Thursday, 18 January 2018

India Day 10 - Corbett National Park

Corbett National Park
Our mornings birding began very early when we were picked up by the parks tour jeeps. Our first tour was in the Jhima zone of the park, the area that’s better for birding. We saw a few species of large mammal, but sadly tiger evaded us on this occasion. The tour took us through tall grassland and dry woodland. We saw many species but most were restricted to difficult or brief views as a result of being restricted to birding in the jeeps. By mid-morning we had wrapped up the first tour, and whilst we were pleased with the birds we had seen, it did feel a little disappointing after so much hype.

Hornbills - We quickly connected with all three Hornbill species that we could have expected on the trip. Grey was the most common, then Oriental Pied Hornbill which we saw perched up nicely and then Great Hornbill. Sadly of the latter I only saw a single bird fly over our jeep but other observers in our group saw others.
Crested Treeswift - The only shame is that we were unable to see these birds perched up to appreciate their ‘whiskers’. In flight they were very slim in profile, with long tail streamers for a swift. They turned out to be very common across the park.
Orange-bellied Leafbird - The most unexpected addition to our mornings birding! When JAB picked it up in the canopy of a rather tall tree it left us all a little puzzled until the guide pointed out what it was. Like a giant Bee-eater crossed with a woodpecker. A really bizarre bird!
-Indian Peafowl
-Blue-throated Barbet
-Golden Jackal
-Hanuman Langur
Species List:
Corbett National Park: Mallard, White-throated Kingfisher, Red Jungle Fowl, Coppersmith Barbet, Brown-headed Barbet, Changeable Hawk-eagle, Great Hornbill, Oriental Pied Hornbill, Blue-fronted Barbet, Greater Racquet-tailed Drongo, Plum-headed Parakeet, Indian Peafowl, Greater Yellownape, Lesser Flameback, Yellow-footed Green Pigeon, Grey-breasted Prinia, Feral Pigeon, Orange-bellied Leafbird, Black-shouldered Kite, Hen Harrier, Tickell’s Blue Flycatcher, Red-whiskered Bulbul, Red-vented Bulbul, White-cheeked Bulbul, Black Drongo, Common Myna, Crested Treeswift, Blyth’s Pipit, Indian Grey Hornbill, Pied Bushchat, Grey Bushchat, Siberian Stonechat, Spotted Deer, Sambar, Wild Boar, Golden Jackal, Indian Muntjac, Hanuman Langur, Rhesus Macaque, Five-striped Palm Squirrel,

Hotel de Floresta
Between our tours we had a good few hours to kill, so a few of us went for a wander in the scrub adjacent to the hotel. We first followed a small river/drainage ditch which had plenty of good birds to keep us occupied. We eventually made our way out to a more substantial river with rocky shoreline. In the end it felt like a shame that we had to return to the hotel to go on our evening tour in the park.

Brown-headed Pygmy Woodpecker - Having seen Grey-headed Pygmy Woodpecker the previous day, but at a distance, todays species was much more showy. Not only were we able to get quite close to them, but they were also feeding at eye level on the trunks of larger trees.
Long-billed Pipit - Among the rocks and boulders adjacent to the river were a good numbers of Wagtails. From among these birds we spotted our first Long-billed Pipit of the trip. It perched up on the wires which crossed the river, before dropping back down into the scrub. Although not an overly exciting species, they are my favourite pipit, so easily make a highlight.
-Red-headed Vulture
-Brown-capped Pygmy Woodpecker
-Fulvous-breasted Woodpecker
-Common Tiger
-Jungle Owlet
-Red-whiskered Bulbul
-Plumbeous Water Redstart
-Great Eggfly

Species List:
Hotel de Floresta: Brown Rock Chat, Red-vented Bulbul, Red-whiskered Bulbul, Black Kite, Cattle Egret, Common Tailorbird, Pied Kingfisher, Little Cormorant, Jungle Owlet, Red-headed Vulture, Red-wattled Lapwing, Cinereous Tit, Common Iora, Fulvous-breasted Woodpecker, Indian Nuthatch, Rufous Treepie, Greylag Goose, Steppe Eagle, Grey Wagtail, Greenish Warbler, Yellow Fantail, Brown Shrike, Black Bulbul, Grey-headed Canary Flycatcher, Shikra, Himalayan Griffon Vulture, Taiga Flycatcher, Brown-headed Pygmy Woodpecker, European Black Vulture, White-browed Wagtail, Long-billed Pipit, Green Sandpiper, Plumbeous Water Redstart, Blue-bearded Bee-eater, Masked Wagtail, Himalayan Flameback, Amur Wagtail, Siberian Chiffchaff, Little Egret, White-throated Fantail, White-capped Water Redstart, Common Leopard, Common Tiger, Glassy Tiger, Common Crow, Angled Pierrot, Indian Red Admiral, Great Eggfly,

Corbett National Park
To say that our evening drive round Corbett was a disappointment would be an understatement. We were now in the Bijrani zone, an area of the park better for observing tigers. But not only did we not see any large mammals, but there was also a distinct lack of birds. In the three hours we spent driving round we probably saw a cumulative 20 actual birds. The habitat was nice to drive through, but it was so frustrating because it clearly had so much potential for more birds.

Crested Kingfisher - Despite the lack of birds, we got to see one of my target birds for the trip; Crested Kingfisher. A really impressive bird, about the same size as a small crow and really nicely patterned. It made up for the disappointing drive.
-Streak-throated Woodpecker
-River Lapwing
-Spotted Deer

Species List:
Corbett National Park: Crested Kingfisher, Hume’s Leaf Warbler, Ruddy Shelduck, White-bellied Drongo, Streak-throated Woodpecker, River Lapwing, Ring-necked Parakeet, Crested Serpent Eagle, Plain Prinia, Striated Heron, Indian Pond Heron, Spotted Deer, Indian Muntjac,

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