My encounters with birds and animals, butterflies and trees, and anything else in nature…

Glorious Corbett – II


The Ramganga

A constant feature of Corbett is the Ramganga River. We spent a lot of time driving alongside it, and occasionally across it. Since it was the dry season, there didn’t seem to be too much water in it, though in some places it was quite deep. One of the best views of the river was from High Point, at the top of a cliff, from where a long stretch of the river could be seen.

View from High Point

View from High Point

Ramganga rocks ;)

Ramganga rocks 😉

From high above, we had a bird’s eye view 🙂 of the river and its residents –gharials and muggers (Indian freshwater crocodiles) next to each other – afloat in the shallow water, and basking in the sun on the riverbank.

Glistening gharial

A very precious gharial

The gharial is listed by the IUCN as critically endangered – its numbers had come down to just 200 breeding adults in 2007.

At another place, the riverbank was a vast field of rocks in varied pastel shades…

The riverbank rocks ;)

The riverbank rocks 😉

We saw several birds along the river – some of them very expertly camouflaged. Here’s a brown dipper hiding under a rock.

Can you see me 1 - Brown dipper

Can you see me 1 - Brown dipper

And this long-billed thrush was barely visible…

Can you see me 2 - Large billed thrush

Can you see me 2 - Long billed thrush

From a distance, this crested kingfisher wasn’t too easy to see either.

Crested kingfisher

'Spotted' this beauty! - Crested kingfisher

And when it wasn’t moving about, so was this rosy pipit.

Rosy pipit - a lucky sighting!

Rosy pipit - a lucky sighting!

On the other hand, there were some colourful birds too, like this citrine wagtail.

Citrine wagtail

Yellow yellow pretty fellow - Citrine wagtail

And here’s a white wagtail engaged in the universal activity of every living creature – the quest for food…

And that brings us to…

…the birds!

Corbett is a bird paradise – almost one-third of India’s birds can be seen here. In some places, it was difficult to decide where to look – there was such a profusion of birds! One such place was near a bridge across a sot (stream) on the way to Mohaan and Kumeriya. We stopped on the road near the bridge overlooking the small gulch of the sot, which had dense vegetation. A few puddles left behind by the drying stream attracted a variety of birds. There were birds on the trees in front of us, in the bushes just below eye level, and on the ground below, all happily unaffected by the trucks and buses and SUVs that roared incessantly past!

Here’s the Northern sub-species of the red-vented bulbul with a brown cheek patch.

There were so many of these birds around, we almost got tired of them...

There were so many of these birds around, we almost got tired of them...

And the pretty little black-lored tit.

One of the cutest birds we saw :)

One of the cutest birds we saw 🙂

Very restless bird, this one…

A particular delight were the “pollen-fronted” white-eyes (Adesh Shivkar’s name for them :)). There were several of them just a couple of feet in front of us, but they would disappear if we got too close. Here’s a tender white-eye moment…

A “lifer” for most of us was the red-billed leiothrix, a colourful master of camouflage. Can you spot it in this pic?

Can you see me 3 - Red billed leiothrix
Can you see me 3 – Red billed leiothrix

One of the most unforgettable experiences of the Corbett trip was seeing eleven species of woodpeckers! One such lifer was this lesser yellownape.

Lesser yellownape

Lesser yellownape

Another was this grey-capped pygmy woodpecker.

And yet another – the fulvous breasted woodpecker

And here is Garima’s collection of nine of the eleven woodpeckers!

Barring the peacock, the most flamboyant bird we saw was the red junglefowl.

He knows how to strut his stuff!

He knows how to strut his stuff!

Sometimes, flamboyance is best displayed together! 🙂

Fowl company...

Fowl company...

Another source of non-stop birding for us was a peepal tree outside Corbett Nature Camp. Yellow-footed green pigeons, Indian grey hornbills, red whiskered, red vented and ashy bulbuls, rose ringed parakeets, chestnut tailed and Asian pied starlings, and Himalayan flamebacks! And a flock of three Oriental pied hornbills that stayed for just a few minutes!

Some more “Wow!” moments…

My first sight of the beautiful black-crested bulbul…

I like to juggle with my food!

I like to juggle with my food!

…and the brilliantly coloured rufous bellied niltava!

Rufous belly, yes... but you should see my back!

Rufous belly, yes... but you should see my back!

Seeing this collared scops owl in a tree on the road outside Corbett Nature Camp

Collared scops owl1

How can I sleep in this racket??

Watching the graceful chestnut headed bee-eaters perform an aerial ballet

Chestnut headed be1

Resting ballerina

Desperately trying to get a good shot of a crested serpent eagle on a tree some distance away, and turning around to find this one in the tree behind us!

And the “Wow!”est moment of all – watching Indian grey hornbills locked in combat at Dhangadi gate! I missed recording that – but here is Garima’s capture of the moment, along with other birds of Corbett.

The tiger?

Oh yes, we did see it – for just a few minutes, from the cliff-top at High Point, far down below! It was an awesome sighting, as the tiger emerged from the grass on one side of the river, swam across, scrabbled around in the gravel on the opposite side, and disappeared into the grass. As usual, my brain didn’t work and I didn’t record the moment. But we all got a good look at His Majesty through Manoj Sharma’s spotting scope. Thanks Manojji!

I will give a link to Garima’s pic of the tiger once she uploads it 🙂

So let me end with one of the tiger’s prey animals – the shy and skittish barking deer. We saw quite a few of them, but this sighting of a mommy muntjac licking her baby was a real bonus!

Mommy and baby2

Did you clean behind your ears today?

Thank you, Adesh Shivkar and Manoj Sharma, for an unforgettably wonderful trip! And thanks to the entire group – Garima, Ranjeet, Madhavi, Ram, Vamsee, Rajesh, Capt. Haridas, Naren, Harshad, Jayanthi, Sangha, Nikhil, Shibani, for making the trip so enjoyable! You guys rock! I can’t wait to visit Corbett again…. and again…. and again!!

24 responses

  1. Rohin

    Once again very nice, and your enthusiasm and joy is so apparent 🙂

    June 11, 2009 at 19:10

  2. Rajesh

    Great Uma, Great ! You have really written something for me to “copy”/ “paste” in my scrapbook. With due credit to you-of course !

    June 11, 2009 at 20:52

  3. anand

    I am really impressed with the quality of your photos!

    June 12, 2009 at 00:01

  4. Woweeee….such lovely pics, esp those of the camouflage! Enjoyed every bit of this post and I wanted to spend 10 mins and spent nearly an hour over it!

    June 12, 2009 at 02:04

  5. Madhavi

    Great pics and write-up. Really takes me back there 🙂 Was fun to watch the elephants in the water (part I) – which our jeep missed.

    June 12, 2009 at 05:43

  6. manjula

    quite impressive ! I should go there one day ! Seems like you had great fun !

    June 12, 2009 at 08:20

  7. Great post Uma. I loved the videos. All of them were great, but the favorites are the horn bills and the black lored tit!!

    Now you are on a roll and I can see that you got the second one out pretty fast.

    June 12, 2009 at 11:22

  8. Achut

    gr8 snaps uma must have been exitingto have all those sightings………….. will love to travel some time

    June 12, 2009 at 12:15

  9. sangeeta

    WOW again!

    June 12, 2009 at 20:38

  10. Hi Uma,

    I loved ur photographs, so many different types of birds, and none that I have heard or seen before.

    It’s amazing that you could see so many types of Woodpeckers!

    Did u go for this trip along with the birdwatching gang of Bangalore?

    June 12, 2009 at 22:27

  11. birdsonthebrainetc

    Once again, thank you all for your encouragement!
    @Deepa, the time you spent on this is the best compliment ever!
    @Vamsee, wait for the one on my Gujarat trip!
    @Manjula, I call you and call you but you are so busy!!
    @Achut, welcome to my blog! Good to hear from you!
    @Adi, half the group was from Bangalore and half from Bombay. Finish your 12th quickly – then you will also be free to go on trips! 🙂

    June 13, 2009 at 00:25

  12. vibha

    Great pics Uma. I hope you didn’t try wading across the river. The videos are of great quality. Figures it out this time

    June 16, 2009 at 13:28

  13. Poonam

    Awesome Ums! Looking forward to the Gir update!

    June 16, 2009 at 16:20

  14. karen amstutz

    Oh Uma!! What a great tribute to a special trip. Almost feels like I was there with you! Wish you could be here at the Mono Basin Bird Chataqua this weekend! Maybe some year…Miss you.

    June 17, 2009 at 01:16

  15. thoughtsinflight

    Lovely post.. Would really like to make it to Corbett some day

    June 18, 2009 at 16:04

  16. Pushpa

    Hi Uma,

    Great stuff – Pics, videos and content. So many birds and their names with description made a great read. Thanks so much.

    June 18, 2009 at 17:38

  17. excellent work madam! I feel both glad that I got to see all this, and bad that I wasn’t there! 🙂

    June 25, 2009 at 00:24

  18. Good show! Hope to see more of your trip reports soon.

    June 25, 2009 at 11:17

  19. Rashmi Hegde

    Fantastic pictures! I am seriously considering visiting Corbett someday.

    Keep the posts coming:-)

    July 9, 2009 at 04:56

  20. Arpana

    Hey Uma!!!!

    Amazing pictures… I truly love the camouflage ones…
    I can literally feel the great time you seem to have had…

    Take Care

    July 15, 2009 at 14:34

  21. hi
    nice. which type camara you used.

    September 2, 2009 at 11:27

  22. Sarit Tabak

    Hi! I’m planning a trip to India, and heared great reccomendation about Manoj Sharma. Could you please send me his email/ contact details?

    November 19, 2009 at 15:29

  23. What a wonderful trip report. You brought Corbett to life for me. I found your report on INW, I am so glad I saw this.

    May 19, 2010 at 00:15

  24. ck

    Uma, I was toying between Shimla and Corbett but your compelling post leaves me with no choice !Unless you are passionate, you can’t produce such copy ! May the Force be always with you ! Keep them coming !

    July 29, 2010 at 14:22

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