Friday, 19 February 2016

Desert National Park and Little Rann of Kutch, India - 11th February (Day 4)

Having seen most of our target birds for the area during the course of yesterday, today was going to be a little more relaxed. We were up at 06:00 for a 06:30  breakfast and headed south-west out of Jaisalmer birding the desert as we went we added Black Redstart of the race phoenicuriodes, White-throated Fantail, Variable Wheatear of the form capistrata, had good views of more Desert Warbler and encountered flocks of several thousand Bimaculated Lark. We drove through dry, dusty desert villages with bedraggled men talking and smoking outside stores but pristine and colourful ladies gathering water, crushing wheat and generally carrying out productive duties.

We then turned north back through the Desert National Park where we scanned for Great Indian Bustard with no success. We enjoyed flocks of Bimaculated Lark, Greater Short-toed Lark and Black-crowned Sparrow Lark. And then, overhead, a stunning Laggar Falcon with its distinctive dark underwing coverts. We slowly made our way north stopping and scanning for bustard, counting ourselves fortunate that we had seen a pair yesterday. The drive out of the park produced nothing new and by 13:00 we were back at the hotel for lunch and a siesta.

The afternoon was spent at Jaisalmer Fort, a UNESCO world heritage site built in 1156 and is one of the largest fortifications in the world. The fort is 460m long and 230m wide and is built on a hill that raises 76m above the surrounding country side. The Fort was built by Rawal Jaiswal from whom the town of Jaisalmer takes its name. There is a very large colony of Greater Mouse-tailed Bat within the walls of the fort, we saw around 50 animals but judging by the smell and number of droppings in some areas there are many hundreds of animals present at times - not a very pretty looking bat!

Variable Wheatear of form capistrata

Black Redstart of race phoenicuriodes 

Lesser Whitethroat - Not exactly sure of race/species of this bird any advice please email - is it Desert, Hume's or Lesser?

Common Babbler

Purple Sunbird

Purple Sunbird

Southern Grey Shrike

Ladies and wind turbines

Typical desert village in area

Peacock common in the villages

Desert Warbler

Desert Warbler

Indian Spotted Eagle

Black Drongo - Commonly seen riding sheep and flycatching from their backs

Black Drongo

Bimaculated Lark

Lagger Falcon

Ladies collecting water

Sarah and I in Desert National Park

Typical habitat in Desert National Park

Entrance sign and habitat at Desert National Park

Camels at Sam

The following are all images from the fantastic Jaisalmer Fort 

Links to the other days of the trip:
Day 1 - 2 - Background and Travel
Day 2 (Part 1) - Desert National Park
Day 2 (Part 2) - Desert National Park
Day 3 (Part 3) - Desert National Park
Day 5 - Travel from Jaisalmer to Little Rann of Kutch
Day 6 (Part 1) - Little Rann of Kutch
Day 6 (Part 2) - Little Rann of Kutch
Day 6 (Part 3) - Little Rann of Kutch
Day 7 - Little Rann of Kutch and Travel Home