Join us on Wild West – Bird photography tour of Kutch from February 05 to 13, 2011. More details here.
One of the most common genus of birds that we encountered were harriers. They were all over the place, from farms to lakes to grasslands to the open Rann.
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Younus (a driver at Desert Coursers, also fantastic with locations) kept mentioning a place where harriers come to roost at sunset. It was only on the last evening of my trip that I could make it to this place. We first drove up to the creek (between Patadi and Bajana). Along with Greater Flamingos and a lot of ducks, there were many harriers flying about getting their dinner. A Pied Kingfisher obliged a closer look as did the normally (and noisily) elusive Red-wattled Lapwing.
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We then drove beyond the creek towards the Rann till we reached the boundaries of the scrub jungle. Here the Rann stretched into seeming endlessness. There was not a single bird in sight.
As I threw questioning looks at Younus, a Montagu’s Harrier came and landed a little distance away. Then another Harrier…then another…then another…
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All the birds came and landed facing the Sun. It was as if they were enjoying the sunset too…
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Within a few minutes, we were surrounded by at least 150 birds within a radius of a couple of hundred metres. And the birds continued to fly in way beyond sunset.
Being surrounded by so many birds was an experience of a lifetime. Younus was surprised (pleasantly) that I asked him to stay on way beyond sunset. He said he’s always asked to go back the moment the sun sets (and photography time elapses).
By the way, for those who asked, I have 3 more episodes from my Kutch trip coming up.
– The Rann at night
– Wait for the wolf
– Desert Coursers (the place where we stayed)
Keep watching this space for the rest of the week…