Yamuna Bio-diversity Park

May 31, 2008

After mulling over it for several months, finally I zeroed in on a day when Kishore was in town and enthusiastic about driving as well as birding; when birding-friend AMS agreed to explore the Yamuna Biodiversity Park (YBP) with us and Kabir was safely ensconced in Bangalore with his grandparents so didn’t have to be forced into accompanying us at an unearthly hour.

I didn’t find directions to YBP on the Net but knew that delhibirders had been there several times. A quick exchange of messages with delhibirder Anshuman Varma got me the directions reproduced below, after which the only challenge was to wake up early enough to meet AMS and his friends by 6 am!

I sort of knew that 6 am would mean leaving home before 5 am and waking up even before that, and was concerned about the actual execution of that plan. But so keen I was to see this collaborative effort between the Delhi University and DDA that despite the head telling me otherwise, I listened to my heart and somehow got us both going just before 6 am! AMS phoned and said he was already at YBP and entering the park. An hour-long drive that was pleasant for end-May in Delhi showed us many yellow YBP boards after the Wazirabad crossing, and soon we found ourselves in a neat parking lane outside the YBP gate.

There was no entry fee to the park, and a bunch of guys manning the gate looked only too happy to see more human faces. AMS and friends had already been scanning the park for an hour, and said they’d seen the usual birds. We also started with the usual and ended with an unusual Streaked Weaver. The usual ones included Green Bee-eaters, Plain Prinias, Asian Koels, Coppersmith Barbets, Rose-ringed Parakeets, Paddyfield Pipits, Greater Coucal, Black Drongos, Red Whiskered Bulbuls, Eurasian Collared Doves, Common Hoopoes, Peafowl, Large Grey Babblers, Spotbill Ducks, Whistling Teals and one each of Golden Oriole, Yellow-bellied Warbler, Pond Heron, Cormorant, Black Kite and possibly a White-tailed Stonechat. Also, there were hares scampering about and at least two long snakes hurrying into the weeds!

The park was large, nicely conceived with paved pathways all along but devoid of water and unkempt in some places. There were old, knotted and interestingly-shaped trees and there were lots of newer guava and pomegranate trees. There were also lots of saplings under nets giving evidence of a regular supply of trees if those around didn’t do well. The area looked promising and worth several visits in different seasons to check the difference in species.

On the way back, Kishore and I stopped by Tee Dee’s at Majnu ka Tila for a breakfast of Thukpa, Tibetan bread and ginger-honey tea, and declared that it was a morning well-spent.

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PS: AMS tells me that our brown bird is a female Pied Bushchat, and I owe the id of our weaver to him too. He has excellent id’ing skills and I hope some day I’d have the same clarity about the confusing warblers/ pipits/ chats as he does.

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Directions to Yamuna biodiversity park, Delhi

– Go straight down the road from Majnu Ka Tila for a couple of kilometres till you come to the big Wazirabad crossing (for ID – there is short divider here which splits the straight-going lane into two). Carry on straight.
– Take a right from one of the red lights after the Wazirabad crossing.
– The right turn will take you over a bridge on a nalla. Once on the other side, take a left so that you are running parallel to the nalla.
– Just look out for and follow the YBD signboards. You will need to take a right again which will lead you to YBD.

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Photos taken by Kishore:

26 thoughts on “Yamuna Bio-diversity Park

  1. that’s right! The park also had some huge logs lying around for effect and K and I recalled your advice to get one for our little green patch at home to lure birds to cull insects from… Just finished looking at your new bag pic for the 600 mm lens and some travel photos – Dandeli doors looked good!

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  2. Nice post and nice pics! Must check out this place sometime… btw if you havent already, do checkout Sultanpur National Park, which is very close to Gurgaon.

    The Coppersmith Barbet in your pic is Crimson Breasted Barbet (or just Coppersmith) I believe.

    Are you aware of any bird-watchers group in Gurgaon? I’ve lost all my touch 😦

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  3. Thanks! We do manage to scan Sultanpur once every two months or so. Let me know if you’d like to come along at some point. Kishore’s photo gallery has a full folder devoted to birds seen in Sultanpur (http://kishorebhargava.com/v/nature/Birds).

    My two birding field guides (Salim Ali’s and Kazmierczak’s) mention this barbet as Coppersmith Barbet and show its distribution all over India. Another species listed as Crimson-fronted Barbet is shown for south-west India. Didn’t find any as Crimson-breasted Barbet.

    If you’d like to connect to birder’s in Delhi/NCR, join their yahoo group from the delhibird site http://delhibird.net/ (‘Join us’ from left nav bar). The group members meet up for walks every Sunday and cover Sultanpur several times a year.

    cheers, Jyoti

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  4. Wow I didn’t know the bio-diversity park had that much of a diversity. you will be surprised to know that I live just beside the park; just a few blocks away. all the time we were thinking that the construction work at the park had come to a stop. will need to go check it out on some sunday. tell me is it open on sundays and what is the best time. I will take pictures and u can name them for me because I m not an expert in ornithology. and u surely should visit me the next time u visit bio diversity park. U can also mail me at ujjual.aditya@gmail.com

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  5. I think the Park is open on Sundays too as the birders group from Delhi (delhibird.net) has arranged visits there on weekends. One way of figuring out for sure would be by visiting. There was no entry charge when I went and it was lovely even on a summery morning.

    Would be glad to help identify birds I know.

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  6. Our birding guide in the Bharatpur Sanctuary had mentioned being involved with YBP’s planning. He said that it was going to be expanded and lots of tree-planting was on anvil. I look forward to seeing your pics to remind myself of its feel.

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  7. Hi I am living in gurgaon, i am interested in bird watching. I am a begineer, Let me know your next visit to sultanpur. Thanks

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  8. Hello Sri, Will let you know when we’re headed to Sultanpur next. Meanwhile, you may want to read through my note on the next walk by Delhibird in Events. Subscribing to the delhibird mailing list will also keep you informed of their walks and sighting reports. You could also grab a pair of binocs and go over to Tau Devilal Biodiversity park ahead of Gold Souk and Sector 56 to try some unaided birding. Let me know what you see and want help identifying.

    regards,

    Jyoti

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  9. Hi Jyoti
    Thanks. I am living in Ardee City, sector-52. I will try this weekend.
    Also i will join walk on 21st.
    Currently I don’t have binoculars. I am looking forward to buy one. Do you have any suggestion/model, and where i can buy. Also i am looking for some books to read. Do you know any book store in gurgaon?. Thanks again

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  10. Sri, you’d get most of your initial questions answered in this guide at http://www.kolkatabirds.com/beginners.htm. Without a pair of binocs though, you’d achieve little from your scanning of any area. So pick up a pair very quickly. I find my Nikon Monarch 10×42 quite comfortable but could still do with more reach. A seasoned birder had suggested 12×50 as the optimal size on the mailing list but that idea had few takers as it’d keep one’s hands unsteady. I’ve used Bushnell’s 10×42 and found them close enough to Monarch in quality and less in price. Palika shops will offer you a wide choice. Closer home is Nikon’s showroom in sector 32 (+91 124 4688500) that I’m still to visit.
    regards

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  11. Bookshops:

    Midland in a complex called Shopping Mall on Arjun Marg, DLF-I phone:4380599
    Landmark in Grand Mall
    Om books in Metropolitan mall
    And, a very workable http://www.flipkart.com/ for home delivery!

    I use Krys Kazmierczak’s field guide to the birds of India.

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  12. Thanks your valuable advice. I ordered the Salim ali book through flipkart site. Looking forward my first visit to Yamuna park this sunday.

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  13. Salim Ali’s book provides some valuable details on nesting and other behaviour of birds but many species names have changed since the last print was released. Also, its illustrations aren’t as clear as Kazmierczak’s. Some birders are devoted to the Grimmet guide so you can further check with birders when you meet them. In any case, the Ali book is essential on any birder’s bookshelf.

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  14. last 2 days during my morning walk in ardee city, i watched 7 varities of birds with my nacked eye. But i dont recognize none of them. any tips how to start to recognize? thanks

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  15. Recognition would come when you start making mental/written notes of the physical characteristics (size of beak, colour of head, wings, size of bird) of birds you see and check them against a field guide. Even for checking with birders, you must describe a bird to get a helpful response.

    My husband, Kishore puts up some of his bird photos he takes on this link: the folder on Greenwood city would familiarise you with all the common birds of Gurgaon and speed up your identification skills.
    http://kishorebhargava.com/v/nature/Birds

    I noted your introductory message at the delhibird list and am sure the Sunday trip to YBP would show you several lifers (birds seen for the first time).

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  16. Yamuna Biodiversity Park is open from Monday to Saturday 9 AM TO 5 PM. HOWEVER YOU CAN VISIT PARK ANY DAY ANY TIME WITH PRIOR PERMISSION. OTHERWISE THE SECURITY WILL NOT LET YOU IN. FOR GETTING PERMISSION YOU CAN CONTACT THE SCIENTIST IN CHARGE OF YBP. AND REMEMBER GROUP ENTRIES ARE ALLOWED ONLY.

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    1. Very comprehensive blog. Good job, Jyoti! Anyways. I want to take my wife and infant-baby for a stroll in the following days….
      1. Can you please confirm wherefrom shall I obtain an Official Permission?
      2. Is it open on Sundays as well?
      3. Is it safe to take family inside the Biodiversity Park?

      Awaiting a quick reply on my mailbox.

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      1. Dibyendu,

        Any biodiversity park in the NCR that restricts entry has people manning the gate who charge a small prescribed amount from visitors. At the time I visited YBP, there was no charge on entering the park but it may be there now. It should be open on Sundays too and probably on all 7 days but please don’t count on me for this one. Go there and check out, write a post and let others know the current status as my own visit was some time ago.
        Biodiversity parks aren’t wildlife sanctuaries. These are simply large, landscaped gardens with a restricted entry. You may come across snakes and rabbits or even stray dogs but nothing wilder that those! The emphasis is on increasing greenery and bringing in a mixed vegetation that would do well in that terrain.

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