Reports, with Bird Lists, of our Meetings, Walks and Outings

India its Birds, People and the Taj Mahal
by Richard Pople

Date: Thursday 18 May 2017 at 19:30


Forty people attended the meeting to hear Richard Pople give a presentation on India.

The sheer variety and number of birds shown prevents any serious attempt at listing but it is worth mentioning some highlights! It was surprising how many birds are regular sightings in the UK, e.g. black-winged stilt, ring-necked parakeet, greenshank, shoveller, garganey, wigeon, teal, white-fronted goose, great tit, little ringed plover and hoopoe.

Circa 2000 black kites at an Indian abattoir, many different eagles, vultures, hawks and shrikes made for an impressive raptor count. In addition there was a variety of brilliant coloured sun-birds, seven species of laughing thrush, several beautifully marked plover species and lots of kingfishers, including the so impressive stork-billed kingfisher.

Richard’s star birds were the elusive ibisbill, brahminy kite and malachite hornbill.

Mammals shown were limited to elephant, golden-backed jackal, macaque monkey, wild boar and water deer, but sadly no tiger or leopard.

The cultural aspect of life in India was very varied. The utter chaos on the roads, the abject squalor of many of its inhabitants, the problem of walking in wooded areas that are latrines for the local population, the absence of any awareness of health and safety issues and yet in many ways a kindly, open and proud nation of people.

The opulence and architectural beauty of the Taj Mahal was a fitting end to an excellent presentation.

Richard delivered a presentation packed with bird species, excellent anecdotes about the people he met, a clear appreciation of India and its people all of which was accompanied by a very amusing narrative. Unfortunately Richard is becoming reluctant to travel far to give presentations and it is unlikely we can book him again.

Peter Gaines reported on What's About in our area:

  • Dorney Wetlands - 5 hobbys
  • Dinton Pastures – nightingales, great white egret
  • Little Marlow – ravens, little stint, common sandpiper
  • Theale – black-necked grebe, nightingales
  • Summerleaze gravel pits – oystercatchers
  • Maidenhead (Berkshire House 13th floor) – peregrine falcons
--- Original Programme Information ---




We travel around this evocative country to see the birds of Northern India, including Keoladeo National Park (Bharatpur Reserve), the foothills of the Himalayas and the famous Taj Mahal.

We also look at the culture of India to see how the billions of people manage their lives and travel despite the chaos on the roads.

We conclude with a visit to the Taj Mahal in Agra, that wonder of the east and glory of Indian architecture, situated on a bend of the River Jumna.


Richard Pople


Richard has been a birder for many years and has travelled extensively around the world watching and photographing birds.

His interest and photographs are predominantly of birds, but he endeavours to take photographs of the country’s culture and people, to enable his audience to appreciate the country as well as the birds.

He has been involved with the RSPB for over forty years and was the Group leader for the RSPB Stevenage Local Group for seven years.  As Group leader he took the group to new boundaries, organising and leading their first weekend trips and subsequent foreign trips.

 Taj MahalTaj Mahal

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