22 Jan 2014

22 Jan 14 - A Pretty Endemic

It was a cold start at first light as I headed off towards the Peace Park. Bill had abandoned the morning due to a stomach problem he was struggling with. The first stop was the scrub & forest above the lake we were birding around the previous day. I was hoping to find some bird flocks & wasn't disappointed.
Large Green Barbet: Also known as Brown-headed Barbet
Brown-capped Pygmy Woodpecker
Red-whiskered Bulbul: This is the abuensis subspecies which is paler & has a broken breast band compared to the Western Ghats fuscicaudatus race (see The Highest Peak In Southern India posting)
Red-whiskered Bulbul: The abuensis & fuscicaudatus races have pale tails, without black & white tail tips which are found in most other races
Grey-breasted Prinia: They loose the grey breast outside of the breeding season. Adults reminded me of a Lesser Whitethroat sp. until I see the tail length
Grey-breasted Prinia: The immature birds are more rufous coloured than the adults
Hume's Yellow-browed Warbler: This is the nominate humei subspecies
Blue-capped Rock Thrush: Male
Jungle Babbler
Indian Scimitar-babbler: I was pleased to get some longer views & photos of this species as only had short views in the Western Ghats
Indian Black-lored Tit
Moving on closer to the Peace Park, I found a more open area of grassland surrounded by scrubby bushes. Exploring this area produced my first Sulphur-bellied Warbler: feeding in low vegetation, before it moved on to feed on the open grass. Also an interesting record of a Steppe Buzzard which flew through before perching up for the camera. Steppe Buzzards (one of the Eastern races of Buzzard) are Winter visitors to the uplands of the Western Ghats, so presumably they must migrate through this region. However, the Rasmussen guide doesn't show it as a wintering species in Rajasthan.
Buzzard: This looks like a Steppe Buzzard to me. Note, the pale, but not extensive flashes to the primaries). There would be more extensive white contrasting with the rest of the upperwing on Long-legged Buzzards
Buzzard: This size & shape looked like a Buzzard & it has a dark tail (typically rufous in Long-legged Buzzard) & streaky dark belly of a Buzzard
Buzzard: It perched up for more views. Long-legged Buzzards would have a paler head
Greater Coucal
Sulphur-bellied Warbler: This species has a distinctive feeding habit low to the ground or often on the ground
Sulphur-bellied Warbler: The distinctive yellow supercilium (especially in front of the eye), pale grey brown upperparts & strong yellow wash to the underparts are all important features for this species 
Sulphur-bellied Warbler
Finally, I got to the Peace Park around mid morning. Decided to try a nearby hotel just before the entrance for some breakfast, after which I headed to the start of the small village behind the Peace Park. After finding my first two Spot-breasted Fantails in the village, I was still struggling to find any Green Avadavats (which others have seen around the village). Therefore, tried plan B, a long & extensive walk around the small fields, followed by crossing a small river beyond the fields & exploring the far bank (which included having to walk through a temple complex). As a result, I found a small lake which had a good selection of commoner Wildfowl & a Woolly-necked Stork. Finally, I reached a road which allowed me to get back to the far end of the village. A quick walk through the village & I was back at the Peace Park end again.
Another view of the village
For once a cow wandering around looked in the right place
Cow pats: Indian style green energy (or is that brown energy?)
The fields were all small with a number of large volcanic rocks in them
The fields all had crops growning in them 
Woolly-necked Stork: Unfortunately, it flushed as I walked past the lake
Wildfowl on the lake: I can see Cotton Pygmy-goose, Gadwall, Teal, Pintail, Pochard, Tufted Duck & Coot
Grey Wagtail
Indian Black Robin: Immature male
 Indian Black Robin: Female
Black Redstart
Spot-breasted Fantail: It's smaller than White-browed Fantail, has a narrower breast band with white spots & no white wingbar
Spot-breasted Fantail: A recent Subcontinent split from White-throated Fantail & also known as White-spotted Fantail
White-bellied Drongo
Yellow-throated Sparrow
Yellow-throated Sparrow: With Indian Silverbill
Long-tailed Shrike
Five-striped Palm Squirrel 
Finally, I got back to the start of the village & looked around the area again & spotted a family party of 3 Green Avadavats: mum, dad & a youngster. They are great looking birds & a good localised endemic to see.
Green Avadavat: Male
Green Avadavat: Male
Green Avadavat: Female
It was early afternoon & time to head back to the hotel to see how Bill was getting on & whether he was fit enough to head out birding. Fortunately, he was & so we were heading back to the hotel by the Peace Park for some late lunch. We managed to relocate the Green Avadavats, some Sulphur-bellied Warblers & Spot-breasted Fantails again, before exploring further up the road above the Peace Park. This looked good habitat for Red Spurfowl & soon Bill's tape gear had one calling from the far side of a small ravine. A fair bit of scanning across the ravine & I picked it up calling from a small clearing: my fourth tick for the day. We carried on further up the road, but saw little else of note.
Bill & Shiva in the last warmth of the day
Bill & myself looking slightly less cold than Shiva