Monday, October 14, 2013

Bird Watching at Dumna

Brown Hawk Owl by Prayut Mandal
The recent discovery of Brown Hawk Owl by Prayut and Aishwarya Mandal coaxed us to visit the Dumane Nature Reserve in Jabalpur. Situated on Dumna Road to the Airport is the Khandari Reservoir home to mugger crocodiles, turtles and numerous fishes. In winters migratory birds flock from far and wide. The place is home to many spotted deer, wild boar, jackal, leopard, langur and rhesus macaque. Besides numerous nocturnal animals can be seen here in the night.    

Some of the bird species that arrive here are osprey, black redstart, wagtails, pipits, larks, greenish warbler, Hume's warbler, Sulfur Bellied warbler, Gray Lag Geese, Eurasian Wigeon, Common Pochard, Coot, Gadwall, Red Crested Pochard, Brahminy Duck, Gargany, Northern Pintail and Shovellor. The resident ducks seen here are the lesser whistling teal, comb duck, and cotton pygmy goose and sometimes the spot billed duck.

Some of the other interesting birds can be seen here. We have seen Golden oriole, black headed oriole, Jerdon's leaf bird, gold fronted leaf bird, barred button quail, jungle bush quail, Tickell's thrush, Long tailed shrike, plum headed parakeet, chestnut shouldered petronia, wire tailed swallow, gray headed and coppersmith barbett, black rumped flame back, white naped woodpecker, yellow crowned woodpecker, scaly breasted munia, large cuckoo shrike, honey buzzard and paddyfield pipit. The surroundings are habitat of Indian courser, ashy crowned finch lark, rufous tailed lark, southern gray shrike, tawny pipit, Indian bush lark, Syke's lark, blue rock thrush and many more.

The Dumna Road and Nature Reserve and nearby villages are the best plac ein Jabalpur for bird watching. Many birders visit Kanha, Bandhavgarh and Pench Tiger Reserve via Jabalpur. They usually stop to see the beautiful Marble Rocks, a visit to Dumna Nature Reserve will add much fun to travel in this city. The visit can be arranged by hotels in Jabalpur City which provide travel services. There are three rooms available at Dumna Nature Reserve. Plans are in process to set up three luxury tents as well for accommodation by MPTDC. 

In order to visit Dumna one has to drive or taxi down half way to the airport. The whole package can be arranged by the hotel you are staying at.                   

Monday, October 7, 2013

Birding in Central India - Some Exciting Finds

During our younger days we would often see the chestnut bittern over head along with a number of egrets. This is a rare sight now. The bitterns are highly dependent upon the reed beds and certain plant species hence susceptible to loss of habitat.   . 

Like any other big town in India Jabalpur to is being rapidly urbanized with large number of colonies springing up every where. Hence many avian species are loosing their habitats. We recently came across a group of yellow and chestnut bitterns breeding in Jabalpur in Central India or MP. 

Two young birding enthusiasts discovered this colony near a local medical college in midst of human habitation. We keenly observed the juveniles and adult bitterns interacting with each other. This was a great sight and heartening as well. We continued birding in and around the area and came across an Isabelline Shrike, Yellow Eyed Babblers, Bronze Winged Jacana feeding their young. The checklist goes as follows:
Isabelline Shrike
Temminck's Stint
Yellow Bottern
Chestnut Bittern
Yellow Eyed Babbler
Ashy Prinia
Plain Prinia
Black Kite
Bronze Winged Jacana
Black Drongo
Rose Ringed Parakeet
Paddyfield Pipit
Pied Bush Chat
Common Stonechat
Chestnut Tailed Starling
Bank Myna
Pied Starling
Common Myna
Purple Moorhen
Indian Moorhen

Juvenile Chestnut Bittern

Yellow Bittern

Both Images are by Prayut Mandal from Jabalpur

Prayut Mandal and his bother also discovered in Jabalpur:

Bar Headed Geese 
Eurasian Curlew

Most of the natural habitats and eco niches are being converted into residential colonies hence the future for many species looks bleak in Jabalpur. Jabalpur was known to have hundred water bodies or small lakes the numbers have come down in recent times.