A flurry of trips in the first 3 months of this year, none of which I have managed to blog about, as I have been drowning under a deluge of work the last few months (yeah right, just an excuse for laziness!). At least a brief update is in order, and a taste of what is to come (soon, hopefully!). January – kicked off the new year with a brilliant trip to Thattekad and Munnar in Kerala (I was there ostensibly for a colleague and fellow birder’s wedding), and a brief trip to Sewri in Mumbai to see the flamingoes.
February – joined up with my dad on part of a 3-week long Rajasthan trip that he was doing with my uncle and aunt from UK. We met up for 3 days in Desert National Park (Jaisalmer), followed by an en-route halt at Phalodi to see the awe-inspiring spectacle of demoiselle cranes who spend the winter around the nondescript village of Khichan and arrive in the thousands every morning to feed on grain left for them by the villagers. Some relaxed birding on return to Jaipur and then a rather eventful trip to Tal Chhapar blackbuck sanctuary. A veritable vulture and raptor fest, this trip had many memorable moments, one of them was the sight of 4 types of vultures feasting on a carcass at DNP.
March – an impromptu decision by BULBs and 9 of us were off to Goa for a weekend of intense birding! Started with gulls and terns galore on an evening at Morjim beach, followed by a morning at Bondla wildlife sanctuary, stopping on the return journey for ducks and waders. The next morning was spent on the Zuari river, cruising through the mangroves where we got the promised 6 types of kingfishers (not including the bottled variety)! No time for lounging on the beach, and nearly every waking moment was spent birding 🙂
The following week I was off to Assam on a trip organized by NatureIndia. Several in the group were birding friends (5 of us from Bangalore), plus my dad and some friends from Mumbai, so it felt like a reunion of sorts. Enroute birding happened in Kolkata (at least I managed to blog about that promptly!), followed by Nameri and Kaziranga. One of the high points of the trip was an amazing sighting of the notoriously shy (and endangered) white-winged duck in Nameri, a pair of which surprisingly allowed 15 excited birders to get good looks through the spotting scope.
Closer home, with 4 trips to Nandi Hills (highlights pied thrush and a family of shaheen falcons), one to Mysore (a wild goose chase for bar-headed geese), one to Galibore (fabulous sightings of blue-bearded bee-eaters and pied cuckoos) and several to Valley school, I am happy to proclaim that the birding season was very well spent indeed!