Tuesday, July 9, 2013

TG Halli and Savandurga

Since there was good number of rains in last couple of months we thought we would visit TG Halli and see if there are any good number of water birds. We decided to start very early on Sunday and reach there by 6:30AM. Since most of our group members were busy and at the end it was just me, Raghu and his wife who made the trip.

For the first time I woke up late, infact if it was not for Raghus phone call I would have slept through the morning:-). I started at around 5:45 from my house and reached Raghu's house in 15 min. We started from Raghu's house after a nice cup of coffee.

It was a beautiful drive to TG Halli, weather was good with not much traffic. We spotted a Flameback woodpecker but before we took out our cameras he was gone. But still amazing sighting for the morning.

After reaching the backwater of TG Halli the first thing that hit me was the change that has happened from the last time that I was there. The water was more but the very bad thing to see was there was increase in the soil mining that has happened near the shore. I think all the Brick factories on the road get their mud from this place. It was really sad to see what was happening here. I hope someone takes action for whats happening there.

In terms of bird life we did not see lot of birds but enough of them to keep us interested:-) There were spot billed ducks, common coots in huge numbers, Grey herons were in good numbers too. Couple of Purple herons were seen too. But the biggest spotting of the day was "Citrine Wagtail". And seeing this fellow in summer was very surprising and it looked to be in breeding plumage too. Amazing amazing sighting. Another winter visitor seen in summer for a consecutive week. Last week we saw a Green Sandpiper in Muthanallur lake and this week a "Citrine Wagtail". And this is my first sighting of this species too:-) We could not believe our luck.

Then we saw couple of Indian Hoopoes which were very co-operating with us. Gave us some good photographs and left. Then came the time to see the bird which signals the onset of monsoons, the Pied Cuckoo:-) I was waiting to see this bird this summer. Last week Raghu had seen one when he visited chunchi falls. Again a good spotting for the day.

Lot of larks were seen along with Babblers and bulbuls. Saw a common kingfisher hovering to catch its morning breakfast. Few pied kingfishers were seen too. Had our breakfast which Raghu's wife had prepared and left from there towards Savandurga forest.

On the way in one of the lakes we saw a white-breasted waterhen and Bronze winged Jacanas. We did not see much activity while driving through Savandurga but still the drive was amazing. One sighting was of a Blue Faced Malkoha in the forest.

List of birds seen for the day.

1 Myna, Common
2 Myna, Jungle
3 Babbler, Yellow Billed
4 Babbler, Yellow Eyed
5 Babbler, Large Grey
6 Wagtail, White Browed
7 Wagtail, Citrine
8 Bulbul, Red Vented
9 Bulbul, Red Whiskered
10 Bulbul, White Browed
11 Egret, Little
12 Ibis, Black Headed
13 Heron, Pond(Breeding plumage)
14 Heron, Purple
15 Heron, Grey
16 Kingfisher, Common
17 Kingfisher, Pied
18 Kingfisher, White Throated
19 Roller, Indian
20 Hoopoe, Indian
21 Barbet, Coppersmith
22 Cuckoo, Pied
23 Koel, Asian
24 Plover, Little Ringed
25 Stork, Wooly Necked
26 Stork, Open Billed
27 Moorehen, Common
28 Moorehen, Purple
29 Jacana, Bronze Winged
30 Waterhen, White-breasted
31 Shikra
32 Buzzard, un-ided
33 Kite, Brahminy
34 Kite, Black
35 Eagle, Tawny
36 Lapwing, Red Wattled
37 Prinia, Ashy
38 Prinia, Grey Breasted
39 Lark, Un-ided
40 Lark, Ashy Crowned Sparrow
41 Pipit, Un-ided
42 Tailor Bird, common
43 Swallow, Red Rumped
44 Swallow, Barn
45 Woodpecker, Flameback
46 Dove, Laughing
47 Dove, Spotted
48 Pigeon, Rock
49 Duck, Spot Billed
50 Duck, Un-ided
51 Coot, Common
52 Sunbird, Purple Rumped
53 Sunbird, Purple
54 Silverbill, Indian
55 Weaver, Baya
56 Bushchat, Pied
57 Robin, Indian
58 Robin, Magpie
59 Shrike, Long Tailed
60 Malkoha, Blue Faced

Multiple places where the mud has been removed

Indian Roller

Pied Bushchat

Brahminy Kite

Grey Heron

Purple Heron

Citrine Wagtail

Ashy Crowned Sparrow Lark

Sykes's Lark?

Plain Tiger

Sykes's Lark?

Indian Hoopoe

Pied Cuckoo

Pippit ID?

Red Wattled Lapwing

Common Kingfisher

Little Ringed Plover

Monday, July 1, 2013

Muthanallur Lake on Sarjapur Road

Another weekend and another birding session. This time it was just 2 of us, me and Ajit. We had already visited this lake once during the winter. Since there were lot of rains in last couple of months we thought we would visit the lake again and see if there is any water and bird life around.

I met Ajit near wipro corporate office at 6AM. We headed towards Muthanallur lake. On our way I spotted couple of White Naped Woodpeckers. I tried to take photos but the honking of a trucker scared them away. Amazing way to start the day.

We parked our bikes near the lake and started walking towards the lake. We have to walk through the tomato field. Our first good sighting was a female Koel with a tomato in its mouth, enjoying her morning breakfast. Once we reached lake we were dumbstruck to see very less water. And that too was in small pools spread across few places. We were hoping for more water.

In one of the pools Ajit pointed out to a very strange bird at this time of the year. At first it looked like a Sandpiper but on closer look it appeared to have a longer beak and also the size of the bird seemed to be big when compared to a sandpiper. That is when we thought it should be a Shank. It looked a Greenshank. But I should get it confirmed once. I'm not sure what a lone bird was doing at this time of the year. Probably it did not do the migration this summer or it returned early? I'm not sure. Hopefully we will get more information on this soon.

We walked along the river and spotted couple of other big ponds. We saw 3 Ashy Wood Swallows there along with 3 Pied Kingfishers. We also saw few larks and pipits. We also saw a strange behavior where a Lark was chasing one of the wood swallows :-) It was beautiful to see them. We also saw a Lone Grey heron near the pond.

These ponds are created because of the sand mining that is happening on the lake. Lot of illegal sand mining is happening there also some trees are being felled.

We entered a small thickly wooded area to see if there are anymore birds there. Immediately Ajit spotted a green looking bird. Immediately we realized it is a Leaf bird. Since the male did not have a Gold front on its head we thought it should be Jerdons leafbird. We confirmed it after coming back to Ajit;s house.

We also saw lot of butterflies around which had a mix of Dark Blue tigers and double banded crows. It also had few plain tigers and Striped tigers. While walking through the field there we came across a dry well. We hoped we would come across an owl in that well. And we were right, a spotted owl just flew out of the well. We took few photos and left hoping it would return to the well and rest :-)

Before we left we visited the large pond again hoping to come across other bird species. This time the only other bird that we saw was an Indian Silver bill. We also saw a Shikra flying. That was the last sighting for the day.

The birding ended with breakfast at Ajit's house. Ajit's wife had prepared a very tasty Onion chutney with Dosa. Returned home after a very productive morning.

Birds seen during the day :

1. White Naped Woodpecker
2. Asian Koel.
3. Myna
4. Greenshank?
5. Pied Kingfisher
6. White Throated Kingfisher
7. Scaly Breasted Munia
8. Indian Silverbill
9. Ashy Wood Swallow
10. Indian Bushlark
11. Paddyfield Pipit
12. Grey Heron
13. Jerdons leafbird
14. Indian Spotted Owl
15. Spotted Dove
16. Laughing Dove
17. Pied Bushchat
18. Green Bea Eater
19. Shikra
20. Indian Pond Heron
21. Ashy Prinia
22. Purple Rumped Sunbird
23. Black Kite
24. Brahminy Kite
25. Yellow Billed Babbler
26. Red Vented Bulbul
27. Greater Coucal

Pied Kingfisher

Paddyfield Pipit

Ashy Wood Swallow

Ashy Wood Swallow

Jerdon's Leafbird(Female)

Spotted Dove

Dark Blue Tiger