Had a change of plan this morning and decided to not go on safari but use our canter to go explore the fields and canyons about half an hours drive away. A good move as it turned out because we finally caught up with Striolated Bunting, a relatively recent split from House Bunting, and had amazingly close views as I called one in and sure enough it did come in – to within about 2 metres!!
Amidst a quite dramatic area of badlands and canyons we also had White-capped and Crested Buntings, Grey-breasted and numerous Rufous-fronted Prinias, Grey-throated Martin and others. Moving on down to a small river bordered by fields and tall rushes we had Crested and Oriental Skylarks, and both Paddyfield and Tawny Pipits in the same field as the village kids were playing cricket.
An Asian Openbill, Indian Black Ibis, Purple Heron, Marsh Harrier, Long-tailed and Great Grey Shrikes and Sykes’s Wagtail were all present. But by now it was getting hot so we drove off and headed back to the lodge, checking a few arid areas for more larks without success, but we did spot a close Indian Courser beside the road which was very nice indeed.
In the afternoon we had a safari back in the reserve along route 5 and scored with two Brown Fish-owls, Indian Vulture and Large Cuckooshrike, plus the usual Sambar, Spotted Deer, Wild Boar and Ruddy Mongoose.
In the evening we went out in search of Indian Stone-curlew which a few of the group managed to get on as it flew out of some Acacia trees and groups of Chestnut-bellied Sandgrouse flew over. But then I called in an Indian Little Nightjar which circled us several times, a Large-tailed Nightjar then flew over the trees behind us and a Savanna Nightjar called overhead and was spotlighted but it never came back in for seconds. So what a lovely way to end the day!