Saturday, February 26, 2011

Bird Watching at Kanha National Park

I recently visited Kanha on three day tour with my English clients. They were birders of repute and main focus was on birds. The timing was good since it was still cold and the migrants were  very much present.

We started from Jabalpur on 20/2/2011 for Kanha. On the way we made a brief  stop at Gaur River Bridge. We could sight:

Green Sand Piper
Wood Sand Piper
Common Kingfisher
Common Red Shank
Black Winged Stilt
Temminck Stint
Streak Throated Swallows
Black Ibis

We moved on straight for Kanha Tiger Reserve since we did not wish to miss the evening birding and safari there. We arrived in time for lunch and left for the park after consuming it. It did not seem to be the right day as clouds set in and it began to drizzle in the park. But anyway we saw many birds and tiger of course. We spent three days in Kanha Bird Watching in the park as well as outside. Lot of time was spent chasing the tiger as well.

We saw:
Common Myna
Gold mantled chloropsis
Spangled Drongo
White Bellied Drongo
Black Drongo
Racket Tailed Drongo
Pied Starling
Rosy Starling
White Rumped Shama
Yellow Fronted Woodpecker
White Naped Woodpecker
Black Rumped Flameback
White Browed Flycatcher
Verditor Flycatcher
Black Naped Monarch
Black Hooded Oriole
Golden Oriole
Common Iora
Asian Paradise Flycatcher
Blyth's Reed Warbler
Hume's Warbler
Greenish Warbler
Common Chiff Chaff
Ultramarine Flycatcher
White Eye
Brown Headed Barbet
Crimson Breasted Barbet
Painted Snipe
Common Snipe
Red  Avadavat
Zitting Cisticola
Red Rumped Swallows
Wire Tailed Swallows
Crested Tree Swift
Plain Martin
Grey Francolin
Painted Francolin
Tickell's Flycatcher
Red Breasted Flycatcher
Magpie Robin
Brown Cheeked Fulvetta
Red Spurfowl
Red Jungle Fowl
Oriental Honey Buzzard
Crested Serpent Eagle
Crested Hawk Eagle
White Rumped Vulture
King Vulture
Common Kestrel
White Eyed Buzzard (Calls)
Spotted Dove
Laughing Dove
Barred Jungle Owlet
Spotted Owlet
Indian Scops Owl
Yellow Fronted Green Pigeon
Indian Scimitar Babbler
Jungle Babbler
Purple Sunbird
Long Tailed Minivet
Small Minivet
Rufous Treepie
Large Cuckoo Shrike
Common Hawk Cuckoo
Shirkeer Malkoha
Lesser Whistling Teals
Northern Pintail
Wooly Necked Stork
Chestnut Shouldered Petronia
Rose Ringed Parakeet
Plum Headed Parakeet
Alexandrine Parakeet
Pied Kingfisher
White Throated Kingfisher
Common Stonechat
Pied Stonechat
Brown Rock Chat
White Ibis
Plain prinia
Jungle Prinia
Ashy Prinia
Common Tailor Bird
Yellow Eyed Babbler
Little Cormorant
Indian Cormorant
Brahminy Starling
Yellow Wattled Lapwing
Red Wattled Lapwing
Eurasian Thicknee
Rufous Tailed Lark
Tree Pipit
Chestnut Bellied Nuthatch
Common Grey Hornbill
Barn Swallows
Chestnut Tailed Starling
Brown Shrike
Long Tailed Shrike
Indian Robin
Oriental Turtle Dove
Little Ring Dove

Asian Koel

The trip was successful, courtesy IndiaFootprints. Contrary to the belief that Sal Forests are not good for birding. Pure Sal Belts and Bamboo offer little birding.But mixed forests, scrubs, wetlands, grasslands in Kanha provide amazing bird species to watch. It is very important that one should be familiar with the habitats before organizing a birding expedition. I was desperate to see White Browed Bulbul, Blackbird, Orange breasted green pigeon, Twany babbler,  Red headed and black headed bunting  which I have seen in Jabalpur. I missed identifying Ashy Minivet due to bad light. Our guest wished to see the Blue breasted button quail, but i knew these are rare bird often seen near village fields. I have sen it once near my residence at village outskirts.   

Bird expeditions are never complete since the avian species always maintain their own timings and places.  We could not see much of Munias as white bellied and the lot. I have realized you should feel happy in what you come across after all they are free wings.  

The best time for birding in Kanha is of course winters the migrant stay till Feb/March some as long as  April. The  summer birding is as interesting since thin canopy allows some grand sightings of birds like Indian Pitta and Orange Headed Ground Thrush etc. On earlier trip we had come across Pallas fish eagle and grey bush chat. The latter female posed some problems for me in the North he..he.  

Besides tiger reserves Jabalpur has lot to offer for bird watching expeditions in Madhya Pradesh. Nauradehi Wildlife Sanctuary, Pachamarhi, Amarkantak are some of the places which are top rated for birding in Central India. These destination are yet unexplored. 

Besides birds we saw Tiger, Indian Bison or Gaur, Spotted Deer, Swamp Deer, Jungle Cat, Wild Boar, Sambar Deer, Jackal and Barking Deer. Hanuman Langur, Spotted Deer are common wild animals in Kanha. We also came across Rehsus Macaque on the way. 

Monday, February 14, 2011

Birds of Amarkantak

On a short birding trip we came across some interesting birds.

Chestnut bellied nutchatch
Black drongo
Black throated thrush
Plum Headed Parakeet
Booted Warbler

Brown headed pygmy woodpecker
White naped wood pecker
Black rumped flameback
Sulphur bellied warbler
Tickel leaf warbler
Small minivet
Rufous treepie
Greater Whitethroat
Tree pipit
Black lored tit
Great Tit
Tailor bird
Large billed crow
Chestnut winged Petronia

We had camped at Helipad hill but for a short time  hence a small checklist. Amarkantak is a holy place for Hindus as River Narmada originates here along with Son River. The hill resort has an average elevation of 1048 meters. It is situated in Madhya Pradesh  about 250 Km from Jabalpur and 100? km from Bilaspur in Chhattisgarh State of India. The place is a meeting point of Vindhya and Satpura Hills at fulcrum called Maikal Hills.

Very little is known of bird species found in Amarkantak but more exploration will yield exciting findings. 

Monday, February 7, 2011

Jabalpur - Birding - 5-2-2011

Our birding trip began in the afternoon and we left for Dumna Nature Reserve near the airport. We visited the periphery of the reserve and then moved on to Gandheri Village and surroundings. We had often seen the India coursers here in large number and hoped to see them again.

The bird we saw:

Common Kestral 
Temmink's stint
Jungle Myna
Ruddy Shelduck
Lesser whisting teal
Twany Pipit
Indian BushLark
Oriental Skylark
Rufous Tailed Lark
Ashy Crowned Finch Lark
Red Rumped Swallow
Wire Tailed Swallow
House Swift
Common Redshank
Blank winged stilt
Long Tailed Shrike
Pied Bushchat
Pied Starling
Common Chiff Chaff
Brown Shrike
Black Drongo
Green Sandpiper
Wood Sandpiper
Plum Headed Parakeet ( Mating)
Black Kite

And some more commonly seen birds...