How to Bird Watch
HOW TO BIRDWATCH: Frustrated because you can't identify all the birds at your feeder, in the woods, along the roadside, or at the beach? Here are some quick tips for beginning birders.
How to Bird Watch
Be sure you have a decent pair of binoculars and have adjusted and practiced using them.
Always locate a bird first with your naked eye. The field of view through binoculars is much narrower, making it harder to search.
Consider colors a bonus. Except under the best of conditions, it is hard to see feather colors accurately. Light reflection and shadows often distort, dull, or exaggerate colors. Consider other factors first. If conditions are good, consider color a bonus. Of course, there are species for which accurate color determination is essential for accurate identification.
Size is helpful, but conditions can be misleading. A bird soaring overhead or flying by may seem much larger or smaller than reality. A reference object is helpful - a tree, fence post, telephone pole, etc.
Observe the shape or profile of the bird. A long-bill, long legs, or tufted head immediately eliminates many possibilities.
Habitat is always a useful consideration. In the midst of a coniferous forest you expect to see a different set of birds (avifauna) than you would on an ocean shore or in a city park.
Note the behavior. Wading in shallow water, climbing a tree trunk, swimming, diving through the air, emerging from a mud nest, or sitting on a fence post, all narrow the choices down considerably.
Songs and calls are excellent identification mechanisms and sometimes the only way to identify a bird because some species can only be distinguished in the field by their calls; and it is not uncommon to hear birds but not be able to find them. This takes a lot more practice than learning visual characters. I find it easiest to learn songs and calls if I am able to watch the bird singing or calling.
Use a good field guide as they identify characteristics (field marks) most helpful to identification.
Finally, my most important recommendation for the beginning birdwatcher: go out in the field with those folks who know the birds.
Situated at the junction of the Aravalli and the Vindhya ranges. Ranthambore
is one of India's conservation success stories. Since becoming one of the original
11 areas under Project Tiger in 1973, the park has recovered much f its previous
natural glory, proving that, with careful management, a once wooded area which
has been reduced to arid scrub can be restored.
In 1973, the then sanctuary of 60 square miles (156 square km) was expanded to 158 square miles (411 square km) with a core area of 65 square miles (169 square km) and later became a national park. In 1984 and adjoining area of 40 square miles (104 square km) to the south became the Sawai Man Singh Sanctuary (named after the last ruling Maharaja of Jaipur.
The blend between nature and history is strong in this park, and like Bandhavgarh National Park in Madhya Pradesh the fort, the temples the tanks and other relies are a constant reminder of man's involvement in the area. The fort commanded a large area and up to the late - 13th century was the center of a Hindu Kingdom. During the 18th century, the area was protected as a hunting area for and by the Maharaja of Jaipur and It is thanks to an extension on this protection that the park exists today.
The fort is the natural focal point of the park with a series of well - established artificial lakes stretching to the north.
Most of the area is covered by typical dry, mixed deciduous forest. The undulating hills have a few bare rock faces and barren ridges. The area supports a mixed range of birds, mammals and insects. On the gentler hillsides and in the valleys, dhok is the main tree. The few areas of luch vegetation are around the lakes and have peepul, mango, palas and banyan, creating a thick forest. The huge banyan near Jogi Mahal at the base of the fort is reputedly the second largest known.
The major predator here is the tiger but leopard territories overlap: leopards are occasionally seen in areas on the park periphery. Jackal hyena caracal and jungle cat are also found. In recent years, the tiger population has become increasingly diurnal and there have been many sightings of tigers hunting sambar on the banks of the lakes. The greater visibility of this magnificent animal, directly due to careful management, has made the park well - known as one of the easier parks for tiger photography.
Sambar and chital are common throughout the park and are found in large concentrations near the lakes along with small groups of nilgai. In the scrub and thorn, chinkara are often seen. Other animals seen include the marsh crocodile, wile boar, ratel, monitor lizard and sloth bear.
The rich birdlife reflects the range of flora on which it feeds. During the winter months the lakes attract a variety of migrant water birds.
The park entrance is only eight miles from Sawai Madhopur station on the main Bombay - Delhi line. A meerguage line connects Sawai Madhopur with Jaipur (10miles / 162 km).