Tag: Birdwatching

Bird-list – Kandivaram and Annamalai

Orange Minivet
Orange Minivet – Mobile phone capture

The list of birds observed while on a recent trip to a farmhouse near Kandivarama (Karamadai) and Annamalai Tiger Reserve near Pollachi, both in Tamil Nadu state.

  1. Little Cormorant
  2. Cattle Egret
  3. Black Kite
  4. Brahminy Kite
  5. Grey Francolin
  6. Grey Junglefowl
  7. Indian Peafowl
  8. Spotted Dove
  9. Little Brown Dove
  10. Plum-Headed Parakeet
  11. Asian Koel
  12. Greater Coucal
  13. Spotted Owlet
  14. Alpine Swift
  15. White-Breasted Kingfisher
  16. Small Bee-eater
  17. Indian Roller
  18. Coppersmith Barbet
  19. Lesser Golden-Backed Woodpecker
  20. Rufous-Backed Shrike
  21. Black Drongo
  22. Ashy Woodswallow
  23. White-Bellied Drongo
  24. Bronzed Drongo
  25. Grey-Headed Starling
  26. Common Myna
  27. Jungle Myna
  28. Indian Treepie
  29. Jungle Crow
  30. House Crow
  31. Pied (Bar-Winged) Flycatcher Shrike
  32. Scarlet (Orange) Minivet
  33. Small Minivet
  34. Common Iora
  35. Gold-Fronted Chloropsis
  36. Red-Vented Bulbul
  37. Red-Whiskered Bulbul
  38. White-Browed Bulbul
  39. Yellow-Billed Babbler
  40. Jungle Babbler
  41. Asian Brown Flycatcher
  42. Oriental Magpie-Robin
  43. Pied Bushchat
  44. Paddyfield Pipit
  45. Tickell’s Flowerpecker
  46. Forest Wagtail
  47. Small Sunbird
  48. Purple Sunbird

State Birds of India

I recently came across an infographic about ‘State Birds of India’ on a Nature Group that I am part of. I am sure we all know that the Peacock is the National Bird of India, but did you know that each state of India (and most Union Territories) also have their own ‘State’ bird?

Not just Bird, each of them also has their own State Animal, Tree and Flower. The ENVIS site of Forest Research Institute has a helpful page on these – http://www.frienvis.nic.in/KidsCentre/State-Animals-Birds-Trees-Flowers-of-India_1500.aspx

Here are some (hopefully interesting!) observations of the various State Birds:

Indian Roller Bandhavgarh

The Indian Roller is the most common State Bird across India with 3 states – Karnataka, Telengana and Odisha – having this beautiful bird as their State Bird.

GREAT INDIAN HORNBIL

The state in the extreme South West of the country – Kerala – shares its State Bird with the state in the extreme North East of the country – Arunachal Pradesh. This is the Great Hornbill. And this reflects the commonality of habitat at these two extremes of the country, separated by over 3,000 kilometres of vastly different ecological habitats in between.

Indian sporting birds (1915) (14563975598)

The intriguingly named Mrs. Hume’s Pheasant is the State Bird of the North Eastern states of Manipur and Mizoram. The Hill Myna, an excellent mimic – is shared by Chattisgarh and Meghalaya.

Two of our more common birds – Asian Koel and House Sparrow – are shared by Jharkhand and Puducherry and Bihar and Delhi respectively.

Sarus cranes (Grus antigone)

Among more iconic species, the Sarus Crane is the State Bird of Uttar Pradesh, while the Great Indian Bustard is the State Bird of Rajasthan. An interesting anecdote relating to the Great Indian Bustard – apparently the only reason the Peacock was chosen as India’s National Bird was due to the unfortunate similarity of the Bustard’s name with another word in the Indian language… Which is a shame, because being India’s National Bird could greatly have improved the chances of this – India’s largest and one of the world’s heaviest flying – birds survival in the wild.

Great Indian Bustard from DNP

Note:

All Images have been sourced from Wikimedia Commons. Here are the attributions:

Bird-watching at Doddakallasandra (Konakunte) Lake

I visited Doddakallasandra Lake in South Bangalore (off Kanakapura Road) for a session of bird-watching with the long standing Bngbirds group. For a change, the location was easily accessible via public transport (thanks Deepak Jois!).

It was a pleasant, early winter morning as the group of around twenty (plus one dog) assembled at the entrance to Sri Kumaran’s Children’s Academy. The lake is not very large and we were able to cover most of the accessible parts in a couple of hours.

The list of birds observed (nomenclature as per Dr. Salim Ali’s ‘The Book of Indian Birds’):

  1. Little Grebe (breeding plumage)
  2. Indian Cormorant
  3. Darter
  4. Grey Heron
  5. Indian Pond-Heron
  6. Cattle Egret
  7. Median Egret
  8. Little Egret
  9. Oriental White Ibis (Black Headed Ibis)
  10. Glossy Ibis
  11. Spot-Billed Duck
  12. Black Kite
  13. Brahminy Kite
  14. Shikra
  15. White-Breasted Waterhen
  16. Common Moorhen
  17. Feral Pigeon
  18. Spotted Dove
  19. Rose-Ringed Parakeet
  20. Asian Koel
  21. Greater Coucal
  22. White-Breasted Kingfisher
  23. Coppersmith Barbet
  24. White-Cheeked Barbet
  25. Red-Rumped Swallow
  26. Eurasian (Indian) Golden Oriole
  27. Jungle Crow
  28. Red-Whiskered Bulbul
  29. Tickell’s Blue Flycatcher
  30. Ashy Prinia
  31. Common Tailorbird
  32. Oriental Magpie-Robin
  33. Purple-Rumped Sunbird

Bird-watching at Lalbagh Botanical Gardens

Department of Horticulture Office - Lalbagh
Office of the Department of Horticulture – Lalbagh

I have been a part of a bird-watching group in Bangalore since around the year 1999-2000. The group, comprising of experts, amateurs, hobbyists and others interested in birds have been conducting bird-watching outings in and around the city of Bangalore for many years now.

Every second Sunday of the month, the group organised a bird-watching trip at Lalbagh Botanical Gardens in the heart of the city. This must be one of the oldest, continuously held bird-watching outings in India (couldn’t find any content on this online, so happy to stand corrected). The group is also quite active on email and social media, and a great resource to learn more about nature.

It was quite a large group that met this Sunday. It was great to see a group of school kids (in their uniforms) participating enthusiastically in the session. This session is specifically aimed for new comers to the field of bird-watching and the group leaders (typically Mr. J. N. Prasad) leave no stone unturned to ensure that people get a good idea of bird-watching, how to spot and identify birds, handy guides, etc.

Here’s a list of the birds that I observed (nomenclature as per The Book of Indian Birds by Salim Ali):

  1. Little Grebe
  2. Great Cormorant
  3. Little Cormorant
  4. Darter
  5. Little Egret
  6. Indian Pond-Heron
  7. Spot-Billed Duck
  8. Shikra
  9. Black Kite
  10. Brahminy Kite
  11. Blue Rock Pigeon
  12. Spotted Dove
  13. Rose-Ringed Parakeet
  14. Asian Koel
  15. Spotted Owlet
  16. Coppersmith Barbet
  17. White-Cheeked Barbet
  18. Ashy Drongo
  19. Common Myna
  20. Jungle Crow
  21. Red-Whiskered Bulbul
  22. Common Tailorbird
  23. Tickell’s Flowerpecker
  24. Purple-Rumped Sunbird

And some photos from a beautiful early winter morning at Lalbagh below:

The Glass House at Lalbagh
The Glass House at Lalbagh
View from the Lalbagh Glass House
View from the Lalbagh Glass House
Lalbagh Kere or Lake
Lalbagh Kere or Lake
At Lalbagh Botanical Gardens
At Lalbagh Botanical Gardens
Beautiful Day at Lalbagh
Beautiful Day at Lalbagh

A visit to Pench National Park

I visited Pench National Park a couple of weekends ago along with a few friends. It was my first pure National Park trip after 10 years and something I was eagerly looking forward to.

My first impressions of Nagpur were positive – clean, peaceful airport, good roads, metro construction happening apace.

Pench straddles Maharashtra and Madhya Pradesh. And on the absolutely wonderful road from Nagpur, we were at our resort in about a couple of hours. The National Highway has regular elevated stretches so wildlife can cross underneath, avoiding unfortunate accidents. I wonder if any studies have been done to understand the impact of this on wildlife – do they use the tunnels or still attempt to cross the road?

The resort was small, with A/C tented accommodation. It is located a few minutes away from Kharsapar, the entrance to Pench National Park from the Maharashtra side. We left for our first safari immediately after lunch.

We quickly settled into a routine – wake up early (around 4:30), leave for the morning safari that starts at 6:15, end the safari by 10:30, come back to the resort to rest and refresh, have lunch, leave for the afternoon safari around 2 pm, come back around 7 pm, refresh, relax and have dinner.

We did 8 safaris in total, which in the end, proved one too many for me. The hectic itinerary, heat and cold, oily food meant that I fell ill by the last day and took a couple of days to recover after reaching home.

But it was a very fulfilling trip. I spotted over 75 species of birds (full list in the next post), a tigress, two one year old tiger cubs, a jungle cat, mongooses, sambar and chital deer, herds of gaur and some nilgai.

It was interesting to view the difference in landscape between the Maharastra and Madhya Pradesh sides of Pench. While the Maharashtra side is dryer and rockier, the Madhya Pradesh side is visibly greener. The wide open patches along the Pench river were especially scenic.

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The other interesting thing for me was to see that most of the guides were locals who were earlier living in or near the National Park. It was also heartening to see many women guides. I would definitely recommend Pench for anyone wanting to visit a typical Central Indian jungle – the setting of Rudyard Kipling’s ‘Jungle Book’