Birding took a back seat during my week in India. I was reunited with my fiancee Jenna after more than two months apart, and we had a busy schedule with visits to Agra and Varanasi – neither one a particularly famous location for birding! In addition, getting immersed in the chaos of India was really tough after the relative ease of Nepal, and I found that I had little inclination to get out there and try and make my way to any birding sites.
I did add a few new birds to the list. Bank Mynas were common throughout the places I visited. I had been looking forward to seeing this myna for some time, and it didn’t disappoint. They really are very handsome, clean-cut birds and a refreshing change from the legions of drab Common and Jungle Mynas I had been seeing in Nepal.
Having missed them in Cambodia on a dedicated birding trip there in 2012, it was good to catch up with the magnificent Sarus Crane – a pair showed well at a pool close to the main Delhi-Agra road.
Finally, the Taj Mahal proved surprisingly good for birds. Indian Grey Hornbills were easy to see around the buildings and gardens, while the river behind held some Bar-headed Geese, a flock of Greater Flamingo flying upstream, and lots of very distant birds of which only Painted Stork and Eurasian Spoonbill were identifiable through binoculars.
India lifers: Bank Myna, Sarus Crane, Bar-headed Goose, Indian Grey Hornbill (total 1,870).
India year ticks: Greater Flamingo, Laughing Dove (total 558).