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Showing posts from November, 2012

Islbirder Dips!

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I thought I should begin today’s new post by explaining some of the birding parlance that is used by birders. Hopefully, dear Reader, you will understand the relevance and also realise how cathartic compiling this particular edition has been following a traumatic birding morning.
Birder: A serious birder. Not birdwatcher or Dude (see below) and never a twitcher!
Dip Out or Dip: To miss seeing a bird that you were looking or hoping for.
Dude: A posh birdwatcher who doesn't really know much about birds or a novice birdwatcher, a slightly depreciatory term. Also used to refer to someone who primarily seeks out birds for photography rather than ornithological study. However, can I clarify; this does not include photographers who allow their photographs to appear on this blog. They are definitely birders.

First: A first record of a species in a defined place, such as an area or country first. Or, indeed on one’s Life List (see below).
Grip Off or To Grip: To see a bird that another birder m…

All Excited Over A Chaffinch

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On Sunday 4 November we were deep into the Margalla Hills inside Khyber Paktunkhwa (KPK). This was a valley we had visited before with its allure of village life and beautiful surroundings. As the sun rose above the hilltops the birds began to appear and the only difficulty endured was where to look next. In all we saw 37 species in just a few hours and huge numbers of many. The photographers within our party, literally, experienced a field day. The irony was that our least common bird of the day is the most numerous species in the UK. It manifested itself in the form of a female COMMON CHAFFINCH. This was a life bird for two of our party and it is only the second time I have seen the species in Pakistan.


Larger birds seen were two YELLOW-BILLED BLUE MAGPIE and several BLACK-THROATED JAY. However, it was the passerine species seen and the one owl that were the most interesting. We were about 4000 feet above sea level but the sun of the sun soon warmed our backs on what had started as…

The Red-billed Leiothrix Have Arrived

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Daybreak on Saturday 3 November 2012 found us at Margalla Hills Trail 5 on a beautiful yet chilly morning. Our goal, as during the previous weekend, was to locate and, if possible, photograph altitudinal migrants. Pretty much, the cast was similar to seven days ago but with the odd addition. The most obvious was a striking species and for such a colourful bird it is particularly secretive. However, the harsh call gave away the RED-BILLED LEIOTHRIX. Its breeding range is located within the mountainous areas from the Himachal Pradesh in India to the Burmese border. During winters the Red-billed Leiothrix moves to lower altitudes and, irregularly, the species can be found in the Margalla hills.
 We were again lucky to see more KALIJ PHEASANT and on this occasion a pair graced the spring area. This species appears far more common than experienced by birders during the 1980s. It was gratifying to see the WHISTLER’S WARBLER in the same location as last week but it was far more nervous and …