Sunday, 20 May 2018

Warbler Warbler on the wall... who is the most beautiful of all...

Here is how my story goes - the plot was - hunt the warblers among other birds in North America. Unlike the old world warblers - where they are referred too as 'Little Brown Jobs' - the warblers of North America or the 'New World' are small and mostly bright coloured making them a pleasure to see and less difficult to recognise. So when I planned to include a visit to the US for birdwatching - one of my main birds to hunt and see were a million warblers there. For that, I had work to do and I got on to it right away. I studied the warblers that are in North America, especially the states of New York and Texas - that I had intended to visit. There are a total of 56 or so warblers in North America and that is one hell of a study. It is a hell of a study as they may have beautiful brilliant colours or may be drab coloured. But this is just the beginning, the variations move on to males and females having different or sometimes the same plumage and this plumage varies in spring, fall, first year and later and million other factors. but let me add once again, inspite of that - they are not as difficult as the Old World Warblers.

A beautiful Male Prothonotary Warbler
The life is what it is... I am a firm believer that hard work alone does not produce the results. While I was in the army one of my senior's favourite quote was - "if hard work is all that is required good results then the donkeys should have got it all." I do agree with him to some extent - hard work is one of the things in a very complex world that leads to success. Luck is another factor in this maze and then there are other things are destiny and the environment that either coax you towards success or otherwise. This may seem like a lesson in life but as far as I am concerned - this is what I undergo while I travel for Birding (aka Birdwatching)

Louisiana Waterthrush

Yellow-rumped Warbler (Myrtle): Had multiple sighting of this beauty

Palm Warbler: was commonly seen...

After that I had to fine tune my visit to the US so that I catch the migration otherwise most of the warblers would be in South America and I will be running circles. Here is where the hard work let me down. As I studied the migration I realised that migrations starts end March and continues through May and June. I planned the trip for the entire month of April - starting from 2nd till 28th. Now - this time of the year it is the spring migration - meaning that the birds move up North from South America - so ideally I should have planned my trip starting from Texas and then to New York but I had to plan it, New York, first and then Texas next. I did not consider it too much of a problem as I had expected the migrating birds to reach there - by 12th April or so I was there.

Tennessee Warbler
Next, I eagerly waited for days to pass and the D-Day to come. A few weeks short of my visit I searched for the best warbler sites and came to a conclusion that 'Central Park' in New York is a big bird magnet. The birds that are tired and see nothing but bright lights of the city see the central park as an Oasis and dash for it, then they stay for some time - gathering the strength back, refuelling before moving on. Many stay there in the park itself or so I was told.
A male Yellow-rumped Warbler in Breeding Plumage

While searching for bird guides, I came across 'The Birdman of Central Park' - also fondly known as Birding Bob (his mail ID, a youtube video link and contact are at the end of the write-up). I contacted him and he gave me a schedule of the bird walks that were planned the following few days. I also tied up a private bird walk. Like I said earlier - the Luck part was the one I did not anticipate - when I last contacted him, I was on a plane to the US at a layover in Munich. His reply was prompt. The weather was anticipated to be rainy and his daily bird walks for 3rd and 4th  April was called off. Also, Central Park was at quite a distance from where I was staying so all in all I walked down to Highland Park on 3rd and Forest Park on 5th - and yes there was rain and the birding was kind of a washed off.
Kentucky Warbler

I did, however, manage to log my lone first warbler of the Trip - a Palm Warbler, a warbler that was sighted a number of times during my trip. The rain and the chilling cold did have a negative that I had not anticipated - there were no migrating birds and a million warblers that I had expected. My meeting with Birding Bob finally took place on 7th and though the day was wonderful - I logged 38 species - it is the warblers that were largely missing with only three of them showing. So I finished the first part of the trip to New York and New Jersey with only four warblers and only three of which I could photograph.

Northern Parula - sighted only two birds during the trip...

Same Northern Parula as above

Pine Warbler

Tennessee Warbler

Hooded Warbler

Northern Waterthrush

Female Prothonotary Warbler

Hooded Warbler

Northern Waterthrush

Female Prothonotary Warbler

Black and White Warbler

Same bird as above


Same Ovenbird as above

I landed in Houston where I had expected the migration to have been full swing by 13th Apr. I had tied up birding trips with Mr Bill, who does full-time birding tours. I had tied up with him for one half day tour and another full day tour. On both days we were to visit a place - the High Island - a place that I was told the migrating birds see as an island of hope and head towards after the arduous migration across the sea. We finished the day (18 April) as we visited the High Island on day one. I was disappointed as far as warblers were concerned. The count was just three warblers, Tennessee, Kentucky and Hooded Warblers. Though this did take my count to 6 warblers - but then it left a hole in my heart...

The second visit was the following Saturday, the 21st April. The day was not as bad as a cold front did help stop the migration and there was more activity - but my Warbler count today was 6 species Ovenbird, Northern Waterthrush, Black & White Warbler, Prothonotary Warbler, Tennessee Warbler and Hooded Warbler. That was in no way bad but that was way too low a count of my expectations. It is those times that I remembered the old saying - 'If wishes were horses... beggars would ride...' and I put a cap on my expectations and went home and slept. It rained cats and dogs that night and the fall happened - only I could not go out birding due to some previous appointments.

My cousin, in whose house I was staying in Houston were now convinced that I am an 'Unsusal Indian' who chases the wrong kind of birds. (I dread that had I visited them and chased the feathered variety of birds 25 years back - it would have been tough. Well now that I was a happily married 'Indian' of 25 years married life so I was not being hounded). Bill had dropped me home after a long birding day at almost midnight and next day I woke up late. As I opened my eyes my cousin and my wife were all over me - they were shouting excitedly - there is a bird on the porch. With my eyes barely open I grabbed the camera and rushed down - to find a bird huddled in the corner. My heart almost sank - my first thought was that yesterday's storm has injured this bird. I did take a picture and then tried to catch that bird so that I could administer first aid. Before I could approach it  - it shook its wings and flew off. I was so very happy - the bird was well and that is all that I had wanted. Now the moment I saw it I knew that it was a warbler - but which one? It took me a day of enquiring Mr Bill on the email and waiting for a reply - well it was the Worm-eating Warbler.
Worm-eating Warbler - I was so very happy when it hopped and flew away...

That took my score to the high of 13 warbler - my lucky number. I did two more days of birding with Mr Bill and travelled almost 250 miles the first day as I tried to hunt down some more warblers. Though we did sight warblers on those two days, they were the repeats of the previous days and the score remained 13 as I took the plane back to India. Oh! how I would love to be back to the USA someday to continue my count... I came for birding and in addition to birding took back some awesome memories and made some great friends. If they ever read my blog - I would love to thank Bob, Bill and Cindy for being patient and not blowing the top for every time I ran away chasing the bird leaving everyone back waiting for me.

Generally, I do not shy away from choosing a winner in a beauty contest as far as birds are concerned - but this time over the competition is just too tough even with less than expected participants. Palm Warbler, Tennessee Warbler and the Yellow-rumped Warbler gave good sightings. Northern Parula was beautiful and gave me a song to remember, Hooded and Kentucky Warblers were too beautiful not to get a prize. Ovenbird and Waterthrushes were beautiful in their own right and rarities. So here I am without a winner.

Contact details of Birding Bob (for birding in Central Park) and Mr Bill (for birding in Texas)given below. Both of them were great birders, good human beings and wonderful Bird guides.

Birding Bob - (all details and schedules are available on his website)
Contact 347-703-5554 (US number, use the country code)
email: (Mail him after establishing contact as the emails tend to be trashed if not from known ID)

Bill the birder - Bill Goloby, Director, Penfeathers Tours, LLC
Contact: 713-542-3473, 832-698-1175 (US number, use country code)

Saturday, 28 April 2018

Celebrating the Twelve hundredth bird of life list: Painted Bunting

Some milestones are special and there is no parallel one can draw. I hit the One-Thousandth bird in Europe (Italy) this year and the celebrations lasted a month. Now another milestone with logging the Twelve-hundredth bird - Oh! and what a bird...

Let me start from the beginning. I came to the US for birding primarily and bird I did. There were two places that I had intended to cover in a four-week stay - New York and the area around and Houston, Texas. One of the bird I marked up while I was studying the birds of US and making a list of 'wanna see' birds, was Painting Bunting. It is not a rare bird really - but just simply shy and hard to find. And here I am today I am pounding my keyboard to share the bird that I logged as my Twelve-hundredth bird in my life - the Painted Bunting. Painted Bunting is also sometimes called 'Nonpareil', meaning 'unrivalled' - a way to describe the unbelievable colours the male bird has.

These birds are shy, secretive and often difficult to observe though at times can be very approachable especially around the feeders.  It displays an interesting behaviour in which that the male migrates about a week earlier and establishes a small territory. They then advertise themselves - wooing the females to breed with them.

The bird has moved from Least Concern to Near Threatened due to habitat loss due to development, especially in the coastal swamp thickets and woodland edges in the east and the riparian habitats in migration and Southeastern United States and Mexico. This was a very popular cage bird and it is hard to wonder why - currently it is illegal to hold and capture this bird but it is speculated that the trapping still takes place in Central America. This bird is also protected under the US Migratory Bird Act.

I had seen the pictures so many times but to see it in person was an experience I will carry with me for a long time. I had requested services of a Bird guide whom I had come across and became good friends with, Mr Bill Goloby of Penfeathers Tours (contact details are given at the end of write-up). I was toiling hard as my list of birds seen during the trip of US was hovering at around 168, that was below the 174 I saw during the Ugandan bird trip and way below the 192 birds that I saw during the Australian birding. While I was struggling and penning down the birds, moving one bird a time to improve my American sightings, I saw my list and exclaimed to Mr Bill, I am with 1199 sightings worldwide and was about to hit the figure of 1200. He asked me - what do you desire the 1200th bird to be and without hesitation, I replied - Painted Bunting - a bird that I was on the lookout from the first day I came to Texas. We had just halted listening hard for warblers and were coming across them far and between. Seeing and hearing nothing we moved a bare 10 m when Mr Bill shouted - Painted bunting and a painted bunting flew from a fence nearby, I was excited no limits - and the bird went and sat on a tree at a distance. Mr bill replied - have patience - it should come back to the fence as it might have a rest nearby. A few minutes later the bird flew back and sat on the fence again. I was down on my knees moving a bare step a time towards the bird and clicking pictures. My legs ached as I was being too careful trying not to scare the bird off and moved a few inches a time. The bird seemed to be okay with it and after what seemed to be an eternity I got some shots that I am sharing here and I will treasure eternally.

This is the closest I could crawl to this bird... an effort worth it.
This remained the only bird (male) that I saw during the entire visit.

My first shot of the bird - cropped a lot and then sneeked ahead clicking a dozens of images every few inches.

This is a highly cropped shot - and the female that was sitting on the tree was so hard to focus and click that I concentrated on the male alone - an oversight I regret as I do not have any picture of the second bird.
I would be writing in detail my adventures of birdwatching in the US over next few weeks. Please keep a lookout for some of my experiences.

I birded in Texas with a fine gentleman and a bird guide whom I think of highly. His details are as below and he conducts regular tours in and around Houston and in neighbouring states.

Bill Goloby, Director
Penfeathers Tours, LLC
Mobile: +1 713-542-3473

Tuesday, 6 March 2018

War of the tiny...

I am from India - well that's a kind of obvious statement for a lot of us who know me. Anyway, the story goes like this. We have this small bird in India called Goldcrest and I have missed seeing it so many times. It is present all along the Himalayas and fairly common. But it is tiny, tiny as in tiny really - at just 9 cm, a bare cm larger than the smallest bird of India. To appreciate the beauty you have to be close, really close. The bird is a small plump bird with greenish appearance, a plain face and two wing bars like so many warblers. Its scientific name is Regulus regulus

First sighting of the Goldcrest on a chilly and foggy morning in Vergiate, Italy

Well, inspite of everyone going for a visit to the Himalayas sighted it here and there and I was the one still struggling. The reason perhaps was that the bird was easily mistaken for some unidentified warbler if not seen well enough/or photographed and identified. So, all in all, India - never gave this opportunity of a sighting. I was in Italy for some time and went out for birding with this bird on a very high priority list. There I met Mr Luca Giussani, who readily became my mentor and bird guide. I was staying in Vergiate, some 50 odd km North of Milan. He assured me that this is one bird that is almost a confirmed sighting and I started to wait and dreaming of sighting this bird. 

One fine day - it was the day we decided to hunt our Goldcrest and that morning - unfortunately was Chilly like hell with temperatures dipping -3* C. And as if that was not enough the daybreak was foggy with a visibility of a few yards. The start was not as great as I was hoping for and I was busy keeping my hands warm enough to change the dials and click pictures on my half-frozen camera. Just to get the feel of a picture - I took my camera to my eye and my breath froze on the viewfinder screen - it took me a few minutes to wipe away the fog. All this was immaterial as there was no sound, no movement of any birds as we walked scanning the bushes in front. The crunching frost beneath my feet was making sounds as if I was moving on dry leaves. I was too busy with this when Luca froze. He whispered - 'I can hear it'. One of the problems with getting old with each passing year is that the high-frequency sounds are more difficult to pick up and this bird was perhaps a female - chatting in the higher frequency band.

But now after trying to listen out what he was referring too - my senses were all at heightened reception and there, there was a small flicker in the pine trees ahead. The pine tree is the favourite haunt of these birds and soon enough we were sighting two birds, a pair moving around. The birds, like most small birds, were restless and though I could peer through the binoculars and get some good sightings the fog, thick bush of the tree and a hidden sun made it impossible to get a worthwhile shot of the birds. The bird too was wet, due to hopping around in the frosty leaves. I tried clicking pictures but soon gave up and put my binoculars to my eyes to pear at the beauties. That the birds were beautiful needed no convincing and we decided to move back thanking for such beauties to have shown themselves on such a boring day.

Just as we turned back, Luca again stopped to whisper - Firecrest !! That bird, though not found in India, would be a beautiful addition to my lifer list and I was once again peering hard in the direction he pointed. This time I too heard the birds. It was just a moment before the birds popped up in from of us. If I was 'awed' by the Goldcrest then I was stumped by the beauty of the birds of the size somewhat same as that of the Goldcrest. The firecrest too was a pain to appreciate as the birds were hopping around in the bush chasing each other in what seemed like a mating ritual. That was confirmed by Luca who pointed out the crest of the bird that was raised from an otherwise flushed position on the head - a thin line of bright orange. Presenting here TWO OF THE MOST BEAUTIFUL birds that  I encountered in Italy. 

Goldcrest on the frosty Pine tree
Yeah - I am a little bit wet too - the Goldcrest.
The appearance of the Firecrest - notice the broad crest on top - this is normally flushed and a single line when not too excited like in the next picture.
Firecrest in a little better light...

Yeah! the raised crest is that looks like oozing fire is the excited Firecrest - Ummm the female is around somewhere...

Ah here enters the female on the lower left side of the frame...

Had I had more time I would have spent staring these beauties... but alas... had to move on...
The was of the tiny beauty was won finally by the Firecrest ;-)

Friday, 22 December 2017

Eurasian Wryneck - differently packaged woodpecker...

When you look at this bird you will be surprised when someone points out - well it's a woodpecker. Afterall when you see a bird of a family you have a picture in mind that says - here - that bird is a wagtail, that one is a crow - within that, you then shortlist that bird - it is a house crow or a Yellow Wagtail etc.

When I first saw it a few years back and I was told that it is a woodpecker with my fellow birder - my eyebrow raised and touched the already receding hairline... Okay, I might have gone too far with the description - I did not have that receding hairline till past year or so. Coming back to the bird - the Eurasian Wryneck. This woodpecker (take my word that it is a woodpecker till you read through) breeds in Temperate regions of Europe and Asia and then migrate to Africa, Iran and Subcontinent of Asia in winters. It is this time of the year that I start looking out for this bird. Well ever since I first saw it - I have been hunting it to get a good shot. It is said that a bird decides when you will get a good sighting of the bird and not your hunting and chasing it down. I have always got shots of this bird - that is every winter for past five years or so - but never the shot that I would have really really wanted so badly. A few days back that opportunity struck and I was ready.

The bird came, flew and settled in front of me - It was peering curiously at my camera...
A few moments of me remaining there without moving and it settled down for basking in the winter sun.

As I decided to move - the bird too moved a few feet with me - still giving the amazing view. Look at the feet - woodpecker like - second and third toes in front and first and fourth backwards...
The birds are about16-17 cm that translates to 6.5 inches or so. The bills are shorter and dragger like than average woodpeckers and that is one of the reason that they do not look like one at the first glance. The second reason is that they lack the stiff feathers of the woodpeckers so they prefer - not to hang on a tree trunk - more often perching like any other bird. That is the second reason that one can ordinarily not relate them to woodpeckers.
Distribution of Eurasian Wryneck. Yellow-summer, green-resident and blue-winters

However, like true woodpeckers, they have large heads, long tounges that they use to extract prey from insects from decaying wood or ground. They also have zygodactyl feet, with two toes pointing forward and two rearwards. They re-use the other woodpecker holes for nesting rather than making own holes.

One interesting point as to how these birds get their English name is their ability to turn their heads through almost 180 degrees. When disturbed in their nests, they use this snake-like head twisting and hissing as a threat display. This behaviour also led to use these birds in witchcraft for put a 'Jinx' on someone.

The sound of this bird is a must hear for someone not heard this bird before. Please find this embedded below. 

Thursday, 14 December 2017

Honey I full framed my birds...

Oh! I have been crying like a baby about how difficult it is to get pictures of birds in the tropical areas of East India. Well, it is truth and nothing but the truth. All this while I was looking at the stunning images by one birder, Malcolm Peake - who is the Administrator of Worldwide Birders on Facebook and pulls out one photograph after another - stunning, to say the least - that keeps me drooling over his pictures.

Past few months have not been too good for birding in any case - a few walks on a Sunday or a holiday - but then what did it matter - I was in the birding heaven of India - Arunachal Pradesh, where in-spite of hunting and all the associated pressures the birds were just a bush away. Well here was the problem, I was seeing good and great birds but they were just not posing for me. I have to admit, though I love birding, I am also a Bird Trophy hunter who keeps scores of the pictures of the birds I see and even a single good picture makes my day.

So little birding, with no good pictures, was not helping me at all. So much so that I am fairly irregular with the blog, and morale was taking the hit. Today - a normal day with the sun rising in the East like it does every day - turned out to be a little different. I had reached my expected birding spot dot before the sunrise and was waiting patiently for the sun to light up so that I could start peering into the bushes around. The birds were already making sounds but impossible to spot.another fifteen minutes the light was good and a billion sounds played out like a perfect orchestra - but still no sightings. I started walking down the road. It was another half an hour before the first sightings started here and there - but nothing to talk about. My average walks last anything from 5 to 8 hours so I had the day in front of me. The best thing to happen to any birder in East India or any tropical forest, I suppose is that you come across a good mixed hunting group.

Little did I know that my prayer was to be answered 'in a Jiffy'. I would have barely covered a km the next hour, peering hard in the bush to get some good bird lurking around. I heard some sound from my left that felt like a parrotbill splitting the tender shoots of bamboo - and I stopped, Parrotbill is a social bird and are in a flock with a lot of other birds. I saw the bush swaying but still no birds.

Well with nothing better - I tried to predict the movement of the birds and walked around 15 - 20 meters where I thought that I would get the best sightings and the wait for the perfect ambush started. The flocks are like the starling murmuration - well not really but the hunting flock is a flock with a mind of its own - the birds move dictated by one bird taking initiative and all birds suddenly would change the course midway, so though one can try to predict the direction of movement of the birds and try to position in their path - but there is no grantee of success. It was only a couple of minutes when sounds got closer and the birds seemed to be moving along the predicted path. Suddenly I was surprised with a parrotbill popping up just a yard from me. The bird was as surprised as I was but perhaps seeing me as no threat, continued munching the tender bamboo shoots. The bloody bird was too close to focus on my 200-500mm lens, so I lowered the camera and stared at the beauty of the bird at such close quarters. With the bird and the perch so close, I backed up a couple of steps till I could focus on the twig where the bird had popped up and waited. I did not have to wait before the main body of the flock started flooding me with great observations. I was child gone crazy with so many candies to choose from, I had parrotbills, Babblers, Yuhinas, Scimitar Babblers, drongos in this one flock. I shot crazily for the next few minutes - Oh it was heavenly! Finally, the birds moved on, but not before making my day. Presenting here some pictures that I got that day - both full frame and others for all to enjoy.

Pale-billed Parrotbill (Lesser Rufous-headed Parrotbill)

Pale-billed Parrotbill (Lesser Rufous-headed Parrotbill)

White-hooded Babbler

Saturday, 21 October 2017

Birding in Arunachal Pradesh...

To say that Arunachal Pradesh is a birding heaven is not telling any lies. Like the entire North-East India - it is a place to be if you want to bird. But like all true stories - birding heaven it is, but the birds are not easy to see and there are other problems also. Hunting is an area of concern and inspite of efforts of many - it goes on unabated. The need of the times is mass education, followed by very strict implementation of laws that already exist.
Common Green Magpie

Okay, I will get to the details of birding. Well - I am now stationed in Itanagar, Capital of Arunachal Pradesh. It was the greater part of the month that I am here and there are no birds around the place we have been staying. Uh - if you count 10 Eurasian tree sparrows, 2 white wagtails, one long-tailed Shrike and one Blue Rock-thrush as the place chirping with birds then you are mistaken. The only solution was to be outside in the forests and start searching. Forests of Arunachal are not what one would think - they are forests in the real sense - thick enough that no man walks through them till you slash your way through the underground. But even before that, I was to decide where I should start with. Well, eBird is my holy grail that I look up too to find my spots. Unfortunately, Arunachal as a birding destination has two valleys covered leaving a data deficit centre.

This is what I mean by data deficit, the east part of Arunachal is Mishmi hill where data is available. The Western region is the valley leading to Tawang. There are virtually no records of birds and birding in the centre.

Same data in a closeup of the state.
That being so - I decided that I will just take a vehicle and go on a road to Ziro. That I felt would give me a good starting point. And also lift my spirits a bit that was not so high learning of hunting in the state. So I planned the trip as shown on the map below, a total of 105 km that takes about 4 hours or so to cover due to the condition of the roads - I was told.

Planned birding route - roadside birding...
Well as the things happened - I explained my driver as to my intention to photograph bird and he declared that he used to hunt in the past and suggested that instead of taking the road to Ziro - we take an offshoot to a place called Sagalee. Having no better suggestion for him I said okay.

The birding trek...
I had just started walking from a place that I thought should be a good beginning, unfortunately, I had barely walked a few hundred yards when a group of hunters stopped and asked me what I was doing. A man like myself would and could have gone into depression straight away - I told them that I was with wildlife department and was photographing birds. The boy sitting on the rear of the bike had a No 2 airgun with five pellets in his hand. In all, I saw them going up and down three times - and could not gauge what they had bagged as there was a bag that I could not look into - but surely they were not on a birding trip at all especially with the pellets in his hand...

If anyone was to sweep this road of birds three times a day - I can only imagine the damage being done to the fauna...
My hopes were dashed to the ground seeing such a sight and total disregard to ban on hunting that is supposed to be there in the country. So as you can imagine the trip did not start on a good note. The density of bird that one would expect in such lush green forests was missing but birds were there. What saddened me was that there were no calls of hill partridge, and perhaps any birds more than a few grams - if one was to consider it that way. 

The first few birds that I saw make me forget this and I got onto the task at hand. My methodology was as expected of birding in the tropical forests - stick to the road. I told my driver to drive up by 2 odd km and wait. I walked the distance stopping enroute where-ever and whenever I heard or saw a movement. I birded a total distance of 8 odd km in 5 hours and 15 minutes and climbed from 860 feet to maximum of 1670 feet.

My first sightings were of Long-tailed Broadbill, unfortunately, the pictures were just recorded shots due to wrong settings on my camera that I had recently used for star trails. It was bad enough for me to drop the camera and enjoy the birds through a pair of binoculars. Inspite of a low density of birds - all those that presented themselves were stunners. However like I said earlier - take this with a pinch of salt - the birds are not easy to spot/and once spotted it takes a lot of patience and even then many a time it does not present itself.

A flock of Chestnut-headed Bee-eaters flew from the road side - the birds were wrapped in prime breeding plumage - but only one sat long enough for me to photograph.

I could not Id these birds in the field as they were in a flock and sitting high in trees against sun. Only after I had shot off enough pictures and saw them on the computer the birds were recognisable. Straited Yuhina.

Came across two flocks with around 20 birds each.

A bird that is named a Common Green Magpie - but has nothing common about it. 

There was only one warbler that I came across during this session - the Yellow-bellied Warbler.

Again a bird that I could not identify in the field because the beak was not 'Fulvetta like' - Nepal Fulvetta

Same bird as above

Came across a lot of Streaked Spiderhunters. No worthwhile photo oppoertunity but great sightings neverthless.

Surprisingly a lone female Grey Bushchat.

Scimitar babblers were along with the mixed flocks of Laughingthrushes, White-browed Scimitar Babbler.

The best shot I could get of this skulking bird...

One of the beautiful birds of the trip - the Lesser Rufous Parrotbill.

The pictures are from a little distance and are fairly heavily cropped

I saw movement in the corner of my eye and I saw this bird - almost rejected as a Lesser Rufous Parrotbill. When finally I identified it and read the description in Book - it was exactly the words stolen from my mouth - one can mistake it as Lesser Rufous Parrotbill... Well - this is Juv White-hooded Babbler

Back to Parrobills...

Scarlet Minivet - another bird that took time to ID

Same bird as above

Male White-hooded Babbler

Laughingthrushes are a pain and this photograph justifies what I say - they will remain covered in thickest of the bush hopping on some plant only for a second or climbing up a tree to hop across an obstruction like a road.

Streaked Spiderhunter

Female Scarlet Minivet

For those interested in reading the entire list of birds spotted during the trip please go through my eBird log