Friday, October 22, 2004

Uran-Rosy Pelican sighting (22.10.04)

Hi Birds,

Rosy Pelican in Uran...........You Belive?

Well this is what we saw in Uran yesterday ( 22nd Oct'04). As I have written in my previous mails, Uran never fails to excite in every visit. Every time you go to Uran, there is something different.

I along with Mr.Amit Gupta (Bnhs Memb.) thought of utilizing the morning of Dushera Holiday. Initially many others had planned to join us, but couldn’t make...poor fellows....they missed all the action (Shashank, Amar, there?)

The migratory birds are all there now with the addition of various species of ducks, Aguila Eagels and wagtails that were absent probably a week ago (Last went on 13th Oct'04). Total 87 species. The highlight was of course a lone Rosy or Great white Pelican, Broadbilled sandpipers, Wigeons, Blue tailed beeeaters (Probably on their passage migration) and Pied Kingfisher.

The pond opposite to the JNPT Police station yielded Pied Avocets, Broadbilled sandpipers (Had a very good close scope views) that were feeding along with Marsh & wood sandpipers, Black winged stilts, Black tailed Godwits, Little stints, Red & Green shanks, Ruffs (see photo-Right is non br. plumage & Left is partial br. plumage). Also saw Common coots with juveniles (with white under neck), Common teals, Shovellers, Gargeny teals, Grey Herons, Plenty of Glossy Ibises. A number of Marsh Harriers were seen flushing the birds. A sparrow hawk (with the gular stripe very clear) was seen loitering among trees.

A flock of about 25 ducks were looking place to land and circled for quite some time. In flight one of the duck showed clear white patches on wing. Since they were circling in a regular beat, I managed to catch them on the scope which confirmed the ducks to be Wigeons with the male, having that wing wing patch….They however didn’t settle and moved far away.

Amit was driving his santro, when we saw a huge flock of Grey herons, Great and Intermediate egrets, Spoonbills and White Ibises far away where we had seen the first Flamingos and Painted storks in the previous visits, when Amit pointed out that there was a very large white bird amongst the Egrets, after a careful scan thro’ our binocs the large bird turned out to be a pelican. I literally jumped out from the car, grabbed the scope and pointed towards the bird… and there it was …A great white or Rosy pelican feeding amongst the Egrets and spoonbills…Probably a first record for Mumbai region ?(comments from experts please). Suddenly all the birds flew towards us…..with the R.Pelican looking like a giant. It flew far away and then came back again and started soaring high up. A flock of about 200-250 greater flamingos also passed us….But we were so engrossed with this Pelican that the Flamingos got a second preference from us.

Some juvenile Brahminy kites and a short toed Snake Eagle gave company to the Pelican on the top.

Excited…. we moved towards the JNPT training centre that is situated in a forested hill some 2 Kms away hoping to find more ducks in the marshes surrounding the hill. We were not disappointed as, from the view point (an excellent spot where one can observe birds from above) we could see hoards of ducks roosting/ feeding in the waters. Apart from the ducks already mentioned there were some Bronzewinged Jacanas, Little grebes, Coots, Spotbilled and Lesser whistling ducks. A steepe Eagle gave us close view and from this point we could also spot about c3 Curlews far away on the sea shore.

Some other birds that were spotted included Western reef egrets (dark phase), small green bee eaters, Spotted & laughing doves, Red & Spotted munias, Collard stone chat, Oriental skylark, Rufous tailed lark, Citrine wagtails, Blackbreasted & Baya weavers, Shikra, Pond & Purple herons (after a long time) Common blue & white throated kingfishers, whiskered & gullbiled terns, Black & Brownheaded Gulls, Black drongo, Little & Indian cormorants, Open billed storks ( No Painted storks this time), Little & cattle egrets, Kentish plovers, Purple moorhens, L.T.Shrikes, Indian & Magpie robins, Blyth’s reed & greenish warblers, Ashy & Plain prinias, House & Palm swifts, Barn, Wiretailed & Red rumped swallows………..

While returning back we again visited the Pelican spot. The fellow was seen preening along with some Grey herons. While the Rosy Pelicans are a common sight in Gujarat and in North, this bird seemed to be a straggler to our region (A friend of mine informed, that they have been sighted in eastern Maharashtra once by Mrs. Shailaja Grubb.….May be this fellow was lured by the birds here to visit the rich habitat of Uran?).

Today (23rd Oct’04) again I had an opportunity to bird in Uran with some top Naval officials.....Courtesy Mr.K.B.Singh. However the Pelican was not seen. I will put up a separate list of birds seen today.

The high tide seems to be the right time to visit Uran as the waders in particular move towards higher mudflats when they do not find place along the shores……..and with so many birds turning up here, I hope to see lot of people move from their High tide (High tension human environs) to Uran Mudflats (Low tension nature environs).


Happy Birding

Addi The Birde