Saturday, January 20, 2018

2017-12-23-Bikaner - Raptor Galore

23rd Dec 2017 - Bikaner Outskirts

Had heard a lot about raptor sightings in Bikaner outskirts but what we witnessed was completely out of imagination.

We reached Bikaner early morning at 6am and straight away headed to Jitu Solanki's Vinayak Guest House. We had quick tea and in half an hour was ready for the birding.

We had a Mr. Satya from Anand, Gujarat accompanying us on our safaris to Bikaner outskirts.

As we reached the outskirts of Bikaner and as it had already started to get some sun rays we started seeing many raptors sitting on trees along the road. To our surprise Jituji was not interested to stop at any of these trees as he said "This is nothing lets go ahead and I promise it will be amazing".

As we reached the destination, it would not be a exageration to say, that almost each tree was hosting atleast 5-10 raptors. Mostly steppe eagles, some imperial eagles and tawny eagles.

And got some nice close shots of Steppe Eagle, Imperial Eagle and Eurasian Griffon.

On the ground it was mainly Egyptian Vultures around 300+ atleast in total.
Farther away on ground and trees were Eurian Griffon, around 50+ in total.

But the most vulture which gave us very good views and which was a lifer for me were Cinereous Vulture. These are really huge vultures when sitting as well as flying though wingspan of Griffon is probably larger.

And then some flight pics of these raptors seeing clearly the difference in their shape and color.

It was an amazing morning to see so many raptors at one location.

Among these were also red naped ibis and common startlings which we go the next day.

While driving around the outskirts away from the raptor area we got desert and variable wheatears (capistrata subspecies), Chestnut bellied sandgrouse, Desert Warbler and a beautiful specimen of Rufous fronted prinia.
Came back for lunch and then again started at around 3pm to a water body in the outskirts

It was again an amazing place and got some wonderful sightings.

- Started with white eared bulbul and rosy startlings gathering to drink water
- there were red wattled lapwing and green sandpiper which were joined by a pair of black winged stilts
- Collared dove started gathering on a bush nearby and then started coming one by one for the water
- A single yellow eyed pigeon was joined with the collared dove though we saw a flock of 5-10 yellow eyed pigeons flying overhead
- The most awaited visitor 3 desert fox and a beautiful little Indian fox
- Many wild boars with there litters
- few chikaras
- flock of 5 Grey francolins
- Indian Robin
As we ended the session by around 5pm and were about to leave a eurasian sparrowhawk made a dive to a bush creating a commotion for other birds already present.

Ended with spotted owlets just getting active coming out of their roosting hole in a tree and a raptors against setting sun.

Next Day Dryland and Water birds of Bikaner (2017-12-24)

1 comment:

Hayath said...

I'm sure both your card and heart must've been full with those super sightings!
Great narration and images all through