12 Days Gujarat & Kutch Birding and Wildlife Tour - 18-11-2007 to 30-11-2007
Published by Arpit Deomurari (deomurari AT gmail.com),
Participants: Arpit Deomurari (Birding Expert), Mr. Ken Hatshorn (UK) and Mr. John Hollyer (UK).
Birds: 283 Spec
Kutch (Great Rann of Kutch):
As we started from Kutch (Great Rann of Kutch), We had very good
sightings of 5 White napped tit, 2 pairs were on the same Bush and another single individual was 5-8 mt. away on the other bush. Another important sighting for Kutch was the Red-throated Pipit. We came across this very dark pipit on the coastal wetland near
Pingleshwar in Kutch region of Gujarat India on 19-11-2007.
After seeing this bird only two species come to our notice Pechora Pipit
Anthus gustavi and Red-throated Pipit Anthus cervinus. This is the first authentic record for the Gujarat state. After visiting Naliya Done and other area on the last day we had visited Chari Dhandh, A famous hot spot in Kutch for Raptors
and Grey Hypocolious, We sighted 12 Grey Hypocolious on the roosting time. And in the morning in the same area we had seen many raptor species including Steppe Eagle, Tawny Eagle, Imperial Eagle, Common Buzzard, Long legged buzzard, Marsh Harriers, Oriental
Hobby etc. This seasonal wetland has also large population of White Storks, and other wetland birds.
Also the Rock Eagle Owl, A recent split form Eurasian Eagle Owl was seen nesting on the “PAKHI BHEET” area of chari dhandh. This small hill in the Rann provides very good habitat for many species
which also include Red-tailed Wheatear, Brown Rock Chat etc. A pair of Jungle cat with its kitten was observed on both days at PAKHI BHEET area.
LRK ( Little Rann of Kutch):
The marshy habitat of Vanod Saran, nr. Dasada is also a very good hotspot for birders you can find good number of species over here including, white tailed lapwing, grey lag geese, bar headed geese,
cranes, crakes and rails, etc. The show master of this wetland were the rosy pastor they were atleast in 2000-5000 in strength comes here for roosting and their acrobatics are really great to see at sunset. The flocks of rosy pastor were also having small
no. of Common or European Starling.
The biggest attraction of Little Rann of Kutch was sightings of 45 Sociable Plover. 22-11-2007, at Little Rann of Kutch near Vanod Village. A flock of 45 birds were seen roosting at a site where
the author (Arpit Deomurari) has reported 27 same birds last(2006-2007) year also. This flock is considered as the largest flock of sociable lapwing found in India till date.
This Lapwing is also listed in the Red Data Book as a Critically Endangered Bird Species. They breed on open grassland in Russia and Kazakhstan. Three to five eggs are laid in a ground
nest. These birds migrate south through Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, Afghanistan, Armenia, Iran, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Syria and Turkey, to key wintering sites in Israel, Syria, Eritrea, Sudan and north-west India. Birds winter occasionally
in Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Oman. It feeds in a similar way, picking insects and other small prey mainly from grassland or arable.
In 2004 BirdLife International categorized this bird as critically endangered, due to a rapid population decline for poorly understood reasons. The current population was estimated to be between 600 and 1,800
mature birds in 2006 (BirdLife International), but is currently being
revised. The current IUCN
classification is CR A3bc -
meaning that the population is expected to decline in the next decade or so by 80%, but based on theoretical considerations and the known habitat destruction rather than direct observation of the birds. Thus, the new discoveries might mean that as more
data becomes available, the species could be down listed to Endangered.
A Scientist working on the Sociable Lapwing Mr. Johannes Kamp has ringed 140 birds (mostly juv.) in Pavlodar region, NE Kazakhstan, this year (two colour rings on each leg, combination always starting with
a yellow ring). These birds are at the easternmost distribution border and thus supposed to go to India/Pakistan. Author (Arpit Deomurari) would like to ask any future observers to check these birds for color rings? The yellow ring is quite obvious to seeing
Another highlilght of the Little Rann of Kutch were 8
Macqueen’s Bustard (Chlamydotis macqueenii) in a 3 hours game drive and of course the largest lark of the world, Greater Hoopoe Lark(Alaemon alaudipes)