Trip Start May 31, 2008
107Trip End Jun 01, 2009
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After spending a few days in India, we learned a few basic rules:
1. Be able to multi-task. Avert your eyes to avoid hawkers and touts while looking in all directions as you zig-zag through auto rickshaws, cycle rickshaws, horse, ox and camel carts, buses, cars, motorbikes, cows, dogs, people, and vendors selling everything imaginable.
2. Only drink enough to be reasonably hydrated because you never know when you'll get a chance to empty your bladder.
3. Never enter a shop just to look because they show you so much, so fast, you feel committed.
4. Have great guides (Calvin and Latha) who arrange all the cabs, rooms, trains, planes, and sites to visit. Then just hang on and enjoy the ride.
5. Always take the hotel card so you have some hope of getting back to the right place in case you get lost!
After five days of shepherding us (aka the kids) through Delhi traffic, train stations, historical forts, museums and the Taj Mahal, we took a break in Bharatapur. It is the gateway to the Kaleodo National Park, a 30 sq km bird and animal sanctuary.
The first afternoon we set off from the main gate and within minutes started identifying birds. There were magpie robins, treepies (our favourite), bulbuls and babblers in the trees. When we arrived at the water, it was a feast for a bird watcher's eyes. Waterbirds everywhere. Egrets, storks, herons, ducks, cormorants, and moorhens. The bird of the day was the painted storks as one or two hundred showed off in their rookeries. A total of thirty-three new species for the day! Not too bad. :)
On Day 2 Calvin, Dennis and I took off with a bagged lunch at 8:00am. Latha had a cold, so she met us later in the day. We walked about 5km before meeting up with Latha. The birding was super with a total of 60 for the day including sixteen lifers. The bird of the day was the pied kingfisher who performed like an acrobat for us. Other memorable birds were the eurasian spoonbill, golden oriele, the colourful Indian roller, flamed-back woodpecker, and the owlet. Our feet were tired and our legs ached as well walked back to our hotel. A total of 15km for the day.
Day 3 - Dennis and I took a cycle rickshaw to the 5km mark. Calvin and Latha weren't feeling well (the bagged lunch from yesterday turned out to be a bad idea), so Calvin met us around noon and Latha took a day off. We found 12 new birds for the day including two owls and a night jar that our driver showed us. The bird of the day was the elegant sarus crane.
Our feet were tired so we took a rickshaw out while Calvin walked. on his way out, he saw the grey hornbill, one that evaded the rest of us and he's still rubbing that in. Of course, that was his bird of the day!
Calvin officially changed the name of the city Bharatapur to Bird-a-pur. In the park we also saw wild dogs, blue bulls, deer, antelope, snakes, wild dogs, turtles, and monkeys (much to Latha's delight!).
Carol and Dennis