NE India, Days 11-12, 17-18 March 2023 - Kaziranga NP

Entry to Kaziranga is strictly by authorised jeep safari only and we enjoyed 2 full days of just that on our visit. Our guide Pallab ensured that we visited as much of the park as possible in our 4 half-day sessions (you are required to leave the park for the lunch period).

Starting in the eastern section we quickly saw Oriental Pied Hornbill, Striated Swallow, Baya Weaver and Red Collared Dove before entering the park. Once in the park things really got going with Black-rumped Flameback and Spotted Owlet both giving great views with our first Indochinese Rollers and Grey-headed Fish Eagle also joining the party. Animals were everywhere with Water Buffalo, Rhesus Macaque, Swamp Deer, Hog Deer and the iconic emblem of the park One-horned Rhinocerous all seen in good numbers. The lagoons held much of the same waterfowl as seen at other wetlands but Cotton Pygmy Goose was new and the first of several splendid Black-necked Storks were joined by Black-headed Ibis, Asian Woolyneck, Oriental Darter, Lesser Adjutant and Asian Openbill. A close pair of Grey-headed Lapwings were quickly followed by a gorgeous pair of Daurian Redstarts, a Greater Flameback, Taiga Flycatcher and then another new bird - Abbot's Babbler. A pair of magnificent Great Hornbills also posed nicely to an appreciative audience. Raptors were regularly seen in the air with Himalayan Griffon the most numerous but after some scanning we picked up a Slender-billed Vulture followed by Crested Serpent Eagle and Changeable Hawk-Eagle.


After a nice chinese for lunch (the best meal of the whole trip!) we re-entered the park to explore the central section. With a perched juv Pallas's Fish Eagle and an Asian Barred Owlet in quick succession it was a good start followed up with a pair of Swamp Francolins. Hoopoe and Asian Green Bee-eater, Blue-tailed Bee-eater and Chestnut-headed Bee-eater were also added to the trip list and the woodpecker list surged on with Grey-capped Pygmy Woodpecker, Bay Woodpecker and Grey-headed Woodpecker. Our only Brown Shrike of the trip followed with a close Grey-backed Shrike and 2 Bank Mynas. With Oriental Turtle Dove and Dusky Warbler then being seen time was getting on. Pallab then heard the alarm notes of deer coming from some thick grassland and we then encountered a small group of jeeps whose guides had obviously heard the same. Scanning revealed nothing so we moved to a side track. From here I noted movement of deer to the right and back towards the main track. Upn hearing this news Pallab instructed our driver to go back to the main track. In prime position here we waited staring down the track. We'd almost given up and losing concentration when cheer went up from behind us followed by a feeling of utter guttedness - they hadn't? While we were looking the other way? Thank goodness all was not lost as not 1 but 3 more Bengal Tigers crossed the track with the adult female even pausing in the centre of the track to look at us. A truly unforgettable moment!!


The nest morning took us to the far western section of the park but before we got there a Hair-crested Drongo and a showy Stork-billed Kingfisher kept us amused. Just inside the park some fruiting trees by a house gave us 4 Thick-billed Green Pigeons, a nice Lesser Yellownape and Scarlet-backed Flowerpecker. Further in we stopped by a large lake scoring with a much-wanted bird in River Lapwing with a distant pair of Wreathed Hornbills followed by a Pale-chinned Blue Flycatcher and Large Woodshrike in the same copse. Also scoring with Common Iora, Rufous Treepie, Cinereous Tit, Greenish Warbler, Blyth's Leaf Warbler, Puff-throated Babbler, White-rumped Sharma, Velvet-fronted Nuthatch, Rosy Pipit, Black-crested Bulbul and Indochinese Roller we retired for our lunch break. On the way to the restaurant however we had a nice surprise with 2 River Terns watched well on a roadside flood. 

That afternoon it was the near western section that we visited. Making our way through the tracks via a nice perched adult Pallas's Fish Eagle and Paddyfield Pipit to a dead end at a large viewing tower. From here a scan of distant birds revealed an incredible 60 Greater Adjutants and 45 Black-necked Storks. Considering the world population of the former is c800 that is some record! A pair of Red-breasted Parakeets showed well there too.  On the way back we stopped to look at a Black-headed Ibis when Pallab announced he'd spotted a Savannah Nightjar roosting on the ground just feet from the jeep - mega! From then on we found Peregrine, 2 Greater Spotted Eagles, Oriental Dollarbird, Streak-throated Woodpecker, Blossom-headed Parakeets, Alexandrine Parakeet, 4 Temminck's Stints, 4 Spot-billed Pelicans, 2 Kalij Pheasants and c5 Asian Emerald Doves. What a place!


No comments:

Post a Comment