Saturday, 20 February 2016

Sunday 14th February – Kosi River to Delhi

Arguably the bird of the trip Ibisbill.
This was our last morning, we were due to return to Delhi later so we were up early. The plan was to take the short trip to the Kosi River to photograph the Ibisbill and it went to plan as Jack picked up two birds feeding just a couple of hundred yards upstream.

We spent the next 30 minutes taking in the enigmatic species at our own pace. We eventually got back to the van and Lokesh said lets bird up to the gate, a distance of about 400 yards. At the log last night we were all on a variety of totals but as a group we were on 360 species, you never see them all and you get some the others don’t and vice versa. I for instance had Grey Treepie that everyone missed etc.

Himalayan Flameback
Lokesh scored straight away with Puff-throated Babbler an addition to the holiday total which was a tick for most, but not The Captain and I as we had seen this species in Thailand. Next a group of Long-tailed Minivets a colourful species that I had missed but most of the others had seen. Result! We hadn’t gone much further when the boy squealed again “Himalayan Flareback”, not one but five! We drunk them in, then after Joy and June had had a quick ride in the back of a Tuc Tuc it was back to the hotel to pack for the journey to Delhi.

The group all jelled well from Mike (Geordie) who was like greased lighting when it came to getting to the scope first (including mine). Jack (Scouser) who was a gentle giant, I’ll never forget the locals queuing to get photographs taken with him at the Taj Mahal! The Captain who was ... well The Captain like a coiled spring in the field, and a champion of the nasal trombone in his sleep! Leonard and Rosita (Swedish) didn’t speak a lot of English but joined in as best as they could. The driver who got us from A to B safely, no easy task when every driver is a certified nutter. Last but not least Lokesh who most have struggled with the regional accents as much as Swedish!

At the hotel in Delhi they had Sky Sports so The Captain and I watched the Arsenal v Leicester game before our evening meal, where we said our goodbyes, Jack, Leonard and Rosita who all had early morning flights, Mike like ourselves had a flights for lunchtime so we would present for breakfast.

Back in our room we put the football on and Liverpool were already two up against the Villa, The Captain being a Blues fan was cock-a-hoop and even I, found it a bit embarrassing watching the Villa getting pummelled, Liverpool only played for 60 minutes they could easily have won by more (sorry Karen). As a footnote, the commentary mentioned it was Liverpool’s largest away win for ten years or so, I know I was there when they steamrolled the Albion 0 - 6!

The group on the last morning, can I just point out this was practically the only time that I hadn’t taken my scope.
The next morning after breakfast we were picked up early by the taxis, we tried to get hold of Lokesh but in the end we headed through the traffic for the airport and before long we were back home. It had been a thoroughly brilliant holiday with good company and a great guide who birded with skill and enthusiasm and even though he was under the weather for a couple of days never let it hinder him.

We had seen a tremendous number of birds my total was 355 plus a good few mammals including two tigers. We had seen the good and bad sides of India.

The last of at least a dozen accidents we had seen during the trip.
The last word though is reserved for birds – with rubbish dumped everywhere we went in India, it came as a surprise that there was a large State run rubbish dump in Delhi, we drove past it and it was massive. However, the sight of around 30,000 Black Kite wheeling overhead filled the sky and every available perch was truly staggering. Even the power lines and pylons where hanging with birds.

Can’t wait to visit again...

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