Preparing to tan myself this summer (Err.....I am already a tanned person),I started with the objective of observing the resident ground nesting birds (Larks , Lapwings , Pipits.....) as, this is their breeding season.The ground nesting birds in particular have to finish their nesting, before the onset of monsoon.
I obviously opted , once again for Uran,Owing to its varied habitat , particularly Scrub,Dry fallow land & Cultivation. Starting a bit late on Sunday April 4,2004 ,I caught up with Sunjoy and party on the way.They had a good time by then , having found Common Babblers for the first time in the region. The numbers seemed to have dropped as compared to last week,However the species count was none the less 93 (Including Sunjoy's list ,which he has posted separately).
Had good birding around the JNPT township area particularly of waders & waterfowls,however the Pied kingfishers were nowhere to be seen this time.Even the "Crake point" witnessed hectic construction work of a sewage pipeline which was extended further in the reeds.I thought the Long tailed shrike numbers were higher than usual.
After departing with Sunjoy , I birded with K.B. Singh for some time before exploring the Lapwings , Larks ...et.al.
The area between Jasai and JNPT is a good spot for this purpose , and just one scan from the Binoc. fetched, one nest of Red wattled lapwing & Ashy crowned sparrow lark each. Lapwings nest , contrary to the belief is one of the most easiest nest to find. To find a nest of a lapwing, there is a One line "Mantra". ( Altough I do not want to mention this here, for the better part of the bird).
The lapwing had already laid 2 eggs from its normal clucth of 4.Its interesting to observe how these birds maintain the temperature. On one occasion while photographing the Red watteled lapwing from a hide for hours , we had observed the lapwings antics to keep the eggs at a constant temperature.During the heat of the afternoon the bird used to just stand on the eggs shading them , to avoid overheating.Sometimes the bird used to dip its belly in water nearby & then incubate.When on eggs the birds would be absolutely silent,while its mate used to keep watch from nearby,giving a typical alarm call on an aproach of an intruder.... the bird on the eggs would then quietly sneek away , far from the nest. On other times when the eggs were hatched and the chicks were around, the parent birds would simply attack ( Nose-dive) the intruder with deafening screams.
The nest of the A.C.S.Larks had 2 eggs in them ( Normal clucth size is 2-3 eggs).The nest was made up of grass under a grass tussock & neatly lined with pebbles.Nearby the male was displaying (In Marathi they are called "Dombari" or "Gaaroli"). Also found another nest of A.C.S.Lark, a little further, But did'nt dare to approach it as, those, ever so cunning / opportunistic Crows were around ( Care should be taken always, while approaching any nest.......Better still to observe it at a distance). However the heat was killing...so I retraced back, hoping to explore more next time (Will go once again on Friday.... Hoping a "Good Friday")
The Hormones are sure running high........in air.
Addi the Birdie