Monday, May 23, 2011

Nature trip to Elephanta Island, 22nd May

After a longish period of no outings to fan my desire to see more of nature and specially birds, I finally went with the BNHS to Elephanta Island, where we went on a trail that cuts through the native village that is located on the island, looking for and hearing several birds and other living and non-living wonders of nature. This trip coincided with an important family function, but I decided to go anyway, mentally prepared to leave early if the trip lasted beyond half past eleven a.m.

I left home at half past six, reaching the BNHS office a little before 7 o'clock. There were very few enthusiasts when I reached, but they collected over the next half hour, and when we finally left for the Gateway of India (from where a ferry boat would take us to Elephanta Island (locally known as Gharapuri islands), the group of eager bird watchers and nature lovers had swelled to over 35 persons, some of them old faces, while the rest were new. Our guides for the trip would be Mr. Vandan Jhaveri and Mr. Vithoba Hegde. While the former is someone I have been with in many of the previous outings, Mr.Hegde is actually a taxidermist with the BNHS but today fulfilled the role of a field guide.

Within a few minutes of hitting the trail, we saw our first bird, viz. the red-whiskered bulbul. From then on, the next two hours saw us trying to spot, seeing and learning to identify many birds, the complete list of which is at the bottom of this post.

We started our return at about 11:30 a.m. and reached the jetty a little before 12 noon. We were quickly bundled into a boat, but the sea was choppy, and hence the return trip took a little over 1 1/2 hours. I touched the stones at Gateway a little before 2:00 p.m.

Okay, so I made new friends, among whom Meghna Kashte, Apoorva Rao, Amogh Wagh and Akshata Par are people whom I talked with and acquainted myself. And of course, I had my FIRST sightings of the Red-wattled Lapwing, Spot-billed ducks, Little Grebes, and some more feathered friends.

To see the photos, please visit this link.

Here is a list of the birds we saw: .

Oriental Magpie Robin
Red-wattled Lapwing
Spot-billed Duck
Black Kite
Little Grebe
Little Egret
Great Egret
Indian Pond Heron
Yellow sparrow (Petronia)
Red-whiskered Bulbul
Black-headed Ibis
Purple-rumped sunbird
Asian Hornbill (some of the others saw this, but I missed it)
Common Iora (only heard)
Common Tailor bird (only heard)

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