Sunday, 5 April 2015

Jungle Lore to Sat Tal

Spent the best part of the morning following a track across an open hillside with some tall trees, flowering Rhododendron trees & scrub and enjoyed some quality views of some typical Himalayan birds. Of particular note were the exceptional prolonged looks at a Great Barbet feeding in a flowering Rhododendron tree. 

Great Barbet

A pair of Striated Laughingthrushes also gave crippling views, and we enjoyed several good mixed species flocks coming in to mob the owlet call. 

Striated Laughingthrush

A few male Fire-tailed Sunbirds were new for our lists, and a group of Whiskered Yuhinas were also much appreciated, whilst numerous Buff-barred Warblers were always around, and we had a few Himalayan Bluetails and some really confiding Ultramarine Flycatchers and Rock Buntings.

Fire-tailed Sunbird

Ultramarine Flycatcher

 We also saw Steppe Eagle, Himalayan Griffon Vulture, a migrating Hen Harrier being mobbed by Large-billed Crows, Eurasian Sparrowhawk, yet more Black-throated Bushtits and plenty of other commoner species.

Black-throated Bushtit is very common here.

During the lunchtime period in the lodge gardens we finally had decent views of Striated Prinia, along with Rufous-breasted Accentor, Lesser Yellownape, brief Common Green Magpie, Red-billed Blue Magpies and Siberian Chiffchaff, whilst a male Blue-fronted Redstart posed nicely and a few Spot-winged Grosbeaks were feeding in a fruiting tree.

A few Black-headed Jays were around at lunchtime.

This male Blue-fronted Redstart showed well.

Oriental Turtle Doves at the feeding station.

Rufous-breasted Accentor

Spot-winged Grosbeak - almost too close to photograph..!

After lunch at the wonderful Jungle Lore Birding Lodge we drove down through Nainital and descended lower to a great new hotel at Sat Tal. After dropping our bags into our rooms we drove a short distance and then walked along a road bordering a nice little forest stream where a pair of Spotted Forktails were seen on several occasions. There was also Plumbeous and White-capped Water-Redstarts sitting on boulders mid-stream. 

A displaying Plumbeous Water-Redstart

In the bushes bordering the river were a few Lemon-rumped Warblers, a pair of delightful Small Niltavas found by Martin & the male was seen displaying right in front of us, and we had our first albeit brief view of Chestnut-headed Tesia

A very confiding Small Niltava

Further along we scanned a larger boulder-strewn river where Tricia spotted our target, a nice Brown Dipper. Several Crested Kingfishers were also present, and the nearby fields held Grey Treepie, a Tickell’s Thrush feeding in a flowering tree, and an Asian Barred Owlet being mobbed by Green-backed Tits and Black-chinned Babblers and a couple of Eurasian Hoopoes showed well.

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