Zino's Petrel off Madeira - June 2018

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Friday, 15 February 2019

Owls to (rare) Woodpeckers 15/2/19

Yesterday whilst walking behind Peacehaven, at around 7pm a Tawny Owl started calling continuously in the scrub west and adjacent to the golf course. With the bright moonlight and my helpful torch, I obtained good perched views as it sat upon a hawthorn. This was my first Tawny Owl in Sussex for nearly three years, and certainly my first in this general area. Carrying on with the Owl theme, a Barn Owl was in its usual spot between Woodingdean and the AMEX stadium in the early hours this morning on my way to work.

After some lengthy delays today due to the freezing fog at Gatwick, I only had a mere twenty minutes to go ahead with my plan of trying to find a Lesser Spotted Woodpecker on my way home. After a deviation, I arrived at a large expansive forest and immediately upon arrival, I was positive I could hear some light drumming. Thankfully it was a Lesser Spotted Woodpecker, and a superb male at that. The sighting lasted maybe 15 minutes, by which point I was running late with the school run, and reluctantly left. Being the first day this year where the temperature has reached 13 celcius, I was fairly confident of finding a LSW. Any cooler and I might not have bothered, as previous years have also had this trend at a number of Sussex sites.

Off to the Western Sahara tomorrow for a week, with blog posts being added on my return.




male Lesser Spotted Woodpecker

Monday, 11 February 2019

Goshawks in West Sussex 11/2/19

At last a day off coinciding with a lovely morning to be out in the field. This time of year is obviously very good for displaying Goshawks and I wasted no time in positioning myself over a large expanse of woodland in the north of the county, and straight away with the first scan a female Goshawk was seen displaying. Later on after a bit of a walk to try other viewpoints a male Goshawk was also seen well. Other raptors seen were two Red Kites, Sparrowhawk, Buzzards and a Kestrel.

Lots of other birds about and most were singing away and taking advantage of the fine weather. A male Crossbill was certainly the highlight of these. Five Bramblings and many Siskins were also found in the same area.

Afterwards I walked a superb looking valley hoping for a burst of song from either a Willow Tit or Lesser Spotted Woodpecker. Sadly neither of these but a Woodcock was flushed, and a nice group of Roe Deer were found.




male Goshawk

Perfect conditions for Goshawks

No Willow Tits here







Wednesday, 6 February 2019

India - January 2019 (Part 5)

Gir National Park & Tansa Wildlife Sanctuary

Friday 25th January


Another morning of feeling rubbish, and with it being cold outside I was in two minds whether to join in on the morning safari into Gir National Park. I decided I should give it a go as being gripped off at this late stage in the trip didn’t seem a viable option. The incompetence of India once again revealed itself as our allotted time for the Park this morning was between 6am and 9am, but it doesn’t get fully light until 7.30am, and with that we didn’t have long to find some Lions. For the first hour of the drive I was starting to wonder why I was bothering with the safari as we hadn’t seen anything and it was absolutely freezing. At a pit stop we all jumped out and like meerkats, stood straight and bathed in the morning sun hoping to warm up. Then out of nowhere, all hell broke when the guides and drivers started sprinting towards the jeeps, as a family of Lions had appeared within 30 metres of where we were standing. This of course proved to be chaotic as jeeps wrestled for position and all the drivers yelling at each other, all this going on whilst an adult female and a young male were play fighting up a sandy creek not too far away. Two smaller cubs then joined in, but with all the commotion, it wasn’t surprising when the Lions found another area out of view to chill and play.

During this spell of activity, I had discretely removed my camera and took a series of photos illegally, this being because I didn’t want to pay yet again the expensive fee. I got away with it anyway and left the park with some decent enough photos. All too soon our time slot had run out and we returned to the accommodation.

We had a few hours to chill before travelling to Rajkot Airport to catch our Air India flight to Mumbai. We landed in the early evening and went to the airport hotel about ten minutes away. The evening was spent waiting for our dinner to come and looking forward to seeing our last remaining target of the trip.

A very poor species list today with very few highlights, therefore no list for today, although the Asiatic Lions were brilliant.




Asiatic Lions



Gir National Park

Our ride to Mumbai

Saturday 26th January

Our last full day and this was to be spent at Tansa Wildlife Sanctuary, roughly two hours away from Mumbai centre. We left the hotel in two taxis at 4am and picked up our guide on route. Our main target for today was the extremely rare Forest Owlet, a species that had gone off the radar for over 80 years. Thankfully new sites (Tansa for example) are being found to hold Forest Owlet, but it’s still classed as globally threatened. Being a diurnal Owl and an Owlet species, we found three birds with relative ease and heard two of the birds calling fairly continuously. Good views were had and a pleasing end to our target hit list.

Upon arriving at the forest, we were hoping to get a glimpse of one of the three Mottled Wood Owls that were calling near to us, but they were mobile and very difficult to find, and sadly dipped out, though a Jungle Owlet was my first in a few years. A walk through the forest over many hills and crunchy leaves produced a nice array of species, with a couple of bird waves containing Indian Golden Orioles, Large Cuckooshrikes and White-bellied Drongos proving to be a highlight of the early morning, whilst some Brown-capped Pygmy Woodpeckers were lovely to see, as were some Vigor’s Sunbirds, though I was disappointed to miss a Blue-capped Rock Thrush seen by Dan & Josh. Our guide was very pleased to see an Indian Vulture here, his first for his patch.

Quite a few hours were spent here before leaving early to beat the Mumbai traffic, and after lunch we headed back for the hotel where we went out for dinner, treating ourselves to a pizza (we had all had enough of curry) along the busy Mumbai streets. In the evening me and Josh said our farewells to everyone as they were catching an earlier flight then us back to London.

In the morning, Jet Airways were still in business and the nine hour flight went very quickly, helped by picking some very good seats, and with plenty of stuff to do. We landed more or less on time, and I got picked up by dad in Redhill after catching the tube and train, but refusing to catch a bus replacement service to Gatwick. I had told Paula I was back on the 30th, and so it was with some shock that I was home in time for her birthday on the 28th…….what a sweetheart I am!

It had been an excellent trip for the birds with all the key targets seen, and although we had some luck along the way, Asian Adventures were no doubt the main cause for our success. As always, the company was brilliant and kept my spirits high when I was feeling grim. I certainly won’t be rushing back to India anytime soon, and may never touch a garlic naan bread ever again!

Hope all who have read through this trip have enjoyed it or found it somehow of interest. If wanting to visit this region, I would suggest get there promptly, as most of the key birds will either be extremely difficult to find, or be extinct in the next few decades to come.

Highlights for the 26th are as follows:

Asian Openbill – 3
Indian Vulture – 1
Booted Eagle – 1
White-eyed Buzzard – 2
Jungle Owlet – 1
FOREST OWLET – 3
Alpine Swift – 20
Brown-capped Pygmy Woodpecker – 2
Alexandrine Parakeet – 2
Large Cuckooshrike – 2
INDIAN GOLDEN ORIOLE – 2
Black-hooded Oriole – 1
White-bellied Drongo – 5
Cinereous Tit – 10
Eurasian Crag Martin – 5
Dusky Crag Martin – 20
Streak-throated Swallow – 1
Jungle Prinia – 2
Tickell’s Blue Flycatcher – 2
Thick-billed Flowerpecker – 7
Pale-billed Flowerpecker – 3
VIGOR’S SUNBIRD - 4


Forest Owlet

White-eyed Buzzard


Tansa Wildlife Sanctuary


Monday, 4 February 2019

India - January 2019 (Part 4)

The Great Rann of Kutch

Tuesday 22nd January

I woke up feeling very ropey and put it down to the onslaught of garlic naan bread from the night before, but after our five or six hour drive into the Great Rann of Kutch I was feeling terrible. Our guide stopped off to buy some fruit from a small stall in the busy town of Bhuj, whilst behind stood me chucking up and thankfully feeling much better for it. I didn’t want to hold anyone up and so it was back on the bus and off we went to our first stop of the day. Yesterday we had failed to find Sykes’s Lark and today was really our last opportunity to score this much wanted species. I felt faint and utter grim but marched through the acacias and up to a small village but I was struggling big time, and with no sign of the Lark my emotions weren’t going to improve any time soon. A pale-morph Booted Eagle was the only trip addition here.

Being the heat of the day didn’t help with the Lark attempt, and so we went to a site where our guide a few months ago had found a roost of a Pallid Scops Owl. At the site, the others marched on whilst I struggled on behind them. Thankfully the Owl was present and gave lovely scope views, however my energy had gone and so I missed out on getting photos of it, and instead resumed my chucking up. The others went off to try and find White-naped Tit but failed in their search.

Next site was close by and was more or less a site to guarantee finding White-naped Tits. I stayed in the vehicle laying down and waited for any whistles or shouting, that didn’t take too long to materialise. I tried to get myself into gear and get to everyone as quickly as possible, but inevitably by the time I got there the bird had moved off, but it was still calling and so I went in pursuit. I was edging closer and closer and with a burst of playback, the White-naped Tit emerged, and what a beauty it was. Not much else was about here and so it was one last go for the elusive Sykes’s Lark. We parked at the same spot and once again I stayed put in the vehicle feeling worn out from the last site. I had just got comfortable and glanced out the window to see Mike running, and in no time I was also running in the direction of the found Sykes’s Larks. In the distance I could see Josh celebrating with our guide, but thankfully the Larks were settled and they showed brilliantly. I had left my camera behind and there was no way I was running back, but it didn’t matter. The locals were very interested in what was going on, however some kids thought it would be funny to throw stones at the Larks, but Dan and Ash stood guard.

A massive result and so we drove to our accommodation where for once we arrived early and enjoyed the site. I went to bed whilst the others had dinner, but hopefully I’ll feel better tomorrow.

Highlights are as follows:

Western Reef Heron – 10
Booted Eagle – 1
Montagu’s Harrier – 1
PALLID SCOPS OWL – 1
Yellow-crowned Woodpecker – 2
WHITE-NAPED TIT – 1
SYKES’S LARK – 5
Isabelline Wheatear - 1

Sykes's Lark
Photo taken by Ashley Howe

White-naped Tit
Photo taken by Ashley Howe

Pallid Scops Owl
Photo taken by Ashley Howe

Wednesday 23rd January

After a full nights kip I was feeling much better, but still under the weather, and being diagnosed with a fever yesterday, today I would have to take it easy. It was going to be a good day as we would be in some smart jeeps all day, with one of the drivers being an exceptional guide as well. In the morning we headed to a vast dried out lake to the NW of Bhuj. A small rocky outcrop was visited just as the sun was rising, and here we had lovely views of not one, but two families of Jungle Cats. Nearby were also two Rufous-tailed Larks. A great start to the day, and it didn’t end there as we were now heading through the dried out lake to a bushy area, where upon arrival, was a stunning male Grey Hypocolius. Quite a few more were found in the area, but mostly females, however this was a bird I had wanted to see for some time, and now saves a trip to Oman in the near future. Breakfast was had at this spot before we commenced our search for Painted Sandgrouse. The search for these reminded me of being in Africa as we searched around what looked like small feeding pens for animals, and it was here that many Chestnut-bellied Sandgrouse were found, and somehow our driver managed to spot four almost invisible Painted Sandgrouse sat underneath a bush. We obtained great views of these and was a very welcome tick for most of the crew.

With these safely under the belt we headed for the coast which was over an hour away, but with plenty of space in the back I was soon falling asleep despite the constant speed bumps. We arrived into Mandvi and some had a curry lunch, but all I could muster was a cheese sandwich. Thankfully I felt very good after this and was full of optimism entering the beach, where the plan was to walk east along the sand to hopefully view some roosting Crab Plovers, although being high tide wasn’t an ideal situation, and we failed to find any. What we did encounter however were some superb Pallas’s Gulls, and in the exact way I wanted to see them. Me and Josh took some bread out with us which enticed plenty of Brown-headed and Slender-billed Gulls to come in, and although the Pallas’s remained shy, they showed fairly well in the end. Several Heuglin’s Gulls also made an appearance.

I stupidly decided to walk the 3km east along the beach to see no Crab Plovers and not a great deal else, but roosting Sandplovers and other Waders were nice. All too soon it was time to leave, and with some still wanting to see the Plovers, we agreed with the guide to check one area of beach further west, but on the way we came across a showy Black-necked Stork, and so the rest of the daylight was spent with this beast. We arrived back to the hotel an hour later, and for the first night in a few, I had something for dinner.

Highlights are as follows:

Indian Spot-billed Duck – 20
Black-necked Stork – 1
Spoonbill – 2
Himalayan Griffon Vulture – 1
Steppe Eagle – 20
Great Stone-Curlew – 2
Kentish Plover – 20
Greater Sand Plover – 50
Lesser Sand Plover – 10
Brown-headed Gull – 50
Pallas’s Gull – 20
Heuglin’s Gull – 5
Little Tern – 2
PAINTED SANDGROUSE – 4
EASTERN BARN OWL – 1
Indian Eagle Owl – 2
Short-eared Owl – 1
Isabelline Shrike – 2
GREY HYPOCOLIUS – 7
RUFOUS-TAILED LARK - 3

Jungle Cat

Grey Hypocolius

Indian Eagle Owl

Painted Sandgrouse

Rufous-tailed Lark

Brown-headed Gull

Heuglin's Gull

Pallas's Gull

Pallas's Gull

Greater Sandplovers

Black-necked Stork
Grey Hypocolius habitat

Our first sighting of a beach!!


Thursday 24th January

A very early start today as we had to drive nine hours to Gir National Park in Southern Gujarat. It was a very long and tedious journey with very few birding highlights along the way. One highlight however was a mega flock of Great White Pelicans taking off from a roadside water source, with numbers reaching around the 300 mark. We arrived at the Birding Lodge just on the perimeter of the Gir National Park (the only site for the Asiatic Lion), and after all the traveling, we only had an hour to get our stuff together and get on a pair of jeeps for our afternoon safari. A very showy Tickell's Blue Fllycatcher and my first Asian Koels of the trip showed very nicely within the grounds.

I was on a jeep with Dan and Mike and was the rear vehicle for the afternoon. Before we entered the park proper we had to do all the formalities of waiting for many forms to be filled in, which is something that the Indians love doing. Also, for those with cameras we had to pay an extortionate fee but it would hopefully prove worth it, but with lots of jeeps driving around the number of routes available, who knows if anything would show itself.

After a while we were on our way and over the next three hours highlights were few and far between (Spotted Owlets and Indian Vultures and some gorgeous white-morph Indian Paradise Flycatchers for the bird life), and for us in the rear vehicle we were rewarded with our slow progress and not keeping up with the others in the front vehicle. Upon leaving a denser area of scrub and trees next to a water source, I suddenly heard all the Spotted Deer calling, which is the sign of a nearby predator. I presumed it was going to be a Leopard, the guide thought it was going to be a Leopard, and after a tense few minutes our thoughts were finally revealed when a superb Leopard emerged from the shadows and strode by in full control of it’s environment, whilst the surrounding bushes struggled to reveal it's fine features. We kept track with this spectacular Cat for maybe a minute hoping it would come out into full view, but sadly the Leopard changed it's course and cruised out of sight. Despite seeing a few Leopards now from Sri Lanka and Southern Africa, this was certainly one of the memorable encounters.

Once we caught up with the others we expressed our suppressed delight of finding a Leopard, whilst now watching a group of Asiatic Lions (four cubs and a female) huddled in the dense foliage, that our drivers soon tackled as we drove up to them before having to evacuate the park as our time slot was close to ending.

Despite the driving day,  it had been a good end and at least relieved the pressure of tomorrow mornings safari for finding the big cats.

Highlights are as follows:

Glossy Ibis – 1
Great White Pelican – 200
Oriental Darter – 1
Crested Honey Buzzard – 2
Indian Vulture – 2
Crested Serpant Eagle – 1
Tawny Eagle – 1
White-eyed Buzzard – 1
Indian Stone-Curlew – 2
River Tern – 1
Yellow-footed Green Pigeon – 2
Asian Koel – 3
Spotted Owlet – 3
Black-rumped Flameback – 1
Indian Paradise Flycatcher – 4
Booted Warbler – 1
Tickell’s Blue Flycatcher - 4

Spotted Owlets

Spotted Owlets


Leopard

Asiatic Lion Cub

Gir National Park



Saturday, 2 February 2019

India - January 2019 (Part 3]

Mt Abu & Little Rann of Kutch, Gujarat

Saturday 19th January


Up early again waking up to some noisy Peafowls above our lodge. We had an early morning jeep safari and headed out near to where we had our safari last night. The chosen location were some cultivated fields and hedgerows, unbeknown to us to hold the Rock Bush Quail. Surprisingly for me at least, we flushed maybe ten birds over a period of time, but trying to locate them once they had landed was another matter, and really only flight views were obtained.

Next site was a place for the Minivet, this being a large area of mainly acacia/savannah like habitat. We split up in all directions, with me and Chris sticking semi close together. We walked for maybe twenty minutes out towards the hills until we heard shouting presumably from the road so we could move onto another site. I did hear some shouting coming from inland but ignored these to be locals rather then us birders. Back at the road we were then waiting for Chris who (unbeknown again)had found a male White-bellied Minivet. We all rushed back into the scrub and bushes and after a while saw a female feeding actively. It was then time for the male to show and that is what it did, and showed superbly as well. Certainly one of the birds of the trip. It was then a hot sweltering walk back to the vehicles where we had one more target to see, and with ease we found a few Indian Vultures out on the rocky escarpments of the area, their dark heads and pale bills showing up very nicely, and another retrospective identification of a Himalayan Griffon Vulture, sat just underneath an Indian Vulture.

Our ride back to the lodge went back through the tinsel cladded streets preparing for the big wedding in a few weeks time. We chilled for a short while and then had lunch and said our farewells to the owners, these being a very important family of the area, a family that stretches back to the 12th century. As we had driven lots yesterday, the journey down to Mt Abu took no time at all. From turning off the expressway we started the ascent to the highest town on Abu, witnessing some fairly reckless driving along the way, which was no real surprise. Langurs were lining the walls on the way up and seemed interested in the various driving techniques some of the locals were attempting. As there was still plenty of light left, we stopped off at a spot to search for our main target in the area, this being the localised Green Avadavat. It took maybe two minutes to find a small flock, and further flocks were encountered with ease. The males were extremely nice but were also camera shy, whereas the females were opposites on both. Little else seen although it was relieving to come across plenty of habitat and more birds then what had been found throughout the trip so far.

This was our last day with our guide Dalveer who had been brilliant and a pleasure to go birding with. Our next guide Shami greeted us at our hotel and again was full of energy and will no doubt be a key attribute to the success of this trip.

Our hotel was a bit of a dive and the workers weren’t too impressed with us for some reason, and so it was actually nice to hear we would have to eat elsewhere as dinner was not an option. This worked very much in our favour as we dined at the Cha Cha resort, and the curry that was delivered was by far the best in country so far. We used the WiFi for a short time before retreating back to our dive of a hotel via a small shop to stock up on biscuits.

Highlights are as follows:

ROCK BUSH QUAIL – 10
Crested Honey Buzzard – 1
INDIAN VULTURE – 4
Short-toed Eagle – 1
Black-rumped Flameback – 1
Marshall’s Iora – 1
WHITE-BELLIED MINIVET – 3
Ashy Drongo – 1
INDIAN BLACK-LORED TIT – 2
Grey-breasted Prinia – 5
Jungle Prinia – 2
Oriental White-eye – 10
GREEN AVADAVAT - 20

Rock Bush Quail

White-bellied Minivet

Indian Vulture


Green Avadavat
Rock Bush Quail wintering habitat,
with their summer habitat in the 
backround.


The decorated streets ready
for the wedding.

The best curry in NW India.

Sunday 20th January

We met our guide Shami and headed out for the morning before breakfast. We had a few targets to see and between our efforts, we managed to find all of them, with the best being a skulky Red Spurfowl. Again it nice to be wandering around in good looking habitat with plenty of birds on offer including Indian Scimitar Babblers, some gorgeous male Crested Buntings and a Sulphur-bellied Warbler hopping about on the ground.
Back at the hotel for breakfast and the locals kindly showed us a lovely pair of Indian Scops Owls, and one watched my every move as I tried to position myself for a decent picture. We left the hotel and started what will be another long drive, this time to the Little Rann of Kutch. Along the way we got bombarded by guards trying to find alcohol in the vehicle. Gujurat is a dry state (along with one other in India), and with us being western it was no surprise our vehicle was checked thoroughly.

It was a long drive to Dasada and with a road closure and getting lost (and reversing down the road for a stationary White-eyed Buzzard) we eventually made it to the Sociable Plover location two hours before dark. It didn’t take long to find this sought after species, and a count of 34 was made. We managed to get close and get some decent pics, but rather disconcerting on the way back was finding a dead bird, or at least the feathers of a Sociable Plover. It was then a quick drive to our final stop to hopefully find some Coursers. As we were rushing we couldn’t stop to look at a Jungle Cat that most of the others saw, and upon arrival there were lots of photographers laying on the ground, but they were after an Indian Fox, which we later saw.
A prolonged search in the fading light failed to produce any Coursers, and only I managed to see a male Pallid Harrier presumably going to roost, whilst the sound of Common Cranes was always a delight.

So it was now a two hour journey to the hotel (Rann Riders) where we were being battered around as the roads chosen were close to useless, and unsurprisingly yet again the oncoming traffic were just as suicidal as our driver.

We arrived at Rann Riders and straight away had dinner along with our first whites for a while, but sadly they comprised of being American and Italian…..never good!

Highlights are as follows:
RED SPURFOWL – 1
Great White Pelican – 50
Great Spotted Eagle – 1
Pallid Harrier – 1
WHITE-EYED BUZZARD – 1
SOCIABLE LAPWING – 34
Oriental Turtle Dove – 2
Indian Scops Owl – 2
Plum-headed Parakeet – 20
WHITE-SPOTTED FANTAIL – 1
Red-rumped Swallow – 1
SULPHUR-BELLIED WARBLER – 1
MOUNTAIN CHIFFCHAFF – 1
INDIAN SCIMITAR-BABBLER – 2
GREEN AVADAVAT – 20
Crested Bunting – 2
White-capped Bunting - 2

Indian Scimitar-babbler

Plum-headed Parakeet

Crested Bunting


Sulphur-bellied Warbler

Indian Scops Owls

White-eyed Buzzard

Sociable Plovers
Mt Abu

Sunbathing cow dung.

View from Mt Abu.

Breakfast outside our rooms
on Mt Abu.

Monday 21st January

We were up and ready to go before first light and a local guide was called in to help pin point the Coursers. He did just that and soon after day break we had a small flock of Indian Coursers in a roadside field that showed relatively well. A superb bird to see and one of the top ten of the trip.

We were then thinking we were going in search of the Sykes’s Lark, but after a couple of hours wandering around and scanning thousands of Short-toed Larks, it became apparent this wasn’t the Sykes’s site, and we were in fact here for Saker Falcon. This annoyed me somewhat, especially as I had missed out on two Red-headed Buntings as I was scanning fields and not the bushes. Another small flock of Coursers was relative compensation, and close quartering Pallid Harriers are always a treat.

We then did move onto the Sykes’s site now in the baking heat, and all the guides got excited when a Crested Lark came down and they rushed us all over, only for us to quickly recognise their mistake. Apart from winding up Dan about some Sandgrouse that weren’t actually present, it was another downer on the day. On the way back to the hotel we stopped off briefly at some town pools that held a lot of common birds. Back at the hotel, the lake held nothing and so we made the most of the WiFi.

The afternoon we had arranged for some jeeps to take us out on a search for Striped Hyenas and hopefully Sykes’s Nightjars. A couple of lakes were checked briefly, and excitedly for me a Dalmatian Pelican was on one of them, this being a grip back having dipped out at the Taj Mahal (I was probably in the toilet!!). The drive around on the eastern side of the lake was ok but not much was about, and even the Indian Wild Ass were not as wild as we thought they might as they allowed very close approach, but it seems they are the real deal.

As light faded quickly we made our way around to the western side where a Hyena den had been found and was situated in some dense acacia. All we had to do surely was to sit quietly and sure enough one would emerge. Frustratingly, our drivers and some other locals decided to speak loudly to each other, and our guide only after ten minutes thought enough was enough and told them to pipe down, though sadly this wasn’t prompt enough for the Hyenas and annoyingly we didn’t see any. Yet another downer for this day. A Desert Cat did however show off and was a firm highlight on the mammal front this trip. With it now being dark, we headed back over to the east side where surprisingly a thunder storm had emerged and we got a tad wet on the drive back, but thankfully it didn’t last otherwise that would’ve put an end to any Nightjar session.

Our drivers drove a small area and then wanted to go home which was clearly not going to happen, and as useless as they were they continued with the ‘safari’. After flushing many Larks out of their roost, we eventually found a Sykes’s Nightjar flying low over the ground, where upon it landed not too far away from us. I had nearly sliced my ribs open from the vehicles dodgy metal work, and when we had the Nightjar close to us the stupid driver decided it was best to drive right up to it, and of course it flew off, and we certainly made it clear how unhappy we were. We did get another view of another Nightjar, but again only in flight. Probably the highlight came at the end when a Jungle Cat was found and we enjoyed good views, but once again the drivers kept on flushing it despite being close enough. Karma then hit back with our driver as we got a flat tyre on the way back to the hotel, and so we clambered into the other vehicle and abandoned him on the side of the road.

Cotton Pygmy Goose – 4
Garganey – 1
Greater Flamingo – ca. 500
Lesser Flamingo – ca. 500
DALMATION PELICAN – 1
Pallid Harrier – 5
Montagu’s Harrier – 1
White-eyed Buzzard – 2
Demoiselle Crane – ca. 100
INDIAN COURSER – 9
Short-eared Owl – 1
SYKES’S NIGHTJAR – 2
Isabelline Shrike – 1
BAY-BACKED SHRIKE – 4
Oriental Skylark – 10
Greater Short-toed Lark – ca. 3000
STREAK-THROATED SWALLOW – 1
Asian Desert Warbler - 3

Eastern Cattle Egrets showing well


Indian Courser

A plague of Greater Short-toed Larks

Pallid Harrier

Indian Courser

Dalmatian Pelican


Indian Wild Ass
Courser habitat in Little Rann of Kutch.

Our only flat tyre of the trip,
expertly and quickly fixed
by our driver, here in the white shirt.

A typical living environment scene
in NW India.