The West Indian state of Gujarat may seem dry and uninviting at first glance. But a deeper look
will prove you wrong. The coastal region of Saurashtra is home to some amazing birdwatching and wildlife destinations, each with something unique to offer. In additon, the warmth, affection, and hospitality of the people of the region, coupled with the delicious local cuisine makes coastal Gujarat a popular birding destination.
Meals: Lunch and Dinner
Accommodation: Rann Riders or Similar
Arrive in Ahmedabad by flight or train in the morning from Delhi or Mumbai. Drive to the Little Rann of Kutch (2 hour drive). The road to Dasada is interesting as you pass cattle graveyards where White-rumped, Egyptian and Griffon Vultures could be seen and wetlands that are good for resident birds. This safari resort is imaginatively designed using local materials and has extensive grounds with a water body, ponds, gardens, plantations and agricultural Fields. Red-necked Falcon, Shikra, Bluethroat, Rosy Starling, Red-naped Ibis, Great White Pelican, Grey and Indian Pond Heron, Pied, Common and White-throated Kingfisher, and other birds come into the property.
After lunch, depart for a drive in the Little Rann of Kutch, a sanctuary for the Indian Wild Ass. An ancient seabed turned by geological forces into saline desert plains, the Rann has grassy patches that offer good birdwatching. Crested and Sykes's Lark, Oriental Skylark, Bimaculated Lark, Greater Short-toed Lark, Indian Bush Larks, Ashy-crowned Sparrow-Lark are likely sightings and Greater Hoopoe-Lark is possible. Desert and Variable Wheatears, Great Grey Shrike, Long-tailed, and Bay-backed Shrikes, Common Woodshrike are also likely sightings and the Asian Desert Warbler is among the many winter visiting Warblers. We will also look for Chestnut-bellied and Spotted Sandgrouse, Indian Courser (Cream-coloured visits occasionally), Common Quail, Yellow-legged and Barred Buttonquails, Grey Francolin, Eurasian Wryneck, Brown Rock Chat, Pied Bush Chat, Rufous-tailed Scrub Robin, Blue-headed Rock Thrush, Black Redstart and buntings in the scrubby areas. At sunset, it is possible to watch Western Marsh Harrier, Montagu’s and Pallid Harriers, Aquila eagles, falcons and buzzards heading for their roosting sites. Among the mammals of the Rann, other than the Wild Ass, there are chances of seeing Nilgai, Chinkara, White-footed and Indian Foxes, Indian Wolf, Jungle Cat (occasionally also Desert Cat), Pale and Long-eared Hedgehogs and Indian Hare.
Accommodation: Hotel President
Go for an early morning walk in Dasada village. This can yield a reasonably good bird list including White-spotted Fantail, Indian Roller, Indian White-eye, Isabelline and Long-tailed Shrikes, and more
After breakfast, depart for Jamnagar (6 hour drive). This is an interesting route passing agricultural fields and lakes. Birds of open-country like Indian Roller and Black-winged Kite could be seen. Arrive at the Hotel President in time for lunch. On this day, we will also try to get permits to enter the Marine National Park the next day.
Evening visit to Khijadiya Bird Sanctuary, where there are fairly good chances of seeing Indian Skimmer. This sanctuary is a breeding area for many species of birds that do not nest elsewhere in peninsular India. Great Crested Grebe, Black-necked Stork, Caspian Tern and many other birds can be seen besides most of the species recorded in the Little Rann area.
Accommodation: Hotel President
Visit the coastal areas along the Gulf of Kutch, one of the finest birding stretches along the Indian coastline. You are likely to see Crab-plover, Kentish Plover, Eurasian Oystercatcher, Ruddy Turnstone, Broad-billed Sandpiper, Sanderling, Dunlin, Curlew Sandpiper, Black-headed Gull, Pallas's Gull, Temminck's Stint, Lesser Crested Tern, Gull-billed Tern, Common Tern, Little Tern, Black-bellied Tern, Whiskered Tern, Oriental Darter, Western Reef Heron and other birds on this route. Time permitting, walk to Lakhota Lake to watch Brown-headed Gulls and a variety of ducks.
Accommodation: Gir Birding Lodge
Depart at dawn for Gir National Park (5-6 hours) and check in at Gir Birding Lodge. You will be there in time to go for afternoon safari to look for birds, Lions and Leopards.
A tapestry of dry deciduous forests, acacia scrub and grassland, fed by rivers and reservoirs, Gir is the last abode of the Asiatic Lion and has a thriving population of Leopard, Sambar, Chital (Spotted Deer), Nilgai (Blue Bull) and Wild Boar. Gir is also one of the major habitats of Chousingha (the World's only Four-horned Antelope) and Chinkara (Indian Gazelle) that are hard to spot in the teak forests along the game drive trails.
Among the many birds of Gir, Changeable Hawk-Eagle, Crested Serpent Eagle, Bonelli's Eagle, Peregrine Falcon, Laggar Falcon, Shikra, Painted Sandgrouse, Indian Golden Oriole, Marshall's and Common Ioras, Indian Paradise Flycatcher, Tickell's Blue, Red-throated, Verditer and Asian Brown Flycatchers, Yellow-crowned, Brown-capped Pygmy Woodpecker, Black-rumped Flameback, Green Bee-eater, Coppersmith Barbet, Common, Pied and White-throated Kingfisher, Plum-headed Parakeet, Eurasian Hoopoe, Black, Ashy and White-bellied Drongos, Rufous Treepie, Large Cuckooshrike, Small Minivet, Red-vented and White-eared Bulbul, Tawny-bellied, Yellow-eyed, Jungle and Large Grey Babblers, and more can be seen.
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner
Accommodation: Gir Birding Lodge
We will spend today visiting the national park in the morning and afternoon to look for more Wildlife and Birds.
Key species: Asiatic Lion, Nilgai, Marsh Crocodile, Oriental Darter, Western Osprey, Woolly-necked Stork, Mottled Wood Owl, Spotted Owlet, Indian Scops Owl, Crested Honey Buzzard
Meals: Breakfast in Gir, Lunch and Dinner in Velavadar
Accommodation: Blackbuck Safari Lodge
We travel six hours from Gir National Park to Velavadar and check in at Blackbuck Lodge. Known for its large Blackbuck population, Velavadar is also one of the few places where the Indian Wolf is proliferating in India though they are rarely seen in the daylight. Golden Jackal, Jungle Cat and Indian Hare are more easily seen and Indian Fox on the periphery. Sirkeer Malkoha, Painted Francolin, Chestnut-bellied and Spotted Sandgrouse, Rufous-tailed, Crested and Sykes's Lark, Red-rumped Swallows, Desert and Variable Wheatears and other birds are seen and many raptors visit, especially Short-toed Snake Eagle, Eastern Imperial Eagle, Steppe, Tawny, Greater and Indian Spotted Eagles, Laggar Falcon, Eurasian Hobby, Common Kestrel, Red-necked Falcon, Peregrine Falcon, White-eyed and Long-legged Buzzard, Black-winged Kite, Shikra, Eurasian Sparrowhawk and occasionally Northern Goshawk. Rarities include the White-browed (Stoliczka's) Bush Chat.
In the evening, witness a massive roost of Montagu’s, Pallid and Western Marsh Harrier.
Meals: Breakfast and Packed Lunch
You will have the morning to go for birding in the park. Drive to Ahmedabad (4 hours) at noon. You will be transferred to the airport for your connecting flight to your destination. Tour Ends
Key species: Blackbuck, Golden Jackal, Short-toed Snake Eagle, Eastern Imperial Eagle, Steppe, Tawny, Greater and Indian Spotted Eagles, Rufous-tailed, Crested and Sykes's Larks, Siberian Stonechat
- Excellent birding opportunities, with a rich variety of avifauna
- Interesting road journeys through the unique landscapes of the region
- Excellent mammal diversity, with unique species such as Wild Ass, Asiatic Lion, Wolf, Striped Hyena, and more
- Possibility of extension and customization
- Stay in some of the region’s best ecolodges
- Farm-fresh and delicious organic Indian meals
- Accommodation on double sharing basis Meals as per the itinerary
- Coastal visit in Jamnagar A visit to Velavadar for wildlife viewing and birding
- Jungle visits in Gir National Park in 4WDs A dedicated birding guide
- All surface transfers by a private air-conditioned vehicle All taxes.
Gir National Park Gujarat
Sometimes it's not just the species spotted but also the amazing moments. Some of our guests had the unique opportunity to witness the mating of Asiatic Lions in the Gir Forest, truly a special moment.
Surajpur is an amazing wetland close to the nation’s capital. Apart from being one of the monsoon homes for the Bristled Grassbird, it is also home to another sought-after species: the Bengal Bush Lark.
One advantage of living near the birding hotspot of Bharatpur is that you can see some amazing birds, like the graceful Sarus Crane, in your backyard during this lockdown