Bharatpur-November 2018 Day-2…

Bharatpur-November 2018 trip Day-2…

A new day starts in the city of Bharatpur at 6:30 when it’s time for the Park to open. Like everyone else, we also woke up at 6:00, got ready and 6:15 we were good to go.

We entered the Park at 6:30, bought the tickets and went inside with the same guides from yesterday.

(A welcoming board near the Park’s main entrance)

First of all, I want to clarify that the guides here are not like the ones most of you would imagine. They are people who take us in their rickshaws and show us the birds and tell us about them in brief or detail, as per your wishes.

Today we tried a new path. The one which goes behind Shanti Kutir Guest House. There we saw lots of ducks, pelicans and cormorants. But, the most important among all of them was a Bay-backed Shrike (Lanius vttatus). It was at a distance but not too much. It did give us good shots but they were not at all great.

(Bay-backed Shrike)

We saw an interesting thing which we didn’t know what it was but I did clicked a photograph of it.

Then, we returned back to our regular path. For the next 20 minutes, we didn’t see anything interesting. Then I spotted a Yellow Wagtail drinking water from a drying up pond (actually it was not drying up, it was slowly filling up). 

The Wagtail was not in the mood of getting its photos clicked and was moving here and there very quickly. We hardly got a shot of it. We spent a lot of time trying to get a good photograph of it but in vain.

Soon, it flew away and it was the time for us to move further. Again for some time we didn’t saw anything really cool. Disappointed, we kept moving further. At that time, we were getting a bit bored. So, we stopped for a regular White-Breasted Kingfisher (Halcyon smyrnensis).

It was then that I noticed something weird. The breast and throat of the Kingfisher were brown instead of being white. I told the matter to my father and he was also surprised to see that something was wrong with that Kingfisher. We spent 10 mins literally just staring at the bird when we realized that it was white but because the sunlight at that time was so harsh that it almost looked brown (🤣).

We moved further and we started seeing birds-lots of them (😆). But they were not special at all, at least to us all. It was a mixed colony of Painted Storks (
Mycteria leucocephala), Great Cormorants (
Phalacrocorax carbo), Little Cormorants (Microcarbo niger) and some Asian Openbills (
Anastomus oscitans).

I took the camera from my father and clicked photographs of the juvenile Openbills. When I was observing the colony through the camera, I saw that there were some new-born Painted Storks in the nest. The thing most interesting about them was that, unlike the adult or immature birds, they were pure white in colour.

While I was clicking the photographs, we heard loud calls of Sarus Cranes (Grus antigone) trumpeting. I hurriedly gave the camera to my father and there not too far away was a pair of them with a juvenile. The cranes didn’t give us a great shot as they usually do to us and went away soon.

 ( A pair of Sarus Crane with the juvenile feeding behind the adult)

We also photographed some other birds like the Black-Crowned Night Heron (Nycticorax nycticorax) and Lesser Whistling Ducks (
Dendrocygna javanica).

(A group of Lesser Whistling Ducks)

(Juvenile of Black-Crowned Night Heron)

For some time again there was silence. Not silence literally, there were noises of Painted Storks screaming and literally creating a nuisance. But the thing is that we didn’t saw anything great for a large period of time. Soon we reached Sapan Mori and by that time, we all were hungry and a bit tired too. We came inside the Park without having a breakfast. So, one of us was to go and bring food for all of us. It was decided that Adv. Abhishek Sharma, the younger one among the duo we caught up with in Ludhiana, was to go and bring omelets for us all. When he left, we decided to go on a walking trail at Bhainsa Mori. Me, my father and Adv. Ravi Sharma, we all went on the trail on foot with the cameras all ready to shoot. The first thing we saw there was a group of Little Egrets (Egretta garzetta) and an Intermediate Egret (Ardea intermedia). We didn’t click any photographs of them and kept moving. In minutes, we saw a Eurasian Marsh Harrier (Circus aeruginosus) in flight. But the problem was that the Harrier was too far away for us to get a good shot of it. So we just stood there and stared at it until it went away. And we moved further on the way. The way didn’t give us a lot and we reached the end of it. We sat there and rested for a while when I suddenly stood up and shouted, Harrier, and everyone also stood up in surprise. This time the bird was just overhead. It also didn’t easily go away and it gave numerous good shots. We were very happy with the bird because it was the first time we got a good shot of it.(Eurasian Marsh Harrier in flight)

When the bird passed us, we also went back to the Sapan Mori. On reaching there we saw a baby Indian Rock Python (Python molurus). But that when was also not in a mood of having his photograph clicked. As soon as I took the camera from my father, it went inside its hole.

We also saw an Indian Silverbill (Euodice malabarica), but the problem was that its silver bill was not visible (😂).

(Indian Silverbill with silver bill not visible).

When we were about to move further I saw a Little Heron (Butorides striata). This one gave us numerous good photographs.

(Little Heron gave us great shots)

We soon saw a Common Sandpiper (Actitis hypoleucos). We didn’t get any great photograph of it but the ones we got were not bad at all.

When we were finished with the Sandpiper a call came, from the person we sent to bring us food, telling us that he has entered the gate and will be there soon. We quickly sat in the rickshaw and hurried to the canteen and were relaxing there when our meal arrived. We were surprised to see that our food came in a big cardboard box. Inside it was a big box full of omelets rolled around bread slices. There were 3-4 packets of Chaach and some water bottles for us. We took our time and enjoyed the meal and it was the time for us to sleep. So, we all put our hats under our heads and slept on the grass of the Park’s Canteen. After an hour of sleep, we all woke up and decided to move further into the depths of the Park.

We headed straight for the temple and turned left from it. Here water level slowly decreases as we continue along this path. We traveled a lot but didn’t got something worth it. We were planning to go back and go along some other path. But suddenly the tide turned and a bird flew past us. I identified it as a Cuckoo and as always (😉), I was right, it was a Cuckoo-a Common Hawk Cuckoo (Hierococcyx varius).

(The Common Hawk Cuckoo because of whom we cancelled our plan of returning and going on a different path)

This bird marked the beginning of something very great. Soon we started seeing lots of amazing birds. The next thing we saw was something we didn’t know at that time. It was like a disputed territory. I was saying that it was a juvenile of Crested Serpent Eagle (Spilornis cheela). The guide was saying that it was some sort of a Buzzard. But, you know, I’m always right. It was Juvenile of Crested Serpent Eagle. I am not really sure actually that whether it is a Juvenile of Crested Serpent Eagle or not. Please let me know if you think I was wrong.

(The Disputed Territory (🤪) but for the time being, a Crested Serpent Eagle Juvenile)

Then we saw the most interesting part of the whole trip, the most respectful creature we ever saw-an Indian Flapshell Turtle (Lissemys punctata). The interesting thing about it was that it crossed the road in front of us and showed smartness by running quickly on seeing us. Now we all now that a job did in a hurry is never successful. The turtle got stuck between a tree and a piece of broken shrub still in the ground. We freed the turtle but by now he had learned a lesson and he didn’t run away this time and stood there staring at us and unknowingly giving us great frames.

(Indian Flapshell Turtle stuck and helpless)

(He stood there motionless staring at us)

After it, we clicked photographed many birds like the Yellow Footed Green Pigeon (Treron phoenicoptera) and the Shikra (Accipiter badius).

(Yellow Footed Green Pigeon)

(Shikra)

And the next thing we saw was amazing, though we see it every day in the Park, it was a Golden Jackal (Canius aureus).

(The way he was sitting and looking at us was scary)

But this one left us very quickly and we continued on the path and when we were about to reach the Keoladeo Temple we saw groups of different ducks disturbed by the Marsh Harrier. 

(Ducks and geese)

We also had many Greylag Geese (Anser anser) and luckily, I was able to record them going. And they were the last ones for the day and we clicked some photographs of sunset and went back to have dinner.

(Image of Sunset at Keoladeo National Park, Bharatpur)

The restaurant at which we had dinner had a very unusual name-‘Chacha Chicken Chacha Franky’ or ‘Chacha Chacha Chicken Franky’ whatever it was but the food was cheap and very good.

Continued from – Bharatpur-November 2018 Day-1…

Bharatpur-November 2018 Day-3…

~Arjun Basandrai

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