Bharatpur Bird Sanctuary – National Park of India
Keoladeo National Park is popularly called Bharatpur Bird Sanctuary. It is in Rajasthan. Among the top rated bird sanctuaries of India and the world. It is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The sanctuary is about 29 sq. km of dry and wet grassland. Bharatpur Bird Sanctuary is home to a large variety of resident as well as flocks of migratory birds, especially during winters. It is located just a bit off the most popular tourist triangle of Agra – Jaipur – Delhi and hence visited by a large number of visitors.
This national park can be explored by walk, bicycles available on rent, cycle-rickshaw and horse cart. Depending upon your interest in sighting the birds and bird photography 1 day to one week can be easily spent exploring the national park. It opens early in the morning and closes by around sunset time. There are many hotels and lodges nearby the sanctuary and one within the sanctuary.
Saras Crane Bird
Saras Crane is the tallest flying bird in the world. The Saras Crane measures about 6 ft. in height and a wingspan of about 2.5 meters. According to our cycle-rickshaw driver cum guide, spotting them at Bharatpur is considered lucky for you. They are always seen in pairs, monogamous and are known to fast to death if the companion loses the life. As of now, they are vulnerable and considered endangered species. This bird could well be a pride of India.
A look up the dry branches of the trees one may be able to spot the Black Winged Kite watching over you. The peafowls during sunset fly up the tree branches and park there for safety.
Pathways of Bharatpur Bird Sanctuary
A typical tree-lined raised walking path amidst the low-lying wetlands is a delight for the explorers. It helps cover the entire sanctuary on foot or on cycle rickshaw for bird watchers and photography enthusiasts.
Sanctuary of Birds & Butterflies
Birds and Butterflies can be seen at a close distance here. While they are at relative comfort and feel safe with people and their cameras. There are several colorful butterflies in the national park.
Scavengers like the Indian Fox can be seen crossing the path. They can be seen assessing the men intruding into their territories. Like this one crossed our path after posing for the photograph.
A variety of Birds
A variety of birds like Herons, Kingfishers, Cormorants, Eagles, Kites, Parakeets, Pigeons, Cranes, Stilts, Lapwings, Storks, Woodpeckers, Owls, Wagtails, Waterhens, Moorhens, Swamphens, Bulbuls, Babblers, Doves, Duck’s, Egrets, Ibis, and Pelicans can be seen here. It helps to carry a field guide on Indian birds to identify them. Carry a binocular for a better view of the features of the birds.
Nilgais are the common antelopes seen at Bharatpur Bird Sanctuary. They are seen relishing the lush green grass of the low-lying wetlands. Female nilgais are brownish colored, without horns and seen in the small group with juveniles. Males are dark greyish in color with sharp small horns mostly seen alone.
The dozen-odd parakeets were not happy with the presence of this resting Crested Serpent Eagle. Parakeets were making loud shrill noise to disturb and nudge the eagle away. The eagle first flared the crest to look larger, an opportunity to photograph, before it got disturbed by the noise and flew away.
Islands at the National Park
Man made small islands can be seen inhabited by hundreds of ducks, cormorants, and egrets. They can be seen enjoying a sun bath, after the cold winter nights. There are several such islands in the sanctuary where ducks are seen in frenzied flapping and squawking away to glory.
Overall Bharatpur Bird Sanctuary is a must-visit place for the bird, wildlife, nature and photography enthusiasts.
Bharatpur Tour can be clubbed with Deeg Palace and Fort & Mathura Museum visit. Satpura National Park, Kaziranga National Park & Nameri National Park are also wonderful national parks for nature lovers & wildlife enthusiasts.
You may like to read my blog posts on places to visit in India.