Saturday, 9 March 2013


Our first full day at Keoladeo National Park began with a cracking and rather confiding male Siberian Rubythroat feeding under some bushes near the car park. What a way to start the day! Then we walked over to the Nursery area and began what turned out to be a protracted search for Dusky Eagle-owl. With the new pipeline guaranteeing water here there were plenty of birds to distract us from our search, and we saw Yellow-footed Green-pigeon, Small Minivet, Bluethroat, Ashy Drongo, Tickell’s Thrush, Blyth’s Reed-warbler, Greenish Warbler, and a pair of Yellow-eyed Babblers, all accompanied to the backdrop of Grey Francolins calling everywhere.

Painted Stork Family
Returning to the main park road we jumped onto a fleet of rickshaws and headed further into the park, and the new birds began to flow. Either side of the road was filled with water and we saw all 4 egrets, Glossy and Black-headed Ibis, Comb Duck, numerous Purple Herons and lots of other birds before taking a side trail. Just a short distance along here were a pair of huge Dusky Eagle-owls roosting in a large tree on one of the Acacia covered islands, which eclipsed the pair of Black Bitterns here just a bit. So we then walked back to the main track and walked up to the Temple where we were to have our packed lunch. It took quite a while to reach the lunch point as birds were numerous and we took our time to admire the rookery, where although most of the birds had finished nesting there were still many Painted Storks nests occupied with almost fully grown young. We enjoyed close views of  almost everything, including several Steppe Eagles and a Booted Eagle, Pheasant-tailed and Bronze-winged Jacanas, Purple Swamphens, and a fine Yellow-crowned Woodpecker.

Booted eagle
Our picnic lunch turned out to be a hot meal brought from the hotel and was actually one of our best meals so far and much better than cheese sandwiches we had been expecting. As it was quite hot we decided to hang around in the shade and rest (or raptor watch) and during this time we had an Indian Spotted Eagle fly over, along with numerous Steppe Eagles, another Booted Eagle and a few Egyptian Vultures.

Eurasian Hoopoe
In the afternoon we walked along the path bordering Mansarovar Lake and picked up Greylag Goose, a White-tailed Lapwing, 20+ Small Pratincoles, 3 Greater Flamingos, Pintail Snipe, another Black Bittern, Eurasian Wryneck, numerous Citrine Wagtails, Indian Reed-warbler, and most surprisingly an immature Pallas’s Fish-eagle. At the far end we walked into the forest and quickly found a Brooks’s Leaf-warbler which showed quite well in the canopy above, even doing its distinctive hovering action for us. There was also a huge raft of ducks present comprising of nine common species to bump the list up and there were loads of waders present. Mainly Wood Sandpipers, but also Ruff, Temminck’s Stint, Green Sandpiper, and a few Spotted Sandpipers as well. Returning to our coach by rickshaw we stopped along the way to look at a Yellow Bittern and found a Moustached Warbler picking its way quietly along the waterside vegetation. And finished of with a superb male Pallid Harrier flying right over our heads just as we were about to board the bus. What a day!

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