Uttrakhand consistently ranks top among the birding destinations in India. Thanks to its landscape blessed with lush and snowy mountains, thick forests and grasslands, Uttrakhand has an abundance of bird life. Recently, on a trip to Garhwal Himalayas to the mountain village of Kalap, I stumbled upon a variety of birds. Mostly tiny, very common ones since winter was only fading away from the hills and many birds haven’t yet made appearance after their winter hibernation.
A warning though. I am neither a bird photographer, nor do I have the best of equipment for bird photography. These pictures are taken using my humble Cannon 1100D (often using the telephoto lens) and though the effects are not that mind blowing (nowhere close to what is available on the internet about birds of Himalayas), I couldn’t resist posting these. Do leave a comment if you like what you see.
1) Golden Bush Robin
One of the toughest birds to photograph, the Golden Bush Robin is also the tiniest and the prettiest of the birds I saw. Supremely fast and agile, as you can see, I couldn’t get the bird to sit still for say 1 second for a good shot. After hours of painstaking wait, what resulted is this half-decent picture.
2) Grey Hornbill
Although considered to be among the common bird species, I have never seen Grey Hornbill in urban landscapes. This one, along with the partner, would make a ruckus every morning reveling in the ripe berries on the berry tree behind the house in which I stayed in Dehradun.
3) Grey Shrike
I found Shrikes among the most commonly sighted birds in Kalap, where I stayed. Well, only probably next to laughing thrush pictured below.
4) Himalayan Vulture
You can spot a strong presence of these vultures in any village. They are scavengers and have a sharp eye and smell for animal carcasses. Once, when a cow slipped and fell to its death into a ravine in Kalap, tens of these guys appeared and polished off the remains of the dead animal.
6) Red Vented Bulbul
This one was spotted in Dehradun. Although tiny in the picture, the gorgeousness of the Bulbul’s black coat against the sparkling sunlight and the soothing green of the tree are the characteristics that made me like this picture.
7) Streaked Laughingthrush
Each morning, these thrushes would make catcalls announcing the arrival of the dawn. You could also see a few of them warily hopping about in the event of the sun not seen at the usual time, on a cloudy day.