Sunday, 12 November 2017


The highlight of the Indian trip for me,was the two visits I made to the Crane sanctuary at Kheechan.Over forty years ago a man named Ralanla Maloo started to feed the Pigions,Sparrows and Peacocks in the village.Then one September he noticed ten Cranes feeding with them.The following year 150 were present.Over the years the numbers grew and now up to 15,000 may be present.The birds are fed with grain in fenced paddocks to keep them safe from the village dogs.Ralanla has now died,but others have now taken over the responsibility of the Cranes.Only about 500 Cranes feed in the paddocks at anyone time.Others wait on the nearby sand dunes and lakes for them to return and then take their place.The site has now been officially recognised and more land is being acquired for the Cranes and visitor viewing areas have been improved.

At Kheechan I saw the following birds - Demoiselle Crane,Spoonbill,Shoveler,Spotted Redshank,Ruff,L R Plover,Red wattled Lapwing,Pigeon,Collared Dove,Chestnut bellied Sandgrouse,Black Drongo,Yellow Wagtail (resembling M f supercillaris) Brown Rock Chat,Teal,Little Grebe,Little Egret,Wigeon and Common Sandpiper.

During our stay in India,we visited Jodhpur,Delhi,Mumbai and Bikaner.I only saw 4 Vultures,all Egyptian.Up until around fifteen or more years ago,Vultures were present in their millions.The veterinary drug Dicofenac used on cattle (now officially not used),caused the birds death when they fed on dead animals that had been treated with the drug).

October 29th - November 8th (RAJASTHAN)

We flew with B A from London Heathrow overnight to Jodhpur,via Delhi.On reaching Jodhpur we stayed one night at the Pretap Niwas hotel.During the evening and first thing the following morning,I managed to do a little birding in the hotel grounds.Birds I saw were - Dusky Crag Martin,House Crow,Ring Necked Parakeet,Yellow Wagtail (closely resembling f.taivana),White Wagtail,Red Wattled Lapwing,Laughing Dove,Cattle Egret,Silverbill,Indian Robin,Common Babler,White throated Kingfisher,Purple Sunbird,Red vented Bulbul,House Sparrow,Black Winged Stilts,Indian Pond Heron,Collared Dove,White eared Bulbul Rock Pigeon and Pallid Scops Owl (2 imm).

Later that morning we visited the 15-century Mehrangarh Fort and Jaswant Thada in Jodhpur.Before travelling into the Thar Desert for a seven night stay at the Dera Dune Resort.

Near the Fort were several ponds which held a selection of water birds - Moorhen,Coot,Shoveler,Black Winged Stilts,Great White Egret,Little Cormorant,Indian Cormorant,Comb Duck,Ferruginous Duck,Little Grebe and Spot billed Duck.In the area of the fort,I saw,Black Kites,House Swifts and Brown Rock Chat.

We reached the Dera Dune resort not long before dusk and settled into our very comfortable thatched
cottages.Which totalled eighteen in all.and later enjoyed our first of many very fine meals.Jean and I travelled with a small Saga group,which totalled just four couples and even better,we were the only ones staying at the resort.

At the resort I saw - Southern Grey Shrike,White browed Fantail,Black Drongo,Red brested Flycatcher,Indian Robin,Black Redstart,Variable Wheatear,Rosy Starling,Pale Martin,White cheeked Bulbul,Red vented Bulbul,Lesser Whitethroat,Chiffchaff,Common Babler,Indian Bush Lark,Black crowned bush Lark,Skylark,Purple Sunbird,House Sparrow,Tawny Pipit,Silverbill,Grey Francolin,Barred button Quail,Peafowl,White throated Kingfisher,Green Bee- eater,Rock Pigeon,Laughing Dove,Collared Dove,Demoiselle Crane,Chestnut bellied Sandgrouse,Black shouldered Kite,Egyptian Vulture,Common Buzzard,Shikra,Kestral and Paddyfield Pipit ? (Pipit on wire).

During our stay at the resort,we visited several local villages and were entertained one night by a dance group.We also had a camel ride into the desert to see the sunset.

Before we flew home,we stayed one night in Mumbai.It was interesting to see the new skyscrapers,mixed in with the slums below.Hundreds of Black Kites,filled the sky.