This is our bestselling tryst and recommended trip for Birders as well as photographers as they will get plenty of time to shoot their desired images as well as no rush for lifetime sightings. In 20 days, our team of experts will try to cover Birds from Himalayan vicinity to Dry lands; areas selected by our team experts ensure birding as well as rare sightings of mammals which are bonus to participants.
Total Number of species covered in Birding expedition: 350 +
Total Number of Recommended Days: 21 – 25*
Mode of Journey: Car, Jeep, train
Places covered in trip: Pangot , Sattal , Kilbury ,Binsar, Kotdwar, Vinayak , Bhimtal , Bharatpur , Chambal, dhanugiri,Tal chappar ,Bikaner .
*Addition places – LRK , GRK , Banni .
Best Month of the year for photography and sightings: January to June, October to January
Best Month of the year for Sighting not good for photography: July, August, September
We would like to mind you that the monsoons in Himalayas are too heavy and the winters are very cold. Your visit can be most productive in terms of bird sighting between December and June.
Brief about Places covered:
The main attraction of Pangot are its birds; around 580 bird species have been recorded in this area. One can see a variety ofHimalayan species along the way such as lammergeier, Himalayan griffon, blue-winged minla, spotted & slaty-backed forktail, rufous-bellied woodpecker, rufous-bellied niltava, khalij pheasant, variety of thrushes etc. Almost 150 bird species have been recorded at Pangot and the surrounding areas. The numerous perennial & seasonal creeks are home to a variety of flora and fauna including leopards, yellow-throated Himalayan martens, Himalayan palm civets, ghorals, barking deer and sambhar.
Sattal or Sat Tal (Hindi for “seven lakes”) is an interconnected group of seven freshwater lakes situated in the Lower Himalayan Range near Bhimtal, a town of the Nainital districtin Uttarakhand, India . During the British Raj, the area had a tea plantation, one of four in the Kumaon area at that time.
The lakes sit at an altitude of 1370 metres below lush orchards in the Mehragaon valley.
Set amongst dense forests of oak and pine trees, Sattal is one of the few unspoiled and unpolluted freshwater biomes in India. These lakes are a paradise for migratory birds. It is home to a few camps being operated mostly by local people catering to tourists looking for outdoor vacations.
Binsar Wildlife Sanctuary is known for its wide variety of flora ranging from 25 types of trees and 24 types of bushes to seven varieties of grasses. The higher altitudes of sanctuary are covered with oak and rhododendron trees. March and April are the months when flowers, especially ruby red rhododendron, are in full bloom.
The mammals include leopard (Panthera pardus), Himalayan goral (Naemorhedus goral), chital (Axis axis), musk deer (Moschus spp.),Sumatran serow (Capricornis sumatraensis), jungle cat (Felis chaus), wild boar (Sus scrofa), black bear (Ursus thibetanus), pine marten(Martes martes), red fox (Vulpes vulpes), gray langur (Presbytis entellus), rhesus macaque (Macaca mulatta), red giant flying squirrel(Petaurista petaurista), and Indian muntjac (Muntiacus muntjak). It has over 200 species of birds including tits, forktail, nuthatches,blackbirds, parakeets, laughingthrush, magpies, kalij pheasant (Lophura leucomelana), monal, koklas, eagles, woodpeckers, and Eurasian jays. Binsar is also home to many reptiles and a wide range of butterflies.
Bharatpur (Keoladeo National Park)
Macro invertebrates such as worms, insects and mollusks, though more abundant in variety and numbers than any other group of organisms, are present mostly in aquatic habitats. They are food for many fish and birds, as well as some animal species, and hence, constitute a major link in the food chain and functioning of the ecosystem. Land insects are in abundance and have a positive effect on the breeding of land birds.
Keoladeo National Park is popularly known as “bird paradise”. Over 370 bird species have been recorded in the park. Ornithologically, the park assumes significance in two respects: One because of its strategic location as a staging ground for migratory waterfowl arriving in the Indian subcontinent before dispersing to various regions. Further waterfowl converge here before departing to breeding grounds in western Palearctic region. In addition, the wetland is a wintering area for massive congregations of waterfowl. It is also the only regular wintering area in India for the critically endangered Siberian crane.
The park’s location in the Gangetic Plain makes it an unrivalled breeding site for herons, storks and cormorants, and an important wintering ground for large numbers of migrant ducks. The most common waterfowl are gadwall, shoveler, common teal, cotton teal, tufted duck, comb duck, little cormorant, great cormorant, Indian shag, ruff, painted stork, white spoonbill, Asian open-billed stork, oriental ibis, darter, common sandpiper, wood sandpiper and green sandpiper. The sarus crane, with its spectacular courtship dance, is also found here.
Among landbirds are a rich assortment consisting of warblers, babblers, bee-eaters, bulbuls, buntings, chats, partridges and quails. The Indian grey hornbill and Marshall’s iora are also present. There are many birds of prey including the osprey, peregrine, Pallas’ sea eagle, short-toed eagle, tawny eagle, imperial eagle, spotted eagle and crested serpent eagle. The greater spotted eagle has recently been recorded breeding here, a new breeding record for the species in India.
Sambar are a common sight at Keoladeo Ghana National Park.
A nilgai inside Keoladeo National Park
Mammalian fauna of Keoladeo National Park is equally rich with 27 identified species. Nilgai, feral cattle, and chital deer are common while sambar are few. Wild boar and Indian porcupine are often spotted sneaking out of the Park to raid crop fields. Two mongoose species, the small Indian mongoose and the common Indian gray mongoose, are occasionally found. Cat species present include the jungle cat and the fishing cat. The Asian palm civet and the small Indian civet are also present, but rarely sighted. The smooth-coated otter can be seen attacking birds such as coots and at times crossing the woodlands. Jackals and hyenas are also sighted and have taken up the role of predators and feed on birds and rodents. Many species of rats, mice, gerbils and bats are also found in the park.
Fish fauna of the park comprises 43 species, of which 37 enter the park along with the water from Ajan Bund, and six species are breeding residents. During a good rainy season the park receives around 65 million fish fry and fingerlings. The fish population and diversity are of high ecological importance as they form the food source of many birds.
The herpetofauna of Keoladeo National Park is diverse. Out of the ten species of turtles that are seen in Rajasthan, seven are present in this park. Besides this, there are five lizard species, thirteen snake species and seven species of amphibians. The bullfrog and skipper frog are commonly found in the wetlands. It is often easy to see a python out of its burrow and basking in the sun on a sunny winter day. The common monitor lizard, Indian porcupine and bi-colored leaf-nose bat have been seen in the same burrow as that of the python. The poisonous snakes found in the park are krait, cobra and Russell’s viper. Primates include the rhesus macaque and langurs. Large predators are absent, leopards having been deliberately exterminated by 1964, but small carnivores include Bengal fox, jackal, striped hyena, common palm civet, small Indian civet, Indian grey mongoose (Herpestes edwardsi), fishing cat, leopard cat, jungle cat and smooth-coated otter. Ungulates include blackbuck, chital, sambar, hog deer, nilgai and wild boar and feral cattle. Other mammals include Indian porcupine and Indian hare. During 2007 and 2008 attempts were been made to eradicate the mesquite Prosopis juliflora and specimens of the asteraceous genus Cineraria to prevent the park being overrun with these invasive species and to assist natural vegetation in recovering.
Tal Chappar/ Bikaner
The sanctuary is named after Chhapar village which is located at 27°-50′ North and 74°-25′ East. It is a flat saline depression locally known as a “tal” that has a unique ecosystem in the heart of the Thar Desert. Perched at a height of 302 meters (990 feet) above sea level. Tal Chhaper Sanctuary, with almost flat tract and interspersed shallow low-lying areas, has open grassland with scattered Acacia and Prosopis trees which give it an appearance of a typical savanna. The word “tal” means plane land. The rain water flows through shallow low-lying areas and collect in the small seasonal water ponds.
The geology of the zone is obscured by the wind blown over-burden. Some small hillocks and exposed rocks of slate and quartzite are found in the western side of the sanctuary. The area between hillocks and the sanctuary constitutes the watershed area of the sanctuary. The whole sanctuary used to be flooded by water during the heavy rains but with salt mining going on in the watershed, hardly any rain falling on the hillocks reaches the sanctuary.Near by villages are Jogalia, Jaitasar, Bidasar.
The forest of this region falls under major group “Tropical Forest” as per classifications of Indian forests by Champion & Seth. The forest of sanctuary area again falls under the group “Topical Thorn Forest” and sub group 6B/C “Desert Thorn Forests”.
The sanctuary area is mostly covered by grasses with a very few trees. It lies on the passageway of many migratory birds such as harriers. These birds pass through this area during September. Birds commonly seen in the sanctuary are harriers, eastern imperial eagle, tawny eagle, short-toed eagle, sparrow, and little green bee-eaters, black ibis and demoiselle cranes, which stay till March. Skylarks, crested larks, ring doves, and brown doves are seen throughout the year. Desert fox and desert cat can also be spotted along with typical avifauna such as partridge and sand grouse.
Tal Chappar Sanctuary comes alive with the chirping of various migratory birds including Montagur’s, marsh harrier, pale harrier, imperial eagle, tawny eagle, short toed eagle, sparrow hawk, skylark, crested lark, ring drove, brown dove, blue jay, green bee eaters, black ibis and demoiselle cranes.
The National Chambal Sanctuary is listed as an important bird area (IBA) IN122. and is a proposed Ramsar site. At least 320 species of resident and migratory birds inhabit the sanctuary. Migratory birds from Siberia form part of its rich avian fauna. Vulnerable bird species here include the Indian skimmer, sarus crane, Pallas’s fish eagle and Indian courser. The pallid harrier and lesser flamingo are near threatened. Winter visitors include black-bellied terns, red-crested pochard, ferruginous pochard and bar-headed goose. Other species include great thick-knee, greater flamingos, darters, and brown hawk owl.
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