Tag Archives: birdsofindia

Birding in Kashmir | Mission Kashmir – Part 1

Destination – Patnitop, Udhampur district, Jammu and Kashmir
Date – 20 & 21 June, 2021

Day 1

We started our journey in the morning and reached Mansar lake by noon. Apart from a couple Pansy butterflies, there was not much to see there. Mansar was a big disappointment and thus we did not spend much time there and left for Patnitop.

Mansar lake in Udhampur district
Mansar Lake

The outskirts of Patnitop were full with sounds of Siberian Stonechats. Just outside Patnitop, I got my first Kalij Pheasant, but the light was too low and it was impossible for me to get any usable shots of it.

Siberian Stonechat male
Siberian Stonechat male
Siberian Stonechat male with kill
Advertisements
Advertisements

Day 2

I got up early next morning and went for my customary morning bird walk. In the parking lot of the hotel I got a very long awaited species – pair of Gray-Capped Pygmy Woodpeckers – climbing up and down an electricity pole. The male flew immediately on seeing me but the female was rather cooperative and gave me some pretty decent shots.

Gray-Capped Pygmy Woodpecker
Gray-Capped Pygmy Woodpecker female
Gray-Capped Pygmy Woodpecker

The next species I saw was a also a long-awaited one – Yellow-Breasted Greenfinch! These were pretty common throughout Patnitop and I saw around 10-15 individuals there.

Yellow-Breasted Greenfinch
Yellow-Breasted Greenfinch male
Yellow-Breasted Greenfinch female

After photographing the greenfinches, I started walking towards the Naag Temple. On the way I saw a male Brown-Fronted Woodpecker and while photographing him I found a pair of Himalayan Woodpeckers. Here also the male flew away but the female didn’t mind giving me some photographs.

Brown-Fronted Woodpecker
Brown-Fronted Woodpecker male
Himalayan Woodpecker female
Himalayan Woodpecker female

Green-Backed Tits, Cinerous Tits and Streaked Laughingthrushes were also pretty common there.

Green-Backed Tit
Green-Backed Tit adult
Green-Backed Tit
Green-Backed Tit
Green-Backed Tit juvenile

After about one hour or so I went back to the hotel and found an Argus sp butterfly. It didn’t give me any shots and flew away. I followed it and in the process found a small flower garden.

There were butterflies flying from everywhere to everywhere in that little garden. The new ones I saw there were Common Argus, Himalayan Common Five-Ring, Himalayan Common Beak, Plain Marbled Skipper, Common Silverstripe, Silvery Hedge Blue, Azure Sapphire, Common Copper and Kashmir Dusky Blue Cupid.

Azure Sapphire
Azure Sapphire
Azure Sapphire
Common Copper
Common Copper
Himalayan Bath White
Himalayan Bath White
Common Argus
Common Argus
Common Beak butterfly
Common Beak
Himalayan Common Beak
Plain Marbled Skipper
Plain Marbled Skipper
Common Five-Ring
Common Five-Ring

After my butterflying session, I went to Naag temple again but this time with everyone else and not for birding. After visiting the temple we packed our bags and left for Srinagar. On the way I found a pair of Himalayan Woodpeckers and this time the male at least let me take a couple of record shots of him. I also photographed a couple of Yellow-Breasted Greenfinches, Egyptian Vultures and a Blue Whistling-Thrush there.

Himalayan Woodpecker male
Himalayan Woodpecker male
Yellow-Breasted Greenfinch
Yellow-Breasted Greenfinch
Blue-Whistling Thrush
Blue Whistling-Thrush
Immature Egyptian Vulture
Egyptian Vulture

To be continued…

~Arjun Basandrai

Yellow-Bellied Prinia

Prinia Mania- Birding at Phillaur (#9)

Prinia Mania- Birding at Phillaur (#9)

Date: 18 March, 2020

After yet another birding-break and with the winter slowly drawing to a close and the birds reverse migrating to Europe, Russia etc. to their breeding grounds, I went to Sutlej again.

Just like before, I left before sunrise, but, this time it was intentional because I wanted to shoot some pre-sunrise and sunrise photos.

On reaching the bank, there was no one there, no people, no wildlife, just me, which was perfect for what I had in mind then – Pre-Sunrise Blue Hour photographs. The road there always fascinated me and every time went to the river, I had at least 50 shots of just the road. Now, with Blue Hour slowly ending, and orangey clouds shining above the blue sky and with some low hanging fog, the landscape seemed twice as pretty.

Continue Reading
Black-Breasted Weaver

Weavers and Plovers – Birding at Phillaur (#8)

Weavers and Plovers – Birding at Phillaur (#8)

After taking a long break from birding, on 24 January, 2020, it was time for me to go out and shoot some birds. So, I packed my stuff and left for the Sutlej River. This time I didn’t go to Mao Sahib though. Instead, I went to a different location on the Sutlej River which I had visited once last year. I didn’t get anything exciting there last year, so, I just wanted to try my luck once more.

Continue Reading

Birder’s Day Out – Birding at Pong Lake

Birder’s Day Out – Birding at Pong Lake

It was on 29th December, 2019 that I, finally, got the chance to spend a Day Out Birding at one of my Favourite Birding Locations – Pong Lake. I first visited this place in 2015 and till then it has remained in my ‘Favourites List’.

Continue reading Birder’s Day Out – Birding at Pong Lake

Wade in the Water – Birding at Phillaur – Part 7

Wade in the Water – Birding at Phillaur – Part 7

My next Birding Day Out in Phillaur was on 15 December, 2019

The first place I visited was our Local Forest. While exploring the area I noticed a Dead Tree Trunk which was overgrown with Mushrooms. The Sun was just coming out and the light was pretty diffused so I decided to try some artistic frames of the mushrooms.

Continue Reading

Little Cormorant

Little Cormorant

(Microcarbo niger)

Size(48-52cm): As the name suggests, it is the smallest Cormorant that can be found in India.

Area: Widespread resident over much of the region except the Trans-Himalayas

Habitat: Lakes, ponds, river and estuaries. Basically any water body.

My two words: A very common sighting across much of India. Can be easily spotted around any water source where there is enough to fish for and live.

CONTINUE READING