Himalayan Birding Tour includes birding at two superb destinations in the Western
Himalayas: Corbett National Park
and the attractive Hill Station of
There is something indefinable about India that makes westerners who have been there yearn to return. Perhaps it is the vastness of the country and its timeless quality; perhaps it is the strange mixture of a multiplicity of peoples and cultures, so alien and yet so fascinating, which strikes a hidden chord in us; or perhaps it is the way that man and nature are so closely linked, co-existing in a way that seems intrinsically impossible. There are just some places one has to visit in a lifetime, and India is one of them. Our journey begins in the capital, New Delhi, where at any time of the day literally hundreds of birds of prey, storks and vultures (the last declining sharply) can be seen soaring overhead.
These may seem to you as the common birds like the eagles, crow, pegion and the like but bird lovers will never find anything common in them also. They just love every movement of these high flyers.
Wildlife in India is truly exciting and can be termed as 'animal lover's paradise'. India is home to more than 90 National Parks and 490 Wildlife Sanctuaries. The jungle life here is splendid nestling miraculous variety of wild animals; tigers, one-horned rhinos, Asiatic lions, teeming insects, domestic and migratory birds and elephants. India is a center point for the wildlife enthusiasts, researchers and tourists from all over the world.
Visit famous national parks and wildlife sanctuaries, like Corbett Tiger Reserve.
From Delhi we travel northwards across the densely populated Indo-Gangetic Plain to Corbett National Park. Cradled in the foothills of the Himalayas,Corbett National Park, India's first, is also widely considered one of the finest reserves in the Indian subcontinent. Its vast area encompasses considerable tracts of grassland and forest centered on the Ramganga River. In addition, we will spend three nights at the delightful Quality Inn, superbly located overlooking the pristine Khosi River valley. This is tiger country personified, and although finding this most magnificent of all cats is never easy, our chances here are modest. Corbett is so much more, however, with over 50 species of mammals, 530 birds, and 25 reptiles recorded within the reserve.
These include such gems as Asian elephant, leopard, sloth bear, the most peculiar
and endangered gharial (a slender-nosed croc), Kalij Pheasant, Pallas's Fish-Eagle,
Collared Falconet, Slaty-headed Parakeet, Brown and the very rare Tawny Fish
owls, Crested and Stork-billed kingfishers, Himalayan Flame back, the exquisite
Wall creeper, and Red-billed Blue Magpie. From Corbett, we will ascend into
theHimalayas proper and ensconce ourselves in the charming, albeit somewhat
shabby, hill station of Naini Tal. The Western Himalayas differ considerably
from the east, being notably drier and colder, and support a distinctly more
temperate range of habitats. These forests support a number of species, which
occur only west of the Khali-Ghandaki divide (a major bio-geographic boundary
in central Nepal dividing the west from the east), as well as a large number
of other more wide-ranging species. The avifauna here is dramatically different
from that of the plains and foothills.
Such contrasts are one of the pleasuresof Himalayan birding - new species are
constantly appearing whenever when one ascends or descends. Here, at nearly
7,000 feet, and surrounded by the high Himalayas, we will explore pine-clad
ridges and temperate woodlands for such species as Lammergeier (with luck we
able to actually look down on one of these extraordinary birds as they sail
beneath us), Brown-fronted Woodpecker, Altai and Black-throated accentors, Blue-capped
Redstart, Chestnut Thrush, Red-fronted Serin, Vinaceous Rosefinch, and Black-headed
Jay. En route back to Delhi we will make a special stop at the Ganges River
where, with a bit of luck, we may find the globally threatened Indian Skimmer,
in addition to such species as Great Thick-knee and Black-bellied Tern.
It also may test your patience when you gape at the sky trying to sight one
of those species that you wished to find making those skillful movements and
hovering above your head but could not. That's why we suggest that before taking
up the birding tours one must be mentally prepared to sight some of these beautiful
species of birds after along wait.
Our tour concludes with none other than three full days in the world-renown Bharatpur sanctuary.
All of this "food" results in exceptional numbers of wintering birds of prey,
especially large eagles. This will provide a wonderful opportunity to test our
skills at sortingout the challenging Imperial, Tawny, Steppe, Greater, and Lesser
Spotted species. Bharatpur sports a remarkable mosaic of habitats, which range
from semiarid scrub to beautiful mature woodlands in addition to the wetlands,
resulting in a great diversity of birds. In addition to large numbers of water
birds, we can expect
to see such species as Indian Peafowl; Indian Courser; perhaps the increasingly
rare Sociable Plover; impressive Dusky Horned Owls at the nest; the electrifying
Indian Roller; five kingfishers; Indian Grey Hornbill; perhaps the elusive Spotted
Creeper; and a good selection of dry country larks, pipits, and wheatears. These
are the focal points of our revised Northern India tour. However, any tour to
India is so much more than a series of highlights; it is a total experience.
Perhaps no other country on earth provides so rich panoply of culture, living
history intertwined with nature, literally at our feet. India is a photographer's,
a traveler's, a historian's, an anthropologist's, and most emphatically a naturalist's
dream. Join VENT and Dion Hobcroft on a visit to the Indian subcontinent--one
of the most romantic and magical places on our planet.
Himalayan India Birding Tour Reservation