Tal Chappar Sanctuary & Sambar lake October 25- 28, 2013


Tal Chappar is truly a grassland oasis situated about 200 kms from Jaipur, the capital city of Rajasthan. while traveling from Jaipur, it is worth checking out the huge Sambar lake for interesting waterfowl too.

The map shows the location of Tal Chappar. You make your base at Sujjangadh & travel to the sanctuary approx 10 kms away. be aware that very basic hotel accomodation is available, but the trip is well worth the effort for the excellent wildlife Birds. It is truly a case of good wildlife management, the credit for which goes to its far-sighted & no-nonsense dy. Conservator of Forests, Surat Singh Poonia for bringing the area back from the brink

Sambar lake proved to be rich in birdlife at this time of the year. Good sightings of Northern Shovellers, Greater Flamingoes, Gadwalls & other waterfowl. But the icing on the cake was the sightings of Red-necked Phalaropes - 4 in number that gave a real thrill. Here are some of the views

Ashy-crowned Sparrow lark taken on the way to Sambar Lake

the very common White-throated Kingfisher

Mixed waterfowl at Sambar Lake

Northern Shovellers take flight over the lake

Little Grebe

the highlight of the visit - Red-necked Phalarope in non- breeding plummage which is why you do not see the red neck

the profile of a birder!!! ha ha

reflections

view of Sambar Lake

Black-winged Stilt - another commoner, but could not resist this image of a reflection

good population of Greater Flamingoes in the wetlands. Also saw the Lesser Flamingoes - at a considerable distance

Female of the Common Stonechat

Hoopoe

Tried taking this shot from a moving vehicle & through the glass. The highway to Sujjangadh
Black-shouldered Kite
 As we leave early morning for the 10 km drive to Tal Chappar, we are greeted by a number of Grey Francolins. Common enough in most fields & the Indian countryside, but they usually scamper off when you try clicking them. They were much bolder here, I managed to get some good shots
A party of Grey Francolins welcome us to the sanctuary


Black-winged Kite in flight


Black-bucks galore in the sanctuary. The males have a beautiful coat & are some of the most photogenic creatures



above & below - female of the Pallid Harrier



male of the Common Stonechat

Isabelline Shrike

Eurasian Collared Dove


Doe of the Blackbuck are plain-coloured

Above & below - that's attitude!


Ready for a face-off

above & below - a young Cinkara is desperately trying to search for its mother and runs through all those intimidating male stags till it finally unites with the mother


Battle to win the female's favour; this is the staging ground where only male stags gather to battle it out

Spiny-tailed Lizard - close-up

Long-legged Buzzard

Interesting reptile - the Spiny-tailed Lizard; note how well camouflaged it is. Need to get used to spotting it & then you will see lots of them coming out of their holes in the ground or just going back

Black-rumped Flameback
 Whilst shooting this bird, Adesh suddenly calls out to leave everything else & look for a real catch, yes it is a Spotted Creeper that engages us for the next few poignant minutes - there is total silence as the cameras go khach khach khach! & then a moment of ahaaa!!!
above & below -My lifer & the highlight of the trip - Spotted Creeper


Male of the Small Minivet

Male (red-breasted) & female of the Small Minivet

Southern Grey Shrike

team leader Adesh scans the area for the Stoliczaw's Buschat, but luck was not on our side

One of the denizens of the sky - Steppe Eagle

Good population of Scavenger Vultures thanks to the carcass dumping ground nearby

An interesting building near the sanctuary housing a school

the cute birds that we see in our cities - Indian Silverbills

Pied Bushchat - male

Lifer for me- the Long-billed Pipit

Good population of Lesser Kestrel

female of the Red-breasted Flycatcher

After much searching Mandar looks through his binoculars & says "they are pigeons, & they are the Yellow-eyed Pigeons" & all of us rejoice at the find. these pigeons are exactly like our Blue rock Pigeons that we find in abundance in our cities and countryside, the difference is that they have yellow eyes as against the usual red eyes. with this, it is getting dark & time to wrap up our birding trip.



Two exciting & enjoyable days out in nature looking at birds, mammals and the amazing habitat finally come to an end.
For a wonderful experience, would like to thanks Adesh Shivkar & Mandar Khadilkar for organising this trip & sharing their passion. Also thank our patient and enthusiastic SUV drivers for their patience and enthusiasm. The culnary experts, Panditji at Tal Chappar dished up a feast for breakfast & Lunch and  the dhabbas served us early morning tea & dinner. Yes, enjoying the dhabba (roadside food stalls often housed in shacks or semi- permanent structures) experience is also a way of enjoying the far interior in India!

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