Sunshine Coast Birds

Birding and other wildlife experiences from the Sunshine Coast and elsewhere in Australia - and from overseas - with scribblings about travel, environmental issues, kayaking, hiking and camping.

Tuesday, 5 February 2013

Birding the Arabian Sea Coast, Greater & Little Ranns of Kutch - India Part 3

Rock Eagle-Owl
Our second day in the Greater Rann of Kutch began with a visit to the Naliya Grasslands, where we failed to find Indian Bustard, a species I saw in the country during a 1990 visit. There were good numbers of raptors about, including Tawny Eagle, while Bay-backed Shrike was among the interesting passerines in scattered shrubs.

Tawny Eagle
Bay-backed Shrike
We moved on to the coast at Mandvi, where the river estuary and roadside ponds were full of waterbirds. An abundance of waders include many Ruffs, including some in breeding plumage, and Common and Spotted Redshanks.


Spotted Redshank
We found a flock of Demoiselle Cranes - a much desired species - in a field as we moved north along the coastal road.
Demoiselle Crane

Other waterbirds we saw included Painted Stork, large numbers of Black Ibis and Dalmation Pelicans at roost with more numerous Great White Pelicans.

Painted Stork

Black Ibis

Dalmatian Pelican
Moving to the coast at Modhba, we found two Crab Plovers, one a begging juvenile, on the broad sandy beach. There were also good numbers of Greater Flamingoes on the beach.

Crab Plover
Greater Flamingo

The next day, our third in the Greater Rann region, saw us returning to the Banni Grasslands. We encountered a group of Indian Coursers in a cultivated field, while other birds about the region included Indian Bushlark.

Indian Bushlark

Indian Courser
We moved on to an area of rocky ridges and dry watercourses where we connected with Grey-necked Bunting.

Grey-necked Bunting

Then it was on to a ravine where a Rock (Indian) Eagle-Owl was flushed (first image in this post) from its daytime roost, and Spotted Owlets were seen.

Spotted Owlet
After four days in the Greater Rann we transferred to the Rann Riders Lodge, our base for birding the Little Rann of Kutch. During our first day here in the arid grasslands we had good albeit distant views of several Macqueen's Bustards, while a Laggar Falcon was seen nicely.

Laggar Falcon
 During a visit to Nawa Taleo Lake, we saw large numbers of Lesser Flamingoes and a flock of several hundred Demoiselle Cranes.
Lesser Flamingo
Hundreds of wintering Greylag Geese were present on another wetland, Tundi, along with more Grey-necked Buntings, Black-headed Buntings and Indian Reed-Warbler.

Greylag Goose
Some of the more common birds around the lodge included the following.


White-throated Kingfisher

After two days around the Little Rann, we transferred to the capital of Gujarat, Ahmedabad, seeing en route some Sarus Cranes, Asian Open-bill and about 20 White-rumped Vultures near the village of Dumana. As is well-documented, the position of all vulture species in India is precarious due to chemical poisoning and it was a surprise to learn of this population.

Among raptors more generally, Shikra was probably the most numerous that we encountered in Gujarat.

Sarus Crane

White-rumped Vulture
Asian Open-bill

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