Tuesday, 14 April 2015

India - Part 2 - Bandhavgarh

Before heading off to Bandhavgarh, via Agra and the Taj Mahal and the temples of Orchha and Kajuraho, just a few things to tidy up from Chambal. Well a couple of nice pics I missed;
Bee hive by our lodge:
 Painted Storks

 Asian Pied Starling
 Oriental Magpie Robin (female)

So onward to our first National Park, Bandhavgahr. I will round up bird sightings in the towns and cities in a final post. The lodges at Kings Lodge at Bandhavgahr were great, very rustic, but with all mod cons, except being out in the wilds we were rationed to 25 litres of hot water at a time, so the evening showers after our hot and dusty game drives were cosy!

Our first two gamed drives at 6am (so up at silly o'clock, breakfast was served when we returned sabout 10:30) and 3pm were in zone 2 of the park, allegedly the best zone for Tigers. Sadly no Tigers were spotted on either drive. One thing you have to take into account when doing these game drives, is it's not Africa, there isn't the diversity of species that Africa has to offer, also the Tigers habitat is jungle/forest so that makes seeing other things difficult too. Other target species were Leopard and Sloth Bear but these are also rare and difficult to find and of course we didn't. But we thoroughly enjoyed the drives all the same, so here's a few things we did see on day 1:
 Spotted Deer
 Langur Monkey

The other thing to remember if you are a birder is that your guides are totally focused on Tigers (as they expect a big tip if they find one for you, 500 Rupees / c£5.50) and their bird knowledge can be limited except for the obvious like Birds of Prey and Roller, so don't trust everything they say, buy a field guide and cross check if you can. Well enough advice! How about some birds:
Grey Francolin
 Green Bee-eaters
 Oriental Turtle Dove
 Long-tailed Shrike
 Red-naped Ibis
 Indian Roller
 Lesser Whistling Duck
 Common Sandpiper & Greenshank
 Chestnut-shouldered Petronia
 Wild Boar with Black Drongo on-board
 Changeable Hawk-eagle
 Plum-headed Parakeet
Crested Serpent-eagle
 Black-rumped Flameback
 White-eyed Buzzard

So despite no Tigers we had a good days birding, with 54 species identified during the day. On the last drive we were back at the park gate by 6 pm with the light starting to fade, our guide assigned by the lodge, checked us out of the park, then came racing back to our Jeep, he told us to hold tight and he put his foot down! A Tiger had been sighted by the road on our route back to the lodge (about 30 minutes drive from the Zone 2 gate)

After about 10 minutes of bone shaking we came to an area on the road (actually you couldn't call it a road by UK standards it was very wide dirt track) where a large number of Jeeps were parked up looking into the field of long grass to the right of the road. We squeezed into a space and started scanning with our bins. Within a couple of minutes our guide had found it. It was a large male, but very difficult to see, this is the best I could do as it was now getting very murky:
It turned out the guides new this Tiger, he was an old injured male that has been forced out of his territory after a fight with a younger, stronger Tiger, so he had left the park area to look for easier pickings around the nearby villages. I hasten to add he would be after cattle not people although I'm sure a child would do nicely! So a result our first Tiger, if a somewhat poor sighting in the sense he was well hidden.

Day 2 at Bandhavgarh saw us in Zone 1, this used to be the best Tiger area up until recently, but a new dominant male had entered this area and took it as his own, killing 14 other Tigers in the process! So now Tigers are very difficult to find here and as you might guess we didn't find any! C'est la vie! That's wildlife for you, they never keep appointments.

So lets see what additional birds and animals we found on day 2:
White-rumped Shama
 Oriental Magpie Robin
 Sulphur-bellied Warbler
 Crested Serpent Eagle
 Jungle Owlet
 Greater Racket-tailed Drongo
 Red-headed Vulture
 Stork-billed Kingfisher
 Chestnut Shouldered Petronia (again!)
 Oriental Honey Buzzard
 Indian Vulture
 Red-wattled Lapwing
 Golden-fronted Leafbird
  Crested Serpent Eagle
 Greater Coucal
 Sambar Deer
  Crested Serpent Eagle
 Indian Roller
 Lesser Adjutant (pretty isn't he..... not!)
 Brown-capped Pygmy Woodpecker

That's it for Bandhavgarh, although below is our complete list of birds for the park:
Alexandrine Parakeet  ("Psittacula eupatria")
Black Drongo  ("Dicrurus macrocercus")
Black-hooded Oriole  ("Oriolus xanthornus")
Black-rumped Flameback  ("Dinopium benghalense")
Brahminy Starling  ("Sturnia pagodarum")
Bronze-winged Jacana  ("Metopidius indicus")
Brown-capped Pygmy Woodpecker  ("Dendrocopos nanus")
Brown-headed Barbet  ("Megalaima zeylanica")
Carrion Crow  ("Corvus corone")
Changeable Hawk-Eagle  ("Nisaetus cirrhatus")
Common Buttonquail  ("Turnix sylvaticus")
Common Myna  ("Acridotheres tristis")
Common Sandpiper  ("Actitis hypoleucos")
Coppersmith Barbet  ("Megalaima haemacephala")
Crested Honey Buzzard  ("Pernis ptilorhynchus")
Crested Serpent Eagle  ("Spilornis cheela")
Eastern Cattle Egret  ("Bubulcus coromandus")
Egyptian Vulture  ("Neophron percnopterus")
Golden-fronted Leafbird  ("Chloropsis aurifrons")
Great White Egret  ("Ardea alba")
Greater Coucal  ("Centropus sinensis")
Greater Racket-tailed Drongo  ("Dicrurus paradiseus")
Green Bee-eater  ("Merops orientalis")
Greenshank  ("Tringa nebularia")
Grey Francolin  ("Francolinus pondicerianus")
Grey Wagtail  ("Motacilla cinerea")
Hoopoe  ("Upupa epops")
Indian Grey Hornbill  ("Ocyceros birostris")
Indian Peafowl  ("Pavo cristatus")
Indian Roller  ("Coracias benghalensis")
Indian Vulture  ("Gyps indicus")
Japanese White-eye  ("Zosterops japonicus")
Jungle Babbler  ("Turdoides striata")
Jungle Owlet  ("Glaucidium radiatum")
Kingfisher  ("Alcedo atthis")
Large Cuckooshrike  ("Coracina macei")
Lesser Adjutant  ("Leptoptilos javanicus")
Lesser Whistling Duck  ("Dendrocygna javanica")
Little Cormorant  ("microcarbo niger")
Little Grebe  ("Tachybaptus ruficollis")
Long-tailed Shrike  ("Lanius schach")
Olive-backed Pipit  ("Anthus hodgsoni")
Oriental Magpie-Robin  ("Copsychus saularis")
Painted Spurfowl  ("Galloperdix lunulata")
Painted Stork  ("Mycteria leucocephala")
Pied Kingfisher  ("Ceryle rudis")
Pied Wagtail  ("Motacilla alba")
Plum-headed Parakeet  ("Psittacula cyanocephala")
Purple Sunbird  ("Cinnyris asiaticus")
Red Junglefowl  ("Gallus gallus")
Red-headed Vulture  ("Sarcogyps calvus")
Red-naped Ibis  ("Pseudibis papillosa")
Red-vented Bulbul  ("Pycnonotus cafer")
Red-wattled Lapwing  ("Vanellus indicus")
Ring-necked Parakeet  ("Psittacula krameri")
Rufous Treepie  ("Dendrocitta vagabunda")
Rufous Turtle Dove  ("Streptopelia orientalis")
Shikra  ("Accipiter badius")
Small Minivet  ("Pericrocotus cinnamomeus")
Spotted Dove  ("spilopelia chinensis")
Stork-billed Kingfisher  ("Pelargopsis capensis")
Sulphur-bellied Warbler  ("Phylloscopus griseolus")
White-browed Wagtail  ("Motacilla maderaspatensis")
White-eyed Buzzard  ("Butastur teesa")
White-rumped Shama  ("Copsychus malabaricus")
White-throated Fantail  ("Rhipidura albicollis")
White-throated Kingfisher  ("Halcyon smyrnensis")
Woolly-necked Stork  ("Ciconia episcopus")
Yellow-footed Green Pigeon  ("Treron phoenicopterus")
Yellow-throated Sparrow  ("gymnoris xanthocollis")


  1. Wow...what a trip! Great images of some wonderful wildlife!

    More please!

    1. Thanks Pam, I will probably post Part 3, Khana National Park tomorrow