Sunday, April 27, 2014

Pittas and Snakes

Decided to do a quick birding session in Valley school this morning. The plans were made friday but confirmed yesterday night. Since I stay in Talaghattapura I need not travel long distances to find a very good birding location, Valley school is about 4KM from my house. So I can decide in the morning and go for a quick birding session.

Especially after seeing Pitta last week and after reading Dr. Krishna's mail in bngbirds regarding Pitta's getting ready for their return migration I decided to try my luck today and see if there were more than 1 Pitta there.

I started at around 5:45 from my house. First sighting was a Juvenile Shikra right next to the road. Before I arrived at the valley school I saw family of Grey Francolins crossing the road. There were 2 adults and 1 juvenile in the family. Got down at valley school entered the details in entry registry and started birding. Very close to the entrance I saw 4 Green Bee Eaters sitting on a wire and doing some slick acrobatics in air catching their early morning breakfast. It was amazing to see their moves in mid air.

I headed towards the fig tree hoping to see some birds around. There I saw a little commotion where lot of birds were crying away. On close inspection I saw a Spotted Owlet. Probably all the birds there did not like the Owls presence there. I waited for some more time there to check if any other birds fly in. I saw one big bird fly and sit on one of the trees close by. Again as luck would have it was Blue-Beared Bee Eater again. So 2 weeks in a row I was seeing this bird. But this time around he sat on a far away tree and all I could manage was a very bad photograph as you can see below. It had Bumble Bee in its mouth. Again very lucky to see this bird atleast.

Blue-Beared Bee Eater

Went ahead to check if there was any activity near the abandoned house, found few swifts flying around. Couple of weeks back had not seen any activity. This time they seem to be coming back to their nests. After that followed the trail inside.

All of a sudden I saw a green colored bird coming out and sitting on a far off branch. Soon realized it to be a Pitta. There he was sitting and enjoying the early morning sun. He spent some time there on the open branch and flew inside the bushes. After that wanted to visit the Orange headed thrush area and on my way I saw one bird flying from my left side and sitting on a tree. It waited there for a while and flew into the bushes.

Indian Pitta
After that saw couple of fantails and Magpie robin in their courting ritual. Then all of sudden heard Pitta calls all around. I could hear from at least 3 different sides. After sometime saw couple of Pittas chasing each other. It was a different feeling to see so many Pitta's on a single day.

And then I heard a commotion somewhere close by. At first I thought It should be deer's around. But when I went close and saw it was couple of snakes in territorial fight or trying to woo the female. We have been wanting to see snakes in the wild for a long time. We rarely had any luck.  But this time it was two snakes and in a fight:-) It was amazing to see them keep raising together, twisting, crawling and hissing.

Rat Snake?

I also saw White Rumped Shama, Tawny Bellied Babblers, Puff-Throated Babblers too. Also crows chasing what looked like a mottle owl.

Puff Throated Babbler
It was almost 8:45 and my time was up. I decided to head back. On the way back saw warbler very close the bike I had parked and while driving back I saw Brown shrike too.

Blyth's Reed Warbler

Brown Shrike

Greater Coucal

List of birds seen during the day. The same has been uploaded in e-bird too. And the link for the same is mentioned below.

1 Gray Francolin
2 Indian Peafowl
3 Oriental Honey-buzzard
4 Shikra
5 Black Kite
6 Red-wattled Lapwing
7 Laughing Dove
8 Asian Koel
9 Spotted Owlet
10 Blue-bearded Bee-eater
11 Green Bee-eater
12 White-cheeked Barbet
13 Coppersmith Barbet
14 White-naped Woodpecker
15 Rose-ringed Parakeet
16 Indian Pitta
17 Brown Shrike
18 Black Drongo
19 White-browed Fantail
20 House Crow
21 Cinereous Tit
22 Red-vented Bulbul
23 Red-whiskered Bulbul
24 White-browed Bulbul
25 Common Tailorbird
26 Ashy Prinia
27 Tawny-bellied Babbler
28 Puff-throated Babbler
29 Indian Robin
30 Oriental Magpie-Robin
31 White-rumped Shama
32 Tickell's Blue-Flycatcher
33 Pied Bushchat
34 Jungle Myna
35 Common Myna
36 Brahminy Starling
37 Pale-billed Flowerpecker
38 Purple-rumped Sunbird
39 Purple Sunbird


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  2. Very nice read...Have made several visits to Valley and never got a chance to meet Pittas yet. I guess I'll have to take a walk with you to find them..:-) Let me know your next visit.

    1. Thank you Kiran. We are visiting tomorrow morning. You can join us at the gate by 6

  3. Enjoyed the post very much. They do seem to be Rat Snakes, and you seem to have had a very productive Sunday birding! Cheers! Deepa.