Bharatpur-November 2018 Day-1…

Bharatpur-November 2018 trip Day-1…

23 November, 2018 was the day when we left our homes for a 3-day trip to Bharatpur, Rajasthan.

Bharatpur is well known for the Keoladeo National Park. 1000s of birds migrate every year from various places across the globes-Siberia, Scandinavia, Europe etc.

Keoladeo is termed as ‘Birders Paradise’ due to the large numbers of bird species found here.

With over 300 different species recorded, Keoladeo National Park is the best place for a birder.

(Main entrance of Keoladeo National Park, Bharatpur)

It is the place where I come every year to find nourishment from the picturesque scenes of thousands of ducks and storks spread over a vast wetland.

It is a perfect place for a beginner to come and step into the marvelous world of our winged friends. The greenery and natural beauty is so great that I bet you will fall in love with this place at first sight. Here nature slowly pours in through every single cell into your body.

Me and my father started from our residence at Phillaur at 7:15 am and reached Ludhiana at 7:40 am to catch up with another father-son duo with whom we were to spend the next 2-3 days.

We reached Karnal at about 10:15 am and met another friend of my father and we ate together at a Dhaba. The Pranthas we enjoyed there were very delicious and full-filling.

After over-filling (😜) our stomachs we left the Dhaba and wished good-bye to the other person we met on the way and start the next part of our journey.

This one was a long but the time seemed to slip by so fast and we reached Mathura at 2 pm. Then only a 1 hour trip to Bharatpur was left. We entered Rajasthan at 2:45 pm and Bharatpur was only 10-15 minutes away from us but these 10 minutes were never-ending. But at last, we entered Bharatpur and reached Keoladeo National Park at 3:05 pm.

(An old milestone inside the Park)

The car that brought us till here was left at the parking. The Guide/Rickshaw Puller who always goes in with us in the Park was pre-informed about our arrival and he was already waiting there, ready to take us in into this birder’s ‘World of Wonder’.

We went in and were welcomed by the loud calls of peacocks calling at a distance in the dry zone and that’s where we photographed a beautiful White Cheeked Bulbul (Pycnonotus leucotis). It’s very interesting how these birds have adapted to the human-presence and are not scared or shy of humans coming close to them, which lead to some very beautiful pics.

(White Cheeked Bulbul)

Further down the Dry-Zone, we came across this very busy family of Purple Sunbirds with the male in Ecplise plumage, generally very shy but allowing us to observe it very closely and leisurely.

(Male Purple Sunbird in Eclipse plumage)

Then after crossing the Hanuman Temple, we had Thousands of Painted Storks at their nests feeding the chicks. The Cormorants Hanging by trees gave a very scary-horror movie look. There were other birds also there like Eurasian Spoonbill, Asian Openbill etc. But they were not as fascinating to us than that they were to other who were beginners. This was mainly because we have been to this place 6-7 times and we know these birds very closely.

(Eurasian Spoonbill atop a dried up tree)

We were disappointed to see not even a single trace of any duck at first but soon we started seeing some of them. It is true that we saw ducks but the number was not enough and it did not clear away our disappointment.

After crossing Sapan Mori, we saw a Dusky Eagle Owl (Bubo coromandus). It was not at a reasonable distance for us to shoot a great photo of it but it saved the day. The bird was huge and we were surprised to know that it was not a fully-grown adult. Its eyes were orange and very fierce.

(Dusky Eagle Owl has fierce looking orange eyes)

While the owl was being photographed by other bird photographers, there came a big group of House Crows (Corvus splendens) that were trying to disturb the beast and we were filled with a hope that the Owl might get irritated and come within our range but it didn’t even gave a damn to the Crows.

So we left the place and moved further into the park. We reached the Temple which is located near the Park’s Canteen but we still didn’t got anything worth a shot.

(A direction board near Park’s Canteen)

When we were going back, we decided to turn left from the main way and enter a silent world and there we knew the location of a watch-tower. In minutes we were there, standing at the top of the watch-tower relishing the beauty of the Park.

This one was also a wasted effort and we didn’t find anything there. But as we were about to leave, there came a Eurasian Marsh Harrier (Circus aeruginosus). Then came another one but they were of no use from photography point of view because they both were against light. Then came another large bird which I identified as a Montagu’s Harrier (Circus pygargus). But, the guide said that it was a Pallid Harrier (Circus macrourus). I was overwhelmed to hear those words from his mouth. I trusted him and was about to enter it in my diary when an idea to surf the net came into my mind. I spent 10 minutes and found that it was not any Montagu’s or Pallid Harrier. It was the regular Eurasian Marsh Harrier. It was a sad moment but actually “It doesn’t matter”.

(Silhouette of a Eurasian Marsh Harrier)

When we were returning back it was the time for sunset and the time for the birds as animals to go back.

There were loud calls of Golden Jackals but before I could record them, they went away. Then it was the Eurasian Thick-knee (Burhinus oedicnemus) who started calling. And it was the last one for the day.

(Eurasian Thick-Knee calling)

Then we went to the place where we were to stay. It was University Guest House.

After resting for some time we went to have a dinner. Now, the million dollar question was that where should we have dinner? Finally, we decided to go to Hotel Sunbird and try what it has got for us. The buffet there was not cheap, it was ₹550 per person, but the food was worth it.

Now it was the time to go back and this is how the day ended with a happy note…

Bharatpur-November 2018 Day-2…

Also see – Bharatpur-November 2018 Day-3…

~Arjun Basandrai

4 thoughts on “Bharatpur-November 2018 Day-1…

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