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Gir Birding Lodge

We left the Global Birdwatchers Conference and headed for Gir to look for a very special mammal. Our driver picked us up and we headed north across Gujaret. Driving through India is fascinating, always something to marvel and wonder at!

Early afternoon and we arrived at our destination for the night, Gir Birding Lodge. We were immediately impressed with the lovely grounds and were shown to our private bungalow tucked away in the grounds, just lovely! We were soon back at the lodge to enjoy a beautiful lunch of locally grown food with very friendly and attentive staff on hand to ensure we wanted for nothing.

gir lodge

gir room

After lunch we went for walk down to the nearby river and soaked up the local wildlife. A pair of Indian Robins hopped along the trail in front of us and an Oriental Magpie Robin bounced along in the leaf litter. At the river a pair of Black Ibis fed by the riverbank as a large crocodile sun bathed on the opposite side of the slow flowing river. Birds were everywhere and we just stood and watched drinking in the scene in warm sunshine. A Green bee-eater flashed in a grabbed a large dragonfly and ate it on a swaying reed. Both Little and Cattle Egrets dropped in as a pair of Pied Kingfishers perched right opposite us, two Common Kingfishers whizzed about like little blue and orange rockets. In the trees a gorgeous Tickell’s Flycatcher darted about after insects briefly joined by a female Asian Paradise Flycatcher. Greenish Warbler was common and their calls a constant back drop to birding here.


gir crows

green be

As the light failed we headed back to the lodge for another wonderful meal and hit the sack ready for an early start in the morning.

At dawn we were out in a jeep and heading in to the Gir National Park, in search of the endangered Asiatic Lions that live here. Tension was high, we had just the one day to find them would we be lucky? Plenty of Spotted Deer roamed the park, so no shortage of Lion prey; a gang of Golden Jackals were loafing by the track, looking cold in the pre-sun dawn.

Then we saw park rangers pointing in to the trees on the left of the track, lions! Panic as at first we could not see them in the dense bush. Our driver moved the jeep slowly back and forth until we could see through a “window” in the trees, and there were two Asiatic Lions! One of the rarest mammals in the world and we were watching them! The views were limited by the bush but we could make out a male and a female lion, amazing.

All too soon the animals were on the move and melted away in to the dense vegetation leaving us elated and wanting more! Just at that moment more jeeps arrived as word spread of the sighting. We waited a good while but the lions did not show again, we had been very lucky to see them.

Deeper in to the National Park we came across two more park rangers who waved us down and told us they had found a lioness feeding on a kill! The guys directed us to a spot where we could look down in to a dry river bed. A huge water buffalo lay dead on the sand just below us and then we saw the lion just meters away! It was amazing to be this close to a magnificent Asiatic lion guarding her kill. As we watched in stunned amazement the lion slowly walked forward and gave even better views as she calmly stared back at us unconcerned by our close presence. It was a wonderful experience to see this beast so close and we soaked up the views of her.

gir lion

More jeeps arrived so we reluctantly moved on to allow other to view the lion, but what a sighting! Back at Gir Birding Lodge we were picked up by a driver and headed off to catch an overnight train for the next leg our wonderful Indian adventure!


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