Thursday, 12 February 2009

Northern India and the Himalayan Foothills Day Two

Saturday 17th January 2009

Day two was Ranthambhore day, Ranthambhore National Park is perhaps the easiest place in India to see tigers, our key target for the day.

Our first visit to the park was from dawn until 11am when we visited 'zone 3'. One of the first birds we saw crested-serpent eagle, one of the most frequently seen raptors of the trip.

Driving further into the park in our open-canter, we cam across a twitch - a few jeeps had parked up and were watching something - it was a tiger twitch! We drove up to see a huge male tiger only 25-30m from the vehicle, he was very interested in something in a tree.

We watched him for the next 45 mins or so, he wasn't too worried about us as he wandered over the track and returning back to his tree. A truly remarkable experience, the chance to see such a magnificent creature at such close proximity.

We left him in peace to go on to explore this zone further. Around the lake was some wildfowl and cormorants, river terns, 8 painted stork and a few of the commoner waders. Nearby we came across two barred-buttonquail in the sand and some grey francolins.
barred buttonquail (top)
grey francolin
Other birds seen nearby included a 'taiga' flycatcher, numerous black-rumped flamebacks, , common iora, several white-capped buntings, 3 yellow-footed green pigeons, rufous-tailed larks, purple sunbirds and 4 white bellied drongos.

On the next bit of wetland we added black-headed ibis, striated heron, greater thicknee and indian pond heron to the day's list. At both of the wetlands large number sof spotted deer were drinking alongside sambar deer. Our journey back to the park gates produced grey-headed canary flycatcher, tickell's blue flycatcher, painted spurfowl, yellow-crowned woodpecker and just outside the park over a wall we spotted a chinkara or Indian gazelle.
Ranthambhore Safari Lodge
Between 1150 and 1330 we further explored the desert area around the hotel. Notable birds included brown-capped pygmy woodpecker in the hotel grounds, southern coucal, ashy and plain prinia's, bay-backed shrike and asian koel. Red-wattled lapwing and red-vented bulbuls were numerous.

red-vented bulbul

red-wattled lapwing

In the afternoon, we returned to the park, this time exploring zone 4. First birds seen were long-billed vulture and 3 white-bellied drongos.

white-bellied drongo
A keelback snake was by a weir and red-headed vulture flew overhead.
red-headed vulture

Bird highlights of the afternoon included white-naped woodpecker, small minivets, at least 18 citrine wagtails, pheasant-tailed jacana's, besra and olive-backed pipit. On the drive out the guide spotted these two collared scops owls in a tree.
collared scops owls
Today was my 29th (ahemm) birthday - what a way to celebrate it! Fantastic views of tigers alongside some superb birding with a good bunch of mates - they even made me a cake!


  1. Cracking photos Ipin - i recall my trip their in 2005 but didn't get views of Tiger like that!! And 29??? ha ha ha, add few more years on mate...

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