Saturday, February 2, 2013

Blackbuck National Park

National Park Blackbuck
Blackbuck National Park

The Blackbuck National Park at Velavadar, also known as  Velavadar National Park, is situated in the Bhavnagar District of Gujarat state, India. Established in 1976 in the Bhal region of Saurashtra, it is spread over an area of 34.08 sq km (square kilometer).Blackbuck National Park is one of the few sites in the country where Blackbucks are found in such large numbers. Merely a three hour drive from Gandhinager, this park allows a wildlife enthusiast to observe the Blackbucks in their natural habitat.

Historically, the Bhal flatlands have primarily been the habitat of the Blackbucks.  Reports of the forest department claim that during the pre-independence era when Bhavnagar was a princely state, the population of Blackbucks was close to 8,000 in this region. However, with hunting and habitat loss their population reduced to as low as 200 in 1966.

Velavadar has India’s largest population of Blackbuck, the elegant Indian antelope. One of the fastest mammals in the world, the Blackbuck is capable of achieving high speeds when leaping over the plains of Velavadar. India’s largest antelope, the Nilgai or Blue Bull, is easily seen in this national park. Those who stay for a few days at the Blackbuck Lodge can hope to see the endangered Indian Grey Wolf, the nocturnal Striped Hyena, Indian Fox, Golden Jackal, Jungle Cat and many small mammals like hare, gerbil, field mice, mongoose and hedgehog.

Velavadar National Park and its nearby wetlands comprise an important Bird Area, notified by Birdlife International. The park is a good place to watch grassland birds like larks, bushchats, wheatears, sandgrouse, francolins and quails. The park’s specialties include Saras Crane and Stolikza’s Bushchat. Magnificent eagles, falcons and endangered vultures can be seen at Velavadar. In winter, Velavadar National Park hosts the world’s largest harrier roost – Montagu’s Harrier, Pallid Harrier and Marsh Harrier can be seen in large numbers, while Hen Harrier is occasionally spotted. The lakes and seasonal marshes are important places to watch the Lesser Floricans, pelicans, cranes, storks, ducks, herons and other water birds.

Velavadar National Park is a possible site for birdwatchers who want to see specialty birds of the tropical Indian grassland like the Stolizka's Bushchat (winter), Rufous-tailed Lark, Greater Short-toed Lark, Ashy-crowned and Black-crowned Sparrow Lark, Indian Bushlark, Singing Bushlark, Syke's Crested Lark, Crested Lark, Painted and Grey Francolin, Desert and Variable Wheatear, Chestnut Bellied Sandgrouse, Spotted Sandgrouse (winter), Painted Sandgrouse, Quails and Saras Crane. Among the many raptors that can be seen are Pallid Harrier (winter), Montagu's Harrier (winter), Marsh Harrier (winter), Laggar Falcon, Eurasian Hobby, Kestrel, Red-necked Falcon, Saker Falcon (winter), Peregrine Falcon, Eurasian Sparrowhawk, Shikra, Imperial Eagle ( winter), Tawny Eagle, Steppe Eagle (winter) and Short-toed Eagle. Amur Falcon, Hen Harrier and Crested Goshawk have been seen at Velavadar National Park. Endangered species of vultures too visit Velavadar. Lesser Florican displays here during the monsoon when the park is closed but you may get a sighting outside the delimited area. In winter, you can see pelicans, cranes, storks and other birds at the water bodies and nearby marshes. While you may not get to see all these birds during your stay at the lodge, Velavadar is never a disappointing experience for a birder.

Best time to visit:
The park remains closed from June till October. It is advised to visit Blackbuck National Park anytime between December and March. The winter season will also give the delight of watching the variety of migratory birds and there will be no stifling heat obstructing your moments of pleasure. 

You can visit Blackbuck National Park anytime of the day. The park also has a tourist information centre from where visitors can get all required information. 

How to Reach Blackbuck National Park:

By Train Travel :
Train journey to Blackbuck National Park ends at Bhavnagar, though many tourist choose Ahmedabad just because of better and advanced tourism infra structural facilities and more connectivity for train train from various cities of India.

By Road Travel  :
On the road journey this is easy to reach Blackbuck National Park.

By Air Travel :
Bhavnagar is the nearest airport for Air travel to Blackbuck National Park. Bhavnagar air port receives daily flights from Mumbai international airport
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