Trip Reports

Birding trip reports from our tours

Rajasthan (Desert National Park & Tal Chhapar)—Trip Report, November 2020

Another “Looking up from lockdown“ tour to top Indian birding destinations, taking advantage of a relaxation in COVID-19 restrictions, this time visiting two of the best desert birding sites in Rajasthan. Overall birding was as usual fantastic, and we definitely felt safer being in outside environments in remote and uncrowded places, than stuck at home in towns and cities hardly getting out!

Driving from Delhi, we spent two nights near Tal Chhapar Wildlife Sanctuary, one at Bikaner to visit Jorbeer Vulture Conservation Reserve, and three at Sam in the Thar Desert for the Desert National Park. We drove back, and spent a further night in Pushkar.

Altogether we saw 209 species in just over a week, including travel days. Rajasthan has spectacular birding and, more than just the species numbers, the birding experiences were wonderful. It’s hard to single out a highlight, but to end up seeing 10 different Great Indian Bustards—almost 10% of the remaining global population—was up there of course.

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Bharatpur & Chambal River Birding—Trip Report, November 2020

This was the first of a number of short “Looking up from lockdown” tours to top Indian birding destinations, taking advantage of a relaxation in COVID-19 restrictions. Itineraries were designed to be easy-paced, minimising travel, and using established bases that we knew to be implementing sensible health precautions. Overall birding was as usual fantastic, and we definitely felt safer being in outside environments in remote and uncrowded places, than stuck at home in towns and cities hardly getting out!

Driving from Delhi, we spent three nights at the famous Keoladeo Ghana National Park at Bharatpur, followed by one at the Chambal Safari Lodge, convenient for birding the Chambal River nearby. As well as these well-known sites, we took the opportunity to visit some lesser-known sites in the area—including seeing an amazing 96 species in our 2-hour afternoon visit to Ramsagar Wildlife Sanctuary, which had no previous records at all in eBird!

Altogether we saw 207 species in just 5 days, including travel days. The overall diversity and quality of birding in this area that leaves a lasting memory. Other than wildlife, the in-the-field lunches were a definite highlight! This tour was intended to be just a 5-day trip, and the itinerary was perfect for that.

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Western Ghats Endemic Birds—Trip Report, January 2020

The first ever Bubo Birding tour was a great success, with excellent views of most of our target endemic birds of the Western Ghats, some fantastic places visited, great food, and lots of fun cross-cultural discussion thanks to our mixed American, British and Indian group!

The itinerary was slightly shortened from our typical plan and concentrated mainly on Western Ghats forest endemics. Instead of starting from Bangalore and spending our first three days in the lowlands, we began in Coimbatore and made Ooty, in the Nilgiri Hills in Tamil Nadu, our first stop. Thereafter, and having been joined by Katie, we headed to Top Slip in the Anamalai Hills, Munnar back in Nilgiri tea country in Kerala, Periyar Tiger Reserve, and finally to the extremely birdy Thattekad Bird Sanctuary.

We saw 218 species of birds altogether, which included most of the endemics (29 in total) and a further 45 near endemics, many of which only otherwise occur in Sri Lanka. Most of our targets gave exceptional views, such as the rare Kashmir Flycatcher, both endemic species of Sholakili and ‘Chilappans’, and Nilgiri Pipit just 3 m away! One of the big successes was lovely views of many species of owls in daylight, although we completely missed Spotted Owlet: the most common owl throughout India!

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