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Western India Jan 2019

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Old Sunday 27th January 2019, 01:00   #1
Rgallardy
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Western India Jan 2019

Hi all,

With a bit of time off from work, Melissa and I, along with a few friends headed to western India for Dec 28-Jan 12. The main goal of the trip was to see Great Indian Bustard, but with 15 day to bird, we covered the "standard" Western Indian itinerary plus an extra day south of Ahmadabad.

The first stop of the trip was Harike which is located in the far north west, quite a drive from Delhi. The main reason for visiting here is a few range restricted species, specifically Jerdon's Babbler ssp scindicum, Rufous-vented Prinia, Sind Sparrow, and Brooke's Leaf Warbler.

Check out the blog for more details on our time in Harike

https://budgetbirders.com/2019/01/22...an-beginnings/

Best,

Ross
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Old Monday 28th January 2019, 17:13   #2
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After the successful time at Harike, we headed south towards the town of Tal Chappar. There's two main reasons to visit this area; 1. Indian Spotted Creeper 2. Blackbucks. We started the morning about 45 minutes southeast of Tal Chappar in an area with a decent supply of Khejri trees which is the favored tree of the creeper. Luckily it didn't take long to find our target so then we drove to the Blackbuck reserve next to Tal Chappar to see one of the best antelope in the world.

Check out the blog for more about the day including the evening visit to the Bikaner cattle dump for pigeons and vultures!

https://budgetbirders.com/2019/01/27/india-tal-chappar/

Best,

Ross
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Old Thursday 31st January 2019, 11:24   #3
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Ross, Khichan is a nice place, your report refresh my memory from December 2017.

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Old Wednesday 6th February 2019, 12:42   #4
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Great Indian Bustard!

Well after finishing up Tal Chappar and stopping by Bikaner and Khichan, we finally made it to Jaisalmer, the city on the outskirts of Desert National Park (DNP). We arrived midday on the 31st of Dec, stopping by Akhil Desert park where we picked up Striolated Bunting, Red-tailed Wheatear, Indina Eagle Owl, and a surprise Syke's Nightjar. Eventually we settled in to our hostel for the night and tried to get some sleep (it was NYE in a party town so things were a bit noisy!)

The next morning we met our local guide before light and headed in to DNP to where Urash had last seen the bustards. Our hopes were high as bustard sightings had been pretty numerous the past few weeks and to our surprise the FIRST bird of the year was a group of 5 Indian Bustards flying by! We tracked the birds to where they landed, but unfortunately they were quite distant. Still really crazy to get that bird as the first bird of the year, we hadn't even seen a lark or wheatear yet! The rest of the day was spent in DNP were we finally managed better looks at the bustards later in the afternoon which you can read more about on the blog!

https://budgetbirders.com/2019/02/04...ndian-bustard/

Best,

Ross
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Old Wednesday 6th February 2019, 16:23   #5
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Surprised you didn't mention Yellow-eyed Stock Dove / Pigeon for Harike Ross, wasn't it the best place to get them at one point or am I increasing senile?
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Old Wednesday 6th February 2019, 17:18   #6
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Originally Posted by andyadcock View Post
Surprised you didn't mention Yellow-eyed Stock Dove / Pigeon for Harike Ross, wasn't it the best place to get them at one point or am I increasing senile?
Bikaner dump - already covered

cheers, a
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Old Wednesday 6th February 2019, 17:45   #7
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Bikaner dump - already covered

cheers, a
Is that close by Harike, I thought they roosted behind some temple there?
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Old Wednesday 6th February 2019, 19:42   #8
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Is that close by Harike, I thought they roosted behind some temple there?
no idea tbh but everyone sees it at the dump now, loads of them

cheers, alan
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Old Thursday 7th February 2019, 07:53   #9
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Harike is a stone's throw away.
https://www.google.com/maps/dir/Hari...27.9695827!3e0
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Old Thursday 7th February 2019, 17:38   #10
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Thanks,
I remember an article about the site in Birding World in the 90's I think it was?
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Old Friday 8th February 2019, 06:40   #11
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Harike you mean or Bikaner?
Harike has been on the birding map since long, but because of the range extension of Sind Sparrow in the direction of Delhi, most birding tours don't visit this site as it's a long drive (or a short flight) for only one site (nothing much of interest nearby).

Since Jerdon's (Sind) Babbler has been recognised as something special in taxonomy, and with a support cast of e.g. White-crowned Penduline-tit, Harike is making a come-back. Yellow-eyed (stock) Dove of Pale-backed Pigeon should winter there, but the carcass dump in Bikaner is by far the best place it seems. I don't remember many sightings of the dove in Harike.
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Old Friday 8th February 2019, 07:18   #12
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Harike you mean or Bikaner?
Harike has been on the birding map since long, but because of the range extension of Sind Sparrow in the direction of Delhi, most birding tours don't visit this site as it's a long drive (or a short flight) for only one site (nothing much of interest nearby).

Since Jerdon's (Sind) Babbler has been recognised as something special in taxonomy, and with a support cast of e.g. White-crowned Penduline-tit, Harike is making a come-back. Yellow-eyed (stock) Dove of Pale-backed Pigeon should winter there, but the carcass dump in Bikaner is by far the best place it seems. I don't remember many sightings of the dove in Harike.
I'll see if I can find the article but I definitely know Harike from the article on the Stock Doves.

Edit: I'm confused now (seems to be a permanent state recently), I found the article (Vol 9-4 1996) but it only deals with seeing them in the WP so I now have no idea where I got the name Harike and it's association with the species?
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Old Friday 8th February 2019, 07:45   #13
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There was a large (as in hundreds) winter roost of the doves in the trees next to the Sikh temple at Harike, but as far as I am aware this disappeared some years ago. Certainly I didn't see any in 2011.

Harike is a great place, and in addition to the birds Temmie mentions also has Rufous--vented Prinia.
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Old Friday 8th February 2019, 09:51   #14
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There was a large (as in hundreds) winter roost of the doves in the trees next to the Sikh temple at Harike, but as far as I am aware this disappeared some years ago. Certainly I didn't see any in 2011.

Harike is a great place, and in addition to the birds Temmie mentions also has Rufous--vented Prinia.
This is exactly what I recall but no idea now where I got that from?
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Old Friday 8th February 2019, 12:55   #15
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This is exactly what I recall but no idea now where I got that from?
I think it was pretty much common knowledge among keen birders visiting India back in the day, and if I had to guess I suspect you might have heard from either posts on the OB forum, or from the OB journal. It might even be mentioned in KK's India birding guide.
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Old Friday 8th February 2019, 12:56   #16
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This is exactly what I recall but no idea now where I got that from?
Harike and wintering Yellow-eyed Pigeons (up to 2000) are mentioned in Krys Kazmierczak ''A birdwatchers guide to India. It was published in 1998, but when I visited in March 2003 I didn't see a single one there (!)

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Old Saturday 9th February 2019, 07:21   #17
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I think it was pretty much common knowledge among keen birders visiting India back in the day, and if I had to guess I suspect you might have heard from either posts on the OB forum, or from the OB journal. It might even be mentioned in KK's India birding guide.
Thanks, probably the journal/s.
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Old Saturday 9th February 2019, 21:08   #18
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Nice report. Reminds me of the trips i made to Nanaj Sanctuary in Maharashtra to see the Great Indian Bustard. The last was in 2002. We did have good sightings then. I wonder what it will look like now ?
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Old Thursday 14th February 2019, 21:04   #19
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Originally Posted by Jens Thalund View Post
Harike and wintering Yellow-eyed Pigeons (up to 2000) are mentioned in Krys Kazmierczak ''A birdwatchers guide to India. It was published in 1998, but when I visited in March 2003 I didn't see a single one there (!)

Jens
This was my experience behind the temple too....the trees were full of crows instead at roosting time, so I wondered if they had moved in at the expense of the doves.
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Old Sunday 17th February 2019, 16:24   #20
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Siana and Mt Abu

Yikes, I missed all the conversation. Sorry, been away birding south Florida for a few days!

Anyways, after the successful search for the bustard it was off to Siana, an area of dry thorn forest with rocky outcrops. We didn't have a ton of details on where to bird in this area, but luckily did have a few GPS points from friends so headed off in search of a few targets including a trifecta of buntings and White-bellied Minivet. Unfortunately, some in the group didn't want to leave at 0200 so the compromised departure of 0430 meant we didn't arrive until midday and it was hot. After a fairly unsuccessful hike, we tried to find accommodation for the night and ended up at the Siana Resort, an absolutely wonderful little place. It was a bit expensive, but we decided to stay there as the owner's son has good locations for all the birds and was willing to help out (plus there really isn't any other options in the area)

We spent the evening and next day cleaning up on the targets of the area and then headed off to Mt Abu to look for the range restricted Green Avadavat. Luckily that search was pretty uneventful and successful with great looks at a little group for avadavats.

Also at Siana I managed to pick up my 6,000th bird, Eastern Orphean Warbler, just a few short weeks before my 30th!

Check out the blog for more on the trip to Siana and Mt Abu.

https://budgetbirders.com/2019/02/12...oss-hits-6000/

Best,

Ross
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Old Monday 4th March 2019, 18:51   #21
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Little Rann of Kutch

From Mt Abu it was time to make the long drive to the Little Rann of Kutch for a two night stay. Like most (all?) birders, we elected to stay at Desert Coursers. We arrived near dusk and quickly headed out on the flats in search of Syke's and Indian Nightjars. Although we had seen the Syke's during the day a few days prior it was good to see this species at night as well.

The next day we headed out onto the Little Rann, with low hopes as the owner of Desert Coursers had said that both the bustard and the hoopoe-lark had been exceedingly difficult this year due to the extremely dry conditions. Luckily we managed to find the bustards fairly quickly and although the hoopoe lark took most of the day, we managed good looks at it as well.

The highlight of the Little Rann though was finding out that a large flock of Sociable Plovers had been discovered just outside of Ahmedebad. The twitch was on! We arrived the next morning and had a fantastic time watching these rare shorebirds along with a few other good birds.

Check out the blog for more info

https://budgetbirders.com/2019/03/04...rann-of-kutch/

Best,

Ross
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