Finally after a span of 10 months we went to Mayureshwar Wildlife Sanctuary and were pleasantly surprised as we sighted over 45 species of birds. Some of the highlights included Chestnut-bellied Sandgrouse, Sykes’s Lark, Montagu’s Harrier & Bonelli’s Eagle.
Location: Mayureshwar Wildlife Sanctuary, Pune
Date: 17 March 2018
Time: 0730 hrs to 1100 hrs
eBird checklist: https://ebird.org/view/checklist/S43711335
Joined by couple of friends, we arrived at Mayureshwar Wildlife Sanctuary by 0730 hrs. As we were completing the formalities at the forest office, we were greeted by Brahminy Starlings, Indian Silverbills, couple of Lesser Whitethroats and Purple Sunbirds. Soon we were off on our trail and came across a huge flock of Grey-necked Buntings… more than 15 individuals, all busy foraging on the ground next to the trail.
We drove all the way upto the last watch tower along the trail and had usual sightings – Bay-backed, Southern Grey & Long-tailed Shrikes, Black Drongo, Chestnut-bellied Sandgrouse, more Grey-necked Buntings, Eurasian Collared & Red Collared Doves, a lone Sykes’s Lark (Tawny Lark) and loads of Yellow-wattled Lapwings.
It was around 0930 hours by now and we returned back on the same trail. As we neared a water body which was almost dried up, we saw an immature Bonelli’s Eagle. We also saw couple of Lesser Whitethroats, Red-wattled Lapwing and probably a Sykes’s Warbler near the water body.
We also saw couple of Montagu’s Harriers flying low as usual, scanning the grasslands. They seemed to be in the area near the main trail as we decided to check again and soon were greeted by a Montagu’s Harrier perched on a tree in its shade. It seemed to be very relaxed as we made numerous images.
Scanning a little ahead and we saw two more Montagu’s Harriers, perched next to eachother. It was a treat to watch these guys as we observed them for a good 10-15 minutes.
Most of the images here were clicked from car (birds tend to be less wary if you are in car than on foot, however try to stick to the trail as much as possible). A bean bag does help a lot in such cases, especially when you are clicking from car or lying on ground and the subject is steady. We used this one for making some of the images – RESA Camera Bean Bag by RESA OUTDOORS.
What we have observed is that these harriers seem to perch after 10-1030 hours. They tend to be pretty active and busy looking for food, flying in their typical low flight during early hours. Other times we have seen them perched is in late evening, when they land to roost. Note that this is solely our observation from our trips when we have seen them. Do share your observations / times when you have seen them perched in comments.
Another observation during this trip was the Chestnut-bellied Sandgrouse. With the breeding season starting, they seem to have paired up, as generally we get to see them in flocks of over 10 individuals.
We finally called it a day by 1100 hrs as it was becoming quite hot. Thanks for reading & hope you enjoyed the blog, do share recommendations if any in comments. For more information on Mayureshwar Wildlife Sanctuary, visit the link below:
Signing off until next time, ciao 🙂
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– Rudraksha & Shraddha