Prelude to Winter Provides a Lifer

Hello Readers, I hope you are welcoming the coming winter. Islamabad did not receive any rain for over a month now and it’s still warm, dry and dusty.
Me, Swabi Birder, Zr and AK had a wonderful weekend with birds in different areas of Margalla Hills National Park. Our journey always starts at 0545 hours in the morning and then the whole day is spent watching the spectacular wildlife and birds of Islamabad.

The water sources have diminished along Trail 5 and in Kharian village amongst woodland. So far, we have seen only one Rufous-Bellied Niltava visiting us on the stream at Trail 5. However, a Rufous-breasted Accentor also showed up on the stream beside the Warblers bathing in a side pond.
The Thrushes, common in winters haven’t yet arrived, as the weather is still quite warm, with haze and smog in the city. The Meteorological Department is forecasting some rain starting from this coming Tuesday until Thursday. I believe, hopefully, with the rain, the temperature will drop more at the …

European Sparrowhawk & Passerines Share the Same Water Source

It’s been now almost seven years that RMKis regularly visiting the Margalla Hills to find new birds and share the images with the readers. This winter is going to be exciting, as the only water source is being shared by the Eurasian Sparrowhawk and the migratory birds both.
The drama continues when the birds set in for the bath and drink and then, the ghost appears from nowhere and chase them. The hawk may be driving the birds away but I am waiting for my kind of a shot, where the bird of prey attacks a small bird and the cycle of nature is completed.

Over the weekend ending on 30 October 2017, we found that leaves have started changing their colours and accompanied by my new colleague Abdullah Khan, ZR and myself scanned the area quickly. We thought this time beside birds, we will find some mammals also. We found some lovely birds in woodland and along Trail 5.

The team was lucky to find the female of Rufous-bellied Niltava, after seven years and a lifer for myself. On the other hand,

Migratory Birds Arrived to Bid Farewell to Summer Birds

Hello readers, Islamabad has witnessed its first winter rain this weekend and the arrival of migratory birds has started. However still the summer birds share the same places and are preparing for long tiring flights to their new home. Me, RMK and ZR from Islamabad wish them safe flight,
I was wondering if I will be able to catch-up with my timings with the birds this season? Yes, I think I will have some lovely times with the winter birds, as my latest visit to Trail 5 in Margalla Hills has motivated me to keep moving. On October 22, 2017, myself and ZR planned a visit to the Trail and there was a mixture up of summer and winter birds. The Asian Paradise Flycatcher was still around and enjoying the thick forest of National Park.
The warblers and Oriental White-eyes were busy bathing in the stream, while the black-chinned Babblers and Red-billed Leiothrix were not showing much. This happens every year. The winter birds take their time in settling down and when the water source is squee…

Margalla Hills Shine with Rain

Hello everyone, RMK here. After having some fabulous moments with islbirder and the wolves in Bishop’s Castle at Tony’s farm in Shropshire, UK, I am back in Pakistan with memories that will last a long time in my life.
Here in Islamabad, the weather still is hot and temperature stays around 35 degrees during the day. However, the temperature at night falls to 27 degrees and that means that winter birds are no longer away from the thick vegetation of Margalla Hills.
On the 10 September, I decided to visit the northern track at Makhnial village and find if any winter migrants have joined the resident birds. As always ZR, the motivation for me after islbirder, was ready for the trip and we were accompanied by Imran (the guy who has seen more birds than anyone else in Pakistan). We left Islamabad and driving over the zigzagged tracks of the national park reached Makhnial village. Along the way we found this beautiful Indian Roller.
I was much relieved to see the vegetation across the park h…

Red-footed Falcon: First for Pakistan

Hot off the Press; 137 years after it was found! A juvenile male Red-footed Falcon (Falco vespertinus), collected on 19 October 1880 at Gilgit, Northern Areas, and deposited as a skin at the Natural History Museum, Tring, United Kingdom has just been confirmed by molecular analysis as the first record for the species in Pakistan and the Indian Subcontinent. (per José Luis Copete on Jul 12, 2017)
What other ornithological discoveries will advances in modern science reveal? DNA is already being used to identify “difficult” species.

A Journey to the North of Pakistan

Hello everyone, RMK here! After having a wonderful birding season during the early months of the year, finding summer birds in Islamabad became difficult due to the heat. So, yours truly, Swabi Birder,decided to undertake a long journey to the see the majestic mountains of the Northern Territories, with the hope of seeing new species of birds to add to my Pakistan Birding List.

This trip to the north was unique in that I was accompanied by my family and my dog in the same jeep from which I thought I would photograph birds using it as a hide. Anyhow, I started my trip on Eid Day to avoid the rush on road to Naran, situated in the Kaghan Valley in the Mansehra District of the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. To my surprise even on the Eid Day I found that all the roads were full of cars. The usual species found along the roadside were hardly there. Disappointed I drove fast to Gilgit and reached Serena Hotel in the administrative territory of Gilgit-Baltistan, with a sigh of relief.

I immediately took…