Thursday, February 28, 2008


Well, thats it, all over, end of story!
Back home now (not quite for me, more on that later) after the most amazing 2 months abroad.
After the last update at the end of Gujarat we had an even quicker tour of Rajahstan. Udaipur was a prett interesting place, notably for lake pichola and the floating palace a featured in the James Bond film 'Octopussy'. Unfortunatly the palace is now a mega rip-off posh hotel and no longer inhabited by scores of scantily clad honeys, shame. After a night in Udaipur we caught a bus north-west to the Citadel of Jodphur. The main attraction of Jodhpur is a seriously impressive Fort perched on a rocky outcrop on the edge of town. It certainly lived up to expectations, a very National Trust stylee audio tour around the tour was a really good way of finally taking in some history and culture, seeign some fascinating architecture, beautiful paintings and some savage looking weaponry. I even managed to get in some more birding at this unlikely site, with White-rumped Vulture, Long-legged Buzzard and Brown Rock-chat being typical arid country birds.
In order to save time we took an overnight train to Jaisalmer, arriving at some disgustingly early hour we managed to find a hotel and spent the morning birding around the Gadi Sagar lake, this wa a really cool site with loads of temply things in and arond it and much appealingly, a huge area of scrubby semi desert. This provided a fair few of the hoped for birds, including Desert, Isabelline and Variable Wheatears, Chestnut-bellied Sandgrouse, Rufous-tailed Shrike, Desert and Orphean Warblers, Short-toed and Crested Larks.
The next morning we set out on a Camel safari to the west of Jaisalmer, in the area north-east of the Sam sand dunes. Starting off in the cool i was soon seeing good birds like Black-crowned Sparrowlark, Black-bellied Sandgrouse, Rufous-tialed Wheatear and Brown-necked Raven. Birding was pretty difficult from a moving camel and it was an uncomfortable ride so it was a bit of a relief to set- up camp in the late afternoon in a quiet section of dunes. It was quite an experence watching our dinner being cooked over an open fire, with the obligatory Kingfisher in hand (the beer, not a new tame species of desert halcyon) as the sun set behind the dunes with Southern-grey Shrikes and Desert Wheaters hopping around the camps. After a night under the stars we trekked slowly back to Jaislmer, picking up a stupendous array of raptors on the way, with Laggar Flacon, Indian Spotted Eagle and Imperial Eagle being the stars.
Aftar a final night in Jaisalmer we caught an ubsurdly long train (21 freekin hours!!!!) back to Delhi where we killed a few hours around the cities markets before catching our flight back to London via Qatar.
The expected thing to do after arriving back in London would have been to go home and sleep for the next week. However I had an interview in Dublin with Birdwatch Ireland this morning so had only afew hours at home to clean up before heading north to Brizzle airport for a flight to Dublin, arriving at my hostel at midnight and had my iterview at 10am today, not the best preparation you might agree, but I think it went alright, hopefully i'll be posting new don here in a few days of a new job in Ireland for the summer.

Photos from the whole trip to come sometime next week hopefully, once I can be arsed to go through them all, there is quite a few of them!!!

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