Birding Gir Nationwide Park, India – 10,000 Birds

Animalstuffstore Pictures-from-India-445-630x472 Birding Gir Nationwide Park, India – 10,000 Birds Bird

After a number of recreation drives, as soon as once more we’re on the entrance gate of the Gir Nationwide Park within the state of Gujarat. This park protects the most important remaining tract of dry deciduous forest within the west of India, providing guests 37 species of reptiles, 38 species of mammals and, to not be forgotten – nearly 300 fowl species.

Nonetheless, for almost all of tourists, there appear to be just one species – among the final of the 670 remaining Asiatic Lions (Panthera leo persica). Subsequently, it’s fairly annoying to listen to a typical query from a passing Maruti Gypsy: “Have you ever seen the lions?” “Sure, we did – so what? We’re right here for the birds!”

Lions apart, carnivores are represented by Leopard, Striped Hyena, Jackal, and so on., whereas herbivores are represented by Chital and Sambar (above) deer, Wild Boar, Nilgai antelope, and so on. The most important reptile is the Indian Mugger Crocodile.

As a consequence, many of the guides know solely mammals, and even those that declare to know birds will be capable to present you solely the most common species, these that you’ve got discovered to ID in your Indian day one. Understandably, we had been reserved when, as soon as once more, we had been informed that we are going to be accompanied by Manoj (learn “j” like “ch”), an skilled on birds who declare to be able to displaying us some extra nocturnal creatures…

A flock of Crested Treeswifts is circling above us. Judging by the map within the area information, they aren’t purported to be right here in any respect. But, they’ve – wings!

Animalstuffstore IMG_3153-630x473 Birding Gir Nationwide Park, India – 10,000 Birds Bird
An open Gypsy follows dust tracks via dry deciduous forest dominated with teak. Gir contains various habitats, from open scrubland to each dry deciduous and tropical thorn forest and evergreen corridors alongside the rivers. Disinterested Grey Langurs await us within the subsequent tree crown; one Black-rumped Flameback woodpecker is looking the branches, whereas one attractive Tickell’s Blue Flycatcher flies by. On the low acacia by the highway, a Shikra retains a watchful eye on us. The most common giant mammals of the park are smallish, noticed forest deer – Chitals, and we regularly encounter small herds. A number of Indian Peafowl are looking dry leaves by the roadside. Getting used to peacocks as ornamental backyard birds, I discover it arduous to acknowledge them as genuine wild birds.

We’re crossing the ridge and coming into the valley of one of many seven rivers of the park. Within the dry season, floor water turns into arduous to seek out and the park officers have created 4 bigger dams, but in addition quite a few small ones wherever the highway crosses the river. On the financial institution of 1 such small dam, a Softshell Turtle basks within the afternoon solar, whereas one Oriental Magpie-Robin is looking the water edge. A low department is adorned by a Inexperienced Bee-eater and a tree high above it holds a number of Cattle Egrets. There’s a Pink-wattled Lapwing on a mud bar, whereas behind a dry bush… some fowl is enjoying disguise and search with us… a stunning White-breasted Waterhen (beneath). After a constructive ID, it flies to the protruded roots of a giant tree, displaying itself effectively within the smooth daylight.

Animalstuffstore Pictures-from-India-941-630x473 Birding Gir Nationwide Park, India – 10,000 Birds Bird
A bit of bit additional, whereas watching a big Sambar wallowing within the mudbath, Manoj factors our consideration to a Crested Honey Buzzard on one and a Changeable Hawk-Eagle on one other tree. Perhaps his status just isn’t with out a basis?

Wild Boar stands subsequent to the highway, watching us with out nervousness or worry. It belongs to the identical species as these in Europe, however a smaller subspecies (Sus scrofa davidi). Beneath an arched department, one acquainted fowl, a Widespread Blackbird feminine… however after a current cut up in 2005 by Rasmussen and Anderton, it was elevated to a full species – Indian Blackbird (Turdus simillimus).

Three Indian Jackals are strolling via a sundown. Visiting instances are restricted to 2 and a half hours within the morning and night, and a safari driver who overstays these instances could also be fined, so our driver will increase the pace. Chitals are crossing the highway, however we’ve got seen too lots of them to cease now. Sometimes we go so shortly that we could also be posing a hazard for jay-walking animals…

…after which, for no apparent purpose, we out of the blue cease! We now have nearly forgotten that Manoj has promised us some creatures of the night time, when he raised his hand to level at three Mottled Wooden Owls proper above us (cowl photograph), lovely giant Strix owls barely amused by us. There may be barely sufficient gentle for a photograph.

And when our driver continues, we’ve got a brand new respect for our information and really feel sorry that we had no probability to e book his providers for earlier drives. The one true fowl information among the many quite a few park guides, he was busy displaying – mammals to the vacationers (we’re actually not vacationers – we’re birders!).

Animalstuffstore IMG_3236-630x473 Birding Gir Nationwide Park, India – 10,000 Birds Bird
After a brief drive, we cease once more and Manoj leads our eyes up a tree trunk, than a aspect department and… to the Indian Nightjar mendacity low alongside the department and melting into it with its camouflage plumage.

A longish drive – lengthy sufficient to overlook that he has really promised us two owls. But, we cease once more and Manoj factors our consideration to a gap half-way up a tree trunk: there’s an Indian Scops Owl in it. Manoj actually is aware of his owls.

There is no such thing as a extra purpose to cease, se we go all the best way, roller-coaster fashion, actual hazard for naive deer that show sensible sufficient to keep away from us. Two owls and a nightjar! Gir is a improbable birding space! Within the phrases of Indian ornithologist Salim Ali, had Gir not been the Lion sanctuary, it could have been termed one of many best fowl sanctuaries in Gujarat!

We gave Manoj twice the same old and well-earned tip, promising to suggest him to different birders. Promise fulfilled.

Animalstuffstore 1-s2.0-S0006320711000577-gr1-630x460 Birding Gir Nationwide Park, India – 10,000 Birds Bird

Pictures © Dusanka Stokovic Simic & Dragan Simic

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