Saturday, 15 August 2015

India (Rajasthan and Kashmir) Trip - 30th July - Day 6

We were up at 04:30 and headed back to Yousmarg at 05:15 and spent the entire day in the park. We first birded a stretch of road where the pines were mature and the ground flora and scrub layer looked well developed and we hoped looked productive for Black and Yellow Grosbeak and Orange Bullfinch but failed on both. We added Brown-flanked Bush-warbler, Tytler’s Warbler, Yellow-breasted Greenfinch and enjoyed good views of the rather odd looking caniceps race of Goldfinch and more Kashmir Woodpecker and Scaly-bellied Woodpecker After around two hours we headed to a patch of forest that we had seen from the roadside yesterday across the river from the park tollgate. Large areas of the park have been fenced against livestock and these areas have developed a rich ground flora containing many species familiar in the UK such as Foxglove, Meadow and Creeping Buttercup, Yarrow, Red Clover and Ox-eye Daisy and while the species/races may be different to those in the UK the overall appearance of the sward is very English meadow like. We figured that these ‘natural’ and less grazed areas would be better for birds. We climbed a small valley, following a tumbling mountain stream where White-capped Redstart and Grey Wagtail were new for the trip. We then headed ‘off-piste’ and cut through the scrub and pine forest seeing more Tytler’s Warbler, Kashmir Nuthatch, White-bellied Nuthatch, Oriental Turtle Dove, Lemon-rumped Leaf Warbler and Western Crowned Leaf Warbler but things were pretty slow going and we decided to head for lunch at 12:00 seeing a Himalayan Griffon Vulture while we waited for our lift.

After lunch we again birded the forest opposite the reservoir until 16:00 walking a loop away from the road, and back down the hill to rejoin the road but it was very slow going and we added nothing new to the list although we had great views of a Common Cuckoo feeding on caterpillars alongside the trail and a pair of Ultramarine Flycatcher. Much time was spent messing around with fungi, butterflies and dragonflies. We then spent the final hour or so walking down the road birding as we went, again it was pretty slow-going with Oriental Honey Buzzard, Booted Eagle, Mountain Bulbul and a Long-tailed Shrike being the highlights.

We headed back to the boat house after a pretty slow day in the field and hoping for  better day tomorrow, a day arranged via Ibrahim and the house boat in the Dachigam National Park. We had been informed that the park was closed but Ibrahim new the head-ranger and so we had high hopes of getting to a known site for both the Bullfinch and the Grosbeak. Beers, curry and bed!!

Goldfinch of sub-species caniceps - Yousmarg

Himalayan Woodpecker (Juvenile) - Yousmarg.

Grey Bush-chat

Western Crowned Leaf Warbler with bush-cricket - Yousmarg

Pine Bunting - Yousmarg

Blue Whistling Thrush - Yousmarg

Oriental Turtle Dove of sub-species orientalis - Yousmarg

Tytler's Warbler - Yousmarg

White-capped Redstart - Yousmarg

White-capped Redstart - Yousmarg

Common Cuckoo of race bakeri - Yousmarg

Ultramarine Flycatcher (male) - Yousmarg

Queen-of-Spain Fritillary - Yousmarg

Butterfly resembling Grayling - Yousmarg

Ladies-tresses species, a type of Orchid - Yousmarg

Skink species, one of only two reptiles seen during the entire trip - Yousmarg

Oriental Honey-buzzard of sub-species ruficollis. The six primary fingers (versus five for European Honey-buzzard) can be clearly seen - Yousmarg

Booted eagle - Yousmarg

Himalayan Bulbul - Yousmarg

Long-tailed Shrike of race erythronotus with Cockchafer - Yousmarg

View from Marco Polo Boat House at sunset

Links to the other Days of the Trip:
Day 1 - Background and Travel day
Day 2 - Surajpur Wetland and Nahargah Biological Park
Day 3 - Sonkhaliya
Day 4 - Ajmer Thorn Forest and drive back to Delhi
Day 5 - Fly Delhi to Shrinigar (Kashmir) then Yousmarg
Day 7 - Dachigam National Park, Shankarachariya Temple and Dal Lake
Day 8 - Yousmarg then return to Delhi and flights home

If you have any comments or queries on this post then please do not hesitate to contact me at