Saturday 8 August 2015

India (Rajasthan and Kashmir) Trip - 28th July - Day 4

Today was to be mainly a travel day with an eight hour drive back to Delhi ahead of us. We had a bit of a lay-in and were up at 06:30 for a 07:00 breakfast, loaded the car and drove short distance to the thorn forest of Puscar (08:00-10:00). Targets here were White-naped Tit and White-bellied Minivet but we saw neither and the birding was generally a little slow with highlights being Small Minivet and Yellow-crowned Woodpecker.

We then commenced the long drive back to Delhi with a lunchtime stop in Jaipur where we sampled the traditional dish of Dal Batchurma and enjoyed the spectacled of the bustling city streets sound tracked by the blasting of car and motorbike horns and the stench of rot and joss sticks. The relative hardship of life here was striking with humans competing with dogs, pigs and cows for a living, mothers begging with their new born children and a dead homeless man lying in the gutter while people walked by oblivious. The grandeur of the architecture of the old town belying the squalor of the lives in the streets below.

We left the city to the north-west via the Nahargarh Fort, where we briefly stopped for photographs, and past decorated Elephants walking along the roadside and dwelling in the city for the enjoyment of tourists. We decided to stop for an hour or so in the Nahargarh Biological Park (14:30-16:00), the temptation of popping back on our way past was too great, and we quickly located Indian Pitta again even though it was 14:00 and at that quiet time of the day. The bird showed well but always rather obscured by tree branches and eventually it lost interest in the playback. A short walk through the thorn scrub produced Indian Golden Oriole, Common Wood-shrike, Cinereous Tit, White-browed Fantail and other now familiar species. We had a final try for the pitta and once again the bird flew in and showed reasonably well but again a bit too obscured for decent photographs.

Back on the road we arrived in Delhi at 21:00 and checked into the Hotel Shanti Palace. After a fantastic and very large Indian meal we crashed at 11:30.

Todays weather: Slightly sunnier today but still mainly cloudy and overcast with occasional light showers. Wind fairly strong.

Small Minivet of race cinnamomeus - Puscar Thorn Forest

Red-vented Bulbul race humayuni- Puscar Thorn Forest

Brahminy Starling - Puscar Thorn forest

White-bellied Drongo of nominate race - Puscar Thorn forest

Bay-backed Shrike of nominate race - Puscar Thorn forest

Yellow-crowned Woodpecker of race pallecens - Puscar Thorn forest

Happy pig - Ajmer

Architecture - Jaipur

Elephants - Jaipur

Indian Pitta - Nahargarh Biological Park

Indian Pitta - Nahargarh Biological Park

IIndian Golden Oriole (female) - Nahargarh Biological Park

Curry (again) - Hotel Shanti Palace - Wins the curry of the trip award! 

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 5 - Fly Delhi to Shrinigar (Kashmir) then Yousmarg
Day 6 - Yousmarg
Day 7 - Dachigam National Park, Shankarachariya Temple and Dal Lake
Day 8 - Yousmarg then return to Delhi and flights home

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