On Saturday, Shirish and I decided to visit the Nagla Block area near Bhayinder. The place is known for sightings of the Oriental Dwarf Kingfisher which arrives in Mumbai around this time of the year. Since the ODKF is such a colourful bird, motivation for this trip was quite high.
Note: I've provided links to photographs of the birds mentioned...
The forest was lush green and though we heard many birds calling, we saw quite few. One of the more vocal ones was the Puff-Throated Babbler making its “Ithe-ye-tu” call (as Adesh describes it!). The calls seemed to be pretty loud, but we never actually saw the bird.
Puff-Throated Babbler: http://www.indianaturewatch.net/displayimage.php?id=34161
Brown-Headed Barbet: http://www.indianaturewatch.net/displayimage.php?id=45875
The first birds we saw were the Indian Grey Hornbills calling away merrily on a nearby tree with their typical “kiiaeaeae….” call. Later, we also heard the Brown-Headed Barbet and got only a brief glimpse of the bird.
Indian Grey Hornbill: http://www.indianaturewatch.net/displayimage.php?id=47894
Walking on, we soon reached the “tower” which is a ~15 feet tall structure like a machan. We climbed aboard, and almost instantly saw a male White-Rumped Shama sitting not too far away in a clearing. The bird had something pinkish in its mouth and was giving all kinds of poses on the branch. It jumped, hopped, tweaked its tail, much like a Magpie Robin, and was curiously making a “krack-krack-KRACK” call…It was soon joined by the female, which perched only inches away from its mate. It too had something in its mouth, and we thought it was nesting material. I spoke to Adesh about this, and he says it was probably food for the chicks. Whatever it was, the birds kept us company for nearly 40 minutes.
The view of these birds was so good that we could literally examine each feature of the bird’s plumage and compare it with the illustration in Grimmett. Particularly noticeable was the size difference between the male and the female.
White-Rumped Shama: http://www.indianaturewatch.net/displayimage.php?id=49967
While on the tower, we also saw a large raptor swooping about, like it was scanning the forest for food. I’m quite sure it was a Tawny Eagle. It flew past quite close to our tower, and seeing a big bird fly so close was quite rewarding. Besides the raptor, some sunbirds and bulbuls also kept us company.
The forest right now is filled with mosquitoes, and had it not been for Shirish’s Odomos cream, we’d look quite ungainly when we came out. The mosquitoes are quite stubborn and one even bit me through my socks! What’s worse is that they stay put even when you try to swap them!!
We couldn’t see the ODKF on our trip. That was a little disappointing. But it’s a long season, and I hope to see it soon!