Sunday, October 12, 2003

Uran - Birding riot & Monitor Lizard

Hi Birds,

Those of you who have not been to Uran yet ,are missing out all the action...........

We ( Myself & Sharad Bhatt) had a great birding on Sunday 12th Oct '03 at Uran --Area behind the JNPT Township.Birds were everywhere & in thousands. In all 61 Species.

Highlights :
The largest congregation of Glossy Ibises (Approx.350) I have ever seen in Uran , about 1000 Gull-billed Terns, Hundreds of Black-Headed & Brown-Headed Gulls,72 Pallas Gulls ,A Lone Caspian Tern with its Bright Red Bill Standing prominently amongst them, 1000 + Black-winged stilts,Spoonbills (150+),Grey herons (30) in a compact flock.Thousands of Waders which included Black-tailed Godwits , Ruffs,Curlew Sandpipers,Little & Temminck's Stints,Common & Marsh Sandpipers,Common & Spotted Red Shanks (Had a good opportunity to Compare the two in a single binoc. frame) ,18 Pied Avocets,Good numbers of Green Shanks,Some Shoveller Ducks & Gadwall (Both in eclipse Phase)* interspersed among the Waders.

The Whole area looked like a birding hot spot ,where all the birds were concentrated.

Other birds included Whiskered Terns ,Marsh Harriers (2),Citrine wagtails,Egrets,Pond Herons,Phesant Tailed Jacana , a Juvenile Indian Moorhen ,Little Grebe,Oriental Sky Larks,Red Wattled Lapwings,Pied Mynas ,a juvenile Jungle Myna ( I have also seen an adult one at the same spot on previous occasion with Sunjoy ).................

On our way to Uran we stopped at one spot to observe Black breasted Weaver birds and were surprised to note, so many species at a single spot ,reminding of how one suddenly encounters a typical mixed hunting party in wooded areas.....Baya nests on a small shrub , Black breasted weavers nesting in Bull rushes , A laughing Dove, Small Green Bee-Eaters,Blackheaded , Red & Scaly breasted Munias,ashy & Plain prinias , Rosy pastors flying above ( First for this season for me) ,Longtailed Shrike,Rufous Tailed Lark flying past,White throated Kingfisher,Pond Heron...........All in a Compact area.

On our way back got an unusuall Photograph along the road side " Monitor Lizard feasting on dead cattle".The Monitor was very huge ( approx.2 1/2 to 3 less) , I have not seen a Monitor lizard of this size recently around Mumbai (The scene was a reminiscent of a Komodo dragon feasting on a deer...............well almost). Last year I had Photographed a dead Jackal Knocked by a Vehicle at exactly the same spot.

However, surprisingly we did not see even a single black Drongo thro'out the day.

*Note : The eclipse phase of most of the Ducks is not given in Grimmet. We could identify the Shovellers by their beak, and also the Gadwalls by the orange colour on the sides of their beak & by their feeding behavior , body size & shape of the head.Otherwise the Plumage of all the ducks present did not lead to any clue.Can anyone suggest a good book for Ducks ,where all the Phases are illustrated.

The migratory season has really started. Are you still waiting to go to Uran .....................