Bird News from Subhojit Chakladar
A quick weekend trip (more of a dash rather!) to Gageo on the weekend under cloudless blue skies. The long ferry ride yielded 1 Swinhoe’s Storm Petrel and a handful of Streaked Shearwater. Right outside the pension, 1 Richard’s Pipit and 1 Blue Rock Thrush. Right behind the village church in an unattended garden, 1 Black-browed Reed Warbler, 8 Little Buntings and a probable Pallas’s Grasshopper Warbler (based on partial views and prolonged wait in an attempt to get a photo). The garbage dump had about 3 dozen White Wagtails, 2 Grey Wagtails and 7 Light-vented Bulbuls. Walking towards the quarry, a female Amur Falcon in the sky (1 of the 3 encountered during the stay). Walking up the quarry, persistent call (and eventually views) of a Bull-headed Shrike under a blazing sun. Hiking up the quarry, 2 squabbling Hobbies and a few Barn Swallows. At around 3pm, Grey-faced and Oriental Honey Buzzards formed a rising kettle (consisting of about 400~500 birds) and peeled off from the top slowly gliding westwards. About half and hour later, the sky was filled with Red-rumped Swallows (a conservative estimate of about 1600~2000 birds … their movement making it difficult to count). Hiking up the hill on the road to 2-gu, a couple of Common Kestrels and a new influx of (mostly) Grey-faced Buzzards drifting in from the north coming down to roost. A rough estimate would put it to about 700 birds. A single Common Magpie spotted in the village on an electric pole.
Starting early at dawn in an attempt to get a photograph of the presumed Pallas’s Grasshopper Warbler. A 40 min wait near the bushwhere it was last spotted and trying some sound playback yielded a few millisecond view as it darted across a small opening in between 2 bushes. The wait also yielded 2 Chestnut Buntings, 2 Long-tailed Shrikes and a few Olive-backed Pipits. A brisk hike towards 2-gu yielded some new (and nice) birds. First was a juvenile White-breasted Waterhen quickly followed by a party of Varied Tits. There were also a few Brown Shrikes in the area. A juvenile Greater Spotted Eagle was hunting for breakfast. There were a few Stejneger’s Stonechats, Yellow-browed Warblers and a single Grey-streaked Flycatcher. Walking back towards the main village, a Lanceolated Warbler.