24 Jan 2014

24 Jan 14 - The Best Of The Rest

The first day at a new site, usually seems to lead to large numbers of photos & Tal Chappar was no exception. When I checked I had 902 photos (over 5Gb) to wade through so it was one of my heavier days of photography. About 25% of these were of the Blackbuck & Chinkara, where the photos got better as early hazy conditions cleared & the light improved during the day. But there were a good selection of open country & thorn bush birds photographed. Here are the remaining photos for the day.
Black Vulture: Also known as Cinereous Vulture in case birders get confused with American Black Vulture which as the name suggests doesn't occur in the Old World
Black Vulture
Pallid Harrier: Female. I was really glad to find these photos as it's a much better comparison against female Montagu's Harrier (see the An Enigmatic Family Year Tick post) than my first poor photo from the lake at CEDO. This photo shows the strong white crescent in the face & dark ear coverts 
Pallid Harrier: Female.This clearly shows the dark secondaries with the narrower pale band in the middle which narrows considerably closer to the wing as the dark trailing edge broadens
Steppe Eagle: Subadult: The large, bulky size, long head & neck & bulking secondaries all help to separate this from the 2 Spotted Eagles. The 2 white bars on the upperwing indicate its not an adult bird & the lack of a pale bar on the underwing indicates it's a subadult
Laggar Falcon: This Falcon's range is SE Iran to Burma
Laggar Falcon: Adults have a pale belly
Laggar Falcon: Immature birds have a dark belly
Indian Grey Francolin
Indian Peacock: Pity he didn't turn around, but it shows how grim the light was & this was mid morning
Indian Roller: This was a fairly common bird at Tal Chappar
Indian Roller: Separated from Roller which is an Autumnal migrant to NW India by the streaked, pinky face, throat & breast (which are bright blue in Roller)
Zitting Cisticola: Cisticola identification is easy in NW India, as the only other contender, Golden-headed Cisticola, is not found in this part of India. A nice looking Cisticola when seen well
Zitting Cisticola: Showing the barring on the undertail
Siberian Stonechat: Male 
Desert Wheatear
Isabelline Wheatear: Note the upright stance, heavy bill, pale coloration & the hint of a black alula which all separate it from a vagrant Wheatear
Great Grey Shrike: This is the lahtora subspecies which has the black extending onto the forehead, which it doesn't do on pallidostris (which also has paler lores). Formally, this was Southern Grey Shrike, but has now been lumped into Great Grey Shrike
Great Grey Shrike
Black Drongo: There was one open area at Tal Chappar which had over 10 Black Drongos feeding from the ground