When I first stepped into this region it was with trepidation, the gory memories of its past still rang in my ears.
"There is nothing like the past anymore," enjoy the birds. The local guide informed and put me at ease. "Our target species at Chambal.....and we will see." The conversation changed my outlook of this most damned place on Earth, and I began to see the beautiful avian all around me...
We were on the way to a village in North India or Uttar Pradesh called Bah about seventy kilometers from Agra. In India, the primary concern whence you step out on a long drive is the condition of the road...
The road was good enough for smooth sailing and our group unaware of the turbulent past was engrossed in the picturesque landscape of remote.
We were on the way to Bah where lies access to the pristine river, our guests were deeply engrossed in the changing landscape of rural India. The low-lying mountains, green fields, and quaint hamlets filled the whiteboard creating a mesmerizing landscape far removed from the chaotic urbanity that we were leaving behind.
After driving for more than an hour we reach the Chambal River Lodge an ancient structure a former Kothi or Nobel house of a landlord converted into a hospitality enterprise. We are greeted by the staff and escorted to our rooms. All around us, I can see green fields with ripe mustard yellow flowers and groves quite a pleasant surrounding. There is only one activity on the agenda and that is birding.
Post lunch we stroll around with a guide to spot avian species that inhabit open lands and fields and we are not disappointed. Our first sighting is that of grey francolin, peafowl, black-breasted button quail, plain prinia, ashy prinia, coucal, red and black-headed buntings, jungle bush quail, grey hornbill, yellow-footed green pigeon, rain and common quails, brown capped pygmy woodpecker, yellow-crowned woodpecker, yellow-eyed babblers, crimson throated barbet, jungle and grey babblers, common babbler, wryneck, chestnut bellied sandgrouse, painted sandgrouse and more.
In the local waterbody, we come across dunlin, greenshank, redshank, wood sandpiper, marsh and green sandpiper, and black-tailed godwit to name a few. The wintering warblers in the woodland among the groves offered interesting sightings. We come across Brook's leaf warbler, Hume's Warbler, booted warbler, common chiffchaff, and the noisy greenish warbler.
After an exciting birding around the surroundings, we moved into the Kothi for rest and a fine dinner of locally sourced food cooked in rural style. We were eager for a boat ride at Chambal River early in the morning. In such confines, sleep comes easy.