Saturday, September 12, 2015

Bird Photography at Dalhousie Kalatop Khajjiar

Bird watching at Kalatop Sanctuary and the hills of Dalhousie and Khajjiar

Day 1: This was my first instance to photograph the beautiful birds of Himalayas. It was more of a family vacation where I tried to fit in a few hours of birding in and around it. My primary hope was lying with the Kalatop Forest but I had the least of idea that my birding luck would favour me so much, even in Dalhousie.
The hotel location couldn’t have been any better to spot the beautiful Himalayan avian species. There were just 3 big trees near the hotel premises and those trees turned out to be a floodgate of Himalayan birds when we reached there in the evening. Those 2 hours I spent standing next to those trees in the evening, gave me 15 new species to add to my list. Whatever I saw was new and I was so excited to get such beautiful shots of those birds standing so near to them.

Day 2: Morning birding again standing next to those 3 trees and I added another 5 new species. Late afternoon it was the turn of Kalatop Forest to throw me its surprises. Kalatop was indeed a memorable experience. It is highly advisable to walk on the trek of 3+3=6 km otherwise you will never feel and understand what Kalatop is all about. It was the densest jungle I have even seen in my life. Appropriately called the Kalatop – the top of that forest is completely dark “Kala” and sunlight can hardly enter it even in the day time. The entire forest trek is through the hills and walking through the mist of the clouds hitting the trek of the forest hills was a journey of a lifetime. Listening to the sound of the crickets and insects so loud that you find hard to believe it is day. Trekking through those deodar trees so huge, you immerse yourself in the midst of nature’s ultimate creation. As far as birding is concerned, I couldn’t come there in the morning hours, so late afternoon helped me add only 5 new species to my list.

Day 3: The day of Khajjiar where I had my first paragliding experience. That first jump from the cliff of the mountain and soaring at a height where I could see the booted eagle gliding at my eye level, it was worth every penny spent for that dive from thousands of feet above the ground level. For the first time in my life I could feel and imagine how those birds feel from the top.

Day 4: Birding in Khajjiar – It was a riot of woodpeckers that morning and I was able to add 5 new species to my list without much effort.

A very successful trip indeed – enjoy the pics below.

Great Barbet

Verditer Flycatcher Female

Verditer Flycatcher Female

Verditer Flycatcher Male

Rufous Sibia

Black-throated Tit (iredalei)

Grey-hooded Warbler

Grey-hooded Warbler

Green Warbler

Blue Whistling Thrush

Grey Bushchat Male

Ultramarine Flycatcher Juvenile

Ultramarine Flycatcher (superciliaris)

Ultramarine Flycatcher Juvenile

Wedge-tailed Green Pigeon

Yellow-billed Blue Magpie (cucullata)

Yellow-billed Blue Magpie (cucullata)

White-throated Laughingthrush

Variegated Laughingthrush (similis)

Streaked Laughingthrush

Green-backed Tit

Grey Bushchat Female

Grey Bushchat Juvenile

Brown-fronted Woodpecker Male

Brown-fronted Woodpecker Female

Scaly-bellied Woodpecker Male

Scaly-bellied Woodpecker Female

Grey-headed Woodpecker Female

Black-eared Kite Juvenile

Booted Eagle Pale Morph

Oriental Honey Buzzard

Northern Raven

Oriental Turtle Dove (meena)

Bar-tailed Treecreeper

Grey-winged Blackbird

White-tailed Nuthatch

Western Tragopan Male Immature

Kalatop Forest

Kalatop Forest

Himalayan Bulbul

Paragliding at Khajjiar

Paragliding at Khajjiar

Paragliding at Khajjiar

Paragliding at Khajjiar