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News in brief: India & Sri Lanka

Indian Wild Dogs

Indian Wild Dogs

In India …

1. National Parks of Southern India

Our ‘The National Parks of Southern India’ holiday in November 2016 recorded 228 species of birds, as well as a wonderful variety of mammals and other wildlife. Visiting three different states this tour focuses not only on the region’s wildlife but also its rich culture. In Nagarahole National Park, highlights included Tiger, Leopard, Asian Elephant, Indian Wild Dog and an array of bird species. In Ooty, our group managed to see most of the area’s endemic birds including Black-and-orange Flycatcher, Nilgiri Laughing-thrush and Nilgiri Blue Robin, while in Annamalai Tiger Reserve, birds such as Malabar Grey Hornbill, Great Hornbill, Malabar Barbet, Blue Bearded Bee-eater, Fairy Bluebird and Malabar Trogon were among the species enjoyed. At Eravikulam National Park in Munnar everyone enjoyed wonderful views of Nilgiri Tahr, an endemic mountain goat, as well as sightings of endemic birds including White-bellied Blue Robin, Nilgiri Flycatcher, Kerala Laughing-thrush, Nilgiri Woodpigeon and Nilgiri Pipit. Nilgiri Langur, Asian Elephant, Indian Giant Squirrel, Mouse Deer, Porcupine, Sambar, Smooth-coated Otter and Common and Brown Palm Civets were among the mammals seen at Thekkady, while birds included White-bellied Blue Flycatcher, Mountain Imperial Pigeon, Oriental Scops Owl, Malabar Parakeet and Malabar Wood Shrike. A house boat excursion on the Alleppy backwaters yielded many more bird species including Glossy Ibis, both Purple and Grey Herons, plus many waders, terns, and kingfishers. At Thattekad Bird Sanctuary our group saw Cyclone Frogmouth, Brown Hawk and Brown Fish Owl. A sightseeing walk around Kochi and a chance to see a traditional Kathakali dance show added an extra, cultural, element to a memorable trip.

Our 19-day The National Parks of Southern India holiday departs Saturday 18th November 2017. Please call Rajan Jolly on 01962 733051 or email rajan@naturetrek.co.uk for further details.


2. India – Rare Mammals & Birds of Gujarat
 
Our November 2016 ‘India – Rare Mammals & Birds of Gujarat’ holiday recorded 180+ bird species, with highlights including Great Indian Bustard, Macqueen’s Bustard, Stolickza’s Bushchat, Painted Francolin and White-naped Tit. Amongst the tour’s mammalian highlights were Asiatic Lion, Leopard and Wild Ass with, arguably the best sighting of the trip, being views of Wolf in Naliya Grassland. A rare sighting of Dumeril’s Black-headed Snake at Gir National Park and 12 species of butterfly were also memorable.

Our 13-day India – Rare Mammals & Birds of Gujarat holiday departs Sunday 12th November 2017. Please call Rajan Jolly on 01962 733051 or email rajan@naturetrek.co.uk for further details.


3. India's Wildlife – A Photography Tour (plus Chambal & Bharatpur extension)
 
Highlights from our ‘India’s Wildlife – A Photography Tour’ in October 2016 included 80+ bird and 20 mammal species (and 13 different Tiger sightings!), as well as a host of other wildlife. Mammals seen included Sloth Bear, Common Palm Civet, Chital, Sambar, Indian Muntjac, Nilgai, Chinkara, Gaur, Wild Boar, Golden Jackal, Common Mongoose, Ruddy Mongoose, Langur Monkey and Rhesus Macaque. However, the highlight for most was the Tiger sightings. Our group enjoyed views of subadult cubs, female Tigers and a dominant male during game drives. Avian highlights included Racket-tailed Drongo, Indian Roller, Indian Peafowl, Malabar Pied Hornbill, kingfishers, Spotted Owlet, Jungle Owlet, Crested Serpent Eagle, Crested Hawk Eagle, Shikra and early migrants such as flycatchers, Black Redstart and Brown Shrike. Our tour coincided with the festival of Diwali which afforded great photographic opportunities for all, as well as a culinary feast and a glimpse of rural village life. A visit to Agra rounded off the trip with sightseeing at the Taj Mahal and the city’s other famous sites.

Chambal & Bharatpur post-tour extension:
Some of the group then extended their trip with a tour to Chambal and Bharatpur National Parks. Highlights included seeing Indian Palm Civet amidst the thick trees of the Chambal Safari Lodge. Everyone had good views of the civet which was curled up inside the hollow of a tree and our group watched the animal for a good 10 minutes before it jumped from one tree to another and disappeared!

Our 13-day India's Wildlife – A Photography Tour holiday departs Sunday 12th November 2017. Please call Rajan Jolly on 01962 733051 or email rajan@naturetrek.co.uk for further details about this holiday and the Chambal & Bharatpur extension.
 
4. India – Tiger Direct!

Mammalian highlights in Pench National Park on our ‘India – Tiger Direct!’ holiday in November 2016 included Tiger, Leopard and Indian Wild Dog sightings – the latter were seen particularly well, with two separate sightings during which our group had excellent views of the dogs playing and socialising. Special birds included Crested Serpent Eagle, Crested Hawk-eagle, White-eyed Buzzard, Grey-headed Fish Eagle and Shikra as well as a flock comprised of three different species of vulture. Next our group transferred to Kanha National Park where they enjoyed several excellent Tiger sightings, including views of a Tigress which twice crossed a track in front of our group, and a large male Tiger seen walking straight towards our group’s jeep! Our group also witnessed Indian Wild Dogs successfully hunting down a male Chital. Almost 50 bird species were recorded in Kanha by our group including Red Avadavat, Tri-coloured Munia, Silverbill, pipits and larks. The rare Barasingha (or Swamp Deer) was among the other special mammals seen. Some star gazing and a cookery demonstration at Kanha Jungle Lodge added to the other pleasures of the trip!
 
Our 9-day India – Tiger Direct! holiday departs Sunday 26th March, Sunday 2nd April, Sunday 5th November, Sunday 12th November and Sunday 24th December 2017. Please call Rajan Jolly on 01962 733051 or email rajan@naturetrek.co.uk for further details.

In Sri Lanka …
 
Highlights on our January 2017 ‘Wild Sri Lanka … In Style!’ holiday included many endemic bird sightings as well as seeing three Leopards resting in the same tree in Yala National Park, and one Leopard drinking at a waterhole. Close encounters with Blue Whales as well as sightings of Risso’s Dolphin and False Killer Whale were among the marine mammal highlights. In total, 180 bird and 26 mammal species were recorded on this tour as well as a host of other wildlife.

Our next 14-day Wild Sri Lanka … In Style! holiday departs Monday 13th November 2017. Please call Rajan Jolly on 01962 733051 or email rajan@naturetrek.co.uk for further details.