Wednesday, 7 March 2012

NE India 2012 pt1

I am planning to recount our recent trip to India and will focus on the different sections of the trip.
The planning process started not long after we got back from the States when Dave suggested he was interested a return trip to South America and would we be interested. The answer was yes, (despite all his accidents!!) but unfortunatly the costs were going to be too great. He then suggested India and that he had wanted to go to Eaglesnest for many years....the rest is now history! The trip was organised by Jo Thomas from Wild about India and went without a hitch. If you want to go to India then I can't recommend Jo high enough, we will be using her again.
Our trip was based in 3 places, Nameri, Eaglesnest, ending in Kaziranga.
We flew out from Heathrow mid afternoon on Feb 9th arriving in Delhi in the early hours of the 10th. Getting out of the airport wasn't too bad and we were relieved to see our guide for the day waiting for us at arrivals. Our luggage was put on and into the car eventually, they wanted to drive through the edge of Delhi without strapping our bags down, the madness that is Indian roads began. I spent the first hour with my hands over my eyes as people, cows, trucks and motobikes all tried to kill themselves on our bumper!
Thankfully it soon got light and we were able to look out the window for birds. I think the first bird we saw was black kite followed by some parrot sp flying over. At a toll booth we managed to get out bins into action and bag common myna and a distant black-shouldered kite.
The journey through the edge of town was 'interesting' with people, livestock and general stuff everywhere and that was without the spine-breaking roads.
Eventually we got out of town and the birds started to come. Loads of cattle egret, great white egret, white breasted kingfisher, black kite, house crow to name a few.
After about an hour we arrived at our destination, a small wetland site called Sultanpur. We were greated with the familiar (hoopoe) and the not so familiar (jungle babbler, sunbirds, green pigeons) to name a few. After a needed breakfast we headed out birding. As is always the case when visiting somewhere new it takes forever to get anywhere because all the birds are new. Orieltal magpie robin, rufous treepie, greater coucal, ashy prinia were all things I had never heard of.
The reserve is made up of a large lake surrounded by scrubby woodland and farmland. The lake was full of waterfowl and herons. Most of the waterfowl were greylag geese, gadwall, shoveler but mixed in were comb duck, fudge duck and a large flock of bar-headed geese. The edge of the lake held a monster pair of sarus cranes, 2 white-tailed plover, marsh sand, 6 temminck's stints and 5 citrine wags.
The woodland was just as good with 5 shikra, long-tailed, bay-backed and isabeline shrikes, pied bushchat and the first of the woodpeckers, black rumped flameback.
On our way back to the hotel we checked a short grassy area for pipits and larks. This proved to be a good stop with tawny pipit, Indian robin, ashy-crowned bush lark, Indian bushlark and yellow wattled lapwing all recorded.
We got back to our hotel knackered and steeled ourselves for a 2:30 start to the airport for our internal flight!
All of these images were taken by Dave on the camera he loves!!
Ashy-crowned finch lark
White-tailed plover
Oriental magpie robin
Rufous treepie
Taiga flycatcher
Short-tailed minivet
Yellow-footed green pigeon
That should give a flavour. Next stop will be Nameri once I have edited some photos!

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