Trip report: Northern India (December 2010) by Tropical Birding

Guided by Keith Barnes and Ken BehrensThis was a set departure tour.

This trip continues to be one of our very best. Not only did some of the group see an amazing Tiger but we also scored a delectable set of 389 birds. Some of the real stars included a ridiculously close Ibisbill, Jungle Bush Quail, Lesser Adjutant, White-naped and Rufous-bellied amongst 18 species of woodpecker, Mountain Hawk-Eagle, Long-legged Buzzard, Chestnut-bellied Sandgrouse, Black-bellied Tern, Indian Skimmer, Ashy-crowned Sparrowlark, Altai Accentor, Chestnut-headed Tesia, Red-fronted Prinia, Sulphur-bellied Warbler, Black-faced Warbler, Siberian and White-tailed Rubythroats, Tawny-bellied Babbler, Indian Scimitar-Babbler, Wallcreeper, Green Magpie, and an incredible ten owl species all seen in broad daylight. Although Bharatpur was mostly dry, there were still some impressive concentrations of waterbirds here and at the nearby Bund Baretha. We saw impressive numbers of most of the palearctic ducks along with jacanas, Waterhens, stately Sarus Cranes, Bar-headed Goose, and hoardes of bush birds, plus spectacular raptors such as Imperial and Greater Spotted Eagles. Entering the Himalayan foothills at Naini Tal we were based at a fabulous little resort town that is full of charm. Highlights included several startling redstarts, dazzling sapphire-and-chestnut rock-thrushes, superb flocks of gorgeous Himalayan tits with nuthatches, leaf-warblers and others interspersed. Some skulkers included a feast of six laughing-thrushes including the snow-white capped White-crested, the bulbous-headed Striated, the elegant mottled and scaled Rufous-chinned and common Streaked. Added to this was the superb Great Barbet, omnipresent Black-headed Jay and magnificent Blue Magpie.

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