Sunday, 28 April 2019

India: Northeast

The last part of my India birding trip this year took me to the Northeast for a brief trip, where I birded the phenomenal Eaglesnest Area and Kaziranga National Park. With a stop at Nameri Tiger Reserve to break up the journey.

Eaglesnest offered some of the best birding I've ever experienced in Asia, some remarkable species and great views of most of these and I can't wait to get back for a much longer stint. It was a target trip to try and see the monotypic Spotted Elachura, which we got (and finished around 350 species in a week).

Some of the highlights from Eaglesnest area included: Bugun Liocichla (to complete my world list of Liocichlas!), Temminck's Tragopan, Ward's Trogon, Fire-tailed Myzornis, Kalij Pheasant, Beautiful Nuthatch, Yellow-rumped Honeyguide, and Himalayan Cutia.

The Eaglesnest area was also heaving with Laughingthrushes with Spotted (stunner!), Scaly, Blue-winged, Black-faced, Bhutan, Striated, and Chestnut-crowned all see well. Wren-babblers and related species were also numerous and we found Sikkim Wedge-billed Babbler, Rufous-throated Wren-Babbler, Bar-winged Wren-Babbler (one of my favourites), Scaly-breasted Cupwing etc... Barwings, Scimitar-Babblers, Sibias, and Parrotbills were also plentiful. Keep an eye open for the full trip report coming soon. 

Nameri was all about one bird, and after a bit of a hike through the jungle with an armed guard (protection from the animals!) I found myself watching a pair of Endangered (BirdLife) White-winged Ducks! Fantastic.

Kaziranga was all about one animal, the Indian One-horned Rhinoceros. An incredible animal - will be posting about the animals of India in my next post. Also had some great birds while here such as Greater Adjutant, Lesser Adjutant, Swamp Francolin, Indian Grassbird, Dusky Eagle Owl, Black-necked Stork, Slender-billed Babbler, Spot-billed Pelican, Pallas's Fish Eagle, Grey-headed Fish Eagle, Black-breasted Weaver, Finn's Weaver, and Blue-naped Pitta to name a few.

Here are a few bird pics.... 

Bugun Liocichla

Spotted Laughingthrush

Bar-winged Wren-Babbler

Spotted Elachura
Black-headed Shrike-Babbler

Blue-capped Rock Thrush

Brown Fish Owl

Brown Hawk-Owl

Dusky Eagle Owl

Eurasian Hoopoe

Golden-naped Finch

Green-tailed Sunbird

Indian Roller

Lesser Adjutant

Pallas's Fish Eagle

Stripe-throated Yuhina

White-winged Duck

Yellow-rumped Honeyguide

Thursday, 25 April 2019

India: South

Southern India has some really great birds and over the course of a week or so we found so many of them, just great birds like Sri Lanka Frogmouth, Malabar Trogon, Nilgiri Blue Robin, Nilgiri Thrush, Nilgiri Pipit, White-bellied Blue Robin, Malabar Whistling Thrush, Malabar Grey Hornbill, White-bellied Treepie, Blue-winged (Malabar) Parakeet, White-bellied Blue Flycatcher, Black-and-Orange Flycatcher, Nilgiri Laughingthrush, Palani Laughingthrush, Grey-headed and Flame-throated Bulbuls, and Grey Junglefowl.

Other goodies included Blue-faced Malkoha, White-rumped Vulture, Indian Vulture, Spot-bellied Eagle-Owl, Mottled Wood Owl, Brown Fish Owl, Indian Pitta, Heart-spotted Woodpecker, White-bellied Woodpecker, Streak-throated Woodpecker, Indian Nuthatch, White-bellied Minivet, Indian Blue Robin, and stunning Blue-capped Rock Thrush.

Another couple of cool animals too including Asian Elephant, Gray Slender Loris, Nilgiri Tahr, and Common Bronzeback Tree Snake. 

Here are some photos of the many great birds present....

Blue-capped Rock Thrush

Brown Fish Owl

Indian Blackbird

Indian Blue Robin

Indian Pittta

Malabar Grey Hornbill

Malabar Whistling Thrush

Mottled Wood Owl

Nilgiri Blue Robin

Nilgiri Pipit

Nilgiri Thrush

Palani Laughingthrush

Spot-bellied Eagle Owl

Sri Lanka Frogmouth

Taiga Flycatcher

White-bellied Blue Robin

Monday, 22 April 2019

India: Northwest

Just back from three tours around India. The first was to the Northwest with Great Indian Bustard being the main target, as well as some non-birds like Asiatic Lion and Asiatic Wild Ass. Through in Indian Leopard, Grey Hypocolius, Demoiselle Crane, Indian Courser and a ton of other great birds it was all good fun...

To see the Great Indian Bustard was amazing, especially given the situation out there currently. So we were very happy/relieved to get a couple of these soon-to-be-extinct (unfortunately) huge birds.

A pair of Critically Endangered (BirdLife International) Great Indian Bustards

Several other highlight birds were found and included the likes of Green Avadavat, White-browed (Stolitczka's) Bush Chat, Marshall's Iora, Sykes's Lark, White-naped Tit and White-bellied Minivet.

Oh and Dalmatian Pelican, to complete my world list of pelicans! Had a small group of them including one stunning full on breeding plumage bird.

The area is good for raptors and we found Indian Vulture, Steppe Eagle, Tawny Eagle, Booted Eagle, Long-legged Buzzard, Montagu's Harrier, White-eyed Buzzard, and best of all a nesting pair of Red-necked Falcons.

Waterbodies out in the desert were stacked out with shorebirds/waders, but who can resist looking at huge flocks of Demoiselle Crane, Common Crane, Great White Pelican, Painted Stork, Greater Flamingo, and Lesser Flamingo. All beautiful birds.

Also did well for nightjars with good perched views of Sykes's Nightjar, Indian Nightjar, and Jungle Nightjar.

Other small mammals included Indian Desert Jird, Jungle Cat, Golden Jackal, Indian Fox and Desert Fox. Plenty to look at, and I look forward to going back a bit earlier in the year next time which will undoubtedly be even better!

Here are a few bird pics, will post the mammals in a separate post:

Bay-backed Shrike

Chestnut-bellied Sandgrouse

Citrine Wagtail

Common Crane

Crested Bunting

Crested Honey Buzzard

Demoiselle Crane

Desert Lark

Egyptian Vulture

Green Avadavat

Indian Courser

Montagu's Harrier

Painted Stork

Red-necked Falcon

Sykes's Nightjar

Western (Black-headed) Yellow Wagtail

White-browed (Stolitczka's) Bush Chat

White-eyed Buzzard

Grey Hypocolius

White-naped Tit