2009 India Year Listing

01 Jun 2009 15:36 - 06 Jun 2009 16:27 #142 by Mike Prince
Replied by Mike Prince on topic Apr 29th - Nandi Hills
Sumit Sen (of Kolkata Birds ) was in Bangalore briefly so Ramki and I accompanied him to Nandi Hills for the morning. I had been on exactly the same date a year before and found that migrants had cleared out, so it was a pleasant change today to still see a few.

Those winter migrants still around and showing well included Greenish Warblers, Blyth's Reed Warblers and at least four Indian Blue Robins. On the way up we managed brief views of the endemic Yellow-throated Bulbul, had a flock of Alpine Swifts go overhead, saw a Crested Serpent Eagle and two Shaheens and had good views of Indian Scimitar Babblers. The morning's highlight though was excellent close views of a pair of Long-billed Pipits, of the nominate subspecies - photograph by Sumit below. This was my first south Indian sighting of the species and took my year list to 229. [img size=640]media/kunena/attachments/legacy/images/Long_billed_Pipit__Anthus_similis_.jpg[/img]
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Last edit: 06 Jun 2009 16:27 by Mike Prince.

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08 Jun 2009 17:40 - 08 Jun 2009 17:41 #154 by Mike Prince
Having arrived in Delhi for the start of a two week family holiday in Uttarakhand, a spare morning meant the obvious place to head to for some good birding was the Okhla Bird Sanctuary on the river Yamuna.

Both Yellow and Cinnamon Bitterns were seen - this is one of the best known sites for these species, plus Black Bittern and Watercock, in India. Several Pheasant-tailed Jacanas, a few Whiskered Terns, Plain Martins and four calcarata Citrine Wagtails, including the stunning male digiscoped below, were good.
[img size=400]media/kunena/attachments/legacy/images/Citrine_Wagtail.jpg[/img]
Other specialities here of Striated Grassbird, Striated Babbler, White-tailed Stonechat and Yellow-bellied Prinia all showed well, meaning plenty of year ticks from my first visit north this year.
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Last edit: 08 Jun 2009 17:41 by Mike Prince.

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25 Nov 2009 23:24 - 25 Nov 2009 23:27 #285 by Mike Prince
Been somewhat slack with updates recently, so here comes a brief catch-up...

We drove from Delhi to Corbett, staying two nights at Tiger Camp and one at Riverine Woods . Spent the first afternoon on a jeep drive to Sitabani, a nice area of forest for birding outside of the park itself. Dollarbird was a nice sighting here, with plenty of Red-breasted Parakeets, a calling Common Cuckoo, White-rumped Shama, several noisy White-crested Laughingthrushes and, as we came back at dusk, at least 10 Large-tailed Nightjars and a Brown Hawk Owl.

The next morning we headed into the park proper at Bijrani and almost immediately hit a traffic jam...
[img size=400]media/kunena/attachments/legacy/images/200905189764E.jpg[/img]
... which soon became a real traffic jam ...
[img size=400]media/kunena/attachments/legacy/images/200905180285G.jpg[/img]
After the elephants moved on, and vehicles were able to pass, we spread out and were able to see a few birds including White-rumped Needletails, Oriental Pied Hornbill and Blue-throated Flycatcher. Highlight of the trip of course though was a fine resting male Tiger...
[img size=400]media/kunena/attachments/legacy/images/200905189915E.jpg[/img]
After the safari we headed to Riverine Woods, a spectacular location which involves crossing a river by jeep several times. Birds here included Pallas's Fish Eagle, Mountain Hawk Eagle, Kalij Pheasant, Crested Kingfisher, Indian Pitta, Ashy Bulbul, Spotted Forktail and Crested Bunting. Much time was also spent lazing around in the river!

The last day at Corbett includde a safari in the Lohachaur area which is great for birding. Drongo-Cuckoo, Blue-bearded Bee-eater, Great Hornbill, Long-tailed Broadbill and Rosy Minivet were the highlights, the latter being my one and only tick of the trip.
[img size=400]media/kunena/attachments/legacy/images/200905200181E.jpg[/img]
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25 Nov 2009 23:34 #286 by Mike Prince
Replied by Mike Prince on topic May 21st - Rishikesh
Next stop was the excellent Neemrana hotel, Glasshouse on the Ganges , near Rishikesh. Enjoyable relaxed birding in the grounds and from the road nearby produced Himalayan Griffon, Grey-hooded Warblers, White-throated Laughingthrushes, Red-billed Leiothrixes and Streak-throated Woodpecker. A bit of digiscoping of the latter ended in disaster as my camera and homemade adapter fell off the tripod, bounced on the floor, off the side of the balcony and landed on a concrete floor below :(
[img size=400]media/kunena/attachments/legacy/images/200905210400E.jpg[/img]
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25 Nov 2009 23:37 #287 by Mike Prince
Heading higher up into the mountains, following the course of the river Ganges, we spent one very enjoyable night (and wished we had longer) at the Kuflon Basics camp . Again I wasn't seriously birding but did manage Wedge-tailed Green Pigeon, Speckled Piculet, Long-tailed Minivet, Common Rosefinch and a heard-only Mountain Scops Owl - still never managed to see one.

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25 Nov 2009 23:49 - 25 Nov 2009 23:53 #288 by Mike Prince
Reaching the highest point of our trip we spent three cold, and often wet, nights near Harsil. Star birding highlight was first heard from inside the tent - stepping out to investigate a call I didn't recognise I was soon treated to excellent views of displaying Ibisbill.
[img size=400]media/kunena/attachments/legacy/images/200905240540E.jpg[/img]
Other birds seen here included lots of Western Crowned Warblers, Ultramarine Flycatcher, Lammergeier, Fork-tailed Swift, Indian Blue Robin and Yellow-billed Chough.

One morning we headed up early to an altitude of 3042m, to the temple at Gangotri . After leaving the temple, and negotiating the horrendous traffic jams of busloads of pilgrims on their way up, we explored some of the spectacular scenery along a road which we later discovered was reserved for military use only since it was close to the sensitive border area. Few birds were seen but they did include Common Swift, several Asian House Martins (on plumage I couldn't rule out Northern House Martin, although the range fits Asian better), Dark-sided Flycatcher, Goldcrest and nice flocks of Fire-fronted Serins.
[img size=400]media/kunena/attachments/legacy/images/200905250658E.jpg[/img]
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26 Nov 2009 00:02 - 26 Nov 2009 11:11 #289 by Mike Prince
Back down again to a couple of relaxing days at Kanatal, not seeing too many birds but Alpine Swift, Variegated Laughingthrush, Whiskered Yuhina and Chestnut-bellied Rock Thrush were nice. We then ended up at Shaheen Bagh , near Dehra Dun, the fantastic former home of well-known Indian birdwatcher and publisher Bikram Grewal. More relaxing here, and plenty of nice birding as well in the gardens of the house: Drongo-Cuckoo, great views of Rusty-cheeked Scimitar Babblers, and Crimson Sunbirds feeding just inches away.

After this trip, year list stands at 345.
Last edit: 26 Nov 2009 11:11 by Mike Prince.

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26 Nov 2009 00:13 #290 by Mike Prince
Final day in Delhi and time for a session with a few Delhibirders at Okhla Bird Sanctuary , which never fails to produce great birding.

The usual summer show here of Bitterns was great, with good views of Yellow, Cinnamon and Black, and another specialty, Watercock, also showed, albeit briefly. Grey-bellied Cuckoo, Blue-cheeked Bee-eater, White-tailed Stonechat, Striated Grassbird, Striated Babbler and three species of Weaver (Streaked, Baya and Black-breasted) were also seen.

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26 Nov 2009 11:16 #291 by Mike Prince
After a quiet summer, with little birding done and very few birds seen, I took a trip to Panchapalli Reservoir and nearby in the Melagiri Hills in Tamil Nadu. Plenty of good forest habitat around with birds including Sirkeer Malkoha, in the same tree as a Blue-faced Malkoha, Brown-headed Barbet, Blue-bearded Bee-eater, Black-headed Cuckooshrike and Jerdon's Leafbird. Raptors included a Black Eagle and good views of a pair of Indian Spotted Eagles.

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26 Nov 2009 11:17 #292 by Mike Prince
Not a birding visit, but a short trip to Valley School produced one year tick in the form of two flyover Pied Cuckoos.

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26 Nov 2009 11:20 #293 by Mike Prince
Despite the recent rains Hessarghatta Lake was still completely dry, so the absence of hoped for passage waders was no surprise. Raptors made up for it though with 11 species seen, the pick being excellent close views of an immature Indian Spotted Eagle.

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31 Dec 2009 15:21 - 31 Dec 2009 16:06 #338 by Mike Prince
With a few days available a few hurried calls and emails found Vinay Das and I headed off to Thattekad to meet up with Eldhose for some Keralan birding. Having failed on them before I was keen to try for both Spot-bellied Eagle Owl and Oriental Bay Owl and we had several evening, night and early morning attempts, braving rain, leeches and treacherous slopes in the dark! We heard Bay Owl on our first attempt but never managed views, but had more luck with good telescope views of Spot-bellied Eagle Owl in torchlight. Of course, Ramki was destined for better luck with the Bay Owl just a few days later... Overall our "owling" was productive though, with views of Oriental Scops Owl, Collared Scops Owl, Brown Fish Owl, Jungle Owlet, plus Jerdon's Nightjar, and Sri Lanka Frogmouth heard commonly.

The Thattekad area produced many of the nice regulars such as Dollarbird, Malabar Trogon, Malabar Woodshrike, Heart-spotted Woodpecker, White-bellied Treepie and Black-throated Munia, but Wynaad Laughingthrush eluded me again. Five Great Cormorants at Idamalayar were probably the most significant sighting!

A day and a half spent at Munnar was very productive, gaining me lifers with Broad-tailed Grassbird and Nilgiri Pipit at Rajmalai, plus White-bellied Shortwing (or White-bellied Blue Robin) and Painted Bush Quail. All took some effort except for the Grassbird which we first head as we stepped off the bus and got excellent scope views immediately. Mountain Hawk Eagle, Grey-breasted Laughingthrush (or Kerala Laughingthrush), Hill Swallow, Black-and-orange Flycatcher, Speckled Piculet, Large-billed Leaf Warbler were also good here.
[img size=400]media/kunena/attachments/legacy/images/Broad_tailed_Grassbird.jpg[/img]

I was keen to try some coastal estuaries since this seemed a good time for wader passage, so we went to Purathur one day. Unfortunately we were quite near high tide so not too much mud was exposed and waders were limited to Eurasian Curlew and Common Sandpipers. There were three flocks of gulls though, one quite close. These were a mix of Heuglin's heuglini and Steppe Gulls barabensis.
[img size=400]media/kunena/attachments/legacy/images/200909260093G.jpg[/img]
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31 Dec 2009 17:29 #339 by Mike Prince
Not really a birding trip but a quick break to Bandipur with my daughter did give us some nice sightings, including Red Spurfowl, Tawny Eagle, Bonelli's Eagle, Yellow-footed Green Pigeon, Pied Cuckoo, White-bellied Woodpecker, Indian Pitta, White-browed Fantail and Hume's Whitethroat. Sighting of the trip would of course have been the Tiger sitting in a lantana bush, were it not for the fact that it was so well hidden I could only see it poorly and there was no way that Tiya (aged 3) could get on to it! Elephants though were somewhat easier: an excellent herd of 24 when we were walking outside the park.

Four year ticks take me to 394 for the year.

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31 Dec 2009 17:31 #340 by Mike Prince
No year ticks but all the regular goodies back at Nandi Hills, including Steppe Buzzard, four Pied Thrushes, Blue-capped Rock Thrush, Indian Blue Robin, Red-breasted Flycatcher, Hume's Leaf Warbler and Large-billed Leaf Warbler. Also Bonelli's Eagle, Nilgiri Woodpigeon, Yellow-throated Bulbul and Indian Scimitar Babbler.

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31 Dec 2009 17:37 #341 by Mike Prince
A short afternoon pop-in to Hebbal Lake produced my highest count of Spot-billed Pelican ever, with about 270 seen.

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31 Dec 2009 17:41 #342 by Mike Prince
Eurasian Wigeon and Sand Martin were year ticks today, the latter following on from my sightings here in the spring . Common Teal, Pintail, Shoveler and Pochard (four males) were also seen. A Pintail Snipe and Little Stint were of interest, and a Blyth's Pipit was seen briefly.

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31 Dec 2009 17:43 #343 by Mike Prince
A family weekend in Coorg at the Neemrana Green Hills Estate was a relaxing break. No specific birding was done but a Little Spiderhunter was seen and was a year tick.

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