Thursday, 26 January 2017

Little Rann of Kutch

We kicked off the day with a jeep safari into the Little Rann of Kutch at 7am, a vast wide-open area of ‘desert’ habitat interspersed with patches of Acacia. 


Indian Thick-Knee

Along the route into the Little Rann a pair of Indian Thick-Knees were seen and it was within these isolated greener areas that we looked for Macqueen’s Bustard. We didn’t have any luck at this early stage with the bustard but did see Pallid and a Hen Harrier before shooting off for a 20km dash to a more distant areas where we hoped to find Greater Hoopoe Lark

Spot the Hoopoe Larks

Sure enough we found a family party of 3 birds feeding in company with 6 Eurasian Hoopoes and spent quite some time watching these charismatic birds. In this area Kevin also picked up another Desert Fox before we headed back towards the original area, taking a slight detour to check the edge of a wetland where an immature Eastern Imperial Eagle was perched on a bank and a small flock of Lesser Flamingo’s were seen. After a few minutes of driving around another patch of Acacia we had 3 Macqueen’s Bustards in flight and then had further sightings before calling it a day. 

Rose-coloured Starling

A brief stop at a temple failed to produce the hoped for Pallid Scops Owl but there was another site I hoped to check later on in the tour. 

Long-legged Buzzard

There was Eastern Orphean and Asian Desert Warbler, Long-legged Buzzard and other previously seen species in the area before we hit the main road and stopped at a few pools where Cotton Pygmy Goose, River Tern, Black-headed Wagtail, Grey-headed Swamphen, Asian Openbill, Pheasant-tailed Jacana, Bluethroat, Siberian Chiffchaff, and a skulking Paddyfield Warbler were seen. 

Citrine Wagtail

One of our jeeps also saw a Rufous-tailed Lark en-route before we eventually arrived back at Rann Riders just before 2pm.

Pheasant-tailed Jacana

Our afternoon safari began at 3.15pm with the aim of checking out more wetlands and doing some general birding and what a very pleasant afternoon this turned out to be. A small lake held Indian Spot-billed Duck, Ferruginous Duck, Black-crowned Night-Heron, Purple Heron, Intermediate Egret, and a few more familiar ducks were seen. 

Painted Stork

Then we drove to a huge lake that was full of birds and we thoroughly enjoyed spending a few hours scanning the area seeing Greylag Geese, Dalmatian and Great White Pelicans, Garganey, Greater and Lesser Flamingo’s, Painted Stork, Temminck’s Stint, Spotted Redshank, Lesser Sand Plover, Marsh Sandpiper, Black-headed Ibis, flocks of Chestnut-bellied Sandgrouse, flocks of Common and Demoiselle Cranes, Isabelline Wheatear and others. In the bushes there was Isabelline Shrike and a Clamorous Reed Warbler, with Richard’s Pipit, Crested Lark and Ashy-crowned Sparrow-Lark in the drier fields. 

Slender-billed Gull

Further down the lake Pete picked up a flock of Small Pratincoles, and we also had Slender-billed Gull as well. 

Sunset

Then, with the sun setting we drove to an open area and waited for dark when after about ten minutes of searching had a superb Sykes’s Nightjar in the spotlight giving great views to round off a good day.

Sykes's Nightjar

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