Monday, 9 March 2015

India - Chambal River

After a long night’s rest we drove down towards the Chambal River, stopping along the way to walk through an arid area of canyons and thorn scrub. I was surprised to see a couple Jungle Prinias here, and there was also Ashy and Grey-breasted Prinias as well for comparison. 

Jungle Prinia - stunning huh..?

It has to be said that India is like no other country in many respects, no aspect more apparent than the sheer volume of birds one sees whether driving along or walking. I can’t remember feeling this in the past and must have taken this amazing aspect of India’s wildlife for granted, having done so many tours here. But it is absolutely true and the sheer quality and variety of birds on view wherever you stop and look is a total contrast to many countries these days in Asia. To illustrate this fact, a small muddy puddle at the end of the lodge’s drive held both Green and Wood Sandpipers and a Common Redshank, whilst driving across the arable landscape we saw so many Green Bee-eaters on the wires, along with Chestnut-shouldered Petronias, Indian Rollers and Baya Weavers it was hard to not stop every time we came across a group of birds.

So we sauntered along the road and saw Grey Francolin, numerous Rose-ringed Parakeets, Laughing Dove, Indian Robin, a brief Yellow-eyed Babbler, lots of Bank Mynas, both Common and Large Grey Babblers and overhead a superb Short-toed Eagle looked huge. 

Bank Myna and Common Babbler

Mr and Mrs Indian Robin

Short-toed Eagle

A short drive took us down to the Chambal River and a quick scan revealed Paddyfield and Tawny Pipits, Masked and White Wagtails, Crested Lark and some close River Lapwings. Once aboard our ‘sturdy’ vessel (or tub may be more appropriate) we headed along the river and it was a little choppy due to the high wind but that didn’t stop us seeing a multitude of birds and top of the list were the 7 Indian Skimmers roosting on a sandy island. Having been told the previous evening that they are not as guaranteed as in the past and have been missing for a long time until very recently I have to admit I was a trifle worried. However, here they were and we lapped up the fantastic views. 

Indian Skimmers

We also saw all the other usual birds during our exploration such as Great Thick-Knees, a group of Knob-billed Ducks, Ruddy Shelduck, Temminck’s Stint, Pied and White-throated Kingfishers, Red-wattled Lapwings, and several Indian Black (Red-naped) Ibis

Indian Black (Red-naped) Ibis

Bar-headed Geese

Knob-billed Duck

White-browed Wagtail
Great Thick-Knee

Overhead were several Ospreys, Egyptian Vultures, Black-shouldered Kites and a Long-legged Buzzard.  

Egyptian Vulture

Really enjoyed the views of Gharials and Marsh Muggers as well….

Gharials and Soft-shelled Turtles


More Gharials

Marsh Mugger....

Returning to the lodge the large pond on the approach road held a flock of fresh breeding plumaged Painted Storks avidly feeding and allowing great photo opps. 

Painted Storks

Even at lunch it was difficult to not get distracted by Indian Grey Hornbills, Rufous Treepie, Brown-headed Barbet, Oriental White-eyes and a Grey MongooseOh and how could I 
forget the day roosting Indian Scops-Owl or the Spotted Owlets…..?

Indian Scops-Owl

We birded the gardens and surrounding fields in the late afternoon and enjoyed views of Taiga Flycatcher, Grey-headed Canary Flycatcher, Plain Prinia, Yellow-wattled Lapwing, and a pool full of birds with Bronze-winged Jacana and a couple of Greater Painted Snipes being 
the pick of a good bunch. We walked back to the lodge and ended a great day with a superb dinner.


  1. Is that picture of a Bank Mynah for my benefit Nick!!
    Its bad enough having to sit here while your out birding without my bogey bird appearing on your blog!

  2. Hope you keep up the high standard for the next two weeks - see you on Monday! (Martin and Lia)

  3. Will try Martin & Lia. And Foggy they are everywhere - even in my bathroom at one lodge...!