Friday, December 12, 2003

Uran - Ohh!!!!! What a day (7.12.03)

Hi Birds,

Uran is always full of surprise & never fails to excite a birder.........

Myself & Sandeep had been to Uran yesterday (We were later joined by Sunjoy , Jyoti Monga & their sweet little Yuhina along with Alka , Ashwini Vaidya & her Father).

Highlights of the day were White storks,Red necked falcon,Desert wheatear,Blue rock thrush & a pair of Pallied harriers.Total 58 species.

The first bird sighted was a Blue rock thrush on our way to uran ,at a construction site along the palm beach road.At a distance looked like a black bird,but on close observation turned out to be a first winter male,though the colour was still a slaty grey rather than blue, with barrings on the chest.

Along the road saw flocks of Black breasted weaver birds ,scattered now n then by the sight of a female Marsh harrier.
Most part of the area behind the JNPT township is dry now,with few patches holding water.Waders were few and all the stilts , Avocets , Ducks were gone.But one birds lost is other birds gain.Saw a male Desert wheatear (In its breeding plumage , with the black throat) & a female Collard bush chat / Stonechat close by ( I was just wondering at that moment ,about the mails posted on this group recently of these two distinctly different species).Black bellied sparrow lark & rufous tailed sparrow larks were many with an occassional Oriental skylarks song ,heard at a distance.Red wattled lapwings were numerous But today was clearly a Raptor day.While watching the Wheatear , a male adult Pallied harrier floated gracefully past us at quite a close range ( Later we also saw the female Pallied harrier).A flock of Openbilled storks were lazily roosting on accasia trees.

Meanwhile we got a call from Ashwini of there arrival and no sooner did we meet them ,Sunjoy gave another call on my cell about the presence of a pair of white storks.Without delay we zoomed to where Sunjoy was. The storks were busy feeding in a field close to the road & gave excellent views.
Suddenly a falcon came from some where and landed on a nearby telephone pole.In flight it looked like a Kestrel,But soon it flew from that pole and sat on another pole right in front of us.This bird turned out to be a Red necked falcon.This was a great sight , watching two very uncommon birds for Mumbai region right in front of us , Meanwhile Ashwini pointed out that there was another bird sitting on the Pole where the falcon first flew.The excitement had already started to builed up.......... these are some of the moments in birdwatching where one feels like dancing with joy ( Ashwini was actually jumping with joy ).On close observation through Binocs & Sunjoys Spotting scope , it turned out to be a male Common Kestrel ( So our guess that the first falcon was Kestrel was indead right.Probably the Krestrel shooed away the Red Necked Falcon sitting there, which then landed on the pole near to us).The whole scene was so exciting....White storks , Red necked falcon , Common kestrel , Marsh harriers hunting at the background , flock of Blackbreasted weavers behind.....Wow!!!.

All of us procceded to the area behind the JNPT township.An aquilla eagle was sitting on the ground . Even with a spotting scope it was difficult to identify the eagle.It took flight & was soon joined by a Booted Eagle (pale phase) & a pair of Shikra.A female Pallied harrier was hunting nearby & little further down the road a pair (?) of twany eagles were seen soaring majestically. Still two more Eagalish birds were seen sitting on top of the towers , but were very far to identify.

A dark & white morph of Western reef herons were seen sitting together.Other birds included a solitary immature lesser flamingo feeding along with Red shanks , Marsh Sandpipers , Blacktailed godwits & greenshanks.Also saw a Steppe Eagle ,Spotbill ducks Malabar crested larks on our way back.

While returning with Sandip ,saw a flock of 46 Flamingos fly past above us with all their grandeour, along the vashi bridge as if to say............ Good bye , Come again.

Happy Birding ,