India/Nepal at 25 mph (or less) – Part 3 – For the Birds
As I said in my last post, we tried to vary the itinerary so that we had a mixture of cultural sites as well as wildlife reserves or sanctuaries. Our first wildlife stop was at the Chambal riverside wildlife sanctuary which is mostly birds but had a few other things as well. Our first activity there was to visit the Sarus Crane refuge to view the endangered Sarus Cranes in their mating environment. The photo below is a couple of Sarus cranes with the male showing off for the female by honking and strutting around while puffing out his wings.
These are pretty majestic birds (standing as tall 5′ 9″) as you can better see in this photo of a juvenile flying towards us….
We were also surprised and happy to meet the first of several species of owls that we would see on our trip. This is a collared scopes owl that was actually hanging out on the grounds of the jungle lodge we stayed at in Chambal.
Just so you know it wasn’t all birds, here’s a shot of a Gharial Crocodile on the banks of the Chambal river. This is a fish eating croc which can grow up to 20′ in length. They are easily distinguished by the long, thin snout with the protruding dental work at the end. They again, are a critically endangered species.
We really enjoyed out stay at Chambal. It was also the first time we got away from the larger towns and got introduced to the “unusual” traffic hazards that are common on the main thoroughfares in and out of the small villages. This photo shows some of the goats that get right-of-way but they are also joined by cows, dogs, cows, donkeys, cows, chickens, cows, camels, and more cows. Add in the multitudes of potholes or other road issues and you can start to visualize why country driving is probably even more hazardous than in the city.