Month: September 2011

What a great little resort in Zainabad, Gujarat, India – I recommend it!

Handmade, traditional covers on the plant and mirror decorated seats

What a great little resort Desert Coursers  is and I can recommend it. This resort at Zainabad, Gujarat, was started in 1984 by Shri Mohammed Shabbir Malik, and today is run and managed by his son, Shri Dhanraj Malik and got its name from Dhanraj’s Great Grandfather whose favourite bird was the Desert Courser.

It’s a great destination for birding, culture and generally experiencing the Little Rann of Kutch – especially as Dhanraj loves nature too and is a great source of information: there are some 70 species of birds in the area.

The morning sun just touches 'my' cottage

I stayed in one of the cottages, known as Koobas, which are a traditional design and very comfortable –  with  air-conditioning  if needed and have attached bathrooms with hot and cold showers.

I went on early morning, afternoon and evening jeep safaris into the Little Rann of Kutch and other areas around Camp Zainabad.

The highlights for me were  the Wild Ass;  the people of the salt plains,  and the local people ( I visited the high school and orphanage that Desert Courses supports  – check out their website to see the many social projects they support.

As well as the Wild Ass, the Macqueen’s Bustard and Sykes Nightjar, see more about the wildlife here.

Dhanraj and his wife Zyda are perfect hosts and its like being part of the family – spending time was them was great.

I will be wrritng more about this area, especially about the Salt Plains, and would love to return there … always a recomendation!

See here for a list of great birding sites in Gujarat including here in Zainabad.

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Khijadiya Bird Sanctuary, Gujarat, India

The Khijadiya Bird Sanctuary is a unique ecosystem with two freshwater lakes that were formed many years ago after stop-banks were repaired to stop further salination of them. This means on one side water drains from the Ruparel and Kalindi rivers while on the other side, creeks flow from the Gulf Of Kutch – these have mangroves and other marine vegetation, while on the other side it’s all inland vegetation: combining to create a perfect bird watching spot!

Wetlands are the most productive and fertile in the world and here, some 257 species have been recorded in the sanctuary making this small place (about 6 or 7 sq km) very popular for birders, ornithologists, and general tourists like me!

As this area is on the Indo-Asian Flyway a good time to visit is from November to February is you want to see the visiting-for-winter birds too.  I was in Gujarat to attend to first International Bird Conference in India  (the next one is in February 2012)

Jamnagar is the nearest city (12ks) which is well-served with both rail and airport.  I stayed at the Express Hotel as a guest of  the Gujarat Tourism Board and all my arrangements were made by  JN Rao Tours

Here are just some of the many photos I took while there …  of course the real international birders took fabulous up close photos of birds – Australia’s Alan McBride just one them .. see some of his funny travel tips here

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Hi from a wonderful day in Wellington

Just wanted  to say ‘hi’ from a wonderful day here in Wellington – spring has certainly sprung so here are some blue sky pictures to celebrate that.

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Also, a ps,  did you note I have a new blog too? It’s calledMy Inner City Garden  and has mention of a few birds too!

International Bird Watchers Conference in Gujarat, India

The next International Bird Watchers Conference in Gujarat, India will be 19th/22nd January 2012 (presented by the Government of Gujarat and Tourism Corporation of Gujarat) As someone who attended the first conference (November 2010) I can recommend it to birdwatchers around the world. So,watch this space and the tourism website (above) for more information and to reserve your place.

Gujarat is one of the most prolific bird watching areas in all of Asia with a huge variety of habitats – coastlands, wetlands and islands, saline desert plains, forests, hills, lakes and grasslands have made the state a migratory route of birds from Europe and West Asia.

My next few blogs will be about my last visit there, highlighting birds, accommodation and general recommendations about things to do and places to see. In the meantime, here are just a few photos to whet your appetite for travel to such a special and spectacular place. Check elsewhere on this blog – search on India or Gujarat – for other pieces I’ve blogged about India. Here is one to start your search – it’s about the top birding sites

NOTE: while I was there my transport was arranged by the family company  JN Rao Tours and can recommend them.

Khijadiya - one of the hotspots for birds, freshwater and saline

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