Saturday, January 20, 2018

2017-12-21 Desert National Park - Amazing dryland

21st Dec 2017 - Sudasari

It was a very cold night and getting up early was a challenge.

But thinking about all the specialities we would see made us get up early without any problem.

We started at around 7am and headed towards Sudasari.

On the way we got Common Kestrel, Tawny Eagle, Souther Grey Shrike, Egyptian Vulture (Neophron percnopterus ginginianus) the resident subspecies and common babbler

No more than 1hour since we had started Urus Khan showed us the pair of Great Indian Bustards.

He skillfully took control of the wheel from Alam Bhai and took the vehicle as nearest as possible without disturbing the birds.
Nearest was still around 500ft away :-)

The immediate next sighting was a cute little Desert Fox.

It was in front of our jeep a few feet away crouched on the ground.

It got up on looking at us and started to move away. But it was just moving around finding some insects regularly having a healthy breakfast.

As we were moving around the desert park we encountered many larks mainly greater short toed larks. But in addition got 2 more lifers.

Black crowned sparrowlark - These were not allowing very close approach as compared to their counterparts in the remaining subcontinent the Ashy Crowned Sparrowlarks.

Bimaculated Larks - These foraging and moving continuously in a large group across the dryland. It was a treat to match them move in a flock.

As we moved further Urus suddenly asked for binocs and stopped the car to look at a very far away bird sitting on a small tree on a sand dune.

It was an adult Eastern Imperial Eagle and surprisingly it allowed us to approach very near.

But after we got satisfactory pics from pretty near Urus insisted if we go any nearer it would flyaway and that we should not go any further.

With this we could get pics and at the same time not disturb the bird as it continued to perch on his "Desert Throne" as we left.

It was already 10am. We had got packed breakfast and were thinking where we could stop and have. Urus said that we would go a little ahead and have tea at a place & there itself we could have our breakfast.

In between we got a Desert Wheatear, Desert Fox and a Cinereous vulture in flight.

Moving ahead we came across a house in the middle of nowhere and Urus declared that we could have tea & breakfast here. We exclaimed if we would get tea here in the middle of the desert and that is when he informed quitely that it was his own house :-)

We were amazed to see where he was living. It was filled with lot of domestic animals but at the same time there was many  birds around too. He also told us stories about how birds like grey shrike and animal like hedgehog have made his home their home too.

We drank tea made from fresh cow milk extracted in front of us.

Around the house we got Desert Wheatear, Variable Wheatear and Greater Short toed Larks.

From here we went on to see the Desert Courser. Highly camouflaged bird.

And then returned to Urus's home for lunch.

From there the next target was Desert Lark and Trumpeter Finch.

As we were approaching the big water body Urus spotted a highly camouflaged Desert Lark sitting on the ground. It was a single individual very similar to the rufous tailed lark but very pale.

Going ahead we reached a point where these was a pipeline leaking with very little water collected. There we saw a steppe eagle, tawny eagle and egyptian vultures gathered. But soon they left and started gathering at a huge water body across the road.

We decided to wait at the small pool of water for the trumpeter finch. We waited for few minutes but then Urus suggested that we go ahead a bit to search for Red tailed wheatear. We found it pretty immediately on the back side of the huge water body.

It has a very wonderful Slate grey body with red under the tail. A very majestic bird.

After some very nice shots we were back at the water point within 45min.

After that we waited for Trumpeter Finch for another 1hour but without much success.

In the mean time we went deeper into the shrubland, away from road, to search for Variable Wheatear's capistrata subspecies.

When we were back to the water spot in another 15min, we still had nothing.

Just when we were contemplating whether to leave or stay for some more time, Urus suddenly spotted the finches very near to where we were waiting.

We took some quick shots and he quickly veered the vehicle as near as possible and we got some fantastic shots.

This was the fantastic end of the day to the wonderful day with amazing sightings!!

Next Day Land of Sandgrouse (2017-12-22)

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