Sunday, July 10, 2005

Karnala & Indian Pitta - The SUSPECT (10.7.05)

Hi All,

It’s nice to see after a long time,so many people, contributing their sightings on the group…let me as well give my share.

After a very long Hibernation (almost 2 months), I had been to Karnala on 10th July’05 with Bob (Iwan) Roberts, Vidya Rao & Shashank Dalvi.

It was pretty late (9.00 am) when we reached there. The weather was very humid and hot. With no rains for almost a week, we were certain to miss out on the numerous mushroom species that emerge out and for which Karnala is a superb place.

We were greeted with plenty of bird calls, with Vidya looking absolutely lost. There were calls of Sunbirds, flowerpeckers, Ioras, drongos, minivets…..One bird call, however caught our attention. It was that distinct call Weet….weview……an Indian Pitta. Now, this bird (Also called as “Navrang”) is thought to be a passage migrant for our region, moving from South to North & central India for breeding and can be encountered during end May & initial June and again in October on their return journey….. Well this was July, its peak breeding season. Also some of my friends who went to Phansad the following Tuesday also informed me that they saw & heard quite a few Pittas ( and then Dr.Vaibhav also confirmed seeing Pittas near Alibaug regularly in July)….This particular bird responded to the calls we made and was looking in a very challenging mood, and was calling continuously, thinking of some intrusion on its territory. I SUSPECT this species may be nesting here in small nos……… However while scanning thro’ records I found this comment from Dr.Salim Ali-- “Breeds sporadically e.g. Bombay environs. Mainly southwest monsoon winter visitor and/or passage migrant in peninsula India,” Ali, S. & Ripley, S. D. 1983;. (From compilation by Anand Prasad, BOB files)

Click the following to view this beautiful bird:

While photographing this bird with my handy cam, I had a bad fall twisting my left wrist, while shooing away a Rhesus Macacque, which was attracted to my un-attended bag on the ground……

Further down the “Mortaka trail” we encountered a very good mixed hunting party of birds that almost had 13 species…..including G.R.tailed drongo, Whitebellied and Bronze drongos, Palebilled & thickbilled flowerpeckers, Purple & Crimson backed Sunbirds, Black hooded Orioles, A party of C.Wood shrikes, Spotted Babblers, Ioras…..etc. a party of c3 C.Serpant Eagles was soaring above (Probably a family), calls of Malabar whistling thrush, Quaker babbler, L.Flameback, Monarch flycatcher, Grey jungle fowl etc….. Surprisingly no cuckoo calls or Orange headed thrush calls were heard.

Mr.Chandrashekhar Marathe (RFO-Karnala) showed us the stuffed Leopard and a tiger that was gifted by the Late actor Mr.Ashok Kumar Ganguly, which are kept in their guest house (Mayur)… he was also kind enough to share, what the forest department is trying to do to maintain the forest & the various activities including nature education….but also expressed the Dept’s helplessness due to lack of guards & beaurocracy……..

With the rains now in full flow, Karnala should be very good for birds, plants, insects & amphibians.

Happy Birding,
Addi the Birde