Sunday, December 9, 2012

Cuckoo's at Hesarghatta

I had not seen any Harriers before. Since few Harriers were reported from Hesarghatta area I thought of visiting the place. I planned it for this weekend. Started very early from my house at around 5AM and reached the place by 6:30AM. The weather was very chilly. I wish I had taken my Glouse along with my Jacket. There was thick fog all along the way.

There were already couple of cars by the time reached. They were getting ready and waiting for Birds arrival. I started slowly by visiting the small pond to check if there were any Sandpipers which I had seen in my last. I did see a lone Sandpiper which was having busy trying to find its food. I left him alone and started going slowly on the mud road.

Along the way I heard lot of Munia calls. I stopped my bike and started walking towards the call. I found lot of Silverbills moving in a grou, there were atleast 30 of them gorging. I had never taken a good photograph of a Silverbill this time I was lucky and some good shots. After sometime I went ahead and spotted a Pippit and an Indian Roller. Got some very good shots of Indian Roller for the first time. I always wanted to take a photograph of an Indian Roller Take-off even this time around I failed to take one:-( Maybe next time.

On the grass I saw lot of small Spider webs. With lot of fog around, the web had lot of small water droplets which looked like beautiful pearls. These spiders weave their webs between the grasses. And lot of cars just drive over these grasses without seeing any of these. Lot of birds come here to feed on insects just like these spiders. If there are no insects then soon there will be no Raptors for which most of us go there.

Along the mud road I spotted atleast 6 Grey Francolins not together but in pairs at different times. It was amazing to see them. This is just the third time I had seen these birds.

In my last trip I had seen lot of raptors but this time they were very low in number. I just saw a Common Kestrel, a Harrier and Kites. Probably I did not watch the birds closely which were flying very high over the poultry farm. Also my identifying skills of Raptors is bird. I'm still learning. I did not see any kestrel perching.  But did see them hovering and pouncing onto their pry, what a beautiful sight:-)

There were around 4-5 cars standing at some spot away from the mud road spot. Looking at them I thought they should have found some raptor. I stopped my bike and started walking towards that group. On reaching there I did see a raptor which was wondering why every were staring at him/her. Later on enquiry I was told it a was a Harrier, my first sighting:-) I dont know which Harrier it was.

Also I saw lot of Bay backed Shrikes and Black Drongos. It was interesting to see lot of territorial fights between Drongos. Also I saw 3 Indian Rollers at one place where 2 of them were fighting each other. I'm not sure whether they were male and the third one a female.

Few days back I had read someone had spotted a Western Reef Egret at Hesarghatta. So I thought of visiting couple of ponds again in search of this bird. At the first pond which was big I did not see any birds. Probably because there were lot of Cattles trying to cool them down in the water. I headed towards another small pond where I finally found the Egret. It was a lone bird feeding at the edge of the lake, my first sighting. Along with this bird there were 2 more sandpipers which were feeding. Just as I was watching a Kite came to the lake for fulfilling its thirst. It tried to land very close to the Egret and there was a small fight where in the Egret tried to fight for its territory. At the end Egret won it. The kite left. Itwas an interesting Duel.

At noon I thought of coming back home. While I was on my way, right at the Poultry farm I saw a bird just landing which had some kind of prey in its claws. I managed to get some shots IDing. It looked amazing. This sighting made me to check some more area around the Farm.

From their I drove to the Open grassland which is next to Film Institute. On the way spotted few Parakeets, Orioles and Mynas. Nothing much.

When I reached the grassland I did not see much activity there. It was already 2PM and it was hot. I tried to start back to home. Again this time I stopped at another place when I heard some birds calls. It was near the compost area after Poultry Farm. This area amazingly had lot of bird activity even at 2PM.

First thing I saw was White Throated Kingfisher. Then I saw Red whiskered Bulbul, its been quite a while since I saw a Red Whiskered Bulbul. There were few Yellow-Billed Babblers, Great Tit, Common Iora and Golden Oriole. And then I saw Black-Headed Cuckoo, both male and female. It was amazing. Never seen them before. Just when I thought it was enough and started my way towards my bike I saw another Cuckoo which looked like Common Hawk Cuckoo. An amazing sight. It was very tolerant and allowed to get very close. An amazing experience.

Best way to end the day:-) Hesarghatta never ceases to amaze me. Lot of us come here to see raptors. If we spend sometime in the area around Poultry farm we cand definitely find more avaian life which will defnitely surpirise us.

Amazing way to end the day with sighting of these Cuckoos:-)

List of birds seen during the trip.

1. Pied Bushchat
2. Siberian Stonechat
3. Paddyfield Pippit
4. Oriental Skylark
5. Ashy Crowned Sparrow Lark
6. Baybacked Shrike
7. Brown Shrike
8. Pied Cuckoo
9. Black-Headed Cuckoo shrike
10. Common Hawk Cuckoo
11. Grey Tit
12. Ashy Prinia
13. Jungle Prinia
14. Common TailorBird
15. Zitting Cisticola
16. Red Vented Bulbul
17. Red Whiskered Bulbul
18. Indian Silverbill
19. Indian Roller
20. Yellow-Billed Babbler
21. Large Grey Babbler
22. Common Myna
23. Jungle Myna
24. Rosy Starling
25. Crow
25. Green Sandpiper
26. Western Reef Egret
27. Little Egret
28. Cattle Egret
29. Black Kite
30. Brahminy Kite
31. Black Shouldered Kite
32. Golden Oriole
33. Common Iora
34. Black Drongo
35. Purple Rumped Sunbird
36. Purple Sunbird
37. Red Wattled Lapwing
38. White Cheeked Barbet
39. Rose Ringed Parakeet
40. Common Kestrel
41. Grey Francolin
42. Montagu's Harrier
43. White Throated Kingfisher
44. Laughing Dove
45. Rock Pigeon
46. Shikra
47. Tawny Eagle
48. White Eyed Buzzard

                                                       Morning Sunrise at Hesarghatta

                                                             Morning Fog at Hesarghatta

                                                                   Grey Francolins

                                                                 Indian Silverbills

                                                                              Tawny Eagle

                                                                      Rosy Starlings

                                                                 Bay-Backed Shrike

                                                                   Paddyfield Pippit

                                                                   Pearl Web ;-)

                                                                  Paddyfield Pippit

                                                           Blyth's Reed Warbler?

                                                                  Zitting Cisticola

                                                                   Black Drongo

                                                              Montagu's Harrier

                                                                 Brown Shrike

                                                             Ooops Moment;-) (Oriental Skylark)
                                                         Watching the raptors flying

                                                            My subject and my ride

                                                                       Jungle Prinia

                                                                      Indian Roller

                                                                White Eyed Buzzard               

                                                                 Pied Bushchat

                                               Black Kite and Western Reef Egret Duel

                                                                Western Reef Egret

                                                        Ashy Crowned Sparrow Lark

                                                                      Lady Bug


                                                              White Throated Kingfisher

                                                                     Common Iora

                                                           Black Headed Cuckooshrikes(Male)

                                                             Black Headed Cuckooshrikes(Female)

                                                           Common Cuckoo Hawk

                                                             Yellow Billed Babbler

                                                               Red Whiskered Bulbul

                                                               Black Winged Kite