25 Jan 2014

25 Jan 14 - More Birds At Tal Chappar

Rather than head straight to the Tal Chappar sanctuary, we spent the first couple of hours birding to the North of Chappar village. There are scattered groups of trees here which are home to the enigmatic Indian Spotted Creeper. I was luck enough to have seen one at Bharatpur in 91, but was keen to see another & it was still an Indian tick for Bill. Unfortunately, after a couple of hours we had drawn a blank, not helped by some fairly imprecise directions (again) for the best area.
Wryneck: Always happy to see this strange Woodpecker
Indian Red-winged Busklark
Indian Red-winged Busklark
White-eared Bulbul: Me & my shadow
Desert Lesser Whitethroat
Eastern Pied Wheatear: This is also known as Variable Wheatear as there are 3 distinct colour forms across its range. All the other Eastern Pied Wheatears seen were the picata form which have a white belly. However, this looks like the opistholeuca form which is essentially black with a white vent & it should be wintering in Northern Pakistan 
Large Grey Babbler: The dark bill, black lores & intense yellow eye separate it from Jungle Babbler
Finally, we abandoned the Indian Spotted Creeper site & headed of to the pakora stall for a filling breakfast. Next stop was the Tal Chappar sanctuary where the main quest was Stoliczka's Bushchat. This looks an obvious species in it's male Summer plumage, but given it was still January it was going to be a lot harder to pick out from the female Siberian Stonechats in the park. This wasn't helped by Stoliczka's Bushchat being far more of a ground feeder than the Siberian Stonechats are & hence much easier to overlook in the knee high grass.
Red-naped Ibis: The white shoulder patch immediately separates this species from Glossy Ibis
Red-naped Ibis: They are much broader winged than Glossy Ibis (see the The Grey & Brown Of Gujarat post for a Glossy Ibis in flight)
Red-naped Ibis: I think this is a better name than it's alternative name of Indian Black Ibis
Pallid Harrier: Male. The black is limited to a narrow wedge in the wing, compared to the male Montagu's & Hen Harriers, where the black continues to the leading edge. Note, the clean grey underwing, which separates it from a male Montagu's Harrier
Montagu's Harrier: Male. Note the black on the leading edge of the upperwing primaries. This photo also shows the 2 dark bars on the underwing secondaries & fine rufous barring on the underwing coverts. Montagu's Harriers also have a black bar on the upperwing secondaries (the far end of which is just visible on this photo)
Tawny Eagle: Worn adult. This Eagle has a shorter, narrower hand (end of wing) & doesn't have the bulging secondaries of Steppe Eagle
Tawny Eagle: Immature. The underwing coverts are paler than the flight feathers & it has a pale inner primary flash & a narrow white trailing edge to the secondaries
Tawny Eagle: Immature. A second individual
Tawny Eagle: Dark phase adult
Imperial Eagle: Juvenile with broad white tips to secondaries & greater coverts & pale streaking on the rest of the wing & mantle. Note, the fairly long yellow gape
Demoiselle Crane: Showing how difficult it will be to find a ground feeding Bushchat in a small clearing in the grass
Demoiselle Crane: The track we were on went close to where they were feeding
Demoiselle Crane: Unfortunately, there weren't any other tracks we could have taken to avoid flushing them
Indian Roller: I needed to brighten up this post
Paddyfield Pipit: Quickly back to dull coloured birds again
Siberian Stonechat: Female
Isabelline Wheatear: Note, the black tail, uniform pale upperparts, heavy bill & head and black alula
Wild Boar: We saw several parties of Wild Boar in the sanctuary which had some domestic or inbred genes in them as well as the normal grey looking Wild Boar