Showing posts from November, 2013

No. 362 Grey-headed Canary Flycatcher

After three years of trying GREY-HEADED CANARY FLYCATCHER has finally made its way on to the Islbirder Pakistan List at Number 362. Today, Sunday 17 November 2013 was a special day in our birding calendar. It was the the day that the Islbirder Team delivered on its pledge to the Zabardast Charity Auction for Pakistan charities to provide a memorable days birding for the highest bidder. The Team had promised a great day for the lucky winner including at least 70 species in the seven hours birding. At the end of the trip the Team had found 78 species and the winning bid of PKR 45,000 will go to a good cause in Pakistan as will the rest of the PKR 581,250 raised by Zabardast Charity Shop at the auction.
During our last few birding trips we had been reconnoitering sites in preparation for the Islamabad Big Day. We started before dawn at the eastern shoreline of Rawal Lake. First bird of the day was a LITTLE EGRET. There followed two Raptors; a WESTERN MARSH HARRIER and a BLACK-SHOULDERED…

Local Patch Rawal Lake Delivers Again!

Ask any birder; check your local patch often enough and you will turn up all sorts of birds of interest. If your local patch is Rawal Lake on the outskirts of Islamabad you may be luckier than most. Trouble is, living in Islamabad, Pakistan's capital city, having a local patch creates a dilemma. You want to keep going back there to find those great birds but there are so many other superb sites to visit nearby and only so much free time. So, yesterday, The Islbirder Team was back at the lakeside at dawn on Friday 15 November 2013. The temperature struggled just above freezing in the gloom of pre-dawn until the sun broke through and warmed to a maximum to 24 degrees. As soon as the sun peeped over the nearby hills and bathed the reedbeds in a beautiful light; where there had been none there were a dozen SIBERIAN STONECHAT at the top of stems.
Whilst to some of our readers daytime highs of 24 degrees might not sound much like winter, the extended hours of darkness brings with them …

Pipit Flock at Rawal Lake Included Buff-bellied

The second of two really early mornings in a row found us at the eastern shoreline of Rawal Lake watching the sun come up. Whilst the high water level of the lake is frustrating due to the lack of waders we hope duck numbers will be up this winter as a result. Sadly, we could not get the star birds of today on film. In amongst a large flock of Anthus were WATER PIPIT, PADDYFIELD PIPIT, ROSY PIPIT, in their bold plumage and at least two BUFF-BELIED PIPIT. Amongst the Pipits were a few Wagtails, both WHITE WAGTAIL and YELLOW WAGTAIL.
COMMON KINGFISHER is always a fabulous sight, they can prove to be so photogenic and when the sun shines they are displayed in all their glory.
RMK had a very good day with the camera and Kingfishers were his subjects. The following two shots are wonderful examples of how bird photographs can become pieces of art. The hovering PIED KINGFISHER was frozen in time and the intricacy of its plumage is beautifully displayed.
Capturing a bird's reflection in…

Eurasian Nightjar in Karachi

On 25 October 2013, this Nightjar was photographed, at its not very cryptic daytime roost, at the Dutch Consulate in Karachi. The Islbirder Team is grateful to HGS and his colleague, the finder and photographer, for forwarding this excellent photograph to us and allowing us to publish it within our Blog. We have seen Grey Nightjar, Large-tailed Nightjar and Savanna Nightjar in Pakistan but we have never found one at its daylight roost.
Whilst the quality of the photograph is outstanding Nightjars are notoriously difficult to identify; however, we will give it a go. Karachi falls within the range of three Nightjar species recorded in Pakistan. These are: Indian Nightjar Caprimulgus affinis, Sykes’s Nightjar Caprimulgus mahrattensis and Eurasian Nighjar Caprimulgus europaeus. The first two species are resident and the latter is a summer breeder and passage migrant. The date and location; especially its unusual roosting preference may indicate this bird is indeed a migrant rather that a…

Winter Birds Arrive in Margalla Hills

At dawn on Saturday 9 November 2013 we were deep into the Margalla Hills National Park to the north of Islamabad. During the past couple of weeks the temperature had fallen dramatically and this was our cue to seek out altitudinal migrants that were escaping the cold of the Himalayas. We had timed this trip to perfection and we were treated with a string of exciting winter birds. The star of the show was undoubtedly the male PINK-BROWED ROSEFINCH. In the early morning, crystal clear light this bird was a joy to behold. This scarce species sometimes appears in winter flocks within the Margalla Hills. However, this appeared to be a solitary bird.
Another claimant for top spot was a possible juvenile RED CROSSBILL. This species can irregularly be prone to irruptions travelling westwards into Pakistan across the Himalayas in search of pine seeds. Whilst quite a drab bird, its rarity within the Margallas and the prospect of finding a red male or green female was enticing. I do have doubts…