Jump to content

India February 2024: Uttarakhand, Corbett, Birds and Mammals


TonyQ

Recommended Posts

A return to India. This was our first visit since February 2019 when we went to Satpura, Kaziranga and Bharatpur. We have been to India many times before, usually travelling independently.

 

IntroTiger.jpg.044c70078f781bc41007f9349dd2d239.jpg

Young Tiger

 

This trip was to be focussed on birds and other wildlife, and we organised it through Rural Traveller

https://www.ruraltraveller.in/

 

They are an Indian company that also own Vanghat Lodge. We contacted 3 Indian companies. One big birding company only seemed interested in standard itineraries. Another didn’t respond (other than holding emails). Rural Traveller was the most responsive, taking our proposed itinerary and offering suggestions to improve it – including staying at a place we had not heard of (Manila). All of our dealings were with Sumantha Ghosh who owns the company.

IntroNiltava.jpg.c7595ffd8652095a16f16e6ae6fa4c79.jpg

Rufous-bellied Niltava, Chafi near Sattal

 

We agreed on this itinerary

 

Pick up from New Delhi Airport and drive to Bharatpur

 

3 Night Birders Inn, Bharatpur

Including 2 days in Keoladeo National Park

I day trip to Chambal River

 

Drive to the Corbett National Park area.

2 Nights Golden Tusk hotel, very near to Jhirna Zone

2 Nights Dhikala Forest Rest House

 

Drive to Manila in foothills of Himalayas.

2 Nights “Manila Home” – a homestay

 

Drive to Vanghat Lodge

2 Nights Vanghat Lodge

 

Drive to Sattal

3 Nights at Birders Den

 

Drive to Delhi.

 

Fly to London.

 

Although we were going to Corbett National Park, we did stress that we did not want to spend all our time chasing or waiting for Tigers (but as you have seen we did see a number of them).

 

I will show some of the birds seen in this report (ones hopefully interesting to “normal” people). I will post many more of them in My Big Year 2024.

 

IntroHimalaya.jpg.e7ea6f1b5ae323a3ce8713952e9ce314.jpg

View from Manila, looking towards Nanda Devi

Edited by TonyQ
Link to comment
Share on other sites

That's it. Give it to us straight off with a nice Stripey cat.

And that bird reminds me of a saying in my native Durham dialect. "Nun o yer gawdee Kullurrs for me mate. Just plain Bloo an Yella!":D

Link to comment
Share on other sites

ohhh you stayed at Birder's Den--that's where I got so sick on our trip, and we froze in our room. It was such a strange place...albeit with a fantastic hide. I am very curious to hear about your experience there! And the rest of your report as well.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

mtanenbaum

Beautiful start to your report! Looking forward to following along. I hope to go to India in February or March 2026---a bit far off for booking yet. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Atravelynn

A colorful start and I mean that literally.  Beautiful!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Treepol

Looking forward to your TR @TonyQ

Link to comment
Share on other sites

@Treepol@Atravelynn@Galanathank you

@mtanenbaumthank you - a bit early but never to early to plan!

@janzinWe were aware that you had a bad experience at Birders Den (and we considered not going there because of it) but our experience was quite different. I will say more about it when we get there, but the bed was comfortable and there was plenty of enjoyable food. It is well situated to visit some good birding areas. We enjoyed our stay there. I hope you enjoy the report as your report was very helpful to us.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

56 minutes ago, TonyQ said:

 

@janzinWe were aware that you had a bad experience at Birders Den (and we considered not going there because of it) but our experience was quite different. I will say more about it when we get there, but the bed was comfortable and there was plenty of enjoyable food. It is well situated to visit some good birding areas. We enjoyed our stay there. I hope you enjoy the report as your report was very helpful to us.

They must have renovated since we were there. Maybe a new owner? I looked at their website and it looks very different.  We had no heat, terrible, almost inedible food, and a bare room with rock-hard bed.  I'm glad you had a better experience!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

michael-ibk

I can live again. Thanks Tony.B)

 

On 4/4/2024 at 4:47 PM, TonyQ said:

ones hopefully interesting to “normal” people

 

 

Here? On Safaritalk? :D

 

Great start. This is very similar to what I would like to do, so very interested to learn about your experience.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thanks for doing this trip report, Tony. 
Must say I was initially confused about your mention of Manila and thought you meant Manali till I looked it up. Have not heard of Manila ( other than the Philippines😉) before. 

“….in a tiny village in the Kumaon region of the Uttarakhand in India, close to the Himalayas, confusedly named Manila, like Philippines’ capital city.

This small village in India’s Uttarakhand state, is a hidden gem that is worth exploring. This picturesque village is home to some of the most beautiful scenery in the country, and its inhabitants are warm and welcoming. If you’re looking for a peaceful and relaxing getaway, Manila is the perfect place to go.”

Link to comment
Share on other sites

pedro maia

It seems like a very nice trip Tony, I’m looking forward for the report.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Definitely looks enchanting from your teaser pictures. Just visited Corbett NP and Dhikala Forest camp for the first time a few short weeks ago and so I’m curious to hear what you have seen there. 
thanks for sharing your experiences!

Greetings from Katrin

Link to comment
Share on other sites

@pedro maiathank you.

@KaliCAthank you - I would be interested to learn of your experiences also!

@AKR1it was new to us also :)

@michael-ibkI know you have been to Corbett before, but I think you would enjoy this itinerary - but we will see by the end of the report:D

 

Onwards to Bharatpur

 

The UK has access to online Visas for India again. The process of getting one was straightforward and efficient. The website worked well, and it had good supporting documentation about what information was needed.

 

We flew from Lonon Heathrow to New Delhi with BA. New Delhi airport seems modern and efficient. Going through customs and immigration was very straightforward. We collected some cash from and ATM and were picked up by our driver.

 

He would drive us to the Birders Inn in Bharatpur – a drive of about five hours. We stopped for a cup of tea about half way, and arrived in time for a late lunch of pakora with a refreshing glass of fresh lime soda (no salt, no sugar).

 

We had stayed at the Birders Inn last time we were in India, and indeed we had the same room!

TRBIrdersDen.jpg.bbb49947534fecf061b99a3e3c31671c.jpg

 

We would spend two days in Keoladeo National Park (Bharatpur Bird Sanctuary). This is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It is a mixture of wetlands, shallow lakes, mudflats, woodland and grasslands covering an area of roughly 2800 hectares. As well as resident birds, many birds migrate from the northern winter to spend time here.

TRK1.jpg.cade8e7e80e709df36457d3d0e1c087e.jpg

 

The park entrance is a few hundred meters from the Birders Den. We would be picked up after an early breakfast by our very experienced guide Mr Bijendra Singh and our eRickshaw driven by Mr Siru Singh.

TRRickshaw.jpg.77e31f259ebad4dc39b4fe7fc9cc03cc.jpg

 

(Last time we were here we travelled by Bicycle Rickshaw, but all of these have been replaced by these small electric vehicles).

 

We would return to the hotel for lunch and a short break in the middle of the day, to return for the afternoon. We did this for two days, but I will combine the accounts.

 

Running through the centre of park is a main track used by the eRickshaws. You can stop and get out at any point.

TRK8.jpg.5f880912995feeab906bcfd46fe0c5bf.jpg

Main central track (with Nilgai)

 

There are many side tracks used only for walking.

TRJackal_1.jpg.9865246aa24bee00c984f6d25afb8dc8.jpg

Indian/Golden Jackal making use of side track

 

 

Our main focus was looking for birds, but we did see some interesting mammals which I will show in the report.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The park has a good mixture of birds. I will show a few but the rest will be in My Big Year thread.

Peafowl.jpg.cab96b5ccc8a5665ef8494a412908d33.jpg

Classic Indian Peafowl

Grey-headedSwamphen.jpg.cdb554ecd6a60c87dbad3bbd1e1e3a80.jpg

Grey-headed Swamphen

GlossyIbis.jpg.c7b20498ba88392a7b3770eb42a43ad5.jpg

Glossy Ibis

Hoopoe.jpg.6748fae8ee5fc9f946d6a8a24d32ac5f.jpg

Euarasian Hoopoe

IndianSpot-billedDuck_2.jpg.f4ea37290d91d4d5aa10b89e0edf35c6.jpg

Indian Spotted Duck - a local resident

Pintail_mI.jpg.684760c96a3ae9bf7ac6b64763f210ae.jpg

Pintail - a winter migrant

SpottedOwlet_1.jpg.7cad1d8f36f7388b5e765863dca95aa6.jpg

And the always cute Spotted Owlet

 

 

 

Brahminy Starling.jpg

Edited by TonyQ
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I showed a Jackal in passing earlier, but they were quite common in the park. Hearing a pack of them howling together as they greeted the day was a great experience.

TRJackal_2.jpg.8768907ce62f31ca32e65d7caef6ad50.jpg

Part of the pack

TRJackal_3.jpg.f7d5e75f954c692c991e9581c803d8ee.jpg

Loveley golden eyes

TRJackal_4.jpg.5bd390848d39ce130fb7e0908197c880.jpg

Jackal with carcass of a bull

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

There were a number of raptors in the park, including

GreaterSpottedEagle_2.jpg.a6f1116c82a9f2234c4d864e656bdc86.jpg

Greater Spotted Eagle

BlackKite_1.jpg.7493c09bd5d56572f2c004a86bf5afe1.jpg

The very common Black Kite

Shikra_2.jpg.efb1bbb265577cde48a99bb8869217a4.jpg

Shikra with beautiful eyes

SteppeEagle.jpg.07416b269f4e82a02e6cf2e3969b48b5.jpg

Steppe Eagle

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

We saw a number of Nilgai in the park - these are India's largest Antelope

TRNilgai_1.jpg.207911c749bca20105d433d4684b4e83.jpg

Male

TRNilgai_2.jpg.bdefbbf40480296ef8f69b0caa389b2d.jpg

Female with young

There were also quite a number of very large turtles (Giant?)

TRTurtle.jpg.8b06acf34998f6f04029d1e0a0b53cc4.jpg

 

 

And Painted Storks were very common and very colourful

TRPS1.jpg.ddb9ddfbfd620452c3ac0cf74b94cf1e.jpg

Group of adults and juveniles

TRPS2.jpg.382757cec159a14e428ebea21f0195f6.jpg

Adult at nest

 

 

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

An excellent start to an interesting itinerary!

 

Did you have same car for the whole trip or where you transported "point-to-point"? Same question about guide/s.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Very nice variety of animals there. I love the winking spotted owlet.

What’s that golden bird below the owlets?
I’m going to write up my experience in India eventually. Working on it. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

7 hours ago, KaliCA said:

What’s that golden bird below the owlets?

That is a fine portrait of a Brahminy Starling - Sturnia pagodarum.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

@Galana@Atravelynn@KaliCAthank you

@xelasthank you (and for naming the Starling which I forgot!)

Drivers

Driver number one picked us up and took us to Bharatpur (no guide). He also took us to Chambal for a day trip, and drove us up to our hotel near Corbett

In Corbett we had one Jeep driver for two drives in Jhirna Zone.

After that we had a different Jeep driver for our time in Dhikala.

When we came out of Corbett we changed to a normal car with driver to go to Manila and for the time we drove round in that area.

He then drove us to Vanghat and left us there.

After Vanghat we were picked up by a different driver who we had for the rest of the trip.

It sounds complicated (but we weren't organising it:D). It all worked very smoothly and all of the drivers were good careful drivers.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I mentioned that there are a number of different environments in Keoladeo. A particularly interesting one was a combined woodland/wetland

TRK2.jpg.d6d071aeee59a72231807ff8121e4b20.jpg

 

And it was here that we had a fascinating sighting

TRWTKSnake_1.jpg.a11eec489e4c2887d196406f89decd23.jpg

A White-throated Kingfisher had caught a snake

TRWTKSnake_2.jpg.529bd7d005923b708deb7b4d3665aa8d.jpg

 

It took quite a while to finally kill it

TRWTKSnake_3.jpg.c0c40f9d7c9c9ce9b282bd94d3d0d281.jpg

 

And then eat it. We had never seen a Kingfisher with a snake before!

 

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

Safaritalk uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. By using Safaritalk you agree to our use of cookies. If you wish to refuse the setting of cookies you can change settings on your browser to clear and block cookies. However, by doing so, Safaritalk may not work properly and you may not be able to access all areas. If you are happy to accept cookies and haven't adjusted browser settings to refuse cookies, Safaritalk will issue cookies when you log on to our site. Please also take a moment to read the Terms and Conditions and Privacy Policy: Terms of Use l Privacy Policy