Bird Fair Chambal

UP Bird Festival Chambal 4-6 Dec 2015

This is an first of its kind initiative by the Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh Shri Akhilesh Yadav to hold a Bird Fair in Uttar Pradesh. UP Eco Tourism Department will be taking charge of the event. The festival will take place on the grounds of the Chambal Safari Lodge. The Chief Minister will inaugurate the function on 4 December 2015. There will be talks by prominent ornithologist from around the globe. Workshops by professional photographers, art shows by renowned artists and a bird ringing station. Early morning would be for birdwatching in the nearby forest or doing a boat safari on the Chambal river followed by talks/workshops during the day.

4th December

6 am to 10 am: Field trips to National Chambal Sanctuary, Sarus Crane Wetlands Etawah and Blackbuck Safari

10.30 am Inauguration: By Principal Secretary Forest Mr. Sanjiv Saran

11 amCarol InskippNationally threatened bird species of Nepal and India.

Chair: Bikram Grewal

12 pmRajeev Mathew:  ‘Raptor field identification – Accipitridae and Falconeidae

Chair: Ramit Singal

1 pm – 2 pm: Break for lunch

2 pm – Dr Promod Patil: Bustards in decline

Chair: Jim Lawrence

3 pm – Dr Asad Rahmani; Threatened Birds of Uttar Pradesh

Chair: Dr BC Chaudhary

4 pm – Dr Martin Kelsey“A love affair with warblers”

Chair: Garima Bhatia

5 pm – Nigel RedmanChats of the Indian Subcontinent 

Chair: Panchami Manoo Ukil

5th December

6am to 9am: Field trips to National Chambal Sanctuary, Sarus Crane Wetlands Etawah and Blackbuck Safari

11 am: Arrival of Honourable Chief Minister Shri Akhilesh Yadav

11.15 am – 11.45 am: Walk through of the Festival Marquees

11.45 am: Welcome By Principal Secretary Forest Mr. Sanjiv Saran

12.00 pm – 1.00 pm:
Introductory talks by Tim Appleton and Jim Lawrence

Birdwatching areas in Uttar Pradesh by Mr. Pawan Kumar, IFS
Wildlife Tourism in UP by Secretary Tourism Mr. Amrit Abhijat
Unveiling of book – Birds of UP

Launch of book – Sarus Cranes

Signing of IOC with BirdLife International

CMs Address

Thanks giving address

1 pm – 2 pm: Break for Lunch

2 pm – Tim InskippThe history of bird species mapping in the Indian subcontinent.

Chair: Mike Prince


3 pm – Dr Gopi Sundar: The wetland and waterbirds of Uttar Pradesh

Chair: Praveen Rao

4 pm – Dr Per AlstromHow to identify Indian Pipits

Chair: Abhijeet Menon-Sen

5 pmDr Dhananjai MohanKaternia Ghat as a birding Destination

Chair: Shri SK Upadhyay

6th December:

6 am to 10 am: Field trips to National Chambal Sanctuary, Sarus Crane Wetlands Etawah and Blackbuck Safari

10.30 am Dr Pamela RasmussenThe Mystery of the Forest Owlet

Chair: Latika Nath

11.30 amAnand Arya: Sarus Hatchlings – Through Eyes & Lens of a Birder

Chair: Dr Gopi Sundar

12.15 pmPratap SinghBird Song in India

Chair: Dr Dhananjai Mohan

1pm – 2pm: Break for Lunch

2 pmJim Lawrence: Birdlife International and India

Chair: Ian Barber

3 pmBen KingReminiscences of a veteran birder

Chair: Avijeet Sarkel

4 pmIan BarberRole of RSPB in India

Chair: Dr Asad Rahmani

5 pmBikram GrewalThe Very Very Very Difficult Bird Quiz



Photo Workshops:

5th December

10 am – 1 pm – Craig Jones

2 pm – 5 pm – Giri Cavale

Art Workshops:

5th December

10 am – 1 pm – Jackie Garner: A demonstration on drawing birds

2 pm – 5 pm – Dr. Pete Marshall: “Drawn to the Wild – Nature’s Inspiration”

ON ALL THREE DAYS: 10 am Digiscoping WorkshopNanette Roland: Leica Sport optics Experience nature with unmatched intensity

On all three days

Bird Ringing Station (live):
Dr Balachandran 

7th December:

6 am to 11.30 am: Field trips to National Chambal Sanctuary, Sarus Crane Wetlands Etawah and Blackbuck Safari

12 pm: Delegates depart for Delhi via the Taj Mahal

Nikhil DevasarThe First International UP Bird Festival: 4th – 6th December, 2015
The state of Uttar Pradesh, where the Himalayas meld into the Gangetic River Basin, is one of the cradles of human civilization. Incredibly, despite being one of the most fertile agriculture areas of India with its consequent pressures of Human development, it is also one of the richest areas for wildlife in the country. The meeting point of eco-clines, in an area called the ‘Terai’ is considered one of the best places for Birding in the sub-continent. Uttar Pradesh is home to about 802 species of birds. 45 of these are globally threatened species.
The Uttar Pradesh Bird Festival is an attempt to draw attention to this incredible heritage. The Fair focuses on the avifauna of the state, and brings together ornithologists, photographers, birding enthusiasts, and wildlife artists in an incredible amalgam over three days to celebrate, discuss and highlight the Birds of Uttar Pradesh and India.
Over a three-day program, the Bird festival presents a series of talks by some of the leading experts in the world on Birds and their conservation and status, as well as pointers on their identification in the field. Simultaneously, there will be parallel sessions on Bird photography and an opportunity to watch representatives from Leica demonstrate the use of specialized equipment.
Experts and invites will stay in the specially created birding village on the grounds of the Chambal Safari Lodge for an incredible three-day experience. Each morning there will be boat and walking safaris in the National Chambal Wildlife Sanctuary, followed by a full day of activities. Talks will be held in parallel sessions with interactive sessions to allow for open discussions of different subjects. There will be a photo exhibition featuring some of the best works of different photographers, and a live bird ringing demonstration station as well as live demonstrations on the art of drawing and painting birds.
The program is open to members of the public. Watch this space for updates and news. ….. Nikhil Devasar Consultant U.P. Eco Tourism and Co – ordinater U.P. Bird Fair

Craig Jones“India has a wealth of wildlife along with amazing vibrancy, colours and energy. Put all that together and you have a wonderful mix for some stunning photography. I have visited India in search of Tigers and other wildlife for several years now and each time I visit it offers something new, fresh experiences and encounters. I’m very happy to be invited as one of the guest speakers of this event and I look forward to inspiring those that attend showing you some of my work both in India and my home country of the UK. The wonderful wildlife you have in your country should be treasured because its unique and as a country you were blessed with some of nature’s most wonderful and beautiful species of wildlife. The surrounding areas of Uttar Pradesh offer unrivalled wildlife that I speak off and I hope this event ignites more passion to get out there to enjoy what nature gave you. I will be on hand throughout the Birdfiar, I will share my own skills and images with you all. Photography is easy to learn, but what takes time is learning to see, once you see what’s around you those images become very special and personal” . …Craig Jones

Nigel RedmanI first visited India nearly 40 years ago, and have been lucky enough to return on many occasions, both as a bird tour leader and privately.  I was also involved in the formation of the Oriental Bird Club and am a former Chairman of the Club. Of all the countries in the Oriental region, India remains one of my favourite destinations. The warm hospitality of its people, its rich and historic culture, and above all its incomparable wildlife all combine to ensure that any visit to India is unforgettable. There are few places on Earth where one can see so many amazing birds in such colourful landscapes. And unlike many countries, it’s easy to see birds in India, and to see them well. It’s hard to single out anywhere in particular as there are so many special places in India, but Uttar Pradesh offers some of India’s finest birding and I am especially delighted that the first UP Bird Fair will be held at the wonderful National Chambal Sanctuary. This is a very special place that holds some treasured memories for me.  I am deeply honoured to have been invited to participate in this inaugural event, and I shall be present for the whole of Fair to share my knowledge and help inspire others. The Chambal Safari Lodge is an ideal location for the Fair, so when you tire of looking around the various events and stands you can slip away and watch birds in the nearby forest or on the beautiful Chambal River. Nigel Redman

Pete MarshalIt is an honor to be invited to take part in the inaugural UP Bird Fair in December, and present my art specializing in wildlife and environmental work. Wildlife conservation is an important consideration wherever I have travelled, and have met many delightful and interesting people who hold the subject dear to them, not just for the wildlife itself, but for the wider implications which conservation and preservation bring the survival of all species including ourselves, and the environment of our planet. I am inspired to paint by many things and for many reasons – not just the object itself, but the fleeting expression, the flash of light, the spirit, the connection and flow of the experience. Traders in bazaars in Uzbekistan, orangutans in forests and rehabilitation centers in Malaysia, toucans in the forests of Costa Rica, bears brown, black & white in Canada, wildlife in wild areas of Africa, tigers in India and Nepal, birds, the white wilderness of Antarctic regions with wild seas and pelagic avians, the timeless and vast spaces of outback Australia, people everywhere. A wealth of experiences and subjects to express and share through my art. India is a vibrant and thriving, though heavily populated country with great initiatives in conservation and awareness of its environmental issues. Bird numbers and distributions are good indicators of this and Chambal will be a great location to hold this inaugural event. I am looking forward to sharing my field of expertise and meeting with, and learning from, the other participants who will be bringing their special skills to create an event this year, which will be worth developing for years into the future………Dr. Pete Marshall BVSc, AFC, AGRA, Australia

Per Alstrom”I first visited India in spring 1983, when I spent three months travelling around the northwestern parts of India and Nepal together with my birding friend Urban Olsson. Since then, I’ve been back many times, and visited most main regions of India. The Indian subcontinent is truly one of my favourite places in the World for bird- and mammal watching! The incredibly rich diversity of natural habitats, from snow-clad mountain peaks via various forest types and grasslands to deserts and coastal and inland wetlands, provides home to an amazing mixture of birds and other organisms. Not only are birds and mammals more abundant than in most other Asian countries I’ve visited, but they’re also more easily observed as they are generally not afraid of people. On top of the natural beauty, I am fascinated by the remarkably rich culture – and the Indian vegetarian food is the best in the World! I am honoured to have been invited to the first UP Bird Fair, and I hope to be able to inspire others by sharing my knowledge about some tricky to identify Indian birds, which I’ve spent much time studying…. Prof. Per Alström”

Birding in Uttar Pradesh

Uttar Pradesh, the largest state in India is bestowed with unique natural resources to cater for both resident and migratory birds besides a wide variety of animals and plants. It is one of the finest states in India in terms of variety of its bird life. The rivers like Ganges, Yamuna, Rapti and Gandak which originate in the Himalayas traverse longest distance of their journey in the state. The meandering river system, the ox bow lakes formed and other wetlands provide a magnificent natural habitat for birds. Apart from this the sub-montane regions between Himalayas and plains, the alluvial Gangetic plains and the southern hills and plateaus provide the best ecotones to sustain the birdlife. It is an ode to the resilience, benevolence, tolerance and conservation consciousness of the people of the state that such diverse plant and animal populations continue to coexist with humans. Migrating birds flying over 5000 kilometres above 8500 metres high from regions like Europe, Tibet, Siberia and China make Uttar Pradesh their home during months starting from October to February. These wetlands are covered by a layer of migratory birds in search of food. It is estimated that out of 1300 species of birds found in India, Uttar Pradesh caters to over 500 species. 13 species which are categorised as globally threatened and near threatened species like Slender Billed Vulture, Bengal Florican, Black Bellied Tern, Sarus Crane, Indian Skimmer, Black Necked Stork etc., find better habitat conditions in Uttar Pradesh.

Important Bird Areas

The state has three “Bird Circuits” to encourage national as well as international bird tourism. A network of Forest Rest Houses, private hotels and motels, secure transport and a well spread road network along with professional tour operators offer convenient access to the protected areas.
The bird sanctuaries within these “Bird Circuits” are:
Sursarovar Wild Life Sanctuary A large artificial wetland at just 20 kilometres from Agra it boasts of endangered Dartars, Painted Stork and Oriental White Ibis besides visitors like Asian Openbill-Stork, Gadwall, Common Teal, Common Ringed Plover and River Lapwing.
Okhla Bird Sanctuary It is home to an astounding over 300 bird species in its area. Leucistic Coot, Common Coots are occasional visitors along with vulnerable bird species from the family of Baikal Teal, Baer’s Pochard, Sarus Crane, Sociable Lapwing and Indian Skimmer.
Sarsai Nawar/National Chambal Sanctuaries The home to the fabled Gharial and the Indian Skimmer. Chambal trip provides for some spectacular vistas through boat safaris.
Patna Wild Life Sanctuary Home to over 200 species of migratory birds, it is in the Etah district in Uttar Pradesh. Winter has the small lake dotted with waterfowl. Baer’s Duck is often found here.
Saman Wild Life Sanctuary Situated in western Uttar Pradesh, tourists here can sight Sarus Crane, Greater Spotted Eagle, Common Teal, Lesser Whistling Duck, Black-necked Stork, Northern Pintail, and Great White Pelican.
Lakhbahoshi Bird Sanctuary The bird sanctuary is made up of two shallow jheels near the villages of Lakh and Bahosi (about 4 kms apart). The winter sees the lakes full of migratory waterfowls, Painted Storks, Pelicans, Herons, Pochards.
Nawabganj Bird Sanctuary Situated on the Highway between Lucknow & Kanpur it’s easily accessible. It is one of the important areas for the henrys that come up during the monsoon besides Cotton Teal, Pintail, Greylag Goose, Gadwall, Shoveller and Mallard.
Sandi Bird Sanctuary Sandi Bird Sanctuary is located at a distance of 19 km on Hardoi-Sandi Road. Asian Openbills, Painted Storks and the 3 species of Egrets make a big heronry here during the rainy season.
Dudhwa Tiger Reserve Dudhwa National park, Katerniyaghat Wildlife Sanctuary and Kishanpur Wildlife Sanctuary together make up the Dudhwa Tiger Reserve. It’s one of the finest parks in India and is the only home to the One-Horned Rhinoceros in Northern India besides Swamp Deer as also the Royal Bengal Tiger. It is also the habitat of Swamp Francolin, Spoonbill, Great Slaty Woodpecker, Kingfishers, Barbets, Vultures, Pied Kingfisher and Bengal Florican.
Sohelwa Wild Life Sanctuary Located in Shravasti, Balrampur and Gonda districts of Uttar Pradesh, the sanctuary is home to Sal, Sheesham, Sagaun (Teak) and a host of diversified tree species. The fauna found in the sanctuary includes leopard, tiger, bear, boar and variety of forest birds.

Sarus Crane chick
Sarus Crane pair with chick

Some images below from the UP Bird Festival, Chambal 2015