North India
Photo Trip Report

by Sumit Sen
February 2006




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  Dehradun   Bhindawas    Sultanpur

© Sumit K Sen
Dhanaulti, Uttaranchal



I visited the Dehradun area and the wetlands around New Delhi for a few days in February in the company of Bikram Grewal. Most areas visited were common ground for both of us but Bhindawas Bird Sanctuary in Jhajjar, Haryana was a new destination for me. We were accompanied by two good birding friends who showed us their respective patches - the inimitable Suresh Sharma took us around Sultanpur and Bhindawas and Arun P. Singh joined us on our travels to the flats and the high reaches around Dehradun.

This presentation covers Sultanpur Bird Sanctuary, Bhindawas Bird Sanctuary, Asan Barrage, Dehradun area, parts of riverine forest around Rajaji National Park, and the higher altitude hotspots of Dhanaulti and Landour, Mussoorie. The trip covered 6 days and recorded 217 bird species.

© Sumit K Sen
Asan Barrage, Uttaranchal

Sites visited:

Sultanpur National Park and Bird Sanctuary
Location: Gurgaon, Haryana
Habitat: Wetland, scrub and dry-deciduous woodland.
Altitude and area: 220m; 143ha
Species diversity: 322 species recorded
Best time to visit: October to February

Bhindawas Bird Sanctuary
Location: Jhajjar, Haryana
Habitat type: Artificial wetland surrounded by dry-deciduous woodland.
Altitude and area: 200m; 412 ha
Species diversity: 280 species recorded
Best time to visit: October to March

Asan Barrage
Location: Dehradun - Poanta Sahib road
Habitat type: Artificial irrigation barrage at the confluence of  the Yamuna and Asan rivers.
Altitude and area: 390m; 3.5 sq. kms
Species diversity: 205 species recorded
Best time to visit: October to March

Dehradun area
Location: Dehradun, Uttaranchal
Habitat type: North-west Himalayan low and middle altitude forests areas.
Altitude: 1920 sq. kms; Sea level to 3,000 meters
Species diversity: 600 species
Best time to visit: November to January and March to April.

Images from the trip :

Bhindawas 1   Bhindawas 2
Dehradun1  Dehradun2  Dehradun3  Dehradun4  Dehradun5  Dehradun6  Dehradun7  Dehradun8

Trip List of Birds

  1. Grey Francolin Francolinus pondicerianus
    - Only at Sultanpur

  2. Hill Partridge Arborophila torqueola
    - Heard at Landour, Mussoorie

  3. Red Junglefowl Gallus gallus
    - Male in fast flight, Dehradun

  4. Kalij Pheasant Lophura leucomelanos
    - Mussoorie area

  5. Indian Peafowl Pavo cristatus
    - Sultanpur

  6. Greylag Goose Anser anser
    - small numbers at Sultanpur and about a thousand in Bhindawas

  7. Bar-headed Goose Anser indicus
    - 200 odd at Bhindawas

  8. Ruddy Shelduck Tadorna ferruginea
    About a thousand at Asan Barrage and Yamuna River at Asan

  9. Comb Duck Sarkidiornis melanotos
    - a couple noted at Bhindawas

  10. Cotton Pygmy-goose Nettapus coromandelianus
    - Bhindawas only

  11. Gadwall Anas strepera

  12. Eurasian Wigeon Anas penelope

  13. Mallard Anas platyrhynchos
    Both at Bhindawas and Asan

  14. Spot-billed Duck Anas poecilorhyncha

  15. Northern Shoveler Anas clypeata

  16. Northern Pintail Anas acuta
    - in small numbers at all three important wintering grounds

  17. Common Teal Anas crecca

  18. Red-crested Pochard Rhodonessa rufina
    - more than a hundred at Asan Barrage

  19. Common Pochard Aythya ferina

  20. Ferruginous Pochard Aythya nyroca
    - a few at Asan and Bhindawas

  21. Tufted Duck Aythya fuligula
    - about twenty at Bhindawas and Asan

  22. Speckled Piculet Picumnus innominatus
    - Dehradun area

  23. Grey-capped Pygmy Woodpecker Dendrocopos canicapillus
    - Dun Valley

  24. Brown-fronted Woodpecker Dendrocopos auriceps
    - a few in the Jharipani, Mussoorie area

  25. Fulvous-breasted Woodpecker Dendrocopos macei
    - single record from Dehradun area

  26. Yellow-crowned Woodpecker Dendrocopos mahrattensis
    - Sultanpur

  27. Rufous-bellied Woodpecker Dendrocopos hyperythrus
    - A good record from Dhanaulti. Single male.

  28. Greater Yellownape Picus flavinucha
    - Dehradun area

  29. Streak-throated Woodpecker Picus xanthopygaeus

  30. Grey-headed Woodpecker Picus canus
    - single observation at Dehradun

  31. Black-rumped Flameback Dinopium benghalense
    - Sultanpur record

  32. Greater Flameback Chrysocolaptes lucidus
    - observed near the Mathrurawala swamps

  33. Great Barbet Megalaima virens
    - few records from the hills

  34. Lineated Barbet Megalaima lineata
    - Observed near the Suswa River in the foothills.

  35. Blue-throated Barbet Megalaima asiatica
    - one record at 1300m

  36. Indian Grey Hornbill Ocyceros birostris
    - roadside record

  37. Common Hoopoe Upupa epops

  38. Indian Roller Coracias benghalensis
    - few lowland records

  39. Common Kingfisher Alcedo atthis

  40. White-throated Kingfisher Halcyon smyrnensis

  41. Pied Kingfisher Ceryle rudis

  42. Green Bee-eater Merops orientalis

  43. Greater Coucal Centropus sinensis

  44. Alexandrine Parakeet Psittacula eupatria

  45. Rose-ringed Parakeet Psittacula krameri

  46. Slaty-headed Parakeet Psittacula himalayana
    - small flocks in the Dehradun area

  47. Plum-headed Parakeet Psittacula cyanocephala

  48. House Swift Apus affinis

  49. Asian Barred Owlet Glaucidium cuculoides
    - the resident pair at Bikram's house at 'Athara-bigha', Dehradun

  50. Oriental Turtle Dove Streptopelia orientalis
    - only one sighting near Dehradun

  51. Laughing Dove Streptopelia senegalensis
    - lowlands

  52. Spotted Dove Streptopelia chinensis
    - frequently met in the Dun valley

  53. Eurasian Collared Dove Streptopelia decaocto

  54. Sarus Crane Grus antigone
    - single bird at Bhindawas and pair at Sultanpur

  55. White-breasted Waterhen Amaurornis phoenicurus

  56. Purple Swamphen Porphyrio porphyrio

  57. Common Moorhen Gallinula chloropus

  58. Common Coot Fulica atra

  59. Spotted Redshank Tringa erythropus
    - Sultanpur

  60. Common Redshank Tringa totanus

  61. Common Greenshank Tringa nebularia
    - Suswa River

  62. Green Sandpiper Tringa ochropus
    - Mathurawala swamps

  63. Wood Sandpiper Tringa glareola

  64. Common Sandpiper Actitis hypoleucos

  65. Ruff Philomachus pugnax
    - Sultanpur

  66. Pheasant-tailed Jacana Hydrophasianus chirurgus
    - Bhindawas

  67. Bronze-winged Jacana Metopidius indicus
    - Roadside observation in the flats

  68. Black-winged Stilt Himantopus himantopus

  69. Little Ringed Plover Charadrius dubius

  70. Northern Lapwing Vanellus vanellus
    - about  six birds just at the edge of the Bhindawas marsh

  71. River Lapwing Vanellus duvaucelii
    - Suswa River

  72. Red-wattled Lapwing Vanellus indicus

  73. White-tailed Lapwing Vanellus leucurus
    - Sultanpur

  74. Oriental Honey-buzzard Pernis ptilorhyncus
    - Sultanpur

  75. Black-shouldered Kite Elanus caeruleus

  76. Black Kite Milvus migrans

  77. Egyptian Vulture Neophron percnopterus
    - two birds seen on the drive from Dehradun to New Delhi

  78. Himalayan Griffon Gyps himalayensis

  79. Crested Serpent Eagle Spilornis cheela
    - One observation in the lowlands around Dehradun

  80. Eurasian Marsh Harrier Circus aeruginosus

  81. Shikra Accipiter badius

  82. Greater Spotted Eagle Aquila clanga
    - couple at Bhindawas

  83. Steppe Eagle Aquila nipalensis

  84. Imperial Eagle Aquila heliaca
    - Bhindawas

  85. Booted Eagle Hieraaetus pennatus
    - dark-phase adult at Bhindawas

  86. Mountain Hawk Eagle Spizaetus nipalensis
    - youngster at Landour

  87. Common Kestrel Falco tinnunculus

  88. Little Grebe Tachybaptus ruficollis

  89. Darter Anhinga melanogaster
    - in good numbers at Bhindawas

  90. Little Cormorant Phalacrocorax niger

  91. Great Cormorant Phalacrocorax carbo
    - Sultanpur

  92. Little Egret Egretta garzetta

  93. Grey Heron Ardea cinerea

  94. Purple Heron Ardea purpurea

  95. Great Egret Casmerodius albus

  96. Intermediate Egret Mesophoyx intermedia

  97. Cattle Egret Bubulcus ibis

  98. Indian Pond Heron Ardeola grayii

  99. Black-crowned Night Heron Nycticorax nycticorax

  100. Glossy Ibis Plegadis falcinellus
    - About a dozen at Bhindawas

  101. Black-headed Ibis Threskiornis melanocephalus
    - Both at Bhindawas and Sultanpur.

  102. Black Ibis Pseudibis papillosa
    - about twenty at Bhindawas

  103. Eurasian Spoonbill Platalea leucorodia
    - many at Bhindawas

  104. Painted Stork Mycteria leucocephala
    - dozens at Sultanpur and a few at Asan and Bhindawas

  105. Woolly-necked Stork Ciconia episcopus
    - Sultanpur and Bhindawas area

  106. Black-necked Stork Ephippiorhynchus asiaticus
     - two juveniles at Sultanpur

  107. Long-tailed Shrike Lanius schach

  108. Eurasian Jay Garrulus glandarius
     - pair at Landour, Mussoorie

  109. Black-headed Jay Garrulus lanceolatus
     - Landour, Mussoorie

  110. Red-billed Blue Magpie Urocissa erythrorhyncha
    - Dehradun- Mussoorie area

  111. Rufous Treepie Dendrocitta vagabunda

  112. Grey Treepie Dendrocitta formosae
    - strangely, very few sightings

  113. House Crow Corvus splendens

  114. Large-billed Crow Corvus macrorhynchos

  115. Eurasian Golden Oriole Oriolus oriolus
    - Sultanpur

  116. Maroon Oriole Oriolus traillii
    - single female feeding on a Silk Cotton tree at dawn near Bikram's house in Dehradun

  117. Large Cuckooshrike Coracina macei
    - pair near Suswa River

  118. Long-tailed Minivet Pericrocotus ethologus
    - Dhanaulti

  119. Scarlet Minivet Pericrocotus flammeus

  120. Bar-winged Flycatcher-shrike Hemipus picatus
    - a few at Dehradun

  121. White-throated Fantail Rhipidura albicollis
    - commonly met

  122. Black Drongo Dicrurus macrocercus

  123. Ashy Drongo Dicrurus leucophaeus

  124. Brown Dipper Cinclus pallasii
    - single observation on the Tons River, Dehradun

  125. Chestnut-bellied Rock Thrush Monticola rufiventris

  126. Blue Whistling Thrush Myophonus caeruleus

  127. Grey-winged Blackbird Turdus boulboul
    - about a dozen birds at Jharipani and a few on the road to Mussoorie

  128. Dark-throated Thrush Turdus ruficollis
    - A few at Dhanaulti and a dozen on the road to Mussoorie

  129. Rufous-gorgeted Flycatcher Ficedula strophiata
    - fairly common

  130. Red-throated Flycatcher Ficedula parva
    - single sighting near Bhindawas

  131. Slaty-blue Flycatcher Ficedula tricolor
    - Dehradun area

  132. Small Niltava Niltava macgrigoriae
    - Single male near Bikram's farm

  133. Rufous-bellied Niltava Niltava sundara
    - male in the gully at the edge of Bikram's farm

  134. White-tailed Rubythroat Luscinia pectoralis
    - single observation on the banks of the Suswa

  135. Orange-flanked Bush Robin Tarsiger cyanurus
    - male at Dhanaulti

  136. Oriental Magpie Robin Copsychus saularis

  137. Indian Robin Saxicoloides fulicata

  138. Blue-capped Redstart Phoenicurus coeruleocephalus
    - a few birds in and around the Jharipani - Dhanaulti road

  139. Black Redstart Phoenicurus ochruros
    - Sultanpur

  140. Blue-fronted Redstart Phoenicurus frontalis

  141. White-capped Water Redstart Chaimarrornis leucocephalus

  142. Plumbeous Water Redstart Rhyacornis fuliginosus

  143. Siberian Stonechat Saxicola maura

  144. Pied Bushchat Saxicola caprata

  145. Grey Bushchat Saxicola ferrea

  146. Asian Pied Starling Sturnus contra

  147. Common Myna Acridotheres tristis

  148. Bank Myna Acridotheres ginginianus

  149. White-tailed Nuthatch Sitta himalayensis
    - only observed at Landour

  150. Bar-tailed Treecreeper Certhia himalayana
    - also at Landour with the Nuthatch

  151. Spot-winged Tit Parus melanolophus
    - Jharipani area

  152. Great Tit Parus major

  153. Green-backed Tit Parus monticolus
    - Jharipani area

  154. Black-lored Tit Parus xanthogenys
    - met fairly often at higher altitudes

  155. Black-throated Tit Aegithalos concinnus
    - remarkably few in the area at this time of the year

  156. Barn Swallow Hirundo rustica

  157. Streak-throated Swallow Hirundo fluvicola
    - A hundred busy in nest building on the canal emanating from Asan Barrage.

  158. Red-whiskered Bulbul Pycnonotus jocosus

  159. Himalayan Bulbul Pycnonotus leucogenys

  160. Red-vented Bulbul Pycnonotus cafer

  161. Mountain Bulbul Hypsipetes mcclellandii
    - seen and photographed by one observer near Jharipani

  162. Black Bulbul Hypsipetes leucocephalus
    - regularly met

  163. Grey-breasted Prinia Prinia hodgsonii
    - common

  164. Ashy Prinia Prinia socialis

  165. Plain Prinia Prinia inornata

  166. Oriental White-eye Zosterops palpebrosus
    - common

  167. Blyth’s Reed Warbler Acrocephalus dumetorum

  168. Clamorous Reed Warbler Acrocephalus stentoreus
    - at Suswa river

  169. Common Tailorbird Orthotomus sutorius

  170. Common Chiffchaff Phylloscopus collybita
    - many at the marshes on the Suswa

  171. Lemon-rumped Warbler Phylloscopus chloronotus

  172. Greenish Warbler Phylloscopus trochiloides
    - commonest warbler in the Dun Valley.

  173. Golden-spectacled Warbler Seicercus burkii
    - single sighting in the lowlands

  174. Grey-hooded Warbler Seicercus xanthoschistos
    - fairly common in the area

  175. White-throated Laughingthrush Garrulax albogularis
    - one large flock in the ravine at Jharipani

  176. Streaked Laughingthrush Garrulax lineatus
    - common in the hills

  177. Variegated Laughingthrush Garrulax variegatus
    - pair at Dhanaulti

  178. Puff-throated Babbler Pellorneum ruficeps near habitation

  179. Rusty-cheeked Scimitar Babbler Pomatorhinus erythrogenys
    - seen once and heard a few times

  180. Black-chinned Babbler Stachyris pyrrhops
    - common around Bikram's farm

  181. Yellow-eyed Babbler Chrysomma sinense
    - sighting near the Suswa River

  182. Common Babbler Turdoides caudatus
    - a couple on the drive down from Dehradun to the plains

  183. Striated Babbler Turdoides earlei
    - single record on the banks of the Suswa

  184. Large Grey Babbler Turdoides malcolmi
    - Sultanpur

  185. Jungle Babbler Turdoides striatus

  186. Red-billed Leiothrix Leiothrix lutea
    - common in the hills

  187. Rufous Sibia Heterophasia capistrata
    - single bird at Jharipani

  188. Whiskered Yuhina Yuhina flavicollis
    - small flock on the way to Jharipani from Bikram's farm

  189. Stripe-throated Yuhina Yuhina gularis
    - flock of six birds at the western edge of the range. Good record for the Dehradun - Mussoorie area.

  190. Lesser Whitethroat Sylvia curruca blythi
    - Sultanpur National Park

  191. Eastern Orphean Warbler Sylvia crassirostris
    - single bird high up in the acacia at Sultanpur

  192. Indian Bushlark Mirafra erythroptera
    - in the flats outside Sultanpur

  193. Crested Lark Galerida cristata
    - Sultanpur

  194. Thick-billed Flowerpecker Dicaeum agile
    - two birds seen feeding on low bush at Dehradun

  195. Pale-billed Flowerpecker Dicaeum erythrorhynchos
    - a few seen on all days at Dehradun

  196. Purple Sunbird Nectarinia asiatica

  197. Green-tailed Sunbird Aethopyga nipalensis
    - a couple at Dehradun and near Mussoorie.

  198. Crimson Sunbird Aethopyga siparaja
    - not as common at Dehradun at this time of the year, still frequently encountered.

  199. Fire-tailed Sunbird Aethopyga ignicauda
    - four birds near Bikram's farm.

  200. House Sparrow Passer domesticus

  201. Russet Sparrow Passer rutilans

  202. White Wagtail Motacilla alba

  203. White-browed Wagtail Motacilla maderaspatensis
    - Suswa River area

  204. Citrine Wagtail Motacilla citreola citreola
    - Brilliant adults at Asan River

  205. Yellow Wagtail Motacilla flava

  206. Grey Wagtail Motacilla cinerea
    - Suswa River area

  207. Paddyfield Pipit Anthus rufulus
    - seen at Sultanpur and Asan Barrage area

  208. Olive-backed Pipit Anthus hodgsoni
    - small flock seen in the Dehradun area

  209. Altai Accentor Prunella himalayana
    - the higher hills around Dehradun saw a large influx of this species in February. Many medium sized flocks noted in the area.

  210. Baya Weaver Ploceus philippinus

  211. Indian Silverbill Lonchura malabarica
    - Suswa River area

  212. Scaly-breasted Munia Lonchura punctulata

  213. European Goldfinch Carduelis carduelis
    - the species now seems to be regular in winter around Bikram's farm. Flock of ten seen well.

  214. Plain Mountain Finch Leucosticte nemoricola
    - one large flock seen feeding on the hillside near Jahripani. Good record for the area.

  215. Common Rosefinch Carpodacus erythrinus
    - very few met this time. Usually abundant in the area.

  216. Pink-browed Rosefinch Carpodacus rodochrous
    - regular in the area in small numbers

  217. Rock Bunting Emberiza cia
    - a fair number at altitudes over 1500 m

© Sumit K Sen 2006

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