Bird Report for Okhla Bird Sanctuary, New Delhi, India. Oct 2012


Okhla Bird Sanctuary, New Delhi, India
24th & 29th October 2012
Mark D. Read
(markdread@gmail.com)

Background to Trip


Both half-day trips to Okhla Bird Sanctuary were planned around the 2012 Formula 1 Indian Grand Prix at Buddh International Circuit (BIC), which in itself was a break from Dhangadhi, in the Far-West of Nepal, where I was living at the time. I have been through Delhi on numerous occasions but have only had a visa (required in advance) to visit India twice before – on a 4-day trip doing the sights of Delhi and Agra (Taj Mahal) in 2011 and a 2-week birding trip/trek to Sikkim back in 2007.

A fairly comprehensive search of the Internet provided many interesting choices for days out around Delhi but it was frustratingly hard to find much detail, particularly in regard to ‘getting there’ and likely costs. What I wanted was an easy day out that would produce some good birding away from the hustle and bustle of the city. This worthy destination is just one of what I assume to be many.

In total, I saw 86 species in Okhla Bird Sanctuary with a further 26 species added either on the way to Delhi, at BIC, or during journeys around the city, making a trip total of 112 species.

Logistics


Money


At the time of writing (Feb 2013), £1 is worth Rs.83. Another way to think about this is that Rs.100 is roughly £1.20. This means, for example, that the Rs.350 entrance fee to Okhla Bird Sanctuary equates to just over £4, which is quite pricey by Indian standards. However, the Metro fare from the hotel (at Kaushambi) to the station closest to the sanctuary (New Ashok Nagar) was just Rs.18 or 21p.

Transport


We travelled by direct public bus from the Indian side of the border at Dhangadhi, Nepal, reached by rickshaw in just 15 minutes from the town centre. Fortunately, we’d already arranged our Nepali exit permit the day before as we knew the office would be closed on the day we’d be travelling (Sunday). However, it still took us well over an hour for the Indian side to write all our details into their ‘log’ and with the bus due to leave at 3pm, we almost missed it. Luckily, India is 15 minutes behind Nepal so, with the ‘extra’ time and a very patient bus driver, we made it. I travelled with my wife and a work colleague, though neither of them are birders. The one-way bus fare was a very reasonable Rs.319, particularly when you consider that we were on it for 19 hours! Those who’ve travelled by local transport in India or Nepal will know what I went through on that 450km journey. Those of you who haven’t should perhaps consider an alternative means of transport…

Most visitors to New Delhi will undoubtedly be arriving/departing by air. Apparently, an ‘Airport Express’ Metro link to the city is now available for Rs.120, though we didn’t try it. For our onward flight to Kathmandu, we actually arranged for a taxi through our hotel for Rs.800. For 2 people, with luggage, we thought that was OK. However, once settled in Delhi, the Metro is a great way to get around. Delhi Metro’s comprehensive website is very easy to use and will calculate routes and fares for you. However, it can get really packed at times (even dangerously so), so be warned. Although, we never had any trouble (like pickpockets), the potential is surely there. Security at each station is also a pain with men and women split into separate lines and everything (including you) going through a scanner. I was stopped without fail every time so that someone could rummage through my bag examining my bins and camera. In truth, it became routine but is the terrorist threat really that real? Another way to get around is by auto rickshaw. Cheap and fun (or a rip-off and scary depending on your point of view), these nippy little motors ply the streets looking for customers. Be prepared for some hard bartering. Please note that the outskirts of the city aren’t particularly pedestrian-friendly, and that distances between sites always seem to be further than expected.

Accommodation


We stayed at Hotel AT Residency in the east of the city (Kaushambi), though we booked a 1-week special through http://www.hotels.com. We had a very spacious deluxe room, with buffet breakfast, high-speed Internet, TV etc. for about US$45 per night. We were very pleased with the room and general hotel service. However, breakfast was quite bizarre with nothing but coleslaw sandwiches on one morning! ‘Normal’ room service was good though and we ate in on a number of occasions. There is lots of accommodation in Delhi and it caters for all tastes and budgets. Our hotel suited our needs as it was on the Metro line, just 2 stops from the bus station (from Nepal), within half an hour of our F1 shuttle bus, and also away from the chaos of the main city.

Food


We weren’t in the best spot in town to sample India’s culinary delights. A (mainly clothes) shopping mall just across the road had the usual KFC-type outlets and a food court but to be honest, we used hotel room-service most evenings, which was actually very good and very reasonably priced. However, we did find the lack of supermarkets frustrating at times, as snack stalls/shops were not readily available in our location. Nor did the hotel serve alcohol, so we stocked up in town on one of our trips there. Bottled water was available from vendors outside most Metro stations, but buy in advance if leaving early in the morning.

Birding References


As mentioned earlier, I did a fairly good search of the Internet before arriving but came up a bit short on specifics. However, things move/change quickly, so do check for yourself first. For this report, I will therefore focus mainly on my experience of Okhla Bird Sanctuary.

I used ‘Birds of Nepal’ by Grimmett, Inskipp & Inskipp as my only reference, since all my other birding references had already been packed and shipped off to Canada (and still haven’t arrived). Their guide to the Indian Subcontinent/Birds of India would no doubt have been better.

Bird names follow IOC World Bird Names (Version 2.9), though errors may have slipped in since it is ‘Birds of Nepal’ that I’ve been flicking through for the last 2 months.

Birding Sites


Other than Okhla Bird Sanctuary, I did do a bit of casual birding from the bus, particularly near the Nepali border as we passed through Dudhwa National Park. I also kept my eyes open as I travelled on the Metro and also in the environs of Buddh International Circuit (BIC).

Okhla Bird Sanctuary: This predominately wetland reserve (established in 1990) is an Important Bird Area (IBA), managed (I believe) by the Forest Department. A checklist available at the checkpoint lists over 320 species of bird recorded in the sanctuary. It is approximately 4km2 in area and is located near Noida, to the SE of Delhi. The sanctuary seems to be popular with joggers and photographers, though no joggers were seen near the watch towers. The sanctuary basically consists of a large lake formed by the completion of a barrage on the Yamuna River back in the early 1960s. There is one main (drivable) track that follows the eastern border of the park; it is approximately 3km long and links the 2 checkpoints. To the west of this track lies the main lake with low shrubs/trees lining it. At the northern end of the sanctuary is a dirt trail, again lined with shrubs and trees, from which it is easy to access the 2 watch towers. The trails out to the hides cut through expansive stands of tall Typha and Phragmites reed beds. I found this northern section to be the most productive, but assume that later in the winter, more waterfowl will be viewable from the main lake. The two towers were a little flimsy and without seating. For tallish people, this means bending uncomfortably to see out over the reed beds. I ended up having to stand in the open ‘doorway’. I would also suggest that a ‘scope would be useful, particularly for viewing over the main lake. I saw no toilets or food/drink stalls in or near the sanctuary, so make sure to come prepared…

Maps: I have opted to include links to Google Maps as they show far more detail and are interactive, allowing you to zoom in and out as you please. On these maps you’ll see the superimposed trails that I followed, the location of the checkpoints and watch towers, as well as the route from the Metro station. Of course, you can still print them out if you wish directly from Google Maps.

Okhla Bird Sanctuary                      Metro to Sanctuary

Photos: To prevent this report from being too large (in terms of file size), I have not included any photos. However, I do keep a blog at http://markdread.blogspot.com/. For photos specific to Okhla, please view the following page ‘Some birds of Okhla Bird Sanctuary’.

Getting to Okhla Bird Sanctuary: I visited the sanctuary twice, both times by Metro. What I discovered is that there are 2 checkpoints, one to the south-east of the sanctuary and the other at the north-east corner. On my first visit, I didn’t know this and gambled on Noida Sector 18 Metro station, somewhere in the middle. I knew I’d have some walking to do but this was much too far and not at all easy. I eventually ended up at the southern checkpoint (where English brochures were available actually) and then exited through the northern checkpoint. Here, park staff directed me to New Ashok Nagar station, even though the map indicates that Noida Sector 16 is closer. Lacking the language skills, I can only assume that getting to Sector 16 is more hazardous. A map showing my route from the Metro to the sanctuary can be seen above. The section nearest the sanctuary is along a paved and very quiet road that ends at the checkpoint after passing through a tunnel under the main highway. The northern section is much busier, yet allows views of a river near the station. The park brochure suggests using the Botanical Gardens Metro station and then catching an auto rickshaw to the southern gate. Maybe not a bad idea if you want to save the walking for inside the sanctuary…

Costs: The entrance fee for non-Indians is Rs.350; for Indian nationals it is Rs.30. The brochure also states fees of Rs.20 for bikes, Rs.100 for cars and Rs.200 for buses. There also appears to be a camera fee of Rs.500/1000 and video camera fee of Rs.5000/10000. However, I was not charged for using my Canon ‘bridge’ camera, and nor does anyone seem to be checking. Do make sure to have the correct change with you, as there is nowhere locally to change large notes.

Sanctuary Daily Log


Wednesday 24th October 2012: I left the hotel at just after 6am, caught the Metro at Kaushambi, changed without delay at Yamuna Bank and arrived at Noida Sector 18 just before 7am. After much walking, crossing of main roads and wondering if I’d ever get there, I finally did. By now it was almost 8am but I was still ‘early enough’ to surprise the park guard, who duly took my money, gave me a receipt and a free brochure/checklist. Already pretty tired, I now had the prospect of another 3 kilometres along the main park road. However, the birding certainly made the walk worthwhile, and to start the ball rolling I had Brown Rock Chat right at the checkpoint. After a quick read of the display boards, I cut down to the overgrown footpath on the lake shore and battled my way along it for a few hundred metres until it turned north. Here, I gave up and walked along the road instead which was much easier. However, at the corner I did flush my most unexpected bird of the day – Indian Peafowl. Not a lifer, nor even an addition to my Indian list, it’s still exciting (if not a little weird) to see these birds ‘for real’. The walk north allowed birding in low trees/scrub along the roadside, as well as in the reeded fringes of the lake and the main lake itself. Slightly disappointed, I didn’t see the numbers of waterfowl that I’d hoped for – I assume because I was too early in the season. What I did see was way over on the western side and not easy to identify. However, by the time I’d reached the northern checkpoint, Northern Shoveler, Tufted Duck, Mallard, Gadwall, Common Pochard, Eurasian Teal, Common Moorhen and Eurasian Coot had all been added to a variety of egrets, herons and two species of cormorant. I also had maybe 20 or so Brown-headed Gulls, all in winter plumage. Two much larger gulls were also associating loosely with this mainly stationary flock and were identified as 2nd winter Caspian Gull and 1st winter Pallas’s Gull as they flew closer – very nice.

The trees and bushes provided plenty of Lesser Whitethroat and Blyth’s Reed Warbler, with Oriental White-eye and Yellow-bellied Prinia adding some colourful variety. Both Common and White-throated Kingfisher were found in reeds at the side of the lake, and both allowed some reasonable shots. I felt the White-throated was far more turquoise on the back than those in Nepal. Large Grey Babbler was fairly common along this trail and, as a lifer just days earlier, I did spend some time enjoying these noisy and inquisitive birds.

Nearer the northern checkpoint, the lake becomes shallower and the red beds more extensive. Here, I had my first sighting of Purple Swamphen, always a pleasure to see, as well as some particularly showy Blue-cheeked Bee-eaters, a species I hadn’t really expected and one not seen since living in Egypt a few years ago. This area also has some larger trees, including a few figs, as well as some great scrub and access to the reed beds and watch towers. In just a short spell, I added Shikra, Black Redstart, Indian Robin, Greenish Warbler, and Greater Coucal. Bluethroats kept popping out on to the trails to the tower, with Tricoloured (Black-headed) Munia, Pied Bush Chat, Ashy Prinia, Black Drongo and a pair of Red-shouldered Ibis adding some cracking variety. I also added another babbler to my life list, in Striated Babbler: a small group performing exceptionally well near the temple. Long-tailed Shrike, Clamorous Reed Warbler, Green Bee-eater and Red-vented Bulbul finished off the passerine additions, with maybe 40 Indian Spot-billed duck, a pair of Bronze-winged Jacana and 2 snake-like Oriental Darter wrapping up the morning.

I left just after midday and, after a bit of searching, found my way to the Metro and was back at the hotel by 2pm, having added Red Avadavat, Green Sandpiper and Eurasian Collared Dove just outside the sanctuary.

Monday 29th October 2012: I again left early and actually made good time, assisted with a lift from a jogger entering the sanctuary. I entered through the northern checkpoint (where they had no change or English brochures) and decided to stay primarily in that area, partly because this had been the most productive on my previous visit and also because I had to be back by early afternoon in order to catch my onward flight to Nepal. The day started well with many common species not seen on the last trip, including several Taiga Flycatcher, Common and Bank Myna, a pair of Laughing Dove, Asian Koel, Hume’s Warbler, Grey-headed Canary-flycatcher and House Sparrow. As I approached the temple, I had great views of 2 male and a single female Indian Peafowl. However, I was more excited this time by a Red-breasted Flycatcher, in full breeding dress, which allowed great comparison (particularly the call) with the nearby Taigas.

The reed beds near the temple again proved very worthwhile, again with Striated Babbler, but also with Yellow-eyed Babbler, Striated Grassbird, breeding plumage Red Avadavat, female Western Marsh Harrier, Ashy and Yellow-bellied Prinia, numerous Bluethroats, Paddyfield Warbler and Blue-cheeked bee-eater. For mammal watchers, I also had reasonable views of 2 fairly nervous female Nilgai. Four Yellow-footed Green Pigeon were also spotted as they exited a fig tree near the temple. Out on the pools, slightly larger numbers of duck were visible and more species were added including Garganey, Eurasian Wigeon and Northern Pintail and Lesser Whistling Duck. However, I didn’t go down to the main lake to see what was there. Oriental Darter, Little and Great Cormorant, Indian Spot-billed Duck, Northern Shoveler, Gadwall, Mallard, Bronze-winged Jacana, Purple Swamphen, Little Grebe, Common Moorhen and Eurasian Coot were all still present.

Heading back towards the checkpoint, I picked up the same Long-tailed Shrike as earlier, a Eurasian Hobby hunting dragonflies over the pools and Greenish Warbler. A short excursion south along the main track yielded the final two ticks of the day in Black-headed Ibis and a skulking but highly visible Brown Crake. A male Shikra was seen just outside the sanctuary and Egyptian Vulture was seen as we travelled through the city to the airport.

Summary: India is a great country to explore and, having such a diversity of habitats, is fantastic for birds and other wildlife. Most birders will presumably have a detailed itinerary already worked out but a half/full-day trip to Okhla Bird Sanctuary can be very easily added and is highly recommended. Of course, many of the species can no doubt be picked up elsewhere but if, like me on this occasion, the primary purpose of visiting India is for something else, then I would most certainly go again. This trip added 4 lifers and an impressive 64 additions to my India list.

For further information, please feel free to contact me at markdread@gmail.com.

Systematic List


The following list covers all birds seen during this trip to India (21st – 29th October 2012). Birds annotated with an asterisk ‘*’ were NOT recorded in the Sanctuary. Details about where starred birds were seen are described where necessary.

Phasianidae


Red Junglefowl* (Gallus gallus) A single male was seen in Dudhwa NP – 21/10/12

Indian Peafowl (Pavo cristatus) A male on 24th near southern checkpoint, and 2 males and 1 female near the temple on 29th

Anatidae


Lesser Whistling Duck (Dendrocygna javanica) 6-8 birds present on northern pools – 29/10/12

Gadwall (Anas strepera) Approximately 10 seen on 24/10/12, with 25-30 on 29/10/12

Eurasian Wigeon (Anas penelope) 15-20 birds on northern pools – 29/10/12

Mallard (Anas platyrhynchos) Common on both dates (100+)

Indian Spot-billed Duck (Anas poecilorhyncha) Up to 40 birds seen on both dates on northern pools

Northern Shoveler (Anas clypeata) Approximately 20 birds on 24/10/12 with more like 50 on 29/10/12

Northern Pintail (Anas acuta) 10-12 birds on northern pools – 29/10/12

Garganey (Anas crecca) Single female on northern pools – 29/10/12

Eurasian Teal (Anas crecca) 30-40 birds seen in fringes of lake on both dates

Common Pochard (Aythya farina) Between 6-8 birds seen on 24/10/12

Tufted Duck (Aythya fuligula) Approximately 30 birds present on main lake - 24/10/12

Podicipedidae


Little Grebe (Tachybaptus ruficollis) Three birds on northern pools on both dates and two at BIC 28/10/12

Ciconiidae


Painted Stork* (Mycteria leucocephala) Single bird in flight at Greater Noida – 27/10/12

Asian Openbill* (Anastomus oscitans) A group of about 15 near Dudhwa NP – 21/10/12

Woolly-necked Stork* (Ciconia episcopus) Single bird seen at forest pond in Dudhwa NP – 21/10/12

Threskiornithidae


Black-headed Ibis (Threskiornis melanocephalus) Two birds near northern checkpoint – 29/10/12

Red-naped Ibis (Pseudibis papillosa) Two birds near temple – 24/10/12

Ardeidae


Indian Pond Heron (Ardeola grayii) Common on both dates. Also very common in Dudhwa NP, en route to Delhi, and within the city itself

Eastern Cattle Egret (Bubulcus coromandus) Common in small numbers on both dates. Also common in and around Delhi, and near Dudhwa NP

Grey Heron (Ardea cinerea) 5+ singles on both dates

Purple Heron (Ardea purpurea) 3+ singles on both dates

Great Egret (Ardea alba) Two on northern pools 29/10/12 with singles seen in and near Dudhwa on 21/10/12

Intermediate Egret (Egretta intermedia) Singles observed on 24/10/12, near Dudhwa NP 21/10/12 and BIC 28/10/12

Little Egret (Egretta garzetta) Observed on both dates in small numbers. Fairly common en route to, and within, Delhi

Phalacrocoracidae


Little Cormorant (Microcarbo niger) Easily seen on both dates. Also, small groups in Dudhwa NP, en route to Delhi and singles near BIC

Great Cormorant (Phalacrocorax carbo) Approximately 8 birds seen on both dates at northern end of main lake

Anhingidae


Oriental Darter (Anhinga melanogaster) Two birds on northern pools 24/10/12, with four there on 29/10/12

Accipitridae


Black-winged Kite* (Elanus caeruleus) One seen in Greater Noida 26/10/12 with singles also at BIC 27&28/10/12

Black Kite (Milvus migrans) Seen daily, with perhaps 5,000 or more on rubbish tip near Ghazipur in New Delhi

Egyptian Vulture* (Neophron percnopterus) Two birds near Ghazipur rubbish tip on 25/10/12, a single at Yamuna Bank on 26/10/12 and another single in Noida 29/10/12

Western Marsh Harrier (Circus aeruginosus) Female quartering northern reed beds – 29/10/12

Shikra (Accipiter badius) Single female on 24/10/12, with a single male just outside the sanctuary on 29/10/12. Also, a female near Moradabad 21/10/12 and a male in Greater Noida 28/10/12

Falconidae


Eurasian Hobby (Falco subbuteo) Single bird hunting near northern trail – 29/10/12

Peregrine Falcon* (Falco peregrinus) A single female was observed chasing Feral Doves on the outskirts of Delhi – 22/10/12

Rallidae


Brown Crake (Amaurornis akool) Single bird in reeds near northern checkpoint – 29/10/12

White-breasted Waterhen (Amaurornis phoenicurus) Seemingly less common than Common Moorhen but seen on both dates

Purple Swamphen (Porphyrio porphyria) Present in small numbers at northern end of lake. Seen on both dates

Common Moorhen (Gallinula chloropus) Small numbers of skulking individuals on both dates. Also a single bird near Dudhwa NP 21/10/12 and another at BIC 28/10/12

Eurasian Coot (Fulica atra) 60-70 birds on main lake on both dates

Gruidae


Sarus Crane* (Grus antigone) Two birds flew over the bypass between BIC and Greater Noida – 26/10/12

Recurvirostridae


Black-winged Stilt* (Himantopus himantopus) 3-4 birds at BIC – 28/10/12

Charadriidae


River Lapwing* (Vanellus duvaucelii) Seen in small numbers when crossing most large rivers en route to Delhi – 21-22/10/12

Red-wattled Lapwing (Vanellus indicus) Scattered individuals at northern end of lake on both dates with a few sightings in open areas of Dudhwa NP, en route to Delhi, at Noida and at BIC

Little Ringed Plover* (Charadrius dubius) Two birds near Dudhwa NP – 21/10/12

Jacanidae


Bronze-winged Jacana (Metopidius indicus) Two birds on northern pools 24/10/12, with up to 5 there on 29/10/12

Scolopacidae


Green Sandpiper* (Tringa ochropus) Singles near Dudhwa NP, 21/10/12 and New Ashok Nagar, 24/10/12

Wood Sandpiper (Tringa glareola) Single near temple on 29/10/12 and other singles near Dudhwa NP – 21/10/12

Laridae


Brown-headed Gull (Chroicocephalus brunnicephalus) 15-20 birds on the main lake – 24/10/12

Pallas’s Gull (Ichthyaetus ichthyaetus) A 1st winter bird on the main lake – 24/10/12

Caspian Gull (Larus cachinnans) A 2nd winter bird on the main lake – 24/10/12

Columbidae


Rock Dove (Columba livia) Feral birds were common throughout

Eurasian Collared Dove* (Streptopelia decaocto) Seen in pairs in New Delhi on 24th, 28th and 29th

Spotted Dove* (Spilopelia chinensis) Common en route to Delhi – 21-22/10/12. Not recorded in New Delhi

Laughing Dove (Spilopelia senegalensis) Two on northern trail – 29/10/12

Yellow-footed Green Pigeon (Treron phoenicopterus) Four in Ficus sp. near northern temple – 29/10/12

Psittacidae


Rose-ringed Parakeet (Psittacula krameri) Small numbers (up to 10) on both dates. Also a small flock near Dudhwa NP, 21/10/12 and another in Greater Noida 28/10/12

Cuculidae


Greater Coucal (Centropus sinensis) One on 24/10/12 near southern checkpoint, with two on 29/10/12 near temple

Asian Koel (Eudynamys scolopaceus) Single near temple – 29/10/12

Alcedinidae


Stork-billed Kingfisher *(Pelargopsis capensis) A lone individual posed well near Dudhwa NP – 21/10/12

White-throated Kingfisher (Halcyon smyrnensis) Singles seen on both dates. Also in Dudhwa NP, en route to Delhi and at BIC

Common Kingfisher (Alcedo atthis) Single near southern checkpoint – 24/10/12

Pied Kingfisher* (Ceryle rudis) Single bird between Greater Noida and BIC – 27/10/12

Meropidae


Green Bee-eater (Merops orientalis) Single bird on northern trail 24/10/12, with 5-6 0n 29/10/12

Blue-cheeked Bee-eater (Merops persicus) Small numbers (8-10) hawking over the reed beds on both dates

Laniidae


Long-tailed Shrike (Lanius schach) A brown-headed immature bird on tower trail both dates – reminiscent of lucionensis Brown Shrike

Dicruridae


Black Drongo (Dicrurus macrocercus) A few seen on both dates, though more common between Moradabad and Delhi on 22/10/12. Also at Greater Noida, 28/10/12

Greater Racket-tailed Drongo* (Dicrurus paradiseus) 1-3 birds seen on several occasions in Dudhwa NP – 21/10/12

Corvidae


House Crow (Corvus splendens) Very common throughout

Large-billed Crow* (Corvus macrorhynchos) Singles seen near Dudhwa NP, 21/10/12, and Moradabad, 22/10/12

Stenostiridae


Grey-headed Canary-flycatcher (Culicicapa ceylonensis) Three on northern trail – 29/10/12

Pycnonotidae


Red-vented Bulbul (Pycnonotus cafer) Common throughout sanctuary, New Delhi and BIC

Hirundinidae


Barn Swallow (Hirundo rustica) Common on both dates and at BIC

Wire-tailed Swallow* (Hirundo smithii) Two birds with full tail extensions at BIC – 28/10/12

Red-rumped Swallow* (Cecropis daurica) Relatively common near Dudhwa NP, particularly over freshly cut fields – 21-22/10/12

Phylloscopidae


Common Chiffchaff (Phylloscopus collybita) A single, rather pale bird near temple – 29/10/12

Hume’s Leaf Warbler (Phylloscopus humei) Several birds seen on northern trail – 29/10/12

Greenish Warbler (Phylloscopus trochiloides) Small numbers on northern trail on both dates

Acrocephalidae


Clamorous Reed Warbler (Acrocephalus stentoreus) Present in small numbers in northern reed beds on both dates

Paddyfield Warbler (Acrocephalus agricola) Two singles near temple – 29/10/12

Blyth’s Reed Warbler (Acrocephalus dumetorum) This and Lesser Whitethroat were the commonest warblers on both dates

Locustellidae


Striated Grassbird (Megalurus palustris) 2-3 birds in reed beds near temple – 29/10/12

Cisticolidae


Yellow-bellied Prinia (Prinia flaviventris) Two singles on 24/10/12, with one on 29/10/12

Ashy Prinia (Prinia socialis) Four seen together on northern trail 24/10/12, with 2 on 29/10/12

Plain Prinia (Prinia inornata) Common on both dates

Leiothrichidae


Striated Babbler (Turdoides earlei) Small flocks of 6-8 very confiding birds near temple/ tower trail on both dates

Large Grey Babbler (Turdoides malcolmi) Easily seen on both dates in small numbers. Two small flocks seen near Moradabad, 22/10/12. Also seen well at Gandhi Museum in Delhi, 23/10/12

Sylviidae


Lesser Whitethroat (Sylvia curruca) Common to very common on both dates

Yellow-eyed Babbler (Chrysomma sinense) Two birds near temple – 29/10/12

Zosteropidae


Oriental White-eye (Zosterops palpebrosus) Small flock of 8-10 birds seen on both dates

Sturnidae


Jungle Myna* (Acridotheres fuscus) Relatively common near Moradabad – 22/10/12

Bank Myna (Acridotheres ginginianus) Three birds on 29/10/12 near northern checkpoint. Became increasingly common as we neared Delhi on 22/10/12. Also seen daily in Delhi

Common Myna (Acridotheres tristis) Common at most locations en route to/in Delhi

Asian Pied Myna (Gracupica contra) Fairly easy in the sanctuary on both dates but not as common as expected elsewhere

Muscicapidae


Bluethroat (Luscinia svecica) Several individuals seen along trails to watch towers on both dates

Oriental Magpie-Robin (Copsychus saularis) A pair on the northern trail on both dates

Indian Robin (Saxicoloides fulicatus) Male on northern trail – 24/10/12

Black Redstart (Phoenicurus ochruros) A female present near northern checkpoint 24/10/12 with a different bird near temple 29/10/12

Siberian Stonechat* (Saxicola maurus) A lone male bird seen just inside Dudhwa NP – 21/10/12

Pied Bush Chat (Saxicola caprata) Male on northern trail on both dates, with singles fairly common en route to Delhi, 22/10/12. Further singles at BIC 27-28/10/12

Brown Rock Chat (Cercomela fusca) Single bird near the southern checkpoint on 24/10/12 and another in Greater Noida 28/10/12

Blue Rock Thrush* (Monticola solitaries) Single female on buildings near Dudhwa NP – 21/10/12

Red-breasted Flycatcher (Ficedula parva) A single with full red chest on northern trail – 29/10/12

Taiga Flycatcher (Ficedula albicilla) Maybe 5 birds present on northern trail – 29/10/12

Nectariniidae


Purple Sunbird (Cinnyris asiaticus) Relatively common along southern trail 24/10/12 with further birds near temple 29/10/12

Passeridae


House Sparrow (Passer domesticus) Seen (less than 5) on 29/10/12 in sanctuary and also Noida area

Estrildidae


Red Avadavat (Amandava amandava) Small numbers on northern trail on 29/10/12 with 3-4 just outside the northern entrance on 24/10/12

Tricoloured Munia (Lonchura malacca) Four birds near temple – 24/10/12

Motacillidae


Western Yellow Wagtail* (Motacilla flava) Single bird at BIC – 26/10/12

White Wagtail* (Motacilla alba) Relatively common en route to Delhi 22/10/12 with further individuals at BIC 28/10/12

Paddyfield Pipit* (Anthus rufulus) Singles seen near BIC – 26-28/10/12

 

Other Wildlife


Mammals


Tarai Gray Langur (Semnopithecus hector) Small troop in Dudhwa NP – 21/10/12

Rhesus Macaque (Macaca mulatta) Small numbers along roadside in Dudhwa NP – 21/10/12

Northern Palm Squirrel (Funambulus pennantii) Fairly common in Delhi and Dudhwa NP

Small Asian Mongoose (Herpestes javanicus) A family group of 4-5 at Anand Vihar ISBT Bus Station, New Delhi – 22/10/12

Nilgai (Boselaphus tragocamelus) Two females at Okhla Bird Sanctuary – 29/10/12

3 comments:

  1. Just read your very comprehensive and interesting report, Mark, and saw the very nice pictures you posted. This will help a lot of overseas birders who might have half a day for some quick birding.
    I was surprised to read about the entry ticket for non-Indians - a hefty Rs.350/-! Thought that applied to only monuments in India. Pity.
    Sushmita

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  2. Thanks Sushmita Jha. I'm glad you enjoyed the report and hope it will be of use to fellow birders. Someday I hope to return and see some other sites too as India has such a diversity of habitats and birds.
    Yes, the fee is rather hefty. At the time I was volunteering in Nepal and 'earning' a genuine local wage which is not very much at all.

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