Showing posts from April, 2013

Blyth's Leaf & Western Crowned Warblers at Nathia Gali

Sadly, one of our regular companions was unable to make this trip but we left Islamabad at 0630 hours on Saturday 13 April 2013 and made our way to Nathia Gali, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, . Nathia Gali is 8,200 feet above sea level. Our intention was to, hopefully, find and photograph Orange Bullfinches that I had discovered just outside Nathia Gali in April 2011. On the road from Changla Gali, at 9,200 feet, we began to see the damage that the winter’s snow had caused. There had clearly been a number of serious landslides and in a couple of areas sections of the road had completely disappeared down the adjacent steep drops. We were glad that we were undertaking this journey during daylight hours as only some small boulders indicated areas of missing road. Deep snow had had reduced the road to a single track in many places and we were pleased that the traffic was light.
On the way we had seen an ALEXANDRINE PARAKEET near the entrance to Lake View Park on the Murree Road and numerous SLATY-H…

Mesmorising Marala Part Deux

After a surprisingly good breakfast at 0330 hours we were again at the Marsh and in position before light. Unsurprisingly, things were pretty much similar to the previous day as far as avian activity was concerned. Although it was great to watch the birds we had seen before I was on the lookout for more new species for my Pakistan List. The GLOSSY IBIS again arrived on cue and as the Marsh once more came to life the cacophony of bird calls intensified.

On the far margin of the lake where there was a dense tangle of vegetation and I had spotted movement amongst it on a couple of occasions. I was pretty sure what it was so I focused the scope on the area. It wasn't too long before a secretive WATER RAIL appeared for a few minutes. Although a familiar bird in Europe, this was the first time I had seen it in Pakistan.

We decided to concentrate on other birds located on the elevated bund on the perimeter of the Marsh. We passed by a singing STRIATED BABBLER but the guys were very exci…

Mesmorising Marala

I want to tell you a story about a group of friends from different backgrounds, cultures and continents who have been brought together by a love of Pakistan’s wildlife. There is the most spectacular fauna on our doorsteps here in Islamabad but last weekend we decided to travel further afield to add to the species of birds we have already recorded both in our notebooks and on film (or more correctly, SD cards). So, during the early hours of Saturday 6 April 2013 we set off south along the GT Road towards Sialkot. The journey was long but mostly uneventful except for the occasional interaction with the slow-moving, highly decorated heavy goods vehicles. In addition to the heavily laden coaches, the drivers of which clearly believe that by leaning on the horn their vehicles will find extra speed. Our local friends appeared unaffected by the blinding full-beam lights of the oncoming vehicles. But for those used to driving in other lands where using a full-beam is considered highly incons…

In Search of the Crested Kingfisher

On Saturday 29 March 2013, with some local knowledge and a determination to find the elusive Crested Kingfisher, we set off to our destination deep into the Margalla Hills range and the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. The first 45 minutes or so was on a black top tarmacadam road but after that point our journey took us an hour’s further drive along a deeply rutted and difficult jeep track. The track is only accessible by 4WD and included the fording of the river. Towards the end of the journey we saw a couple of classic, early Toyota jeeps and the roar of their engines suggested something pretty hefty under the bonnet. I would love one of those!

We had followed the course of the river during our drive and where we finally stopped was in an area where the river’s course had dug a deep gorge. The water was fast flowing and crystal clear. It was also clean and unpolluted; this was indicated by the size of the Brown Trout and Golden Mahseer that were taking flies off the surface. These fish are prot…