|Keoladeo National Park, Rajasthan, India||Week 141 December 13th 2013|
We left Fatehpur Sikri the following day.
The gate looked a bit more imposing as we left.
|And we followed the camel cart through.|
About 30 km to Keoladeo National Park, just outside Bharatpur.
A day of bird spotting.
And who should be first ... Nepalese Pinnochio's cousin.
A white throated kingfisher.
| The park has lots of shallow water.
Just right for large herons.
Its about centre of the photo.
Predominantly acacia trees. Taller near the water and along the edges of the raised tracks. Scrubbier and more sparse away from the water.
| We cheated.
We didn't hire a naturalist, we listened as they told others what they were seeing.
A red cormorant.
But the next naturalist called it a great cormorant. .....
Ah .... not too hard.
Other tourists are predominantly Indian.
Maybe a half dozen occidentals.
| But this stumped us for a bit.
Maybe another large heron. With very extended neck.
The markings on the head have to be a giveaway, but not sure what to.
A painted stork.
We know from the sign.
And a bit unmistakeable.
| Even managed to catch one in flight.
We heard the colony before we saw it.
Lots of activity.
Is this a northern pintail?
We'll settle for 'duck' since we can't see its tail.
|The storks put on a bit of a show for us.|
| A large colony.
Lots of young looking not too far off leaving the nests.
| Followed by the white heron perch.
There's a breeding colony accessible by boat trip.
| We are in a small basin. Flooded about 250 years ago by
the Maharajah Suraj Mal when the Ajun bund (wall?) was constructed..
The British preferred it as a duck hunting reserve and inaugurated it as such in 1902.
| It became a national park in 1981. Also a Ramsar wetlands
And a world heritage site.
One of those places, like the lakes in Sweden, that are just the right depth for some of the waders, and just in the right place for migrations.
The locals make use of it too. This pair of parrots are checking out a possible nesting hole.
| There's a record of shooting parties, number of guns, and
birds shot near the central temple.
A complex mixture of nawobs, maharajahs, princes, knights, viceroys, governors, major-generals, and dead ducks.
Not sure about the ducks, but we know about the Indian Pond Heron in the centre.
The painted stork was collecting nesting material in between bouts of food hunting.
|More painted storks.|
|And Indian darters?|
| Small coots.
Being very gregarious.
Some of the birds of this park seem to flock together more than we've seen elsewhere.
| Memory failing .....
We think we've also seen partridges and pheasants in the drier areas.
|But our favourite seems to be the large herons.|
A sambar deer..
Trying to avoid us it went deeper into the water.
But thought better of it and came back our way.
Perhaps it can't swim, or the weed is a bit heavy for it.
Very suspicious of us. So we moved on to let it escape across the track.
| We didn't use the boat, we couldn't bring the truck in, it was too far to
walk, and we didn't fancy the diversion of a bicycle rickshaw rider..
Bicycles! Available at the entrance. We parked just inside.
Ali's was smaller so cost more. Mine was bigger but had advertising so cost less.
Mine was an 'all steel bicycle'. No gears. Ali's squeaked more. Maintenance doesn't seem to figure highly in India.
Just as well there were no hills. Though some of the dusty tracks were a bit heavy going.
About 15km round trip.
Surprisingly comfortable with wide tyres and sprung seat.
| So tired out we said goodbye to the ducks.
An extraordinary place.
The hotel inside the park was full and really didn't want to be bothered with us. We are camped outside a nearby hotel. A bit noisy from the road. A vaguely bland, textureless, vegetarian meal.
As we were leaving we spotted the Rajasthan Tourist Development Corp hotel that looked suitable for us on the corner of the main road, a few hundred metres west.
Isn't it always the way ....
|Ranthambore National Park, Rajasthan, India||Week 142 December 13th - 16th 2013|