Date: 23 January to 04 February, 2024
Destinations: Delhi, Sultanpur, Ranthambhore, Bharatpur, Chambal, Tal Chappar, Bikaner, Desert National Park
Trip Report By: Mahendra Singh (Asian Adventures)  

Day 01: Delhi, Sultanpur, Ranthambhore, 23/01/2024.
We enjoyed a good breakfast at Hotel Shanti Palace at 7:00 AM, checked out at 7:45 AM from the Hotel, and hit the road to Sultanpur. The park was closed as it was Tuesday, but after some birding in the surrounding fields, we spotted all our target species for the day, such as Sind Sparrow, Brooks Leaf Warbler, Yellow-Bellied Prinia along with some other common birds like Painted Stork, Indian Spotbill Duck, Grey Francolin, Kingfishers, etc. 

After birding in Sultanpur, we left for Ranthambhore at 11:30 AM. It was a long drive but the road was good and we did some birding and stopped for a lunch break so it wasn't tiring. We arrived at Hotel Ranthambhore Heritage Haveli at 7:00 PM, where we got a warm welcome with a welcome drink. After finishing the check-in formalities which only took 3 minutes, we also got a briefing about the hotel and park safari timings.

Day 02: Ranthambhore National Park 24/01/2024.
We had an early start today. After a cup of tea with some biscuits, we left the hotel at 6:30 AM in an open jeep for the safari to look for the tiger. After a 10-minute drive, we were at the park gate in Zone No. 1, where our park guide and the driver did the entry procedures, at 7:00 AM the gate opened and we were the first jeep to enter. I got to know from my local contacts that a tigress called Sultana had killed a sambhar last night and she had 3 cubs, not too far from the main gate. So the first thing I did, I ask our driver to get there without stopping for anything else and we did.. within 15 min. When we reached the spot it was still kind of dark, but we could see with our binoculars that Sultana was sitting there. Cubs were not around, so we thought of exploring the park more and looking at what's around. We went off driving around and saw spotted and sambar deer, wild boar, nilgai, and some good birds but no other tiger so at around 9 AM, we decided to check on Sultana once again and we drove back to the spot.. as we were about to reach the place I saw 2 tiger cubs running into a dry river bed and going into the bushes, so I asked our driver to stop but by the time he stopped they were gone.. anyway we scanned the area to look for them but I found the mother sleeping under a bush and the cubs were lying next to her. We enjoyed watching them. Now and then the cubs were doing something but we didn’t get a photo opportunity as they were far into the bushes and we had to get out of the park at 10.00 AM. After coming back to the hotel and having a good breakfast, we walked in the field around the hotel to look for painted sandgrouse and we found some 20 birds. It was wonderful to see them.

# afternoon safari zone 5 
After a quick lunch, we left the hotel at 1.30 for the safari and drove around. It's a wonderful area, we got to see 3 species of owls, a dusky Eagle Owl, a brown fish owl, and a pair of spotted owlets. Further on, we got some other birds like crested serpent eagle and a family of jungle bush quail. As we were watching them, a sambar deer gave a warning call which took everyone's attention but then it went quiet. And we had to exit the park.


Ranthambhore National Park


Day 03: Ranthambhore to Bharatpur 25/01/2024
We left the hotel for our last chance to see the tiger at 6.30 for zone 6. We reached the park gate at 6.50 and after a quick entry, we entered the park at 7.00. It was a bit foggy but the visibility was good. The first animal we saw was a handsome male nilgai and then a small herd of chinkara (Indian guzzle). After having a good look and photographing we drove around the park for some 45 min. Before I spotted a pair of black rumped flameback woodpeckers, so we stopped to have a look at them. As we were watching the woodpecker, I heard a sambar deer alarm call in the distance, and as I told this to my guest the sambhar barked again. 

This time we all heard it. Our driver and park guide came into action and drove in the direction where the sambhar was calling from. Within a few minutes, we were there. The sambhar was standing on a hill looking down into the valley and barking so I turned around to look where the sambhar was looking. Noor, the oldest tigress of Ranthambhore, was sitting under a bush and licking her paws. I pointed it out to all of my guests. After we watched her for 10 minutes she got up and started walking into the forest along the road. She probably wanted to walk on the road but many jeeps came and she disappeared into the forest.. and we decided to go birding.. So we did but there was not much around and we had to get out of the park so we drove back and got back to the hotel with a broad smile on all faces.

After reaching the hotel, we had a quick breakfast, checked out from the hotel with a packed lunch, and left for Bharatpur. After an hour's drive, we stopped at Morel Dam near Lalsot, for birding and it was fruitful. We saw short-toed snake eagles, pallas, slender bills,s, and black-headed gulls. Great thick knees, Asian openbill stork, and many others.. so after birding for an hour it was time for lunch so we had lunch and some more birding along with it. We left Morel dam at 2.30 as we had a 3-hour journey ahead to get to Bharatpur. It turned out an hour longer because of our driver.


Keoladeo National Park, Rajasthan


Day 04: Bharatpur 26/01/24.
It was really foggy in the morning, so we changed our plan as decided last evening. We were supposed to leave the hotel at 7.00 in the morning but because of the fog, we left an hour later. In the meantime, we enjoyed the hot breakfast. We entered the park at 8.00 o'clock. It was still foggy but visibility was still not much, so we took it easy and played it by ear to see some common birds like kingfishers, herons, ducks, cormorants, etc. The sun came out at around 11.00 and the activity increased as well. Got some really good birds like the Dusky Eagle Owl, black bittern, Eastern Imperial Eagle, Indian spotted eagle, greater spotted eagle, steppie eagle, and booted eagle. Around 1.30 pm we got to the Keoladeo temple where we had a hot lunch sent by the hotel. After lunch rest for 20 min. We went off again for birding and got some good stuff like ruddy-breasted crack, Saras crane, and Indian nightjar. Overall it was a fantastic day with a total number of 101 species.


chambal bird sanctuary


Day 05: Chambal, Bharatpur. 27/01/2024
Today we went to the river Chambal. A 2-hour drive from Bharatpur, but it took us a little longer as it was very foggy in the morning. Nothing new for this time of year and we planned accordingly. We left Bharatpur at 8.30 am after a heavy breakfast and reached Chambal at 10.40 am. Straight away we went into the boat as it was prey booked and the Sun came out and Fog disappeared. As we were boarding the boat our first target species, Black Bellied Tern came and flew overhead. We all got a good view and photographs. Next was a pair of great thick knees sitting on a small island.  After photographing it, we went on crushing in the river and saw river lapwing, common sandpiper, marsh sandpiper, a pair of ruddy shelduck, Marsh crocodile, and gharial. As we were all watching it. I spotted a flock of Indian skimmer on an island sitting along with gharial in the distance. So we went close and had a wonderful view of them. Later on, we also got to see a pair of Bonelli's eagle, river Tern, and some other common birds..we finished with Chambal at 12.45 and drove back to Bharatpur. I called the hotel to get lunch ready at 2.00 pm. Got there on time, had a quick lunch, and went birding in the park. we had already explored the park yesterday but still got to see a new bird peregrine falcon..a wonderful birding day.

Day 06: Bharatpur to tal Chhapar 28/01/2024.
Today was a long day of traveling and we were prepared for it. We checked out from Bharatpur at around 8.30 in the morning after having a heavy breakfast and started our 8:00-hour journey to Tal Chhapar. The road was good and we stopped for a lunch break at around 1.30 pm at a family restaurant. The food was good and it was a good break. After lunch and a bit of rest, we hit the road again. there was not much opportunity for birding as we were driving on a highway but saw some Indian roller, black shoulder kites sitting on the electric wires along the roadside. We reached our destination around 5.30 in the evening after a quick check-in and a cup of coffee. We went for a walk around the hotel in the fields for birding but not much was around. Looking forward to tomorrow.

Day 07: Tal Chhapar. 29/01/2024.
We started our day early at 6.30 with breakfast..bread butter, fruits, and tea coffee and entered the sanctuary at 7.00 am The sun was just rising and we were seeing all the blackbucks grazing in the grassland. As we drove around in our golf car we saw a tawny eagle, steppe eagle, greater spotted eagle, common Kestrel, black francolin, long-billed pipit, and other common birds..we left the sanctuary at around 11.00 am and went to Gaushala, a place to look for the spotted creeper. We tried to find it for about one and a half hours but failed.. and it was mid-day so we came back to the hotel for lunch and some rest... again we left from hotel at 2.30 pm and went into the gaushala area to look for the creeper.. tried every possible place were i  have seen it in my previous tour's but failed.. finally as we were all losing hope and the day was coming to an end i we saw a small group of small minivets and the creeper usually hangs around with them.. so i said let me try once again as i was scanning the trees were minivets were feeding the creeper was also sitting in the foliage. So we saw it got some record shots as it was getting dark but it was a really good find after all.


Tal Chhapar


Day 08: Tal Chhapar 30/01/2024.
We started our day after an early breakfast at 7.30 and went straight to the Gaushala area to look for our only target species, the spotted creeper. As we got there was another group of British birders trying to look for it but they didn't hear or see the bird as their guide told me, who was my friend and fellow birder. So we all got scattered in the area to look for it and around 8.45 we found the bird. We all got good looks and pics. After that, we went birding and saw chestnut-bellied sandgrouse, rufous-fronted prinia, napped ibis, and other common birds. Got back to our hotel for lunch at some rest and then went out for birding again at 3.00 pm Not much was around but we got the creeper again with small minivets.

Tal Chhapar

Day 09: Taal Chhapar to Bikaner. 31/01/2024.
We left from the hotel around 9.00 am after breakfast and got to Jorbeer Vulture Reserve after a 2-hour drive at 11.00 a.m. The sight was mind blowing hundreds of steppe eagles, more than 600 hundred Eurasian Griffon vultures, a thousand Egyptian vultures about a dozen imperial eagles few greater spotted eagles, and thousands of yellow-eyed pigeons a flock of Rosy starlings was a great treat we didn't want to leave the place but our stomach was making funny noises.. so we left at 1.00 PM got to our hotel at 1.30 check in was quick with a good welcome drink. After 10 min in the room to fresh up we were in the restaurant for lunch. After lunch again we went to Jorbeer and enjoyed birding till the sunset. got back to the hotel at.7.00


Day 10: Bikaner to Jaisalmer 01/02/2024.
Today was a long travel day. we left the hotel after having breakfast at 8.00 in the morning and had a visit to Jorbeer. We spent 2 hours birding there and then we left for Khichan. After a 3-hour drive, we reached Khichan where we got to see more than 12000 thousand demoiselle cranes after photographing and then it was time for a let lunch which was going to be another 20 min. We Drove so we reached the lunch place at 2.00 pm. The restaurant was good. Very quick service and tasty food. We left from the restaurant at 2.45 and headed to Jaisalmer where we tried to find chappal for Klemens. it's been a target since we started the tour and even here we failed to find his size. Anyway, we got to our destination Sonal Desert Camp at 6.20 pm as the sun was just settling. A warm welcome and straight into the rooms. After fresh up and some good coffee we went to look for nightjars just around the property but only saw spotted owlets. at 7.30 pm it was time for dinner and it was ready. Freshly homemade food. Plan rice, daal, mix veg. And mutton curry.. simple but delicious food. Time to call it a day. Looking forward to tomorrow's birding.



Day 11: Desert National Park Jaisalmer. 02/02/2024.
We started our long birding day early at 6.30 am after a good cup of coffee and packed breakfast. A 30 min. Drive to the park entrance where we paid entry fees and entered the park in an open Jeep looking for our target species. After a 5 min. Drive we stopped at a watch tower to scan the area for great Indian bustard. So we climbed the tower and started scanning with our telescope..we saw some chinkara (Indian guzzle) and in the distance, we saw some vulture on a tree. Griffon and cinereous vulture. After scanning the area for 20 min. I spotted a bustard sitting in the grassland only his head and neck were visible but through our scope, we could see it well. Every one of us saw it well and then it got up and started walking. so we could see it clearly with the scope it was a male and it was walking towards a female wich was sitting under a tree in the distance. so we got some record shots and started driving through the park. Got to see an imperial eagle, a black-crowned lark, a laggard falcon, and another male great Indian bustard. Good views, of it. Flocks of greater short-toed larks were flying around the desert, variable, and isabelline weather. And then we got into the Rocky habitat where we saw Red-tailed wheatear. There was a small pool of water where I spotted 5 trumpeter finch as we were all watching them a flock of yellow-eyed pigeons came to drink at the pool followed by a flock of chestnut-bellied sandgrouse. Amazing it was we didn't realize it was noon. so we drove back to our hotel for lunch and couldn't wait to get back into the desert. So after a quick lunch, we got back At 2.00 pm and we saw a pair of laggard falcons in a nest. After driving for a few minutes I couldn't believe my eyes. A desert cat was out in the middle of the day. every one of us was surprised. Later on, we saw desert fox and Indian fox and as we were looking at a flock of vultures we spotted an Indian vulture. As the day was coming to an end, a harrier flew in a couple of Montagues and a pallid. After the sunset, we also tried to look for nightjars but didn't see any. Came back to the hotel at 7.15. . after a quick fresh-up dinner and called it the day.

Desert national park

Day 12: Desert National Park. 03/02/2024.
As per our plan, we started our day early in the morning with a packed brunch at 6.00 am. As our main target species was Sykes nightjar for this morning and it can only be seen just before the daylight sitting on the road..we got to see it well but had no time to photograph the bird flew off as we opened the car window to get out. Anyway, we continued our drive for other target species which were, Indian courser, cream-coloured courser, red-necked falcon, rufous tailed lark. .. the weather got bad and it started raining as we drove about 10 km. For our next target species, we saw 4 Cream colored courser.  It started raining heavily so we drove to a restaurant about 20 minutes drive away where we had our breakfast with some hot coffee. The rain stopped and we were off to look for our main target Indian course.. I tried every possible place but didn't succeed. But we got to see a red-necked falcon and 5 great Indian bustards along with some common raptors. It was 6.46 pm after sunset when We decided to drive back to our lodge. As we started just about 4 km before our lodge I spotted a Sykes nightjar sitting in the middle of the road. But as it stopped it flew away. Got back to the hotel and after a quick fresh up had dinner. There was a cultural dance for all the guests but we were too tired. good night


Desert national park

Day 13: Desert National Park. 04/02/2024.
Today we checked out of the hotel at 7.30 after having a good breakfast and did some birding. Saw chestnut-bellied sandgrouse, desert lark, pallid harrier, desert, variable and red-tailed wheatear great gray shrike crested lark, and other common birds. At 11.30 we left for the airport and reached Jaisalmer airport at 12.00 for a flight to Delhi at 2.00 pm. Tour ends.

Date: 23 January to 04 February, 2024
Destinations: Delhi, Sultanpur, Ranthambhore, Bharatpur, Chambal, Tal Chappar, Bikaner, Desert National Park
Trip Report By: Mahendra Singh (Asian Adventures)