Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Around Mandagadde, Shimoga and Bhadravathi

Last weekend we had been to these areas and we did birding for 3 mornings and an evening in and around Bhadravathi and Shimoga, it was a good outing and we were able to spot hornbills(Indian grey) ourselves for first time. And this time it was a more systematic birding trip after the NTP. Here’s a bit of detail about the spots.

a> Around Bhadravathi: Bhadravathi to Chennagiri road, offers lots of opportunities, with Bhadra canal running across you can find lot of irrigated stretches of paddy fields and arecanut plantations. During our initial days of birding, some 6 months ago, we had come here and we were fascinated spotting Asian Paradise fly catchers. Hence decided to come back here again, and the APF didn't disappoint us.

b>Around Shimoga: Shimoga to Theerthahalli road is another destination with lot of vegetation. Hornbills were found perched typically on roadside ficus trees. We had our stop at Sakrebyle Elephant camp and had a good time with birds. We did have a look at the upcoming JLR camp on the other side of the road, just in front of the elephant camp. The JLR camp area looks very promising. Unfortunately we couldn’t spend much time here.

c>Around Mandagadde: Inspite of visiting here during the off season, this didn't disappoint us. Of course there was not much of activity around the sanctuary area, but we crossed Mandagadde and stopped near a village called "Donigahalli". It is a small sanctuary surrounding a water body and not much space to walk around doing birding. However, from there we took a boat ride to another village "Muttinakoppa" and had a good birding outing there. The best time to visit this place is during the months of June to September/October during the nesting season.

This Yellow footed Green (?) Pigeon, let us watch it from under the tree it was perched on for a long time.

Here’s are some of the shots.

The Indian Grey Hornbills perched on a roadside ficus tree on the second day. There were 2 of them, no 3.... 4....5... and finally 6 of them on the same tree!!

The Brahminy Kite which posed for us for over 15 minutes
The Brown Shrike, which I initially mistook as White browed Bulbul :(
Common Iora
Black crowned night HeronIndian Pond Heron in non breeding plumage, these were in huge numbers

Black headed Oriole

Chestnut Headed Bee Eater
Black Drongo

Oriental Magpie Robin, female.... the ones here were much bolder when compared to the ones I've seen around Bangalore.

Here’s the list of birds... this time around we didn’t aim at numbers, rather we did justice to whatever little we saw and confidently identified.

Hornbill, Indian Grey
Hornbill Malabar Pied (We spotted a pair flying very close for a few seconds, but couldn’t capture them)
Egret, Cattle
Egret, Median
Egret, Little
Coucal, Greater
Ibis, Oriental White
Bulbul, Red Whiskered
Bulbul, Red vented
Myna, Jungle
Kingfisher, White throated
Kingfisher, Common
Wagtail, White browed
Bee eater, Little
Bee eater, Chestnut headed
Swift, House
Swallow, Wire tailed
Heron, Grey
Drongo, Black
Pigeon, Yellow-legged Green
Kite, Brahminy
Kite, Black
Crows, House, Jungle, Large-billed
Parakeet, Rose ringed
Pigeon, Blue rock
Dove, Spotted
Dove, brown
Bushchat, Pied
Indian Roller
Cormorant, Large
Cormorant, Little
Iora, Common
Oriole, Black headed
Shrike, Brown
Robin, Oriental Magpie
Fantail, Couldn't Id which one
Peafowl, Indian
Flycatcher, Asian Paradise
Lapwing, Red-wattled
Pond Heron, Indian
And heard Coppersmith Barbets and White cheeked Barbets
And this one we could not Id... It was perched quite far off, I felt the size was Bulbul+, we debated between Yellow Browed bulbul, White headed babbler, but feel it is neither now....
As per the experts, it is a Golden Oriole, female
And there were many more little birds and some big ones like eagles/harriers that we couldn’t Id, in spite of following the systematic process. May be we need some more time :). And I still don’t have a pair of binocs :(, but as the guru-ji says that’s not stopping us from birding :)

Friday, December 3, 2010

Birding around Dechu : Rajasthan

Having spent a good time at Khuri, it was time for another outing with birds this time around the Manvar resort where we stayed. Religiously we spent our early mornings and evenings in birding. After knowing our interest in birding, our driver ChandaRam, enthusiastically stopped the jeep whereever he spotted one, and explained us with lot of local details about the bird. I wish we could have followed the way it was taught to us in NTP, nI just have go back to photos to id the birds. A good lesson learnt, better late than never!

Black Shouldered Kite

Common Raven, locals believe that, if this bird enters a house during Deepavali, it is considered as good omen and its believed that the house will be blessed with lot of fortune :-)
Little Brown Dove

Indian Peafowl: These are so common, across the country side in Rajasthan, you are guaranteed to spot a few every time you venture out!

Indian Roller

Rose Ringed Parakeet (Male &Female)

Red collared dove
Variable Wheatear

Id needed for the following! the first two should be some female Wheatear, but we weren't able to ID them yet.
Common Babbler.

Rosy Pastor or Starling.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Birding at JLR-NTP, Bannerghatta

Here are some shots of a few birds we spotted at JLR Bannerghatta Nature Camp during our NTP. The shots are few in number and average in quality - as the emphasis was more on learning the process of birding rather than shooting them well.
Blue bearded Bee eater

Coppersmith Barbet, just outside the tent
White cheeked Barbet, whose loud call we woke up to in the mornings
Rose ringed Parakeet (female)
Spotted Dove, early in the morning
Laughing Dove
Brown Fish Owl
Eurasian Eagle Owl, which we almost missed the firs day but spotted the next day
Little Egret, showing off clearly, black legs and yellowish feet (lesson learnt in the previous class)
Golden Fronted Leaf bird (Chloropsis)
Here's the entire list of birds spotted during the course:
1. White Cheeked Barbet
2. Coppersmith Barbet
3. Little Cormorant
4. Great Cormorant
5. Red Wattled Lapwing
6. Black Crowned Night Heron
7. White Browed Wagtail
8. Blue capped Rock Thrush
9. Black Drongo
10. White Bellied Drongo
11. Ashy Drongo
12. Black Naped Oriole
13. Red Whiskered Bulbul
14. Red Vented Bulbul
15. White Browed Bulbul
16. Golden Fronted Leaf Bird
17. Great Tit
18. Rufous Treepie
19. Blue bearded Bee eater
20. Scaly Breasted Munia
21. Black headed Cuckoo Shrike
22. Indian Robin
23. Brown Fish Owl
24. Eurasian Eagle Owl
25. Small Green billed Malkoha
26. Gray Jungle fowl
27. White Browed Fantail
28. Grey Heron
29. Oriental Honey Buzzard
30. Green Leaf Warbler
31. Asian Paradise Flycatcher
32. Small Minivet
33. Stork Billed Kingfisher
34. White Throated Kingfisher
35. Common Kingfisher
36. Common Iora
37. Asian Brown Flycatcher
38. Plum headed Parakeet
39. Rose Ringed parakeet
40. Jungle Babler
41. Tickell’s blue flycatcher
42. Purple rumped Sunbird
43. Purple Sunbird
44. Black redstart
45. Chestnut Tailed Starling
46. Large Billed Crow
47. Spotted Dove
48. Laughing Dove
49. Oriental Magpie Robin
50. Little Egret
51. Black Naped Monarch Flycather
52. Black Kite
53. Brahminy Kite
54. Asian Koel
55. River Tern
56. Greater Coucal
57. Shikra

It was a great beginning to 'stream-lined' birding at JLR-NTP conducted by a wonderful teacher and a knowledge bank - Karthik (S.Karthikeyan), Chief naturalist of JLR. Though we have been doing birding from a few months, in this session we learnt to emphasize on a systematic process to follow while birding, which is very necessary, especially as beginners. I still remember our initial days when we used to spot a 'new' bird and google to find out what it was, or call up pur friend Chandu, giving him crude description about what we saw! We have come a long way from there, but then there is a much longer way to go....

Monday, November 15, 2010

Birding around Khuri: Rajasthan

Vacation mixed with your hobby is a real pleasure!!! Having said that, we had a real good experience of birding in the desert land. One thing which I was really happy about was seeing a colony of sparrows, that’s has become so uncommon in Bangalore these days (except for BIAL). Our idea was to do birding as much as possible, and I must say Khuri didn’t disappoint us.
As per the locals, there was a good monsoon and good crops this season and so are the birds. Khuri has 3 small lakes, if I may call so! Lakes are abuzz with birds during morning and evenings.

Here is Sparrow’s family.
House Sparrow Baby (imm)

House Sparrow Female

House Sparrow Male

Desert Wheatear

Indian Courser
This one is the fav shot, this is bit of a shy bird:-) The only issue I found in birding in deserts was that, you have limited choices for camouflaging yourselves in desert.

Red Wattled Lapwing, We found these were more tolerant to humans around them than the ones we have spotted around here in Bangalore.

Red Vented Bulbul


Blue Rock Pigeon

Black Winged Stilt

Green Bee Eater

Long legged Buzzard, Sum shot this while having Camel ride :-) Even though we spotted look alikes of buzzards and kites, but we were unable to capture or identify them.

Bristled Grass Warbler

Black Headed Cuckoo Shrike Variable Wheatear

Black Headed Cuckoo Shrike- Female Not very sure, Must be some female wheatear

Great Grey Shrike

Locals call it "Shagun Chidi". As the belief goes this bird brings good omens. Typically when the camel/cow or goats are lost in the desert and locals begin their search get them back, they follow the the direction in which "Shangun chidi" is found.

Rusty Tailed Fly catcher May be Jerdon's buschat female, but not too sure..

Colony of Sparrows, It's just amanzing to sit and watch them flying , grouping and regrouping in tandem creating beautiful patterns in the sky.

White eared bulbul, even though we spot so many bulbuls around home here, this trip could spot at least 3 different varietes of bulbuls and capture them.

Footsteps of the bird on the sand, It's just great to watch it.

Red Collared Dove

White Throated Kingfisher, You really cannot miss this one any where! Can you?

Please note that, if you find that ID'g of the birds are not correct, please do let us know.