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Showing posts from July, 2012

A Welcome Garden Visitor

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Our garden is tiny but we have an impressive list of bird species seen both in and from the garden. ROSE-RINGED PARAKEET often fly over in small groups but this shy and wary species here (probably due to the activities of the bird trappers) seldom come into the garden itself. However, on Tuesday 17 July 2012, Mrs Islbirder caught one such moment on her camera.

This particular Rose-ringed Parakeet was clearly attracted to the Sunflowers, the seeds of which are not quite ready. However, it bodes well for attracting more birds into the garden.

A Weekend in Dunga Gali Khyber Pakhtunkhwa

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On Friday 13 July 2012 we set off along the old road from Islamabad to Murree and then onto Dunga Gali, which was to be our base for the weekend. We arrived during the late afternoon; just enough time to walk a short distance along the famous Pipeline Trail. Birds were few and far between but we had the chance to look down on several SLATY-HEADED PARAKEET as they flew in the valley below.
As we took tea on the balcony of our accommodation we watched a group of ASIAN HOUSE MARTIN hawking insects overhead and an ASHY DRONGO caught flies but using a different technique. Movement in the tree opposite drew our attention and we were rewarded with superb views of a stunning male GOLDEN ORIOLE. On the lawn of the house a HOOPOE probed for insects and a BLUE WHISTLING THRUSH called from the garden of a nearby property. A bird with an improbably long tail crash-landed into the Golden Oriole tree. This gawky aviator turned out to be a YELLOW-BILLED BLUE MAGPIE and who could criticise its clumsi…

Storm Delays Birding

Our intention had been to start on Trail 2 of the Margalla Hills at 0400 hours today, Saturday 7 July 2012, and look again for Indian Pitta but the alarm did not need to wake us. That was done by the magnitude of the electric storm that was raging outside. There were no gaps in the lightning that provided an incredible show and was accompanied by continuous thunder. The wind was strong and the rain was incredibly heavy. I suspect this year’s monsoon has arrived. There was nothing else to do other than switch off the alarm and go back to sleep.
By the time we woke there was little sign of the precipitation of the early hours; only a few puddles but it was mostly dry and the sun was shining. There was no doubt the humidity had increased but ten degrees Centigrade had disappeared and the midday temperature was only 35 degrees C.
The middle of the day would not normally be associated with good birding and there is no doubt we saw fewer species than we had observed when we have started ve…

Margalla Ridge

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It was going to be another very hot day today so an early start was required to make the most of this birding opportunity. I was going to try again for Indian Pitta but having ignored the first alarm I left it too late. I decided that an early morning drive up onto the Margalla Ridge might be a good idea and so it proved. However, I was in for a shock when I saw the damage that had been caused by a fire that had devastated the vegetation. Likely caused by an irresponsibly discarded cigarette or glass bottle, the fire had destroyed the undergrowth but it looked as though the Chir Pines had survived probably because the fire would have passed through so quickly as it engulfed the tinder dry understory. I read in the newspaper recently about another large part of the Margalla National Park near to Taxila had also been badly damaged by fire. The monsoon rains will offer some respite from the threat of further blazes but they don’t appear imminent.
As I write this I am watching a juvenile…