day in Pangot area

FEB 1

06.50 – 10.20 down Pangot road, drive back to Nainital then to Sat Tal with long stop at Forktail site, bird Eureka Forbes gully. Night at Forest Resort on hill

2/2

06.50 – 07.30 walk on hillside, walk down to lake after breakfast, bird camping area then Eureka Forbes gully and hillside till 15.00. Drive to Nainital, night at Hotel Prachant

3/2

06.30 – 07.45 Cheer site, drive to Pangot, bird road downhill till 12.00, drive to Snow View, bird till 14.00, down to Nainital for lunch. 15.00 – 16.30 drive to Lal Kuan. Train to Mathura 19.05 – 04.40

4/2

05.00 – 06.05 taxi to Bharatpur, 07.30 – 09.00 car to Bund Baretha, bird till 12.45, drive to Bharatpur station 14.15, train to Delhi 15.30 – 19.15. night at PK’s

5/2

04.30 taxi to airport, 06.55 – 11.00 BA flight to Heathrow

Useful contacts:-

Jugal Tiwari [email protected] www.cedobirding.com  Centre for Desert and Ocean at Moti-Virani, Nakhtrana 53km from Bhuj, +91 (0)9825248135 http://www.indianaturewatch.net/view_cat.php?tag=Jugal%20Tiwari

Sanjay Sharma, Sultanpur bird guide tel 0124 2015717 and 09812470521

Mohit Aggarwal www.asianadventures.net 09810107116, 09868187116, 9811124222 or 9312206571  [email protected] and [email protected]. Iqbal Ahmad, 9811704651, runs the  Delhi office.

Manoj Sharma  [email protected], Village Shankarpur, Ramnagar, Distt. Nainital, Uttarakhand

Arpit Deomurari, Vikasgruh Road , Jamnagar, Gujarat, [email protected], www.waders.in, Mobile No.:- +91-9426442243  

Brochures and info can from be obtained from India Tourism, 7 Cork Street, London W1S 3LH, Tel: 020 7437 3677, Email: [email protected], Web: www.incredibleindia.org

TRAVEL

Dave flew with BA for £413 from Manchester, Stella and I a little cheaper from Heathrow, booked through Dial-a-Flight [email protected]  01732-591460.

In India, travel was mainly by train and taxi/hire-car (with driver). We did book one return flight with SpiceJet for 5250Rp each via their website http://www.spicejet.com/, which worked well. There is a good website http://www.cleartrip.com for flight and train bookings which I’ve subsequently used for air bookings, but not trains.

There is a direct flight from Bombay to Bhuj everyday which is the best way of getting there. In theory trains can be booked on line at www.irctc.co.in but only if you can pay with American Express, Citi Bank or an Indian bank credit card, so totally useless for me. Most trains were booked at the Railway booking office at Delhi International terminal, after leaving the baggage collection area, a much calmer place than at the stations where you can’t avoid the worst aspects of Indian men’s behaviour. Although you can’t get into the terminal at Arrivals other than up to 3 hours before your flight, you can talk your way into Departures to visit the Railway booking office. It is best to book 2A sleepers, at least a week ahead as they are often full – the best way of getting a reserved seat. An Indian travel agent in UK may be willing to book for you for a fee, given several week’s notice. I tried too late too late to book the overnight train we wanted on arrival to get to Bhuj – Mohit agreed to do this for me in India but the train was full so we had to take the next day train, which cost us most of a day. Sometimes you can book “full” trains by claiming “foreigners allowance”, eg at Delhi airport, but this seems only to be available on certain trains. As a last resort, buy any class of ticket at the station and sit on any seat you can find, probably only 2A coaches will have them as other coaches will be packed like sardine cans, then pay the extra fare to the conductor when he comes round. The fares are delightfully cheap. Trains seem to be frequently 30 mins or so late, except at the starting point.

We rented various vehicles, mainly through Jugal, Manoj and Mohit (who was the most expensive).  
Money etc
The exchange rate was about 40 rupees to the US dollar, 75 to the pound. ATMs were not numerous but were present in larger conurbations, often only taking Visa cards, not Maestro. Indian SIM cards were best used for mobile phones, giving cheap calls throughout where I visited with fairly good network cover and cheaper for texting home than British cards. Note that this did not apply in Assam and Arunachal Pradesh where neither type work – you need to get a local one there but these are difficult/ expensive to obtain so it is best to use a phone card or local phone kiosk. 

The weather was good throughout with precipitation on only 1 day, at Nainital, although surprisingly cool at times.

 

NOTES ON SITES

 

GUJARAT – the main sites are the Great Rann of Kutch, Gir NP, Velavadar, the Little Rann of Kutch and Jamnagar area. I did not go to the last two – Little Rann is easily accessed from Ahmedabad and is good for Great Indian Bustard (which I saw in Rajasthan 25 years ago), and Wild Ass, while Ramnagar is good for waders, notably Crab Plover.

 

Great Rann of Kutch - stay at CEDO, run by Jugal and his wife – a lovely quiet place on the edge of the Great Rann - Rs.750/day for all meals and accommodation. You can hire a non a/c car for Rs.1800/day and Jugal for bird-guiding at Rs.1500 per day, or take a local guide for Rs.500/day - knows birds and birding areas but not English.

Specialities are Grey Hypocolius, White-naped Tit, Sykes Nightjar and Lark, Marshall’s Iora, thousands of Common Cranes, hundreds of Raptors, and if lucky, Indian Bustard, Stoliczka’s Bushchat and White-bellied Minivet.

Gir NP – the only site for Asiatic Lion in the world, best visited in March-May when there are only a few water-holes for the Lions to visit. Stay at Satan Gir just outside the Park, eg at Gir Birding Lodge – owned by Asian Adventures: two day itinerary cost Rs.12400 and 3 day itinerary Rs 18000 for two persons inclusive of to & fro train tickets from Ahmedabad, railway station transfers to & from Juagadh to Gir, accommodation in a cottage, meals for two days, three safaris (excl. park entrance fee). Permits are not needed for doing the game drives as you stay in lodges outside the park. Extra Jeep safaris cost Rs.2000 per jeep + park entrance fee.

Velavadar – huge harrier roost in the winter, Lesser Florican and Rain Quail in the wet season, June-Aug. Can stay just inside the Park but as this is expensive now, probably best to stay outside and day-trip in.

 

MELGHAT TIGER RESERVE – Forest Owlet site. Fly or train to Nagpur, then go to Paratwada, by taxi or bus, where there is a Tiger Project Office only 2km from the Hotel Kornak (but no tigers in the reserve!). The  Deputy Conservator of Forests is one R.V.Khade - you need a letter of permission from him to enter Melghat. From Paratwada go to the Tiger Project Centre just outside the village of Chaurakund where Faltu, the local guide, can be found. There are 2 rooms where you can stay, a basic place - Faltu will cook for you and take you to the Owlets on his motorbike, according to Ashley Banwell. We paid Avian Adventures to organise the trip, as PK’s time was limited, and found the best local guy was called Nanderam, who works in the fields there - may be the same as Ashley’s Faltu. He located the 2 youngsters from their calls in the daytime, rather like Barn Owl’s shhhhhhh - the adult was rather flighty and difficult to find at this time.

Norgaon Res., 40 km on the Paratwada side of Nagpur, is worth a stop.

 

DELHI AREA

Sultanpur Jheel is easily accessed from Gurgaon city and a bare 30 min. drive on the road to Farrukhnagar -  45-50 kms from New Delhi. Travel on the NH8 and take a diagonal right to Gurgaon city from the Mehrauli Gurgaon Road and NH8 crossing. Take the Basai road towards Farrukhnagar. The Park is on your left and worth at least a morning.

Okhla island in the Yumuna River by Okhla, a big suburb of Delhi, is good for White-tailed Stonechat, Striated Babbler and Streaked Weaver. Ask for the sailing club, which is on the Delhi side of town. Go through the gates to the river and there will be a couple of rowing boats that will take you across to the sparsely inhabited island - the end to the right as you approach it may be the best.

Bund Baretha, Rajasthan is the easiest site for Indian Skimmer but they are not always there. It is readily reached from Bharatpur town but best to use someone who knows where it is. We booked a car with Avian Adventures - it was supposed to have a knowledgeable driver and pick us up at Mathura station. As it wasn’t there we had to take a taxi to Bharatpur and find suitable transport from there. This cost us about an hour, and some worry, but eventually we were well-served by Raj Kumar Kaushik, Krishna Tours and Travels, Mathurs Gate, Bharatpur, tel 05644 227360. 05644 225828, mobile 9414715689, and saved some Rs 2000.   Chambal River is a more reliable site but further away and it may be necessary to hire an expensive boat to go along the river to find the birds. The contact here is R B Singh 9412651921 at the Chambal River Resort. 

BANDHAVGARH TIGER RESERVE

This reserve, with Khana, has been the best for seeing Tigers, though we later learnt that Ranthambore has regained its prowess, thanks to an habituated beast which is readily seen. Kumkum Lodge, 07627 265324, is probably the cheapest reasonable place to stay at Tala outside the tiger reserve. The best way from Delhi is the overnight train for Umaria leaving from Nizamuddin station, 18km from airport – 45-60 mins – 250-350Rs in a taxi.

 

CORBETT NP

There are lots of options here but you have to apply in advance to the Forest Dept if you want to stay inside the reserve. One of the cheapest and easiest is to book dormitory accommodation at Dhikala – you can probably upgrade to any room that remains unoccupied during your booked time - they generally have a quota of rooms blocked for VIPs & you stand a fair chance of getting one. Another option is to book a room in another resthouse in the same tourism zone as Dhikala & cover the same area. The next possible place is either Gairal (15 km) or Kanda (22 km), by staying here you can still visit the grassland areas to look for Hodgson’s Bushchat, one of the special birds of Corbett. We were picked up from Ramnagar railway station early morning and spent a day and a half in and around Corbett at an all-in cost of US$ 270 for the two of us, arranged by Manoj – it would have been US$ 40 less for dormitory beds. 

The best way to travel from Delhi to Corbett is by the night train (Jim Corbett Park Link Express no 5013A) leaving Old Delhi station at 2240 hrs & scheduled to reach Ramnagar at 0445 hrs. If you want to check Skimmers on the Ganges on the way, you have to drive for 5.5 hrs via Hapur, Moradabad & Kashipur.

 

NAINITAL AREA, UTTARAKHAND

This is in the foothills of the NW Himalayas and although not as rich as sites further east, is easily reached, has good facilities and holds some specialities such as Cheer Pheasant and Black-headed Jay. For the Pheasant, drive 5km from edge of Nainital back along the Ramnagar road to a hairpin where there is a short stony track down hill giving a view of the lake below. The hillside on the left is said to be good for it - we had no luck but Manoj saw 2 shortly afterwards. It also occurs 11km beyond Pangot, past the villages of Ghughu Khan and Vinayak, where you come out of the forest into grassland.

The place to stay at Pangot is Jungle Lore Birding Lodge, owned by Asian Adventures - the cost is Rs 2800 a day for a cottage with full board for 2 people. Lokesh, a good birdguide, is based there but takes birders to other parts of India so needs to be booked in advance if wanted for sure. There is good birding along the road going down from Pangot, motorable for about ten or so kilometres, past a small temple and a stream where Slaty-Backed Forktail and Grey-capped Prinia can be seen, passing through a quite large village called Bagar. The main road both sides of Pangot pass through good forest – we only saw Long-billed Thrush about 2km before Pangot, though it is also seen in Corbett.

 

DAILY LOG

Jan 5                Arrived at Delhi, with hand-luggage only but took an hour to get through Immigration. Booked trains at airport booking office, then took taxi to hotel in nearby area for a rest and to receive tickets and vouchers from Avian Adventures. Auto-rickshaw to Domestic terminal for 21.15 Spicejet flight to Ahmedabad, delayed till 10 pm. Arrived Ahmedabad at 11.20 pm and found cheap hotel near railway station.

 

Jan 6                06.50 train left for Bhuj at 08.00. disappointing journey largely through flat agricultural land except when crossing the Little Rann of Kutch with its flamingoes and Stilts. Arrived at 15.40, and driven to CEDO, a very pleasant place, where met by Jugal. After a quick cuppa, drove to the nearby thorn forest where Grey-headed Bunting and Orphean Warbler were the highlights. The day was rounded off with a nice veggie meal.

 

Jan 7                Morning spent birding with Jugal, transported on the back of his motorbike. 2 pairs of White-naped Tits, Marshall’s Iora and Sykes’s Lark were seen but no White-bellied Minivets. after lunch we spent the afternoon at Fulay and in the Banni Grasslands, with Jugal and a family from Bangalore.  A Rock Eagle-Owl with 2 large juvs and a Jungle Cat inhabited a rocky outcrop and there were many raptors, mostly Steppe Eagles, at the nearby wetland, joined later by numerous harriers, mainly Marsh and large flocks of Common Crane flying over to roost – 30k were said to be in the area. 2 Golden-backed Jackals hunted together and as we left at dusk, the eagles were still perched on the ground waiting for the bandicoots to appear.

 

Jan 8-9            These two days were spent exploring the vicinity of the Great Rann of Kutch., starting with Fulay for Hypocolius, then the rock where Desert Warbler and was added to the list and excellent views had of the Jungle Cat with her large kitten. Steppe Eagles were numerous in the Banni Grasslands, but only 1 Imperial was identified, while the vast Chhari Dhand Lake held many ducks and a few Dalmatian Pelicans. A morning at Phot Mahdeo gave more raptors including Short-toed and Bonelli’s Eagles, many Chestnut-bellied Sandgrouse, Black Francolin and larks, and a few mammals including Chinkara, but no Great Indian Bustards or Wolves despite the help of BNHS researchers. During a picnic lunch at Lala, near the coast, a Stoliczka’s Bushchat was located amongst the many Stonechats and later a Sykes’s Nightjar was found in the coastal scrub. Late afternoon at Naliya Grasslands was memorable for numerous harriers, mostly Marsh but good numbers of Monty’s and Pallid were also gliding about and inter-acting, with as many as 100 in the air together at dusk.

 

Jan 10              After a most enjoyable stay at CEDO, we said farewell to Jugal and his wife, and climbed aboard the large Tempo Trax, an elderly vehicle owned and driven by Marma, which was to be our transport for the rest of our Gujarat tour. First stop was at Bhuj, to purchase beautiful hand-embroidered cushion covers etc made by the local women’s cooperative. Then to Mandvi, an hour away, and after finding an interesting hotel to stay and eating samosas in the market, we visited the local beach. After checking out the sand-plovers, we spent the rest of the afternoon observing the wooden boat-building operations – a fascinating opportunity to see an ancient craft still in use – for the Arab dhow market. 

 

Jan 11              At 07.15 we departed for the long drive to Gir NP, past Rajkot to Jetpur for lunch, the drive including 10km along the wrong side of a new motorway, against the traffic, which had Stella in hysterics but didn’t seem to phase Marma or the drivers heading towards us! After an hour viewing the historic fort at Junagadh, we arrived at Sasan Gir at 5.45 pm and eventually located Gir Birding Lodge where we had a pleasant 3 night stay in Sandgrouse Cottage.

 

Jan 12-13          We did 3 jeep safaris of 3-4 hours each, looking unsuccessfully for Asiatic Lions. We did have great views of Painted Sandgrouse and Mottled Wood-Owl and saw a good selection of other birds including a Rock Bush-quail. We also walked along the river, seeing a few birds and animals but nothing of great note.

 

Jan 14              We decided to stay an extra night for one last shot at the lion – only a 25% chance of seeing it at this time of year according to an experienced guide – and this time there were only another 4 jeeps in the hunt, compared to about 15 before. Despite the best efforts of the guide and driver, assisted by a local tribal for a time, we were unlucky again. After a late breakfast we drove to Palitana, mainly through flat agricultural land, arriving at 4.30. After checking in at a rather rundown cheap hotel, we checked out the situation for visiting the Jain temples the following morning.

 

Jan 15              We climbed the 3000 steps (600m) with surprising ease in 75 mins and spent 2 hours viewing the famous temples and activities of the many colourful pilgrims. The descent took an hour and then we drove to Velavadar NP where I was shocked to have to pay 2000Rs for a non-A/c chalet plus an entrance fee of 1600Rs. A 2hr drive in the reserve with local guide gave good numbers of birds, most notable being Black Storks and 1 Stoliczka’s Bushchat, plus many elegant Blackbuck but no ‘good’ mammals such as Wolf which can be seen there. Late afternoon at what was said to be the main harrier roost area saw the birds starting to arrive at 6.10, with several Monty’s, including 3 grey males, standing on the track running through the extensive grassland. Most activity occurred after 6.30 with up to 50 in the air, mainly Monty’s and Pallid, before dropping into the grass fairly quickly, the last at 6.55 when it was almost dark. Impossible to estimate how many harriers were roosting but it seemed well below the thousands that were purported to be present at this time of year. Had to drive back to the chalet as walking was not allowed in the reserve, to be served with a simple but plentiful meal.

 

Jan 16              Walked along the track to the harrier roost area in the dark but there was no action till first light at 07.00, when a group flew up and away quite quickly. Others started streaming past from further afield, an area I had not watched last night. My area emptied in 20 mins, with 150-200 counted but the other area certainly held considerably more than this – rather a disappointing spectacle in the morning as almost all the birds departed quickly without hunting or interacting, but enlivened early on by over 1000 cranes flying past in flocks. Other birds included a hunting Short-eared Owl, Rufous-tailed Larks and a few warblers, mainly Booted. We left at 9 after breakfast and drove to an estuary on the way to Bhanvagadh where flamingoes and waders were on view, before heading to Ahmedabad where we checked into a cheap hotel on the outskirts. After a walk in the hedge-lined fields where Rosy Starling was the best bird, we ate omelette and chips and retired early.

 

Jan 17              We left for the airport at 8 and caught the Spicejet flight to Delhi, which left 20 mins late at 10.40. Taxi to Peter Kaestner’s abode where we left our bags and visited the Humayun Tomb area, returning to the Kaestners’ in time for supper.

 

Jan 18              To the airport to bid farewell to Stella, returning home. Managed to talk my way in to check-in area with her but had difficulty getting out again! Internet at Khan market, off Lhodi Road, then to the US embassy to collect Peter for the start of our Forest Owlet trip. The Jet Airways flight to Nagpur  was late so we did not arrive till 8 pm. We were met by a driver and taken to the LB Hotel for dinner and an early night.

 

Jan 19              We left at 4 for the 3+ hr drive to Paratwada, accompanied by Ganesh, our guide who had arrived overnight on the train from Delhi. Continuing to the Melghat Tiger Reserve office, we signed in and took the obligatory local guide to drive to where Ganesh had seen the Owlet with Rob and James a few weeks earlier, seeing Grey Junglefowl on the way. We searched the area from 10 till 1 pm with no success, then went to the village for local lunch, leaving Peter to continue the search. On return we found Peter had seen an owlet in flight and had good views of a pair of White-naped Woodpeckers. We recruited Nanderam, the original finder of the bird, who was working in the fields, to help us. He pointed out a tree-hole where a pair had nested, saying 2 young had fledged 3 days earlier. Then showed us a dead Barn Owl, followed by a live one roosting in a tree. We could hear what sounded like Barn Owl “shhh” calls and Nanderam found the source, an owlet that looked like a Spotted at first view but was a juv Forest Owlet. It flew to another tree and landed near its sibling, both giving good views in the sunlight. We continued to look for an adult, without success, leaving at 5 when all was quiet. Drove back to a cheap hotel at Paratwada, stopping to admire a magnificent male Gaur by the roadside at late dusk. A noisy wedding reception was in progress outside the hotel but eventually quietened down, allowing us some sleep.

 

Jan 20              5 am departure back to the forest and farewell to Ganesh who was taking the train to Ahmedabad to guide clients around Gujarat. A civet was seen on the way but it took some time to find Nanderam. We spotted an adult Owlet this time but it was surprisingly skittish. We flushed 10 Painted Buttonquail, which PK eventually had good views of while I tried to find White-bellied Minivet, without success – White-bellied Drongo and White-naped Woodpecker were some consolation. We left at 10, hoping to visit Dadri wetlands 25km from Paratwada according to Ganesh, to look for Green Avadavat but the driver claimed there was not enough time, wrongly as it turned out. We made several lengthy stops, with Crested Bunting, Sulphur-bellied Warbler and Indian Yellow Tit the most notable birds, before reaching the large Norgaon Res. 40km from Nagpur in late afternoon. This was very birdy with Small Pratincole, Tawny Pipit, Black Ibis and lots of waterbirds. The Delhi flight was 1 hr 40 mins late leaving so we had dinner in town and eventually landed at 11, bed at 12. A good but expensive trip, thanks to Avian Adventures and Jet Airways.

 

Jan 21              After a lie-in till 8(!), breakfast then taxi to Okhla Sailing Club, which took some finding – had to drive through the large metal gates and beyond for some distance. After photoing Rosy Pipits and Citrine Wagtail, took a rowing boat across to the island in the Yumuna and spent 4 hr there savouring White-tailed Plover and Stonechat, Striated Babbler, Marsh Harrier but no Bristled Grassbird. Met a Rockjumper private tour led by a Scot I’d seen on PNG! Returned to PK’s, walked in Lhodi Gardens, emailed and dined with the Kaestner family.

 

Jan 22              After another walk in the Lhodi Gardens, went to airport to meet Dave Adkin (DPA). The flight arrival board said his flight was late so I cancelled our overnight train booking to Umaria, the nearest station to Bandhavgarh Tiger Reserve, thinking we would miss it, and booked a later train to Satna. in the event the flight was on time and Dave got through quickly so we could have caught it, but I was unable to retrieve the booking, so we went to PK’s for DPA to rest and shower. After a walk in the Lhodi Gardens, we went to the station for the 4.10 train, which was on time. The overnight journey was rather spoilt by 2 inconsiderate Indians who never stopped talking on phones or to each other. 

 

Jan 23              A surprisingly cold day! Arrived at Satna on time at 06.40 and took taxi to Tala – 120km, 3 hr, 1800Rs. Stopped to view a colony of Streak-throated Swallows at the large new bridge over a wide river, also seeing Red-rumped Swallow and a single White-rumped Spinetail there. Checked into Kum Kum Lodge, booked by phone 2 days earlier – a large basic room was only 400Rs. After breakfast birded nearby, the first sighting being a tick – a Tickell’s Thrush! Other birds seen included Grey-winged Blackbird, Large Cuckoo-shrike, Tickell’s Flycatcher and Chestnut-breasted/Indian Nuthatch. In the afternoon we did a 3 hr tiger safari, the highlight being 12 Malabar Pied Hornbills gliding over. One female Tiger was seen on the road but by only 1 of the 10 cars.

 

Jan 24-25          We did 4 Tiger safaris, accompanied by numerous other jeeps at times, but only 1 Tiger was seen on 1 occasion by 2 cars. This reserve is reputed to have the highest density of the beast in the country/world; nobody misses Tiger in 3 days spent here! There were some good birds, notably Changeable Hawk-eagle, nesting Indian Vulture, Brown Fish-Owl, Painted Spurfowl, Western Crowned Warbler, and a good selection of the common mammals including Jackal. Walks outside the park gave sightings of Black Ibis, White-eyed Buzzard, Spotted Owlet and Dark-throated Thrush. We considered doing a final safari on 26th but as it was a national holiday, there were doubts about when the park would open. The local taxi driver said there were lots of trains from Katni to Delhi so we decided to skip our overnight booking from Umaria to Delhi and travel the following day.

 

Jan 26              Taxi to Katni, only to discover that the driver had been a total bull-shitter – there was only 1 train to Delhi and that was at 5 pm. So we had no option but to wait 2 hr and catch a train to Bina, which arrived at 4 pm, then the 5.30 sleeper to Delhi (and Amritsar), arriving at 5 am, a rather boring journey through farmland and dry scrubland.

 

Jan 27              Hired a taxi at New Delhi station to Sultanpur (2650Rs), leaving at 6. The driver claimed to know where the reserve was but it soon became clear he didn’t so we failed to find it by dawn, which would have been useful to catch birds like the now scarce Sarus Crane roosting at Sultanpur but fly away at dawn to feed.. We made it at 7.30 and the first bird was the one I needed here, a frequently hovering Brooks’s Warbler! We traversed the lake in the anti-clockwise direction, best for waterbirds, but not for sunlight, and saw many Painted Stork, Bar-headed Geese and ducks. An imm. White-tailed Eagle was sunbathing and further round we found 2 adult Eastern Imperial Eagles perched up, White-tailed Plover and Rosy and Tawny Pipits. A lengthy period was spent looking for Sind Sparrow without success. Arriving back at the start at about 1 pm, we found the local guide Sanjay Sharma who showed us an Indian Scops Owl roosting next to the ticket office and then took DPA to see Indian Courser on Jhanjraula road while I had another look at Brooks’s Warbler and failed to refind the White-tailed Eagle. Left at 3 and reached PK’s at 4.15. After a rest, we ate a good meal at The Kitchen, Khan market, then left for the northern station, which took nearly an hour to reach due to heavy traffic, for our train to Ramnagar. We only just made it as it left on time at 21.55 but it soon stopped at New Delhi station, nearer to PK’s, not leaving till 22.40!

 

Jan 28              Arrived late at Ramnagar at 5.30 and were met by Salim in a jeep, as arranged by Manoj Sharma. After omelettes in town, we drove 8 km and walked 1 km to the river to look for Ibisbill. No luck but a pleasant introduction to the commoner birds in the Himalayan foothills. We then drove through Corbett NP to Dhikala camp, arriving at 10.30, just in time for a late breakfast. We met Manoj, leading a Naturetrek group of 16 with Lester Perrera, who remembered me from Sri Lanka in 2002, and spent the rest of the morning with them looking for Hodgson’s Bushchat in the grassland. An imm male was eventually located, along with an adult male Pied Harrier and a Grey Mongoose. After a light lunch, we took a guide and spent most of the afternoon looking for a Tiger that had been seen quite regularly – no luck but we did see Tawny Fish-owl, White-tailed Eagle, Streak-throated Woodpecker, Chestnut-eared Starling and Chestnut-eared Bunting. Had a good chat with Manoj after dinner.   

 

Jan 29              Left at 06.50, later than intended, to look for Tiger in the area where they had been seen most often. A jeep was parked there and one had already seen crossing the road. We waited there for a while, joined by another jeep, then a guide told ours he had spotted one behind the nearby tree. We drove a little closer and sure enough a well-camouflaged large Tiger was resting only 5m away! In the ensuing excitement, the jeep in front backed into us – fortunately the bang did not disturb the Tiger, a young male – and we all drove back a little way to give it chance to cross the road. It barely moved but a female did appear nearby. We watched them for 20-30 mins, mostly eyeing us and only moving a little, silently, until the female came out and quickly walked away, shortly followed by the male who stopped to claw a tree before disappearing – a magnificent sight! We waited a little longer then drove back along a forest track, seeing little but woodpeckers, to the grassland near Dhikala where Himalayan Griffons perched up were the only notable sighting. After a late breakfast, we checked the reservoir below the camp and saw Muggers basking on the land and Gharial in the water. We left at 11.30 and drove back to Ramnagar with stops, notably at Crocodile Pool to view a huge shoal of Black Marseer and several Gharial including one massive beast 4-5m long. We transferred to a car and drove to Nainital (1940m) - 1500Rs, 3-5 pm. Booked into a reasonable hotel – 800Rs + 100 for an electric fire to combat the very cold night. Walked round the lake, seeing little, then had a good meal of soup and pizza!

 

Jan 30              Left at 6.30 in a car booked by Manoj, our transport for the next 5 days at 1000Rs a day plus petrol. A pre-breakfast sortie for Cheer Pheasant on the Ramnagar road only gave Kalij, Streaked Laughingthrush and Blue-capped Redstart. After breakfast in Nainital, drove up to Snow View (2270m), stopping on the way for a flock holding Brown-fronted Woodpecker, Scarlet Minivet, Rufous Sibia and Buff-barred Warbler but best of all was a Yellow-throated Marten hunting nearby. Below the short track to Snow View summit, Grey-winged Blackbird and Greater Yellownape fed with numerous White-throated Laughingthrushes. We continued the 15 km to Pangot, arriving at Jungle Lore Lodge in time for a veggie lunch and the sight of Black-headed Jays and Chestnut-crowned Laughingthrushes feeding and drinking in the grounds. After lunch we visited open woodland 3 km up the road with Alan from Plymouth and Lokesh, their guide. A superb pair of Spectacled Finch were very obliging – hoped for but unexpected – and a Spotted Forktail was seen briefly. Then we walked down the track beside the Lodge, seeing Himalayan Griffon, Booted and Steppe Eagles, Chestnut-bellied Rock-thrush, Rusty-cheeked Scimitar Babbler, Red-billed Blue-Magpie and Pink-browed Rosefinch.  

 

Jan 31              At 6am drove 6km to Vinayak and a further 5km to mountain grassland, mostly burnt, our other Cheer Pheasant site. Stayed around here till 09.15 – no pheasants but a male Rufous-breasted Bush-Robin was a welcome surprise. 11 Himalayan Griffons flew from their roost and perched in the sun till 9 am and a large flock of flighty Altai Accentor fed. On the way back a flock held Black-chinned and Rufous-naped Tits, Himalayan Woodpecker, Chestnut-bellied Nuthatch and Bar-tailed Treecreeper. After a late breakfast we walked along the Nainital road for several km, seeing little except Rufous-bellied Woodpecker and then one of my most-wanted birds, a Long-billed Thrush, which fed by digging and leaf-tossing in a stream bed. Back above the Lodge, there were tits, warblers, Blue-fronted Redstart and Pink-browed Rosefinch.

 

Feb 1                Another walk down the main track by the Lodge was rewarding, with Russet Sparrow, Blue-winged Minla, Bluetail, Chestnut Thrush, Green-tailed and Fire-tailed Sunbirds and Speckled Piculet for DPA. Drove to Nainital after breakfast, visited railway booking office at 12.15 only to find it was shut from noon till 2 pm. Drove towards Sat Tal, stopping at garish temple beside a river, a site for 3 forktail sp. Spent some time here but only notable sightings were Brown Dipper, male Bluetail and unusually close views of Crested Kingfisher. At Sat Tal walked along the stream near Eureka Forbes factory, seeing Scaly-breasted Woodpecker, Chestnut-headed Tesia and a female Slaty-blue Flycatcher which took some identifying. Drove to the entrance of Forest Resort at the far end of the lake, owned by Asian Adventures who have closed the popular Green Glen Lodge. Had to wait over 30 mins for a lift up to the lodge as the 1.5km road was too steep for our car – saw a male Himalayan Rubythroat while waiting. The new lodge commanded a spectacular view but was rather like a building site. They hadn’t got their act together, eg the soup came after the other food at dinner, but doubtless it will improve.

 

Feb 2                A 45 min walk through the scrub and pines near the lodge was quiet. After breakfast, I walked down to the lake, seeing Chestnut-crowned Laughingthrush and Fire-tailed Sunbird, before being joined by DPA. We drove to the camping area at the other end of the lake and saw a large flock of Leiothrix and an Rufous-gorgeted Flycatcher, then spent much of the day in the Eureka Forbes factory valley, looking for Nepal Wren-babbler in my case. New birds were Lammergeier, Orange-headed Thrush, Rufous-chinned Laughingthrush, Tickell’s and Whistler’s Warblers and Common Rosefinch. We drove to Nainital and checked in at Hotel Prachant again before dining and emailing – discovered on OB that the rare Grey-crowned Prinia had recently been seen below Pangot.

 

Feb 3                Another try for Cheer Pheasant was unsuccessful but a Ghoral and 2 Speckled Woodpigeons were seen. Had intended to go down to Mongoli Valley but decided to return to Pangot to look for birds missed there, especially Grey-crowned Prinia. Unfortunately, it started snowing which caused the driver to panic as we drove along the ridge between Snow View and Pangot. We reached Pangot OK but the driver refused to go down the track so we had to walk it, at some speed, in case the snow got worse. The only new birds on the way down were 3 Brown Bullfinch drinking at a stream, followed by a pair of White-capped Buntings. Spent some time just before the temple and found Yellow-breasted Greenfinch, Golden Bush-robin, Rufous-bellied Niltava, Grey Treepie and Striated Prinia but no Grey-crowned. The car came down afterall, to collect us as the driver said the main road was blocked by snow. Driving back, there was some snow on the road but no real problem except that quite a number of Indian tourists were frolicking about in the snow as though they had never seen it before! We stopped at Snow View and walked to the ropeway where we found a flock of Black-and-yellow Grosbeak, another welcome but unexpected bird. Studied them for some time, hoping to find Collared as some birds had orange in the mantle, but all seen well had the black thighs of Black-and-yellow. Reached Nainital at 2.15 and after lunch, drove to Lal Kuan station which the driver said would take 2.5-3 hours to reach but only took 90 mins. Paid Rs.7,500 for the car. Had to wait till 7 for our train to Mathura which we then discovered was on the narrow gauge line and rather wobbly when it got underway.

 

Feb 4                Arrived at Mathura Cantt station at 04.40 but there was no car to greet us and no reply on phoning Avian Adventures. Then discovered there was another station, Mathura Junction, so took an auto-rickshaw there. Much busier but still no sign of our vehicle so took a taxi to Bharatpur as no-one knew where Bund Baretha was. Arrived at 6 but took some time to find a travel agent who could help us. Had to wait for his driver to have breakfast, eventually leaving at 07.30. A pleasant drive through rural villages on a road quite rough at times took us to Bund Baretha at 9 am after a few short stops. We soon saw 8 Skimmers, flying about a bit – the main aim of this trip for me. There were lots of ducks, including Ferruginous, Long-tailed and Comb, both Jacanas, Citrine Wagtails, and at the base of the rocky hillside, Red-tailed Lark, Variable Wheatear and Dusky Crag-martin. We escaped the heat by going to the nearby resthouse and found Orange-headed Thrush and Booted Warbler in the gardens, before leaving at 12.45 for Bharatpur Junction. Our arrival at 2.15 was somewhat delayed by wedding celebrations but the 3 pm Golden Temple Express was 30 mins late arriving. First stop was Mathura Junction! Reached Delhi at 7.15, taxi to PK’s then to Khan Market to eat. Night at PK’s.

 

Feb 5    04.30 taxi to the airport for our 06.55 BA flight home.

 

 

SPECIES LIST

The following birds were widespread and fairly common in suitable habitat:-

Little Cormorant, Phalacrocorax niger

Grey Heron, Ardea cinerea

Indian Pond-Heron, Ardeola grayii

Cattle Egret, Bubulcus ibis

Great Egret, Casmerodius albus

Little Egret, Egretta garzetta

Painted Stork, Mycteria leucocephala

Northern Shoveler, Anas clypeata

Common Teal, Anas crecca

Black-winged Kite, Elanus caeruleus

Black Kite, Milvus migrans

Shikra, Accipiter badius

Common Kestrel, Falco tinnunculus

Grey Francolin, Francolinus pondicerianus

Indian Peafowl, Pavo cristatus

White-breasted Waterhen, Amaurornis phoenicurus

Common Coot, Fulica atra

Common Moorhen, Gallinula chloropus

Black-winged Stilt, Himantopus himantopus

Red-wattled Lapwing, Vanellus indicus

Wood Sandpiper, Tringa glareola

Common Sandpiper, Tringa hypoleucos

Common Greenshank, Tringa nebularia

Common Redshank, Tringa totanus

Spotted Dove, Streptopelia chinensis

Eurasian Collared-Dove, Streptopelia decaocto

Laughing Dove, Streptopelia senegalensis

Spotted Dove, Streptopelia chinensis

Plum-headed Parakeet, Psittacula cyanocephala

Rose-ringed Parakeet, Psittacula krameri

Crested Treeswift, Hemiprocne coronata

Pied Kingfisher, Ceryle rudis

Common Kingfisher, Alcedo atthis

White-throated Kingfisher, Halcyon smyrnensis

Little Green Bee-eater, Merops orientalis

Indian Roller, Coracias benghalensis

Eurasian Hoopoe, Upupa epops

Coppersmith Barbet, Megalaima haemacephala

Greater Short-toed Lark, Calandrella brachydactyla

Barn Swallow, Hirundo rustica

Paddyfield Pipit, Anthus rufulus

White Wagtail, Motacilla alba

Yellow Wagtail, Motacilla flava

Red-vented Bulbul, Pycnonotus cafer

Small Minivet, Pericrocotus cinnamomeus

Common Woodshrike, Tephrodornis pondicerianus

Black Redstart, Phoenicurus ochruros

Siberian Stonechat, Saxicola maura

Oriental Magpie-Robin, Copsychus saularis

Indian Robin, Saxicoloides fulicata

Blue Whistling-Thrush, Myiophonus caeruleus

Plain Prinia, Prinia inornata

Lesser Whitethroat, Sylvia curruca

Oriental White-eye, Zosterops palpebrosus

Jungle Babbler, Turdoides striatus

Purple Sunbird, Cinnyris asiaticus

Long-tailed Shrike, Lanius schach

Large-billed Crow, Corvus macrorhynchos

House Crow, Corvus splendens

Rufous Treepie, Dendrocitta vagabunda

Black Drongo, Dicrurus macrocercus

Bank Myna, Acridotheres ginginianus

Common Myna, Acridotheres tristis

Asian Pied Starling, Sturnus contra

House Sparrow, Passer domesticus

Chestnut-shouldered Petronia, Petronia xanthocollis

 

Great Crested Grebe, Podiceps cristatus

2 at Bund Baretha.

Black-necked Grebe, Podiceps nigricollis

At least 1 at Norgaon Res.

Little Grebe, Tachybaptus ruficollis

4 at Kutch, 2 Velavadar, common at Norgaon Res and a few at Okhla.

Dalmatian Pelican, Pelecanus crispus

8 at Kutch, singles at Velavadar and near Bhanvagadh, Gujarat.

Great White Pelican, Pelecanus onocrotalus

15 at Kutch and 20 at Velavadar.

Great Cormorant, Phalacrocorax carbo

A few at Norgaon Res, common at Sultanpur and Corbett NP and Bund Baretha.

Indian Cormorant, Phalacrocorax fuscicollis

At least 3 at Okhla and numerous at Bund Baretha.

Oriental Darter, Anhinga melanogaster

3 at Sultanpur and 2 at Bund Baretha.

Purple Heron, Ardea purpurea

1 at Kutch, 3 at Sultanpur and 1 at Bund Baretha.

Striated Heron, Butorides striatus

Fairly common in Kutch, a few while travelling in Gujarat, and singles at Sultanpur and Nainital.

Western Reef-Egret, Egretta gularis

1 at Kutch, 4 at Mandvi, 20 on the way to Rajkot, 2 at Gir NP, 1 at Velavadar and numerous near Bhanvagadh.

Intermediate Egret, Mesophoyx intermedia

1 on the way to Rajkot, 10+ at Sultanpur and a few at Bund Baretha.

Black-crowned Night-Heron, Nycticorax nycticorax

1 at Mandvi and 2 at Bund Baretha.

Asian Openbill, Anastomus oscitans

1 at Bund Baretha.

White Stork, Ciconia ciconia

20 at Kutch and 10 at Norgaon Res.

Woolly-necked Stork, Ciconia episcopus

2 at Velavadar, 1 Norgaon Res and Okhla, and 2 at Corbett NP.

Black Stork, Ciconia nigra

2 at Velavadar on 15th and 1 on 16th.

Black-necked Stork, Ephippiorhynchus asiaticus

Singes at Kutch, Sultanpur and Corbett.

Lesser Adjutant, Leptoptilos javanicus

2 at Bandhavgarh on 23rd and 1 on 24th.

Eurasian Spoonbill, Platalea leucorodia

10 at Kutch and Velavadar, 1 on the way to Rajkot and 8 at Sultanpur.

Glossy Ibis, Plegadis falcinellus

2 at Kutch.

Red-naped/Black Ibis, Pseudibis papillosa

Up to 30 daily in Gujarat, singles Norgaon Res and Okhla, and 2 at Tala.

Black-headed Ibis, Threskiornis melanocephalus

A few scattered records.

Greater/ Lesser Flamingo, Phoenicopterus rubber/ minor

Common at Kutch and up to 30 at Velavadar and near Bhanvagadh, Gujarat.

Greylag Goose, Anser anser

6 Ohkla and numerous at Sultanpur.

Bar-headed Goose, Anser indicus

50+ at Sultanpur.

Northern Pintail, Anas acuta

20 at Sultanpur and numerous at Bund Baretha.

Eurasian Wigeon, Anas penelope

Numerous at Norgaon Res and Bund Baretha, a few at Sultanpur.

Mallard, Anas platyrhynchos

Common at Kutch and Okhla, a few at Sultanpur, Corbett and Bund Baretha.

Spot-billed Duck, Anas poecilorhyncha

Common at Kutch, Sultanpur and Bund Baretha, with a few at Lhodi Gardens.

Garganey, Anas querquedula

At least one at Sultanpur.

Gadwall, Anas strepera

Numerous at Okhla, Sultanpur and Bund Baretha.

Common Pochard, Aythya ferina

A few at Bund Baretha.

Tufted Duck, Aythya fuligula

A few at Bund Baretha.

Ferruginous Pochard, Aythya nyroca

5 at Bund Baretha.

Cotton Pygmy-Goose, Nettapus coromandelianus

20 at Bund Baretha.

Comb Duck, Sarkidiornis melanotos

15-20 near Bandhavgarh  and 10 at Bund Baretha.

Ruddy Shelduck, Tadorna ferruginea

2 at Norgaon Res and Okhla, 150 at dam north of Ramnagar.

Lammergeier, Gypaetus barbatus

1 at Sat Tal was the only record.

White-rumped Vulture, Gyps bengalensis

1 at Gir NP was the only record.

Eurasian Griffon, Gyps fulvus

1 at Kutch.

Himalayan Griffon, Gyps himalayensis

3 at Corbett NP; 11 roosting 11km beyond Pangot with up to 6 seen daily in flight around Pangot.

Long-billed Vulture, Gyps indicus

Up to 4 daily at Bandhavgarh NP; a vulture soaring at Gir NP was probably this species.

Red-headed Vulture, Sarcogyps calvus

1 at Bandhavgarh NP on 23rd.

Cinereous Vulture, Aegypius monachus

1 at Gir NP and at least 3 at Bandhavgarh NP.

Egyptian Vulture, Neophron percnopterus

1 or 2 daily at Gir NP and Bandhavgarh NP.

Osprey, Pandion haliaetus

1, possibly 2, at Corbett NP.

White-tailed Eagle, Haliaeetus albicilla

1 sunbathing early morning at Sultanpur and 2 singles at Corbett NP.

Pallas’s Sea-Eagle, Haliaeetus leucoryphus

1, possibly 2, at Corbett NP.

Grey-headed Fish-Eagle, Ichthyophaga ichthyaetus

A distant eagle perched at Corbett was probably this sp.

 

Oriental Honey-buzzard, Pernis ptilorhyncus

Up to 3 daily at Gir NP, 1 on the drive to Palitana, and 2 at Melghat.

Western Marsh Harrier, Circus aeruginosus

Common in the grasslands of Kutch and Velavadar, with at least 300, possibly many more, roosting at Chhari Dhand Lake and Naliya grasslands, Kutch.

Northern Harrier, Circus cyaneus

Singles at Velavadar and Corbett NP.

Pallid Harrier, Circus macrourus

Common in the grasslands of Kutch and Velavadar, with at least 50, roosting at Naliya grasslands and 100s at Velavadar, with a few seen elsewhere.

Pied Harrier, Circus melanoleucos

A superb adult male was hunting in the grasslands near Dhikala, Corbett NP.

Montagu’s Harrier, Circus pygargus

Common in the grasslands of Kutch and Velavadar, with at least 100, possibly many more, roosting at Naliya grasslands and smaller numbers at Velavadar.

Eurasian Sparrowhawk, Accipiter nisus

1 or 2 at Pangot.

Besra, Accipiter virgatus

1 or 2 singles at Corbett NP.

Bonelli’s Eagle, Hieraaetus fasciatus

1 near Lala, Kutch was the only sighting.

Booted Eagle, Hieraaetus pennatus

Singles at Gir NP and Pangot.

Crested Serpent-Eagle, Spilornis cheela

2 singles at Gir NP, 2 at Bandhavgarh NP and 1 at Bund Baretha.

Changeable Hawk-Eagle, Spizaetus cirrhatus

Singles daily at Gir NP, 1 or 2 at Bandhavgarh NP and 1 at Corbett NP.

Mountain Hawk-Eagle, Spizaetus nipalensis

1 with a sizeable snake in its talons flushed at Pangot.

White-eyed Buzzard, Butastur teesa

A few at Melghat  and 1 at Tala, Bandhavgarh NP.

Common Buzzard, Buteo buteo

Singles at Junagadh Fort, Gujarat, and Pangot.

Long-legged Buzzard, Buteo rufinus

Up to 10 daily in Kutch.

Short-toed Snake-Eagle, Circaetus gallicus

1 or 2 on 7th and 9th in Kutch, 1 near Palitana and 1 at Corbett NP.

Greater Spotted Eagle, Aquila clanga

At least 1 at Kutch.

Imperial Eagle, Aquila heliaca

At least 1 near Chhari Dhand Lake, Kutch and 2 perched in the same tree at Sultanpur.

Steppe Eagle, Aquila nipalensis

Common in Kutch with c.50 on one day, and 2 at Pangot on 2 days.

Lesser Spotted Eagle, Aquila pomarina

At least 1 at Sultanpur.

Peregrine Falcon, Falco peregrinus

1 perched in a tree at Sultanpur and a pair at Pangot.

Common Quail, Coturnix coturnix

2 at Velavadar.

Black Francolin, Francolinus francolinus

10 Phot Mahdeo, Kutch, 1 at Corbett NP and single males daily at Pangot.

Painted Spurfowl, Galloperdix lunulata

At least 1 at Bandhavgarh NP. 2 spurfowl on the road near Melghat could have been either this or Red Spurfowl, Galloperdix spadicea.

Red Junglefowl, Gallus gallus

A few at Bandhavgarh NP and Corbett NP.

Grey Junglefowl, Gallus sonneratii

6 near Melghat.

Kalij Pheasant, Lophura leucomelanos

8 at Corbett NP on 28th, with 2 pairs on 29th, a pair 5km below Nainital and 3 at Sat Tal.

Rock Bush-Quail, Perdicula argoondah

1 at Gir NP.

Painted Bush-Quail, Perdicula erythrorhyncha

A party of 10 at Melghat.

Barred Buttonquail, Turnix suscitator

2 at Kutch.

Common Crane, Grus grus

Common in Kutch, with c.5000 at dusk flying in several large skeins, and 100s at Velavadar.

Brown Crake, Amaurornis akool

2 singles at Corbett NP.

Pheasant-tailed Jacana, Hydrophasianus chirurgus

1 at Bund Baretha.

Bronze-winged Jacana, Metopidius indicus

Common at Bund Baretha.

Great Thick-knee, Burhinus recurvirostris

2 at Bund Baretha.

Indian Courser, Cursorius coromandelicus

3 at Lala, Gujarat and 6 near Sultanpur.

Small Pratincole, Glareola lactea

At least 30 at Norgaon Res.

Kentish Plover, Charadrius alexandrinus

10 at Norgaon Res.

Little Ringed Plover, Charadrius dubius

At least 1 at Norgaon Res.

Greater Sand Plover, Charadrius leschenaultii

Several on Mandvi beach.

Mongolian Plover, Charadrius mongolus

Locally common in Kutch and on Mandvi beach

Grey Plover, Pluvialis squatarola

A few at Mandvi.

Pied Avocet, Recurvirostra avosetta

5 at Velavadar.

River Lapwing, Vanellus duvaucelii

8 on the Kosi River at Corbett.

White-tailed Lapwing, Vanellus leucurus

10 at Okhla, 4 at Sultanpur and 5 at Bund Baretha.

Yellow-wattled Lapwing, Vanellus malabaricus

Several in Kutch, 2 near Katni and at Sultanpur and Bund Baretha.

Sanderling, Calidris alba

A few at Mandvi.

Curlew Sandpiper, Calidris ferruginea

1 at Kutch and a few at Mandvi.

Little Stint, Calidris minuta

Locally common in Gujarat.

Temminck’s Stint, Calidris temminckii

2 at Norgaon Res were the only ones identified but probably overlooked.

Common Snipe, Gallinago gallinago

2 at Norgaon Res and 3 at Sultanpur.

Black-tailed Godwit, Limosa limosa

Fairly common locally in Kutch and a few at Velavadar and Bund Baretha.

Eurasian Curlew, Numenius arquata

1 on the way to Rajkot.

Whimbrel, Numenius phaeopus

2 at Mandvi.

Ruff, Philomachus pugnax

A few at Norgaon Res and Okhla, with 1 at Bund Baretha.

Green Sandpiper, Tringa ochropus

Singles at Kutch and Sultanpur.

Marsh Sandpiper, Tringa stagnatilis

A few at Kutch and singles at Norgaon Res, Okhla and Sultanpur.

Brown-headed Gull, Larus brunnicephalus

Common at Norgaon Res but surprisingly scarce elsewhere with only a few in Gujarat.

“Herring-type” gull, Larus barabensis/ heuglini

Common at Mandvi, probably barabensis and heuglini.

 

Slender-billed Gull, Larus genei

2 at Mandvi.

Common Black-headed Gull, Larus ridibundus

Common at Mandvi and Norgaon Res but only 1 noted in Kutch.

Indian Skimmer, Rynchops albicollis

8 at Bund Baretha.

Whiskered Tern, Chlidonias hybridus

Fairly common Gujarat only.

River Tern, Sterna aurantia

Scattered records of up to 6 but none in Kutch.

Lesser Crested-Tern, Sterna bengalensis

1 at the coast near Lala, Kutch.

Gull-billed Tern, Sterna nilotica

2 at Chhari Dhand Lake and a few at Mandvi.

Caspian Tern, Sterna caspia

At least 1 at Chhari Dhand Lake.

Chestnut-bellied Sandgrouse, Pterocles exustus

Common in Kutch and 1 flying over Bharatpur suburbs.

Painted Sandgrouse, Pterocles indicus

A pair roosting on the ground at Gir NP gave great views.

Emerald Dove, Chalcophaps indica

1 at Corbett NP.

Speckled Wood-Pigeon, Columba hodgsonii

Two 5km below Nainital.

Oriental Turtle-Dove, Streptopelia orientalis

Common Nagpur – Melghat and a few in Nainital area.

Red Collared-Dove, Streptopelia tranquebarica

Common in Gujarat but not noted elsewhere.

Yellow-footed Green-Pigeon, Treron phoenicoptera

Fairly common at Gir NP and very common at Tala / Bandhavgarh NP.

Red-breasted Parakeet, Psittacula alexandri

1 at Corbett NP was the only record.

Alexandrine Parakeet, Psittacula eupatria

1 at Bandhavgarh NP on 24th and 3 on 25th.

Slaty-headed Parakeet, Psittacula himalayana

Fairly common at Pangot.

Asian Koel, Eudynamys scolopacea

Heard daily at Kutch but only seen at Gir NP.

Greater Coucal, Centropus sinensis

Scattered records on 9 days.

Barn Owl, Tyto alba

1 roosting in tree at Melghat, 1 in flight near Bharatpur – the only owl seen at night.

Short-eared Owl, Asio flammeus

1 hunting at dawn and dusk at Velavadar NP.

Forest Owlet, Athene blewitti

An adult and 2 active fledglings at Melghat.

Spotted Owlet, Athene brama

A pair at Gir NP and 1 at Bandhavgarh NP.

Rock Eagle-Owl, Bubo bengalensis

An adult and 2 active young at rock outcrop in Banni Grasslands.

Asian Barred Owlet, Glaucidium cuculoides

3 at Corbett NP and 1 at Pangot.

Jungle Owlet, Glaucidium radiatum

1 at Bandhavgarh NP.

Tawny Fish-Owl, Ketupa flavipes

1 at Corbett NP.

Brown Fish-Owl, Ketupa zeylonensis

2 singles at Bandhavgarh NP and 1 at Corbett NP.

Indian Scops-Owl, Otus bakkamoena

1 roosting at the entrance to Sultanpur.

Mottled Wood-owl, Strix ocellata

1 at Gir NP.

Sykes’s Nightjar, Caprimulgus mahrattensis

1 flushed twice from a bush on the Gujarat coast.

Little Swift, Apus affinis

A few scattered records.

Himalayan Swiftlet, Collocalia brevirostris

Numerous over the grasslands in Corbett NP.

Alpine Swift, Tachymarptis melba

3 at Malghat and 20-30 at Corbett NP.

White-rumped Spinetail, Zoonavena sylvatica

1 at the new bridge over the river between Satna and Tala.

Crested Kingfisher, Megaceryle lugubris

1, probably 2, on the Kosi River at Corbett and 1 on the “temple river” on the way to Sat Tal.

Stork-billed Kingfisher, Pelargopsis capensis

2 singles at Corbett NP.

Malabar Pied-Hornbill, Anthracoceros

Up to 12 daily at Bandhavgarh NP.

Indian Grey-Hornbill, Ocyceros birostris

2 at Junagadh fort was the only sighting in Kutch but up to 6 were seen daily at Melghat and Tala / Bandhavgarh NP.

Great Barbet, Megalaima virens

Heard daily around Nainital area with up to 4 seen at Pangot and Sat Tal.

Brown-headed Barbet, Megalaima zeylanica

3 at Corbett NP and 2 at Pangot. Heard daily at Tala / Bandhavgarh NP.

Speckled Piculet, Picumnus innominatus

1 below Pangot (DPA).

White-naped Woodpecker, Chrysocolaptes festivus

2 at Melghat.

Brown-fronted Woodpecker, Dendrocopos auriceps

Singles daily at Pangot.

Himalayan Woodpecker, Dendrocopos himalayensis

1 at Pangot.

Rufous-bellied Woodpecker, Dendrocopos hyperythrus

3 at Pangot.

Fulvous-breasted Woodpecker, Dendrocopos macei

At least 2 at Corbett NP.

Brown-capped Woodpecker, Dendrocopos nanus

Singles at Corbett NP and Nainital.

Black-rumped Flameback, Dinopium benghalense

5 at Gir NP and singles at Melghat and Bandhavgarh NP.

Himalayan Flameback, Dinopium shorii

2 at Corbett NP.

Grey-faced Woodpecker, Picus canus

2 at Corbett NP and Nainital.

Lesser Yellownape, Picus chlorolophus

2 at Corbett NP and 1 at Pangot.

Greater Yellownape, Picus flavinucha

2 at Snow View, Nainital.

Scaly-bellied Woodpecker, Picus squamatus

1 at Sat Tal.

Streak-throated Woodpecker, Picus xanthopygaeus

2 at Corbett NP.

Oriental Skylark, Alauda gulgula

A few at Velavadar and 4 at Okhla.

Rufous-tailed Lark, Ammomanes phoenicurus

10 at Velavadar, 2 at Norgaon Res and 4 at Bund Baretha.

Ashy-crowned Sparrow-Lark, Eremopterix grisea

A few at Velavadar and on the way to Nagpur, with 20+ at Sultanpur.

Crested Lark, Galerida cristata

Singles at Gir, Velavadar and Sultanpur, 9 at Sat Tal and common at Bund Baretha.

Sykes’s/ Tawny Lark, Galerida deva

At least 10 near Nakhtrana and 2 at Phot Mahdeo, Kutch, with 10 at Velavadar.

Bimaculated Lark, Melanocorypha bimaculata

Common in the Kutch grasslands.

Singing Lark, Mirafra cantillans

1 at Velavadar was the only 1 identified.

Indian Lark, Mirafra erythroptera

A few in the Kutch grasslands, Melghat – Nagpur and Sultanpur.

Dusky Crag-Martin, Hirundo concolor

Common at Kutch and Velavadar, 10 at Gir NP, and a few at Tala / Bandhavgarh NP.

Red-rumped Swallow, Hirundo daurica

4 at Tala.

Streak-throated Swallow, Hirundo fluvicola

100 at the new bridge over the river between Satna and Tala and common at Corbett NP.

Wire-tailed Swallow, Hirundo smithii

A few at Kutch and Palitana.

Common Sand Martin, Riparia riparia

Locally common at Kutch.

Plain / Grey-throated Sand Martin, Riparia paludicola / chinensis

Common at Corbett NP.

Tawny Pipit, Anthus campestris

A few at Kutch, Velavadar, Norgaon Res and Sultanpur.

Olive-backed Pipit, Anthus hodgsoni

12 at Bandhavgarh NP, 2 at Sultanpur and a few at Sat Tal and Pangot.

Long-billed  Pipit, Anthus similis

1 or 2 at rock outcrop in Banni Grasslands and Palitana.

Rosy Pipit, Anthus roseatus

A few at Okhla and Sultanpur.

Grey Wagtail, Motacilla cinerea

Up to 4 daily at Gir NP and 1 or 2 at Bandhavgarh NP.

Citrine Wagtail, Motacilla citreola

A few at Kutch, Norgaon Res, Okhla, Sultanpur and Bund Baretha.

White-browed Wagtail, Motacilla madaraspatensis

4 at Gir NP, 1 at Sat Tal and a few at Bund Baretha.

Forest Wagtail, Dendronanthus indicus

1 at Gir NP.

Black-throated Accentor, Prunella atrogularis

1 at Pangot.

Altai Accentor, Prunella himalayana

Large flocks, 50-100, 11km beyond Pangot and below Pangot.

Rufous-breasted Accentor, Prunella strophiata

1 or 2  daily in Nainital area.

Brown Dipper, Cinclus pallasii

1 or 2 on the “temple river”, Nainital – Sat Tal.

Black Bulbul, Hypsipetes leucocephalus

Fairly common in the Nainital area.

Ashy Bulbul, Hemixos flavala

Singles at Pangot and Sat Tal.

Red-whiskered Bulbul, Pycnonotus jocosus

Common at Corbett NP and 2 at Bund Baretha.

White-eared Bulbul, Pycnonotus leucotis

Numerous in Gujarat and a few at Melghat.

Himalayan Bulbul, Pycnonotus leucogenys

A few at Corbett, common in the Nainital area.

Marshall’s Iora, Aegithina nigrolutea

6 10 near Nakhtrana.

Common Iora, Aegithina tiphia

A few scattered records.

Long-tailed Minivet, Pericrocotus ethologus

A few at Tala / Bandhavgarh NP and Corbett NP.

Scarlet Minivet, Pericrocotus flammeus

2-3 near Nainital.

Bar-winged Flycatcher-shrike, Hemipus picatus

5 at Corbett NP and 3 at Sat Tal.

Large Cuckoo-shrike, Coracina macei

Singles at Bandhavgarh NP and Corbett NP.

Grey Hypocolius, Hypocolius ampelinus

7 at Fulay.

White-tailed Rubythroat, Luscinia pectoralis

A male at Sat Tal.

Bluethroat, Luscinia svecica

8 at Okhla and singles at Sultanpur and Corbett NP.

Desert Wheatear, Oenanthe deserti

Common in Kutch, 1 near Sultanpur.

Isabelline Wheatear, Oenanthe isabellina

1 or 2 at Kutch and Velavadar.

Variable Wheatear, Oenanthe picata

6 at Kutch on 7th and 2 at Bund Baretha.

Red-tailed Wheatear, Oenanthe chrysopygia

2 at rock outcrop in Banni Grasslands.

Blue-capped Redstart, Phoenicurus caeruleocephalus

Up to 10 daily in the Nainital area.

Blue-fronted Redstart, Phoenicurus frontalis

Two singles at Pangot and Sat Tal.

Plumbeous Water-Redstart, Rhyacornis fuliginous

Several on the Kosi River, the “temple river” and at Sat Tal.

White-capped Water-Redstart, Chaimarrornis leucocephalus

Singles on the Kosi River and at Sat Tal, with a few on the the “temple river”.

Pied Bushchat, Saxicola caprata

Recorded  on 8 days throughout but mostly in Gujarat.

Grey Bushchat, Saxicola ferrea

1 at Bandhavgarh NP, 5 at Corbett NP and a few in the Nainital area.

White-throated/Hodgson’s Bushchat, Saxicola insignis

A thorough check of all the chats in the grassland near Dhikala gave only 1 certain bird of this species.

White-tailed Stonechat, Saxicola leucura

4 pairs at Okhla Island.

White-browed/Stoliczka’s Bushchat, Saxicola macrorhyncha

Checking all the chats in the grasslands near Lala, Kutch and Velavadar gave only 1 female at Lala and a male at Velavadar.

Brown Rock-Chat, Cercomela fusca

2 at Palitana and 5 at and near Bund Baretha including 1 taking food, presumably to a nest.

Golden Bush-Robin, Tarsiger chrysaeus

A male below Pangot.

Orange-flanked Bush-Robin, Tarsiger cyanurus

Fairly common in the Nainital area. This is the form called Himalayan Red-flanked Bush-robin T.rufilatus by Rasmussen and Anderton (2005).

Rufous-breasted Bush-Robin, Tarsiger hyperythrus

A fine male 11km beyond Pangot – the biggest surprise of the trip, a long way west of its known distribution.

Spotted Forktail, Enicurus maculatus

1 at Pangot.

Chestnut-bellied Rock-Thrush, Monticola rufiventris

3 at Pangot on 30th and 1 on Ist.

Blue Rock-Thrush, Monticola solitarius

2 at rock outcrop in Banni Grasslands, 1 at Tala and a pair at Bund Baretha. 

Grey-winged Blackbird, Turdus boulboul

2 at Kum Kum Lodge, Tala, 3 at Snow View, Nainital and 1 at Sat Tal.

Chestnut Thrush, Turdus rubrocanus

1 at Pangot.

Dark-throated Thrush, Turdus ruficollis

Singles at Corbett NP and Sat Tal.

Indian Grey/Tickell’s Thrush, Turdus unicolor

Up to 4 at Kum Kum Lodge, Tala.

Orange-headed Thrush, Zoothera citrina

Singles at Sat Tal and Bund Baretha.

Long-billed Thrush, Zoothera monticola

1 near Pangot.

Zitting Cisticola, Cisticola juncidis

Common at Velavadar NP and heard at Bund Baretha.

Bright-headed Cisticola, Cisticola exilis

At least 2 at Corbett NP.

Rufous-fronted Prinia, Prinia buchanani

Up to 5 daily at Kutch and at least 1 at Gir NP.

Striated Prinia, Prinia criniger

4 at Pangot.

Yellow-bellied Prinia, Prinia flaviventris

A few at Okhla.

Grey-breasted Prinia, Prinia hodgsonii

Singles at Melghat and Bandhavgarh NP.

Ashy Prinia, Prinia socialis

1 at Melghat, 5 at Bandhavgarh NP, 6 at Sultanpur and 4 at Corbett.

Jungle Prinia, Prinia sylvatica

A few at Velavadar.

Clamorous Reed-warbler, Acrocephalus stentoreus

1 at Chhari Dhand Lake, Kutch.

Grey-sided Bush-Warbler, Cettia brunnifrons

1 below Pangot.

Sykes’s Warbler, Hippolais rama

A few at Velavadar and at least 1 at Bund Baretha.

Common Tailorbird, Orthotomus sutorius

1 or 2 at Gir, Tala and Sultanpur.

Tickell’s Leaf-Warbler, Phylloscopus affinis

2 at Sat Tal.

Lemon-rumped Warbler, Phylloscopus chloronotus

At least 2 singles at Sat Tal.

Common Chiffchaff, Phylloscopus collybita

A few at Okhla, Lhodi Gardens and Tala / Bandhavgarh NP.

Sulphur-bellied Warbler, Phylloscopus griseolus

1 or 2 at Melghat and Tala / Bandhavgarh NP.

Hume’s Warbler, Phylloscopus humei

A few at Melghat and Sultanpur.

Buff-barred Warbler, Phylloscopus pulcher

Common throughout the Nainital area.

Brooks’s Leaf-Warbler, Phylloscopus subviridis

2 at Sultanpur.

Greenish Warbler, Phylloscopus trochiloides

1 at Gir NP and 2 at Melghat and Tala / Bandhavgarh NP.

Western Crowned Warbler, Phylloscopus occipitalis

1 at Tala.

Whistler’s / Golden-spectacled Warbler, Seicercus whistleri / burkii

2 at Sat Tal.

Grey-hooded Warbler, Seicercus xanthoschistos

Several throughout the Nainital area.

Eastern Orphean Warbler, Sylvia crassirostris

2 singles near CEDO.

Asian Desert  Warbler, Sylvia nana

2 at rock outcrop in Banni Grasslands.

Chestnut-headed Tesia, Tesia castaneocoronata

1 at Sat Tal.

Common Babbler, Turdoides caudatus

Common in Gujarat, not seen elsewhere.

Striated Babbler, Turdoides earlei

20 in a few parties at Okhla.

Large Grey Babbler, Turdoides malcolmi

20 in parties at Sultanpur.

White-throated Laughingthrush, Garrulax albogularis

30 at Snow View, Nainital, at least 70 in a roadside flock below Nainital and a few elsewhere in the area.

Chestnut-crowned Laughingthrush, Garrulax erythrocephalus

At least 5 in the Jungle Lore garden when we first arrived at Pangot but the only other was 1 at Sat Tal.

White-crested Laughingthrush, Garrulax leucolophus

5 at Corbett NP and Sat Tal camp site.

Streaked Laughingthrush, Garrulax lineatus

Common in Nainital area.

Rufous-chinned Laughingthrush, Garrulax rufogularis

Only 1, at Sat Tal.

Striated Laughingthrush, Garrulax striatus

2 at Pangot.

Rufous Sibia, Heterophasia capistrata

Common in Nainital area.

Red-billed Leiothrix, Leiothrix lutea

25 at Sat Tal camp site.

Black-chinned Babbler, Stachyris pyrrhops

2 at Corbett both days, 10 at Sat Tal.

Blue-winged Minla, Minla cyanouroptera

At least 1 at Pangot.

Rusty-cheeked Scimitar-Babbler, Pomatorhinus erythrogenys

1 at Pangot on 30th and 3 on 3rd.

White-throated Fantail, Rhipidura albicollis

Singles daily at Pangot and Sat Tal.

White-browed Fantail, Rhipidura aureola

Fairly common at Gir NP and Melghat, with 2 at Bandhavgarh NP.

Black-naped Monarch, Hypothymis azurea

1 at Gir NP was the only record, surprisingly.

Grey-headed Canary-Flycatcher, Culicicapa ceylonensis

1 at Gir NP, 2 at Bandhavgarh NP, 1 at Corbett and 2 at Bund Baretha.

Tickell’s Blue-Flycatcher, Cyornis tickelliae

2 or 3 at Gir NP and 1 at Bandhavgarh NP.

Verditer Flycatcher, Eumyias thalassina

1 at Bandhavgarh NP.

Red-breasted Flycatcher, Ficedula parva

Common as singles at Gir NP, Melghat and Bandhavgarh NP, with a few at Sultanpur, Corbett and Bund Baretha. Some may well have been Taiga Flycatcher, Ficedula albicilla, as I did not check them very thoroughly – most were female-types.

Rufous-gorgeted Flycatcher, Ficedula strophiata

2 at Sat Tal camp site.

Slaty-blue Flycatcher, Ficedula tricolor

1 or 2 at Sat Tal.

Small Niltava, Niltava macgrigoriae

2 at Sat Tal.

Rufous-bellied Niltava, Niltava sundara

1 below Pangot.

Black-throated Tit, Aegithalos concinnus

Numerous in the Nainital area.

Rufous-naped Tit, Parus rufonuchalis

Several in the mixed species flocks at Pangot.

Great Tit, Parus major

A few scattered records.

Green-backed Tit, Parus monticolus

A few daily in the Nainital area.

White-winged Tit, Parus nuchalis

4 near Nakhtrana.

Black-lored Tit, Parus xanthogenys

1 Melghat – Nagpur, a few at Corbett and Sat Tal.

Chestnut-bellied / Indian Nuthatch, Sitta cinnamoventris / castanea

Singles at Tala, including 1 nest-building, Corbett on both days, and Bund Baretha, with 2 at Pangot and Sat Tal. Rasmussen split this into 2 species: the Pangot and Sat Tal birds are cinnamoventris, Tala, Bund Baretha and probably Corbett birds castanea.

Velvet-fronted Nuthatch, Sitta frontalis

2 at Corbett NP.

White-tailed Nuthatch, Sitta himalayensis

2 singles in mixed sp. flocks at Pangot.

Bar-tailed Tree-creeper, Certhia himalayana

2 singles in mixed sp. flocks at Pangot.

Green-tailed Sunbird, Aethopyga nipalensis

3 singles at Pangot and Sat Tal.

Fire-tailed Sunbird, Aethopyga ignicauda

A female-type at Pangot and a male at Sat Tal.

Thick-billed Flowerpecker, Dicaeum agile

2 singles at Bandhavgarh NP.

Brown Shrike, Lanius cristatus

1 or 2 at Bandhavgarh NP.

Rufous-tailed Shrike, Lanius isabellinus

Fairly common in Gujarat.

Grey-backed Shrike, Lanius tephronotus

3 singles at Pangot and Sat Tal.

Bay-backed Shrike, Lanius vittatus

2 on 2 days in Kutch, 3 at Velavadar and a few at Melghat.

Grey Treepie, Dendrocitta formosae

1 at Sat Tal and 3 at Pangot.

Bronzed Drongo, Dicrurus aeneus

25 at Corbett NP in a feeding frenzy on flying insects, 2 Pangot and 6 at Sat Tal.

White-bellied Drongo, Dicrurus caerulescens

5 at Melghat and singles daily at Bandhavgarh NP.

Ashy Drongo, Dicrurus leucophaeus

1 at Gir NP and 4 at Bandhavgarh NP.

Greater Racket-tailed Drongo, Dicrurus paradiseus

1 at Bandhavgarh NP.

Eurasian Jay, Garrulus glandarius

Up to 4 daily in the Nainital area.

Black-headed Jay, Garrulus lanceolatus

At least 10 in the garden at Jungle Lore, Pangot on 30th, with up to 4 on subsequent days.

Red-billed Magpie, Urocissa erythrorhyncha

Up to 10 daily in the Nainital area.

Black-hooded Oriole, Oriolus xanthornus

3 at Bandhavgarh NP and 1 at Corbett NP.

Jungle Myna, Acridotheres fuscus

Locally common at Kutch, 1 near Bund Baretha.

Brahminy Starling, Sturnus pagodarum

Common at Mandvi and Ahmedabad, with a few near Nagpur.

Rosy Starling, Sturnus roseus

Small flocks in Gujarat, eg at Fulay and Ahmedabad, and a few near Melghat.

Common Starling, Sturnus vulgaris

Common at Okhla.

Eurasian Goldfinch, Carduelis carduelis

10 at Pangot.

Yellow-breasted Greenfinch, Carduelis spinoides

10 at Pangot.

Spectacled Finch, Callacanthis burtoni

A pair at Pangot, where it is a scarce bird.

Common Rosefinch, Carpodacus erythrinus

1 at Melghat-Nagpur, 2 at Pangot and Sat Tal.

Pink-browed Rosefinch, Carpodacus rodochrous

Up to 6 at Pangot and Sat Tal.

Brown Bullfinch, Pyrrhula nipalensis

3 drinking at a stream below Pangot on Feb 3.

Black-and-yellow Grosbeak, Mycerobas icterioides

20 at Snow View on Feb 3, a very pleasant surprise.

Red Avadavat, Amandava amandava

15 at Okhla and 20 at Sultanpur.

White-throated Silverbill, Lonchura malabarica

Common at Kutch, 3 at Sultanpur and 20 at Bund Baretha.

Scaly-breasted Munia, Lonchura punctulata

2 at Gir NP.

Russet Sparrow, Passer rutilans

8 at Pangot and 60 at Sat Tal on 1st, with a few Sat Tal on 2nd.

Baya Weaver, Ploceus philippinus

Locally common at Kutch and 15 near Bund Baretha.

Crested Bunting, Melophus lathami

3 Melghat – Nagpur.

Grey-necked Bunting, Emberiza buchanani

3 near CEDO.

Chestnut-eared Bunting, Emberiza fucata

A pair at Corbett NP.

White-capped Bunting, Emberiza stewarti

A pair at Pangot.

 

MAMMALS AND OTHER NOTABLE ANIMALS

Indian Flying Fox                     Colonies at Bund Baretha

Rhesus Macaque                      Fairly common outside Gujarat where none were seen

Hanuman Langur                     Fairly common

Golden-backed Jackal                          2 on 6th at Kutch, with 3 on 8th, 2 at Gir. singles near Melghat, at Bandhavgarh NP and Corbett NP.

Yellow-throated Martin             1 at Nainital

Indian Grey Mongoose             Up to 3 on 6 dates in Gujarat and 1 at Corbett NP

Jungle Cat                                1 with kitten at rock outcrop

Tiger                                        2 at Corbett

Asiatic Lion                              Heard roaring at Gir NP

Common Palm Civet                1 near Melghat

Wild Boar                                 Locally common

Muntjac(Barking Deer)              2 daily at 6 at Bandhavgarh NP and a few at Corbett NP

Spotted Deer                            Common at Gir NP, Bandhavgarh NP and Corbett NP

Hog Deer                                  6 at Corbett

Sambar Deer                            A few at Gir NP, up to 10 daily at Bandhavgarh NP and common at Corbett

Nilgai (Bluebull)                       3 at Kutch, 6 at Gir NP, 20 at Velavadar, common at Sultanpur

Blackbuck                                Common at Velavadar

Four-horned Antelope(Chowsingha)     2 at Kutch

Chinkara                                  A few at Kutch

Gaur                                         1 near Melghat

Ghoral                                      1 near Nainital

Indian/Black-naped Hare          A few scattered singles

Bandicoot?                              1 at Kutch

Northern Palm Squirrel            Common

Marsh Mugger                          3 at Corbett

Indian Gharial                          8 at Corbett

 

 

 

 

 

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