Tuesday, 9 December 2014

Okhla, New Delhi

Two days left in India, so a day out to Okhla Marsh in Delhi for a few specialities  - Yellow-bellied Prinia, Streaked Weaver, Striated Babbler and White-tailed Stonechat.
The Yellow-bellied Prinia was no problem at all with up to 20 singing in the reeds, Streaked Weaver was the one I thought I'd have trouble with, but the first Weaver that I saw was a Streaked - bonus ! Next up, Striated Babbler, there were quite a few small groups in the reed, though getting a view of them was a different story, but with a bit of patience they gave themselves up eventually. White-tailed Stonechat was a bit of a problem as I only saw 3 Stonechats all day, 2 were Siberian and one (a 1w/ female type) that looked just like a Sibe apart from it had loads of white in the tail (see photo).
Elsewhere around the marsh every ditch had it's own Purple Heron and several Bluethroats, a single Crested Bunting was in the Acacias and there were several Citrine Wagtails kicking around.
Blue Pansy


Crested Bunting

Citrine Wagtail

Purple Heron

Striated Babbler

Siberian or White-tailed Stonechat

Streaked Weaver

Yellow-bellied Prinias

Saturday, 6 December 2014

Chambal Days 2 & 3

As you can tell, I've now spent quite a bit of time trying to get some decent views of Indian Skimmer – and still no luck, I think three days is enough though. The past two days on the Chambal weren't wasted though, managed to see 2 Gangenic River Dolphins and got the best views I've ever had of Jungle Cat. Bird Wise the river has been pretty good fare over the last couple of days with over 300 Bar-headed Geese, 40 Greater Thick-knee, 2 Ospreys, 2 Citrine Wagtails, 20 Black-bellied Terns (though none close enough to photograph), 20 Pied Kingfishers and multiples of Ruddy Shelduck, River Lapwing, Painted Stork, Lesser Whistling Ducks and Black-winged Stilts. Oh, and I also found a Brown Hawk Owl nearby.
The six Egyptian Vultures, that were seen on both days, were always hanging around one particular sandbank, and today I found out why – it's the place where the bodies are burned !
Jungle Cat

Bar-headed Geese

Brown Hawk Owl

Citrine Wagtail

Egyptian Vultures

Great Thick-knee


Pied Kingfisher

Sunset over the Chambal

A scene that has probably been happening here for thousands of years

Thursday, 4 December 2014

On The Cheap ?

Out for a bit of a 'trial and error' by going to the lower reaches of the Chambal River, to see if you can get Indian Skimmer on the cheap... and you can't. The boat was costing me ten quid an hour and by the time I’d got far enough up river and away from any disturbance, it had cost me 50 quid! And all for some very distant views of 5 Skimmers.
The rest of the birding was OK ish, with 3 Egyptian Vultures, 300 Bar-headed Geese, 250 Ruddy Shelduck and lots of River Lapwings and Black-winged Stilts. And several Gharials and Marsh Mugger Crocodiles of course, in all sizes.

Egyptian Vulture

Bar-headed Geese

Black-winged Stilt


Marsh Mugger

River Lapwing

Ruddy Shelduck

Wednesday, 3 December 2014

Bund Baretha

Or Bund Baretta as it's pronounced, and following a tip from one of the Bharatpur guides, set off into the Pampas swamp downstream from the dam, following the map that he had drawn for me precisely and hey presto – Indian Hyena ! But it didn't hang around long enough for any photos. Also in the Pampas swamp were loads of Red Avadavats and Common Rosefinch feeding on the seedheads, plus a couple of groups of Yellow-eyed Babblers.
The small stand of Banyans below the dam held a couple of Olive-backed Pipits, an Orange-headed Thrush and lots of Large-billed Leaf Warblers with a few Tickell's Leaf Warblers thrown in, and a large roost of Indian Flying Fox.
The reservoir itself had some large rafts of duck on it, but, as they were duck I couldn't be bothered going through them.
As the day wore on and became hotter, several Raptors started soaring above the ridge – 2 Booted Eagles, a Shikra, 2 Indian Spotted Eagles and 7 Indian Vultures (one even landing on a ledge on the ridge). It's good to see that the Vultures in this part of India are making a small comeback at least.
Indian Flying Fox

Large-billed Leaf Warbler

Comb Ducks

Yellow-eyed Babbler

Indian Vultures

Plum-headed Parakeet

White-throated Kingfisher

Red Avadavat


Tuesday, 2 December 2014


Another day in Bharatpur, though this time doing the scrub and semi-desert areas, I quite like birding in these sort of areas – but I hate Acacias !! Plenty of typical scrubland birds around – Plain Prinias, Ashy-crowned Sparrow Larks, Chestnut-shouldered Petronias, White-eared Bulbuls everywhere and loads of Bluthroats, plus a rather nice fly-over Egyptian Vulture. In the more wooded areas I picked up a pair of White-bellied Drongos, and then a bit of a strange incedent occurred. Speaking to a visiting birder, who said that there was a Blue Rock Thrush at the nursery – why the hell would a Blue Rock Thrush be in a forest !? So I followed him down there and then he pointed it out – a Black-winged Cuckoo Shrike ! Erm...OK !

So it was back out to the scrubland for the last few hours, nothing new until the last half hour of light, when a smallish Falcon zipped through, I was fully expecting it to be a Hobby, until I got my bins on it – Red-necked Falcon – cracker !
Asian Pied Starling


Black-winged Cuckoo Shrike

Ashy-crowned Sparrow Lark

Chestnut-shouldered Petronia

Egyptian Vulture

Red-necked Falcon

Indian Peafowl

Plain Prinia

White-bellied Drongo