Re-sighting of Collared Bar-headed Geese at Veer Dam, Maharashtra

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It was indeed exciting when a collared Bar-Headed Goose bearing a dark orange collar “RT” was sighted and photographed at Veer dam in Maharashtra on 01 January 2015. This was the only bird with a collar amongst 193 individuals present. Apart from Bar-headed Goose, one Ruddy Shelduck had a collar but could not be photographed. Mumbai birder Adesh Shivkar and team also recorded a collared Bar-headed Goose (C6) on 13 Jan 2008 from Veer Dam.

The information was mailed to … Read More

Peregrine Falcon on Harrier Kill, Little Rann of Kutch

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On a beautiful morning in the Little Rann of Kutch (LRK), Gujarat, I spotted this falcon with a kill from a distance with my binoculars. When we approached a bit closer it appeared to be a adult Peregrine with a kill. The bird was very skittish and moved away from us a couple of times. We retreated and waited till the bird consumed the kill. After sometime, the falcon decided let go of the remains and took off. We were … Read More

Yellow-rumped Honeyguide, Kedarnath, Uttarakhand

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The Yellow-rumped Honeyguide (Indicator xanthonotus) is a sparrow-sized bird found in the Himalayas of India, Pakistan, Bhutan and Nepal and is a resident breeder. It is rare and is easily overlooked due to its inconspicuous behaviour and colouration. This particular individual is a female, and was found near a village at 2100m in the Kedarnath Wildlife division, Uttarakhand. She was perched on a leafless tree and hawking insects. Five individuals, three males and two females were seen at 1900m on … Read More

Pale-capped Pigeon, Bhubaneswar

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The Pale-capped Pigeon (Columba punicea) is a locally resident species in India that largely inhabits forest habitats, chiefly, primary or secondary evergreen forests, and bamboo and agricultural fields in close proximity to forests, its range extending from lowlands to 1600 msl. It had a wide distribution in the past but is now reported as uncommon and rare throughout much of its range (read detailed species account). It is listed as Vulnerable by IUCN and Birdlife International.

Recent sightings … Read More

White-Throated Kingfisher Hunting a Prinia, Basai, Haryana

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I was sitting on the ground looking at the reeds in front for warblers and prinias that were everywhere, when all of a sudden, a White-Throated Kingfisher (Halcyon smyrnensis) swooped down just inches away from me and caught hold of a Plain Prinia from the Hyacinth growing there. My heart skipped a beat as I saw the kingfisher take away the loudly protesting prinia, and, to my surprise, it sat just about 8-10 feet away from me. Maybe it was … Read More

Leaf Deer, Nagaland

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Leaf Deer, Leaf Muntjac or Putao muntjac (Muntiacus putaoensis) is not very well known in India. In a biodiversity survey in Thanamir (base of Mt. Saramati, 3840 m), Eastern Nagaland (May 2011), post-graduate students of M.Sc wildlife biology and conservation, WCS-India & NCBS, Bangalore discovered the presence of skulls of this deer. Subsequent genetic testing on skin samples corroborated the finding. This finding is very significant as it will enhance the deer’s geographical range by 1.5 times. 

The … Read More

Eurasian Woodcock, Kedarnath, Uttarakhand

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The Eurasian Woodcock (Scolopax rusticola) is a large migratory wader found throughout Eurasia. It breeds in the high latitudes of Europe and Asia and between 2000m and 3600m in the Himalayas. Although there are many winter records of these birds from all over peninsular India, especially the western ghats, there are few records of this species over wintering in its breeding range. While doing a bird survey in the Kedarnath Wildlife Division in January 2014, I flushed this bird while … Read More

First record of the Chinese Thrush from the Indian Subcontinent

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Extract from the article in Indian BIRDS 9 (5&6): 155–157

During a visit to Namdapha National Park, Arunachal Pradesh, India, on 17 November 2013, a bird was seen and photographed while walking along a trail at c. 500 m in tropical evergreen forest between Haldibari and Hornbill camp. The photographs show that the bird was a thrush Turdus/Zoothera, with a greyish-brown crown, back and tail. The face is fairly pale with two dark vertical stripes, the first extending down from … Read More

Indian Golden Gecko, Eastern Ghats

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I had been visiting Kaigal, a village on the edge of Kaundinya Wildlife Sanctuary in the Eastern Ghats of Andhra Pradesh, since I was 15 years old. However, I only recently learnt that the geckos running around on the walls of the guest house there were none other than the Indian Golden Gecko (Calodactylodes aureus). The etymology (origin of the word) of its genus name Calodactylus comes from Latin: a word for beautiful fingers. This is because of the … Read More

Mongoose vs Monitor Lizard

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I took this photograph at Nagarahole national park, Karnataka, on 19th Nov 2014 around 6:00 pm. My friends and I were nearing the end of the evening safari when I saw a commotion in the bushes. I got a quick glimpse of a common monitor lizard (Varanus bengalensis). As we passed it by, a mongoose suddenly emerged from the bushes, so we reversed our vehicle to photograph it. Soon we were amazed to see the mongoose viciously attack … Read More

Baikal Bush-warbler, Dibru-Saikhowa

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The migratory bird, Baikal Bush-warbler (Locustella davidi), was spotted and photographed by Ranjan Kumar Das, a geography teacher at Tinsukia College, on December 2, 2013. It was seen in the Koliapani grassland of Motapung-Maguri beel near Dibru-Saikhowa national park.

This bird was photographed in Nov 2014 by Porag Jyoti Phukan, a wildlife photographer from Duliajan, Assam.

The Spotted Bush Warbler was previously treated as a species with several subspecies, breeding in eastern Russia and adjacent parts of China, as … Read More

Jumping Ant with Prey

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I saw my first Jumping Ant (Harpegnathos saltator) on the outskirts of Bangalore and observed how it moves about. The ant jumped and lived up to its name!

Back in 2004 near Belgaum, as I photographed a jumping ant, it did something very interesting. I was peering through my view finder when suddenly the ant leapt and went out of my frame. The ant had actually jumped and caught a moth mid-air!

I saw it jump, but missed … Read More

Dhole Pups on a Tree, Nagarahole

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During a morning drive around Nagarahole national park, Karnataka, in March 2013, we encountered a pack of 5-6 dholes (Cuon alpinus) close to the forest office. There were a few pups playing around, even climbing a tree. Being highly social, playing is helpful in cementing bonds between pack members, besides being fun! (Adult dholes too will sometimes climb onto sloping tree trunks or termite mounds – Ed). Pack sizes may sometimes swell to over 20, but will usually then split … Read More

Wild dogs attacking Gaur calf, Bandipur

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We came across a pack of 18 dholes or Asiatic Wild Dog (Cuon alpinus) at Bandipur National Park. The pack was getting ready to attack an elephant herd with two calves. After a few attempts, the dholes moved on. A few minutes later, we heard the call of a gaur and moved forward. In an open area, we saw the dholes attacking a gaur calf while the mother tried to protect it.

As the cries of the calf and the … Read More

Nilgiri Martens, Mukurthi, Nilgiris

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On the 18th of October, 2011, we were camping in a trekking shed, on the way to Mukurthi peak in the Nilgiris, Tamil Nadu. The trek involved walking about 3 km through wattle and grassland to reach a stream, followed by another uphill trek. Two of us reached the last hill around 11 AM, and as it was hot, we decided to turn back. The disappointment at not completing the trek turned out to be a blessing in disguise. As … Read More