Little Known Destinations

Maredumilli forest

Posted by K.Vinai Bhushan on August 24, 2015

 
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I   visited  Maredumilli forest in april 3rdweek 2014 ,which is 80 km from historic town rajahumdry – andrapradesh. The forest was very green even in hot summer. Falls were running with good amountof water. Thick forest with some good number of animals in cluding big cats.The pplace wa very cool and rainy. We have visited some water falls, coffeeplantations and a river. We tasted the local famous bamboo biryani too.  The accomidation facilities are good and atreasonable fares. the coordinator is very good and cooperative. Visitwww.vanavihari.com.

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Mayureshwar wildlife park

Posted by Siddesh on April 28, 2015

 
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I visited Mayureshwar wildlife park in the month of April.
Its a well kept secrete.

The main attraction of this sanctuary is Indian Gazelle ( Chinkara ) .

But there are also some rare bird found here like Indian thick Knee and Teetar.

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Badoli temple and parajhar (Rawatbhata, Raj.)

Posted by Pratap Singh on August 21, 2013

 
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The Baroli Temples Complex, also known as the Badoli temples, is located in Baroli village in Rawatbhata taluk in Kota district in Rajasthan, India.
They are built in the Pratihara style of temple architecture dated to the tenth century A.D.

Parajhar is a nearby waterfall. The underground water flowing in caves has carved statues and figures on the stones in the cave. Many people have died due to accidents near the waterfall. It is near to village called Parajhar gaon. This place is also known for historic cave-temple of Lord Shiv. During Mahashivratri a large festival is organised here. water-fall and green surrounding is the attraction for peoples.

In the way we also saw Vulture birds .

See Vulture birds image

See All Trip images

Little Known Destinations

RAJSAMAND LAKE VISIT FOT BIRD WATCHING

Posted by Deependra Singh Shekhawat on May 17, 2013

 
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ON 17/05/13, I VISITED RAJSAMAND LAKE, RAJASTHAN WITH MR. VINAY DAVE . 

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A small lake near my place

Posted by Soham on November 08, 2012

 
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I live in a captivity where there is wonderful nature and a vast flora and fauna. 
I love being here.

Just a few kilometers away from my home is a lake which is home to more than 100 species of birds.
Anyways, this is not a "lake" but is a wasteyard with sewage treated water dumped there.

My recent trip on 3 November 2012 yielded me with :
  • Cormorants
  • Marsh Harrier
  • Crested Honey Buzzard
  • Asian Paradise Flycatcher
  • White Eyed Buzzard
  • Tufted Duck
  • Common Moorhen
  • Rufous Tailed Shrike
  • Rufous Lark
  • Dalmatian Pelican
  • Isabelline Wheatear
  • Shikra
  • Glossy Ibis

Little Known Destinations

HOLIDAYS AT BAROT IN HIMACHAL PRADESH NEAR KANGRA

Posted by Major Sunil Kumar, SM on August 12, 2012

 
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ONE PLACE WHERE YOU ALWAYS FOUND YOURSELF WITH A CUTOFF FROM YOUR CELLPHONES, COMMUNICATION, AND YOU ARE NOT APPROACHABLE UNLESS YOU WANT YOURSELF TO DRIVE OUT YOURSELF 23 KMS AWAY FROM THE LOCATION TO LOCATE YOURSELF THROUGH MOB SIGNAL TOWER. THERE ARE QUITE A GOOD GUEST ROOMS OF FISHERY DEPARTMENTS, ELECTRICITY BOARDS AND THERE IS NO HOTEL SYSTEM.....WHAT PEOPLE CALL THERE IS SWEET HOME CONCEPT. THE BUILDING IS 4 TO 5 STORY AND IN THE GROUND FLOOR THE OWNER HAS MADE HIS LITTLE SHOP TO PROVIDE YOU THE LITTLE EATS WITH LITTLE AMOUNT OF OVER PRICE....AND THE ROOMS ARE RS 200/- TO 300/- PER DAY NO BEDDING REQUIRED, JUST YOUR OWN CLOTHS TO WEAR..... IN BAROT ITS A TROUT FISHING FARMING PLACE AND PEOPLE WEAR WARM SWEATER 24X7 365 DAYS.... SO YOU CAN IMAGINE... YOU GET FISHING ANGLES TO SPEND TIME AND THABAS THERE FOR YOU TO EAT YOUR MEALS....IF YOU THINK YOU CAN EXPLORE THAT AND WANT TO GO.....FEEL FREE TO CONTACT ME .....i AM NOT AN AGENT I AM JUST A TRAVELER LIKE YOU AND WANT MORE PEOPLE TO KNOW AND LIVE THE MOMENT IN LIFE...i WILL TRY TO POST THE PICS ALSO IN CASE YOU WANNA ASK ME ... WITH LEAVING LITTLE OR MORE QUERY IN YOUR MIND .....TAKE CARE ....WARM REGARDS....MAJ SUNIL KUMAR.

Little Known Destinations

nice place

Posted by bharat singh on April 26, 2012

 
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Kausauli is an excellent place.  It is situated in Himachal Pradesh.   4000ft from sea level, best place for picnic and bird watching........must see.   

Little Known Destinations

Neora valley national park ( Rhododendron Trek- jan- april)

Posted by BABIT GURUNG on February 04, 2012

 
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Every year we organize a seasonal trekking which begins from the month of December- April, the trek covers the versatile desires of all the types of nature enthusiasts. It can be an educational trek, adventure trek, amateurs trek, cultural trek, wild trek, snow trek etc, Rhododendron trek.


The places we cover are the Neora valley national and Buxa tiger reserve Depending upon the trekkers desire,


Below are the details of the dates and tariff for the participants:


Neora valley national park:


Best for Botanists, bird watchers, animal census, butterfly trek , geographical excursion, wild trek, snow trek, rhododendron trek, jungle tour.


Brief description:

Neora valley national park is rich in its heritage flora and fauna. The place is an abode to different types of medicinal hers, shrubs and extinct species. It is also a habitat for several extinct species  like the Red panda, Tiger. The trek can be an ample source for the information required for the educational thesis and theories for students. We provide professional guides for such treks. The highest point of the park is called Rachela, a virgin paradise of north bengal (9500 ft -10,000 ft), The place is beautifully decorated with the forest of rhododendron trees which are more than 300 years old. During the month of December one can enjoy the experience of snow trek. While trekking Neora valley national park the botanists can gain different experiences on different types of vegetation from , evergreen, deciduous, coniferous, bamboo and rhododendron forest. The point happens to be the meeting point of three borders, Sikkim, Bhutan and India adjacent to the legendary "Silk route".There is more to come which cannot be described in words and can only be experiences live.

Below are the dates for the participants: ( join the group)


**NOTE- ALL THE NAMES OF THE PLACES MENTIONED BELOW ARE THE LOCAL NAMES OF THE AREAS OF NEORA VALLEY NATIONAL PARK**



Category - moderate

Attraction - Snow covered green mountains, Rhododendron Blossoming


TREK ROUTES:





DAY

OPTION-1

OPTION-2

OPTION-3

1ST DAY

SAMSING FARI ( HALT)

SAMSING FARI ( HALT)

TODEY TANGTA (HALT)

2ND DAY

TONGTONGAY (HALT)

TONGTONGAY (HALT)

RUKA (HALT)

3RD DAY

TIGER CAMP (HALT)

TIGER CAMP (HALT)

RACHELA ( HALT)

4TH DAY

RACHELA (HALT)

RACHELA (HALT)

ALUBARI (HALT)/


5TH DAY

TANGTA ( HALT)

ALUBARI (HALT)

CHAUDAPHERI (HALT)

6TH DAY 


CHECK OUT (THROUGH TODEY)

CHECK OUT( THROUGH CHAUDAPHERI)

CHECK OUT (THROUGH LAVA)

     



TREKKING COST: (5NIGHTS 6 DAYS)


1.      Rs 5000 per/person (Total cost for seasoned trekkers)

2.      Rs 6000 /per person ( total cost for amateurs)

3.   Rs 9000 per/person ( for foreigners) 


The total cost includes:


1.      Food and lodging

2.      Potter charges ( two potter/per person for amateurs)

3.      Permit charges

4.      Guide charges

5.      Tents and trekking equipments ( hiring charges)

6.      Lodging at base camp and check out camp

7.      Transportation till and from base camp ( To and from nearest railway station)


*** Trekkers are requested to get a medical fitness checkup 5 days before the trek***





For Participation inquiry please contact through email or phone at :


SAMSING CHAUTHARY

A SOCIAL WELFARE GROUP OF NATURE CONSERVATIONIST

SAMSING FARI, NEAR SUNTALEY KHOLA, DISTT. DARJEELING

Phone: 9475332231, 7384083137

     Regn.No S/1L/79108


Buxa Tiger Reserve : (cultural heritage trek)


 ( 4nights 5 days Aadma trek )


Details: 

1ST - Arrival at Santalbarie (RAJABHATKHAWA)

2ND - Start trek , Santal barie > Aadma

3RD - Return to Santalbarie > Gangotia tea garden to attend the inaugaration programe of Duars cultural heritage museum and Bagpa dance. > Santalbarie (halt)

4TH  - check out


Tariff:

Rs. 3000 per person for Indians/ Rs.5000 for foreigners. 


Tariff includes:

  1.Transportation (pick and drop from the desired nearest railway station) 

2. Two night's food and lodging at Santalbarie forest village

3. Trekking expenses including porter, guide and food 

4. Home stay at Aadma along with food.

5. Local tea garden sight seeing through vehicle, 


For registration please contact  through email or phone at :





SAMSING CHAUTHARY

A SOCIAL WELFARE GROUP OF NATURE CONSERVATIONIST

SAMSING FARI, NEAR SUNTALEY KHOLA, DISTT. DARJEELING

Phone: 9475332231, 7384083137

Landline: 03562200395

     Regn.No S/1L/79108













Little Known Destinations

Magical beauty of forest

Posted by abhirami on October 21, 2011

 
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Last week I went to Periyar tiger reserve,Idukki in Kerala.I got a chance to participate in the statelevel quiz compitetion which belongs to the wildlife week celebrations.
The quiz competition was on 8 october.Kerala Forest,sports,cinema minister K.B.GANESH KUMAR inagurate the function.It is really a new experience to me.
                     We had started our journey from Unniyal,Palakkad.We went to Kumily through Vagamon route.Vagmon is a beutifull place which have green meadows.When we reach Kumily
we got lovely welcome from forest officers.Next day we went to Tekkady lake and watch the magical beauty of forest.We saw Malabar Giant Squirell and bonnet monkey in the forest.
Evening,we went to chellar kovil medu,where we can see the majesty of western ghats.In the route from Kumily to Kambam(Tamil nadu)there is a piece of protected forest area.
That dense forest's mysterious beauty make us attract in to it.
                     Next day morning,we left Kumily and went back through Ramachal Medu,Painavu,Idukki.We passed Idukki wild life sanctury in our way.Anyway,this journey helps me
to realise the beauty of forest.

Little Known Destinations

north India Birding Tour With Ghani

Posted by Ghanshyam singh (Ghani) on October 17, 2011

 
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Unexpected India 2010: Haryana and Uttar Pradesh with Ghani(GS)

 

Introduction:

 

Where

From 2nd to 18th April 2010 myself and seven friends were engaged on a superbly successful birding trip around Assam and Arunachal Pradesh in the very capable hands of James Eaton of Birdtour Asia (www.birdtourasia.com). Full details of this trip are available as a report on the Birdtour Asia Website.

 

After leaving Assam, four of us were due to transit via Delhi before continuing back to the UK, however Eyjafjallajökull Volcano had other plans and the now infamous ash cloud meant that we suddenly had a week to kill in the vicinity of Delhi. Our hastily planned route took us first to Sultanpur Bird Sanctuary for the chance to catch up with Sind Sparrow, and then up into the Himalayan Foothills of Naini Tal, Sat Tal, Pangot, Ramnagar and Corbett.

 

When

The Naini Tal area is traditionally a winter destination and we knew that our spring visit would miss various key seasonal species which winter at lower elevations in the Himalayas. This proved to be the case, however several Long-billed Thrushes were still lingering and summering Spot-winged Starlings had arrived. More importantly, Rufous-chinned Laughing-Thrush appeared on cue and both Koklass and Cheer Pheasants performed magnificently.

 

It is interesting to note that ‘Birdquest’ missed both of the latter species in December 2009, so a Spring visit would certainly seem to bring certain advantages. Hopefully this short report will provide an insight into what the Himalayan Foothills have to offer in a brief April visit.

 

 

Daily Diary:

 

Sunday 18th April

Prior to our departure from Assam, news of the Icelandic volcano and the disruption to West European travel had already started to filter through, however it was not until we reached Delhi that the full magnitude of the situation became apparent. As soon as we knew that our British Airways flight to Heathrow on April 19th was cancelled we put plans into place to visit Sultanpur Jheels early the next morning.

 

The unexpected opportunity to visit Sultanpur provided a second bite of a cherry which had been cruelly denied to us the previous December. At our last attempt delayed flights meant that we only had half an hour at this excellent site after travelling up from Nagpur, and we saw the range-restricted Sind Sparrow slip through our fingers as the daylight faded.

 

Monday 19th April

At 05.00 a very smart air-conditioned minibus awaits Andy Deighton, Martin Flack, Andy Bunting and myself, outside the Star Hotel. It is an hour-and-a-half drive to Sultanpur Jheels, which is actually in the adjacent Haryana State, and Guide(GS)  with a good knowledge of the area is essential.

Fortunately our man is suitably clued up and soon the ‘Sultanpur Bird Sanctuary’ signs start to appear. At the leafy Sanctuary car park , the local guide to whom we have been introduced just four months previously. GS informs us that our target Sind Sparrow is actually present and breeding, but outside the reserve. A ten kilometre ride to the south therefore delivers us to Basi, an area of arable land and sewage ponds where we while away the next two hours with some great birding.

 

Initially our walk takes us through recently harvested cereal fields, where we are thankful that the temperature is still relatively cool under a low, hazy sun. An early success is a group of 7 migrant Red-headed Buntings, with males sporting full rufous-fronted breeding regalia. Breeding plumaged Red Avadavats and smart Black Francolins add to the excitement of this unexpected morning of birding in a total different environment from that enjoyed during our previous two week’s travels. Ashy-crowned Finch-Larks, Oriental Skylarks and Tawny Pipits feed beside the track, while Booted and Indian Reed Warblers forage in the bushes, and Grey Francolins scamper through the dry fields.

 

In the adjacent sewage ponds Black-winged Stilts wade, as large flocks of Ruff wheel above and Wood Sandpipers ‘chiff’ excitedly. Small numbers of Temminck’s Stink and Black-tailed Godwits feed in the newly flooded paddies, as half-a-dozen Black-naped Ibis and several Greater Flamingos work the sewage pond shallows, all adding up to quite an impressive spectacle.

 

Our goal, however, is the Sind Sparrow, a somewhat enigmatic species whose very restricted range that has recently extended south from the Indus Floodplains. It doesn’t take long for Sanjay to locate a pair of the subtle Passers, which are feeding young in an unseen nest at the best of a dense bush overhanging the sewage canal. Patience allows the study this close ally of the House Sparrow, and ultimately delivers some close photographic opportunities.

 

Next we travel back to Sultanpur, though we miss out the reserve and concentrate on the dry land behind, where a pair each of Chestnut-bellied Sandgrouse and stately Sarus Cranes are soon located. It takes a more determined search, below a fierce mid-morning sun, before we secure our final target in the form of three magnificent Indian Coursers.

 

 

Our driver is Bola, who proves to be superbly competent at the wheel of his immaculate Toyota Innova, even in the face of the total mayhem which is Delhi’s rush-hour traffic. A storm of marble-sized hail stones is a shock to both us and Delhi’s local commuters, and seems incredible in the near-fifty-degree heat.

 

After leaving the sprawling capital we make more rapid progress on good roads, with a sunset stop at the Ganges breaking our journey and providing an incredibly atmospheric evening spectacle across India’s most sacred river. Dozens of bathers gather in the shallows, where floating tea lights bob downstream on the slow current. Further down the bank several funeral pyres flicker in the dimming, misty light, flanked by large gatherings of mourners; this really is a true taste of Indian life and provides one of the most vivid and moving visions of our travels.

 

It is dark before we begin to climb into the foothills, where the cereal fields give way to roadside forest. It takes a full seven hours from Delhi to reach the Sat Tal , a wonderful high altitude sanctuary where we will spend the next two nights. A superb meal awaits us, then we rapidly retire to the wonderfully cool luxury tented accommodation which could not contrast more greatly with the sweaty Star Hotel where we have spent the previous night.

 

Tuesday 20th April

After an appetising early breakfast we set off down the road which leads to Sat Tal Lake. At 1400m the temperature under the clear sky is reminiscent of a summer’s day in the UK, as we work our way through bird-laden pines and deciduous woodland. Orange-headed Thrush, Grey-winged Blackbird and Blue-capped Rock-Thrush get us started, along with Green-backed, Grey and Black-throated Tits and some stunningly close views of the gorgeous Black-headed Jays which are garden birds here.

 

Grey-hooded and Greenish Warblers are the common Phylloscs, while Streaked Laughing-Thrushes, Grey Treepies and Plum-headed Parakeets are all plentiful. Scaly-bellied and Brown-fronted Woodpeckers feed in the trees, and Bar-tailed Treecreepers spiral up mossy trunks. The appearance of a pair of Spot-winged Starlings, nectaring in a flowering tree, is a source of great excitement, as this east-to-west Himalayan migrant is a tick for all.

 

Wedge-tailed Green Pigeon, Long-tailed Minivet, Asian Brown and Blue-throated Flycatchers, Slaty-headed Parakeet, Tickell’s Thrush and Striated Prinia all add up to a memorable couple of hours in close proximity to the Lodge. Mid-morning our bird guide appears, in the shape of GS. Over the next week Ghani as he becomes known, proves to be both a first class bird-finder and a great companion, with his Himalayan experience proving invaluable.

 

Descending towards the lake, new species continue to appear thick-and-fast in what can only be described as a phenomenally bird-rich area. Speckled Piculet, Western Crowned Warbler, Black-lored Tit and Ashy Bulbul are noted, along with the very distinctive bispecularis race of Eurasian Jay with its plain crown and lack of white wing patch. Striated, White-crested and White-throated Laughing-Thrushes are all seen, but the stars are a pair of stunning Rufous-chinned Laughing-Thrushes; unbelievably they are our eighteenth species of laughing-thrush of this extended trip.

 

Sulphur-bellied and Tickell’s Leaf-Warblers, Red-billed Blue Magpie, a showy Scaly-breasted Wren-Babbler and a magnificent roosting Brown Wood Owl end a superb morning of Western Himalayan birding. Coincidentally, we have all independently visited the area up to twenty years previously, but things really seem to have changed; I don’t remember it being this birdy last time around!

 

After a fine lunch at the Lodge we travel the short distance down to Kachi Temple, a scenic if somewhat bizarre spot in the pine-clad hills, beside a beautiful babbling stream. Here a gaudily painted Hindu Temple blasts out a relentless ‘Hare Krishna’ chant, and has attracted a small attendant throng of white western would-be Hindus!

 

The crossing point to the temple affords spectacularly close views of Plumbeous and White-capped Redstarts, as well as an obliging pair of Crested Kingfishers. Our goal does not materialise, however, and we set off down the stream without a Long-billed Thrush, fearing that it has already departed its wintering haunt. Brown Dipper and a superb Spotted Forktail conclude the afternoon, then it’s back to the Lodge via a session in the local PCOs (telephone call boxes), to find out the latest flight and volcano gossip.

 

Wednesday 21st April

Our 05.30 breakfast is a positive lie-in after the NE India regime, then it’s back down to Kachi Temple to sample the latest Hare Krishna soundtrack. The birding is much a repeat of the previous evening, and we are about to leave when an exciting Ghani appears, waving his arms frantically and offering an exaggerated ‘long-bill’ gesticulation! It can mean only one thing, and a short sprint soon has us peering down onto one of the best thrushes there is. Resembling something of a weird amalgamation of thrush, terrestrial babbler and curlew, the incredible beast rummages through the bank-side litter just a few metres below us, allowing exceptional views of this normally shy species.

 

The rest of our time in the valley produces the standard fare of Crested Kingfisher, Spotted Forktail, Striated Prinia, Booted Warbler and Steppe Eagle. Then we set off to the west and our next destination of Pangot, via a visit to Naini Tal for the internet and telephones. This really is a trip down memory lane, as the thriving hill resort was our main base when we were last here in the early 1990s, and the famous boating late and its surrounds bring back many happy recollections.

 

Beyond the bustle of Naini Tal, we ascend further into a much more rural setting, where the tiny hamlet of Pangot sits between oak forest and terraced fields, at the head of a beautiful valley. After settling into our excellent chalet accommodation at the Jungle Lore Birding Lodge, and feasting on yet another superb meal, we are back in the field, this time for a steady downhill walk amongst the magnificent scenery of the Bagar Valley.

 

Afternoon birds include Black Francolin, many dazzling Blue-capped Rock-Thrushes, Striated Prinias, White-capped Bunting, Common Rosefinches, Greenish, Sulphur-bellied, Hume’s Leaf and Blyth’s Reed Warblers. The calls of Indian, Common and Oriental Cuckoos all echo down the valleys, along with those of our old friend from Arunachal Pradesh, Common Hill Partridge. It certainly isn’t the best time of year to bird this area, as the wintering specialities have departed to their high altitude breeding grounds and summer visitors to this elevation are somewhat thin on the ground, but it really is a spectacular setting in which to wander and we return for our evening cuisine in a very contented frame of mind.

 

Back at the chalet a small but menacing black scorpion has climbed the wall amongst the conglomeration of moths which are attracted to the lights. After coaxing him into a more photogenic pose we all make a mental note to check our boots for unwelcome visitors in the morning!

 

Thursday 22nd April

With pheasants firmly in our sights we eat early and set off towards the village of Vinyak, situated at an altitude of around 2300m. As we pass extensive work-in-progress, to pave the narrow track which winds through the mixed forest, the chances of catching up with a roadside pheasant seem to grow remote. Chestnut-crowned Laughing-Thrush, Himalayan Pied Woodpecker and a reunion with the Whiskered Yuhinas are all welcome, a pair of Kaleej Pheasants faintly raises hopes, and then the sudden appearance of a displaying Koklass Pheasants within a few metres of the track causes excitement within the car to reach new bounds.

 

Over the next twenty minutes, skilful manoeuvring of the car and even more skilful manoeuvring of cameras, scopes and bodies within the vehicular hide secure some mouth-watering footage of a pair of magnificent Koklass Pheasants, as the male repeatedly calls from his chosen low perch. Having secured one pheasant target, the remainder of the morning is spent scouring the nearby steep grassy slopes for Cheer Pheasant, an even more sought-after Galliform confined to the Western Himalayas.

 

Himalayan Griffon Vultures and Lammergiers keep us entertained with spectacular fly-pasts, and streaky Upland Pipits perform song flights from rocky pinnacles, but the Cheer Pheasants fail to materialise before we retire for lunch in the heat of the day. The afternoon birding session consists of a similar bout of scanning, as we all slowly become more and more intimate with every pheasant-shaped tussock and crag on the vast sloping hillside.

 

The certain highlight of the evening is the appearance of a magnificent Yellow-throated Martin, which proceeds to bound through the sparse grassland below us, possibly in search of a gamebird supper. We return to the Lodge where the day has one more surprise in store, for AD at least. Today the old chap is fifty, and to add to the ‘Birthday Pheasant’ he has already received, the staff roll out a fine birthday cake, complete with iced name and candles!

 

Friday 23rd April

Today we are at the Vinyak Cheer Pheasant site to see the sun rise, in order to maximise the chances of connecting with our last remaining target bird. We have only just stepped out of the car at the allotted viewpoint when Ghani exclaims that he has a pair of Cheer Pheasants! Even more amazing is the fact that they are not on a distant slope as we had expected, but literally right next to the road just a few hundred metres back towards the village. They are in fact so close that Ghani dashes back to prevent them escaping uphill and away, while several of us sprint off in pursuit, before cameras blaze in honour of these absolutely stunning birds.

 

For five minutes we soak up every intricate plumage detail as the pair scamper through the sparse brown grass and over the loose rocks just metres below us, before they lose patience of all the attention and launch into a glide path which takes them way down the valley; simply stunning.

 

A Chestnut-bellied Rock-Thrush is the only other notebook entry for the early morning, before we return for a final scrumptious breakfast at the lodge. Here we also take the opportunity to capture some of the incredibly photogenic occupants of the terraced gardens, such as Black-headed Jay, Streaked Laughing-Thrush, Russet Sparrow and Tickell’s Leaf-Warbler.

 

The rest of the morning is taken up in the descent to the lower altitude sites where we will spend the remainder of our stay. As we pass Naini Tal some entertainment is had with the long brass telescopes available for hire to scan the distant Himalayas, as we ponder how many Rupees we can amass by doing the same with our Kowas and Swarovskis!

 

It is already very hot by the time we arrive at the Kosi River Barrage below Ramnagar Town, yet another site with many fond memories from previous trips, this time of Ibisbills, Wallcreepers and chronic food poisoning! Although such wintering species are long gone by April, Streak-throated Swallows are nesting on the barrage, Ruddy Shelduck loaf on the river and a pair of Painted Snipe shelter from the heat at the water’s edge.

 

After checking in at the superb Tarangi Lodge, where our chalet accommodation overlooks the Kosi River, we head upstream to check for roosting Tawny Fish-Owls. The owls are more reliable in the winter months and cannot be located, but Large-tailed Nightjar, Common Hawk Cuckoo and a surprise Long-billed Thrush all oblige.

 

With an afternoon game drive booked it’s soon time to return to our hotel, where an open-backed jeep awaits to whiz us off to Corbett Tiger Reserve. Entering via the Bijarani Gate we follow a rough track through a mixture dry Sal Forest and open grassland, notching up a fine selection of birds and mammals as we drive. Jungle Babbler, Indian Grey Hornbill, Jungle Owlet and Collared Falconet are all welcome trip ticks, while Red Muntjac, Cheetal, Sambar and Asian Elephant help fill up our scant remaining camera memory card space. Black Stork, Chestnut-shouldered Petronia, Crested Bunting, Black Francolin and some superbly-plumages Peacocks round off the listing, along with a Indian Grey Mongoose, as we make our way out of the park.

 

The restaurant at Tarangi Lodge conjures up what has to be the finest cuisine of a trip notable for its culinary excellence, providing a fitting end to a very memorable day.

 

Saturday 24th April

This morning’s dawn game drive is to commence at Corbett’s Jhirna Gate, a forty-five minute drive from the hotel. The habitat is a familiar mixture of Sal and grassland, but this area is reputedly the best for finding Tiger and the multitude of fresh prints which litter the dusty dirt roads are certainly testament to a healthy population. Eyes remain glued to every bend in the road, willing an encounter with the stripy head of the forest food-chain, but our luck has clearly been exhausted on pheasants.

 

Fresh Sloth Bear tracks are also seen, but we have to be content with the usual variety of deer, another Indian Grey Mongoose, along with Indian Golden Oriole, Himalayan Flameback, White-rumped Shama, Puff-throated Babbler, Bay-backed Shrike and Brahmany Myna. Particularly memorable are the highly photogenic colony of gorgeous Blue-tailed Bee-Eaters which are busily digging holes right next to the track. Booted Eagle and White-rumped Vulture pad out the raptor list as we vacate the Park, at which point a bearing fails on our jeep, leaving us to limp to a village chai stall to await a replacement. Things could be much worse however, as we sip fine massala chai, whilst photographing the local Plum-headed Parakeets, Wrynecks, Indian Rollers and Blyth’s Reed Warblers.

 

Eventually we are rescued for a late brunch at Tarangi, with the remainder of the day being spent up river in the company of Brown Fish-Owls, White-browed Wagtails, Chestnut-tailed Starlings and Brown Dippers, beside the tranquil boulder-strewn flanks of the Kosi River.

 

Sunday 25th April

With few options left to play out the final morning of our extended trip, Ghani suggests a trip to Ramganger, a rural resort on the higher reaches of the Kosi River. Our morning walk at this scenic spot commences by crossing the impressive suspension bridge, before following a track high above the winding course of the river. Birding is rather uneventful, until we eventually pull the desired Lesser Fish Eagle out of the bag, and AD gets his final raptor fix of the trip!

 

A return to Tarangi sees up dining, packing our bags and warmly thanking the Ghani(GS) for making our unexpected trip extension such a success. Then it’s just a matter of seven hours in the car and we are back at Delhi Airport, where thankfully BA have our names on four spare seats.

 

The ‘Eyjafjallajökull Extension’ has been a remarkable success, and special thanks must certainly be extended to GS, who ensured that everything ran smoothly in spite having virtually no advance warning of our arrival.And Ghani proved to be a first class guide and turned into a personal friend through the course of our travels, whilst Balraj was a chauffeur par excellence! We would certainly recommend Ghani(GS), without hesitation, to anyone planning future travels anywhere on the North INDIA.

 

It could be said that every ash cloud does have a silver lining!

 

Ian Merrill                                                                                                                      May 2010 i.merrill@btopenworld.com                   http://uk.geocities.com/i.merrill@btopenworld.com/default.htm

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