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Birding in Kaziranga

Birding in Kaziranga

A visit to Kaziranga was on my bucket list for a long time and  gods made it happen in first week of December 2017. I had been to Kaziranga a few times earlier but for official purposes, this was the first time that one was there to enjoy the wildlife which Kaziranga is famous for. Kaziranga is world famous for it’s one horned Rhinos which I saw in plenty during my visit. On a visit to Kaziranga you are bound to see the three biggies that is the Rhinos, elephants and the wild water buffaloes but the tiger generally remains elusive, we will talk about these in another blog. You got to have great luck to spot one. Kaziranga also hosts more than 400 species of birds and this post is all about them. The Eastern Range in Kaziranga is the one famous for bird watching. Many species of water and forest birds migrate to this area during winters. I did few safaris in this range and did manage to snap few species which were lifers for me. Sharing the photos taken through my lens.

We spotted this Barred Owl just after few minutes of entering the forest. The owl was perched under the thick canopy were light was minimal. I cranked up the ISO to 1600 and took this shot, had to work on it in Lightroom and Photoshop.

As we ventured deeper we came across few rhinos and wild water buffaloes and then we saw these pelicans perched atop a bald tree, pruning their feathers.

By now we were driving along the banks of the seasonal lake which gets formed due to flooding of the flats during monsoon. We could see many waders, mostly migratory.

The Bar Headed Geese (above) could be seen in large numbers. These migrate from Kazakhstan, Mongolia and Tibet during winters. They fly over the Himalayas and are known to cover about 700 miles in one flight. They are lovely to watch and photograph. Below are few more snaps of these lovely creatures.

By the time we managed to snap these, it was time to leave the forest as you are permitted to be inside the forest for only two hours during a safari. I subsequently made three more safaris in this range and managed to capture few nice shots. Let’s have a look at these.

We spotted these Northern Pintail Ducks, but their population was sparse. They are one of the most beautiful ducks. The pintail or northern pintail (Anas acuta) is a duck with wide geographic distribution that breeds in the northern areas of Europe, Asia and North America. It is migratory and winters south of its breeding range to the equator.The northern pintail is a bird of open wetlands which nests on the ground, often some distance from water. It feeds by dabbling for plant food and adds small invertebrates to its diet during the nesting season. It is highly gregarious when not breeding, forming large mixed flocks with other species of duck.

I snapped this bird at the central range. I think this is a common stone chat (female). Common Stone Chat (male, below).

The Black Necked Stork (above). I went places looking for this bird and finally found it at Kaziranga. Amazing creature to watch. The black-necked stork is a  wading bird in the stork family. It is a resident species across the Indian Subcontinent and Southeast Asia with a large population in Australia.

An Osprey (above). We came across many hovering above looking for prey. Look at this one (below), having caught a fish it is rushing away.

…..and then it found a safe spot to nibble at it’s prey.

….and then soon it was soaring again, looking for prey.

Open billed stork. We came across many of these in the seasonal lake and perched atop trees.

 

I was thrilled to see this Grey Headed Fish Eagle. This was a lifer for me. The grey-headed fish eagle is a striking bird and an impressive hunter, with a relatively small head, longish neck and a powerful, grey beak. The plumage is brownish-grey on the upper parts and white below . It has relatively short legs, a rounded tail, sandy-yellow eyes, and long, black talons.

Alexandarine Parakeets. We saw many flying around and perched on trees.

As we were about to finish our safari in the central range, we saw these Greylag Geese flying past and soon they descended on the near by lake.

A Bar Headed Geese trying to land among the Greylag Geese. And the we spotted these owls.

Mallard (male,above). The mallard  is a dabbling duck that breeds throughout the temperate and subtropical Americas, Eurasia, and North Africa and has been introduced to New Zealand, Australia, Peru, Brazil, Uruguay, Argentina, Chile, the Falkland Islands, and South Africa. It is migratory and can be seen in lakes and ponds in India. We came across many of these in Kaziranga.

Mallard (female,above)

During the safari you can see occasional Pelicans hovering around.

The lesser whistling ducks were present in thousands. You could see them flying past off and on.

Green Peigions

Common Flame back Woodpecker

Jungle Spotted Owlets

Ruddy Shell Duck

Indian Roller

Black Hooded Oriole

Adjutant Stork. This was again a lifer for me. This had been evading me for a long time. I finally caught up with it at Kaziranga.

In Assam, the far North-Eastern corner of India, lives one of the the largest and rarest of the storks, the Greater Adjutant Stork, together with it’s smaller cousin, the Lesser Adjutant. These are endangered species; only a thousand Greater Adjutants, and 5000 Lesser Adjutants are left, and the populations are declining.

Darter also called the snake bird

Changeable Hawk Eagle

Woolly Necked Stork

Brown Shryke

Northern Lapwing

Eurasian Wigeon

Crested Serpent Eagle (above). While on a safari in Kaziranga keep a watch on the trees as your jeep moves along and you may land with one of these.

Palas Eagle. Caught this when it was just landing to perch.

A flock of cormorants out on a hunt

Jungle Fowl

Shikra. We got this at close quarters. We could have stretched and caught it with our hands.

This week at Kaziranga  was a week to remember. Each day had something new to offer. I enjoyed every moment, I will go back again if I can. There was more at Kaziranga then just birds. More about it in the next blog.