Birding at Sinhagad Valley (#2)

May 31, 2014 1 comment

As the birding trips continue, it was time for a 2nd trip to Sinhgad valley.. 5 new birds added to the list 😀

I have already detailed about Sinhgad valley in my post earlier this month.. So I would jump to the birds we saw straight away.. Here you go..

Common Swallow

Common Swallow 

 

Purple Sunbird - female

Purple Sunbird – female

 

Common Iora

Common Iora

 

Black-lored??

Indian Lored tit

 

Coppersmith Barbet

Coppersmith Barbet

 

Coppersmith Barbet

Coppersmith Barbet

 

TIckell's Blue :D

TIckell’s Blue 😀

 

White-cheeked Barbet

White-cheeked Barbet

 

White-cheeked Barbet

White-cheeked Barbet

 

Spotted Babbler

Spotted Babbler

 

Spotted Babbler

Spotted Babbler

 

Spotted Dove

Spotted Dove

 

Crested Serpent Eagle

Crested Serpent Eagle

 

Crested Serpent Eagle!

Crested Serpent Eagle!

 

Black Shouldered Kite

Black Shouldered Kite

The Faintail.. :D

The Faintail.. 😀

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Birding at Pashan Lake (#2)

May 24, 2014 2 comments

It was time for a second visit to Pashan lake. Last time we reached there a bit late, around 7 am.. hence this time we ensured we reached there atleast by 6 am. Expectation was not much, as we had visited the place couple of weeks back.. but this trip yielded some one the best clicks till date!!

As soon as we started the trail, we are greeted by Plum headed parakeets. Low light conditions did not help as we could capture more of record pics. As we went ahead we saw few lap wings, prinias and bulbuls. Sachin noticed something on the ground, which I initially thought would be a lark but as I followed it, I found it to be White Throated Thrush!! Luckily I managed to get a record pic in the low light.. This time we walked right towards the end of the lake. I saw lot of sunbirds and when I was about to click one, I saw couple of house swallows!! For the 1st time I saw them sitting on a branch else all the time we see them flying around.. Walking further down we saw few moorhens, grey herons and egrets as expected. We also had a visitor.. mongoose 😀 and pretty huge one actually..

I was pretty satisfied already, thanks to swallows and the thrushs.. but the best part was yet to come. We got a lovely sight of a Lesser Pied Kingfisher, hovering over water, taking aim and hunting a fish..! Its only after it flew we realized we should have taken a video.. We again saw couple of these Lesser Pied Kingfishers playing in the air, but again there were to far to be captured. Then I noticed another Kingfisher sitting on a branch of a tree. It was against the light, hence I could not make out which Kingfisher it was. So I quietly went towards the other side of the tree.. and there it was. The beautiful Lesser Pied Kingfisher.

It stayed there for quite a while and we took pics to out hearts content. I guess I would keep visiting Pashan lake atleast once a month 😀

So here are birds we clicked this time..

 

Cattle Egret

Cattle Egret

 

Black Drongo

Black Drongo

 

Lesser Pied Kingfisher

Lesser Pied Kingfisher

 

Lesser Pied Kingfisher

Lesser Pied Kingfisher

 

Pied Bushchat

Pied Bushchat

 

Pied Bushchat

Pied Bushchat

 

Mongoose :D

Mongoose 😀

 

Red Wattled lapwing

Red Wattled lapwing

 

Purple Moorhen

Purple Moorhen

 

House Swallow

House Swallow

 

House Swallow

House Swallow

 

Orange Headed Thrush

Grey Heron

Grey Heron 

Birding at Sinhagad Valley

May 18, 2014 Leave a comment

Inspite of the hot weather, we decided to make a trip to Sinhgad Valley today (18th May 2014).. The plan was to do a quick trip by spending couple of hours from 6 – 8 AM before we start feeling the Pune heat. However couple of sightings of the Pied Kingfisher and White breasted Kingfisher at Khadakwasla and a beautiful lotus flower delayed our journey.

 

White Breasted Kingfisher

White Breasted Kingfisher

 

Lotus

Lotus @ Khadakwasla

 

Finally we reached Sinhgad at around6:45 AM. As soon as we started, we were greeted by a couple of Crested Tree Swifts.. that was indeed a good beginning :D. We did not travel too deep in the valley as we wanted to come back before sun rises completely, however due to the cloudy weather we were able to spend some good time at the foot hills of Sinhgad Valley. Ashy Prinias, Bulbuls, Spotted Doves, Mynas, Green bee-eaters, Sunbirds, Fantails were seen in abundance. We also got a glimpse of the beautiful Black-Naped Monarch Flycatcher. This place is surely a must visit for birding.. We have already planned to spend a full day at the valley once weather becomes more pleasant.

Listed below are the birds captured during the visit..

 

Oriental Magpie-Robin

Oriental Magpie-Robin

 

Jungle Babbler

Jungle Babbler

 

Tickell's Blue Flycatcher

Tickell’s Blue Flycatcher

 

Tickell's Blue Flycatcher

Tickell’s Blue Flycatcher

 

Black Naped Monarch Flycatcher

Black Naped Monarch Flycatcher

 

Black Naped Monarch Flycatcher

Black Naped Monarch Flycatcher

 

Spotted Dove

Spotted Dove

 

White Breasted Kingfisher

White Breasted Kingfisher

 

Unidentified (Jungle Myna??)

Unidentified (Jungle Myna??)

 

Unidentified (Jungle Myna??)

Unidentified (Jungle Myna??)

 

White Browed Fantail

White Browed Fantail

 

Crested Tree Swift

Crested Tree Swift

 

Crested Tree Swift

Crested Tree Swift

 

Brahminy Starling

Brahminy Starling

 

Brahminy Starling with its breakfast

Brahminy Starling with its breakfast

Birding at Vetal Tekdi

May 17, 2014 1 comment

So this weekend started off with yet another early morning birding trip; this time to Vetal Tekdi. We drove right upto ARAI, where we reached at around 5:45 AM. We noticed a lot of people out there for morning walks. It was dawn so we managed to get good clicks of moon as well as of the sunrise. The place is indeed very beautiful and gives a good view of Pune city. Very calm and cool.. away from the city crowd and pollution.

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Moon at dawn

 

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Sunrise

 

Coming back to birds, as soon as we started exploring we could hear a lot of chirps but did not notice any birds, as if they were playing hide and seek with us. Soon we saw a lot of Lesser Coucals; at-least 6 of them. Walking a little further we saw quite a no. of Indian Peafowls.. and what a beautiful sight it was to see them flying. Royal indeed. There was also a lovely shy pair of the beautiful Rofous Treepie.. how much did I wish to capture it.. Sigh! We just got a glimpse of them as they disappeared in the forest. Some of the other birds we saw were Oriental White Eye, Red Vented Bulbuls, Ashy Prinia, Purple Sunbirds and so on.. Its a decent place for birding. In-case you want to visit for morning walks / treks or even just to relax; don’t miss it. Surely would be visiting again in rains and winters.

Following is a list of birds we saw at Vetal Tekdi..

 

Common Myna

Common Myna

 

Oriental White Eye

Oriental White Eye

 

Great tit

Great tit

 

Common Woodshrike

Common Woodshrike

Asian Koel (Female)

Asian Koel (Female)

 

Asian Koel (female)

Asian Koel (female)

 

Lesser Coucal

Lesser Coucal

 

Sunbird & Green Bee-eater

Sunbird & Green Bee-eater

 

Large Grey babbler

Large Grey babbler

 

Laughing Dove

Laughing Dove

 

Plain Prinia

 

and some random clicks..

 

Cotton Tree

Cotton Tree

 

Squirrel enjoying breakfast

Squirrel enjoying breakfast

Birding at Kavdi Pat

May 11, 2014 2 comments

Seems like I am getting addicted to birding with every passing day. This time it was an early morning trip to Kavdi Pat (On Pune- Solapur Highway – 28KM from Pimple Saudagar, Pune). I know its not the season but that’s the advantage of being near to these places.. one can make a trip once a month. Thanks to Sachin & Zafar for making it early morning :D.

If someone is planning a trip to Kavdi Pat, make sure you take the left after 500 meters once you cross the toll (Immediately after Manali Resort) and follow the road till dead end.

Here are the birds we saw at Kavdi Pat.

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Spotted Billed Duck

 

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Cattle Egret

 

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Spotted Owlet

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Laughing Dove

 

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Glossy IBIS

 

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Glossy IBIS

 

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Common Iora

 

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Common Iora

 

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Tickell’s Blue Flycatcher – Chirping all the way

 

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Tickell’s Blue Flycatcher

 

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Purple Moorhen & Glossy IBIS

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Green Bee-eater with its 1st catch of the day

 

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Green Bee-eater

 

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Red Wattled Lapwings

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Ashy Prinia

Birding at Pashan Lake

May 10, 2014 Leave a comment

During our last trip to Niligiris – Mudumalai, we got introduced to birding by our friends Alton & Shyam. We enjoyed it thoroughly and hence decided to plan a birding trip nearby Pune on our own. We got ourselves a pair of Celestron 7X35 Upclose G2 binoculars and “The book of Indian Birds” by Salim Ali for identifying the birds. A quick search for birding places in and around Pune revealed Pashan Lake is a good place to start. I asked another friend of mine if he would like to join us and he did. So me, Shraddha and Sachin started at 6:00 AM for Pashan Lake. We ensured we entered through the bird watching zone and not the jogging track side of the lake.

As soon as we entered the area, we could quickly identify Black Drongo, Coppersmith Brabet and Parakeets. The lake side revealed Common Coots, Egrets, and Grey Herons in abundance. We kept walking adjacent to the lake until we saw 3 Indian Grey Hornbills sitting on top of a tree. We also saw a beautiful White Breasted Kingfisher and Female Asian Koel.  If anyone is planning to go, I would suggest to reach the lake atleast by 6 am as by 8 it starts getting hot.

Following are the types of birds we have identified at Pashan Lake. In-case of any corrections, please let me know in comments.

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Little Cormorant

 

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Black Drongo

 

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Common coot / Egret eggs??

 

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Purple Sunbird

 

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Ashy Prinia

 

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Jerdon’s Bushlark

 

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Indian Robin

 

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Grey Heron

 

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Pied Bushchat (Male)

 

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Indian Grey Hornbill

 

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Green Bee-eater

 

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Asian Koel (Female)

 

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Yellow Eyed Babbler

 

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Red Wattled Lapwing

 

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Common Coot

 

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Indian Pond Heron

 

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Rose Ringed Parakeet

 

 

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Rose Ringed Parakeet – breakfast time

 

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Rose Ringed Parakeet – Upclose!

 

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Black Kite

 

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White Breasted Kingfisher

 

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little Egret & Indian Pond Heron

 

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Coppersmith Barbet

 

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Coppersmith Barbet

 

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Brahminy Starling

 

Trip to the Nilgiris: Mudumalai – Ooty – Coonor

May 5, 2014 Leave a comment

A trip to Bandipur forest was long time due, and we finally planned one. We started early morning from Bangalore (6:00 AM) for the Bandipur forest. 1st halt was at Mysore for breakfast at around 8:00 AM. As we approached Bandipur forest we noticed the drop in temperature. We crossed the Bandipur National Reserve at around 10:00 AM and were greeted by a herd of deers and lot of peacocks and few wild tuskers. It is a beautiful drive through these forest reserve areas as the weather is pleasant even at noon and roads are super smooth. Soon enough we were are the Karnataka-Tamilnadu border and we entered the Mudumalai forest reserve [It’s the same forest reserve across Karnataka (Bandipur), Tamilnadu (Mudumalai) and Kerala (Nagarhole)].

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Spotted deers.. just as we entered Bandipur Sanctuary

We passed through Masinagudi town as we had booked a place called Jungle Retreat. Their website talked about a lot of flora and fauna and we were surely not to be disappointed. The only disappointment was food (food was pretty good but overpriced – around 450 rupees per person per meal) as one cannot bring food from outside to the resort. The reason they gave is that food in rooms attracts rodents, rats and so on which was very valid reason. We reached the resort at around 1:00 PM and came across a Blue faced malkoha and Tickell’s blue flycatcher. That was indeed a good welcome: D. We had booked a double tree house and surely that was one awesome experience. Anyone planning a trip to jungle retreat should stay at the treehouse for a day. It’s a completely different experience. We had our lunch and as we made our way to the treehouse, this time we were greeted with a hail storm followed by heavy rains which further cooled down the weather.

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Indian Peafowl

So 1st on the list was the safari – we hired a Jeep safari organized by Jungle retreat wherein they drove us through village roads in the evening. We managed to see few species of birds and as we were returning we saw wild dogs and a sloth bear. During dinner, the Jungle retreat guys gave a presentation on different flora and fauna in the area which was pretty good. Next on the list was a bird watching walk which started early morning at 6:30 on next day. Some of the birds we saw were Malabar Parakeet, Brown fish owl, Plum headed parakeet, long tailed shrike, Hoopoe, Shama and few more. As the walk ended we came across a beautiful Malabar giant squirrel.

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Blue faced Malkoha

 

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Malabar Giant Squirrel

 

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Long tailed Shrike.. also known as the “Butcher Bird”

We were lucky to have Mr Rajkumar as our guide who is an ornithologist himself. Immediately after the walk he took us on a safari to identify more birds where we saw spotted owlet. We had booked the treehouse only for a day and then we moved into a cottage in resort itself. We again went on a jeep safari but this time on the main road. We saw Indian bison, sambar deer, woodpeckers, crested hawk eagle and few more. We would also like to mention about Jungle retreat staff for being helpful and knowledgeable. All in all it was a lovely stay at Jungle retreat. We tried to get a jeep safari at Bandipur (Rupees 1350 per person) but it was unavailable. If anyone is planning for a Bandipur Jeep safari, see if you can book the same in advance. However, there is Bandipur safari in a canter which is available for 300 rupees per person.

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Changeable Hawk-eagle

 

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Spotted Owlet

 

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Malabar grey hornbill

 

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Plum headed Parakeet

 

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Small Minivet

 

Next day early morning we started for Ooty, as we wanted to go to Avalanche Lake. We reached at around 10 and came to know the Avalanche catchment area safari was full. So we decided to go to the lake and spend some time there. The Emerald lake and Avalanche lakes are a must visit if you happen to go to Ooty.

 

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The beautiful Avalanche Lake

 

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View on way to Ooty

 

Finally the trip ended as we drove from Ooty via Coonor to Tirupur. All in all, a wonderful trip to the Nilgiris. Thanks to Alton and Shyam for planning and sticking to the “sure plan” :D.