Saturday, 28 January 2017

Little Rann of Kutch - Velavadar

We began the day with a Pallid Scops Owl teed up in the scope – not a bad way to begin the day huh? Thanks to the kind generosity of Desert Coursers Lodge we managed to gain entry, have a cup of tea and check out their grounds - oh and ultimately see this cracking owl. At least the staff here are aware of these birds.....

Spot the Pallid Scops Owl

Just a shame it wasn’t roosting in a more open place, rather than behind leaves. Leaving here we set out on the 6 hour drive to Velavadar and, as usual in Gujarat, there were plenty of roadside birds to note en-route. We picked up a pair of Sarus Cranes, Black-headed Ibis, Sand Martin and a little later a party of 4 Indian Coursers and a group of Chestnut-bellied Sandgrouse along the way, thanks to the sharp spotting of Keith and Kevin, with large flocks of Rose-coloured Starling also seen along the road. 

Once at Velavadar we birded the area around the entrance and picked up Grey-necked Bunting, 12+ Sykes’s Larks, Oriental Skylark, many Rufous-tailed Larks, possible Hume’s Short-toed Lark, our first Sykes’s Warbler and a Hume’s Whitethroat was a bonus. 

Our first Sykes's Warbler

The endemic Sykes's Lark

Rufous-tailed Lark
The jeep safari was late taking off, due to severe incompetency on behalf of the park staff – say no more! But we did get two different Wolf sightings of animals walking through the grassland between herds of Blackbuck and a few Nilgai

We really enjoyed seeing this Wolf today

Both Montagu’s and Pallid Harriers were quartering the grassland, a Red-necked Falcon flew close past us and a Short-toed Eagle was perched on top of a tree. There were also a few Long-billed Pipits, Oriental Skylark etc and we ended the day with a pair of Indian Thick-Knees.

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