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May 19, 2007
Chintpurni, Dharamshala, Pragpur, April, 2007
-Partha Praim Pal
It has been long time since we both (Kirti and myself) took a break from Delhi on religious reasons . As some of you are aware we had been blessed by
a daughter some five months back – we undertook a visit to Chintpurni, Chamunda, Kangra Devi and Jwala ji along with Vanya (our daughter).
We reached Chintpurni on 14th evening.
Next morning I woke up very early more due to people’s voice walking in the street – All eager to do a darshan early morning being Basaikhi weekend .Not expecting any bird life
in that cacophony of people ,Radio, Stereo and of course Mandir mike – I moved out of the Dharamshala with heavy feet and heart with my Binoculars hanging on my neck .
Just 200 mtrs from the Dharamshala, I hit upon a dirt road, which took me to semi jungle kind of a habitat, which lifted my spirit. There was a sudden
expectancy in the air . Nearly 15 pairs of Asian paradise flycatcher with their long white tail fleeting around with few just couple of meters away.
A pair of Blue rock thrush, Flocks of Plum headed Parakeet and Common Rose finches, Ten odd golden orioles and quite a few more species were sighted within span of hour. Only regret being I didn’t listen to Kirti’s advice of carrying the camera for the
16th afternoon we reached Paragpur our destination for next two days. We stayed in a resort called “Judge’s Court” basically a Pre independence Haveli turned into Welcome heritage resort . As expected luxury at its
best mixed with old royal eloquence. Paradise flycatcher once again was the highlight of the little birding I did around the property, not to miss the Grey Hornbill’s fight for nest with the Rose ringed parakeet who ultimately lost all the three juveniles
to aggressive Hornbill, omnipresent brown headed, Blue throated barbet, tiptoeing Grey wagtail, various warblers, various Myna & starlings,
huge flocks of Common Rose finches etc.
17th was again an out and out
religious day with three of us visiting the balance temples as mentioned above.
Except an odd sighting of Egyptian vulture and Himalayan Griffon at Kangra fort area, no birding.
Down with a severe headache due to excessive heat,
I didn’t have the strength to do any birding that day , though we reached the hotel by 5pm.
18th morning was the D day marked for my morning birding at Maharana Pratap Sagar wetland which is 20 odd kms from the hotel.
Armed with my camera and binoculars ably supported by driver Daler Singh we reached the destination early morning.
Initial scanning of the area was very disappointing though villagers informed us in advance that all migratory ducks have flown back.
I was awe struck by the huge water body.
Initial disappointment gave away to some relief when I saw a Little Ringed plover feeding at the edge of the water.
(Text and photographs--Partha Pratim Pal )
Gradually one after the other species came tumbling out as if they were hidden in some closet – only favouring the brave who can fight the ever rising temperature which was getting unbearable with every minute, though cold
draft from the Sagar did help me to stay there for nearly two hours . Whether it was terns, wagtails, larks, pipits, Blue tailed Beeaters, Bar headed geese,
First winter Palas Gull, Eurasion wigeon, Small pratincole, Lapwings and of course my only two lifer of the trip Richard Pipit and Eurasian Skylark, I enjoyed every bit of the two hour of birding.
I cannot wait to visit the birding paradise again.
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