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TonyQ

Satpura and Kaziranga February 2019

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TonyQ

The Inn is about 200m from the entrance gate of the National Park. We were picked up by our guide (Dillip) and taken to meet the cycle rickshaws that are the means of transport in the park.

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There is a long straight track down the centre of the park, with many pools at either side. There are also a number of side tracks where you walk rather than use the cycle rickshaw.

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The main track with cycle rickshaw

 

We were slightly late in the year for peak numbers of migrating birds, but there were still very large numbers of birds present, and many of them could be approached closely.

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Grey Francolin

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Spotted Owlet

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Green Bee-eater

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Spot-billed Duck

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One of the pools showing landscape

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Brahminy Starling

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Darter

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As we were leaving as it was getting dark, we were delighted to glimpse a Golden Jackal on a side track

 

We benefited from having a guide, but it is possible to do it without one – the Rickshaw Drivers know where a lot of the birds are and can recognise many of them.

Bharatpur-9.jpg

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TonyQ

Some more wildlife from the next morning

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Egyptian Vulture

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Indian Grey Hornbill

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Purple Sunbird

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Macaque grooming

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Scene with Pelicans

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Bronze-winged Jacana

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TonyQ
Posted (edited)

Bharatpur-21.jpg.54e787676240548d2a4c584525446f2a.jpg

There were many Grey-headed Swamphen in the park

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Scene with Pelicans

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Painted Stork

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Boa constrictor - the guides know where to find these. They come out of the burrow and sit in the morning sun to warm up

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A return for lunch and then we were collected for the return drive to Delhi. The stay in Bharatpur worked really well for us, the Inn was good and the guide was very good. We would consider going again if we are around Delhi again. All of the arrangements made with The Birder's Inn worked very well and it was very straightforward.

 

The drive back was interesting - a slightly different route in the early part because of a closed road, but the towns were interesting. As we got close to Delhi, the scale of building work was astonishing, with many hundreds, if not thousands of apartment blocks being built in new towns near the highway.

 

We had arranged to have a meal in Delhi, and then be taken to the airport by our driver of a late flight (03.20). When we arrived at the airport we found our flight delayed because of the conflict between India and Pakistan. Pakistan airspace was closed, so we took a longer route home.

 

For us the whole trip worked out very well. We loved Satpura and Forsyth Lodge, and also really enjoyed Kaziranga and Diphlu River Lodge. The Bharatpur addition is very good for birders. We saw a good selection of wildlife and enjoyed the range of activities available.

 

We enjoyed being back in India again and suspect it won't be as long until we revisit.

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Edited by TonyQ

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Towlersonsafari
Posted (edited)

What a fine report @TonyQ

Edited by Towlersonsafari

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xelas

And Big Thanks to you also, @TonyQ for sharing your great trip to India.

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Galago

I've just caught up with this report having somehow managed to miss it when it first appeared. I've read it in one go and really enjoyed it. You have some fabulous photographs and you were also so lucky with your sightings. Satpura is such a nice park, isn't it? The fact that the limit is 12 vehicles makes such a difference. I too saw tiger there, just a fleeting shot as it ran through the forest, obviously very disgruntled and growling. The walking sounds great and clearly it's better to go alittle earlier in the year for that. I was there early April (2015) and it was too hot for walking then. One day I'll make it to Kaziranga!

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johnweir

@TonyQ, a wonderful trip report and highly informative. Your images are great too. As I mentioned when you started,  your report came at just the right time for me as I was planning an extended trip to India for February - March 2020. Both parks and lodges are included in my itinerary but as a result of your report I have decided and managed to slightly adjust our activity packages. For example we will now stay overnight at the Churna Forest Rest House in Satpura and do some twilight drives outside the park, which I wasn't aware they did until I read your report. I was aware they are available in the buffer zone at Kanha and had booked those already. 

Would it be possible for you to add a few comments on your tipping experiences in India as I have not visited India before and am not sure of the appropriate protocol or amounts that would be expected. Is it just similar to Africa? Most of our drives are private, will we get a driver and a guide, would we give both the same? $10 per person per day or is that a bit tight? Your comments would be appreciated.

Not being rude but your big snakes are Indian Pythons, nicely marked as well.

Thank you again for a superb report.

Edited by johnweir
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TonyQ

@Towlersonsafari @xelas @Galago Thank you for your comments.

@johnweir thank you for your comments- I am glad you found it useful.

Snake - our guide told us it was a python, and I wrote it down and then didn’t bother to look:D so thank you for the correction.

 

All of our activities were private.

Tipping- our naturalist guide at Satpura and Kaziranga we gave about Rs1000 per day (about 15US dollars) For the driver in Kaziranga who we had for all of our stay we gave about half that.

 

For the forest guides and drivers (at Satpura) who joined one trip at a time, we gave Rs200 for each of them for the half day activity, except for the lead walking guides when we gave Rs300. Forsyth Lodge suggested Rs100 or 200. But stressed that it was optional. We didn’t tip the guide who fell asleep

The naturalist guides from the lodge worked hard for us.

 

(Context -information we saw shows that personal drivers in Delhi get paid about Rs17000 per month, you can hire a car and driver in Delhi for a day for aroundRs2000 or so, a teacher may earn Rs27000 per month)

 

We also left tips in a tip box for the “hotel staff” at the lodge as they asked for this approach rather than individual tips.

 

We have no idea if our guide tips are seen as generous or mean.

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Earthian
7 hours ago, johnweir said:

 Most of our drives are private, will we get a driver and a guide, would we give both the same? $10 per person per pay or is that a bit tight?

 

Normally i give Rs 500 and ask the driver and guide to split it. However, if they have been very committed, i up it to Rs 300 each. This is for the two of us.

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Zim Girl

Great report @TonyQ, thoroughly enjoyed reading it.

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michael-ibk

Thank you Tony, really enjoyed revisiting Kaziranga through your report - probably my favourite Indian park. You had top sightings there, great Gibbons and Otters especially. Diphlu definitely looks nicer than the very quirky Wild Grass Lodge. Bharatpur definitely is on my list for next time.

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TonyQ

@Earthian thank you- local knowledge is invaluable 

@Zim Girl thank you

@michael-ibk thank you. We enjoyed Kaziranga and Diphlu. You are partly responsible for us going to Kaziranga so thank you !

Bharatpur is very easy to do, relatively cheap and really enjoyable. We will probably go again at some stage

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Atravelynn

Satpura--Sloth bears in triplicate and sloth bear with babies!  Wow.  The herd of Chital in #44 is striking.  Leopard on foot--way to go.

Lodhi Gardens were productive for you.

 

Kaziranga--you got your elephants and otters OUT of the water, giant squirrel, and of course the rhino! 

 

Exquisite birds throughout!  Those grey headed swamp hens are brilliant in the sun.  The purple sunbird contrasting with the yellow flower is a painting.

 

Bharatpur, come for the birds, stay for the snakes!

 

Perfect combination of parks for a repeat trip to India.  Thanks for sharing your highly successful Indian safari.  Satpura has me very interested.

 

 

Edited by Atravelynn

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