Out of the 10,000 bird species that inhabit this world, around 2000 of them are migratory. The Indian subcontinent plays host to a number of migratory birds in summers as well as winters. It is estimated that over a hundred species of migratory birds fly to India, either in search of feeding grounds or to escape the severe winter of their native habitat.
This week we look at some images from around Ranthambhore National Park, as summer begins to engulf northern and central India. Though temperatures can rise very high the result is a photographer’s dream. The game concentrates around the remaining waterholes and tigers tuck themselves in for some cool into the caves of Ranthambhore’s formidable hillsides. The birds await their turn for easy pickings and sightings are made easier as the “bush goes down”. Read more about Ranthambhore’s summer sightings here.
Into the New Year and Ranthambhore seems to have come alive with promises foretold. Dispersing tigers, ungulates in their dazzling winter morphs and a host of birds – migratory and resident – all go to demonstrate that the forest is flourishing. At Sher Bagh, successive guests, some expert photographers among them, have had an incredible run at capturing this moving feast over the last couple of weeks. In the coming weeks, our guest blogs will feature more of their work, in their own words but for now, we bring you a snippet, a mere taster, of why Ranthambhore truly is the beating heart of India’s wildscape.
“The day lies so still
Long grasses of a summer passed
don’t nod to acknowledge the season
Winter’s rest before autumn’s fall complete
An air replete with hue’s and calls as keen birds feast
And starlings gather atop the ash black leaves that chatter
To motion bare branches still.”
Miles Richardson, A Blackbird’s Year
A few days ago, JAWAI and the rest of India celebrated Diwali with characteristic gusto. Occurring on the cusp of summer and winter Diwali is also a reminder that winter is coming and it is a game of droves as the cooler temperatures attract a whole range of birdlife that migrates to Rajasthan, and Jawai. Predators, waterfowl and other kinds come roving to the Jawai Bandh and its surrounding scrubland. So here is a list of some of our favourite winter visitors:
Summer Visitors and Some Residents
In the second part of our series on birds, our blog this week looks high and low amongst the canopies and undergrowth of Ranthambhore’s forests in the peak of summer. May and June are invariably the hottest periods of the year in Ranthambhore and as many trees lose their leaves and the grasses shrivel and retreat in the heat, few creatures of the forest bother to stir unless they absolutely must. Not so with our feathered friends. Summertime sees an influx of some migratory birds to Ranthambhore who are currently here to escape the chill of the hills, from as far away as Central Asia. Other, residents – such as our male peafowl – develop such outrageously brilliant plumages, they forced Charles Darwin to splutter, “the sight of a feather in a peacock’s tail, whenever I gaze at it, makes me feel sick.”
“Flight has immense meaning for us humans because we can’t do it. Instead we live in a dream of flight, and flight envy is part of the human condition. That’s why birds, more than any other group of living things, draw us into the world beyond humanity.”
Simon Barnes in ‘The Meaning of Birds’
The Indian Monsoon is an agent of change; of regeneration and rebirth. As the rains pound Ranthambhore’s earth, breathlessly waiting for showers, the foliage and flora undergo a hair-trigger response to the advent. The Dhok trees sprout emerald leaves, the grasses turn green shedding their yellow-brown hues and the denizens of the forest employ themselves in reaping Nature’s bounty, gathered all around Ranthambhore. This week we bring you a selection of images from our archives that capture vistas of the Park, just as the first rains hit Ranthambhore and before it closed for the season… Read More Ranthambhore Rain : The Monsoon at Sher Bagh Ranthambhore.