Saturday, February 01, 2014

2014-01-14 Kutch : Banni - Chari Dhand - Pot Mahadev

Have a look at the following blog containing birding pics and information seen in Mandvi and Kaladungar


14th Jan 2014 Banni Grassland, Chari Dhand and Pot Mahadev

On 14th we started before sunrise at around 6:30am for Banni and Chari Dhand.

Our driver Mangal bhai (recommended by Mandar Khadilkar) was right on time at 6am.

We carried packed breakfast and the hotel staff was very efficient.
When we came down our tea was already ready and breakfast packed in nice carton with plates, spoons and everything and already placed in our jeep.

At a village on the way there was a water flowing and we saw green sandpiper, black winged stilt, bluethroat and red wattled lapwing.

Just as the sun was rising we reached the grasslands and we started hearing noise of big flocks of common cranes and saw multiple flocks flying by.




Wheaters and larks were also flying around but a special bird caught our eyes a Montaug's harrier hunting for morning breakfast on the grassland.





We could see a peculiar harrier hunting habit, flying very low over the grassland, pounding on the ground at a spot, catching something mostly a lizard and then stationing self on a spot on ground and finishing the feast.

Whitethroats were almost every where and one gave us very good views.




Variable and Desert wheatears were also very commonly seen on the grassland though they were not so obliging for the photographs except for one desert wheatear which kept on feeding around our stationary jeep for almost 2min.




Similarly a rufous tailed lark and crested lark gave us some good feeding views.



As we started towards Chari Dhand we started seeing huge flocks of common cranes feeding on the soft wet grassland.







Here we also saw our first chestnut bellied sandgrouse.



Here is where we got our first view of Long Legged Buzzard. What an elegant raptor sitting on top of a bush. 



As we approached it took off and its flight was equally elegant. It flew very low to the ground and landed on a further bush.




Later on while searching of short toed owls in the bushes we saw another one flying in the sky above us and what a plumage it had.



Further near Chari Dhand we encountered a grey francolin very near the jeep trail.




At Chari Dhand there were flamingos, grey herons, northern shovelers, red wattled lapwings and flying high up in the sky a steppe eagle.

A Blue bull also came to the water front to have a drink.



At Chari Dhand we also got a rufous tailed shrike.




From here we went to the spot to find short eared Owl. This was a area with lot of bushes of a type which is used to make charcoal. Mangal bhai told us that there is a huge amount of hacking of these bushes reducing the habitat and resulting in decline of Short Eared Owls sightings in this area. Similarly we did not find any Short eared Owl but got good views of these bushes in flowering.




We were back at JP for lunch by around 1:30pm. Had a quick lunch, freshened up and left for pot mahadev expecting some lifers.

On the way we tried to search at multiple grasslands for Indian Coursers but in vain.

At one place we stopped to look at a bird which was just on the tree very near the road and it turned out to be a common woodshrike. There were atleast 4 individuals there.

While looking at the woodshrike we saw many common babblers moving around and a bay backed shrike.



Just then our driver heard a different call that of a Marshall's iora and there it was.
It gave us multiple views feeding on the babul trees.







Just then came another lifer the white naped tit. What a beatiful bird it is with the contrasting black and white.
But it was very unstable and kept on hiding behind twigs. I just managed some record shots.




But it was very satisfying to get these 2 lifers at the same spot.

Moving ahead towards the pot mahadev temple we came at a spot where the brahminy mynas and common babblers were very near our car and got some good views.




At the top of the hillock it was completely silent and moved ahead towards the temple.
Just near the temple I heard the familar calls of minivets and immediately asked the driver to stop. There were a flock of 8-9 small minivets.



Till this time it was already sunset time and light was too low.
Just then heard and then spotted the red breasted flycatcher.

Many beeeaters were collecting to roost on the tree just behind the temple.



Saw the sunset and called it the end of the day.




We returned to the hotel after a quick dinner (a Gujarati thali) at a small restaurant in Nakhatrana. It was quite good food.

Read the blog on birding in Naliya - Jakhau - Kunathia below

1 comment:

Milind Sahasrabudhe said...

Dear Alok,

मस्त वर्णन . झकास फोटो .
मी डिसेंबर मध्ये चारी धंद ला जातो आहे.
मंगलभाईंचा नंबर असेल का? किंवा मिळू शकेल का कुठून?

आभार

मिलिंद सहस्रबुद्धे