We start our tour in New Delhi, where we explore Sultanpur jheel and the surroundings of Okhla Island on the Yamuna River. Here we will enjoy a host of ducks, geese, gulls and waders, in addition to rarer species such as Striated Grassbird, Red Avadavat, Yellow-bellied Prinia and Sind Sparrow.
We move on, ascending the Kumaon Himalayan foothills to the welcoming hill station of Nainital. Here we bird amidst endless forested vistas and towering snowcaps. Here we will seek high altitude specialities that include Cheer, Kalij and Koklass Pheasants, Black-headed Jay, no less than five species of Zoothera thrushes, the lovely Golden Bush Robin, Nepal Cupwing, Chestnut-headed Tesia and much, much more. Descending lower down the foothills, we reach the famous Corbett National Park. This scenically spectacular area affords some thrilling birding with excellent chances for Tawny and Brown Fish Owls, Pallas's and Lesser Fish Eagles, Red Junglefowl, Slaty-headed Parakeet, Himalayan Swiftlet, White-rumped Spinetail, Crested Treeswift, Great Slaty Woodpecker, Lineated and Brown-headed Barbets, Golden-fronted Leafbird, Rufous and Grey Treepies, Bar-winged Flycatcher-shrike, beautiful White-crested Laughingthrush, Slaty-blue Flycatcher, stunning Rufous-bellied Niltava, Long-tailed Minivet, Velvet-fronted Nuthatch, Wallcreeper, Ibisbill, three species of elegant forktails, skulking cupwings and tesia, and bird flocks often containing over 30 species!
Our India birding and wildlife tour takes in Ranthambore National Park, where we search for the mythical Bengal Tiger, undoubtedly one of the greatest tiger tours in India and greatest wildlife experiences on earth! Other game abounds and we stand reasonable chances of observing Leopard and Sloth Bear. The rich woods, chaurs and dry thickets of this scenically stunning park also offer excellent birding and species we will look for include Red Junglefowl and the resplendent Indian Peafowl, the uncommon White-naped Woodpecker, Black-rumped Flameback, Indian Scops Owl, Yellow-footed Green Pigeon, Crested Serpent Eagle, migratory Long-tailed Shrike, Common Iora, White-bellied Drongo, Greater Racket-tailed Drongo, Small Minivet, the active White-browed Fantail, Grey-breasted Prinia and the endemic Painted Sandgrouse.
Next we visit the world-famous waterbird sanctuary of Bharatpur. From our fabulous hotel, we walk around the jam-packed wetlands that teem with waterfowl, pelicans, herons, storks, cranes, raptors, waders and migrant passerines. Some of the species we will look for include Sarus Crane (the world's tallest flying bird), Red-crested Pochard, Cotton Pygmy Goose, Painted and Black-necked Storks, Asian Openbill, Black Bittern, Black-headed Ibis, Eurasian Spoonbill, Pheasant-tailed and Bronze-winged Jacanas and migratory White-tailed Lapwing. The marshy edges also attract migrant passerines such as Bluethroat, Blyth’s and Clamorous Reed Warblers, and Western Yellow, Citrine and White-browed Wagtails. Raptors are especially well represented at Bharatpur and include Eastern Imperial, Greater Spotted, Steppe and Indian Spotted Eagles, Egyptian Vulture, Western Marsh Harrier and Laggar Falcon. We will also search the park's arid Acacia dominated woodland and dry grasslands for Yellow-crowned Woodpecker, Indian Grey Hornbill, Greater Coucal, Oriental Skylark, Brahminy Starling, Grey-headed Canary-Flycatcher, Indian Silverbill, Red-breasted Flycatcher and Siberian Rubythroat, to name but a few. Nightbirds may include Dusky Eagle-Owl, Spotted Owlet and Large-tailed and Indian Nightjars.
A boat trip down the Chambal River, one of the last strongholds of the strange Ganges River Dolphin and Indian Skimmer. Other river specialists here include Black-bellied and River Terns, Small Pratincole, River Lapwing and the bizarre Gharial. Nearby grassland and scrub plains are host to Indian Courser, the endemic Sykes's Lark, a trio of wheatears and Isabelline Wheatear. Finally, we head to the fabulous Taj Mahal - allowing us to marvel at the elegance of its design and the immense numbers of intricately carved and inlaid semi-precious stones that adorn its walls. We also visit the fabled Agra Red Fort that serves as a monumental reminder of the region’s fascinating history.
This fascinating and thoroughly enjoyable birding and wildlife tour of Northern India is taken at a leisurely pace and its multi-faceted birding, wildlife and cultural focus means it can be enjoyed by both birders and non-birders alike.
Sarus Crane; Koklass & Cheer Pheasants; Ibisbill; Wallcreeper; Long-billed Thrush; Little Forktail; Painted Sandgrouse; Black Bittern; Indian Skimmer; Sykes's Lark; Bluethroat; Red-billed Blue Magpie; Golden Bush Robin; Collared Falconet; Black Francolin; Indian Peafowl; Indian Courser; Indian Skimmer.
Tiger, Leopard, Sambar, Nilgai, Chital, Hog Deer, Yellow-throated Marten, Ganges River Dolphin, Sloth Bear, Jungle Cat
wetlands, teak woodlands, rivers, sal (oak & rhododendron) forests, dry acacia woodlands
cool to mild in lowlands, cold in Himalayan foothills with a chance of snowfall
6 with 1 Rockjumper leader
comfortable to luxurious hotels & lodges
Taj Mahal; Kosi, Chambal and Yamuna Rivers; Fatehpur Sikri; Agra Fort; Himalayan scenery
RBT guide, David Erterius, and local guide, Ansar Khan, were excellent! Their birding skills were off the charts, and were always mindful that all participants saw the bird whenever possible. They were a great team and always made sure that all went smoothly.
Clayton was friendly, informative and fun.... Very athletic and cheerful. Find him to be a wonderful guide.
I thought David was an excellent guide. He certainly knows his birds and was very passionate and I also found him to be very keen to discuss birds and pass on knowledge; I enjoyed being able to share his passion. I also found him to be friendly and I had the impression that he was always trying to make sure that the group was generally satisfied. He was certainly very thorough at making sure that everybody had seen all the birds.
We had a wonderful trip with Rich Lindie and Stephan Lorenz, and we would certainly be happy to travel with either of them again. They were both excellent with the birds, had a great sense of humour, and were helpful and patient when individuals required extra assistance. In addition to the birding, we enjoyed a long list of mammals sighted in the various national parks. The accommodations and meals were also very good.
Both David and Rajveer were excellent guides. In fact, it seemed at times as though they were able to summon animals.