Keoladeo Ghana National Park Bharatpur

If you are a birder or a nature lover, then Bharatpur is a must visit at least once in a life-time. My tryst with birding began decades back when as a wide-eyed 8 year old, my father drove us to Agra & Fatehpur Sikri and a short exploration further chanced upon this very small, quiet and pristine place called Bharatpur. At that time it was not a bird sanctuary but was much more vibrant with birdlife. My recollections then were that there was only one motel in the whole area with not a tourist in sight (it was early March) & with a good guide sharing the gems of the place, it was but natural for us to be smitten with birds. What followed was a gift from my parents of the book by Dr. Salim Ali & Laeeq Fatehally & birdwatching definitely became an interest which years later became a passion.

The park is a small 29 sq. kms area mostly made of small Jheels fed by water from the nearby Ajan Dam. It is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. In the last decade, the park has seen some particularly bad years when water has dried  and no nesting was reported. However, the park has now revived and is welcoming winged visitors in good numbers. However, the pair of famed Siberian Cranes are missing since 2005.

I joined the Nature India Group of Adesh & Mandar & spent 2 wonderful days exploring the park with them and my cycle rickshaw driver Babu Singh.

As we reach the first check-post, there is a crowd and much excitement. There is a Siberian Rub-throat flitting around in the bushes and all lenses are trained on him. It is a lifer for me & I eagerly jump down to catch a view and shots. A good birding start

Indian Scops Owl

Large Cormorant

Common Moorhen

Above & below: Northern Pintail

Juvenile of the Painted Stork in its nest

Glossy Ibis

Painted Stork

feeding the young of the Painted Storks

Black-capped Night Heron


Another lifer for me! Hume's Warbler

Black Redstart

Bronze-wing Jacana

amidst all the birdies comes this handsome male Bluebull (Nilgai)

Lesser Whistling Duck - one of the beautiful resident species

Sambar (male)

Saras cranes are endemic to India

Sambar (male)

Common Kingfisher

Golden Jackal

Common Kestrel

Yellow-footed Green Pigeons

Indian Roller

This charming migrant is the Bluethroat

Indian Scops Owl

Rufous Treepie

Flock of Purple Swamphen

above & below: Yellow-crowned Pied Woodpecker

Black-rumped Flameback

Large Cormorants

More of Lesser Whistling Ducks

And a Purple Moorhen decides to keep them company!

Purple Heron

this shy & endangered bird obliged us only from the bushes - the Black Bittern - another lifer for me!

Large Cormorant

Rose-ringed Parakeets getting romantic!

Red-breasted Flycatcher

White-throated Water Hen

another view of the Red-breasted Flycatcher

Spot-billed Pelican in flight

A fish in its throat - this Large Cormorant has just gulped a tasty meal!

Pair of Spotted Owlets

Oriental White eye

and the final closing treat - Indian Grey Hornbill
The third day was a visit to the National Chambal sanctuary to have a date with the Snout Crocodiles & Indian Skimmer. Check out the page on Chambal in this blog.

Thank you Adesh & Mandar of Nature India Tours for organising this exciting birding trip to one of the best birding destinations in the world. And another thank you to our guide and cycle rickshaw drivers especially my knowledgeable & very suave driver Babu Singh.

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