Saturday, 9 March 2013

Taj Mahal

We left just after breakfast and drove into Agra where we visited the Taj Mahal and spent a nice couple of hours marvelling at the architecture and sheer beauty of this most amazing building. Birds were something of a distraction (thank goodness!) and we saw Black-eared Kite, a pair of Oriental Honey-buzzards, Little Swift and Brown Rock-chat, plus a few previously seen species along the Yamuna River behind the Taj. Afterwards, we drove on a couple of hours to Bharatpur and checked in to a nice, comfortable hotel for a three-night stay. As we were a little late in arriving for lunch we headed out into the countryside straight after lunch and drove for around an hour to some arid fields. Within a few minutes we were scoping a pair of Indian Coursers – our main target here. What a stunning bird and we were fortunate to be able to manoeuvre a lot closer to get really great views. As is always the way in India we picked up lots of other birds, but most notable was an Indian Bushlark that showed nicely and allowed us to see all the salient i.d features. There was also a Peregrine, Brown Shrike, Spotted Owlet, Red Collared-dove and a nice close Black-rumped Flameback as well. 

Greater Painted Snipe
Leaving here we drove back to Bharatpur and checked out a particularly smell old drainage ditch which was surprisingly full of birds. There was a nice selection of species here with Temminck’s Stint, Ruff, Wood and Green Sandpipers vying for attention, as well as numerous Black-winged Stilts, White-breasted Waterhen, Long-tailed Shrike and others all feeding just below. However, pride of place went to at least 3 male and 2 female Greater Painted Snipes, with a couple of them even feeding out in the open. 

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