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Adopt the pace of nature: her secret is patience. - Ralph Waldo Emerson

Bharatpur - December 2011

Having left Bangalore on the 23rd of November, after traveling to Sattal in Uttarakhand, Agra in UP and the Chambal River in UP, Bharatpur in Rajasthan was our last leg of this trip.

A typical landscape inside the Keoladeo National Park!

At a distance of 180 kms from New Delhi, “Keoladeo National Park”, a world heritage site in Rajasthan, was earlier a duck shooting preserve! The area was deemed a national park only in March 1982. I wonder if the birds still carry the “shooting times fear” in their genes?

Having visited Bharatpur before I more or less knew what to expect. The park is well spread out – 29sq kms. There is water in most parts of the park and a fair bit of birdlife. Ample network of roads makes it easy to move around the area. Bicycles available on rent and the famous “Cycle Rickshaw” , are the preferred mode of transport inside the park.

Entrance gate to the Keoladeo National Park… 

Those birds we saw breeding in the park were common birds like the Painted Stork, Asian Openbill, and Great Cormorant. The winter visitors like the Bar-headed Goose, Greylag Goose and Northern Pintails, were extremely shy and kept their distance from the large tripods. The mist and haze does not help at all. Quality bird photography is tough! However, as a bird watcher you will be able to enjoy the company of over a hundred common species of birds and some not so common ones like the Large-tailed Nightjar, Dusky Eagle Owl and Greater Painted-snipe.

Several of these "Greylag Goose"were resting and feeding in the water...

A typical hiding snipe!

On the 2nd December, 2011, MN Jayakumar, Kulashekara CS and myself left the “Chambal Safari Lodge” after lunch and reached Bharatpur by dusk. On our way to Bharatpur we made a brief stop at “Fatehpur Sikri”a world heritage site! Certainly worth a visit.

We spent three nights at the basic but comfortable Forest Rest House - Shanti Kutir which is situated inside the famous “Keoladeo National Park”! We wandered around the park for two days and managed to grab a few images!

”Shanti Kutir”

”An early morning visit to this lovely watch-tower was refreshing!” 

Many thanks to the park Director Anup K R who helped us in all possible ways. We had a couple of wonderful evenings at his house chit-chatting around a small fire followed by home made dinner! On the 4th evening I actually cooked “South Indian Sambar” (Yes, I can cook!) in his house that was much appreciated as all four of us were from the South!

Sarwan” (remember Sattal?) who was already at Bharatpur joined us for a day on the 3rd. Chotu Khan who lives close to Shanti-Kutir and a famous photographer himself also joined us on the 3rd morning. Thanks folks for all the help!

The first bird I shot was an “Asian Pied Starling”! I was lucky to get a glimpse of a “Jungle Cat”! I got a better picture of a “Black-necked Stork” and a couple of close shots of a pair of friendly “Sarus Cranes”. A classic “hiding snipe” – A Greater Painted Snipe! was fun to shoot!

”Sarus Crane”

”Jungle Cat”

” Plenty of these “Rhesus macaques” in the park.

”Plenty of these “Indian Pythons” too…” 

3rd December night was “Party Time”. Anup led us to “Hotel Sunbird” just outside the park and we had such a balst! Ranveer Sikarwar was a great host and the food was just outstanding! I noticed that ‘Hotel Sunbird” is a very good option to stay if the FRH is not available as it is just outside the park and Ranveer is quite well versed with birders and photographers needs. Very many thanks Ranveer Ji for the wonderful dinner!

On the 5th December morning we left Bharatpur and reached New Delhi by 11 am for a quick lunch before we proceeded to the airport for our 2.40 pm flight to Bangalore. At lunch I was happy to catch up with Sarwandeep Singh, Kartick Satyanarayan, and Nikhil Devasar who all live in Delhi.

I was home in time for dinner!

So, ending 2011 happily! Will see you next year with more joy!

Please visit indiabirds to view bird images....

Vijay Cavale
December, 2011