Saturday, February 22, 2020

India - Kaziranga National Park

Indian one-horned rhino family group
It's road trip time again. On this trip we'll spend a total of three weeks in each India and  Bhutan. The first leg of the trip has us in Assam state in Northeast India where we'll visit three national parks. Our first national park is Kazaringa, a vast expanse of wetlands, grasses, and broadleaf forests -  crisscrossed by four rivers. We're on this trip with guide Rajesh Panwar of Avian Trails who has been excellent so far, and our favorite traveling friends Tim and Agnes. The birding has been exceptional and we've seen some great mammals, including Indian one-horned rhinoceros. A tiger has eluded us thus far, but we're forever hopeful as we move forward on this trip. Here are some sights from the first few days in India. As always, the linked eBird lists are just a sample of the many from our trip.

eBird list day 1
eBird list day 2
eBird list day 3 (the tea plantation)

Tour guide Rajesh (left) and local guide Papu

Tim and Agnes in one of our two "Gypsies"

Asian Barred Owlet

Bar-headed Goose

Black-billed (Indochinese) Roller

Red-breased Parakeet

Bronze-winged Jacana

Chinese Rubythroat

Crested Serpent-Eagle

Dusky Eagle-Owl


Hog Deer

Hog Deer

Swamp Francolin

Oriental Pied-Hornbill adult and immature


Red-wattled Lapwing

Indian one-horned rhino

Smooth-coated Otter with breakfast fish

Smooth-coated Otter family
Common Snipe

Common Mina on local goat

Stork-billed Kingfisher

Striated Babbler
We spent some time a couple of mornings birding the edge of a large tea plantation in the native remnant habitat. The birding was good for a few specialty species. For the tea lovers out there, this is the home of the famous Assam Tea. Of course we stopped to pick up some tea to bring home. 

Birding the tea plantation

Blued-naped Pitta

Crimson Sunbird
Tea shopping

And finally, sunset  on our last evening at Kaziranga.

Friday, February 21, 2020

Reilly Ghost Town

Exploring desert mine ruins is one of my top winter activities.  Always interesting things to see from the human and scenery perspectives, pretty dead from the bird stand point.  Guess I don't get everything.  On this trip we headed off to the ghost town of Reilly and the Anthony Mill.  Reilly was a happening spot from 1882-1884.  The remains of thirty-two buildings have been identified and the estimate is sixty people lived there.  This place is remarkably preserved and we wandered into several small houses and corrals.  To support those people and the mill they put in a water line that ran for over five miles.  Part of that old line still exists and there is a trail on top of it.  We really enjoyed the sense of history we experienced when we walked on it.  Liked most of these mine towns the investment, over $200,000 produced negligible results $20,500.  The most complete history of the mines and mill I could find can be found here:  Reilly history

The water pipe trail has defined sides and can be seen heading straight out to Reilly.

Modern mining roads

Looking across the valley to the Panamints

Another modern mine


Bob checking out the hopper

Out first view of the Reilly houses.  Quite a few fixer uppers here

House with corral

Nice stone work

Multiple little huts on that hill

The foundation of Anthony Mill

We follow a donkey trail up into the hills to make a loop hike.

Those donkeys even put in switchbacks.

Interesting conglomerate rock.