Saturday, February 01, 2014

2014-01-15 Kutch : Naliya - Jakhau - Kunathia

First day was spent birding at Banni, Chari Dhand and Pot Mahadev.
Here is the link to the blog

15th Jan 2014 Naliya, Jakhau, Kunathia grasslands

The next day we started at around 7am with packed breakfast and as before it was ready right on time.

Today Mangal bhai was not able to join as he had to accompany Mandar and Adesh with their group.

But he had given us another driver Mamaji and for Naliya & Jakhua he had called on to Sadhik bhai who was not really a bird guide but he was an expert on locations and was able to spot birds very well though he did not know name of the birds.

On the way we got a surprise with a Jackal crossing our road. We stopped and tried to follow it but as expected it vanished. It had gone inside the growth and was going the other way than our direction. So we decided to take a change taking a U turn.

Almost soon we saw one of the 2 Jackals crossing the road so moved forward towards that place where it had crossed and soon saw the second one coming out from the right and then it crossed over.

At a village we saw a lot of peahens. There was also a water body which had spot billed ducks, northern shovellers, white wagtail, yellow wagtail and also a hoppoe.

At Naliya we had tea and the packed breakfast and then we proceed to forest office to get permit.

The campus of the forest department was full of trees which had small red berries growing.

And there were alteast 8-10 male & female koels feeding on it.

There were also rose ringed parakeets 

and white cheeked bulbuls feeding on it.

On the way to Naliya we got good views of Variable wheatear, black redstart, green bee eater, rufuous fronted prinia but no Great Indian Bustard. 

Later on we moved to Jakhau port to visit a fresh water body and then the salt pans to see birds which visit these places regularly.

Fresh water was flowing along the road for quite a distance and there were flocks of common cranes and Great White Pelicans settling at multiple places.

Along these water bodies we saw spoonbills, glossy ibis, black headed ibis, grey heron and also a purple heron.

The side of the road had also some small bushes and grasses where we saw a hooppoe, collared dove, Indian Silverbills, Bay backed shrike, Southern grey shrike and a brahminy kite.

There were 2 different sightings here. Firstly a bluethroat for which i had to wait quite patiently to come out in the open and then I saw that it had white rather than an orange patch on the throat. So must be a female or a juvenile.

The other was a lifer - White Tailed Lapwing. We were actually watching the small blue kingfisher when suddenly I noticed this lifer in the waters below.

As we reached almost the sea we started seeing waders but here too we spotted a big flock of common cranes. 

Me and Rohit had got down to photograph the cranes and while returning back we got the news that on the other side we have a desert fox.

We waited for sometime for the fox to come out but it did not. We decided to move a little further and try our luck there to see if the fox does come out either ahead of us or behind us.

We were fortunate and after going ahead a bit we got good views of the desert fox. Though it was quite far for photographing we got good views of its fluffy cream tail through our binocs.

In waders we spotted the little stints, curlew sandpipers, marsh sandpiper and a Ruff.

Jakau salt pans is a wonder place. It is like we are surrounded by birds because we are just driving over narrow bunds and there is water everywhere.

You get to make close encounters with many birds here like the greater flamingo

Great white pelicans

Caspian tern hunting

Golden Plover

Marsh Sandpiper

Hundreds of western reef egrets (also saw a white morph with partial plumage)



Painted storks

Gulls, eurasian curlew, Grey herons, Black necked stork

There are also a hundreds of wind mills here to generate electricity.

We got very late returning back to Naliya. It was almost 3pm. We dropped Sadik bhai at Jakhau village and had lunch at Naliya.

From there we proceeded to Kunathia grasslands to search for bustard.

We did not find any in the protected area but as we were roaming outside the area and while we had stopped to have a good look at a blue bull Abhijit suddenly spotted an odd shape far away.

All three of us immediately got down put on our binoculars and started searching. It was indeed something different. We immediately took out our spotting scope and scanned the area to see a Houbara bustard. Quite a sighting it was.

We saw it walking but soon it was disturb by a camel and it vanished somewhere behind the fields. We tried to go the place where we had seen it but in vain. But there we saw huge flocks of short toed larks and a pallid harrier.

Till then it was almost sunset and we decided to return back as we had to also freshen up at the hotel and reach bhuj to catch a 10:15pm train to Mumbai.

On the way we saw many Indian Nightjars sitting on the road and flying as our vehicle approached. We approached on of it slowly and then i got down on all fours and moved slowly towards it and got some nice pics in vehicle headlamp light.

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