On the first day

1st Dec, 2021: We landed up in Jaipur airport. We are super thrilled to spot Gautam Bhai (naturalist) who is going to take us to Tal Chapar and Bikaner for Bird watching.  On the way to Tal Chhappar, we stopped at a road side Dhaba to have the best tandoori butter roti and paneer Subzi ever. 

Tal Chhapar Sanctuary

2nd Dec, 2021: We are up early by 5 am, ready to hit the Tal Chhapar sanctuary.  It is a tropical thorn forest which has an open grassland with scattered Acacia and Prosopis trees that gives it an appearance of a typical savanna. This Landscape of the sanctuary is perfect for birding with 3 feet tall grassland with interspersed natural perches for birds to squat. The food for the birds is the grasshoppers.

We were so lucky to spot some interesting birds and some first time sighting too – Spotted Owlets, Black shouldered kite, Montague Harrier, Marsh Harrier, common kestrel, long legged buzzard, Desert Wheatear, Baybacked Shrike, Collared Dove, Red Collared Dove, Francolin, Isabelline Wheatear to name some. We miss seeing Indian spotted treecreeper. We also visit another birding sport called Goshala adjacent to Tal Chhapar sanctuary. 

Black Shouldered Kite
Montague Harrier
Long Legged Buzzard
Chestnut Bellied Sandgrouse

In between the birding activity we manage a quick bite of Rajasthan’s famous staple diet Dal Kachori and Pyaz Kachori.

Birding in Bikaner

3rd Dec, 2021: After morning birding activity, we proceed to Bikaner. We stay with Jitu Bhai (our host and guide). 

4th Dec, 2021: We are up early – this is the moment we have been waiting for a long time – to lay our eyes on the magnificent Vultures. A short 20 min drive takes us to Jorbeer sanctuary. There is a Veterinary hospital in Bikaner. Carcass of the dead animals are laid out in Jorbeer. Which is the reason for the visits of Vultures and other raptors.  As we approach Jorbeer, the sun is still not out, but we see the silhouettes of the majestic vultures. Our hearts leapt out with joy in anticipation of what is in store for us. The next 4 hours is pure bliss. There sitting atop a small tree is the largest Vulture – Cinerous. Its kind looking eyes pouring over us. In the adjacent tree is the Himalayan Griffon happily basking in the morning sun. European Griffon lands up next to Cinerous, graciously posing for us. It is biting cold in the open desert but it doesn’t affect us as we have immersed ourselves looking at these thousands of magnificent birds. There are 2 Egyptian vultures perched on a small tree. One was larger and dark while the other had lighter shade. Jitu bhai clarified that the larger one is a Juvie and the smaller one is the mother. The Steppe Eagle (pronounced Step) were also in large numbers. Suddenly Jitu Bhai says look – Eastern Imperial Eagle just landed. What a sight to behold. A Royal looking bird – we agree that it is very aptly named. 

Himalayan Griffon Vulture
Vulture – Cinerous
Eurasian Griffon Vulture

Next, we spot a flock of Yellow eyed pigeons. Apparently, they migrate all the way from Kazakhstan.     

We couldn’t have had a better morning.  We even managed to have picnic in the desert with packed breakfast.

In the evening we explore other birding areas. Spotting Long Legged Buzzard with a kill – Spiny lizard. Tawny Eagle strategically perched in a tree with focus on both its prey and us. 

Phew what a memorable day it has been!

Vultures and others

5th Dec, 2021: It is time again to visit Jorbeer to get some more views of the Vultures. We also visit few other birding spots where we manage to see some water birds like Ruff, sandpipers, black winged stilts. In the afternoon birding session, we manage to see Laggar Falcon, Common Buzzard and mammals like Desert Cat and Desert Jackal.

Steppe Eagle
Desert Wheater Male

Bye-Bye to Bikaner

6th Dec, 2021: Today, time to say good bye to Bikaner. We spend a short 1 hour in Jorbeer in the company of Vultures and Eagle, enjoying yet another packed breakfast and proceed to Jaipur.

Our Human Birds

Srija Doctor and Freddy

Photo and Content by our human birds named Srija Doctor and Freddy