Friday 24 May 2019

Honey Buzzards and Great Snipe (still there)

Besor Reservoir again this morning. I wasn't expecting to see the Great Snipe again but it was in exactly the same place as last week. This time, when flushed, it went to ground behind some dense vegetation and I couldn't relocate it.

Today's special was a flock of about 50 Honey Buzzards coming in to drink. Incredible birds. I usually see one or two around here each Spring but these numbers are really special.

17 Pin-tailed Sandgrouse (3 separate flocks) was an additional bonus.
Other birds included a single Little Bittern, Red-backed Shrike (first I've seen here this year), Great Egret, Purple and Grey Heron, five Night-herons, lots of Squacco Herons, Greenshank, 25+ Ruff. I could have stayed for longer but it was getting ferociously hot and by 09:30 the temperature had risen to 36 C - time to leave the birds and beat a retreat.

Friday 17 May 2019

Great Snipe

Besor Reservoir has returned to its former glory. Recent birding there has brought a suite of the usual migrants and some of my favourite birds but the best by far was a Great Snipe this morning. I was walking across the low dam on the Besor Stream when a snipe flew up in front of me. A guttural croak call, brilliant white outer tail feathers, slow (for a snipe) flight and quickly returning to ground. 5 m view of a Great Snipe! Tried to get a photo of it on the ground but it flew up again and I managed a couple of record flight shots. What a bird! What a (long awaited) lifer!

It had already been a good morning with a couple of Little Terns (rare for this area and a patch tick)
Whiskered Terns
and White-winged Terns, Curlew Sandpiper

more Curlew Sandpipers
Black-tailed Godwit
and a flock of Little Stints and a single Temmink's Stint. Glossy Ibis
Purple Heron
good numbers of Squacco Herons, Little and Cattle Egrets and a single Ferruginous Duck.

Other birds in the past few weeks have been a flock of 12 Collared Pratincoles, c. 100+ White-winged Terns, a fall of Great Reed Warblers (c. 8 in one morning, the following day they were all gone), Little and Spotted Crakes, up to five Little Bitterns

Honey Buzzard

Booted Eagle
Spotted Redshank
large numbers of Bee-eaters and a pair of Little Green Bee-eaters
Rollers, Hoopoes, swifts (Common, Pallid and Alpine) and the usual Hirundines, Ruff, Wood and Green Sandpipers, Little Ringed Plover, Scrub Bush Robins singing on their territories, a few Collared Flycatchers, Sedge, Reed and Clamorous Reed Warblers, Kingfishers etc. Wonderful birding! The new landscaping of the area has provided some great habitat for waders especially but the removal of reeds and bank side shrubs has resulted in a lack of cover and back to record shot territory. No matter, it's more about the birds than the photos.

NW India - 9th to 22nd February 2020 (Kosi River, Corbett NP, Haripur Dam, Pangot, Sattal, Chopta, Walterre)

If you look through the Birds of the Indian Subcontinent (Grimmett, Inskipp and Inskipp, 2011) you cannot help noticing the huge range of s...