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BIRDS & TIGERS OF NORTHERN INDIA

Sunday 24th November - Thursday 12th December 2013

Simon Harrap

A wonderful Spot-bellied Eagle Owl (Simon Harrap)

A wonderful Spot-bellied Eagle Owl (Simon Harrap)

The 2013 Birdquest tour to Northern India was another great success. We enjoyed good weather, good food and great scenery, near faultless logistics and some fantastic birds and animals. Amongst the waterbirds Black-necked Stork and Sarus Crane were obvious stars, whilst a concentration of over 1,000 Bar-headed Geese was outstanding. The subcontinent’s great rivers gave us Black-bellied and River Terns, Indian Skimmer, Ibisbill and Great Stone Plover, and other waders included the sought-after Indian Courser and White-tailed Lapwings. Raptors were thin on the ground, but we did see Pallas’s Fish Eagle and Indian Spotted, Greater Spotted and Eastern Imperial Eagles, and the eight species of owl (all seen at their daylight roost) included both Brown and Tawny Fish Owl and an outstanding view of Spot-bellied Eagle Owl. We had great views of many Kaleej Pheasants, but even better was the male Koklass Pheasant on the side of the road and the prolonged scope views of Cheer Pheasant. Forest birds included Pin-tailed Green Pigeon and 16 species of woodpecker, with White-naped Flamebacks showing very well, as did Rufous-bellied Sapsucker. Orange-headed Thrush showed well, as did both White-tailed and Siberian Rubythroats, Golden Bush-Robin and Himalayan Red-flanked Bluetail. Rufous-chinned Laughingthrush and Nepal Wren-Babbler were notable amongst the many babblers and babbler-allies, and the warblers included the newly-split West Himalayan Bush Warbler. Chestnut-bellied and Painted Sangrouse, Indian Jungle Nightjar, Wallcreeper, Grey-necked and White-capped Buntings and Black-headed Jay were other starts, and then there were the mammals.... We saw four Tigers, and each one showed better than the last. We also enjoyed Asian Elephant, Yellow-throated Marten and Ganges River Dolphin, all adding up to a feast of wildlife!

The superb Painted Spurfowl (Simon Harrap)

The superb Painted Spurfowl (Simon Harrap)