Friday, November 17, 2017

Kanha National Park - Winter & Summer Birding

Birding at Kanha

Kanha National Park along with other tiger reserves in Central India are a heaven for bird watchers. Albeit degree of difficulty is very high in winters whence the migrants arrive. The thick canopy makes visibility a challenge and greater efforts have to be made to identify avian by interpreting their calls.   
Indian SCops Owl - Monu Dubey

Brown Hawk Owl - Prayut Mandal 

Cinnamon Bittern - Prayut Mandal 

Black Rumped Flameback - Sanjeev Patel  

Northern Taxa like the Pallas Fish Eagle, Grey Headed Fish Eagle, Grey Bushchat, Osprey, Gray Lag Geese, Siberian Ruby Throat, Verditor Flycatcher, bar winged flycatcher shrike can be seen along with wintering pipits, warblers and some teals.   

Winters accord excellent opportunity to enhance skills in identifying the warblers and wintering pipits. In this region the latter are scarce but nevertheless there.  But by all means this is a strenuous and stressful exercise. Anyway better birding starts from December on words whence water begins to recede and canopy begins to thin down. 

The ever exciting tiger chases will always be there to interfere merrily. Some serious birders tell me not to indulge in the tiger chase. I am happy with that because the run for avian accords me to sharpen my birding skills especially after a gap of three months whence the park is closed. 
Painted Stork - Shreyas

For birders going into the park the Khatia Zone in the buffer with lot of mix canopy and bamboo provides ideal opportunity for birding in an open jeep. The expeditions are more challenging on the jeep safaris since getting down is not allowed.  For a bird watching apart from Khatia Zone moving in the buffers is a good experience hence all zones and buffer zone areas should be explored. 

Keeping in mind the degree of difficulty winter tours should be of longer duration especially if the mega fauna is on the  menu. Summer birding could be shorter due to increased visibility of birds and mammals. 

Overseas visitors arriving from cold climes should acclimatise themselves with warm weather mid March onward. 

Summer Birding at Kanha

In the summers migrants leave but thinning canopy offers wonderful opportunity to watch the resident birds like the painted francolin, Indian Pitta, Orange headed ground thrush, Malabar Pied Horn Bill, Asian Paradise Flycatcher, Black Naped Flycatcher to name a few. 

The tiger reserve is home of forest birds and those expecting wetland species will be disappointed due to the absence of large water bodies.  Under most circumstances good quality binoculars are more than enough with little use of spotting scope.   

Birding can spring few surprises like my discovery of blue capped rock thrush earlier, rufus bellied eagle, pale footed bush warbler and spot bellied eagle owl. Sighting vagrants, passage migrants  and some undiscovered species will make your trip exciting. Hire a good birding guide from among the naturalists in Kanha during the trip.      

Sunday, April 23, 2017

Birds of Kanha - Spot Bellied Eagle Owl

Jonathan & Emma UK
Guest Courtyard House Kanha
Date 20/4/2017

On recent visit to Kanha National Park we came around interesting birds. In summer time winter migrants are not seen leaving the sandpipers and black redstart which leave a little later.  But March onwards Kanha National Park in Central India is ideal for summer birding. In this period one can find some of the migratory bird species and as the summer increases and foliage reduces resident species are seen all over.  

Hence it is delightful experience to find summer residents some of which are hidden in the dense canopy or bush during the winters. The added advantage is that many water sources become redundant and birds conscribing to various niche habitats gather around the remaining water holes, stream and lakes. 

Many a discoveries are made during this period of avian that are not checklisted earlier at this tiger reserve in Madhya Pradesh. 

On this trip we came across Spot Bellied Eagle Owl perched high on a skeletal branch. In the initial stages the guide pronounced it as Brown Fish Owl but I was not convinced. Hence looking through the binoculars I could make out that it was Spot Bellied Eagle Owl without any doubt. An image has been taken of this species at the same time which I am expecting to be sent.               

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Rufus Bellied Eagle at Kanha

Rufus Bellied Eagle at Kanha

Pete & Pam UK at Courtyard House

We saw this raptor hunting at Kanha National Park last year. We were fortunate to photograph this passage migrant again this year in February 2017.
Photo: Pete & Pam

  This raptor has been recorded probably for the first time at Kanha.