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Gujarat Bird Watching Tour

Day 0: Departure from U.K


Day 01: ARRIVE DELHI

On arrival at Delhi airport meet with our representative and transfer to the hotel.
Overnight stay at hotel.

Day 02: DELHI - AHMEDABAD-DASADA

Transfer to the airport to board the flight for Ahmedabad. On arrival at Ahmedabad airport meet with our representative and drive to the Little Rann of Kutch (2 hour drive). The road to Dasada is interesting as you pass cattle graveyards where white-rumped, Egyptian and griffon vultures could be seen and wetlands that are good for resident birds. This safari resort is imaginatively designed using local materials and has extensive grounds with a water-body, ponds, gardens, plantations and agricultural fields. Red necked falcon, shikra, blue throat, rosy starling, black ibis, white pelican, grey and pond heron, pied, common and white-throated kingfisher, and other birds come into the property. After lunch, depart for a drive in the Little Rann of Kutch, a sanctuary for the Indian wild ass. An ancient seabed turned by geological forces into saline desert plains, the Rann has grassy patches that offer good bird-watching. Crested and Sykes larks, Oriental skylark, bimaculated lark, greater short-toed lark, singing and Indian bushlarks, ashy-crowned and black-crowned sparrow-larks, are likely sightings and greater hoopoe lark is possible. Desert and variable wheatears, southern grey, long-tailed, rufous-tailed and bay-back shrike, common woodshrike are also likely sightings and the desert warbler is among the many winter visiting warblers. We will also look for chestnut-bellied and spotted sandgrouse, Indian courser (cream-coloured visits occasionally), quails, yellow-legged and barred buttonquails, grey francolin, wryneck, brown-rock chat, pied bushchat, rufous-tailed scrub robin, blue-headed rock thrush, black redstart and buntings in the scrubby areas. At sunset, it is possible to watch marsh, Montagu and pallid harriers, aquila eagles, falcons and buzzards heading for their roosting sites. Among the mammals of the Rann other than the wild ass, there are chances of seeing nilgai, chinkara gazelle, white-footed desert and Indian foxes, the wolf, jungle cat (occasionally also desert cat), pale and long-eared hedgehogs and hare. Overnight stay at resort.

Day 03 & 04: DASADA

Morning drive to the bets, elevated patches in the Rann covered with scrub and grass. In winter, this is a likely area for Macqueen's bustard. Long-legged, common and white-eyed buzzard, booted eagle, Bonneli's eagle. short-toed snake eagle, are often seen during the drive. Evening visit to Nawa Talao, a lake where demmossile and common cranes gather in large flocks during the winter months. Greater and lesser flamingo are seen in large numbers as are great white pelican with spotbilled and dalmatian recorded. Painted, openbill, wooly-necked, white, black and black-necked stork could be seen as also black, glossy and black-headed ibis. Northern pintail, common teal, spot-billed duck, mallard, gadwall, wigeon, garganey, shoveler, cotton pygmy goose, pochards, tufted duck, lesser whistling duck, brahminy and comb duck are among the many visitors to the lake. Waders include pratincoles, lapwings, sandpipers, ruff and other birds in good numbers. Overnight stay at resort.

Day 05: DASADA-JAMNAGAR

Morning walk in Dasada village. This can yield a reasonably good bird list including yellow-legged green pigeon, paradise flycatcher, fantails, red-breasted flycatcher, white-eye, prinias and warblers. After breakfast, depart for Jamnagar, six hours away. This is an interesting route passing agricultural fields and lakes. Birds of open-country like roller and black-shouldered kite could be seen. Arrive at Hotel President in time for lunch. On this day, we will also try to get permits to enter the Marine National Park the next day. Evening visit to Khijadiya Bird Sanctuary, where there are fairly good chances of seeing Indian skimmer. This sanctuary is a breeding area for many species of birds that do not nest elsewhere in peninsular India. Great-crested grebe, black-necked stork, Caspian tern and many other birds can be seen besides most of the species recorded in the Little Rann area. Overnight stay at hotel.

Day 06: JAMNAGAR

Visit coastal areas along the Gulf of Kutch, one of the finest birding stretches along the Indian coastline. You are likely to see crab-plover, Kentish plover, oystercatcher, ruddy turnstone, broad-billed sandpiper, sanderling, dunlin, curlew sandpiper, black-headed gull, Pallas' gull, temmincks stint, lesser-crested tern, gull-billed tern, common tern, little tern, black-bellied tern, whiskered tern, whiskered tern, darters, western reef egret and other birds could be seen on this route.
Time permitting, walk to Lakhota Lake to watch brown-headed gulls and a variety of ducks. Overnight stay at hotel.

Day 07: JAMNAGAR-GIR NATIONAL PARK

Depart at dawn with a picnic lunch for Porbandar, two hours away. This coastal city is good for watching and photographing birds at close range. Besides large flamingo and crane flocks, this area also receives yellow-legged gull, henglin's gull, sandwich tern, black-bellied tern, etc. further drive to Gir National Park, on arrival check in at resort. Overnight stay at resort.

Day 08, 09, 10: GIR NATIONAL PARK

A tapestry of dry deciduous forests, acacia scrub and grassland, fed by rivers and reservoirs, Gir is the last abode of the Asiatic lion and has a thriving population of panther (leopard), sambar, chital (spotted deer), nilgai (blue bull antelope) and wild boar. Gir is also one of the major habitats of chousingha (the world's only four-horned antelope) and chinkara (Indian gazelle) that are hard to spot in the teak forests along the game drive trails. Among the many birds of Gir, changeable hawk eagle, crested serpent eagle, Bonneli's eagle, Peregrine falcon, laggar falcon,shikra, painted sandgrouse, quails, black-hooded and golden oriels, marshall's and common iora, Asian paradise flycatcher, tickell's blue, red-throated, verditer and Asian brown flycatchers, yellow-crowned, brown-capped pygmy, black-rumped flameback woodpeckers, green and blue-cheeked bee-eaters, coppersmith barbet, common, lesser pied and white-throated kingfisher, blossom-headed parakeet, hoopoe, black, ashy and white-bellied drongos, rufous treepie, large cuckoo shrike, small minivet, red-vented and white-eared bulbul, tawny-bellied, yellow-eyed, jungle and large grey babblers, grey-breasted, ashy, rufous-fronted, plain, jungle and graceful prinias, zitting cisticola, clamorous reed-warbler, booted warbler, greenish warbler, lesser and Hume's warbler, orphean warbler and blyth's reed warbler, are among the many birds that could be seen here. Those interested in herpetology can visit the crocodile breeding farm at Sasan.

Day 11: GIR-BHAVNAGAR

Travel four hours from Gir to Bhavnagar and check-in at hotel.
Bird in Victoria Park (good scrubland birdlife), Gaurishankar Lake and near the ports where Western reef egret nest in good numbers. Overnight stay at hotel.

Day 12: BHAVNAGAR-VELAVADAR-AHMEDABAD

Early morning depart for Velavadar National Park with packed breakfast & picnic lunch. Known for its large blackbuck antelope population, Velavadar is also one of the few places where the wolf is proliferating in India though they are rarely seen in the daylight. Jackal, jungle cat and hare are more easily seen and Indian fox on the periphery. Sirkeer malkoha, painted francolin, chestnut-bellied and spotted sandgrouse, rufous-tailed, crested and Sykes' larks, red-rumped swallows, desert and variable wheatears and other birds are seen and many raptors visit specially short-toed snake eagle, imperial, steppe, tawny, greater and lesser spotted eagles, Laggar falcon, hobby, common kestrel, red-necked falcon, peregrine falcon, white-eyed and long-legged buzzard, black-shouldered kite, Shikra, Eurasian sparrow-hawk and occasionally northern goshawk. Rarities include the Stoilczka's bushchat. In the evening, witness a massive roost of montagu, pallid and marsh harrier. Drive to Ahmedabad (4 hours). Overnight stay at hotel.

Day 13: AHMEDABAD - DELHI

Morning after breakfast transfer to the airport to board the flight for Delhi. On arrival meet with our representative and transfer to the hotel. Overnight stay at hotel.

Day 14: DEPARTURE

Transfer to the airport to board the flight for onward destination.

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