Saturday, January 20, 2018

2017-12-22 Netsi - Land of Sandgrouses

22nd Dec 2017 - Ramgarh

Next day Urus was not going to be able to accompany us but he sent his cousin with the driver Alam Bhai. Even though they did not knew much about birds, they had all information about the location and timing from Urus.

We started at around 7am for Netsi talab which is near Ramgarh around 100km from Khoohdi.

On the way we saw Common Kestrel, Long Legged Buzzard, Egyptian Vulture and Collared dove at a water point near road, and a Laggar Falcon pair on a tower near Sam.

We reached Netsi talab at around 10.15am.

We saw many ducks in the talab, a common hoppoe, black redstart, lesser white throat, white wagtail, white throated kingfisher, etc.
But we were searching for 2 main species. Water pipit and Chestnut bellied Sandgrouse.

Water pipit are known to be seen around the water body here but no luck with it.

The main special event for which Netsi Talab is famous for is big congregation of Sandgrouse for drinking water in the morning time.

We were told that they are seen only till 11am and as the time was passing we were getting a feeling that we had arrived late and missed the event.

But just then we heard a familiar sandgrouse call and a flock of 10-15 sandgrouse flying high above.

After that we started flocks after flocks of sandgrouse but they were flying above the talab and landing on dry land away from talab.

We were deciding whether to follow the flight or wait at the talab.

As we started to walk towards where they were landing suddenly a huge flock of sandgrouse took off. They started now landing at the talab to drink water in small flocks.

The most interesting part observed during this show was

1) The 200+ odd sandgrouse came down in flocks of 5-10 one after the other
2) Almost all landed at same spot our a few feet away only
3) the flock would just sit for 3-4sec max drinking at one gulp per sec and fly off in no time.
4) And within 30min all the sandgrouse had drank water and were gone

We had lunch at Ramgarh and then went to find Greater Hoopoe Lark.

On the way got a Eastern Imperial Eagle, tawny eagle and Crested Lark.

There was a huge open dry land and we had to find a hoopoe lark in this.

We drove a lot on the tracks to find a desert jird, some crested larks and 3 Desert Coursers.

Finally after more than 1 hour search we finally spotted the Greater Hoopoe Lark walking on the dry land. It was walking continuously and stopping only briefly to find some food.

It made us walk for more than 15-20min before it found some good food and decided to stop for almost 5-10min to give us nice views and pics.

We started our return at around 3pm.

On the way back got

- 50+ common crane flock standing on ground
- Long legged buzard
- Grey shrike
- Egyptian vultures
- 10+ collared doves coming for a drink

with the sunseting over the desert.

This was a perfect end to our 2 days at Desert National Park.

We returned back to our resort at Khoohdi at 7pm, packed up and started for Jaisalmer at 9pm to catch a train to Bikaner at 11:55pm for 2 more existing days with mainly Raptors.

Next Day Raptors Galore - Bikaner (2017-12-23)

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