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 and see what gems you can discover. Have a Happy and bird-filled New Year!

Margalla Hills are a Birding Heaven 

Hello Readers RMK here from Islamabad. We haven’t experienced rain for a long time and the birds and bird photographers had an amazing time with all sorts of birds of the summer and winter. Seeing winters and summers birds together was a great treat. The gorgeous Orange-headed thrush was beautiful captured by ZR.

My friend ZR is an amazing boy behind the lens. When Islbirder was leaving, I thought probably life will be boring here in Islamabad for me going alone for birds. Though I still miss him as the best birder and amazing buddy I have ever encountered in my birding life but ZR somehow filled the space and together myself RMK (aka SWABI BIRDER) and ZR have done a lot to keep moving the mission of my friend and my buddy Islbirder.

Trail 5 and the surrounding woodland has been the place we have been working together near the water sources and we found some hundreds of Black-throated Thrushes this year. The water sources have been squeezed because of the dry weather and we found Thrushes near the stream.

ZR has some good time with a new bird, a Besra (the only previous record being a report of a specimen that was collected in the Murree Hills many years ago). The Trial has been the hunting ground of a Eurasian Sparrowhawk looking for passerines and these beautiful portraits by ZR are amazing.

I get less time to visit the birds but managed to take some shots of Thrushes, Spot-winged Tit, Green-backed Tit, Black-throated Babbler and some others in a few days.I remember when Islbirder was here in Islamabad, we saw Rufous Sibia once and then we were very happy that day. Last weekend I had a beautiful setting near a water source for the Sibia and I was lucky to get him on the perch I setup for him.

Brown Crake was once a rare and threatened species but somehow their numbers have increased tremendously. I got the shot of the Crake from my car near the marshes area.
Margalla Hills, Islamabad offers a variety of birds to the people of the city and the visitors. The number of birders and photographers are on the increase and I am hopeful that greater awareness of birds and the habitat they need will be increased through our images and our Blog.

We wish our readers Happy Year 2017 and good luck for the days ahead.

Orange-headed Thrush
Blue Whistling Thrush
Male Grey-winged Blackbird
Female Grey-winged Blackbird
First-winter Grey-winged Blkackbird
Male Black-throated Thrush
Female Black-throated Thrush
A group of Red-billed Leiothrix
The normally secretive Black-chinned Babbler
No, you don't need to get up before dawn to see a male Kalij Pheasant
Rusty-cheeked Scimitar Babbler
Rufous Sibia
Another Rufous Sibia
The rare and elusive Whistler's Warbler
Brownish-flanked Bush Warbler
The rare and very local Brown Crake
Green-backed Tit
Spot-winged Tit
Jungle Babbler
A bathing Variegated Laughingthrush
White-capped Bunting
Male Eurasian Sparrowhawk
Another superb Eurasian Sparrowhawk
Rufous-breasted Accentor

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