North West India
26 January - 10
by John Martin
This report describes a two-week trip to Bharatpur and Ranthambore. The aim
was to bird the most famous wetland in Asia for a week and then spend a few
days in the more arid Ranthambore area with the possibility of seeing tiger
and some semi-desert birds, as well as taking in the Taj Mahal and some of the
sights of Delhi. We flew to Delhi on the new Virgin service direct from Heathrow.
Much of our accommodation was booked by e-mail before we left and our arrangements
went very smoothly. Though many birders will add Corbett and Nainital to an
itinerary in this area we preferred to have a more relaxed trip covering just
two main sites.
We used a couple of trip reports supplied by Steve Whitehouse, which were useful
as ever. A Birdwatcher's Guide to India, Kazmierczak K. and Singh R. (1998),
Prion, was very useful and our main source of site information. Lonely Planet
Delhi and LP Rajasthan were both useful in deciding where to stay and calculating
costs as well as being full of common sense advice about most aspects of a trip
to this area as usual. Thanks to Mark Sutton, Mike Prince, John Gregory and
Graham Walker for further information and advice. Thanks too to the various
birders we met in India who willingly shared gen., in particular Steve Dark,
Dave Hanford, Richard Herbert, Paul Jepsom and Jason Higgins.
Drove to Heathrow in foul weather with heavy snow along the M4 causing major
delays. Caught the Virgin direct flight to Delhi leaving at about 2300, hearing
about the appalling earthquake in Gujarat earlier in the day.
Arrived in Delhi shortly after mid day local time (flight time about 7.5 hours)
and were met by someone from the Yatri Guest House. Half an hour after leaving
the airport, pausing only to tick Dusky Crag Martin there, we arrived at the
quiet guesthouse not far from the middle of New Delhi and were soon drinking
tea and watching Common Babblers mobbing a cat in the tiny garden. A short walk
to a nearby park at the end of Delhi Ridge produced Indian Grey Hornbill, male
Red-breasted Flycatcher (parva), Painted Storks soaring over, Hume's
Warbler, Indian Peafowl, Brown-headed Barbet, Common Rosefinch, and Ashy and
Accommodation in Delhi is expensive by Indian standards. Yatri Guest House
is mid range - basic but comfortable and cost Rs 1300 per night for the room.
They charged a further Rs 500 to pick us up from the airport but this was worthwhile
as it took all the hassle out of it. The meals were freshly cooked and tasty.
Breakfast was included in the price. We booked from the UK by e-mail: email@example.com.
We needed extra blankets, as it was cold at night.
We booked a taxi for the whole day for Rs 650 to do a tour of some of Delhi's
tourist attractions. Though our Lonely Planet was published less than a year
ago the prices have gone through the roof since the autumn. Instead of Rs 50
it was $10 US for us both to get in to the Red Fort. Similar increases at other
attractions meant we just admired the rest from the outside or visited the free
ones such as the immense Jama Masjid mosque in old Delhi. Last thing, we visited
Tughlaqabad, where we didn't go into the fort as they are now charging $5 US
per person (it used to be free). Instead we looked around the outside of the
fort south of the road and at the large open area that was doubling as a cricket
pitch and toilet, it seemed. Birds here included Brown Rock Chat, Desert Wheatear,
Ashy-crowned Sparrow Lark, Desert Wheatear, Yellow-wattled Lapwing, 30 Tawny
and one Richard's Pipit, Yellow, Citrine and striking personata White
wagtails (split as Masked Wagtail by some authorities).
Picked up at 0900 by a taxi arranged through Metropole Travel (firstname.lastname@example.org).
We could easily have arranged this through the guest house and may well have
paid a bit less than Rs 2600 for the 200 km trip to Bharatpur. We chose to do
this first leg by taxi as we thought we might not be up to the rigours of Delhi
Station after only a day in India. The only problem was that the driver was
a total maniac, even by Indian standards. 6 Sarus Cranes and a Black-necked
Stork were the best birds seen en route. Arrived at the Sunbird Hotel around
midday and were greeted by the friendly owner Ranveer Sikarwar. We had some
lunch and a large pot of tea and began to recover from the traumatic journey.
I discovered that the regular two adult Siberian Cranes had returned to the
park and without further ado set off on a bike to see them. The entrance fee
to Keoladeo National Park (KNP) is Rs 200 (up from Rs 50 last year). The cranes
were frequenting an area near the middle of the park about 5 km from the entrance
and stood out like sore thumbs. Beautiful birds but it is sad to think that
as these are the last two in India the population wintering here is surely doomed.
Also seen on this first afternoon in the park were Sarus and Common cranes (on
the same jheel as the Siberians), Greater Spotted, Imperial, White-tailed and
Bonelli's eagles, White-tailed Lapwing, Barred Buttonquail, Dusky Eagle Owl
and two Indian Rock Pythons. There were so many waterbirds it was difficult
to take it all in.
We stayed eight nights at the Sunbird Hotel, the cost being Rs 650 per night
for the two of us. An evening meal including beers generally came to less than
Rs 400 for us both. The hotel was booked from the UK by e-mail, having been
recommended by Mark Sutton and John Gregory. The address is: email@example.com,
tel. 91-05644-25701, Fax 91-05644-28344. It is a small hotel only 300 m from
the entrance to the reserve. The rooms are comfortable and clean and there is
usually hot water. The food is excellent; great 'curries' all freshly cooked
with nan breads straight from the tandoor a real treat. There is a range of
accommodation near the park some cheaper and some a lot more expensive but we
can recommend Sunbird as a good place to stay. Ranveer was extremely helpful
in arranging day trips to other sites, obtained our train tickets for our subsequent
journeys and helped out in other ways to make the stay a relaxed and comfortable
Our first full day in the park from 0730, following an early breakfast. We
used a guide for part of the day, having a lift in his cycle rickshaw to the
barrier first thing and checking out the Tree Nursery on our own. Here we saw
Tickell's Thrush, Orange-headed Thrush, Yellow-footed Green Pigeon, Indian Grey
Hornbill, Coppersmith Barbet and Small Minivet. The area is often good for roosting
nightjars but this year they were very elusive and some of the guides blamed
the Rhesus Macaques for scaring them away. We rejoined our guide along the main
drag and saw the male Siberian Rubythroat come in to bathe at a small trickle
of water near the barrier (a rare bird here). 20 Red Avadavat, roosting Collared
Scops Owls and Black Bitterns were the guide's most notable finds, none of which
we saw again.
The most remarkable thing about the park this year, apparently, was the lack
of water. Areas that are usually large sheets of water covered in wildfowl were
now dry grassland. The remaining areas of open water, mostly near the temple,
did hold spectacular concentrations of birds though some species usually present
in good numbers were noticeably scarce or absent e.g. Lesser Whistling Duck,
Painted Stork and Asian Openbill. The monsoon was a very poor one last year
and they had to pump water in to keep even the modest areas of water from drying
out. Some passerines, too, seemed much scarcer than expected from others' trip
reports (e.g. Blyth's Reed Warbler) - possibly also affected by the dryer conditions.
Waders, on the other hand were probably more numerous. They included the most
bizarre record of the trip, a Long-billed Dowitcher, apparently a bird returning
for its third winter and I think the only Indian record.
The most bewildering birds were the Aquila eagles. Good numbers were
to be seen daily, mostly sat in trees but also soaring overhead and occasionally
scaring the waterbirds. Some, such as juvenile Greater Spotted, adult and juvenile
Imperial were easy to identify but often there seemed little to go on. Perched
birds in particular could be a nightmare.
Mammals were also good value with lots of Spotted Deer, Sambar, Nilgai and
Rhesus Macaques plus Wild Boar, Indian Grey Mongoose and Golden Jackal.
Checked out some areas outside the park by bicycle in the morning. Dry fields
near the entrance are a good place to see Yellow-wattled Lapwing, a species
that we did not see inside the park. Also here were albicilla Red-breasted
('Taiga') Flycatcher, Red-headed Vulture, Brown Rock Chat and Oriental Honey
Buzzard. Some grotty looking pools near the village of Mallah held three confiding
Greater Painted-snipe - I later found out that this is a regular stakeout for
In the afternoon we took bikes into the park. We cycled down to the temple
and then round Mansarova to have a close look at the Siberian Cranes. Superb
views down to 50 m but we should have left the bikes at the temple and walked
as the track became increasingly rough. Other highlights of the afternoon were
a first winter Bay-backed Shrike, a female Siberian Rubythroat in the ditch
by the temple, Yellow-eyed Babbler, Southern Grey Shrike (lahtora), Orphean
Warbler and Lesser Spotted Eagle.
Early breakfast at 0700 as usual and then to Bund Baretha (BB) in a taxi. Though
only about 20 km away the road was quite slow and it took a while to get there.
The roadside birding en route was excellent, however, with Red Collared Dove
gritting in the road, 2 Brown Crakes (one walking about in the road), Wire-tailed
Swallow, Plum-headed Parakeet, and Black-breasted Weaver with a large flock
of House Sparrows round a grain store. Our taxi driver, Surit, is a good birder
who used to work for the Bombay Natural History Society. He knew where to stop
and was good at bird finding too, as well as being an excellent driver.
Bund Baretha is a large reservoir that regularly holds Indian Skimmer but we
missed this species. One was seen the following day but they seem quite difficult
here. The water level was low with many islands exposed. It was not possible
to see the whole site so skimmers could easily be out of view at the top end
of the lake. Good numbers of diving ducks were present near the dam along with
Cotton Pygmy-goose and Comb Duck, River and Whiskered terns and a distant Glossy
Ibis and two Ospreys. We checked out the small patch of woodland below the dam
and had excellent scope vies of 2 Marshall's Ioras as well as Grey-headed Canary-flycatcher
and Greenish Warbler. We then walked along a track to the Maharaja's summer
palace that gives good views across the lake higher up. The dry scrubby and
grassy areas here held Blue Rock Thrush, White-capped Bunting, Bengal Bush Lark,
Yellow-eyed Babbler, Wryneck and Yellow-crowned Woodpecker. White-rumped Vultures
overhead were, sadly, the first of the trip reflecting the crash in vulture
populations in India. Sulphur-bellied Warblers often winter round the palace
but we couldn't find any, possibly because they leave rather early.
Back at Bharatpur the dry fields near the hotel produced a pre-roost gathering
of White Wagtails, mostly personata but also a few excellent leucopsis
and less obvious dukhunensis (the latter much like alba).
Cycled into the park at 0730 leaving the bikes at the temple and completing
an anticlockwise circuit of Mansarovar. Highlights included 2 Brooks's Leaf
Warblers in Acacias by the Ghana Canal, 3 Dalmatian Pelicans with the flock
of Whites, Streak-throated Swallow, immature Bonelli's Eagle, adult White-tailed
Eagle, singing Oriental Skylark, 'Desert' Lesser Whitethroats (along with more
common blythi) and a family of Wild Boar. In the late afternoon we took
a taxi to a village on the southern edge of the park. Here we walked in to the
park by the Chiksana Canal. This area is where the single Tiger that has been
present for some months hangs out. Local kids were a pest but did not follow
us into the park. We watched as the light faded and four species of harrier
came in to roost in the extensive area of dry grassland. These included 9 Pallid
(at least one adult male), 2 Hen, 1 Montagu's and 3 Marsh. Pallid Harrier had
been my bogey bird for years so this was a fine way to lay it rest. Other birds
coming in to roost included 40 Rosy and 2+ Tree Pipits and a flock of Scaly-breasted
Munias. Also of note were Zitting Cisticola, Siberian Stonechat and Dusky Eagle
I spent the day cycling outside the park exploring the cultivated areas beyond
Mallah as far as the Ajan Bund with a birder from Yorkshire, Jason Higgins.
This proved an excellent area with a flock of 700+ Short-toed and at least 6
Bimaculated larks, Chestnut-bellied Sandgrouse, a superb arenarius Isabelline
Shrike, Desert and Isabelline wheatears, a juvenile Montagu's Harrier mobbed
by a Black-shouldered Kite, Siberian Stonechats and Rufous-tailed Lark. The
highlight of the day was a superb Jungle Cat scoped for five minutes at sunset,
mooching about and dust bathing on the edge of a field - my first ever wild
Taxi to Agra, which is only about 60 km from Bharatpur and an easy day trip.
Paused to look at Red-naped Ibis in fields about half way there. The Taj Mahal
lived up to the hype and was without doubt the most awesome building we have
ever seen. Even so the $26 per person entry fee was hard to swallow, not so
much for the absolute price but for the staggering recent increase (when our
Rough Guide was published in 1999 it was 'Rs15 (about 25p), free on Fridays').
The grounds held a few birds including Asian Koel while the River Yamuna produced
the only gulls of the trip in the form of 2 Brown-headed Gulls. Small Indian
Mongoose was present in the flowerbeds. Agra is 'commission city' and our driver
told us he could even get commission on phone calls if he went to the right
place! Having shown us a place doing commission with its splendid $1000 carpets
he took us to a local workshop that seemed much better value. Purchased some
inlaid marble and a pashmina. On the way back we stopped at a site where Indian
Courser has been seen. This was a large dry grassy area on the left about 10
km out of Agra. It has been recently partly planted up with Eucalyptus trees
so is unlikely to get any better for coursers as the trees mature. Superb views
of single Blyth's and Richard's pipits with a flock of Tawnys. Also 18 Yellow-wattled
Last day at Keoladeo. Full day in the park cycling to the Barrier where we
left our bikes and walked along Ram Band and down to Sapan Mari along the brick
path. This more wooded route produced Brown-capped Pygmy Woodpecker, Marshall's
Iora, Chestnut-bellied Nuthatch and Woolly-necked Stork. After tea at the Forest
Lodge Janette went back to hotel and I had a last look at the cranes and other
birds around the temple. My Bharatpur list at the end of our stay was 191 species
and I missed quite a few so 200 in a week is perfectly possible. In a wet year
you can apparently see almost this many in a day, so we must return!the hotel
was possibly Jerdon's, although I couldn't quite be sure of the identification.
'A2' (first class) train ride from Bharatpur to Sawai Madhopur took about 3
hours and went without a hitch once we found the right carriage with our pre-booked
seats. Jason Higgins was on the same train and just had a standard ticket but
was able to upgrade on the train. This tactic can save having to get your ticket
at one of the limited number of stations with a computerised booking system
but if all the seats are taken then you would have to travel in second class.
This would be virtually impossible if you had luggage. Taxi the short distance
to the well appointed though slightly overpriced Ranthambore Regency Hotel where
we had a late lunch. Borrowed a bike from the hotel and cycled to an area of
semi desert with Jason. New species included Spotted Dove, Green Bee-eater,
Red-rumped Swallow, Variable Wheatear, Long-billed Vulture and Grey-necked Bunting.
An immature Pallas's Fish Eagle flew over and the best birds were two Sirkeer
Malkohas keeping low down in sparse low scrub and giving excellent views.
We thought that we had pre-booked jeep trips into Ranthambore National Park
each morning and evening for our two full days in the area. It was disappointing
therefore to discover that we were not booked on anything! The hotel had no
trouble, however, in booking us on a canter. The jeeps are best as, though you
are randomly allocated one of several routes round the park, you are the boss
so if you want to stop to look at birds they will stop. The canters are open
topped lorry-cum-bus hybrids that hold about 20 people, most of whom are intent
only on seeing Tigers. Their birding potential is therefore very limited. There
seems to be some kind of fiddle going on and it is incredibly difficult to get
a jeep unless you are staying in one of the most expensive hotels. At least
the canters are a lot cheaper at Rs 310 per person. A jeep would cost more like
Rs 1500. Whatever you manage to book they pick you up from the hotel before
dawn so you should get into the park nice and early. They ran twice a day from
about 0700 to 1000 and 1500 until 1800. After we had picked up people from several
other hotels it was well after daybreak. At first it was very cold and we needed
the blankets we were all issued with by the hotel. Once we slowed down and the
sun came up the dust was more of a problem, clouds of it enveloping us for much
of the morning with clothing, lungs, eyes and optics all receiving a coating.
The first good mammal was a Jungle Cat that I noticed moving along a rocky ridge
some distance away. It soon disappeared. Towards the end of the drive all hell
broke loose when the bloke sitting in front of me spotted a Tiger drinking at
a rocky pool. It was just sat in the open though somewhat distant. After everyone
had seen it we roared off to get closer and had better views of it sauntering
off up a rocky slope. A few minutes later we came across a traffic jam and a
second Tiger was seen in a rocky gully near the track. Everyone was climbing
on the seats and trying to get the best view and I nearly fell out at one point.
It was exciting stuff! We were lucky to see Tigers on the first trip - two birders
from Scotland had made nine trips before they scored!
After lunch we cadged a lift off our neighbours who had somehow got a jeep
booked for the whole week. They dropped us at the entrance to the park from
where we climbed up to the old fort. The views were superb and the area was
very busy as there was a religious festival in one of the temples. We then walked
back down the entrance road for the rest of the afternoon. The highlight was
a male Painted Spurfowl skulking near the stream. Other good birds included
another Marshall's Iora, Tickell's Blue Flycatcher, Crested Serpent Eagle, and
a White-capped Bunting. The highlights were a small flock of Plum-headed Parakeets
coming down to drink by the road and giving amazing views and a pair of Ruddy
Mongooses hunting on a nearby slope. Cadged a lift back to the hotel with our
Early tea then cadged a lift to the semi desert opposite the start of the entrance
road to Ranthambore at 0615. Steve Dark and a crew from South Wales, who we
met at the Sunbird Hotel, had recommended birding around the new Tiger Den Hotel.
I tried this out as it got light and found 12 Indian Coursers roosting in the
small ploughed field behind the hotel. At 0715 they woke up and pottered around
before flying off to the south at 0735. These small fields also held a juvenile
Pied Harrier, Rufous-fronted Prinia (obvious white tips to the tails and rippling
calls easily distinguishing them from the Plains that were also present), Desert
Lesser Whitethroat, Wryneck and various larks and pipits. An Indian Fox and
Black-naped Hare were new for the trip. In the afternoon we went on another
canter trip into the park. No Tigers this time but 2 Indian Gazelles were new
and the Pallas's Fish Eagle was seen again.
Dropped off pre-dawn again near the Tiger Den hotel
but no sign of the coursers so perhaps not a regular roost. The Pied Harrier
gave crippling views though, sat on a small 'hedge' at close range for about
ten minutes. Highlights of a fine morning's desert birding included Chestnut-bellied
Sandgrouse (but not the hoped-for Painted - their drinking pool was completely
dry), 2 Blyth's Pipits and an Alexandrine Parakeet.
After a fine breakfast (the food was excellent
at our hotel) we caught the train to Delhi at about midday. Though we had tickets
we discovered that our seats were not confirmed but they were quickly allocated
once we found the right official. The journey to Delhi took 7 hours but was
fairly comfortable. You won't go short of food, drink or ridiculous children's
toys as there are loads of hawkers on the train. 'Chai-chai-chai!' Four Sarus
Cranes were the best birds seen from the train. At Delhi Station we managed
to get a taxi to take us to the YWCA International Guest House, but only after
considerable persuasion. They have ripping off touri down to a fine art so negotiate
a fare before you set off and don't be swayed from your booked room - they will
try all kinds of tricks to try and get you to places where they will receive
some commission! The hotel was basic but quiet and well situated. Breakfast
was included in the price of Rs 1225 for both of us. Phoned for a take away
curry from the haven of our room. It cost about a quid and we couldn't eat all
Just time for a stroll to the parliament buildings
after breakfast then off to the Airport to spend our last Rupees and fly back
to the UK.
Little Grebe Tachybaptus
Only seen, 20 birds on each occasion, on a small
roadside pool en route to Bharatpur on 29 and at Bund Baretha (BB) on 1.
White Pelican Pelecanus onocrotalus
Only seen in and around Keoladeo NP (KNP) where
a big flock was usually present near the temple. Spiralling flocks could be
seen anywhere in and around the park. 230 was the most seen on one day.
Dalmatian Pelican Pelecanus crispus
Three adults with the White Pelican flock near
the temple on 2.
Great Cormorant Phalacrocorax carbo
Five over the Red Fort in Delhi on 28, small numbers
up to 18 regular at KNP and 10 or so at Bund Baretha on 1.
Indian Cormorant Phalacrocorax fuscicollis
The scarcest cormorant, with just two at Bund Baretha
on 1, a first winter at KNP on 5 and one at Ranthambore on 8.
Little Cormorant Phalacrocorax niger
The commonest cormorant though only in moderate
numbers at KNP, Bund Baretha and Ranthambore. 15 Noted at KNP one day but often
Indian Darter Anhinga rufa
Small numbers, up to 10, regular in and around
KNP plus one at Bund Baretha on 1 and two at Ranthambore on 8.
Grey Heron Ardea cinerea
Small numbers up to 15 regular at KNP plus six
at Bund Baretha on 1.
Purple Heron Ardea purpurea
One by a small pond in Mallah village outside KNP
31 and one at Ranthambore on 7.
Striated Heron Butorides striatus
One or two noted on three dates along the scrub-lined
margins of the pool near the temple at KNP. Usually tame once located.
Indian Pond Heron Ardeola grayii
Up to 6+ regular at KNP, plus 5 at Bund Baretha
on 1 and 2 at Ranthambore on 8
Cattle Egret Bulbulcus ibis
Regular around KNP with up to 30 in a day but few
in the park itself. Up to 10, often rather grubby-looking individuals, in a
day in Delhi. Not seen in the Ranthambore area.
Great Egret Casmerodius albus
Surprisingly small numbers, with a maximum of just
10, at KNP with ones and twos at Bund Baretha and other wetlands and roadside
pools between there and Delhi.
Intermediate Egret Mesophoyx intermedia
Even smaller numbers than the previous species
with just one or two at KNP most days and one at Bund Baretha on 1.
Little Egret Egretta garzetta
Small numbers, up to 5, at KNP and one at Bund
Black-crowned Night Heron Nycticorax
Regular roost site near the temple at KNP held
up to 35 birds.
Black Bittern Dupetor (Ixobrychus) flavicollis
2 at KNP on 30 were both at daytime roosts in thick
waterside vegetation not far from the temple.
Painted Stork Mycteria leucocephala
One over Delhi on 27 and four, near the Red Fort,
next day. One en route to Bharatpur on 29 and just two singles at KNP (they
did not breed this season because of the low water levels). Two at Bund Baretha
on1 and up to 14 seen on both canter trips at Ranthambore.
Woolly-necked Stork Ciconia episcopus
One, possibly two, at KNP on 5.
Black-necked Stork Ephippiorhynchus asiaticus
One near Akbamp, en route to Bharatpur on 29. Small
numbers, up to 7, seen on most days at KNP including at least one young bird.
Maybe 10+ individuals involved.
Black-headed Ibis Threskiornis melanocephalus
Small numbers, up to 10, most days at KNP with
just one or two at Ranthambore.
Red-naped (Black) Ibis Pseudibis papillosa
Two in road side fields about half way from Bharatpur
to Agra on 4.
Glossy Ibis Plegadis falcinellus
One at Bund Baretha on 1.
Eurasian Spoonbill Platalea leucorodia
Common at KNP with a maximum of 250 on 29.
Greylag Goose Anser anser
Good numbers of pink-billed eastern birds (rubrirostris)
were present at KNP with at least 560 on 29 but probably well into four
figures in the park altogether.
Bar-headed Goose Anser indicus
Good numbers at KNP, often in separate flocks to
the Greylags. Though the maximum daily count was 120 there were probably several
hundred in the park. 24 over Bund Baretha on 1 and 28 flying over semi desert
outside Ranthambore early on 9.
Ruddy Shelduck Tadorna ferruginea
7 at Bund Baretha on 1, and 2 at Ranthambore on
Northern Pintail Anas acuta
One of the commonest ducks at KNP with hundreds
present on the main bodies of water near the temple. Also good numbers at Bund
Baretha and a few at Ranthambore.
Common Teal Anas crecca
Also common at KNP though less so than Pintail,
with good numbers at Bund Baretha and a few at Ranthambore.
Spot-billed Duck Anas poeciloryncha
Up to 15 seen almost daily at KNP and 85 at Bund
Baretha on 1.
Mallard Anas platyrhynchos
Scarce at KNP with 1-3 on three dates.
Gadwall Anas strepera
Fairly common at KNP with up to 30 noted, hundreds
at BB and 100 at Ranthambore.
Eurasian Wigeon Anas penelope
Quite common at KNP with up to 120 estimated in
a day, though several hundred probably in total. Smaller numbers at BB and Ranthambore.
Northern Shoveler Anas clypeata
The commonest duck at KNP with numbers certainly
into four figures. Much smaller numbers at BB and Ranthambore.
Red-crested Pochard Rhodonessa (Netta)
200 at BB on 1, and just one male at KNP, on 5.
Common Pochard Aythya ferina
100 at BB on 1, but just 1-3 at KNP on 3 dates,
reflecting the lack of any deep water.
Tufted Duck Aythya fuligula
60 at BB on1.
Cotton Pygmy-goose Nettapus coromandelianus
50 at BB on 1, and 5 at Ranthambore on 7.
Comb Duck Sarkidiornis melanotos
4 at BB on 1, and 2 at KNP on 5.
Black-shouldered Kite Elanus caeruleus
One in the park at KNP on 31, with three in cultivation
south of Mallah village on 2, one en route to BB on 1 and 1-2 on two days at
Oriental Honey Buzzard Pernis ptilorhynchus
One over the Red Fort, Delhi on 28, then three
different singles in and around KNP during the week.
Black Kite Milvus migrans
Common in and around Delhi with 120+ on 27. Regular
in smaller numbers up to 10 at KNP but none seen in the Ranthambore area.
Brahminy Kite Haliastur indus
An immature at KNP on 5.
Shikra Accipiter badius
1-3 on four days at KNP, one at BB on 1 and singles
one three days in the Ranthambore area.
Eurasian Sparrowhawk Accipiter nisus
Good perched and flight views of a female near
Mallah village, near KNP, on 3. An Accipiter in Delhi on 28 was probably also
Bonelli's Eagle Hieraaetus fasciatus
A single at KNP on 29 and 2 was probably a third
calendar year bird.
Booted Eagle Hieraaetus pennatus
A single dark phase bird at KNP on 30 and 5.
Imperial Eagle Aquila heliaca
Regular at KNP, giving excellent views, with at
least four different birds involved including 2 adults and two first winters.
Steppe Eagle Aquuila nipalensis
2 over Delhi on 27. Reasonably common at KNP with
up to 6 in a day.
*Greater Spotted Eagle Aquila clanga
Probably the commonest eagle at KNP with up to
8 noted in a day. The best place to see most of the Aquila eagles was
in trees in and around the main remaining areas of open water near the temple.
Identification of many of the perched birds was problematic.
Lesser (Indian) Spotted Eagle Aquila
Scarce with singles at KNP on 30, 31 and 5 perhaps
all relating to the same bird.
White-tailed Eagle Haliaaetus albicilla
A fine adult at KNP on 29 and 2.
*Pallas's Fish Eagle Haliaaetus leucoryphus
The same immature seen near the start of the Ranthambore
entrance road on 6, 8 and 9.
Red-headed Vulture Sarcogyps calvus
One just outside the park at KNP on 31, three near
Python Gate on 2 and two at Ranthambore on 7.
Long-billed Vulture Gyps indicus
Only seen at Ranthambore with up to seven usually
around the cliffs along the entrance road.
White-rumped Vulture Gyps begalensis
2 over the Maharaja's palace at BB on 1 and 2 in
the park at KNP on 5. The low numbers a sad reflection of the very recent crash
in the Sub Continent's vulture population.
Egyptian Vulture Neophron percnopterus
6 in Delhi on 27, 25 en route to Bharatpur on 29,
up to five in the KNP area, mostly outside the park itself, and 70+ on the Agra
Hen Harrier Circus cyaneus
At least 2 including at least one adult male in
to the roost at the SE end of KNP on 2.
*Pallid Harrier Circus macrourus
At least nine in the roost at KNP on 2 including
at least one adult male.
Montagu's Harrier Circus pygargus
An adult female roosted at the SE end of KNP on
2 and a juvenile was watched being mobbed by a Black-shouldered Kite near Mallah
village on 3.
Pied Harrier Circus melanoleucos
A juvenile gave superb views near the Tiger Den
Hotel, Ranthambore, on 8 and 9.
Eurasian Marsh Harrier Circus aeruginosus
Regular in moderate numbers at KNP with 6 on 2
but only 3+ noted at the roost that evening.
Crested Serpent-eagle Spilornis cheela
Two at Ranthambore on 7 with one of the same again
Osprey Pandion haliaetus
2 at BB on 1.
Common Kestrel Falco tinnunculus
One en route to Bharatpur on 29. Up to four most
days at KNP and a single at Sawai Madhopur on 8.
*Grey Francolin Francolinus pondicerianus
Common at KNP with up to 17 in a day, and in the
Ranthambore area with up to 14. Three at BB on 1 and heard in Delhi at the east
end of Delhi Ridge on 27.
*Painted Spurfowl Galloperdix lunulata
A male near the stream along the approach road
to Ranthambore on 7.
Indian Peafowl Pavo cristatus
8 at the east end of Delhi Ridge on 27, up to 8
in the KNP area though most were seen roosting in trees opposite the Sunbird
Hotel at dawn and dusk plus a regular male at dusk in a dead tree above the
KNP entrance road, 20 on the Agra trip and particularly common at Ranthambore
with 65 on 7.
Barred Buttonquail Turnix suscitator
Excellent scope views of a pair, down to 10m, on
the track around Mansarovar, KNP on 29 and again on 31.
Common Crane Grus grus
5 at KNP on 29 (apparently larger numbers feed
outside the park).
*Sarus Crane Grus antigone
6 en route to Bahartpur (4 km before Pulwal) on
29, regular small groups including family parties at KNP with 35 on 30 but usually
about a dozen, 12 over BB on 1 and four from the train back to Delhi on 9.
*Siberian Crane Grus leucogeranus
The returning pair at KNP seen at Mansarovar from
29 to 5. They kept to one area all week and could be seen down to 50-100m from
*Brown Crake Amaurornis akool
One seen in a roadside ditch on the way to BB and
another, walking about in the open in the middle of the road, on the return
journey. Another tame bird in the stream by the first gate at Ranthambore on
White-beasted Waterhen Amaurornis phoenicurus
Easy to see at KNP where several tame birds present
and low double figures on most days. Lower numbers at BB and Ranthambore.
Common Moorhen Galinula chloropus
Small numbers regular at KNP, at BB on 1 and at
Purple Swamphen Porphyrio porphyrio
Hundreds daily at KNP but apparently far fewer
than usual. 6 at BB on 1.
Common Coot Fulica atra
Small numbers at KNP, though no counts attempted,
but hundreds at BB on 1.
Pheasant-tailed Jacana Hydrophaisianus
4 at BB on 1.
Bronze-winged Jacana Metopidius indicus
Up to 6 at KNP most days plus 2 at Ranthambore
Greater Painted-snipe Rostratula benghalensis
3 immature/males on a grotty pool on the northern
edge of the village of Mallah on 31.
Black-winged Stilt Himantopus himantopus
Small numbers, up to 20, daily at KNP, 80 on the
BB trip including a number on small roadside pools and ditches, 15 at Ranthambore
on 7 and a few from the train back to Delhi.
Avocet Recurvisrostra avosetta
One at KNP on 31.
*Indian Courser Cursorius coromandelicus
12 roosting in a small ploughed field behind the
Tiger Den Hotel near Sawai Madhopur at dawn on 8, flew off to feed elsewhere
at 0735 and were not roosting there at dawn the next day.
*White-tailed Lapwing Vanellus leucurus
Daily in the park at KNP with a maximum of 40 on
5. Otherwise just 1 at BB on 1.
Red-wattled Lapwing Vanellus indicus
Common with up to 40 at KNP, 15 at both BB and
Ranthambore and numerous roadside sightings.
Yellow-wattled Lapwing Vanellus malarbaricus
Confined to dry fields and semi-desert with 12
at Tughlaqabad on 27, up to 21 at KNP (only on cultivated fields just outside
the park entrance), 18 en route to Agra on 4 and up to 10 in the semi desert
outside Sawai Madhopur.
Kentish Plover Charadrius alexandrinus
2 at KNP on 30 and probably one of the same again
on 5 (on Mansarovar).
Little Ringed Plover Charadrius dubius
1-2 at KNP on 4 dates.
Black-tailed Godwit Limosa limosa
Common at KNP with 100+ logged some days, plus
12 at BB on 1 and 2 at Ranthambore on 7.
Spotted Redshank Tringa erythropus
Quite common in and around KNP with up to 30 in
a day. 2 at roadside pools en route to BB.
Common Redshank Tringa totanus
Frequent at KNP but in smaller numbers than the
previous species with 6 on 30. 2 at roadside pools en route to BB
Marsh Sandpiper Tringa stagnina
Up to 7 at KNP on three dates and one en route
to BB on 1.
Common Greenshank Tringa nebularia
Up to 4 daily at KNP, 4 on the trip to BB (some
en route on roadside pools) and singles at Ranthambore.
Green Sandpiper Tringa ochropus
Up to 4 daily at KNP, 10 on the trip to BB (some
en route on roadside pools) and 1-2 at Ranthambore/Sawai Madhopur (including
one over the hotel).
Wood Sandpiper Tringa glareola
Common at KNP with up 50 in a day. 5 on the BB
trip, some in roadside pools.
Common Sandpiper Actitis hypoleucos
Small numbers at all wetlands with maxima of 6
at KNP and on the BB trip.
Long-billed Dowitcher Limnodromus scolopaceus
A winter plumaged adult with Black-tailed Godwits
at Sapan Mari on 30 was a returning bird, though I think the only Indian record
Common Snipe Gallinago gallinago
Fairly common in and around KNP with up to 20 in
a day. Four en route to BB on roadside marshes on 1 and 2 at Ranthambore on
Little Stint Calidris minuta
A flock of 20 near the temple at KNP on 30 with
8 there on 5. 2 at BB on 1.
Temminck's Stint Calidris temminckii
Regular in and around KNP with 10 on 30 and singles
on small roadside pools outside the park plus 4 at BB on 1.
Dunlin Calidris alpina
One with Little and Temminck's stints at KNP on
30 and 5.
Ruff Philomachus pugnax
Common at KNP with 150 on 30. 40 at BB on 1, 8
on the Yamuna River behind the Taj Mahal on 4 and, bizarrely, a flock of up
to 35 in the semi desert near Sawai Madhopur on two occasions.
Brown-headed Gull Larus brunnicephalus
Two first winters on the Yamuna River behind the
Taj Mahal on 4.
Whiskered Tern Chlidonias hybridus
15 at BB on 1.
(Indian) River Tern Sterna aurantia
4 at KNP on 29 with one next day, 25 at BB on 1
and one on the Yamuna River behind the Taj Mahal on 4.
*Chestnut-bellied Sandgrouse Pterocles
26 around cultivated area south of the village
of Mallah outside KNP on 3 and 9 in the semi desert near Sawai Madhopur on 9.
This area also holds Painted Sandgrouse but a drinking pool where they regularly
gather at dusk was completely dry. The Chestnut-bellieds were coming in to a
slightly damp flush some distance away in mid morning.
*Yellow-footed Green Pigeon Treron phoenicoptera
15 round the tree nursery at KNP on 27, 6 near
Mallah village on 3 and 40 at Ranthambore along the entrance road on 7.
Rock Pigeon Columba livida
Feral birds common in and near towns and villages
with huge flocks in Delhi.
Eurasian Collared Dove Streptopelia decaocto
Recorded almost daily in all areas but numbers
not recorded except for a flock of 120 in cultivated fields near the Tiger Den
*Red Collared Dove Streptopelia tranquebarica
Nice views of four gritting along the roadside
early in the morning en route to BB on 1 with larger numbers of Collared and
Spotted Dove Streptopelia chinensis
6 in cultivation near Sawai Madhopur on 6.
Laughing Dove Streptopelia senegalensis
Common in all areas and often tame e.g. at KNP.
Alexandrine Parakeet Psittacula eupatria
One flew over the semi-desert area near Sawai Madhopur
Rose-ringed Parakeet Psittacula krameri
Common in all areas with over 100 estimated on
Plum-headed Parakeet Psittacula cyanocephala
Much more local than the previous species. One
en route to BB on 1, but common in the Ranthambore area with 65+ on 7 including
stunning views of some coming down to the road to feed near the main gate.
Asian Koel Eudynamis scolopacea
Two in the grounds of the Taj Mahal on 4 and one
near the Ranthambore entrance road on 7.
*Sirkeer Malkoha Phaenicophaeus leschenaultii
Excellent views of two in scrubby semi desert near
Sawai Madhopur on the evening of 6. Running around on the ground with a peculiar
Greater Coucal Centropus sinensis
Common and approachable at KNP with up to 10 in
a day. Apparently scarcer in the Ranthambore area with just one seen on 8.
*Collared Scops Owl Otus bakkamoena
A pair roosting in a palm near the sluice gate
on the main track at KNP on 30.
*Dusky Eagle Owl Bubo coromandus
Up to 3 seen on 5 dates at KNP. Most records concerned
a pair with one young in the nest about half way between the barrier and the
temple. The adults appeared at dusk each night, calling from the tops of trees.
Birds were heard calling in two other parts of KNP.
Spotted Owlet Athene brama
2-3 on 3 days at KNP, 4 on the BB trip (2 en route
and 2 round the Maharaja's palace) and two different singles in the Ranthambore
Little Swift Apus affinis
Somewhat erratic with 1-60 on four days at KNP,
12 on the BB trip and 70 over Delhi on 10.
Pied Kingfisher Ceryle rudis
Up to 4 on four days at KNP plus one at BB on 1.
White-throated Kingfisher Halcyon smyrnensis
Common at KNP with up to 12 in a day. 12 also on
the trip to BB and up to 4 in the Ranthambore area.
Green Bee-eater Merops orientalis
2-3 on 2 days in the Sawai Madhopur area (nominate
Indian Roller Coracias benghalensis
Eight on the way to Bharatpur then common and tame
at KNP with up to 15 in a day. 1-2 on 2 days in semi desert and cultivation
near Sawai Madhopur.
Common Hoopoe Upupa epops
10 around Delhi on 28, up to seven most days in
the KNP area, 3 on the BB trip and just 2 in the Ranthambore area on 9.
*Indian Grey Hornbill Ocyceros griseus
3 in the small park near Yatri Guest House, Delhi,
on 27. The others all in and around KNP with 5 near the tree nursery on 30,
one in the garden of the Sunbird Hotel next morning and one near Ram Band on
Brown-headed Barbet Megalaima zeylanica
1-3 in Delhi on 27, 28 and 10, two singles at KNP
(the tree nursery being a good site) and 1 in the park below the dam at BB on
Coppersmith Barbet Megalaima haemacephala
Singles at the Red Fort, Delhi, on 28, the tree
nursery at KNP on 30 and from the Sunbird Hotel garden on 4.
Eurasian Wryneck Jynx torquilla
One at BB on 1 and another in semi desert and cultivation
near Sawai Madhopur on 8.
Black-rumped Flameback Dinpoium beghalense
Up to 5 on 3 days at KNP and one at Ranthambore
*Yellow-crowned Woodpecker Dendrocopus
2 at KNP on 30 and 1 at BB on 1.
Brown-capped Pygmy Woodpecker Dendrocopus
2 between Ram Band and Sapan Mari, KNP on 5.
*Bengal Bushlark Mirafra assamica
1 at BB on 1, and up to 8 each day in semi desert
and cultivation near Sawai Madhopur. Note 'Indian Bush Lark' has recently been
split into three species.
Ashy-crowned Sparrow Lark Eremopteryx
2 at Tughlaqabad on 28, up to 5 in dryer areas
in and around KNP on 4 days, 7 on the BB trip on 1 and especially common in
semi desert and cultivation near Sawai Madhopur with 40 on 9.
*Rufous-tailed Lark Ammonantes phoenicurus
2 in fields SW of Mallah village on the outskirts
of KNP on 3 then 1-3 on 3 days in semi desert and cultivation near Sawai Madhopur.
Short-toed Lark Calandrella brachydactyla
2 at the harrier roost site at the SE end of KNP
on 2, spectacular flocks of at least 700 in fields SW of Mallah village next
day, 1 in semi desert and cultivation near Sawai Madhopur on 6 and 21 there
Bimaculated Lark Melanocorypha bimaculata
6 in the big flocks of Short-toed Larks near KNP
Crested Lark Galerida cristata
4 at Tughlaqabad on 28, 2 on the trip to BB on
1, 4 at the harrier roost site at KNP on 2 and 10 in fields SW of Mallah village
Oriental Skylark Alauda gulgula
1 singing near Python Gate on 2 and 3 by Ajan Bund
next day (one of them also in song).
Plain Martin Riparia paludicola
Up to 100 daily at KNP, 7 on the BB trip and small
numbers up to 6 in the Ranthambore area where they were prospecting potential
nest sites in a vertical sandy bank near the Tiger Den Hotel.
*Dusky Crag Martin Hirundo concolor
Two round the terminal of Delhi Airport on 27,
6 at BB on 1 and 3-4 on 2 dates in the Ranthambore area.
Barn Swallow Hirundo rustica
1 1-w at Tughlaqabad on 28, and irregular at KNP
with 2 on 30, 30 on 2 and 10 on 5.
Wire-tailed Swallow Hirundo smithii
3 en route to BB on 1.
Streak-throated Swallow Hirundo flavicola
6 at KNP on 2.
Red-rumped Swallow Hirundo daurica
5 in semi desert and cultivation near Sawai Madhopur
Southern Grey Shrike Lanius meridionalis
Singles at KNP on 2 dates but 5 outside the park
between Mallah and Ajan Bund on 3. 2-3 on 3 dates in semi desert and cultivation
near Sawai Madhopur. Birds of the race lahtora.
*Bay-backed Shrike Lanius vittatus
1 1-w by Mansarovar on 31, an adult in a garden
in Mallah village on 3 and 1-2 on 2 dates in open dry woodland near Sawai Madhopur.
Isabelline Shrike *arenarius Lanius isabellinus
Excellent views of an adult, probably female, on
Ajan Bund on 3. This form is the least migratory of the 'Isabelline' shrikes,
wintering mainly in NW India and Pakistan. If the proposed three-way split is
adopted this may be known as Chinese Shrike (Lanius arenarius). It is
the race formerly erroneously called isabellinus, this epithet now being
correctly (if confusingly) applied to birds formerly called speculigerus.
Long-tailed Shrike Lanius schach
1 at Tughlaqabad on 28, up to 4 on most days in
and around KNP, 4 on the BB trip and just 1 near Sawai Madhopur on 6. They were
often quite approachable and varied a lot in the intensity of Rufous tones on
the mantle and scapulars as well as in the amount of white visible at the base
of the primaries.
Black Drongo Dicrurus macrocercus
Frequent to common in open country in all areas
White-bellied Drongo Dicrurus caerulescens
6 on the approach road to Ranthambore on 7.
Brahminy Starling Sturnus pogodarum
Only seen in the Bharatpur area. It was common
in KNP with 100+ at the big roost of other starlings and mynas on 5.
Common Starling Sturnus vulgaris
8 at Tughlaqabad on 28, though not seen in the
day round KNP there were 500+ in the pre-roost gathering of mynas and starlings
there on 5. Finally 3 in semi desert and cultivation near Sawai Madhopur on
Asian Pied Starling Sturnus contra
1 in Delhi on 27. Common at KNP with flocks of
up to 200 during the day and a few hundred at the roost.
Common Myna Acridotheres tristis
Common, widespread and often tame. Not the commonest
species in the roost at KNP with low hundreds estimated there.
Bank Myna Acridotheres ginginianus
A few tame birds noted e.g. at KNP, Taj Mahal and
Ranthambore. Though big flocks were not seen during the day it was the commonest
species at the KNP roost with several thousand noisy birds dropping into the
tall swampy vegetation near the temple in the evening.
Rufous Treepie Dendrocitta vagabunda
Common and conspicuous in the Bharatpur area with
up to 12 in a day. Even more common at Ranthambore where very tame, landing
on our 'canter'.
House Crow Corvus splendens
Common and often tame in all areas though no counts
Large-billed (Jungle) Crow Corvus macrorhynchos
Frequent in moderate numbers, up to 6 in a day,
at both KNP and Ranthambore.
Common Woodshrike Tephrodornis pondicerianus
Quite common at KNP with up to 6 on five days.
3 in semi desert and cultivation near Sawai Madhopur on 8.
Small Minivet Pericrotus cinnamomeus
At KNP 2 at the tree nursery on 30 and 6 between
Ram Band and Sapan Mari on 5. All were seen in areas with good tree cover.
*Marshall's Iora Aegithena nigrolutea
2 in the small park below the dam at BB on 1, 1
between Ram Band and Sapan Mari, KNP on 5 and 1 along the entrance road to Ranthambore
on 7. All gave excellent scope views.
Red-whiskered Bulbul Pycnonotus jocosus
Evidently common in Delhi where seen daily including
23 on 27. None seen elsewhere.
*White-eared Bulbul Pycnonotus leucotis
Only at KNP where 4 on both 30 and 2 were along
the main track near the barrier.
Red-vented Bulbul Pycnonotus cafer
Common in all areas visited.
*Yellow-eyed Babbler Chrysomma sinense
At KNP 1 in the ditch by the temple on 31 and 5
along Ghana Canal on 5. 2 at BB on 1.
*Common Babbler Turdoides caudatus
In Delhi up to 6 seen in the garden of the Yatri
Guest House. In the KNP area found in dryer cultivation outside the park with
22 on the trip to BB and 11 near Mallah village on 3. Common in semi desert
and cultivation near Sawai Madhopur with 15 on 9 including singing birds.
*Large Grey Babbler Turdoides malcolmi
Always seen in rather dry areas with 5 or 6 on
two dates along the brick path at KNP, 12 where we looked for coursers 10 km
from Agra on 4, and up to 9 regular in semi desert and cultivation near Sawai
Jungle Babbler Turdoides striatus
Common noisy and often tame in areas with trees
Red-breasted Flycatcher Ficedula parva
A male in a park near the Yatri Guest House, Delhi,
on 27, and another male at KNP on 30.
Taiga Flycatcher Ficedula (parva) albicilla
All other identified 'RBFs' were albicilla
with 2-3 at KNP on 3 dates (only one adult male) and 1 at BB on 1. Additionally
there was a total of 7 bird-days of unidentified Ficedula flycatchers
either this or the previous species/subspecies at KNP on four dates.
Tickell's Blue Flycatcher Cyornis tickelliae
1 along the entrance road to Ranthambore on 7.
Grey-headed Canary Flycatcher Culicapa
5 in the small park below the dam at BB on 1.
White-browed Fantail Rhipidura albicollis
1 along the entrance road on 29 and another near
Ram Band, KNP on 5. 3 near Sawai Madhopur on 6.
Zitting Cisticola Cisticola juncidis
2 in the grassland near the harrier roost site
by Chiksana Canal, KNP on 2.
Grey-breasted Prinia Prinia hodgsonii
4 in acacia woodland near Yatri Guest House, Delhi
(eastern end of Delhi Ridge) on 27 and 2 along the entrance road to Ranthambore
*Rufous-fronted Prinia Prinia buchanani
Common in semi desert and cultivation near Sawai
Madhopur with 25 on 8. Look quite similar to plain but the white tips to the
tail feathers are obvious especially in flight and the loud trilling and rippling
calls are quite different from the little buzz of plain. The two species were
seen together near the Tiger Den Hotel.
Plain Prinia Prinia inornata
2-4 at KNP on four dates, 2 at BB on 1 and 1-3
in the Ranthambore area on 3 days.
Ashy Prinia Prinia socialis
2 in a park near Yatri Guest House, Delhi, on 27,
1-2 at KNP on four days and one at Ranthambore on 9.
Common Tailorbird Orthotomus sutorius
Quite common with 2 in Delhi on 27, up to 5 in
the Bharatpur area (including the Sunbird Hotel garden) and 2 on 2 days in the
Clamorous Reed Warbler Acrocephalus stentoreus
Singles on just 3 days at KNP, all in thick waterside
Blyth's Reed Warbler Acrocephalus dumetorum
Just one near the barrier at KNP on 5. Normally
Orphean Warbler Sylvia hortensis
1 at KNP on 3 dates with at least two different
Lesser Whitethroat Sylvia curruca (blythi)
Common in Delhi (up to 4) and at KNP with 20 on
5 but just 1 in the Ranthambore area on 7.
Desert Lesser Whitethroat Sylvia (curruca)
2-3 in dryer areas of KNP on 2 days and up to 3
each day in semi desert and cultivation near Sawai Madhopur. Birds included
here gave a stuttering Sard or tit-like call, sometimes in combination with
the more standard tack. All were in dry areas and looked small, small-billed
and often rather dingy. Iris colour varied and not all were pale-eyed. Often
fed on the ground.
Common Chiffchaff Phylloscopus collybita
1-5 in the KNP area on 6 days.
Hume's (Yellow-browed) Warbler Phylloscopus
Common in all areas with up to 4 in Delhi, up to
15 each day in the KNP area and up to 4 in the Ranthambore area.
*Brooks's Leaf Warbler Phylloscopus
2 singles in acacias along the Ghana Canal, KNP
Greenish Warbler Phylloscopus trochiloides
3 at BB on 1 and just 2 at KNP on 5. Surprisingly
Siberian Rubythroat Luscinia calliope
A male coming to drink near the barrier on 30 and
a female in a ditch behind the temple, KNP on 31.
Bluethroat Luscinia svecica
Common in and around KNP with up to 9 in a day.
Oriental Magpie Robin Copsychus saularis
7 in Delhi on 27, small numbers daily in the Bharatpur
area (including the hotel garden) with just a few round Sawai Madhopur.
Black Redstart Phoenicurus ochruros
1-2 on 3 days in dryer areas in/near KNP, 7 on
the trip to BB on 1 and 3 on 2 days in the Ranthambore area.
*Brown Rock Chat Cercomela fusca
4 at Tughlaqabad on 28, 2 on a 'building site'
near the Sunbird Hotel, KNP on 31, 8 at BB on 1, 5 at Ranthambore fort on 7
and one in the garden of the Ranthambore Regency Hotel on 8.
Siberian Stonechat Saxicola (torquata)
1 at Tughlaqabad on 28, 1-5 in the KNP area on
five days (mostly in surrounding cultivation or the dry grassland areas) and
4-5 on 2 days in semi desert and cultivation near Sawai Madhopur. After some
initial confusion over a couple early in the trip I identified all as maura,
though indica is apparently rather similar.
Pied Bushchat Saxicola caprata
Up to 4 on 3 days in and around KNP and 1-2 near
Sawai Madhopur on 2 days.
Isabelline Wheatear Oenanthe isabellina
1 in cultivated areas near Mallah village on 3
and 1-2 in semi desert and cultivation near Sawai Madhopur each day. Often tame
and would approach closely if you kept still.
Desert Wheatear Oenanthe deserti
A male at Tughlaqabad on 28, a female in cultivated
areas near Mallah village on 3, and 2 (male and female) in semi desert and cultivation
near Sawai Madhopur on 6 and 9.
*Variable Wheatear Oenanthe picata
Singles in semi desert and cultivation near Sawai
Madhopur on 6 (female), 7 (male) and 8 (female). Seemed to be 'capistrata'.
Indian Robin Saxicoloides fulicata
Common in all areas visited with counts including
15 at Tughlaqabad on 28, 30 on the trip to BB and 30 in the Ranthambore area
on 8. At KNP one was often round the tables in the hotel garden.
Blue Rock Thrush Monticola solitarius
A male near the maharaja's palace at BB on 1.
Orange-headed Thrush Zoothera citrina
Excellent views of one in the tree nursery at KNP
*Tickell's Thrush Turdus unicolor
Excellent views of a female or immature under thick
scrub just beyond the tree nursery at KNP on 30.
Great (Grey) Tit Parus major
2-3 At Ranthambore on 2 days.
Chestnut-bellied Nuthatch Sitta castanea
2 near Ram Band, KNP on 5.
Tree Pipit Anthus trivialis
2 en route to BB on 1, 2+ in to roost near the
Chiksana Canal, KNP, on 2 and 2 in semi desert and cultivation near Sawai Madhopur
on 8 and 9.
Richard's Pipit Anthus richardi
Singles at Tughlaqabad on 28 and the 'courser site'
near Agra on 4, both with flocks of Tawny Pipits.
Paddyfield Pipit Anthus rufulus
2-6 in and around KNP on five dates and 1 on the
BB trip on 1. All in grasslands or cultivated areas.
Tawny Pipit Anthus campestris
30 at Tughlaqabad on 28, 20 at the 'courser site'
near Agra on 4 and up to 18 in semi desert and cultivation near Sawai Madhopur.
All in dry sparsely vegetated areas.
Blyth's Pipit Anthus godelwskii
1 at the 'courser site' near Agra on 4 and 2 singles
in semi desert and cultivation near Sawai Madhopur on 9. All showed exceptionally
Rosy Pipit Anthus roseatus
40 in to roost near the Chiksana Canal, KNP, on
Yellow Wagtail Motacilla flava
20 at Tughlaqabad on 28, 6 on the BB trip and 3
in a pre roost gathering in fields near the hotel at KNP on 1 and 1 near Mallah
Village on 3. Apart from 1 thunbergi at Tughlaqabad nearly all the rest
Citrine Wagtail Motacilla citreola
2 at Tughlaqabad on 28, common at KNP with up to
30 in a day and 3 on the BB trip.
Grey Wagtail Motacilla cinerea
2 at KNP on 30, 1 there on 4, 1 at BB on 1 and
1 at Ranthambore on 7.
White Wagtail Motacilla alba
50 at Tughlaqabad on 28, 11 on the BB trip on 1,
small numbers at KNP apart from in cultivated fields near the hotel where pre-roost
gatherings peaked at 110 on 1. Small numbers, up to 4, in the Ranthambore area.
At least three taxa were involved. The commonest was personata (split
as Masked Wagtail by some authorities) with most being this form including 80-90%
of the pre-roost gatherings. A smaller proportion, perhaps up to 10%, were rather
alba-like and presumed to be dukhunensis. These were seen occasionally
elsewhere. At the pre-roost gatherings up to four of the striking black-backed,
white-faced leucopsis (split as Amur Wagtail by some authorities) were
White-browed Wagtail Motacilla maderaspatensis
1 at KNP on 29 with 3 next day and 1 at Ranthambore
Purple Sunbird Nectarinia asiatica
Up to 10 in a day in the KNP area, 6 on the BB
trip and up to 4 in the Ranthambore area.
Oriental White-eye Zosterops palpebrosus
4 near the Yatri Guest House, Delhi, on 27 and
3 at Ranthambore on 7.
House Sparrow Passer domesticus
Noted daily with large flocks (100+) en route to
BB and in semi desert and cultivation near Sawai Madhopur.
Chestnut-shouldered Petronia Petronia
Common, in bushy areas and gardens, at KNP with
up to 25 in a day. Up to 10 noted in the Ranthambore area.
*Black-breasted Weaver Ploceus benghalensis
6 with many House Sparrows at a grain store en
route to BB on 1 and 1 in fields near Mallah village on 3.
*Red Avadavat Amandava amandava
20 in tall grassland near Sapan Mari, KNP on 30.
Indian Silverbill Lonchura malabarica
7 at KNP on 31 plus 2 there on 5, 21 on the BB
trip on 1 and up to 6 in semi desert and cultivation near Sawai Madhopur.
Scaly-breasted Munia Lonchura punctulata
A flock of 11 flew over to roost near Chinkara
Canal, KNP on 2.
Common Rosefinch Carpodacus erythrinus
2 in a park near Yatri Guest House, Delhi, on 27.
*White-capped Bunting Emberiza stewarti
4 near the maharaja's palace at BB on 1 and 1 along
the approach road to Ranthambore on 7.
Grey-necked Bunting Emberiza buchanani
1 male in a sandy dry creek in semi desert near
Sawai Madhopur on 6.
229 species, 35 lifers.
Indian Flying Fox Pteropus giganteus
A large roost in trees at a small 'park' (public
meeting place) near BB on 1.
Rhesus Macaque Macaca mulatta
Common and 'tame' (occasionally rather aggressive)
at KNP with 40 or more on some days. 9 near the YWCA International Guest House
in Delhi on 10.
Hanuman (Common or Grey) Langur Semnopithecus
Common in and around Ranthambore with 75 estimated
on 7. A few seen from the Bharatpur-Sawai Madhopur train.
Golden Jackal Canis aureus
Good value at KNP where up to 6 in a day and often
easy to see. On one occasion a pair let our cycle rickshaw pass within a few
feet of them on the main track. On another, possibly the same pair ran along
behind the rickshaw for 1+ kilometre when seeing off two worried looking dogs
from their territory.
Indian Fox Vulpes bengalensis
1 in semi desert and cultivation near Sawai Madhopur
early on 8.
Small Asian (Small Indian) Mongoose Herpestes
1 in semi desert and cultivation near Sawai Madhopur
on 3 and 2 in the grounds of the Taj Mahal next day.
Indian Grey (Common Indian ) Mongoose Herpestes
Up to 3 at KNP on 2 days with animals often following
the tracks and allowing a quite close approach. 1 in semi desert and cultivation
near Sawai Madhopur on 8.
Ruddy Mongoose Hepestes smithii
Nice views of a pair along the approach road to
Ranthambore on 7.
*Jungle Cat Felis chaus
Excellent scope views of 1 mooching about in cultivated
fields near Mullah village, KNP, on the evening of 3. Another seen more distantly
above rocky crags at Ranthambore on 7.
*Tiger Panthera tigris
2 separate singles, an adult and an almost full-grown
youngster, from the first canter trip at Ranthambore on 7.
Wild Boar Sus scrofa
3 at KNP on 30 and a female with six half grown
young there on 3. A male from the canter at Ranthambore on 7.
Sambar Cervus unicolor
Up to 20 each day at KNP where always to be seen
near the temple. Larger numbers, up to 65, at Ranthambore.
Chital (Spotted Deer) Axis axis
3-4 on 2 days at KNP where relatively shy. Up to
100 at Ranthambore.
*Nilgai (Blue Bull) Boselaphus tragocamelus
Up to 10 almost daily at KNP with just two singles
* Chinkara (Indian Gazelle) Gazella bennettii
2 at Ranthambore on 8.
Northern (Five-striped) Palm Squirrel Funambulus
Common and often tame in all areas.
*Black-naped Hare Lepus nigricollis
1-2 in semi desert and cultivation near Sawai Madhopur
on 8 and 9.
*Indian Rock Python
2 at KNP on 29, at a regular site near the barrier.
Marsh Mugger Crocodile
Up to 20 at Ranthambore.
and Janette Martin, Pilning, South Gloucestershire, UK