The Sultanpur Bird Sanctuary is just 20 kms from Gurgaon and across verdant fields and guava orchards, but civilization is inching forward rather fast. One of the smallest National Parks in India, perhaps 330 acres if I remember correctly, but this piece of marshy land that was once used for salt extraction, hosts scores of thousands of birdlife, both indigenous and migratory.
I remember visiting this place decades back, coming almost face to face with a huge hornbill, more than six feet tall and with a most cantankerous temper, and a sea of flamingoes. Missed them this year, but there were hundreds of painted storks and some black necked storks as well. Huge birds, and it was really a sight watching them land like small aeroplanes
The smaller birds were equally a treat to watch and these are spot bills, an extremely shy family
Of the three pictures below, the first one is probably that of a female shoveler or maybe a pintail, the next is that of a male shoveler and the last one, a coot
The great egret or great heron comes down from Afghanistan, I was told. Oblivious to all, they hunt for food by remaining immobile for long moments and this one was practically frozen for several minutes
The purple heron is extremely reclusive. It is also tremendously sleek and almost impossible to detect. I was lucky to watch these birds and got a picture of the great white and the purple in single file :)
The white breasted kingfisher
The black winged stilt is a migratory species and do they have long, long gangly legs :)
Purple moorhens can be seen early morning and around dusk, the times most favorable to bird watching. Understandably, all of them are extremely suspicious of human beings as they were once widely hunted and they really deserve to be left alone
The red wattled lapwing is another local and I have seen some of them near our office in Gurgaon, but this one was captured at Sultanpur. It has got a piercing cry, goes like DID YOU DO IT ...
Came upon a small group of red munia (strawberry finch) but could not get clear pictures. They were being tracked by a young couple with frightfully expensive equipment .. noticed several other small birds on the trees as well, including what looked like a female purple sunbird. There are trained, professional guides available whom I met on my way out and should you decide to visit this wonderful island of colourful serenity sometime soon, do consider engaging them as they have binoculars with them as well as laser pointers and know the habits of all notable bird species!