Corbett National Park is located to the northwest of Delhi some 180 miles distance in the state of Uttar Pradesh. It is difficult to reach, however, as it takes an overnight train trip on a narrow gauge RR to nearby Moradabad or by a six hour highway drive. We actually arrived by train from Agra.
For a birder it is a trip well worth the effort. The wooded park is beautiful, India's first (1936) national park, and sizable in that it covers 201 square miles. And for birds it is strategically located in the foothills of the Himalayans. Nearby are locations for the Ibisbill but we were several weeks too late since human disturbances push them further away after they made an initial appearance for the winter, and time prevented us from devoting the effort needed to search for just one species.
While we were in Corbett, the weather was cold in the early mornings and late afternoon, more so than usual probably because of El Niño. Perhaps the weather explains why we saw few people in the park. Except at three rustic forest rest houses you are forbidden to walk within the park, and several years ago a British bird leader went chasing on foot after a bird in the shrubs where he was killed by a tiger. Being in an open vehicle is limiting, and often the birds were seen one by one. We were slightly handicapped that we were the only serious birders out of four, but that was somewhat offset by the fact we had someone with us who was knowledgeable about birds.
There are also elephants in the wild, and we saw a small group and later a bull. Other mammals include Spotted Deer, Sambar, Hog Deer, Common Jackal, Barking Deer, Jungle Cat and Wild Boar. We also saw both the Mugger Crocodile and the needle-nose Gavial (Gharial). At one of the rest areas you can ride an elephant through the brush in the woods and the open grasslands to look for tigers and other wildlife. We would rate the elephant ride only fair for seeing birds.
We would recommend mid-February through March as a better time to visit Corbett when it is warmer and, perhaps, the birds more active. Also, more elephants. Finally, outside the area en route back to the railroad station we also saw Cattle Egret, Sarus Cranes (2), House Crow and Black Drongo.
India: Corbett; One Sighting per Species; from 1-23-98 to 1-27-98. Note: The list uses the check list of James F. Clements from Birdwin of Santa Barbara Software.
Great Cormorant Phalacrocorax carbo Common Pochard Aythya ferina (pair) Little Egret Egretta garzetta Striated Heron Butorides striatus (1) Black Stork Ciconia nigra (about 7-8) Osprey Pandion haliaetus (1 in tree) Black-shouldered Kite Elanus caeruleus Black Kite Milvus migrans Pallas' Fish-Eagle Haliaeetus leucoryphus (1 sitting and flying) F Lesser Fish-Eagle Ichthyophaga humilis (1 in tree, another sit. nearby) White-rumped Vulture Gyps bengalensis F Long-billed Vulture Gyps indicus (1 sitting, another days later) Eurasian Griffon Gyps fulvus (several) F Cinereous Vulture Aegypius monachus (2 sitting before 1 flew) Crested Serpent-Eagle Spilornis cheela F Changeable Hawk-Eagle Spizaetus cirrhatus (sitting imm.) Eurasian Kestrel Falco tinnunculus Gray Partridge Perdix perdix Red Junglefowl Gallus gallus (2 males walking before flying) Kalij Pheasant Lophura leucomelanos (3 males with a female: gr. views) Indian Peafowl Pavo cristatus Common Greenshank Tringa nebularia Common Sandpiper Tringa hypoleucos Little Ringed Plover Charadrius dubius F River Lapwing Vanellus duvaucelii (12) Eurasian Collared-Dove Streptopelia decaocto Alexandrine Parakeet Psittacula eupatria F Slaty-headed Parakeet Psittacula himalayana (2 and then 5) Plum-headed Parakeet Psittacula cyanocephala Red-breasted Parakeet Psittacula alexandri (4) F Jungle Owlet Glaucidium radiatum (at Ramnagar; 2 sitting) F Crested Treeswift Hemiprocne coronata Common Kingfisher Alcedo atthis Stork-billed Kingfisher Pelargopsis capensis (1 sitting) White-throated Kingfisher Halcyon smyrnensis F Crested Kingfisher Megaceryle lugubris (2 but not together) F Blue-bearded Bee-eater Nyctyornis athertoni (pair) Eurasian Hoopoe Upupa epops (4) Indian Gray Hornbill Ocyceros birostris (4) Oriental Pied-Hornbill Anthracoceros albirostris Great Hornbill Buceros bicornis (1 poor view fly. but calling in distance) F Brown-headed Barbet Megalaima zeylanica (at Ramnagar) Lineated Barbet Megalaima lineata (1 plus group of 6-7) F Blue-throated Barbet Megalaima asiatica (1) F Gray-capped Woodpecker Dendrocopos canicapillus (1; nice views) Fulvous-breasted Woodpecker Dendrocopos macei (1) F Streak-throated Woodpecker Picus xanthopygaeus (1) F Scaly-bellied Woodpecker Picus squamatus (1 plus a pair) F Gray-faced Woodpecker Picus canus (male) Black-rumped Flameback Dinopium benghalense (1) Rusty-tailed Flycatcher Muscicapa ruficauda White-bellied Drongo Dicrurus caerulescens (1) F Bronzed Drongo Dicrurus aeneus (about 10 sallying) Lesser Racket-tailed Drongo Dicrurus remifer (1) Rufous Treepie Dendrocitta vagabunda (at Ramnagar; 2) Gray Treepie Dendrocitta formosae Large-billed Crow Corvus macrorhynchos Scarlet Minivet Pericrocotus flammeus (male, 2 females) F Bar-winged Flycatcher-shrike Hemipus picatus (at least 2 sallying) Long-tailed Shrike Lanius schach (2) F Brown Dipper Cinclus pallasii (2 plus 2 more) Blue Whistling-Thrush Myiophoneus caeruleus (several) Verditer Flycatcher Eumyias thalassina (male) F Rufous-bellied Niltava Niltava sundara (male) Gray-headed Canary-flycatcher Culicicapa ceylonensis Oriental Magpie-Robin Copsychus saularis Indian Robin Saxicoloides fulicata F White-capped Redstart Chaimarrornis leucocephalus (8) F Plumbeous Redstart Rhyacornis fuliginosus (at least 3 males, 2 fem.) F Little Forktail Enicurus scouleri (1, super view) F Slaty-backed Forktail Enicurus schistaceus (1, great view) Common Stonechat Saxicola torquata Pied Bushchat Saxicola caprata F Gray Bushchat Saxicola ferrea (1 plus 1) Chestnut-bellied Nuthatch Sitta castanea (female) Sand Martin Riparia riparia (4) Dusky Crag-Martin Hirundo concolor (1) Red-whiskered Bulbul Pycnonotus jocosus F Himalayan Bulbul Pycnonotus leucogenys (at least 15) Red-vented Bulbul Pycnonotus cafer (a few) Common Chiffchaff Phylloscopus collybita Greenish Warbler Phylloscopus trochiloides F Gray-hooded Warbler Seicercus xanthoschistus (1) Red-billed Leiothrix Leiothrix lutea (several in a group) Great Tit Parus major White Wagtail Motacilla alba (1) White-browed Wagtail Motacilla madaraspatensis (6) 87 SPECIES
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