Welcome to Birdquest
Thursday 14th January - Sunday 31st January 2016
This was yet another successful Birdquest tour to the dry north western part of India involving an epic journey through the states of Punjab, Rajasthan and Gujarat with a short visit to the state of Maharashtra in Central India at the end. We found almost every bird specialty of the dry western and central regions of the subcontinent including a number of increasingly scarce species with highly restricted ranges, such as the impressive Great Indian Bustard (with a world population of only a hundred or so), the beautifully patterned White-naped Tit, White-browed (or Stoliczka’s) Bush Chat and Critically Endangered Indian Vulture. Many Indian subcontinent endemics were seen, including Rock Bush Quail, Red Spurfowl, Indian Courser, Painted Sandgrouse, the highly-localised Forest Owlet, Indian Scops Owl, Rufous-tailed and Sykes’s Larks, Ashy- crowned Sparrow-Lark, Indian Bush Lark, the lovely White-bellied Minivet, Brown-headed Barbet, White- naped Woodpecker, Indian Nuthatch, Marshall’s Iora, Indian Black-lored (or Indian Yellow) Tit, Brahminy Starling, Streak-throated Swallow, the elusive Sirkeer Malkoha, Rufous-fronted and Rufous-vented Prinias, Green Avadavat, Red-naped (or Black) Ibis and Plum-headed Parakeet. Amongst many other highlights were the much sought-after Grey Hypocolius, highly-threatened Macqueen’s Bustard, the amazing Demoiselle Crane spectacle at Khichan, Red-necked and Laggar Falcons, wintering Sociable Lapwing, Crab Plover, Yellow-eyed Doves, Desert Whitethroat, Sykes’s Nightjar and Pallid (or Striated) Scops Owl, Sand and Desert Larks, Black-crowned Sparrow-Larks, all three forms of Variable Wheatear, Red-tailed Wheatear, Striated Babbler, Sykes’s, Booted and Sulphur-bellied Warblers, and Grey-necked, White-capped and Striolated Buntings. Then there were mammals, which included a superb Striped Hyena and Asiatic Wild Ass (or Onagers).