WildZests: Bharatpur - A Birding Haven!

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Bharatpur - A Birding Haven!

The Republic Day on thursday opened up a window of opportunity to do a solo trip to Bharatpur. Located in a small town in Rajasthan, it's well connected with Delhi by trains or buses. Agra isn't all that far too, and a visit to the Taj could be a done as well since it's just an hour away. But for this time, I wanted to keep it simple and decided against adding any other destination, so it was going to me just me and the birds in the park for three long days.

The park is quite different from the other reserves I've seen and the fact that motor vehicles are not allowed inside the park is a welcome change for someone who has been used to jeep safaris. You can choose to walk or hire a cycle inside the park, also if you're too lazy for either of that, you could hire a cycle rickshaw to take you around. Given the amount of equipment I had, I had to get a rickshaw for myself.

The main season to visit the park is from October through February when the breeding season starts and the winter migrants arrive as well. The park is host to a lot of migrant ducks that travel long distances as a part of their annual migration. The resident Sarus Cranes are also a known attraction at the park, however, I was told that there are only 3 couples in the park now and one of them have two young ones.

For those three days, I practically lived in the park from sunrise to sunset. My rickshaw guy used to get me packed lunch from the hotel so there was no need to go out anywhere at all. Spending time with the birds is an amusing experience, you really have to be patient and make them feel comfortable so that they can adapt to you as a part of the environment.

Here's a full-frame shot of a Black Redstart who was convinced that he had no threat from me. He was foraging on one of the trails and used to occasionally disappear in the bushes when someone approached his area. After sitting down for around 20 minutes or so, he came in so close that I had to actually wait for him to move a bit further to get him in the frame.

Black Redstart - Male

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