Have you packed your bags? Is your camera ready??? Oh!! don't forget that extra pair of memory card, battery, hand gloves, bottles of water, and warm clothes as you going to need them BADLY. And after you do all these things, you are ready to WELCOME WINTERS which the best time of the year to do wildlife photography.
In the next 3 blogs, I will share a few places where you can go to do the same.
1) Tal Chhapar Sanctuary and Jorbeed -
Raptors are captivating. They are fantastic as well as furious. Who on earth doesn't want to capture them beautifully? If you too have a raptor-greed and want to capture them from a closer distance, these are your places. Known as Indian savannah, Tal Chhapar and Jorbeed is the best combination to take care of your raptor's greed. Not just raptors, this area is full of blackbucks, waders and other birds too.
Tal Chhapar -
The season here starts from September itself when after the monsoon, Spiny Tailed Lizards, grasshoppers and locusts come out in the open. Many raptors, like Lagger Falcon, Short-toed snake eagle, Red-necked Falcon, Greater and Lesser Spotted Eagles, Common, and Lesser Kestral, etc. love their taste, so they too come in good numbers to enjoy the feast. The season continues till mid or end of March.
One can also get some great shots of blackbucks doing sun-basking or just jumping around. Apart from raptors and blackbucks, birds like the bar-headed goose, pied avocet, spotted tree creeper, stoliczka bushchat, Indian Roller, desert, and isabelline wheatear and other birds too are available.
Raptor's den. This place is full of them. From Steppe Eagles to Egyptian, Cinereous, Griffon vultures, rare Sakeer to red-necked, lagger falcons and many other birds can be witnessed here. One can also see Montagu and Pallid harriers along with different eagles.
This place is a temporary home of the critically endangered Yellow-eyed pigeons as well who come here in December-January.
How to reach Tal Chhapar:
By Road: It is located in the Nokha-Sujangarh state highway and about 85 km from Churu. Tourist can take the bus or can hire a taxi to reach the Tal Chappar Sanctuary.
By Air: Jaipur Airport is the nearest airport to Tal Chappar Sanctuary about 215 km away.
By Rail: Chappar is the nearest railway station to Tal Chappar Sanctuary and is located in the Degana-Churu-Rewari line.
How to reach Jorbeed:
Air: Nearest Airport is Jaipur (357 km)
Railway Station: Bikaner (20 km)
Road: From Bikaner about 20 Km and 140 km from Tal Chhapar.
2) Thol Lake and Nal Sarovar –
Thol Lake -
Waders heaven and one of the finest bird sanctuaries in India, Thol is situated at a mere distance of 60 km from the Ahmedabad city. This place is a permanent home of 150+ bird species and count rise to 270+ during winters.
Doesn't matter if you want to capture creative shots of Pelicans, portraits of Flamingos, action shots of raptors or some beautiful habitat shots, this is the place for you.
Nal Sarovar -
Mostly famous for its different islands, this place too is a must-visit in winters. This place becomes home for a few months of many rare birds like northern lapwings, white storks, and sociable lapwings, etc.
Apart from these birds, there are hundreds of other birds which you can capture here. Be informed that you've to take a boat ride here which will take you near birds. Big birds, like pelicans and flamingos, are good in numbers and you can capture some great portrait of these birds. Crakes, brahminy ducks, Grey-headed swamphen, herons, various species of bitterns, grebes, etc can easily be spotted in the lake.
How to reach Thol:
Just reach till Ahmedabad which is well connected by Air, Bus and Train. Thol lake is just 60 km away from the main city and you can either take a cab or bus to reach.
How to Nal Sarovar:
Distance from Ahmedabad - 64km,
Nearest airport/famous railway station - Ahmedabad.
3) Jim Corbett National park and Ramnagar –
If Uttarakhand is the body of wildlife, Jim Corbett is the heart of that body. The diversity of this place is no less than any heaven. Jim Corbett, famous for it' huge numbers of Tigers, Leopards, and Elephants, is one of the most beautiful national parks in the world.
Along with birds, you can easily spot mammals like hog deer, barking deer, cheetal, sambhar deer and many more. Birds like Great Hornbill, Dollar Bird, Changeable hawk-eagle, long-tailed broad bill, White-throated laughing thrush, Sibia, Spot bellied eagle owl, and some hundreds more are permanent residents of this area.
On the outskirts of Jim Corbett NP, this place is also good for birding. While every winter, the river near Garjia temple welcome rare Ibisbill for a couple of months, barrage side too becomes home of hundreds of Ruddy Shelducks and other waders. Along with these two places, the whole belt of Ramnagar is full of birds. Jungle and Asian Barred owlets can be spotted anywhere.
How to reach Ramnagar:
Situated at a road distance of 245 km from Delhi,
Take a direct train from Delhi,
By Air: Pantnagar is the nearest airport, at a distance of 72 km
4) Keoladeo National Park -
Situated just 180 km away from the National Capital, this place is an Eden for nature lovers. The ambiance here will take you to another world. After seeing those dancing Saras cranes or Pelicans flying over your head, Storks feeding their juveniles or raptors doing hunting or Cormorants doing fishing, you'll forget all your worries.
Here too, along with birds, winters are the best time to capture Pythons, spotted deers, Sambhar Deers, Blue Bulls, and Indian Golden Jackals, etc. If you are lucky, you may capture Hyenas too.
How to reach:
By train: At a distance of 3.5-4 hours from Delhi,
By road: It'll take around 5 hours,
By Air: Agra is the nearest airport which is 56 km away, Delhi is 184 km away.
So, these are a few places where one can spend a great time capturing wildlife during winters.