Duration : 12 Days / 11 Nights
Destination : Delhi » Ranthambore » Bharatpur » Agra » Jarar » Dudhwa » Delhi
Arrival in Delhi and transfer to hotel.
Travel from Delhi to Ranthambore
We have an early departure from our hotel in order to catch the 0730 train to Ranthambore, where we should in the early afternoon. On arrival we transfer to our hotel and then we will visit Soorwal Lake for some initial birding.
AM & PM Wildlife safaris
We have two days with morning and afternoon drives into the heart of Ranthambore as we go in search of Tiger and other mammals. Our priority will be to have a sighting of a Tiger, but there are many other animals present with Spotted and Sambar Deer, Wild Boar, Nilgai, Leopard, Sloth Bear and Hyena all possible. Ranthambore is excellent for birds with Painted Spurfowl, Jungle Bush Quail, Brown Crake, Brown Fish Owl, Stork-billed Kingfisher, White-naped Woodpecker, Tickell’s Blue and Taiga Flycatcher, Crested and White-capped Bunting among a wide range of mouth-watering possibilities. Outside the park we will spend some time exploring arid areas in search of Painted Sandgrouse, Variable Wheatear, Southern Grey Shrike among other species.
AM Wildlife safari. Afterwards we transfer to the railway station in time for a train at 1225hrs to Bharatpur
After a final morning in Ranthambore we will take an early afternoon train to Bharatpur, where we will arrive in the late afternoon. If time permits we will do some initial birding outside the park.
Birding at Keoladeo National Park
We have two full days to explore the world famous Keoladeo National Park where the abundance of birdlife, in this oasis amongst a sea of surrounding agricultural lands, is simply breathtaking. The extensive flooded areas support huge flocks of wildfowl with the more interesting species including Garganey, Ferruginous and Knob-billed Duck, Cotton Pygmy-goose and Bar-headed Goose. Pheasant-tailed and Bronze-winged Jacanas, Grey-headed Swamphens also paddle in the shallow water along with the much larger Black-necked, Woolly-necked and Painted Storks and magnificent Sarus Cranes. A selection of waders should include White-tailed and Red-wattled Lapwing, Green and Wood Sandpiper and others. Dusky Eagle-owl is a particular speciality here, but other owl species may include Brown Hawk-owl, Indian and Oriental Scops-owls. Nightjar species that inhabit the park can sometimes be found at their daytime roosts, with Large-tailed and Jungle the most likely to be seen. The area is a magnet for birds of prey and eagles are particularly well represented. We can expect Steppe, Eastern Imperial and Greater Spotted and perhaps we will also see Booted, Short-toed Eagles. Other raptors include Shikra and Marsh Harrier. In the more wooded parts of the park we will hope to find Yellow-crowned and Brown-capped Pygmy Woodpecker, Indian Golden Oriole, thrushes such as Tickell’s, Black-throated and the stunning Orange-headed. If we are lucky we may encounter the often tricky to find Marshall’s Iora. A nice selection of commoner warblers include Siberian Chiffchaff, Blyth’s Reed, Greenish and Hume’s, and with luck we may also see Smoky, Dusky, and Sykes’s. Further possibilities among a long list of other commoner species we should find are Black-crowned Night-heron, Striated and Purple Herons, Indian Cormorant, Oriental Darter, Eurasian Spoonbill, Streak-throated and Wire-tailed Swallow, Bluethroat, Olive-backed Pipit and much more.
Taj Mahal and Chambal River trip.
In the morning we drive to Agra where we visit the Taj Mahal. Afterwards we continue to Jarar, where the delightful lodge at Chambal is situated.
In the afternoon we take a boat ride on the Chambal River, a delightfully relaxing way to enjoy some fantastic birds. We will be particularly keen to locate the sought-after Indian Skimmer which is regularly seen during these trips. We also have excellent chances to see elegant Black-bellied and River Terns, Great Thicknee, Small Pratincoles and a variety of wildfowl and shorebirds. Other species regularly seen on these trips include Long-legged Buzzard, Bonelli’s Eagle, Western Osprey, Pallas’s Gull and more. We should also find Marsh Mugger and Gharial Crocodiles and with luck we may perhaps also catch a sighting of the rare Ganges River Dolphin.
Travel to Dudhwa National Park.
Primarily a travel day, we leave Chambal after breakfast and head to Dudhwa National Park. We will take a packed lunch and make a few birding stops en-route. On arrival we transfer to our comfortable hotel.
Birding at Dudhwa National Park
We spend two full days exploring Dudhwa National Park, a destination that is much less well known than locations such as Corbett National Park, but which has much to offer. It has a mosaic of habitats that include grasslands, Sal forests and marshy areas. One of the best-known inhabitants of the park is the rare and declining Bengal Florican, but we will require much luck to catch a glimpse of this rare and very shy bird. Swamp Francolin are another speciality of the area, inhabiting the grassland areas in the park. Here we will also hope to find Yellow-eyed and Chestnut-capped Babblers and Rufous-rumped Grassbird. The magnificent forests are home to Great Hornbill, a number of woodpeckers that include Great Slaty, Rufous, Indian Pygmy, Streak-breasted and Grey-faced. Birds of prey are another feature of the park with Tawny, Great Spotted, Pallas’s and White-tailed Eagles, Grey-headed Fish-eagle, White-rumped, Red-headed and Himalayan Griffon Vultures all possible.
Large mammals are of course also present, with a small semi-wild population of Indian One-horned Rhinoceros present, and other possibilities including Swamp, Sambar and Spotted Deer, Smooth-coated Otter, Sloth Bear, Leopard and perhaps even Tiger.
AM Wildlife safari. Post lunch drive to Lucknow and transfer to Airport in time for flight at 1830hrs to Delhi, arriving at 1945hrs, transfer to hotel, after dinner fly to home