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Old 10th April 2012, 11:53   #1
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Default Trip to Keoladeo Ghana Bird Sanctuary Bharatpur

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The Keoladeo National Park or Keoladeo Ghana National Park formerly known as the Bharatpur Bird Sanctuary in Bharatpur, Rajasthan, India is a famous avifauna sanctuary that plays host to thousands of birds especially during the winter season. Over 230 species of birds are known to have made the National Park their home. It is also a major tourist centre with scores of ornithologists arriving here in the hibernal season. It was declared a protected sanctuary in 1971. It is also a declared World Heritage Site.


The sanctuary was created 250 years ago and is named after a Keoladeo (Shiva) temple within its boundaries. Initially, it was a natural depression; and was flooded after the Ajan Bund was constructed by Maharaja Suraj Mal, the then ruler of the princely state of Bharatpur, between 1726–1763. The bund was created at the confluence of two rivers, the Gambhir and Banganga. The park was a hunting ground for the maharajas of Bharatpur.

The park was established as a national park on 10 March 1982. Previously the private duck shooting preserve of the Maharaja of Bharatpur since the 1850s, the area was designated as a bird sanctuary on 13 March 1956 and a Ramsar site under the Wetland Convention in October 1981. The last big shoot was held in 1964 but the Maharajah retained shooting rights until 1972.
In 1985, the Park was declared a World Heritage Site under the world Heritage Convention. It is a reserve forest under the Rajasthan Forest Act, 1953 and therefore, is the property of the State of Rajasthan of the Indian Union.

source - wikipedia

Keoladeo National Park - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Since the time I got serious about photography and wildlife photography in particular I have always been on the lookout for heading towards national parks and sanctuaries at every given opportunity.

Usually, it is a trip to Sariska during the weekend. However, since the park re-opened after rains in Oct there is a lot of "development" work ongoing in the park making wildlife viewing difficult and specially scaring the tigers away from the tourist zones. My last and only viewing of tigers in Sariska was before the rains last year.

Also - i have found myself getting fascinated by birds - they are colorful and they make good and interesting subjects. I often visit Sultanpur bird sanctuary for a shot at capturing some interesting birds through my lens. However, with the migratory season getting over my trips to Sultanpur also got less frequent.

I have been to Bharatpur Bird Sanctuary in the winter of 2004 and had enjoyed the trip, however in recent years due to draught, the water had dried out and the park no longer enjoyed migratory birds and hence i had not thought about going there again. This changed when Amol (amolpol) put up his wonderful thread on his trip to Bharatpur and I now started thnking of doing a quick day trip to Bharatpur since the migratory season was over now.

Another reason for the trip came along when i bought my new MMI navigator - wanted to put it to use

Last weekend was a long weekend for my son as his schools were closed and i was thinking of doing a trip during this weekend. After much delibration with my better half - it was decided that we will do a day trip to Bharatpur on Sunday.

My wife had gone to her parent's on Thursday and I reached there Saturday night for a early Sunday morning start to Bharatpur.

Now, I was of the opinion that Bharatpur is some 120 ~ 150 odd kms from Delhi and hence it would be a 2 hrs (max) drive. But shocker of shockers - on plotting the route in MMI - it showed - 197kms and 4 hrs duration

Now - this got a little serious, doing 400 kms in a day and also going in the jungle in between is no joke and add a little 5 yrs bundle of joy to it - makes things all the more tiring. So we again went back to drawing board - where to go??

But finally after much delibration - we decided to stick to the plan and go to Bharatpur.

With this - nights out at 10.30 with alarm set to 3.30 am for an early start.

At 3.30 am with the alarm going off, usual struggle to get out of bed and get ready - and we finally were out by 4.45 am (instead of targetted 4.00 am).

With MMI guiding - we were off.

Route taken -

Indirapuram - DND - Ashram - Mathura road - Faridabad - NH2 - Palwal - MAthura bypass - Bharatpur.

Toll paid - 22 (DND) + 35 + 50 on NH2 both to and fro.

Even at this time - there was quite some traffic on the roads, where i had expected totally empty roads. However, the roads were good and we made good time.

But when we turned off NH2 for Bharatpur, the road turned bad and stayed this way till the sanctuary. I made the mistake of setting the destination to Bharatpur, instead of the the sanctuary and MMI took us in the town. Finally, we reached the sanctuary at around 8 am.

Reaching the sanctuary gates - i was amazed to see that it is abutting the busy Agra-Jaipur highway! I definitely did not remember this from my previous visit to the park in 2004.

Got in and got tickets for us (we were 3 adults and 1 child) - which comes to 150 for park entry (50 per head) and then 100/- for taking the vehicle till vehicle parking, 1.5 kms inside.

At the gate - there was the usual haggling with rickshaw's and guide, etc. Asked about captaan (the guide mentioned by Amol) and they all gave me curious looks and mentioned that he is not there and his license got cancelled.

Anyways - took a guide, he hopped in and we were off inside the park.
The migratory season was almost over - but there are still some later migratory birds in the park and our trip started off with a sighting of flameback woodpecker.

Up next - pictures from the trip.

to be contd...

Last edited by sach.sri : 10th April 2012 at 11:57.
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Old 10th April 2012, 12:27   #2
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Default Re: Trip to Keoladeo Ghana Bird Sanctuary Bharatpur

Both, MMI & Google give the distance to Ghana Brid Sanctuary from Indirapuram as 195 & 200 kms respectively.
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Old 10th April 2012, 12:55   #3
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Default Re: Trip to Keoladeo Ghana Bird Sanctuary Bharatpur

As soon as we entered the park, some 100 metres from the entry gate our guide asked me to stop and pointed to a tree on the side of the road - and there was a flameback woodpecker perched on the dried up tree stem. We got out and i took some shots.

Flameback is a nice and colofrul bird and i enjoyed a chance at shooting it.
Now, i must warn you - i dont have a birding lens - i have a 100-400, f4.5 to 5.6 lens which is at times wanting for reach and also for speed.

This is a disclaimer before viewing the pics

Common Flameback or Common Goldenback (Dinopium javanense)

Trip to Keoladeo Ghana Bird Sanctuary Bharatpur-img_8822.jpg

Trip to Keoladeo Ghana Bird Sanctuary Bharatpur-img_8824.jpg

Trip to Keoladeo Ghana Bird Sanctuary Bharatpur-img_8825.jpg

Trip to Keoladeo Ghana Bird Sanctuary Bharatpur-img_8826.jpg

Trip to Keoladeo Ghana Bird Sanctuary Bharatpur-img_8827.jpg

Trip to Keoladeo Ghana Bird Sanctuary Bharatpur-img_8828.jpg

Brahminy Myna or Brahminy Starling (Sturnia pagodarum)

I found that this bird is naturally very photogenic, the pictures came out pretty sharp and nice!

Trip to Keoladeo Ghana Bird Sanctuary Bharatpur-img_8834.jpg

Trip to Keoladeo Ghana Bird Sanctuary Bharatpur-img_8835.jpg

Laughing Dove (Spilopelia senegalensis)

Trip to Keoladeo Ghana Bird Sanctuary Bharatpur-img_8838.jpg


Quote:
Originally Posted by gd1418 View Post
Both, MMI & Google give the distance to Ghana Brid Sanctuary from Indirapuram as 195 & 200 kms respectively.
Yes, i know now . It was an assumption that i had made - and i must admit that i doubted MMI and checked with google maps to see if MMI is giving me correct information.

to be contd...

Last edited by sach.sri : 10th April 2012 at 13:00.
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Old 10th April 2012, 13:26   #4
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Default Re: Trip to Keoladeo Ghana Bird Sanctuary Bharatpur

Bring it on Sachin. Completely glued. Am sure this thread is shaping up pretty well and we are in for a delight.

Waiting for more pics and it is actually raining Bharatpur and Birds on BHP.
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Old 10th April 2012, 16:49   #5
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Default Re: Trip to Keoladeo Ghana Bird Sanctuary Bharatpur

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Originally Posted by aravind84 View Post
Bring it on Sachin. Completely glued. Am sure this thread is shaping up pretty well and we are in for a delight.

Waiting for more pics and it is actually raining Bharatpur and Birds on BHP.
Thanks for the vote of confidence Aravind

Continuing with the log.

Brahminy Myna and Laughing Dove

Trip to Keoladeo Ghana Bird Sanctuary Bharatpur-img_8884.jpg

Trip to Keoladeo Ghana Bird Sanctuary Bharatpur-img_8887.jpg

A little distance from where we saw the flameback woodpecker - there were some little bee eaters, quite a few of them. The guide said that this is because it is their breeding season.

Green Bee-eater, Merops orientalis, (sometimes Little Green Bee-eater)

Trip to Keoladeo Ghana Bird Sanctuary Bharatpur-img_8917.jpg

While I was trying to shoot these - i had parked my Scorp on the side, but being a single lane road it was not wide enough and there came a big fat white bus with some foreign tourists, the driver getting impatient and actually honking! for me to move it. I was like - DUDE!!!

So we got in and i squeezed the Scorp further into the bushes for the bus to pass. This is when we spotted this copuple below being naughty.

We did see some amorous activities going on . Though could not get a clear shot as i was trying to shoot from my car

Trip to Keoladeo Ghana Bird Sanctuary Bharatpur-img_8904.jpg

Trip to Keoladeo Ghana Bird Sanctuary Bharatpur-img_8905.jpg

We guide asked me to go slow - as we can spot some more birds in here. A little while further, he again asked me to stop.

This was a copper smith barbet nesting in a tree that he knew off. So off we went into the jungle.

We saw one lone barbet - but it was not in clear, did not manage very good shots, see below

Coppersmith Barbet, Crimson-breasted Barbet or Coppersmith (Megalaima haemacephala)

The back - so green

Trip to Keoladeo Ghana Bird Sanctuary Bharatpur-img_8850.jpg

Trip to Keoladeo Ghana Bird Sanctuary Bharatpur-img_8861.jpg

Trip to Keoladeo Ghana Bird Sanctuary Bharatpur-img_8863.jpg

Look at the head - so colorful. This is the best shot that i got of the barbet.

Trip to Keoladeo Ghana Bird Sanctuary Bharatpur-img_8872.jpg


We now reached the place where we had to park our Scorp and take rickshaws for further journey. So we hired 2 rickshaws - and i shot a couple of birds there

Some sort of Myna - can someone identify which one?
Trip to Keoladeo Ghana Bird Sanctuary Bharatpur-img_8949.jpg

House Sparrow (Passer domesticus)
Trip to Keoladeo Ghana Bird Sanctuary Bharatpur-img_8954.jpg

Going ahead we spotted this black headed ibis - love the beak!

Black-headed Ibis or Oriental White Ibis (Threskiornis melanocephalus)
Trip to Keoladeo Ghana Bird Sanctuary Bharatpur-img_8979.jpg

Trip to Keoladeo Ghana Bird Sanctuary Bharatpur-img_8980.jpg

Greater Coucal or Crow Pheasant (Centropus sinensis)

I have seen this bird a couple of times earlier as well - but have never managed to take a picture till now as it seems to be a very nervous bird. First time for me

Trip to Keoladeo Ghana Bird Sanctuary Bharatpur-img_8997.jpg


to be contd...
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Old 10th April 2012, 17:15   #6
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Default Re: Trip to Keoladeo Ghana Bird Sanctuary Bharatpur

So you have become a birder from being a 'leoparder' Great snaps!

Quote:
Originally Posted by sach.sri View Post
Some sort of Myna - can someone identify which one?
That's a Jungle Myna
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Old 10th April 2012, 17:59   #7
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Default Re: Trip to Keoladeo Ghana Bird Sanctuary Bharatpur

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Originally Posted by mallumowgli View Post
So you have become a birder from being a 'leoparder' Great snaps!



That's a Jungle Myna
Thanka Mallumowgli. Well - birding is easier than spotting a leopard so one does what one can...

Continuing with the TL.

Was very satisfied - having got snaps of black headed ibis and the crow pheasant.

We were on rickshaws with me sitting with the guide and my wife, son and her sister in another rickshaw - when the guide told me about some hawk eagle owls which nest in a tree and that if we did not have a 5 year old - he could take us in the jungle for taking a look, quick conference with my wife and we decided to give it a shot. It was around 1 km trek in the jungle and my son was suitably awed - we made our way work think foilage and some shrubs with thorns to reach the place where these owls nest. Sadly - could not find them. So we came back - it was a nice experience.

Now my son wanted to sit with me and the guide was kind enough to offer to walk - so that he can sit with me. I must say that I enjoyed the time with him, but he is a little devil - never still and always upto some thing or the other

We sighted some more interesting birds

Some migratory bird from siberia - dont remember its name - can someone help?

Trip to Keoladeo Ghana Bird Sanctuary Bharatpur-img_9003.jpg

Mongoose

Trip to Keoladeo Ghana Bird Sanctuary Bharatpur-img_9024.jpg

There on the side of the road also saw some bird like a moorhen, but with a white head, could not take its snap but managed to take this.

Again, dont remember its name - can someone help?

Trip to Keoladeo Ghana Bird Sanctuary Bharatpur-img_9041.jpg

Garganey (Anas querquedula) - male
As per the guide - these are one of the last migrants and they come when all others have gone and also the water level is lower, but i think i have seen them before also in winters - so not sure.

Trip to Keoladeo Ghana Bird Sanctuary Bharatpur-img_9054.jpg

Trip to Keoladeo Ghana Bird Sanctuary Bharatpur-img_9055.jpg

Indian Pond Heron or Paddybird (Ardeola grayii) - non breeding plumage

These are common - and are sighted often close to ponds and can also be near habitation. Common - but striking is what i would say.

Trip to Keoladeo Ghana Bird Sanctuary Bharatpur-img_9089-1.jpg

Common Greenshank (Tringa nebularia)

This one looks like a juvenile

Trip to Keoladeo Ghana Bird Sanctuary Bharatpur-img_9098.jpg

The next post will be special - with pics of one of my favourite birds..

to be contd...
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Old 11th April 2012, 12:37   #8
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Default Re: Trip to Keoladeo Ghana Bird Sanctuary Bharatpur

As promised - here is the next post. I wanted to keep it separate as i wanted to share some pictures of the spotted owlets that we sighted next. There were 2 of them and they were perched on a tree next to the road but not together.

It was late morning and the sun was beating down on us - still these guys were wide awake and gave me good crisp shots - eyes wide open. This is again a first for me - i did not have good shots of the spotted owlet before.

I took a lot of shots - and on last count have some 32 of them, totally crisp
This was definitely one of the highlights of the tour

Spotted Owlet (Athene brama)

Trip to Keoladeo Ghana Bird Sanctuary Bharatpur-img_9104.jpg

Trip to Keoladeo Ghana Bird Sanctuary Bharatpur-img_9106.jpg

Trip to Keoladeo Ghana Bird Sanctuary Bharatpur-img_9112.jpg


Look at the bulging tummy - this guy just pooped after this shot.... exerting pressure here


Trip to Keoladeo Ghana Bird Sanctuary Bharatpur-img_9113.jpg

Trip to Keoladeo Ghana Bird Sanctuary Bharatpur-img_9121.jpg

Trip to Keoladeo Ghana Bird Sanctuary Bharatpur-img_9132.jpg

Finally... cant keep the eyes open any more..zzzZZZ
Trip to Keoladeo Ghana Bird Sanctuary Bharatpur-img_9135.jpg

Indian Moorhen (Gallinula chloropus)
Trip to Keoladeo Ghana Bird Sanctuary Bharatpur-img_9146.jpg

Lesser Whistling Duck ( Dendrocygna javanica) also known as Indian Whistling Duck or Lesser Whistling Teal

Trip to Keoladeo Ghana Bird Sanctuary Bharatpur-img_9147.jpg

This is also whistling duck - i guess the first one is juvenile (not sure though)

Trip to Keoladeo Ghana Bird Sanctuary Bharatpur-img_9155.jpg

Trip to Keoladeo Ghana Bird Sanctuary Bharatpur-img_9160.jpg

to be contd...
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Old 11th April 2012, 13:06   #9
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Default Re: Trip to Keoladeo Ghana Bird Sanctuary Bharatpur

NExt up

Black headed Ibis in flight

Trip to Keoladeo Ghana Bird Sanctuary Bharatpur-img_9165.jpg

BIF shots have been a challenge for me with this lens. Somehow, I am not able to get proper focus on the birds! Sometimes - i feel that the lens is back focussing.


Eurasian Spoonbill (Platalea leucorodia)

Trip to Keoladeo Ghana Bird Sanctuary Bharatpur-img_9188.jpg

Trip to Keoladeo Ghana Bird Sanctuary Bharatpur-img_9197.jpg

Trip to Keoladeo Ghana Bird Sanctuary Bharatpur-img_9205.jpg

Spoonbills co-habit with ibis or herons - a panorama

Trip to Keoladeo Ghana Bird Sanctuary Bharatpur-img_9222.jpg


Eurasian Coot (Fulica atra)

Trip to Keoladeo Ghana Bird Sanctuary Bharatpur-img_9192.jpg


Little Cormorant (Phalacrocorax niger)

Trip to Keoladeo Ghana Bird Sanctuary Bharatpur-img_9246.jpg

Marsh Sandpiper (Tringa stagnatilis)

Trip to Keoladeo Ghana Bird Sanctuary Bharatpur-img_9271.jpg

Marsh Sandpiper has a white tail
Trip to Keoladeo Ghana Bird Sanctuary Bharatpur-img_9281.jpg

to be contd...

Last edited by sach.sri : 11th April 2012 at 13:07.
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Old 11th April 2012, 13:25   #10
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Default Re: Trip to Keoladeo Ghana Bird Sanctuary Bharatpur

Nice log! Some really good photographs here.
The bird that you thought was a juvenile Greenshank is most probably a Marsh Sandpiper.
Some sort of Myna is a Bank Myna
What you thought was some migratory bird from Siberia appears to be the Common Hawke-Cuckoo or the Brain Fever Bird
and finally what appeared to be a juvenile Whistling Duck was a Lilltle Grebe!
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Old 11th April 2012, 13:30   #11
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Default Re: Trip to Keoladeo Ghana Bird Sanctuary Bharatpur

Quote:
Originally Posted by sach.sri View Post

Some migratory bird from siberia - dont remember its name - can someone help?

Attachment 914473
This seems to be
Common Hawk Cuckoo (Hierococcyx varius)
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Old 11th April 2012, 18:36   #12
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Default Re: Trip to Keoladeo Ghana Bird Sanctuary Bharatpur

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Originally Posted by llamrei View Post
Nice log! Some really good photographs here.
The bird that you thought was a juvenile Greenshank is most probably a Marsh Sandpiper.
Some sort of Myna is a Bank Myna
What you thought was some migratory bird from Siberia appears to be the Common Hawke-Cuckoo or the Brain Fever Bird
and finally what appeared to be a juvenile Whistling Duck was a Lilltle Grebe!
Thanks llamrei.

About the Greenshank - dont think it was a marsh sandpiper. the pattern on the head is different. See a couple more shots below - might help in ID?

Trip to Keoladeo Ghana Bird Sanctuary Bharatpur-img_9093.jpg

Trip to Keoladeo Ghana Bird Sanctuary Bharatpur-img_9097.jpg

Quote:
Originally Posted by rajismine View Post
This seems to be
Common Hawk Cuckoo (Hierococcyx varius)
Thanks Raj. Yes - i now remember the "brain fever" bird.

Continuing with the TL

We saw some more delightful birds - including glossy ibis. By this time it was past 11 am and getting pretty hot. The family was tired and fedup of the heat and wanted to turn back. I wanted to continue - but had to respect their wishes. So with a last shot of a group of whistling ducks against a backdrop of green, we climbed back on the rickshaws and turned back.

Colony of Spoonbills - panorama

Trip to Keoladeo Ghana Bird Sanctuary Bharatpur-img_9181.jpg

Glossy Ibis (Plegadis falcinellus)

Trip to Keoladeo Ghana Bird Sanctuary Bharatpur-img_9020.jpg

Whistling ducks - on a backdrop of green

Trip to Keoladeo Ghana Bird Sanctuary Bharatpur-img_9267.jpg

Suddenly there was a huge commotion and some spotted deer were running towards the road - we tried to see what happened but could not find the source. It was almost as if there was a predator there - but we did not hear any calls. Anyways - i did manage to shoot this episode.

Big drama with a little fellow falling down and then again getting up and running to cross the road.

Spotted deer - Emerging on the road
Trip to Keoladeo Ghana Bird Sanctuary Bharatpur-img_9287.jpg

Little one - falling and getting up
Trip to Keoladeo Ghana Bird Sanctuary Bharatpur-img_9288.jpg

Getting his footing
Trip to Keoladeo Ghana Bird Sanctuary Bharatpur-img_9290.jpg

Scampering to the other end
Trip to Keoladeo Ghana Bird Sanctuary Bharatpur-img_9291.jpg

With this and a last parting shot of little egret - we started back towards the parking. Reached there paid the rickshaw wallahs and started back towards the gate.

Little Egret (Egretta garzetta)

Trip to Keoladeo Ghana Bird Sanctuary Bharatpur-img_9315.jpg

The guide told us about a nice restaurant close by - we had lunch there and were back home by 5.00 pm.

Thus ended our trip to Bharatpur.
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Old 12th April 2012, 11:48   #13
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Default Re: Trip to Keoladeo Ghana Bird Sanctuary Bharatpur

Great pictures. The four shots of the Cheetal young slipping, falling down and then getting up and running away was hilarious.
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Old 12th April 2012, 14:04   #14
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Default Re: Trip to Keoladeo Ghana Bird Sanctuary Bharatpur

Quote:
Originally Posted by llamrei View Post
Nice log! Some really good photographs here.
The bird that you thought was a juvenile Greenshank is most probably a Marsh Sandpiper.
Some sort of Myna is a Bank Myna
What you thought was some migratory bird from Siberia appears to be the Common Hawke-Cuckoo or the Brain Fever Bird
and finally what appeared to be a juvenile Whistling Duck was a Lilltle Grebe!
Koshy sir - i did not know that this was you. I hope i have id'd you correctly

And - i take back my words on the GreenShank. You say it is a marsh sandpiper - so marsh sandpiper it is!

Quote:
Originally Posted by gd1418 View Post
Great pictures. The four shots of the Cheetal young slipping, falling down and then getting up and running away was hilarious.
Thank you. Indeed - it was very hilarious as well as intrguing - what triggered this is something that we dont know and i would have loved to find out. But - i was ready for the event and am very happy that i did not screw it up and was able to capture correctly
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Old 13th April 2012, 23:22   #15
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Default Re: Trip to Keoladeo Ghana Bird Sanctuary Bharatpur

Nice, great shots of the coucal, barbet and brainfever bird..
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