About Me

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Hyderabad, AP, India
I used to be a bit of a drifter, still am partly, but life is getting more and more organized recently due to a special someone. I love playing and watching cricket, I have recently realised that I have a very big interest in wildlife and birding. I work for a blue chip company. I am well and truly blessed! No complaints there :)

Saturday, February 12, 2011

A recap of some recent birding trips

Have not been posting recently due to work and family commitments. However, I did a fair bit of Sunday birding through January predominantly in Zoo Park, ICRISAT, Pocharam and Narsapur Reserve forest along with Sasi, Navin, Rohit and Arijit.

The winter has generally been good with ample opportunities to spot and photograph a few rare winter visitors. We are yet to see the Lesser Flamingos in Pocharam though - partly attributed to the fact that the water levels are still relatively high in the reserve due to the late rainfall last year. Below I have included pictures categorized from each of these 3 locations with a few notes about each trip/location.

Zoo Park, 08 Jan, 2011
The visit to the Zoo Park early this year was along with members from the BSAP (Birdwatcher’s Society of Andhra Pradesh), a very knowledgeable group of people who were a pleasure to bird with. I had a couple of lifers during this visit in the Asian-pied Starling and Chestnut-tailed Starling. Also had an opportunity to capture the Wood Sandpiper, Night Heron (juv) and the Amur Wagtail. Since we got in really early on a Sunday morning we were also able to observe some of the animals in the enclosure in relative peace and quiet. I enjoyed photographing the usually elusive (in the jungle) Dhol in its enclosure enjoying the early morning cool air.

The photos from this trip:

Narsapur Reserve Forest, 14 Jan, 2011
The Narsapur Reserve Forest is a dense, deciduous forest just before the small town on Narsapur on the Medak highway. Its ~50 kms from Hyderabad and can be reached in ~1 hour from Bala Nagar. Due to the isolated nature of this location, its generally advised that one enters the forest with company. Also, remember that this is Leopard country and you might run in to one in the summer if you are lucky. During this visit I had a couple of lifers in the Crested Serpent Eagle, the Common Iora, and the Bay-backed Shrike.

ICRISAT, 15 Jan, 2011
After some last minute plans on Saturday night, we managed to get entry permission in to ICRISAT for an early Sunday morning visit. We had not been in to ICRISAT recently and we were unsure on what to expect. But ICRISAT never fails to surprise and delight us with its unbelievable range of flora and fauna.
The day was unusally foggy and misty, leading to soom poor sightings early in the morning. However, as the day progressed, our luck changed and we ran in to the legendary Jungle Cat that proves to be very elusive even in some of the full-blown national parks in Central India. Navin and I were in the lead car when we spotted a graceful creature walking at leisure along the tank bund near the main water body. With our curiosity heightened, we pursued it at full speed just in time to capture one decent shot before it moved in to the undergrowth by the bund. We also spotted the Common Stonechat, River Tern, Spotted-billed Duck, Indian Roller and Grey Heron amongst a host of other species. The pictures from this trip below:

Pocharam Reservoir, February 05, 2011
After having gone after the lesser Flamingos and not having spotted them the last time around in December, we made another foray up north to Pocharam to try our luck this time around. Though we did not run in to any of them, this trip was one of the most productive in recent times. As we were getting in to Medak, we spotted a Grey Hornbill flying in to a fruiting tree. We immediately pulled over to try getting some pictures and noticed that an entire tree was filled with them!! There were at least 20 of them on that tree (the highest concentration that most of us have seen so far) and they were not shy at all as they usually are. But due to the poor light conditions we could not get better pictures of these birds. With such a great start to the trip, we proceeded towards Pocharam with our hopes high. As we neared the Pocharam WS area, we noticed a Juvenile Black-shouldered Kite sitting on top of a lovely perch just off the main road. We stopped to get some good pictures of this when we noticed a plethora of other birds in the shrubs. There were vast numbers of Indian Silverbills and Scaly-breasted Munias. We were also lucky enough to spot the Red-headed and Black-headed Buntings in this collection of birds. These are quite rare to see this far south. Kudos to Sasi for ID’ing them on the fly.

After spending a good part of an hour here, we proceeded towards the Pocharam Lake expecting more surprises. Unfortunately though, the water level was still relatively high to attract any waders. The only birds we saw on the lake bed were a few larks and a couple of Little Ringed Plovers. I did manage to capture a river tern just dropping its catch for the day though :)
We also did not see any flamingos and on enquiring a few locals about this, we were told that this time they had not shown up yet and they are only expected when the water levels go down further. The pictures from this particular trip are below

Hope you like all these pictures. Please do share any feedback/opinions if you have any :)
Also, let us know if you are interested in joining in any of these trips in the future, we will keep you notified.