Thursday, January 12, 2017

Birding Northern India. Pt 5. Corbett N.P.

Next stop was the Kosi River at Garjiya to look for Ibisbill. This is a known site for this iconic wader, provided that you know the site! We were only on the bridge for a couple of minutes before the shout of Ibisbill went up and we had great views of three individual birds. The locals on the bridge were more interested in us and our scopes and began queuing-up to have a look through the optics. We thought about charging a few rupees each but nobody had any money as the Indian government had taken it all out of circulation.
My photos of Ibisbill are rubbish so I will not be posting any.
We spent the night in Tiger Camp hotel having added a few more species to our trip tally. The following morning  it was into Corbett N. P. for a few days staying at the park camp at Dikhala. From here on it was all open-backed jeeps, birds, dust, birds, dust more dust, birds and tigers.
There were loads of birds on the way to the park, at the park gates, in the park and over the park.
Blue tended to be the dominant colour!

Blue-throated Barbet  Megalaima asiatica
Blue-bearded Bee-eater Nyctyornis athertoni
Blue Whistling Thrush   Myophonus caeruleus
Changeable Hawk Eagle Spizaetus cirrhatus
Collared Falconet Microhierax caerulescens
During our stay in the park we saw a number of raptors, the collared falconet being one of the smallest I have ever practically overlooked. It's only 3cms or an inch bigger than a sparrer. Osprey, Lesser and Pallas's Fish Eagles were all making life miserable for the fish in the river.

Lesser Fish Eagle  Ichthyophaga humilis

Pallas's Fish Eagle  Haliaeetus Leucorphus
Osprey  Pandion halietus
Red-headed Vulture  Sargogyps calvus
We were fortunate to see a number of owl species in the park including Jungle Owlet,  Brown Fish Owl and Tawny Fish Owl and Spot-bellied Eagle Owl. Mostly big fearsome owls!

Spot-bellied Eagle Owl  Bubo nipalensis  63 cms big!!
Tawny Fish Owl  Ketupa flavipes. Looking at me looking at him.

The park was also really good for species of woodpecker: Grey-capped Pygmy Woodpecker ( very small), Great Slaty Woodpecker (absolutely enormous), Fulvous-breasted Woodpecker, Lesser and Greater Yellownape (biggish), Streak-throated Woodpecker (medium size), Himalayan Flameback, Greater Flameback and Black-rumped Flameback (impressively bright). Flamebacks are now known as goldenbacks but flameback captures the essence of these birds much better.
Greater Flameback  Chrysocolaptes lucidus
Grey-capped Pygmy Woodpecker  Dendrocopus canicapillus
Lesser Yellownape  Picus chlorolophus

Streak-throated Woodpecker  Picus xanthopygaeus
Whilst driving around the park looking for birds we were always mindful of the fact that this is one of the best places in India to see wild tigers. So we saw a couple!

Tiger # 1
This is also a great place to observe Indian Elephants. So we observed some.

Indian Elephant

We also saw plenty of Spotted and Sambar deer as well as both Mugger and Gharial crocodiles both of which I couldn't get close enough to to take photographs without risking death!
A few other birds seen in the park were:
Black-Hooded Oriole  Oriolus xanthornus
Long-tailed Shrike  Lanius schach  Extremely common in the park.
River Tern  Sterna aurantia
There are not a lot of terns or gulls to see inland in northern India but we did manage Pallas's Gull, Brown-headed and Black-headed Gulls and both Whiskered and River Terns.
Stonechat  Saxicola torquata
Next stop Vangat and the Ramganga River.

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