Glorious Corbett – II
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.
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.
At another place, the riverbank was a vast field of rocks in varied pastel shades…
We saw several birds along the river – some of them very expertly camouflaged. Here’s a brown dipper hiding under a rock.
And this long-billed thrush was barely visible…
From a distance, this crested kingfisher wasn’t too easy to see either.
And when it wasn’t moving about, so was this rosy pipit.
On the other hand, there were some colourful birds too, like this 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…
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.
And the pretty little black-lored tit.
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?
One of the most unforgettable experiences of the Corbett trip was seeing eleven species of woodpeckers! One such lifer was this 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.
Sometimes, flamboyance is best displayed together! 🙂
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…
…and the brilliantly coloured rufous bellied niltava!
Seeing this collared scops owl in a tree on the road outside Corbett Nature Camp
Watching the graceful chestnut headed bee-eaters perform an aerial ballet
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.
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!
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!!