Sunday, November 14, 2010

Birding in Bhopal

Birding in Bhopal

It was Deepawali holidays and I was in Bhopal after three years, apart from being caught up in preparation of my marriage and being busy meeting my relatives in Bhopal, I ensured that I take out time every morning to explore the avian life in and around Bhopal. My younger brother kept on promising me every evening that he will accompany me the next morning, but the desire to enjoy and explore the warmth offered by the quilt in the early winter morning kept on winning over his desire to go out and explore the nature.

Apart from going back to the road leading to Van Vihar national park from the Bhadbhada side, some where vaguely I remembered a picnic that we enjoyed in my childhood with some of the family friends in Kerwa Dam area. I knew that with my experience of birds that it is going to be a perfect spot to see the bird life in full swing.

As soon as I crossed the bridge of Bhadbhada Dam, the smoke of the vehicles started getting replaced by the smoke of Beedis smoked by elderly sitting squatted on the sides of roads enjoying the warmth of the sun. The narrow road leading to the dam has one more attraction to it apart from natural beauty; it boasts itself of having the magnanimous bungalow “Dev Shree” owned by one of the most infamous CMs of MP, somewhat directly responsible for Bhopal Gas tragedy, Mr. Arjun Singh. The poisonous vapours of deadly Methyl iso Cyanide could have never reached the serene environment of the Kerwa Forests in any conditions. Both the Bhopal Gas tragedy and Mr. Arjun Singh still live today although in entirely different life styles to tell their tales. Anecdote has it that Mr. Singh was in this bungalow only when the gas tragedy struck Bhopal. It was also birth day of Mr. Arjun Singh lying during that time, so the usual anti environment banners printed on flex material sponsored by political sycophants were also gracing the way to the bungalow.

After reaching Kerwa Dam after watching the board at the entrance I realized that there is an eco tourism complex developed in that forest. But there was only a board to welcome me and there was no staff at all in the area. As soon as I started my exploration a couple of “spotted doves” was sitting on the barks of a barren tree.

The chirping of birds was in full flow. And soon there was a young “Shikra” came down on to sit on a eucalyptus tree. It was such a good specimen that I kept on viewing it for a long time.

My focus on the Shikra got broken by constant sounds of Parakeets coming from nearby trees. As I ventured in to the forest trail the voice of Parrots kept on increasing and after some time I realized that the voice is coming from the tree above me. Spotting the green Parakeets amongst the green foliage of trees was a big challenge and tested the muscle strength of my neck to the fullest. Finally I spotted the parrots and got one of the prized catch of this parakeet taking a leap from its perch.

A bit deeper in to the trail I spotted a couple of “ Grey Headed flycatcher “ , busy in arranging the breakfast by taking small but quick leaps in to the air to catch flies and insects in the air and then coming back to the perch after doing a few somersaults in air.

I also spotted a pair of spotted kites, but they were very quick to leave their perches.

It was first time for me that I have spotted a “ Scarlet Minivet”, in the Jungle and I was absolutely delighted by the its Sighting.

A “Pied fly catcher Shrike” was enjoying its breakfast search on the floor of the forest.

I went near the river in search of the some more birds and luckily I found out a colony of “Fan tailed Prinia” and “Sun Birds”. I just sat down there for some time quietly and was blessed with two close up shots of “Prinia” and “Sun Birds”.

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