Sunday, January 15, 2017

Uran January 2017

Since Uran was declared for development under SEZ act in 2002, (actual destruction stated in 2004) till date many of us have witnessed  rapid loss of natural habitat of uniquely branded species known as waders. Vast expanse of natural shallow wetlands were being maintained by its specific geographical features such as vicinity to sea, natural pathways of tides to come in and recede. Human intervention has now broken these all interdependent fragile Eco-system elements to an unbelievable extent. Many questions plunder the soul regarding the survival chances of these migratory species and ours to see them flourishing in upcoming days.  

Whatever has remained as a safe sanctuary for birds consists of few/(two ?) water bodies near Panje village. One has to drive roads now being dotted by container yards.  Roads are being widened and as they are eating out the water bodies...its a painful scene. 

The last standing water bodies near Panje have thrown surprises to birding community as sightings of Indian skimmer (seen during winters only), common shelduck (Vagrant / setting new trend ? ), Caspain Plover (Vagrant (?)) are reported. Birders are still visiting this place and few locals have now come forward to keep watch on area and protect the habitat.

On 8th january, a week after MBC bird walk and sighting of common shelduck and Indian skimmers, I decided to try out once again if there is possibility to sight them again. 

Upon reaching Panje early morning the first one to catch attention was a Juvenile Shikra with morning cath of a frog from bushes. (see below)

Shikra with frog kill

Sun was rising energizing the chilling atmosphere, starlings and mynas were now leaving their roosting places.

A flock of terns and waders was spotted sitting on a small island formed in the water body left to the road from Panje village. I could find a nice spot to sit quietly near the edges of water body and observe the skimmer and group. (see below)

Indian skimmer among the group of terns and waders

I preferred to sit and keep watching the birds around. As it was early, very few birds were seen being active. As the son traversed upwards, and golden sun rays lit the scene, birds started moving and crossing from one place to other. I could grab few flight shots (see blow)

Caspian tern

Black winged stilt

Black winged stilt - as it flew very close to quiescent waters, it gave a beautiful reflection.

I waited for terns and skimmers to move and if possible get flight photographs. Last year there were three skimmers and I could get them nice photographs in flight.

Suddenly there were two booted eagles trying to hunt on waders. Big flock of gulls sitting at the back of scene started to fly frenziedly. Skimmer and terns also took off. 


Indian skimmer and terns taking off

A common greenshank landed very close to me and I lost track of skimmer.

Common Greenshank

Noerthern shoveler and few other waders now started to come closer. 

Northern Shoveler (male)
Northern Shoveler (Eclipse male)

Marsh sandpiper

Black tailed godwit

Little cormorant 

Indian cormorant in flight

After spending two hours at place decided to try out photographing birds closer to road. A white breasted kingfisher was sitting on wires. 

White breasted kingfisher

Caspian tern 

Terns and gulls were flying over the waters and trying to hunt fishes. A Brahmani kite flew overhead, also there were two booted eagles soaring high up as temperature started rising. It was getting hotter and decided to leave.

Brahmini Kite

Whiskered tern fishing

Whiskered tern was captured fishing, the fish it got was little bigger to handle. As soon as other terns and gulls saw this, it was mobbed. The tern couldnt handle it and dropped the fish.

Whiskered tern got the hold of fish once again, but within few seconds brown headed gull snatched it.

While leaving saw the shikra once again sitting on wall.

Equipments used: Nikon D750 DSLR, NIkon 300 f2.8 VR-II lens + 1.7 x TC, Iphone 6s
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