It’s the sheer brilliance and the magnificence of these biped creatures. The joy of watching these feathered creatures in their natural habitat is quite something and birding for few of us, is the equivalent of modern day treasure hunt.
And this treasure hunt just gets better when you get here :
What used to be hunting grounds, a century ago. Now is a haven for birds. A place where kings and brits mauled down not hundreds, but thousands of birds! Now is the breeding ground for few of the most exotic species of the world. It has over 370 species spread across 2,900 hectares!
Which translates to a real long list of checklist of bird species and a lot of area to cover.
The beauty of this national park is everyone loves the biodiversity here, for a layman a rickshaw waala looks like a Ornithologist. Yes, they are that educated about the birds here!
The co existence of various species is a reminder to man kind to learn from it and also to coexist! At one moment you are gazing the blazing sun to spot an eagle next moment you hear an owl hoot, before you spot the owlet there’s a jackal running across the road. While the cows are happily grazing in the flooded grounds, while the egrets pecks on their backs.
To be specific, 370 Avian species, 57 species of fish, 14 species of snakes, 5 species of lizards, 8 species of amphibians, 71 species of butterflies, 7 species of turtles and 34 species of mammals! So yeah, you get the idea!
There are at least a 150 species which you can strike out from that list, here and the area is humongous! You need to keep an eye out in the bushes, as well as the thickets, as well as the trees or the open sky. Keep an eye and it will never disappoint you!
You can see an eagle gliding in, on the far end, while storks swoop across you. You can be amazed by the blue bull’s stance while a jackal cuts across.You can gaze at the bittern while a nightjar swoops away!
The area is huge the diversity is down right crazy. The best bet to have a good time here is go to the counter early in the morning to get the best cycles from the lot.
Then come back and get your guide. The guides have a unique lottery system, where they have the guides sent out according to their turns. It’s up to your luck what guide you get assigned to, unless you know someone personally. Next, Head to the souvenir shop and take a few maps,hand outs and of course the checklist book.
If you are into birding in India, it’s not possible without these 2 books, they have to be on you when ever you go birding :
The guides would always want to flaunt you and would say things in an exaggerated manner. They would advice you against the map and the checklist. But either ways go for it. I would recommend at least 2 days in this national park. If you like birding/traveling/photography. Take the first day along with a full day guide. Check the map at the end of day 1 and head out on day 2 for your own adventures without the guide.
Also there are a few spots where I could spot these birds continuously for 3 days straight :
Guides are great to spot the birds, however if you are on your own you get the freedom of going to nooks and corners which the guides do not cover. The freedom from constant small talks of the guide and the best part, the excitement of spotting the birds on your own!
I took the gamble and ventured on my own! It was more exhilarating and adventurous than I thought it would be!
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Easiest way to get to Bharatpur : Overnight bus from Jaipur, there are many resorts/hotels near the sanctuary itself. Take a drop on the highway itself to check in at one of these. Save the trip from the bus stop/Railway station in wee hours. Followed by the first day of birding!
Getting out : Take a train with chair car to get to Jaipur/Delhi. The Trains on this route (I used the jan shatabdi) are really maintained and are comfortable.
A few more from my checklist :
Go out there, start your treasure hunt!
Here, have a scanned copy of the checklist. You’re welcome!