Showing posts from 2017

Red-footed Falcon: First for Pakistan

Hot off the Press; 137 years after it was found! A juvenile male Red-footed Falcon (Falco vespertinus), collected on 19 October 1880 at Gilgit, Northern Areas, and deposited as a skin at the Natural History Museum, Tring, United Kingdom has just been confirmed by molecular analysis as the first record for the species in Pakistan and the Indian Subcontinent. (per José Luis Copete on Jul 12, 2017)
What other ornithological discoveries will advances in modern science reveal? DNA is already being used to identify “difficult” species.

A Journey to the North of Pakistan

Hello everyone, RMK here! After having a wonderful birding season during the early months of the year, finding summer birds in Islamabad became difficult due to the heat. So, yours truly, Swabi Birder,decided to undertake a long journey to the see the majestic mountains of the Northern Territories, with the hope of seeing new species of birds to add to my Pakistan Birding List.

This trip to the north was unique in that I was accompanied by my family and my dog in the same jeep from which I thought I would photograph birds using it as a hide. Anyhow, I started my trip on Eid Day to avoid the rush on road to Naran, situated in the Kaghan Valley in the Mansehra District of the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. To my surprise even on the Eid Day I found that all the roads were full of cars. The usual species found along the roadside were hardly there. Disappointed I drove fast to Gilgit and reached Serena Hotel in the administrative territory of Gilgit-Baltistan, with a sigh of relief.

I immediately took…

Indian Pitta Found in the Margalla Hills

Dear Readers of the Islamabad Birding Blog. It’s Islbirder here who knows nothing of Facebook (I leave that to Swabi Birder) but I do know RMK has attracted a lot of new birder/photographers through the Facebook Group.
I spent three wonderful years in Pakistan birding with RMK and many mornings during the heat of sweltering summers we would be at Trail 5 of the Margalla Hills before daybreak listening for the plaintive whistle of a very shy and incredibly rare summer visitor to Pakistan. In all those many days of trying I never did find the beautiful Indian Pitta. The Pakistan range of this species, historically, has only ever been the Margalla Hills National Park.
It is frustratingly elusive within its breeding territory and much easier to see where it winters in Sri Lanka. Indian Pitta was first recorded in Pakistan in June 1978 when a pair was found breeding at Daman-i-Koh, at the foot of the Margalla Hills. Subsequent investigation by the eminent ornithologist, the late Tom Roberts,…

The Beautiful Pakistan Bee-eaters

Hello Readers
I know you are asking why the Blog has not been updated for such a long time. I say this because a lady, who is a serious ornithologist, asked me the same question during a very formal gathering and I was a little bit embarrassed.
My excuses are that I was being a bit lazy for not updating the blog and secondly, I have spotted no new birds in Islamabad and surrounding areas as the migration has started and winter birds have now left. However, I will share with you the few images I have managed to capture.
Asian Green Bee-eaters arrived during April in; apparently reduced numbers and I have only seen a few in and around Islamabad.

Surprisingly, two other species, the Blue-tailed Bee-eater and the Blue-cheeked Bee-eater that visits Sialkot and Tala Gang in Punjab have been just seen in good numbers. What does worry me, however, is that many of the traditional nesting areas used by these species have been destroyed to make way for house building.
On 27 May 2017, I went to Kalar …

December in the Margalla Hills, Islamabad

It has been a Thrush bonanza in the Margalla Hills during December 2016 and RMK and the Birding Islamabad Team were out and about with their cameras to record some of the species that graced the hillsides and trails.
Many of these species are altitudnal migrants that move down the hills during the bitterly cold weather experienced higher up in the mountains.
One big surprise was the Oramge-headed Thrush. Normally, this species is a summer breeding visitor to the Margalla Hills but the one recorded by the Team was unseasonably present during December. Orange-headed Thrushes that are recorded in Pakistan normally migrate to warmer locations in India during the winter months. There is no doubt ornithology is always creating surprises for us Birders to experience.
Congratulations to the Team for another wonderful collection of photographs and we hope our Readers enjoy seeing them. These winter months can provide some of the best birding around Islamabad so, please get out into the field …