Saturday, October 29, 2011

Spanish Nature Birding Tour to India - Peter Jones

Peter & Gajinder Singh
Peter strikes rapport with astounding ease and his birding skills are as astounding. He is the tour leader for Spanish Nature Birding Company. And most widely traveled on ornithological quest. 

I had the pleasure of  birding along with him as tour leader from DMC side (Indiafootprints). We had an exhaustive bird watching tour from November 15th to 4th  December. tour Highlights -  Okhla Bird Sanctuary, Bharatpur, Nainital - Sat Tal, Chambal River Sanctuary, Kanha National Park and Pench Tiger Reserve. 

As TL/birding guide, accompanying Peter was a learning experience. His professional skills go beyond spotting and identifying the avian species, being more analytical he could enlighten us a lot on morphology and flight patterns of raptors and birds with uniform characteristics like warblers, pipits and larks.

He loves his beer and jokes around a lot. The best evenings on tour I spent with him by the, bites and his ever accompanying wit.  He is generous and helps the locals wherever he goes. Part of this blog entry and photographs have been published on my blog from his blog which is a professional work and highly informative. With his permission!     

He is an excellent bird photographer with professional skills, his work can also be seen on Facebook.
Desert Warbler - Peter Jones/Spanish Nature
The most exciting moment was discovery of Desert Warbler at Dhikala Complex in Corbett Tiger Reserve. Our accompanying local guide Gajendra Singh spotted it in the complex towards Dhikala Chaud. Peter sighted European Roller at Kanha a rarity in these parts.
Bonelli's Eagle - Peter Jones/Spanish Nature.

Throughout the tour our checklist raced along with supersonic speed and we could sight most of the targeted species. We managed to spot Ibisbill, Greater Painted Snipe, Jack Snipe, Indian Skimmer, Great Hornbill, Eurasian Wryneck, Southern Grey Shrike, Clamorous Reed Warbler,  Altai Accentor, Mountain Hawk Eagle and many many more. 
Painted Snipe- Peter Jones/Spanish Nature.
Red Headed Bunting - Peter Jones/Spanish Nature.
The tour was in two parts and the last leg was in Central India - Kanha National Park and Pench Tiger Reserve. We managed to trek a big male tiger and the rest of the time of tour was spent on extensive bird watching. The reserves are best for forest birds and become more exciting in winters whence migrant arrive. 

Visit Spanish Nature Birding Blog for the checklist compiled by Peter Jones.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Western Crowned Warbler in Jabalpur

Red Jungle Fowl
Plain Prinia

Ashy Crowned Sparrow Lark
Bird Checklist Jabalpur 

Sunday 23/10/2011 Barha R.F Jabalpur MP India

I had seen this bird earlier about seven years back but could not confirm the features due to bad light. Today's birding yielded much better sighting and a new bird added to my list.

Western Crowned Warbler
Tickell's Leaf Warbler
Hume's Warbler
Greenish Warbler
Brown Cheeked Fulvetta
Black Naped Monarch
Paradise Flycatcher
Red Throated Flycatcher (Female)
Tickell's Blue Flycatcher
Black Headed Oriole
Golden Oriole Juvenile

Black Drongo
Racket Tailed Drongo 
Pond Heron
Black Redstart
Common Sandpiper
Red Wattled Lapwing
Grey Wagtail
Streat Throated Swallow

Large Cuckoo Shrike
Large Babbler
Jungle Babbler
Common Tailor Bird (Calls)
Gray Breasted Prinia (Calls)

Plain Prinia (Calls)
White Eye

Common Iora (Calls)
Rufous Treepie
Common Myna
Little Grebe
Little Cormorant
Cattle Egret
Indian Robin (Calls)
Rose Ringed Parakeet
Plum Headed Parakeet (Calls)
Common Grey Hornbill (Calls)
Grey Francolin 
Red Vented Bulbul
Pariah Kite
Black Shouldered Kite
Spotted Dove (Calls)
Black Rumped Flameback

Red Jungle Fowl (Calls)
Purple Heron (Flight)
Wooly Necked Stork 

Black Ibis

As the winter sets in more migrants are to arrive this will make birding more interesting. This November I will be leading a group to Kanha and Bandhavgarh Tiger Reserve in MP. This is a combined tiger safari/birding and wildlife photography tour of 10 days. I am very Happy!

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Best Birding spots in Kanha National Park

It can be a bit difficult birding at Kanha Tiger Reserve without prior information on best spots. Albeit the birds are spread all over the park some places are more fruitful for targeted birds. In winters dense canopy makes bird watching an arduous task. Nevertheless it is ideal time for forest birding due to arrival of migrants.  Birds can be seen anywhere I am just highlighting my favorite spots below. 

Some of the areas I prefer are the mixed forest zones within the park confines those at Indri Road. One can come across many species here. Scaly Munia, Red Avadavat, White Throated Kingfisher,  Red Rumped Swallows, Indian Silver Bill, Green Sandpiper, Temminck's Stint, Wooly Necked Stork, Common Snipe, Painted Snipe, Black Stork and other water birds can be seen at the pond near the beat guard's hut. Further ahead one can come across Indian Scimitar Babbler, Sirkeer Malkoha,  Brown Cheek Fulvetta, Long Tailed Minivet, Tickell's Flowerpecker, Purple Sunbird, Little Minivet, Grey Headed Canary Flycatcher,  White Eye, Crimson Breasted Barbet, Asian Koel, Barred Jungle Owlet, White Backed Vulture, Long Billed Vulture and many warblers. 

The canopy differs much at Bamni Dadar Road it is more mixed forest with high altitude species and mreo fruiting trees. This area is inhabited by Indian Scimitar Babbler, Honey Buzzard, White Eyed Buzzard, Shama (bamboo) Bronze Winged Dove, Yellow Footed Green Pigeon, Quails, Painted Francolin, Shikra, Common Kestrel, Common Kestrel and more. 

Grassland species best seen at Parsa Tola include Common Stone Chat, Pied Bush Chat, Pipits, other birds seen are Ashy Prinia, Plain Prinia, Long Tailed, Little and Scarlet Minivet, Tickell's  Blue Flycatcher, Brown Capped Pigmy Woodpecker, Grey Bush Chat and more.

White Rumped Shama, Tickell's Blue Flycatcher, and Tawny Babbler has definite affinity for Bamboo Clumps and perhaps. Puff Throated Babbler, Tickell's and Orange Headed Thrush prefer sandy stony areas with moisture.     

Link No 7 and 8 are also good birding grounds one should visit. The White Rumped Vulture and Palas's Fish Eagle can be seen near the bridge over the pond on approach to Kanha Rest House from grasslands.  One can see Red and Yellow Wattled Lapwings, Red Rumped Swallows, Pipits and Larks at the grasslands of Kisli near the Rest house.

The reservoir at Nakti Ghati near the Kopedabri Camp is excellent birding spot where on can see birds such as White Backed Munia, Crested Hawk Eagle, Honey Buzzard, Verditor Flycatcher, Asian Paradise Flycatcher, Peacock, Koel, Tickells Blue Flycatcher, White Throated Kingfisher, Pied Kingfisher, Common Blue Kingfisher, Black Naped Flycatcher, Lesser Whistling Teal, Cormorant, Red Wattled Lapwing, Purple Heron, Grey Heron  etc can be seen often.          

Malabar Pied Hornbill are less seen at Kanha as compared to Bandhavgarh National Park in Umaria District in MP. Grey Hornbill like many places in Madhya Pradesh are a common sight. 

The water bodies at Kanha, Sarvan Taal, Sondhar and Bishanpura harbor many wetland birds of which most common are Egrets, sandpipers, Northern Pintail, Common Teal, Lesser Whistling Teal,  Nakta, Wooly Necked Stork, Open Billed Stork, etc. Kanha is a poor representative of wetland species. 

On the outskirts I have had good birding at Lake near Boda Chhapri and Kahtia Mukki Road and some other nearby places. It is a must to go bird  watching on the outskirts as you are allowed a leisurely trek with ample of time to seek out the magnificent species that inhabit this wonderland.  

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Birds Seen at Barha Range Jabalpur

It was lazy birding but we could not sight new migrants on this Sunday. We saw some black winged stints and streak throated swallows which breed under the Gaur Bridge on the way. the other birds we saw where:

Black lored tit
Tickell's Blue Flycatcher (Calls)
Chestnut  Headed Myna or Chestnut Tailed Starling
Common Myna
Red Jungle Fowl
Black Hooded Oriole (Calls)
Juvenile Golden Oriole
Black Drongo
Honey Buzzard
Short Toed Snake Eagle
Pariah Kite
Rose Ringed Parakeet
Plum Headed Parakeet
Barred Jungle Owlet (Calls)
Common Iora
Common Wood Shrike (Calls)
Brown Cheeked Fulvetta
Little Grebe
Tailor Bird
Grey Breasted Prinia
Plain Prinia
Ashy Prinia
Bronze Winged Dove
Greenish Warbler
Little Cormorant 
Jungle Babbler
Large Grey Babbler

The vegetation is still very dense and visibility is not very deep hence less avian species is noted. The arrival of migrants is yet to peak.  We are keen to meet with our feathered friends from  abroad.