Birding in Gwaldam


I have visited Gwaldam in Uttrakhand for birding during the first week of October 2014. The birding was done around Gwaldam particularly the forest area around SSB training Academy. Following birds have been spotted-

Scaly Breasted Munia

Pied Bushchat

Yellow Breasted Greenfinch

Black naped Monarch

Ultramine Flycatcher

One Flycatcher to be Identified

Verditer Flycatcher

Spangled Drongo

Black Drongo

White Cheeked Nuthatch

Kashmir Nuthatch

Grey Bushchat

White throated Laughingthrush

Rufous Naped Tit

Grey Cheeked or Grey Hooded Warbler

Himalayan Bulbul

Fire Capped Tit

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Trek to Gwaldam Nag Temple


Trek on 5 October 2014.
Weather was good and no heavy woolens are required.

Guide for trek is must as there are so many pathways branching out from main trek leading to villages around.

I was excited about the trek to Gwaldam Nag temple. Gwaldam Nag temple trek begins from the vicinity of SSB training academy located in Gwaldam. Gwaldam Nag trek is of around 5 KM from the road. The trek follow trail all through the forest till you reach on the top of mountain. The trek is initially steep and then moderate. As I moved into the forest there was sound of firing from the firing range of academy. On the route one can spot beautiful birds and lot of orchids and wild mushrooms. Mushroms with lot of hues and colors and one in particular looking like white coral. As I moved there was music of Small Minivtes both male and female. We stopped for a while and captured them in camera.
After trekking for half an hour we took rest for almost 15 minutes and moved forward. On the way we found some plants which are being used in Vico Vajradanti. There was a plain area which is being used for picnic. After trekking again for 15 minutes we reached on the top of hill and it was the first view of Bugyal covered with a carpet of white flowers.
From the top of hill one can have magnificent view of Trishul, Nanda devi peaks. The bugyal is clearly being used by the locals as grazing grounds. The Gwaldam Nag temple has been renovated and newly built construction under which Nag Devta is now presiding. Earlier it was only stone structure. The site is also preserved by the Archeological Survey of India. We had darshan of the Nag Devta and it was surprising to see that even in the morning someone came and lit the Jyoti in the temple.
While returning back we lost the way and went into the dense forest. After walking fr few KM there was steep slope and it was not possible to climb down. We found one way to further climb down and we found a water pipeline passing through there. It was a prudent decision to walk along the water pipeline for few KM and then we climbed up again to the Nag Mandir. Thus it was a trek of another 6 KM to climb down and climb up over a highly steep slope to reach on the top. But this trek gave a feeling of steep trek in dense forest with no trail. It was during this trek we spotted the Monal and Nutach.
Once we reached at the top we took a sigh of relief and followed the right trek to climb down. Climbing down was more difficult as usual with the surface very slipper due to green lichens grown over it. As we started the trek around 9 Am and reached back to our place at around 2:30 PM to find the lunch waiting for us.
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Birding around Sri Ganganagar: Rajasthan


Yesterday was a good day for birding around 32ML in Shri Ganganagar Rajasthan. I managed to see Black Francolin and Grey Francolin. The Grey francolin were chasing each other. Apart from Francolins, I spotted some other birds including Pied Bushchat, Green Bee-eaters, shrikes and Prinia. Common Chat, I am posting the pics, please help in identification of pipit and shrike.

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Badopal Lake: Birding in Hanumangarh, Rajasthan


Badopal Lake is a fresh water lake located in the Pilibanga Tehsil of the Hanumangarh district. It is also close to Ganganagar. The lake is on the plains of Ghaggar river (mythical Saraswati river). Initially when i cane to know about the Badopal i was not too much excited because neither i heard about it earlier nor there was any good reviews on internet. Anyway decided to move and started early in the morning from shri Ganganagar. I reached Badopal just at the sunrise. The colors of the lake were amazing and provided great opportunity for photography. At entry i was greeted by the Greater Flamingos, Northern Shovelers, Black winged Stilts, Common Coots etc. As i moved ahead to other side of the lake, there were hundreds of the Greater Flamingos. Few were about to take flight and few were landing. Apart from Flamingos, there were Plovers and Pied Avocet.

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Birding Near Harare, Zimbabwe


Stealing time from my busy schedule of work, today i have visited Mukuvisi Woods. Initially i was not too much enthusiastic, as i was not expecting so many surprises in terms of spotting the birds. I also started late from city (around 10 AM) and reached the place in 30 minutes. This place is manged privately and the entrance fees was only 5$.As i entered th park, calls of many birds welcomed me. I walked along the wet areas and follwoing birds were spotted-
Common Waxbill
Wattled Plover
Red Bishop
Paradise Flycatcher
Redfaced Mousebird
Blue Waxbill
Long-tailed Widowbird
Weaver Bird
Masked Weaver Bird
Hamerkop

Here are the Photographs:–

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Birding in Shimla


It was an exciting visit to Shimla. Though it was not a birding trip at all, but I got some time for bird watching near Chaura Maidan and near Chadwick falls. It was exciting to see the grey headed woodpecker and Eurasian Jay from the window of my room. The walk to Chadwick falls was quite rewarding in terms of Spot-winged Grosbeak and Forktail were spotted near the fall. Forktails were coming and playing with the water. I was too excited to see spot-winged Grosbeak sitting on a tree near Chadwick Falls. These birds were never spotted in and around Shimla. Thus it is a great pleasure to spot a bird in a completely new locality in recent times.

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Jungle Cat in Uttrakhand


Spotted this jungle cat in the foothills of Himalayas while travelling by train on 26th december 2013. The zoological name is Felis chaus affinis which is a subspecies of the jungle cat that inhabits the Himalayan region ranging from Kashmir and Nepal to Sikkim and Yunnan. It was a treat to watch this cat-
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