Day 1 ARRIVAL IN DELHI – SURAJPUR WETLANDS
After our morning arrival in Delhi, a quick transfer to a nearby hotel was followed by lunch. At 2pm we headed to Surajpur Wetlands in search of Bristled Grassbird, a bird that breeds during the monsoon and should be relatively easy to find at this time of year. But, as luck would have it, the rains haven’t arrived and are a month and a half late = no bristlebird. However, everyone had seen this bird before so it wasn’t a problem and instead we simply enjoyed the other great birds on offer in this cracking little area. We began with a Common Hawk-Cuckoo, followed by Bronze-winged and Pheasant-tailed Jacanas, many Indian Spot-billed Ducks, Knob-billed Duck, Indian Peafowl, showy Asian Koel, a perched Shikra and best of all a pair of Black-breasted Weavers were seen with the male displaying with his wings outstretched and ‘shaking all over’. A pair of stately Black-necked Storks were patrolling the water’s edge, whilst several Grey-headed Swamphens and White-breasted Waterhens fed unconcerned amongst the vegetation. We checked a few other spots for the grassbird without any joy, whilst overhead Black-headed Ibis and some Red-naped Ibis flew over, along with a few Streak-throated Swallows. Across the water was a very active rookery with numerous Asian Openbills and Black-headed Ibis nesting, along with many Purple Herons, some Black-crowned Night-Herons and Indian Pond-herons. Possibly the highlight for me was a flock of 50+ Oriental Pratincoles flying high overhead – an Indian tick no less! Walking back to our waiting vehicle we saw a pair of Indian Silverbills, an Indian Grey Hornbill flew over, a drake Cotton Pygmy-Goosewas seen, a male Watercock showed well, a pair of Indian Golden Orioles fed high overhead and a flock of Alexandrine Parakeetswere seen perched in some nearby trees.
Other birds seen this afternoon included Lesser Whistling-Duck, Indian Roller, Green and Blue-tailed Bee-eaters, Indian Bushlark, Large Grey Babbler and other common species. Leaving here it took quite some time to negotiate the notorious Delhi traffic but we eventually arrived back at the hotel and managed to get to the restaurant at 9pm for dinner and a few well deserved cold beers!