With its small lake
and extensive fields, Rann Riders offers good birding
at the resort itself. Grey and pond herons, egrets,
pied and white-breasted kingfishers, spotbill, nakta
(comb duck), saras cranes and other birds can be seen
at the waterfront. The bushes are also rich in birds
and shikra hawks have been seen perched on the trees
at the resort. The resort is also a roosting spot for
rosy pastor (rose-coloured starling).
The trees also provide
suitable nesting areas for ibises, egrets and pond herons
The Little Rann
of Kutch is a birding paradise and has been declared
a Ramsar Site. During the safaris in the Rann expect
to see large flocks of larks, and other dryland birds
like sandgrouse, coursers, plovers, chats, warblers,
babblers, shrikes. Among the many winter visitors are
the houbara bustard and spotted sandgrouse.
The best birding
is at the lakes and marshes in and around the Rann where
birds gather in numbers beyond comprehension during
the winter months from October to March. These are the
months when demmossile and common cranes are seen in
incredibly large numbers. The wetlands also attract
flamingos, pelicans, storks, ibises, spoonbill, a variety
of ducks and other waterfowl.
The Rann is also
the hunting ground of raptors like the short-toed eagle,
aquila eagles, six species of falcon, buzzards and three
species of harrier. It is one of the few places where
harriers can be seen roosting on open-ground at night.
Rann Riders is the
base to visit the bird-rich Nawa Talao lake, a number
of seasonal wetlands near Dasada, the village lake of
Dasada, the wetland near Patdi fort, Viramgam town lake
and many reservoirs of Surendranagar district that offer
good winter birding opportunities. Birds like rose-coloured
starling and green pigeon are often seen at Dasada village.
In the monsoon months
of July, August and September, lesser florican visits
the grasslands of Surendranagar District to breed and
the vegetation around the wetlands becomes the breeding
area for painted storks, several species of resident
ducks and other waterfowl. Lesser flamingo breeding
colonies have been recorded and photographed in the
Little Rann of Kutch during these months.
Rann Riders is 44
km from Nalsarovar Bird Sanctuary, a 105 sq km sanctuary
comprising a large lake and its surrounds. Nalsarovar
is renowned as one of the finest birding places in Western
India. Besides the extensive variety of birds seen in
large flocks at the lake, and their predators like the
marsh harrier and fishing eagles, visitors can also
watch passerine birds at the neighbouring bushes, grasslands
and fields. Saras cranes are a frequent sighting in
the fields around Nalsarovar.