Thol is in fact a man-constructed artificial tank utilized mainly for irrigation purposes that possesses 1450 hectares of command plot and 153 square kilometers of catchment plot.
Thol promises a memorable birding experience and offers an incredible array of bird species, both resident and migratory. It is home to large nos. of visiting Great White Pelicans, Common Cranes and variety of waterfowls. One can even see some rare species like Mallard, Gray-lag Goose, Ferrugenius Pochard, Red-crested Pochard etc. It become particularly known last year when the critically endangered Sociable Plover were seen here regularly.
A visit to this lesser known paradise is a must for all the enthusiastic birders and photographers alike. It is now slowly becoming a very popular birding destinations of India.
Ask someone who has been here......and you wont have to think twice to decide where you want to head next. This Wild Ass Sanctuary is located in the Little Rann of Kutch of the Gujarat State in India. It covers an area of 4954 km². The Sanctuary is named after a sub species of wild ass (Equus hemionus khur), the last population of which it harbours. The Rann is one of the most remarkable and unique landscapes of its kind in the entire world. It is a vast expanse of desiccated, unbroken bare surface of dark silt, encrusted with salts which transforms into a spectacular coastal wetland after the rains. And in these wetlands occur one of the most breathtaking variety of avi-fauna that is rivalled by few other spots in India.
The Little Rann of Kutch is also a Wild-life photographers paradise as it offers innumerable opportunities to capture birds and wildlife at close quarters. Last year the Gujarat photographers literally had a feast photographing the falcons, buzzards, eagles, bustards, desert foxes, Wild Ass etc.
Kachchh (also spelled as Kutch) is a district of Gujarat state in western India. Covering an area of 45,612 km², it is the largest district in the state of Gujarat and the second largest district of India after Leh. Kachchh literally means something which intermittently becomes wet and dry; large part of this district known as Rann of Kachchh is shallow wet-land which submerges in water during the rainy season and becomes dry during other seasons. The same word "Kuchchh" is also used in Sanskrit for a tortoise and garments to be worn while having a bath.
Nature India has organized an exclusive Birdwatching trip to this paradise from 18th-22nd November 2009 (travel days excluded). We shall cover Thol Bird Sanctuary, Indian Wild Ass Sanctuary, Savna Wetland, Bajan Wetland, Nandawala Wetland, Handiwala Wetland ....virtually almost all the hotspots.
Some of the places that we will cover during our trip are as follows:
1. Thol Bird Sanctuary
Thol wetland is home to birds like Great White Pelican, Sarus Cranes, Common Cranes, Wigeons, Gargeneys, Shovellers, Teals, Gray-lag Goose, Ruddy Shell Duck, Red-crested Pochard...and enormous range and numbers of waders. If we are lucky, then we might also chance upon yet another rare and critically endangered Sociable Plover.
2. Wild Ass Sanctuary, Little Rann of Kutch
Little Rann of Kutch of which most of the part constitutes Asiatic Wild Ass Sanctuary. It is theonly place in the world, to see Asiatic Wild Ass in wild. Other mammals to look out for are Wolf, Blue Bull, Desert Fox, Desert Cat, Hedge Hog, Chinkara etc.
The sanctuary known for not only Wild Ass but also for numerous wetlands it has around and high nos. of Waterfowls. Also the dry unending desert is known for species like Hoopoe Lark, Greater Short-toed Larks, Desert Wheatear, Red-tailed Wheatear, Variable Wheatear, Rufous-tailed Scrub Robin, Hen Harrier, Montegue's Harrier, Merlin, Saker Falcon, Laggar Falcon, Imeprial Eagle, Macqueen's Bustard, Short-eared Owl, Sociable Lapwing etc...
Have a look at a couple of photoblogs on LRK & Thol Sanctuary
Date: 18th Nov, 2009 morning 6.00 am to 22nd Nov, 2009 eve 8.00 pm (travel days excluded)
Mode of Travel : Minibus (Thol) / Mahindra jeeps (LRK)
Overnight train travel can be booked from Mumbai..... however since it is a busy sector, the train bookings should be done soon to get the desired train and class .... there are several trains available for Ahmedabad from Mumbai....Nature India can ASSIST in bookings if required.
Rough Tour Iterinary:
17th Nov'09 : Departure from Mumbai to Ahmedabad by 9143 Lokshakti Express. or any other train according to your convenience.
22ndNov'09 : Early morning Birdwatching at Handiwala Wetlands – Checkout & Departure for Ahmedabad
23rd Nov'09 : Early morning arrival in Mumbai
Trip charges :
Option 1 - Stay in Huts on Twin sharing basis (10 seats)
Charges: Rs.8800- only (Includes non- A/C stay in simple "Kooba" huts at Eco Tour Camp, Jogad, on twin sharing basis with attached toilet, Local travel by minibus/ jeeps, Park entry charges, vegetarian food , Guide charges, Information articles & on board snacks and mineral water)…….
Charges: Rs.8200/- only (Includes non- A/C stay in Tents at Eco Tour Camp, Jogad, on twin sharing basis with common toilet, Local travel by minibus/ jeeps, Park entry charges, vegetarian food , Guide charges, Information articles & on board snacks and mineral water)…….
This does not include travel charges from Mumbai to Ahmedabad and Back, Photography fees or any charges other than the above.
Note: As the no. of Huts are limited, the Option 1 will be given on first come-first serve basis.
Group Size: Max.14 persons only
Kindly register soon as the train bookings are not easily available in Gujarat.
Eco Tour Camp, Jogad is a good and clean place to stay. The Stay arrangement is on a twin sharing basis and non-A/c accommodation in "Kooba Huts" / Tents. The food is mouth watering and we have kept a special arrangement for non-oily Kutchee food.
Resource Person: Mr.Adesh Shivkar, Mr.Mandar Khadilkar & (local expert)
Mode of Payment: You can either
2) Courier a cheque of Rs.4000/- as advance amount to the following address
Name: Mr. Mandar Khadilkar
2) Alcohol & Smoking is strictly prohibited on Nature India Tours
Please revert on firstname.lastname@example.org ID, in case you need any clarification …..
Thanks for your patience.
Looking forward for a very rewarding trip with you all !!
Adesh Shivkar & Mandar Khadilkar
Appreciate, Respect and Conserve