Friday, 27 March 2015

Classic Himalayas Tour - Off to Corbett...

We left early doors for the 7 hour drive to Tiger Camp, close to Corbett National Park at the base of the Himalayas, where we were due to have lunch. The drive was enlivened by lots of new birds for the group such as a pair of Sarus Cranes, Indian Black Ibis, River Lapwing, Green and Wood Sandpipers, Egyptian Vulture, Bank Myna, Masked Wagtail and Brown Rock-Chat.

These Sarus Cranes were a bonus sighting on the long drive to Corbett.

Upon arrival at our lunch stop, which actually turned out to be a new hotel next door to Tiger Camp, we walked down to the river and had a quick look and picked up White-browed Wagtail and Cinereous Tit. After a great lunch we noticed some movement in the flowering trees at the edge of the garden and saw Lineated Barbet, Himalayan Black Bulbul, Himalayan Bulbul, and a fine looking Alexandrine Parakeet coming to a flowering tree.

Then we set off in our jeeps to the Dhanghari Gate of Corbett NP, making a quick stop along the river where Crested Kingfisher, White-capped Water Redstart, Chestnut-headed Bee-eater, Verditer Flycatcher, Brahminy Starling and Grey-breasted Prinia were seen. 

Crested Kingfisher

The drive to the gate was also memorable for a Spot-winged Starling feeding in a Bombax tree in company with lots of Chestnut-tailed Starlings, and also in the same few trees were both Plum-headed and Red-breasted Parakeets, Grey-capped Pygmy Woodpecker, Chestnut-bellied Nuthatch and a few Spangled Drongos. There was also a pair of Indian Grey Hornbills nearby, and a cracking Maroon Oriole was also seen beside the road.

Corbett has a some of the best forests of anywhere i've been in India.

After the paperwork and formalities at the entrance gate we were off into the park and I think everyone was excited to finally be here. The habitat of dense forest, fast-flowing rivers and dry riverbeds is home to an amazing variety of birds and other wildlife including Tiger. Well, we did see pug marks and scats of this most wanted of beasts, but other animals seen included Spotted Deer, Barking Deer, Wild Boar, and Tarai Grey Langur. Birds were well represented and I think the majestic Pallas’s Fish-Eagle perched on a boulder beside a fast-flowing river was stunning. A few people managed to get on a Long-billed Thrush as it paused motionless on  close fallen tree, but it quickly dropped out of sight and was replaced by a Grey-bellied Tesia! Other goodies seen included Black Stork, Crested Serpent-Eagle, 3 Collared Falconets, Greater Yellownape, both Great and Oriental Pied Hornbills, White-throated Fantail, White-rumped Shama, Blue Whistling-Thrush, and a small flock of Red-billed Blue Magpies.

Black Stork

Collared Falconet

We arrived at Dhikala compound around 6.20pm and during the obscenely lengthy check-in and form-filling nightmare lots of Small Pratincoles were seen flying over, a pair of River Terns flew by and a few Asian Elephants were feeding in the distance. A Large-tailed Nightjar was also seen at dusk.

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