Tuesday, June 9, 2015

In search of Lesser Florican - Sonkhaliya, Ajmer (21st to 22nd August 2015)

Once again comes the long awaited a fascinating trip to see one of the most "Charismatic" Species of bird that has charmed both birders and photographers alike.... The Lesser Florican

Bookings for Sonkhaliya Grasslands, Ajmer trip from 21st Aug to 22nd Aug 2015 are open (travel days excluded)...
for details see at the end..... Hurry up and register fast as this trip is eagerly awaited by many

Important Note: Because it is a Critically endangered species, we have decided not to take a large group, hence there will be limited no. of seats (8 seats only) for this trip..... 

Click here to view last years trip report



You all must obviously be knowing our omnipresent National Bird - Peacock, also called "Mor" in vernacular. But ever heard of "Tanmor" or "Khar Mor" ?

Well..... its a bird that is high on wishlist of many Birders and photographers not just from India, but also around the World. Popularly called "Lesser Florican" (Sypheotides indicus), or Likh. This species is a typical Grassland bird about a size of little bigger than a village hen. The Lesser Florican is a shy bird and are rarely encountered outside their breeding season and region. During monsoon when it breeds in grasslands, the male Lesser Florican, exhibits a unique and spectacular courtship display, risking its life. It jumps up about 1.5-2 meters in air, flapping its wings, as if shot up by a spring below like a trapeze artist showing the magnificent design of wings, with a peculiar croaking or knocking call, At the apogee of the leap the neck is arched backwards and the legs folded as if in a sitting posture.He repeats the performance several times to lure a female which maybe be somewhere close-by observing his antics. This courtship display lasts for a period of few days. The breeding system is said to be a dispersed lek with each male holding a territory of about 1-2 hectares.

Unfortunately, like many Grassland birds, this species along with the Great Indian Bustard is also facing threat due to habitat loss, fragmentation, poaching and pesticide pollution. They now remain in just few pockets of India and are considered Critically endangered species. The species is said to move in response to rainfall and their presence at locations can be erratic, with sudden large numbers in some seasons. Breeding areas are today restricted mainly to Rajasthan, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, some areas in southern Nepal and parts of Andhra Pradesh.

The endangered birds, Great Indian Bustard and Lesser Florican have got a dedicated land for breeding in the Shonkaliya Region of Ajmer District, Rajasthan. The villagers of Ajmer District have agreed to conserve 30 hectares of land for the breeding activity of these endangered birds.
In the Sonkhaliya area of Ajmer farmers were growing gram. Due to poor rains gram cultivation was not economical. Therefore the farmers were advised by the Agriculture Department to shift to Mung cultivation. which takes only 60 days. Mung crop needs much less spray of chemical pesticides and is less damaging to birds. Mung cultivation in this area has been observed since 2005. It was after this shift in agriculture that the forest officials in the region started reporting the increase in nos. of Lesser Florican. Over the years, the no. of Lesser Floricans as well as Great Indian Bustards have increased to substantial nos. thanks to both the efforts of Farmers and Forest officials.

Apart from the above flagship species, Sonkhaliya is a great place to see a number of other grassland and scrub land species like Eurasian Eagle Owl, Spotted Owlet, Larks, Pipits, Quails, Francolins, Sandgrouse, Lapwings, Raptors, Coursers, Munias, Doves etc…..

Here are some reports from the area by some birders .....


Nature India tours has meticulously organized a birding trip to this lesser known spot from 21st Aug to 22nd Aug'15 (travel days excluded) with experts in the field.

Though this trip will be focused on Lesser Florican and to learn more about them, we will also get to see the variety of other bird species that inhabit this landscape ..….

Date: 21st Aug 2015, morning 8.00 am to 22nd Aug 2015 eve 8.00 pm

Resource person:  A Well-known Forest Guard who has been studying this species in Ajmer area
Assistant resource persons: Mr.Mandar Khadilkar 

TRIP ITINERARY (Itinerary is Ex.Ajmer) 

Day 1: Thursday 20th Aug, 2015 .

Board the 12989 +Ajmer Express from Dadar @ 14:35 Hrs  

Day 2: Friday 21st Aug, 2015 .
Pick up at Ajmer Train Station at 8.05 am .… Drive to Hotel in Ajmer…. Check-in….. Quick breakfast…….Proceed towards Sonkhaliya / Nasirabad about 40 kms from Ajmer…. Lunch in local dhaba ..... Continue birding ..... return to hotel by evening ...... Days revision and discussion ...… dinner… Stay @ Hotel in Ajmer 

Day 3: Saturday 22nd Aug, 2015

After Early breakfast.... visit Sonkhaliya and the surrounding habitat for the Lesser Flrorican and other Grassland birds - Lunch in local dhaba- Continue birding - return to hotel by 5.00 pm - Pack-up evening snacks and leave for Ajmer station to catch 22996 AII BDTS SF Exp at 08:30 pm 

Day 4: Sunday, 23rd Aug, 2015
Reach Mumbai by 14:20 Hrs

More details on the Itinerary will be given to those who register.....

Please note: This is primarily a Bird-watching trip. We do not have any provision for sight-seeing in our trips.

Trip Charges : Rs.9300 Ex. Ajmer 
(This includes stay in Hotel @ Ajmer on twin sharing basis, Veg / non-veg food, breakfast, tea, local transport by Trax criuser/toofan jeeps, entry fees, guide charges, Articles on the places to be visited & on board snacks ……)

This does not include travel charges to & fro Ajmer or any charges other than the above.

Travel options to reach Ajmer :Kindly note that there are several travel options to reach Ajmer, however, the best one is as suggested in the itinerary above. People can also travel from Jaipur, but its a very long way an an expensive option (Participants will have to arrange for their own travel from Jaipur).

Stay Arrangement: Hotel Neelkamal in Ajmer on twin sharing basis in non AC rooms. We would require to travel to & from Hotel to the Sonkhaliya Grasslands.

Registration: You can register by sending a confirmatory mail to natureindiatours@gmail.com  and by paying a non refundable advance of Rs.5500/- only after we confirm your registration by email …..the remaining amount will be collected on the day of travel.

Mode of Payment: You can either...

1) Transfer the advance money directly to HDFC A/c : (please sms/call Mr. Adesh Shivkar for the A/c no.) .... please mention your name, date and other details….

2) Courier a cheque of Rs.5500/- to the following address

Name: Mr. Adesh Shivkar
Address: D-8, The Adi Janata Society, Behind HP Petrolpump, Near Sion Signal, Sion (East), Mumbai - 400022
Ph.: +91-9820455713

Please Note:
1) Once registered, the advance amount of Rs.5500/- is strictly non-refundable
2) Alcohol & Smoking is strictly prohibited on Nature India Tours
3) We expect heavy rain throughout, hence will need to brave the rains during the trails.....please bring all the rain wears
4) Kindly register on this trip only if you agree with  Nature India's rules and policies

For any other queries, please contact:-
Adesh Shivkar – 9820455713 /  9869071091
Mandar Khadilkar - 9930318665 / 9967518665
Or Email: natureindiatours@gmail.com

Hope to see you for this wonderful trip !!

Thanks for your patience.

Warm Regards,
Adesh Shivkar & Mandar Khadilkar
Nature India
Appreciate, Respect & Conserve

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