Tag: Birdwatching

Bird-watching at Kaikondrahalli Lake

Kaikondrahalli Lake – evening

We went bird-watching to Kaikondrahalli Lake over the weekend. I usually go bird-watching in the mornings, but for a change, this was an evening outing. And it turned out richly rewarding, with two ‘lifers’ for me. Here is the complete list of bird spotted:

  1. Little Grebe
  2. Great Cormorant
  3. Little Cormorant
  4. Darter
  5. Spot-billed Pelican
  6. Grey Heron
  7. Black-crowned Night-Heron
  8. Indian Pond-Heron
  9. Cattle Egret
  10. Median Egret
  11. Little Egret
  12. Painted Stork
  13. Oriental White (Black-headed) Ibis
  14. Glossy Ibis
  15. Spot-billed Duck
  16. Northern Shoveller
  17. Black Kite
  18. Brahminy Kite
  19. White-breasted Waterhen
  20. Common Moorhen
  21. Purple Moorhen (Grey-headed Swamphen)
  22. Common Coot
  23. Red-wattled Lapwing
  24. Wood Sandpiper
  25. Common Sandpiper
  26. Spotted Dove
  27. Asian Koel
  28. White-breasted (throated) Kingfisher
  29. White-cheeked Barbet
  30. Black-naped Oriole
  31. Ashy Drongo
  32. Rosy Starling
  33. Common Myna
  34. Jungle Myna
  35. Jungle (Large-billed) Crow
  36. Red-whiskered Bulbul
  37. Syke’s Warbler
  38. Tickell’s (Pale-billed) Flowerpecker

Dr. Salim Ali – The ‘Birdman’ of India

Back Cover of ‘The Book of Indian Birds’ by Dr. Salim Ali

Today, the 12th of November, marks the birth anniversary of Dr. Salim Ali, arguably the most famous and influential ornithologist that India has produced. I owe my interest in bird-watching to Dr. Ali, as I am sure many other bird-watchers in India would, as well.

His pioneering ‘The Book of Indian Birds‘ was possibly the first book on Indian birds that I read (multiple times). In fact, I still have a copy of this book (the thirteenth edition) that serves as my primary reference book on Indian birds.

I then read his autobiography, ‘The Fall of a Sparrow‘, which I found quite fascinating as a young boy. This led me to the Bombay Natural History Society, of which he was a key member and helped raise funds for its survival. I am now a life member of this esteemed organisation.

Dr. Salim Ali died in 1987, and if memory serves me right, this made the front page of The Times of India the next day. I still remember reading his obituary in the newspaper.

For people who are not familiar with the life and work of this renowned ornithologist, this article in the Deccan Herald can serve as a good introduction.

Kaikondrahalli Lake – Birdwatching

Kaikondrahalli Lake

We went to Kaikondrahalli Lake the previous weekend for a morning walk. It also gave me the opportunity to do some bird-watching. It is now the season when migratory birds arrive to this part of the world. Though I did not observe too many ‘migrants’ this time around, by the end of the walk the list was a fairly decent 31 species. Here’s the list:

  1. Little Grebe
  2. Great Cormorant
  3. Little Cormorant
  4. Darter
  5. Spot-billed Pelican
  6. Purple Heron
  7. Grey Heron
  8. Indian Pond-Heron
  9. Cattle Egret
  10. Median Egret
  11. Little Egret
  12. Painted Stork
  13. Spot-billed Duck
  14. Black Kite
  15. Purple Moorhen
  16. Common Coot
  17. Bronze-winged Jacana
  18. Pheasant-tailed Jacana
  19. Common Sandpiper
  20. Spotted Dove
  21. Small Blue Kingfisher
  22. White-breasted Kingfisher
  23. Small Bee-Eater
  24. Black Drongo
  25. Grey-headed Starling
  26. Common Myna
  27. Jungle Myna
  28. House Crow
  29. Jungle (Large-billed) Crow
  30. Great (Cinerous) Tit
  31. Purple-rumped Sunbird

100 Common Birds in India

Image of peacock

I have been bird-watching for over 3 decades now. It’s one of my favourite hobbies, though I have not been able to spend as much time on it these days as I would have liked to.

India is one of the most bio-diverse countries on Earth, with a diverse range of habitat ranging from dry deserts, high mountains, to tropical rain-forests and a long coastline. And this diversity extends to the species of birds found in India as well. With over 1,200 species of birds, India ranks 9th in the list of countries by number of bird species. About 12% of the total bird species on earth can be found in India. And my guess is that I must have seen about 20 %- 22% of all the bird species in India.

Bird-watching is a very easy hobby to get into. All it needs is a good sense of observation, sight and sound. A pair of binoculars would be helpful, but not absolutely essential (to get started). But one resource that I would advise is to have a book handy to identify the birds that you see.

There are a few good birds available. One of the most commonly referred to birds for beginners is Dr. Salim Ali’s “The Book of Indian Birds“. This is the book that sparked my interest in birds and I would strongly recommend it for anyone interested in Indian birds.

I also came across a resource recently which might also be very useful for beginners. This is a PDF called “100 Common Birds in India“, written by Dr. Raju Kasambe. It is available as a free download here – https://www.researchgate.net/publication/343218657_100_Common_Birds_in_India

This handy book covers all of the commonly found birds of India with their distribution map. I hope that you will find this helpful!

Bird-watching at Kaikondrahalli Lake

After nearly 3 months of lock-down, I have been feeling a touch of cabin fever lately. So, this weekend, I decided to head off to nearby Kaikondrahalli Lake for a bit of bird-watching (with my mask on, of course).

Kaikondrahalli Lake is an example of a success story in public participation to conserve Bangalore’s natural heritage. A citizen’s initiative ensured that the lake was not destroyed by rampant construction. I am not sure if it’s still being maintained by the citizens, but it is a nice lake in the neighbourhood. It’s not very large, and the good part is that it’s not been completely ‘beautified’, but rather parts of the lake have been left ‘as is’, providing a variety of habitat not often seen in other, more ‘developed’ lakes.

I have come bird-watching a couple of times before to this lake. But right from the time I started my walk around the lake this time, I was struck by the sheer number of birds that I could see all over the lake and the trees on the small island at the centre of the lake. There were 2 groups of over 60 dabchicks (Little Grebes) each whereas I had never before seen more than a couple of these birds together. The small island at the centre held a flock of over 12 Painted Storks. The trees by the side of the lake had numerous cormorant nests and parents were busy constantly feeding their chicks. I also saw numerous Grey Herons where before I might only have seen a few of them on a single water body. I did not see too many non-water birds, but by the end of my relatively short walk of about an hour, I had spotted about 32 species. Not bad, I would say!

Here’s the full list of birds that I spotted:

  1. Little Grebe
  2. Great Cormorant
  3. Indian Cormorant
  4. Darter
  5. Spot-billed Pelican
  6. Purple Heron
  7. Grey Heron
  8. Black-crowned Night-Heron
  9. Indian Pond-Heron
  10. Cattle Egret
  11. Little Egret
  12. Painted Stork
  13. Oriental White (Black-headed) Ibis
  14. Glossy Ibis
  15. Spot-billed Duck
  16. Black Kite
  17. Brahminy Kite
  18. Common Moorhen
  19. Purple Moorhen
  20. Common Coot
  21. Blue Rock (Feral) Pigeon
  22. Rose-ringed Parakeet
  23. Asian Koel
  24. White-breasted (throated) Kingfisher
  25. Black Drongo
  26. Common Myna
  27. Jungle Myna
  28. House Crow
  29. Jungle (Large-billed) Crow
  30. Ashy Prinia
  31. Oriental Magpie-Robin
  32. Purple-rumped Sunbird