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Showing posts from August, 2012

Shrike Bonanza

Yesterday’s torrential rain beat us but today, Tuesday 21 August 2012, we braved the gloom under leaden skies and visited Lake View Park. We had only just entered the area but there was a feel of migration in the air. The whole arboretum area was full of Golden Orioles; now officially named INDIAN GOLDEN ORIOLE Oriolus oriolus kundoo rather than the less germane label of Eurasian Golden Oriole. It would appear that the adult males had already left; they always being the first to arrive during spring migration. All of birds we saw were either female or first-winter individuals. It was strange to see so many Golden Orioles on the ground as we are so used to them ‘disappearing’ into the upper canopies of trees as is their arboreal habit.
The COMMON HOOPOE was much in evidence as well with at least ten being recorded; whereas one is the norm at this location. The swelling of numbers we presumed to be by migratory birds. We saw two hepatic-type female EURASIAN CUCKOO and although we have …

Eid Mubarak

We decided to spend the Eid ul Fitr weekend in Bhurban staying at a well-known hotel, the grounds of which are excellent for birding. It is my policy not to advertise on this blog so I won’t mention the name of the hotel unless, of course, that ‘Particular Chain’ of hotel offers a donation towards the conservation of wildlife in Pakistan. It is a credit to the company that the grounds appear to be maintained with wildlife in mind. However, the caging of a Rhesus Macaque monkey for the entertainment of guests is not at all clever. An opinion clearly shared by the unfortunate creature.
Moving on to the positive; we were out very early on Saturday 18 August 2012, and were amazed to see more than 200 ALPINE SWIFT passing over the hotel buildings. They were huge in comparison to the LITTLE SWIFT and ASIAN HOUSE MARTIN also present; the numbers of which were equally impressive.
Walking along the perimeter path through the woodland we had good views of an adult BLUE WHISTLING THRUSH, the si…

Independence Day Birding

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As today was a public holiday celebrating the 65th year of Pakistan’s independence we decided to visit the Margalla Ridge and Rawal Lake, Lake View Park. We are glad we did because following a slow start on the Ridge the birding picked up at Rawal Lake. As previously stated the water level is seriously low and this is far more evident from the Lake View Park shoreline. Half of the lake now appears to be pasture for the Water Buffalo.
However, we started on the Margalla Ridge where our first bird was a STRIATED PRINIA in full song. The origin of some noisy squawking was identified as a young GREY TREEPIE being fed by an adult. A small group of birds were represented by two species, COMMON TAILORBIRD and WESTERN CROWNED WARBLER, at least three of the latter. The only other species of note was ALPINE SWIFT and we watched twelve of these giants pass low over our heads heading from east to west.
We began our walk at Lake View Park by following the path around the arboretum. Immediately we…

Mid-August Birding

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The evening of Friday 10 August 2012 saw the return of ALPINE SWIFT to Islamabad. This is a full two weeks later than their arrival last year. Previously, they only lingered for about four weeks. A summer migrant and breeder in some parts of Pakistan the Alpine Swifts pay only a fleeting visit to the Federal Capital Area. At 22cm the Alpine Swift dwarfs our familiar House Swift.

This morning, Saturday 11 August 2012, we paid a visit to Rawal Lake in the hope of finding passage waders. Sadly, we found none during what was a misty, overcast and very humid daybreak. Only the resident RED-WATTLED LAPWING were present. There were numerous INDIAN POND HERON in a variety of plumage ranging from full adult breeding to juvenile. LITTLE EGRET was plentiful with lesser numbers of CATTLE EGRET. Even with the rains the water level at Rawal Lake remains worryingly low and BLACK KITE loafed around the shoreline.

Amongst the fields adjacent to the lake were many species. The vociferous GREY FRANCOLI…

Swifts in Abundance

The temperature in Islamabad has reduced a little lately but the humidity has increased dramatically. Although the monsoon has failed to materialise, there is plenty of cloud. These conditions have increased the numbers of HOUSE SWIFT that are visible presumably feeding on insects forced down to lower altitudes. Flocks of 200 to 300 are not unusual and during many parts of the day. This species is Apus affinis that is also known as Little Swift in other parts of the world. it will not be long before their larger cousins, the ALPINE SWIFT begin to arrive.
Other highlights this week have included a pair of BROWN ROCK CHAT with four well developed young and the increase in the numbers of COMMON HAWK CUCKOO with their frantic vocalisations that give them their local name Brain Fever Bird.
As it's August now the Autumn wader migration may be in evidence soon but sadly there is very little water in the lakes as the rain has disappointed expectations.