Gore Warning: This post is about vultures, hence will have related carrion images. Do not view it if you do not like such graphics.
I was fascinated when images of vultures started showing up. These were no ordinary images btw, these were images where a bunch of vultures would be together. Often these images will be including Steppe/Twany eagles. That was strange because it’s not everyday you see these magnificent birds congregating now a days. With their numbers on the decline due to rampant usage of Diclofenac, seeing vultures has become a rare sight. Hence I was quite curious when I saw these images. With my R&D which means google around with Jorbeer and lap up all and any trip report and piece of information I can find, I realized that I could combine a day trip to Jorbeer with Tal Chapar.
Hari was up for the trip and told me that we will have to start before the break of dawn. So we started while it was still dark. We had loaded up the water and some snacks in true Rajasthani style i.e. Bikaji Bhujia, biscuits, juice and water. This was a long and under maintenance road but we made it there around 7:30 (ish). As we approached the area, we started smelling the reason for this being a vulture kingdom. Advice to all, do not binge on deep fried goodies before visiting this place. It was all worth it for the raptor extravaganza that was on offer.
Jorbeer has dumping ground for cattle carcasses. You can pretty much call it a vulture restaurant. Difference is that a postmortem is performed on the carcasses before dumping them to ensure that the carcass is not affected by Diclofenac. I believe that is done on a sample basis and not on each carcass. There have been some reports of vultures dying due to possible Diclofenac poisoning.
Article on Diclofenac : http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Diclofenac
Hari was ready with his secret weapon i.e. a cloth to cover his face to avoid the stench. I was carrying a thin towel for the purpose but it soon became an obstacle. Besides in a few minutes it was easy to ignore the smell so I got rid of the towell. However there was another concern. Dogs. With easy availability of meat, feral dogs have started living around the area and have become quite ferocious. Anyone venturing out there on his own should be aware of it. You would not want to be on the wrong side of these dogs.
As we reached the dumping ground, we were greeted with a site of Steppe eagles & Egyptian vultures having a party. Every dot on a tree that looks like an eagle is an eagle here and same goes for vulture. Apart from these two species, there was a small party of Red-naped Ibises that was scavenging the site. Our search for yellow eyed pigeons resulted in some sightings but unfortunately could not make images of this. Indian Courser did have some mercy on us and shown up.
We progressed slowly, scanning the area and making images where possible. Also present were a few Eurasian Griffons and Cinereous Vultures. While I tried to make some images of these giants, they were a bit skeptical of our approach. Considering myself to be lucky enough to be in their company, I did not press my luck. Following are some of the images I could make there.
It was a long road back to Tal Chapar, but I was too excited to get tired. Jorbeer will have to be visited again, and sometime soon. 🙂
PS: I am bad at IDing and could have made mistakes at identifying some birds. Appreciate if you can let me know in case of a mistake.