Bird Watching in Greater Rann of Kutch
Accessible from Nakhatrana, Greater Rann of Kutchh is land of vast salt marshes and semi-desert areas. The marshes are also a resting site for migratory birds, and are home to over 200 species of birds including Grey Hypocolius, Grey Napped Tit, Small Minivet, Common Iora, Lesser & Greater Flamingos, Painted Sandgrouse etc.
Banni Grasslands is an area spanning 3500 sq kms having a a large shallow lake of 80 sq kms. This area is best accessible from Nakhatrana and is part of Chari-Dhand Wetland Conservation Reserve. The vast area are virtually uninhabited except sparsely populated 46 villages. This makes the area haven for birds for nesting and for bird watchers to spot them. This area of Great Rann of Kutch lies on one of India's most important avian highways (both the birds flying from the southward in winter and the few species migrating eastward from the middle-east and Africa stopover in this area) are a top site for birding with waterfowl congregations at Charri Fulay lake, grassland and scrubland birds, as also characteristic desert species seen in the vicinity.
This is also one of India's most likely sites for Grey Hypocolius. Tawny and Bonneli's Eagle breed in the area, and there are good-sized roosts of aquila eagles. Chinkara or Indian Gazelle and desert rodents are easily seen and wolf, hyena and desert cat are possible sightings. Lala Bustard Sanctuary here once was home to Great Indian Bustard (now rarely sighted), this sanctuary is good for watching larks, chats, sandgrouse, etc. The Stoliczka's Bush Chat and White-naped Tit are globally threatened species that could be seen here, and this is also a good site for viewing Marshall's Iora, Syke's Crested Lark, White-bellied Minivet and Black Francolin.
The coastal creeks to the north of the sanctuary are good for close-views of flamingoes, herons, egrets. Chinkara, Nilgai antelope, Indian Wolf, Indian and White-footed Desert Foxes, Jackal are possible sightings, and Ratel has been seen.
Recommended stay – 2 nights Season – Oct - March