Having spent the last ten days in fairly remote locations, Bharatpur also know as Keoladeo National Park wasn’t quite what we were expecting. We knew that the wetland sanctuary had been created some 250 years ago, initially as a hunting ground for the maharajahs of Bharatpur. There were duck shoots  organised yearly in honor of the British viceroys. Now a World Heritage Site and one the the most famous bird sanctuaries in the world. What we were not expecting was that the the park was just off the major road from Agra. It was on the edge of Bharatpur and surrounded by numerous hotels.

View across the Bharatpur wetlands


View across the Bharatpur wetlands

Keoladeo National Park


The Birders’ Inn

We arrived at the Birders’ Inn in the dark. This is one of the closest hotels to the park. We settled in for the night ready for another early start. Next morning we had an early breakfast. Eddie had arranged for our local bird guide and the tricycle rickshaws to meet us outside.

Spotted Owlets


Spotted Owlets

Into the Park

After a five minute rickshaw ride we were at the park gate. Then another short straight road took us into the core area. The park is a mixture of woodland, wetland and scrub. It wasnt long before we began to come across birds ranging from the huge Sarus Cranes to small passerines.

White Eared Bulbul


White Eared Bulbul

Rosy Starling


Rosy Starling

Brahminy Starling


Brahminy Starling

Rufous Treepie


Rufous Treepie

It was a true birdwatcher’s paradise. The highlight of the morning’s visit was a family of owls in a tree and a pair of Sarus Cranes close to the path. They eventually performed their famous courtship dance.

Sarus Crane performing the courtship dancein Keoladeo National Park


Sarus Crane performing the courtship dance in Keoladeo National Park

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sarus Crane the tallest flying bird in the world


Sarus Crane the tallest flying bird in the world

With our total bird count rising we headed back for lunch at the hotel. On the route back we came across a troupe of Rhesus Macaques playing in a pond. They provided us with some excellent photo opportunities.

One of the Rhesus Macaques playing in the pond


Some of the Rhesus Macaques playing in the pond

 

 

 

 

 

 

After lunch and a rest we set off for the park again. The stars of the afternoon’s visit included a Dusky Eagle-Owl and a Greater Spotted Eagle. We also had the opportunity to get some close shots of both a common and pied kingfisher fishing in one of the park sluices.

Female Pied Kingfisher


Female Pied Kingfisher

Common Kingfisher


Common Kingfisher

Long-tailed shrike


Long-tailed shrike

Purple Heron


Purple Heron   

Last Day

Next morning we headed back into the park for the last time before we started to head back to the UK. As it was our last outing we took breakfast with us to make the most of our time. This morning highlights included excellent views of an Oriental Honey Buzzard, a Greater Spotted Eagle, Hoopoe, Herons and Scops Owls. There was also a large flock of Greylag Geese. These are very common back home in Norfolk  UK, but obviously one of the parks star species at this time of the year.

Greater Spotted Eagle


Greater Spotted Eagle

Little Cormorant


Little Cormorant.

Dog Jackal


Dog Jackal. “Leader of the pack”

As we made our way back to the gate were delighted at the sight of a small pack of Jackals approaching along the path. They provided excellent opportunities to get some great close up shots of the dominant male. 

Flameback woodpecker


Flameback woodpecker

Back at the Birder’s Inn we had lunch before heading off to the railway station for our train to Delhi and then on to the airport, for our night flight back home.