Thursday, 19 January 2017

Bikaner: Carcasses and Cranes

We left Tal Chhaapar at 5.30am and drove for 2.5 hours to Bikaner where we visited the salubrious location of a carcass dumping ground. Once on site we found the area to be covered with Egyptian Vultures (estimated 1000+) and Steppe Eagles (estimated 400+) and it was a staggering sight. 

Egyptian Vulture

View at Bikaner today

Eurasian Griffons

There were birds everywhere, including 20+ Eurasian Griffons, some Red-naped Ibis, Rosy Starlings and the prize bird – Yellow-eyed Pigeon, although frankly I prefer its other name of Eversmann’s Pigeon, which makes it sound far more interesting. It winters here, far, far away from their breeding grounds in central Asia. And it was a huge relief to connect with this species as it was a lifer for everyone in the group. 

Yellow-eyed Pigeon

The sheer spectacle of all of these raptors today was hugely impressive and I don’t think I’ve ever seen more raptors in one spot as we’ve had here this morning.

Demoiselle Cranes

So once we were sated and with another long drive on the cards we set off again. After a wickedly horrid packed lunch and another few hours on the road we called in to Keechan, famous as the wintering grounds of thousands of Demoiselle Cranes. Well, we weren’t to be disappointed as on the drive in we had an amazing sighing of a thousand cranes flying overhead, wheeling around, and with several big flocks all joining together right above us. Amazing! We drove to a nearby lake and there we had 2,500 birds flying around and landing right in front of us…

Demoiselle Cranes

We ended the day in Jaisalmer in a great hotel, with superb food and cold beers!

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