Thursday, October 23, 2014


With the beginning of migration of birds we expected to see a lot more bird activity everywhere.
So with this in mind I and Ritesh decided to make a quick trip to Uran area mainly around Jasai.

We started at around 6:30am from Deonar and reached Uran at around 7:15am. Light was just to come up.

Just to the left before the toll after Jasai village there is a waterbody. Here we saw lot of waders mainly redshanks and godwits and terns flying around mainly the whiskered, gull billed and Caspian tern.

On the other side of the road on the wires there were plenty of blue tailed beeeaters, around 20+

Before the toll naka we went off road to search for grassland birds and others.

There were the regulars, ashy and plain prinia calling around.

2 weeks back when I had visited I had seen many long tailed shrikes, a single siberian stonechat and a single pied bushchat. They were also not very active compared to the shrikes.

But this time there was lot of activity of both these birds and we spotted atleast 3+ pairs of both of them.

Other bird with lot of activity was the zitting cisticola.

As we got down to take some shots of this bird and look around a bit we saw a Pied crested cuckoo sitting on a small bush nearby.
As we approached it to take some pics a second pied crested cuckoo came behind it and positioned itself on another bush nearby.

Both gave some good shots and then flew away to a bush further.

Little ahead was a big colony of baya weavers not very near the road but they were coming on the grass very near and we waited patiently in the car to get some glimpses and a few shots.

During this time we also saw red munias and a pair of Rufous tailed larks.
Also got some insects and butterflies.

Blue Pansy

Solomon Arab


I got my lifer a little ahead in the form of a European Roller.

We saw the flash of blue settling of a big tree far away. As we started towards the spot where it had landed it flew and settled on a bush nearer to us.

It was the sighting of the day for me.

We also sighted Paddyfields pipits on and off.

Near the big container yard next to the water body we saw a big raptor circling.
It was a wonder Greater Spotted Eagle. The upper wing pattern were prominently visible.

In the waterbody got good view of Grey Heron, a lone common greenshank and atleast 20+ Pacific golden plovers.

The Siberian Stonechat male gave some wonderful views.

It was just 9:30 am and still it was feeling like 11am and the light had become very harsh till now.
The white throated kingfisher was sitting nearby and searching for food.

Also sighted the seasons first Eurasian Marsh Harrier.

In the large waterbody there were many whiskered terns hunting very nearby and we tried our best to get flight photographs.

Till then it had become too hot abd we decided to start moving back.
Just as we were about the touch the main road we saw 2 Open Billed Storks sitting symmetrically on both sides of the road.

Quiet a way to end the trip.

Sunday, June 01, 2014

2014-05-24 Kombudbhuje Uran and Talawe

Me and Ritesh decided to start for Uran very early at around 5:30am from our place so that we could spend more time birding before it starts getting very hot.

On the way we decided to stop at Kombudbhuje. We were not expecting too much activity since last time when we visited this place there was already a lot of disturbance in terms of sand mining.

But still when we reached there was still a lot of activity.
Indian Robin pair was hopping around for food mostly, Same with Plain prinas and Red Whiskered bulbuls.
There was a kingfisher which had made its nest in the wall on the left hillock and it was making sorties for food.

There were lot of laughing doves and spotted doves sitting on a tree near the edge of tar road which goes down to a platform.

On a tree farther there were few more laughing doves and an odd looking greyish black bird.

Then we started hearing its call and could then see it clearly sitting on a bamboo pole. There were 2 grey bellied cuckoos, a lifer for me.

Other than these there were some who made a quick stop and flew away like the fantail flycatcher, baya weavers, Koel, Common Iora, Red vented bulbuls and Red Munias. Also a mongoose made a short appearance too.
 After watching for around 30-40 min we started towards Uran.
Our main target was the area around the big pond near Jasai to see Cattle egrets in breeding plumage.

On the way itself at a small garbage dump near a village we saw some cattle egrets but not in full breeding plumage.

We decide to enter on to the kuchha road just before the toll naka and we immediately saw a black shouldered kite sitting on wires. Took some shots and moved ahead to see lot of Red Munias.

Tried in vain to approach them slowly as they were continously feeding on the ground on the kuchha road itself. They were extremely alert and vanished as approached with 6-8 feet distance. There were also numerous Ashy prinias in there beautiful breeding plumage.
Along this kuchha road are lot of mangroves and sitting on the top of these were Clamorous reed warblers calling continuosly. Generally these birds are very difficult to spot as they sit deep inside the mangroves and dont come too much in open. But while calling they were sitting at the top of the mangrove giving good views but were in the wrong direction of the light so could not get any good pics.

Just as we turned at the corner of approaching the big pond on the right we got a surprise view. We actually stopped to observe a purple sunbird in shining plumage feeding on Rui flowers (calotropis).
But while observing the sunbird Ritesh suddenly realized something white sitting on a small tree a few feet ahead. It was wonder black shouldered kite.

As it was a short tree we could get some good shots of it.

The pond on the right was completely dry with only small puddle of water at the far end. In the reeds just at the start of the pond we saw a single black headed munia.

In the water we could see a flock of cormorant landing.

Ahead on the road on the left side there is a lot of garbage that is dumped and there were buffaloes feeding on it. And as expected with them were cattle egrets. Few of them were in beautiful breeding plumage. The head and breast were covered with orange feathers, bright red eye, purple gape and red-orange-yellow gradation on the beak.

Got some nice shots and decide to turn back. Just as we started got a plain prinia nearby.
On the way back as we joined palm beach road we decided to peak at the water body behind the sea woods as last time I had been here a few weeks back it was full of flamingoes. This time too it was the same scene but the flamingoes were numerous than last time.
Some of them which were in beautiful breeding plumage were also doing the ritual dance too.

Seeing this I was sure that we would find a lot of flamingoes at Talawe and we immediately decided to start for Talawe.

It was an amazing sight at Talawe with the complete water body filled with flamingoes and many of them in wonderful breeding colors.
Not only that but here we could witness their dance from very close by and got a click some wonderful pics.
The flamingoes started flying back to the sea and we decided to start back for home.

While walking back on the road next to TS Chanakya wall i heard some rustling in the bushes nearby and to our utter pleasure we saw 2 rat snakes doing their mating ritual dance.

We stopped there keeping quite a distance so as to not to disturb them and observed them for more than 20min. The snakes were pretty large and would be atleast 6feet long.

Others seen here were little egret in breeding plumage, black headed gulls and Caspian Terns.

So it was a day of perfect timing for us at almost all the places and got some lifetime memorable sights which are rare to have like the 2 grey bellied cuckoos, dancing flamingoes and dancing rat snakes.