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The other rare bird that I was hoping to see was the Black-bellied Tern (Sterna acuticauda). Although I’d seen it flying near a lake on Kanakpura road earlier this year, I’ve wanted to see it sitting and (may be) fishing. Chambal didn’t disappoint on this account too. I got to see at least 6 different individuals during the day-long boat ride.
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The Black-bellied Tern is a small tern (about the size of a Whiskered Tern, whose breeding plumage it is most confused with). Found mainly in rivers, this is a “Near Threatened” bird according to IUCN.
Ruddy Shelducks (Tadorna ferruginea) were seen very commonly along the river banks, always in pairs. The boatman, Mr.Parmar, mentioned that stories of the Ruddy Shelducks’ lifelong bonding were very common.
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River Lapwings (Vanellus duvaucelii) were also in good numbers.
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These Great Cormorants (Phalacrocorax carbo) formed a nice queue while getting ready to take off.
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Among the raptors, Egyptian Vultures (Neophron percnopteru)were the most common.
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We saw this Peregine Falcon (Falco peregrinus) perched high on a cliff.
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As I got off the boat, this beautiful White Wagtail (Motacilla alba) gave some nice poses for the camera.
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A truly memorable day, with some superb sightings.
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How to go boating at National Chambal Sanctuary?
Madhya Pradesh Tourism organizes boating on the Chambal River very close to Dhaulpur (on the Agra-Gwalior highway). Boating costs Rs.400 per boat per hour plus Rs.15 entry fee (one time) per head.