16 Jan 2014

16 Jan 14 - The Grey & Brown Of Gujarat (The Sequel)

All good films (& unfortunately a lot of bad films as well) have a sequel. So here is my attempt. Getting back for lunch a bit earlier today gave me chance to have a look around Desert Coursers camp with the camera, before we headed out again. Also had chance to say goodbye to the Indian jeep companions as they had a 36 hour taxi & train journey back to Chennai (lucky them).
Bruce's Scops Owl: Bruce was still sleeping through the day in his tree
Black Redstart: Male. The grey crown & lower mantle confirm this is the phoenicuroides subspecies as opposed to rufiventris, where these areas are both black. Both have the orangey-red belly
Black Redstart: I saw this same subspecies in Margate in the UK in Nov 11 where it is a vagrant
Desert Lesser Whitethroat: This bird is a paler grey than UK Lesser Whitethroats & doesn't have the same contrasting face mask
Desert Lesser Whitethroat: Another view of the general colouration. Lesser Whitethroat taxonomy has changed several times over the years - currently Clements splits the Lesser Whitethroat group into 4 species
Desert Lesser Whitethroat: Not a brilliant photo, but it does show the tail pattern. The only slightly darker tail is another separating feature from Lesser Whitethroat
Calotes versicolor: Thanks to Dave Gibbs for spotting this wasn't a Common House Gecko
It was soon time to head out again to the Little Rann. We were visiting another lake this afternoon, as well as some nearby farmland & Mesquite thorn bush in the hope of Stoliczka's Bushchat. Mesquite is a very common bush with long thorns throughout Gujarat, but it's actually an invading non-native bush from Southern South America. Due to the thorns little of the local wildlife & domestic animals will eat it & it's so prolific there is no hope of it being eradicated.
Camels are an important livestock in Gujarat
Pied Kingfisher: This widespread Asian & African species prefers hovers over water to fish, rather than using a perch
Pied Kingfisher: This is the leucomelanurus subspecies which is found in most of the Subcontinent and it's different from the African race rubis subspecies (which reaches as far North as Turkey)
Crested Lark: This photo shows why Mesquite thorn bush has been so successful
Rufous-fronted Prinia: The rufous front becomes duller with wear, but the whitish lores, supercilium & underparts are all features for this species
Rufous-fronted Prinia: The extensive white tips in the tail are another good features for this species
Siberian Stonechat: Male. Both maurus & indicus winter commonly in this part of India
Siberian Stonechat: Male. Look at that white rump as it takes off
Siberian Stonechat: A second flight shot of the same bird
Siberian Stonechat: A nearby female 
Common Babbler
Long-tailed Shrike: The black of the mask only gets onto the lower forehead which confirms this is not a Bay-backed Shrike
Baya Weaver: Out of plumage Weavers aren't easy, but Streaked Weaver would have been more heavily streaked on the back & Bengal Weaver would have had a more obvious yellowish supercilium which would have curved down around the rear of the face

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