Tuesday, April 15, 2008

BHARATPUR BIRD SANCTUARY


At end of December 2007 we (me & my wife) decided to take a trip to Bharatpur Bird Sanctuary. It is about 175 kms from Delhi. We started early around 4:30 AM. This was my first highway driving so I was cautious at first but was pleasantly surprised by the standard of roads. Initially going at 100km/hr; I then speeded up to around 120-130km/hr.
The journey was enjoyable, my wife was my navigator. After driving for around 4 hours we reached Bharatpur Bird Sanctuary. My cursed forgetfulness nature, I mistakenly left the car key in the car itself. So we got about to get help to open the door. People were very helpful and one of them got the car opened with another car key.
After all unwanted false start we entered the Sanctuary. The charges were Rs.75 per person, if I remember correctly. The transport within the sanctuary was cycle rickshaws. Our guide was the rickshaw driver himself.
The main attractions other than the different birds, local and migratory in the sanctuary are the Sambar Deer, the spotted deer and the python.
Our guide took us to an area where the pythons are generally seen but no luck. The pythons seemed to be having fun elsewhere. So we restarted again and began to enjoy the various birds that the Sanctuary had to offer.
We spotted a Blue Kingfisher as it was trying do, what else, but fish. Then we were pointed out a few Sambars in the fields. There was also a wild bore. We also spotted some migratory geese and herons. Surprising we found a lot of cows & buffalos. We were told that those belonged to the local villagers who break the boundary walls and get their cattle into the sanctuary for feeding. This gets the sanctuary wild life into unnecessary competition for food (grazing grass) with the cattle. We came to know that there were far more birds that used to populated the sanctuary at this time of the year earlier but due to climatic changes and interference from the villagers in the sanctuary their numbers have dwindled. The steps taken by the authorities were clearly not having the desired results. Nonetheless the numbers are still staggering.
As we moved along we saw a few turtles. Further down we spotted a Male Sambar deer with well grown antlers. I would say in the absence of any big predator these fellows would be the King of sanctuary. He was a handsome fellow.
There were quite a few lanes leading off from the main road in the Sanctuary. We got off and took a walk in one of these small lanes that went deep into the sanctuary (these were narrow not exactly fit for the rickshaws). Here we came across a fox (maybe it was jackal), I presume it was a young one. It was walking on the pathway itself. As we approached it, it lay down and just observed us. I clicked a few pictures, it got a little conscious initially, after that it just put its head down and ignored us. We also left it alone and walked further where we found a few more Sambars. both male & female.
We continued with our journey deep into the sanctuary and saw a few more residents namely a Kite (it was photographed by a lot foreigners with huge lens). We came across an owl. The poor chap was trying to get some sleep but was not having much luck with the commotion going on down under, we decided not to add to it and moved on. Here we saw a robin; it was of the Bangladeshi variety. It was pretty active and also a looker.

We were looking intently for a python, so we were taken deep into the sanctuary, were we walked in the woods but still the master predator of Bharatpur remained elusive. But the walk and the thrill alone was worth it. After walking for around one hour we trekked back to our rickshaw. We asked our guide to head back as we were also feeling hungry by now. As we were about to come out the oldest and the most experienced guide in the sanctuary told that he has spotted a python hiding (actually hibernating) behind the sanctuary office. We hurriedly went there and yes it was there all coiled up and comfortable, taking a nice nap. It was worth the wait. It was a beautiful creature.
After paying our guide his fees, Rs.450, we headed out for food, and reached Mathura after an hours’ drive. We tried our luck at the Mathura Pizza Hut but unfortunately we landed up in one of those rare all Vegetarian Pizza Hut. We decided to give it a miss and took another eatery that was serving non vegetarian stuff as well. After having our full we headed out for Delhi and after around 3 hours of driving reached our home, with a great day of enjoyment.


My full album is available here

1 comment:

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