We did a quick trip to Sariska Rajasthan over the extended weekend. This was the first time in 2014 that all three of us traveled together! I took Chhavi out and Seshadri took Chhavi out, I went out and Seshadri went out but somehow the dates never coincided for the three of us. And more often than not I was the guilty party! But we finally managed to go to Sariska for a peaceful vacation.
In all our visits to Sariska we have stayed at the RTDC’s Tiger Den. It is a simple hotel but right at the edge of the forest. The best part of the deal is their huge lawn from where I do my armchair birding. Sometimes I manage to catch butterflies too, on my cell phone!
It goes like this. I usually sit in a chair in the lawn, basking in the sun. Then a bird will come close by and I click a picture, usually without getting up from the chair. Sometimes they do force me to move a bit to get a better angle. By the way, did you notice the blue sky?
The best part of this vacation was the sunshine. There was no fog at Sariska. Chhavi could sit in the lawn and play with mud and other kids, while Seshadri and I were just too happy to laze around reading books.
All the pictures up to now have been clicked in the hotel premises. Now what a luxury it was to click so many birds simply by sitting in a hotel lawn!
And it is not that the birds come for a fleeting second and then go away. They keep coming back, looking for food. Having said that, no one can sit in the lawn and eat anything because of the monkeys. There are just too many monkeys around. They don’t come nearby unless you have something to eat. So all the food items have to be consumed indoors, unless you wish to share it with the monkeys.
Then I took a short walk out of the premises of the hotel and found this Shrike in a tree close to the road. It gave me only one opportunity to click the pictures! And then it vanished protesting further inside the overgrowth.
There were a great many yellow toed green pigeons by the road but they took a thorough dislike to my presence. They flew in droves to far away trees. So, managed to get this one picture on my puny 75-300 mm zoom by cropping ruthlessly.
Chhavi and I did a safari in the national park. This was the send visit to the jungle for Chhavi. She was having a conversation with other girls (working professionals) in the canter and in some context she told them, “I know because I have been here before!” Seshadri refused to budge from the hotel. He anyway has seen a tiger in Sariska on his first attempt, a trip he did solo. We didn’t see any tigers on this trip. But there was this group of painted storks with rudy shelducks for company!
Then there was this lonely black winged stilt going around in the lake in search of food. The lake is a very scenic spot in the middle of the forest.
And I sign off the travels of 2014 (only theoretically because some of the tales are going to spill in 2015 as well) with Chhavi trying to feed a jungle babbler at Sariska.
Chhavi and I recently went to Sariska Tiger Reserve in Rajasthan. This is the first daughter-mother trip of 2014. I hope we are going to do many more trips this year. We had a good time. This post is a collection of birds from the area.
We stayed at the Tiger Den which is a RTDC hotel. Right at the hotel there were so many birds. Tiger Den is a budget hotel. It is also the Rajasthan Government hotel, it is right next to the park.
While I was clicking this
Brown Long Tailed Shrike with my camera, Chhavi was clicking the same picture with my cell phone. We both would click a picture and then take a stop closer to get a better shot. I have to give her some credit, she was quiet as a mouse and didn’t alarm the bird at all. This picture was also taken at the hotel.
Peacocks are so common at Sariska. A few would roam around the hotel itself. That was a great source of fun for Chhavi. She would try to strike a conversation with them!
The spotted owls were pointed out to us by our young guide Ajay, deep inside the forest. I think all the owls wanted was to sleep and not a jeep full of gawking people. But we were quite a distance away and after a sleepy look they couldn’t be bothered less!
The tigers at Sariska are collared. So there is a point where all the jeeps converge to hear about the wireless reports. The treepies at that spot are so used to human being. Along with bulbuls and jungle babblers they demand food and besiege every new jeep on arrival.
So, some people feed the treepies with their hands. Chhavi gave them wafers but from a distance. I was happier with the camera than trying my hand at feeding them!
Finally this bird was also trying to fly in the hotel corridor. I am wondering where to take her next!
I was moving in the company of 4 kids in a village near Lakshman Sagar. They were quite curious about my bird photography. Even though a noisy gang of four is not good for bird photography I in no way wanted to discourage the kids.
So we all learned to be a bit quiet while this rose ringed parakeet went about eating its breakfast. A while later I too had a breakfast at the village home I was roaming about!