Indian Cormorant

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The location of the sighting and photographs is Munzala Dam Spillway and Reservoir, District: Yavatmal.

I have extended the definition of neighborhood to include any place I visit as Earth is my home. Earlier, up to bird 47, all the clicks were taken around 100 feet from my home in Warora (Dist: Chandrapur).

This medium-sized bronze brown cormorant is scalloped in black on the upper plumage, lacks a crest and has a small and slightly peaked head with a long narrow bill that ends in a hooked tip. The eye is blue and bare yellow facial skin during the non-breeding season. Breeding birds have a short white ear tuft. In some plumages it has a white throat but the white is restricted below the gape unlike in the much larger great cormorant. Sexes are similar, but non-breeding adults and juveniles are browner. (Paragraph taken from Wikipedia)

At first, I mistook this bird for Little Cormorant. But the hooked tip of the beak helped realize that its Indian Cormorant. The color of eyes is not properly visible owing to distance and lighting conditions. (The doubt still persists.)

Indian Cormorant

Ruddy Shelduck AKA Brahminy Duck

Post is part of the project- Birds in the neighborhood. | Bird 52

The location of the sighting and photographs is Munzala Dam Spillway and Reservoir, District: Yavatmal.

I have extended the definition of neighborhood to include any place I visit as Earth is my home. Earlier, up to bird 47, all the clicks were taken around 100 feet from my home in Warora (Dist: Chandrapur).

The ruddy shelduck grows to a length of 58 to 70 cm (23 to 28 in) and has a 110–135 cm (43–53 in) wingspan. The male has orange-brown body plumage and a paler, orange-brown head and neck, separated from the body by a narrow black collar. The rump, flight feathers, tail-coverts and tail feathers are black and there are iridescent green speculum feathers on the inner surfaces of the wings. Both upper and lower wing-coverts are white, this feature being particularly noticeable in flight but hardly visible when the bird is at rest. The bill is black and the legs are dark grey. The female is similar but has a rather pale, whitish head and neck and lacks the black collar, and in both sexes, the colouring is variable and fades as the feathers age. The birds moult at the end of the breeding season and the male loses the black collar, but a further partial moult between December and April restores it. Juveniles are similar to the female but are a darker shade of brown.

The call is a series of loud, nasal honking notes, it being possible to discern the difference between those produced by the male and the female. The calls are made both on the ground and in the air, and the sounds are variable according to the circumstances in which they are uttered.(The above two paragraphs were taken form Wikipedia)

Ruddy Shelduck (Pair) – Ignore the Yellow-Wattled Lapwings in frame
(Probably Female) Ruddy Shelduck
(Probably Male) Ruddy Shelduck
In Flight…

Common Kingfisher

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It is also known as the Eurasian kingfisher and river kingfisher

The location of the sighting and photographs is Munzala Dam Spillway and Reservoir, District: Yavatmal.

I have extended the definition of neighborhood to include any place I visit as Earth is my home. Earlier, up to bird 47, all the clicks were taken around 100 feet from my home in Warora (Dist: Chandrapur).

Common Kingfisher is a small kingfisher with seven subspecies recognized within its wide distribution across Eurasia and North Africa. This species has the typical short-tailed, dumpy-bodied, large-headed, and long-billed kingfisher shape. The adult male of the western European subspecies, A. a. ispida has green-blue upperparts with pale azure-blue back and rump, a rufous patch by the bill base, and a rufous ear-patch. It has a green-blue neck stripe, white neck blaze and throat, rufous underparts, and a black bill with some red at the base. The legs and feet are bright red. It is about 16 cm long with a wingspan of 25 cm , and weighs 34–46 g. The female is identical in appearance to the male except that her lower mandible is orange-red with a black tip. The juvenile is similar to the adult, but with duller and greener upperparts and paler underparts. Its bill is black, and the legs are also initially black. Feathers are moulted gradually between July and November with the main flight feathers taking 90–100 days to moult and regrow. Some that moult late may suspend their moult during cold winter weather.

The flight of the kingfisher is fast, direct and usually low over water. The short, rounded wings whirr rapidly, and a bird flying away shows an electric-blue “flash” down its back.

(The paragraph taken form Wikipedia)

Common Kingfisher
Common Kingfisher

Yellow-Wattled Lapwing

Post is part of the project- Birds in the neighborhood. | Bird 50

The location of the sighting and photographs is Munzala Dam Spillway and Reservoir, District: Yavatmal.

I have extended the definition of neighborhood to include any place I visit as Earth is my home. Earlier, up to bird 47, all the clicks were taken around 100 feet from my home in Warora (Dist: Chandrapur).

These are conspicuous and unmistakable birds found in dry stony and open grassland or scrub habitats. They are medium-sized pale brown waders with a black crown which is separated from the brown on the neck by a narrow white band and large yellow facial wattles. The chin and throat are black and the brown neck and upper breast is separated from the white belly by a narrow blackish line. The tail has a subterminal black band which does not extend into the outer tail-feathers. There is a white wingbar on the inner half of the wing. The bill is yellow at the base. They have tiny yellow carpal spurs. The crown feathers can be raised slightly in displays. They are mostly sedentary but populations make long distance movements in response to the monsoons. They are occasional visitors to the Kathmandu valley in Nepal and a vagrant was seen in Malaysia. (The paragraph taken form Wikipedia)

Yellow-Wattled Lapwing
Yellow-Wattled Lapwing

Black-headed ibis

Post is part of the project- Birds in the neighborhood. | Bird 49

I am extending the definition of neighborhood to include any place I visit as Earth is my home. Earlier, up to bird 47, all the clicks were taken around 100 feet from my home in Warora (Dist: Chandrapur). The following shots were taken at a Pond (Mama Talav) near Bhatala in Warora Tahsil of Chandrapur District (Maharashtra, India). The place is between three villages Bhatala, Kotbala and Khemjai and easy to identify.

The black-headed ibis is one of several large waterbird species in south and south-east Asia, with adults measuring 65–76 cm in length. The white plumage is starkly contrasted against a conspicuous naked black neck and head, and black down-curved beak. Tails of adults bear light grey ornamental feathers that turn jet black during the breeding season. During the breeding season, bare patches under the wing turn blood-red. The head of some breeding adults gain a blueish tinge, or very rarely have a pink or bright red patch behind the neck. Some breeding adults also develop tufts of white feathers behind the neck, and rarely also get a yellowish coloration on the breast and back. Sexes are identical but juveniles are identifiable from adults in having greyish feathering on the neck and speckled brown-grey feathering on the wings and back. Like storks and spoonbills, it lacks a true voice-producing mechanism and is silent except for ventriloquistic grunts uttered by pairs at the nest. (The paragraph taken form Wikipedia)

Black-headed Ibis
Black-headed Ibis

Black-Winged Stilt

Post is part of the project- Birds in the neighborhood. | Bird 48

I am extending the definition of neighborhood to include any place I visit as Earth is my home. Earlier, up to bird 47, all the clicks were taken around 100 feet from my home in Warora (Dist: Chandrapur). The following shots were taken at a Pond (Mama Talav) near Bhatala in Warora Tahsil of Chandrapur District (Maharashtra, India). The place is between three villages Bhatala, Kotbala and Khemjai and easy to identify.

The adult Black-winged Stilts are 33–36 cm (13–14 in) long. They have long pink legs, a long thin black bill and are blackish above and white below, with a white head and neck with a varying amount of black. Males have a black back, often with greenish gloss. Females’ backs have a brown hue, contrasting with the black remiges. In the populations that have the top of the head normally white at least in winter, females tend to have less black on head and neck all year round, while males often have much black, particularly in summer. This difference is not clear-cut, however, and males usually get all-white heads in winter. (The paragraph taken form Wikipedia)

Black-Winged Stilt (Probably Male. All black wings, not the brown shade)
Black-Winged Stilt (Probably Female)

Some more clicks.

5 LIFE LESSONS FROM MY SHORT STINT OF BIRDWATCHING

Birdwatching, a key highlight of 2021 for me. Learning and experience of it went on to help me personally as well as professionally.

By casual observation, I used to feel that there are some 15-20 bird species observable around my house (100-200 meters radius). I didn’t know names of those species or their characteristics. At the start of 2021, equipped with Canon EOS 1500D mounted with 55-200m lense and the Merlin App/Google Lense App and leveraging work from home, I started my Birding/Birdwatching journey.

This is what I observed and what I learned from it:

(1) Observation: Though being very casual, I captured (in camera) 47 species of birds by July 2021. I observed but could not capture Indian Paradise Flycatcher, Common Crow and couple more whose names are unknown to me.

Learning: Gut feel do not give you actual picture. In business and othe critical scenarios, we should not conclude based on gut feel but should analyse based on data.

(2) Observation: I used to capture photo, then use AI in above mentioned app to approximate species and identify by comparing features from trusted resources. Still, for some of the species I took a week for confirmation.

Learning: Technology have come a long way. We need to appreciate the super-capabilities we have today. I tried to imagine a time where Ornithologists had to rely on very big hard bound encyclopaedia and telescope only. (I can’t express the profoundnesses in words. Hope you will imagine and understand.)

(3) Observation: With time, I wanted to get better in names of the species, their characteristics, what are different features of bird called etc. Vocabulary (a bit of it) of the domain helped me interact with content and experts in systematic way. This helped me with the next bird I observed.

Learning: Every domain have its own vocabulary, rules and structure. Getting familiar with it helps us learn better and faster. Otherwise context and coordination takes more time of consumption of content than actually understanding it.(even in meetings 🙂 )

(4) Observation: As I started and continued Birdwatching, slowly my family members too started taking interest. They would ask me to to share my learnings. They would spot birds for me and bring to my attention. Even my 2 year old would spot birds while playing outside or while watching outside window and call me to click photos.

Learning: Our enthusiasm positively affects people around us and they try to participate. When peers actively participate, imparting learnings to each other becomes easy. Learning together is more effective than teaching and our unpretentious demeanour with inquisitive mind can help form community at work.

(5) Observation: Birdwatching became hobby and I started to take out some time for it deliberately. Even when there was a stressful phase and some lingering problems, I could find some time for birdwatching. I would forget the problem for some time and it had rejuvenating effect. That helped me to understand actual priority of problem by having high level view and solve problems efficiently with fresh creative thinking.

Learning: We get fixated on challenges and problems. But defocus and distraction are important to be able to focus with fresh perspective and tackle the problem from new angle. Problems (and even solutions) are a very very small part of our life. Life is beautiful and being aware of it makes us be good and do better at work too.

Many of the very difficult problems have simple solutions and they exist right under our nose. Defocusing the mind once in a while and giving time to ‘unimportant’ things helps.

(You can see all the birds I could capture at https://rupeshghagi.in/category/birds-in-the-neighborhood/)

Scaly-Breasted Munia

Post is part of the project- Birds in the neighborhood. | Bird 47

These clicks are taken from various locations from 10 feet to 100 feet from my home in Warora (Dist: Chandrapur). The following shots were taken from front balcony of my home.

The adult has a stubby dark bill typical of grain eating birds, brown upperparts and a dark brown head. The underparts are white with dark scale markings. The sexes are similar, although males have darker markings on the underside and a darker throat than females. (Wikipedia)

Scaly-Breasted Munia

More birds to follow.

Rose-Ringed Parakeet

Post is part of the project- Birds in the neighborhood. | Bird 46

These clicks are taken from various locations from 10 feet to 100 feet from my home in Warora (Dist: Chandrapur).

They are also called ring-necked parakeet. This bird is sexually dimorphic. Male have a red-black ring around the neck while female and young ones of both sexes miss that ring ( or have grey colored ring). Both have distinctive green color in wild. (Other colors in captured breeds possible.)

Rose-Ringed Parakeet (Male)

Rose-Ringed Parakeet (Female)

Some more pictures:

More birds to follow.

It was Coucal, not Goshawk, who killed nestlings of Spotted Dove.

There is a nest on tree visible from our rear balcony(we live on first floor). We (my family) are observing it for over a month now. Around second week of March 2021, spotted dove laid two eggs in this nest and was sitting their through day and night, through hot sunny afternoons and occasional untimely rain that occurred. It would just go away for few minutes couple of times a day. When she laid eggs, some of the leaves of the tree were still intact.

Spotted dove sitting on eggs to them warm

Sometime around end of March, I observed Banded Goshawk(Shikra) with its kill, on adjacent tree. It was mostly a lizard (I am not sure). But I had read about Shikra being a bird of prey and also feeds on cheeks of many birds. This is where I felt a little worry for the little ones of dove who were about to arrive.

Shikra with its kill

And one fine day, the eggs hatched and I could observe two chicks. Mother going away from nest for some time was still happening. Also, I would observe Shikra around. So I started to think a lot. Is there any way to keep these two nestlings safe, at least till they learn to fly?

I even thought who am I to interfere with nature? So, if Shikra attacks the chicks, should I intervene to save them or should I just be observer and let nature be in charge? Hypocritical ethical dilemma. I decided to not think much and follow my instincts whenever situation occurs.

Spotted Dove and its chick

Around 8-9th of April, I observed Greater Coucal on another nearby tree. I have observed Coucal foraging on ground and eating food leftover too. I had skipped many lines while reading about this bird on Wikipedia. So I was under the impression that the only threats to little nestlings are shikra and gravity.

Greater Coucal

Finally, on 16th April, my wife called me to tell that some bird is killing the chicks. I rushed to rear balcony. I could just observe Coucal lifting the nestlings with its beak and flying away. As wifey had observed the event a bit longer, she said, it killed the nestlings in the nest itself by poking with beak again and again. Greater Coucal feeds on nestlings of other birds. I read it from various sources, having already witnessed it.

Empty nest after nestlings were killed and taken away

Not being the expert of bird behavior or emotions if any, I am not sure how exactly it impacts. But I have observed the spotted dove visiting the nest multiple times and flying away, as if she is visiting to check.