November 11 – November 25, 2014
Tour Leader: Kelly
Sekhon assisted by local birding experts
Led by Kelly Sekhon on his 9th India nature tour,
you will travel through historic Rajasthan in western India to the Desert National
Park near Jaisalmer. Later, you visit the Gir National
Park, home to the last surviving population
of the Asiatic Lion and then tour some of the best coastal birding hotspots
along the lonely Rann of Kutch in a part of Gujarat where Gandhi
spent a part of his life. The variety of bird and animal life in addition to
cultural sites that you will see will truly be amazing.
- Desert National
Park – birding amidst the scrub and dunes
of the Great Thar Desert
- Jodhpur and
Jaisalmer – Rajasthan's historic desert cities
- Gulf of Kutch - one of the
finest birding stretches along the Indian coastline
- Gir National
Park - last abode of the Asiatic lion and
has a thriving population of panthers
- Velavadar National Park - known for its
large blackbuck antelope population
- Post tour extension to Delhi, Agra (Taj Mahal,
Jaipur (Rajasthan, Bharatpur Sanctuary - world famous birding hot spot.
Day 1 - Arrive Delhi
You will be met and transferred to your hotel for overnight stay. Hotel Star Grand Villa / Hotel Shanti Palace
Day 2 - Delhi to Jodhpur
Transfer to Delhi airport for
brief flight to Jodhpur. Famous for its
magnificent forts and palaces, Jodhpur gives you a feel
of the times when the Rajput rulers were at the might of their power in
Rajasthan. The gates and the walls of the forts speak of the battles they have
witnessed. Some of the major attractions of Jodhpur are the
Mehrangarh Fort, Jaswant Thada, Umaid Bhawan Palace, Mandore Gardens and the Old Fort Museum. Overnight Hotel Devi Bhawan, Jodhpur. Breakfast.
Day 4 - Jaisalmer
Day 3 - Jodhpur - Kheechan -Jaisalmer
We depart early for the desert city of Jaisalmer, stopping at
Keechan on the way. Lunch at Jaisalmer. Afternoon birding around the city lake.
Overnight Hotel Fort Rajwada, Jaisalmer
Morning birding in and around Jaisalmer, the fossil park and the sand dunes.
Afternoon visit the Gadisar Tank and the carved and decorated merchant homes
called havelies- some dating to medieval times. Patwon Ki Haveli, Salim Shah
Haveli and Nathamal Ki Haveli with their intricately carved screens on the
facades and traditional Rajasthan architecture are some of the major ones.
Fort Rajwada, Jaisalmer.
Day 5 - Jaisalmer - Desert National
After breakfast we depart with lunch boxes for the Desert National Park. We spend the
day birding amidst the scrub and sand dunes of the park. Overnight Rajasthan Desert Safari Camp, DNP.
Breakfast and Dinner.
Day 6 - Desert National
Little Rann of Kutch
Depart for the Little Rann of Kutch with packed lunch. The Great Rann of Kutch,
along with the Little Rann of Kutch and the Banni grasslands on its southern
edge, is situated in the district of Kutch and comprises some 30,000 square
kilometres (10,000 sq mi) between the Gulf of Kutch and the mouth of
the Indus River. In winter, the Rann of Kutch is a breeding
ground for flamingos and pelicans. It is the only place in India where flamingos
come to breed and is home to 13 species of lark. The Little Rann of Kutch is
famous for the Indian Wild Ass Sanctuary, home of the world's last population
of Indian wild ass. Other mammals of the area include the Indian wolf, desert
fox, golden jackal, chinkara, nilgai, and the threatened blackbuck. Overnight stay at the Rann Riders. Breakfast and Dinner.
Day 7 - Little Rann of Kutch
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 demmoisele 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 spot-billed 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. Stay at the Rann Riders.
Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner.
Day 8 - Little Rann of Kutch - 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 an interesting drive to Jamnagar passing
agricultural fields and lakes. Birds of the open country like the Indian roller
and black-shouldered kite can be seen. Evening visit to Khijadiya Bird
Sanctuary, where there are good chances of seeing the 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 Hotel Express, Jamnagar.
Breakfast and Lunch.
Day 9 - Jamnagar
Today we visit the 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, oystercatchers, 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 in the area. Time permitting, we will walk to Lakhota Lake to see
brown-headed gulls and a variety of ducks. Overnight Hotel Express, Jamnagar. Breakfast.
Day 10 - Jamnagar - Gir National Park
An early departure for Porbandar, a two hours drive away. This coastal city is
good for photographing birds at close
range. Besides large flamingo and crane flocks, the area has yellow-legged
gull, Henglin's gull, sandwich tern and the black-bellied tern. Later, drive to
Gir National Park and check-in at
the Gir Birding Lodge.
Breakfast and Dinner.
Days 11 and 12 - Gir National
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 can be seen here. We may
visit the crocodile breeding farm at Sasan. Overnight at the Gir Birding Lodge.
Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner.
Day 13 - Gir National Park - Velavadar
Drive from Gir to Bhavnagar and check-in at
the Black Buck Lodge. Bird in Victoria Park (good
scrubland birdlife), Gaurishankar Lake and near the
port where Western reef egret nest in good numbers. Overnight at the Black BuckLodge. Breakfast.
Day 14 - Velavadar
Early morning departure for Velavadar National Park. Known for its
large blackbuck antelope population, Velavadar is also one of the few places
where the wolf population is expanding in India though they are
rarely seen during the day. Jackal, jungle cat and hares 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, especially the 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. Overnight at the
Black Buck Lodge. Breakfast.
Day 15 - Velavadar – Ahmedabad - Delhi - Departure
Drive to Gujarat's capital city
of Ahmedabad for your flight
back to Delhi. We will drive to the
international airport upon arrival for your return flight back home OR
transfer to a Delhi hotel if you are
connecting to the next part of the tour. Breakfast.
Kelly Sekhon has several years of experience both as tour organizer and field trip leader. He has successfully led eight natural history tours to India and Nepal - to the remote Kinnaur region of the western Himalaya in 1996; to Assam and Sikkim in eastern India in 1999 and 2000; to the National Wildlife Parks of North, South and Eastern India including Rajasthan in 2003, 2006 and 2008, a nature trek to the alpine Valley of the Gods in the Indian Himalaya in 2004 and finally, a nature hike through the foothills of the Annapurna mountains in Nepal in 2011.
C$ 3090 for the land part of the tour (including
airfares and meals mentioned in the itinerary). Price does not
include international airfare. The expected low season return airfare
from Vancouver to Delhi
is $1600. Fares change often and a precise figure will be available 2 months
prior to travel. Airline and airport taxes and fees are extra.
Tour Booking Info
Tour will be limited to a maximum of 12 participants to ensure close interaction with the accompanying naturalists and have the benefits of a close knit small group. Early booking is essential.
The last date for booking your place on these tours will
be Septemberber 15, 2014. A
completed Booking Form together with your Tour Deposit must be received by us
prior to this date. Please contact us for more information.
Click HERE to send us an e-mail or Phone
Kelly at 604-526-9091
Click HERE to download a PDF copy of the Booking Form
North India Nature & Culture extension - November 25 - December 4, 2014 (Click HERE for itinerary)
Kerala and South India - December 4 - 17, 2014 (Click HERE for itinerary)