Beastie and Bird Log


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It’s impressive how widely some species, especially birds, are distributed. This isn’t influenced only by latitude & longitude, but also by terrain. For example, in open country, we see kestrels in the UK through to Kyrgyzstan. We didn’t see them in e.g. Austria,  but there we were mostly in woodland. In India we started going into nature reserves with guides,  which meant we spotted a whole lot more.

At the bottom are the things we haven’t identified yet, although in some cases it’s in a notebook somewhere…

Photography note: We can’t carry long lenses on this trip. Most distant creatures we shot with Gideon’s Olympus MFT with a 45mm lens, or Clare’s Nikon APSC with a 55mm zoom. There are some pretty extreme crops below!



Rabbits. Only in England. See buzzards.

Hares. Germany thru Serbia. India (looked a bit stumpier than European).

Hare (Tolai or piping). Tajikistan.

Mice etc rarely. Including two in our room in a semi abandoned motel in Kazakhstan. More in India, quite often seen scurrying about underfoot in the bazaar, or (pictured) in a silver jewellery shop where the owner had just offered us chai and cakes… then put the cake packet down: That’s mousie’s bum sticking out of it. Later the same day, saw another in nearby restaurant.img_1195-2

Mouse/vole. Large for a mouse, rather browny tan colour, in a Kyrgyzstan pine forest.


Rats. A Serbian borehole. Indian bazaar. And a great number, in Delhi, in a patch of ground next to a police station, where they’re clearly tolerated, and looked after (watered at least), and were complete unfazed by us less than 2m away (picture).

Gerbil. India (Thar).

Squirrels (Grey, or at least, looking like a grey, also pretty fat). kyrgyzstan (Although Wikipedia doesn’t think it should be here).

Squirrels (red). Germany, Austria, Serbia.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Ground Squirrels: Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan.

Marmots: Either Uzbekistan or Kazakhstan.

Chipmunky thing: India (picture).img_0672


Deer. Sporadically. Shooting platforms Germany thru to Serbia.

Spotted Deer. India. Left above

Sambhar. India (Bandhavgarh). Right above.

Small athletic Deer, dust coloured, small straight horns? dark markings on head or arse (can’t remember). India (Thar).

Blue Bull Antelope. India.


Boar. Croatia, the only time we were riding after midnight, India (below, with spotted deer). OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Hedgehogs (flat) England, Croatia, Serbia, Turkey, Georgia, Kazakhstan, India.

Elephants. Thailand. We also saw a couple of working ones in India and Myanmar.

Stoat/Weasel/Badger/Marten Family

Polecats. Austria thru to Serbia. Roadkill in western Georgia.

Asian Palm Civet. Indonesia (Sumatra) roadkill.

Weasel (or stoat?).?

Mongoose: India (Indian Grey Mongoose, we think, in Delhi). Is it the same family as weasels?img_1240-2


Orang Utan. Indonesia (Bukit Lawang, Sumatra). This used to be a rehabilitation centre, so the apes are wild, but habituated. 

Rhesus Monkey. India (left, pictured in a busy market street in Delhi  and upper).

Langur Monkey. India. Thailand. Lower right above. These don’t seem to come into towns.

Macaque Monkey. Thailand. Above. Not sure which sorts, but both long and short tails. Found around temples and caves.

Long Tailed Macaque. Indonesia (Bukit Lawang, Sumatra). 

Pig Tailed Macaque. Indonesia (Bukit Lawang, Sumatra). 



Spectacled Leaf Monkey


Spectacled Leaf Monkey. Thailand.

Thomas Leaf Monkey. Indonesia (Bukit Lawang, Sumatra).


Feral dogs. Serbia (sometimes in aggressive packs), Romania. Also Turkey & Georgia, and the ‘stans, but then always mild mannered. India.

Feral cats. Croatia, Serbia, India.

Feral cows (holy cows?). India.

Feral pigs/semi wild boar (uncertain, but not eaten). India.


Bats. Germany on, at some campsites esp near river. Turkey, in caves. India, in old buildings.

Bigger Bats. Hungary, again riverside.

Huge bat (fruit bat/flying fox). Indonesia. In a restaurant, tied up with elastic bands, waiting for the pot, poor thing.

Reptiles and Amphibians

Was that evening vee in the lake at Ranakpur a mugger crocodile? We’ll never know.


Lizards. Germany on. Given the weather before then, hardly surprising absence of reptiles.



Thailand Hotel Gecko

Geckos. India (in hotel rooms, hopefully eating the mozzies). Myanmar, Thailand.




Thailand. Locals called it a “Ginko”. See that tail!

Ginko? Lizard. Thailand.


Lizards (large green). Serbia, Turkey

Lizards (broad spade heads, grey). Turkey, GeorgiaOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Lizards (broad spade heads, sandy). Kazakhstan

_CTF2978-1Lizards – Water Monitor. Thailand. Wow, that’s huge. The biggest must’ve been getting on for 2m long. Here’s a tiddler – only 45cm or so.

Tortoise, with yellow spots. Croatia, Serbia.

Tortoise, with no spots and frilly shell. Romania. Turkey.

Snakes and Snakey Things

Slowworms (usually but not always flat). Austria, Hungary

Grass snakes (50% flat). Austria, Hungary, Romania (lots)

Adder. Hungary (I think), Romania

Small unknown brown snake. Kazakhstan (nearly run over by Clare)

Big grey with lengthways brown stripes. Big, nearly 2m. Myanmar, on the hill walk.

Long slim bright green snake. Thailand (actually run over by Clare, sorry).

Umpteen snakes. Thailand. Mostly squashed, but many not. Sometimes through our wheels.

Cobras. Plain and fancy. India. Only ever seen in baskets, so not really wild.

Frogs and Toads

Frogs. Very audible in May, Germany to Hungary. Georgia. Rarely seen. Much noisier than English frogs.

_CTF2460-1Toads. Thailand, in the rain.


Raptors, Vultures, Owls

Kestrels. England to Tajikistan. India.

Buzzards. England t Kazakhstan, but especially in Germany where they seem to beat the crows and seagulls to the follow-the-tractor eco-niche. From Hungary, we’re increasingly doubtful they are all actually buzzards.

Asian Honey Buzzard (Which AFAIK is not, actually any kind of buzzard). India.


Asian Honey Buzzard


Steppe Eagle. Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan. Numerous in desert, but very confusable with buzzard.

Buzzardy thing but chestnutish and maybe smaller. Hungary, Croatia.

Buzzardy thing but distinct black underside wingtips. Hungary?

Golden Eagle. Tajikistan (Panj). Seemed to be followed by magpies, and mobbed by crows. Once it was seated, we watched it for a while through our monocular, and saw it quite clearly in profile.

Bearded Vulture (Lammergeier). Tajikistan (Pamirs).

Large soarer, three together, big square wings, short rounded tail, short neck, TODO Add Gid photos. India (Thar).

Red kite. England (not this trip). Maybe France (memory unclear!).

Kite, maybe red. Kazakhstan, seem to be a lot of raptors up on the steppes.

Black Kite. India. Very numerous over Delhi. Scavengers of detritus, and apparently known to the old British Army in India as “Shite Hawk”.

Marsh Harrier. India.


Big falcon pair. Croatia.

Bird with slim sharp tipped falcony wings and straight tail, dark, bigger than kestrel,  smaller than buzzard, swooping and swerving erratically low over steppe. Look to be trying to flush prey. Kazakhstan.

Pale hawky falcony thing, seen twice, second time both got photos bigger than kestrel, smaller than buzzard. Also dark falcony thing, very slender pointed maybe crescent wings, slightly smaller Day or two later, three raptors together, on ground tho no visible carcass, all big, two light coloured, one quite dark. India (Thar). TODO Add photos.

Black Winged Kite (Black Shouldered Kite). India.

Unidentified raptors. Thailand. Four photos, two birds. Not certain the two are the same species. Long tail. Long wings, usually pointed wingtips, but occasionally “fingers”. Wings pale underneath with black wingtips. Pale under head and breast. Usually patrolling slow and low over southern Thailand rainforest/rubber or palm plantations. We’ve seen at least four, so not rare. Cannot work out what it is, doesn’t match anything in Wikipedia’s Birds of Thailand.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAUnknown raptor. Indonesia (Sumatra), seen in the distance patrolling low over the edge of the palm oil plantation, beach, and sea.

Storks and Herons

Black stork. Hungary, Serbia.

Painted Stork. India.

Lesser Adjutant. India (Bandhavgarh). Not certain the ones flying are the same.

Spoonbill. India.

Storky thing, Turkey sized, dark, long downcurved bill, on ground, pair. India (Thar).



Open Billed Stork. Thailand. The bill is specially for eating snails, apparently. Very numerous in paddy fields.

Cranes. Hungary, Croatia, Serbia, Georgia. Seen some stork nests in Uzbekistan, too.

Stork or Crane, not sure. India (Delhi, picture).img_1262-2

Large egret. Croatia, Kyrgyzstan. India.

Little egret. India, Myanmar, Thailand.

Grey heron. England thru Serbia. India.



Purple Heron. India.

Cattle Egret. Serbia. Thailand.

Indian Pond Heron. India. Myanmar. Possibly also Thailand, but that looks a bit darker on the back. Or it maybe was juvenile or breeding plumage. Or a night heron.


Chinese Pond Heron. Thailand. Or maybe it was Indian, but in breeding plumage (April). Look, how many herons do you want?



Jungle Birds

Indian Grey Hornbill. India.

Pied Hornbill. Thailand.



Kingfisher (Common). India.


Common Kingfisher


Pied Kingfisher. India.

White Breasted Kingfisher. India.


Lapwing (or something like) Serbia, Romania

Red Wattled Lapwing. India, Thailand.


Red Wattled Lapwing


Grey with orange legs. Serbia (wetlands)

Crow Family

Crows/rooks. England thru Austria. Kazakhstan, Tajikistan, India (not Thar). Myanmar, Thailand.

Hooded crow. Austria thru Serbia. Turkey. Georgia. Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, India (Thar, maybe slightly smaller?).


Hooded Crow, Thar Desert

Raven. Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan

Chough. Tajikistan (Panj valley)

Jackdaws. England, Romania, Turkey

Jays. Germany, Austria. And probably further east as far as Georgia, but some potential for confusion with Hoopooe or Roller. Azerbaijan.

Magpies. Sporadically, fewer France to Hungary. More again from Croatia. Georgia, Azerbaijan, Uzbekistan, Kyrgistan, Tajikistan (loads, and seen mobbing crows).

Like a magpie, but all dark (dark brown/black), a bit smaller, smaller bill, same noise and shape and flight. India.

Green Parakeets. India.


Parakeets at the Taj Mahal Mosque


Birds of the Open

European Roller. Georgia (extreme East). Uzbekistan, Thailand.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Asian Roller. India, Thailand.

Hoopooe. Serbia, Romania, Georgia. Thailand.


Sparrows. Everywhere.

LBJ. Everywhere. (The Zebra Dove is here as a placeholder for a limitation in WordPress).

Skylark. Europe, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Nuthatch. Uzbekistan, at a teahouse. Not sure the photos are of it, though… Are we sure?

Small greenish bird. Most countries in Europe.

Plump small bird (bigger than Robin, shorter than European starling, dark, rusty red rump, white flashes, small bill. Tajikistan (Panj and high plains).

Rosefinch. Tentative id from a car, of a bright pink are diving into a bush. Dark wings and head. Mountain valley, Kyrgyzstan.

Goldfinches. Germany thru Serbia. Georgia

Pied wagtail. England thru Georgia. Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan. India (maybe, but see below).OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Grey wagtail (ie, yellow, but not a yellow wagtail). Errr – forgot where!

White Browed Wagtail (India).




Pigeon. Every town. And in the Panj valley, here is a mixed flock of pigeons and either crows or choughs, at dawn near Langar.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Collared doves. Increasing as further south.

Small slim collared doves without collars. Rosier tinted and darker into the ‘stans. Not sure if always same bird. Georgia, Uzbekistan, Kyrgistan, Tajikistan, India.

Dove similar to above, with dark collar, darker and much more rosy. Thailand.

Zebra dove. Thailand






Dollarbird (maybe). Thailand.

Starling. Europe.


Vinous Breasted Starling?

Vinous Breasted Starling. Thailand. Maybe. Looks like some mynah, but no mynahs we can find have grey heads. Quite numerous around villages in the west/south.

Common Mynah. Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan. India, Myanmar, Thailand.

Bank Mynah. India.

Black Drongo. India. Thailand.

Racket Tailed Drongo. India (Bandhavgarh)OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Swifts (swiftlets?). Indonesia. Of course there have been swallow and swift type things all the way through, but too fast for us to photograph. But these little birds were nesting in a shop, so slowed down for me. They are possibly the same species that the locals from Thailand onwards try to tempt to nest in big concrete structures which continually play a loud recording of birds on the nest. Presumably to make birds nest soup.


Ducks (mallard). England thru Serbia. India (but not common).

Ducks (other). A few, Hungary? India.

Gosander. Austria?

Geese. Occasionally.

White breasted (TBC) waterfowl. India.

Some kind of Moorhen that’s not the same as European. India. Thailand.

Cormorants. Germany. Tajikistan (Panj). India (Greater Cormorant). Thailand. Unlike most in the UK, these (and the other cormorants) were inland.

Lesser Cormorant. India.

Indian Cormorant (Snake Bird, distinct green eye). India, Myanmar (esp Inle).




Grebe. Germany?

Little Grebe. India.

Swans. England thru Serbia.

Terns (Grey). Romania. Maybe Uzbekistan.

Terns. India.


We’re not systematic with these, well, are we with any? Just random things that catch our eye.

Damselfly. India.





Krabi dragonfly

Dragonfly, Thailand (Krabi mangrove swamp boardwalk).


Butterflies, Myanmar, mostly in the Shan Mountains, except for the brown with shoelace patterns, at Inle.

Butterflies and bugs from Thailand

Bugs and Butterflies from Indonesia

Mangrove Swamp Inhabitants

(As well as the dragonfly above, these were all at Krabi, aptly named town in Thailand).

A Few Random Plants (Mostly Not Wild)

Thailand Plants

Indonesia Plants

Things Waiting To Be Added/Identified






Keoladeo. Various herons. On tree, Marsh Harrier


Seen in Thar Desert. Gerbil? Small athletic Deer, dust coloured, small straight horns? dark markings on head or are (can’t remember). Storky thing, Turkey sized, dark, long downcurved bill, on ground, pair (Gid photo). pale hawky falcony thing, seen twice, second time both got photos bigger than kestrel, smaller than buzzard. Also dark falcony thing, very slender pointed maybe crescent wings, slightly smaller. Large soarer, three together, big square wings, short rounded tail, short neck, Gid photos. 13th, three raptors together, on ground tho no visible carcass, all big, two light coloured, one quite dark, some reasonable photos. Hoopooe both days. Rollers, blue/green but seem small.

On way to Pali, quite large Deer, small herd, poss females and young. About red deer size. Adults plain, light tan, maybe a little striping beside tail. Young maybe light speckled.

In the unsorted photos below, the flying eagles (?) are not the same occasion as the eagle’s (?) nest. The birds on the ground are Egyptian Vulture (white, pretty certain) and probably the same, juvenile (they seemed closely associated).

Unsorted 1 – Thar Desert

Unsorted 2 – South Eastern Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh

Bandhavgarh and nearby.




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