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Orchard Palace (also known as Huzoor Palace) is the current residence of the Maharajah of Gondal. The old palace has been converted into a hotel and the royal family now live in a more modern residence. We stayed at the hotel for one night en route to the Gir Forest. Northern palm squirrels are a common sight in the grounds and a family of seven spotted owlets also have a roost there.
Northern palm squirrels

There are five species of palm squirrel in Asia. Two of these - the Northern and Indian species - are quite common and often seen around tourist lodges and other human settlements. Although the ranges of the two species overlap, the Nor
thern palm squirrel is (not surprisingly) more common in the north of India. The animals at Orchard Palace were habituated to humans but were still quite difficult to photograph because they move so fast.
Northern palm squirrel
Northern palm squirrel Northern palm squirrel

Spotted owlets

Spotted owlets are widespread in Asia, but their small size (20cm (8 inches)) and camouflage colouration can make them difficult to see. The best time to watch this family of seven birds was apparently at 5am, which was a bit early even for me!
Spotted owlet
Spotted owlet
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Last updated 3 September 2007