Tuesday, 23 January 2018

India Day 15 - Okhla Bird Sanctuary

Delhi was a little overwhelming, and that feeling did not wear off the longer you stayed in it. So many people, so much traffic and so much going on all the time it did feel a little too much. I didn’t hate it, but I would be lying if I said I loved it. Every time we tried to cross the road it felt like gambling with life, and going in any form of vehicle made that feeling worse; driving the wrong way down the road in a tuk-tuk was not something I would recommend to anyone visiting India.

Okhla Bird Sanctuary
As we were so restricted in our birding sites, being in Delhi, and that our initial plan was to visit Sultanpur reservoir fell through when that morning we found out that the reserve was closed on Tuesdays. We decided to go to Okhla bird sanctuary, a discount version of Sultanpur, just as somewhere to go and visit.
Our journey across the city was eventful! We took three tuk-tuks, the metro and a substantial walk in the complete wrong direction, before we finally arrived at the reserve at around midday. The smog across the city made viewing difficult, and it soon worsened as a thunderstorm moved in, the only time we saw rain in India. Despite all this, we found it an amazing reserve with thousands of Wildfowl and Hirundines over a large body of water, with Siberian Chiffchaffs in every bush and a nice selection of the species we had grown accustomed to over the last few weeks. We spent a good few hours birding the area before we moved off when the thunderstorm came in.
-Asian Koel
-Startled Shoveler

Asian Koel - The only new species for me at the site was a smart female Asian Koel. In contrast to the glossy males, the females had a very smart barring pattern. It showed rather well perched up, before it flew off into the scrub.
Wildfowl - The massive numbers of wildfowl at the park were seriously impressive. The most common duck was Shoveler, but Wigeon, Pochard, Gadwall, Tufted Duck and a number of others were also mingled among the rafts of birds. There were thousands of birds across the water. What was even more impressive was when they all took flight when the thunderstorm moved in. Thousands of Ducks covered the sky in what was a really impressive spectacle.

Species List:
Okhla Bird Sanctuary: Feral Pigeon, Ring-necked Parakeet, Pochard, Tufted Duck, Pintail, Shoveler, Great Cormorant, Marsh Harrier, Moorhen, Coot, Citrine Wagtail, Wigeon, House Crow, Black Kite, Egyptian Vulture, Black-headed Gull, Jungle Babbler, Ashy-headed Prinia, Gadwall, Plain Prinia, Rufous Treepie, Barn Swallow, Bluethroat, Siberian Chiffchaff, Common Tailorbird, Red-vented Bulbul, Bank Myna, Common Myna, Southern Coucal, Grey Heron, White-breasted Waterhen, Purple Heron, Black Drongo, Little Grebe, Black-winged Stilt, Brown-throated Martin, Bar-headed Goose, Teal, Common Shelduck, Asian Koel, Nilgai, Five-striped Palm Squirrel

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