Saturday, February 04, 2017

2017-01-21-22 Bhimashankar

Friday 20th Jan 2017, 11 of us started with Avinash Bhagat, an expert birder, from Thane in a mini bus.

The plan was to reach early morning at "Ratwa" resort, freshnup and proceed to Gupt Bhimashankar.
The trail leading to Gupt Bhimashankar is covered with very thick vegetation.

We immediately started hearing calls of Puff throated babbler and Brown cheeked fulvetta. Also got their views along with Black naped monarch and paradise flycatcher.

At one point there was a huge tree with atleast 7-8 beehives of the size of around 4feet in dia at a height of around 30-40feet above the ground.
And there were many ashy drongos hunting for bees.

A little ahead we came accross a mixed hunting party of Orange minivet, Yellow browed bulbul and verditer flycatcher.

Here we spotted our first view of Shekru (Malabar Giant Squirrel)

At the stream at the Gupt Bhimashankar there were hundreds of bees drinking water and water skaters skating on the water.
Bees at stream
Water Skater

In very low bushes near the water were 2 tytler's warbler coming in for a drink and bath.
Got some good view and clicks of this endangered species and a lifer for me.
Tytler's Leaf Warbler

Tytler's Leaf Warbler
Tytler's Leaf Warbler

On the return there was not much birds seen but there was a constant activity and calls and good views of a shekru sitting on a low branch.

Malabar Giant Squirrel

Then we went back to the resort for lunch and a short nap.

The plan for the afternoon session was to visit a deep point in the forest where a stream was flowing and it was expected to have a continuous activity of birds.

And as expected it turned out to be a wonderful session not just for photography but also for the sightings and that too at quite close quarters.

We all sat on the boulders quite far from the point without making much movements as already instructed by Avinash.

We reached by around 3:30pm and it was expected that for atleast 30min there wont be much activity.

The first activity that started were of few warblers and crimson backed sunbird flittering on high trees.
A pair of yellow browed bulbuls also visited the high trees but they did not come down for water.

Then came the first visitor to the stream - a tytler's warbler and then the activity just continued as flow of video streams following one after the other :-)
  - Crimson backed sunbird
Crimson Backed Sunbird

Crimson Backed Sunbird

  - Red breasted flycatcher pair with the male showing wonderful orange breast
Red Breasted Flycatcher

Red Breasted Flycatcher
Red Breasted Flycatcher (Female)
  - many brown cheeked fulvetta
Brown Cheeked Fulvetta

Brown Cheeked Fulvetta

  - Red whiskered bulbul
Red Whiskered Bulbul

Red Whiskered Bulbul
Red Whiskered Bulbul

  - puff throated babblers flipping leafs in the undergrowth and later coming to the stream
Puff Throated Babbler

Puff Throated Babbler

  - orange headed ground thrush took lot of time to come to stream but when they came they were quite bold
Orange Headed Ground Thrush

Orange Headed Ground Thrush

  - then came on the most magnificent bird and most wanted for photographers the Paradise Flycatcher white morph with streams along with a female and a juvenile male without streamers
Paradise Flycatcher (White Morph)

Paradise Flycatcher (Female - Grey Throat)

  -  Orinetal turtle doves visited the trees around
  - Most fascinating for me were a pair of black naped monarch. They would never sit at one place for more that 2sec and most challenging to photograph
Black Naped Monarch (Male)

Black Napped Monarch (Female)

  - At the end came the star attraction White bellied blue flycatcher pair
White Bellied Blue Flycatcher (Male)

White Bellied Blue Flycatcher (Male)

White Bellied Blue Flycatcher (Female)

. They were the last to come and very shy but as the light started to fade and it was almost no point of taking photos when they became very bold. We started to move around to start back and these birds were like 2-3feet from us sitting without being afraid.

We left the spot by around 6.30pm. We decided to do some night trail on the way back. But not much luck with the nightjar.

The next day morning we decided to do a quick visit to the same spot before leaving for birding on Kondhwal.
Not much activity there so we returned back.
Near the temple got Oriental Turtle Dove very nearby.
Oriental Turtle Dove

On the way back got Malabar Lark, Oriental Honey, Kestrel and Montagu's Harrier.
Oriental Honey

Montagu's Harrier (Male)
Montagu's Harrier (Female)

Malabar Lark

Went back to Ratwa resort for breakfast and then immediately packed and started for Kondhwal.

On the way to Kondhwal while looking for bird activity Avinash spotted from a moving bus 2 Grey Nightjars sleeping on tree branches 10feet above ground. This was amazing spotting by Avinash!!
Grey Nighthjar

Later on ahead near the river we were searching for Blue Rock Thrush. But found other birds like Long tailed Shrike, Green Beeeater, Ashy Prinia, etc.

Ahead near the waterfall we saw Black eagle, Booted eagle, Crested Hawl Eagle and Eurasian Crag Martins.
Black Eagle
Crested Hawk Eagle

Eurasian Crag Martin (White underparts compared to Dusky)

Also saw on the way Common Stonechat, Pied Bushchat, Shikra and Black shouldered Kite.
Pied Bushchat

Black Shouldered Kite

With this we concluded the trip and started our return journey by around 1pm.

In the return journey at a waterbody got some good sightings Rudy  Shelduck, Comb Duck, Eurasian Wigeon, Common Shoveler, Common Coot, White Breasted Waterhen, Little cormorants and Darter.

Reached back home by 9pm.

     Equipment Used: Nikon D750, Nikon 200-500 F5.6

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