Kaziranga and Nameri, Assam 6-13 April 05

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Subject: Kaziranga and Nameri, Assam 6-13 April 05
From: "Dion Hobcroft" <>
Date: Wed, 20 Apr 2005 20:05:39 +1000

Linking up with David Bishop we enjoyed an outstanding week of birding in Assam. Early monsoon rains made it a bit touch and go accessing key sites like Debwesari but we made it through to all sites. The numbers of both species of Adjutant storks were impressive with a high count of (18) Greater in view at once in flight on the outskirts of Gauhati on morning of 13 Apr and (22) Lesser in Kaziranga central on 7 April. Less common ducks included (10) Bar-headed Geese with (6) Cotton Pygmy-Geese at Sohola Bheel on 9 April, (1) Common Shelduck at Baghuri Bheel on 7 April with the elusive White-winged Wood Duck heard calling in the predawn darkness on two mornings out of three at Nameri.


We enjoyed several species of rarer raptores with a great view of a pair of Jerdon’s Baza flying past the watchtower at Nameri on 11 April; a high count of 8 Long-billed Vultures (tenuirostris) at Sohola Bheel on 9 April with frequent sightings of Pallas’s and Grey-headed Fish-Eagles and stunning Pied Harriers on most days in Kaziranga. A pair of Oriental Hobbies was seen at Nameri on 12 April, one flying up river and predating an unidentified swallow. An elephant ride at Kaziranga central flushed (2) large Coturnix quail considered most likely to be Common giving surprisingly good views and an excellent view of a Yellow-legged Button-quail with healthy numbers of at least (30) Pin-tailed Snipe rising in front of the elephants. Display leaping male Bengal Florican (1) Central and (3) Debwesari gave mega scope views- a huge highlight for all.


There was a Great Thick-knee at Nameri on 11 April and healthy numbers of Small Pratincoles on several days. Rarer shorebirds included (2) Grey-headed Lapwings at Baguri Bheel on 7 April and (2) Northern Lapwings at Sohola Bheel on 9 April. A Great Black-headed Gull was at Nameri on 12 April. Brown Hawk Owl was seen in the camp at Nameri and found in the day at Kaziranga Central with a pair of Brown Fish-Owls at Sohola Bheel on 9 Apr. Green Pigeons were diverse at Nameri with Thick-billed, Pin-tailed and Wedge-tailed present in reasonable numbers. A Ruddy Kingfisher was tracked down by call and scoped beautifully in the rainforest canopy at Nameri on 12 Apr. Great Hornbill (5-10) and a few Wreathed Hornbill were present at Nameri daily.


Single Wryneck were found in Kaziranga on 7 and 9 Apr and low altitude Great and Golden-throated Barbets were present at Nameri on 11 Apr. A Bengal Bushlark did a classic nest distraction display at Nameri on the 12 Apr leading us away with a broken wing before enjoying a miraculous recovery. Pale-chinned Flycatcher was found to be moderately common in quality forest at Nameri. Rare grassland babblers performed well with Slender-billed and Jerdon’s both showing well, more common species included Abbott’s, Puff-throated, Rufous-fronted, Striped Tit, Chestnut-capped and Striated.


Black-breasted Parrotbill was arguably bird of the trip for many-what a mega with a pair at Debwesari on 9 Apr. Sultan Tit was also very popular with several folks at Nameri where it was moderately common. Yellow-vented and Plain Flowerpeckers were sharing mistletoe clumps in Albizzia shade trees in tea plantations in Kaziranga foothills on 8 Apr. Other good sightings in the same location included Lesser Necklaced Laughingthrush, Kalij Pheasant and Blossom-headed Parakeet. Our last great birding highlight went to a pair of Finn’s Weavers with the male in breeding plumage photographed in Kaziranga central on 10 April.


Good mammal sightings included Hoolock Gibbon, Capped Langur, Smooth Otter, Barasingha, several Asian Elephant, spectacular Swamp Buffalo and over 80 Indian Rhinos. The park authorities are to be commended on doing such an excellent job protecting the rare ungulates and helping to conserve so many globally threatened birds in the process. Please feel free to quote any of these records for regional reports and don’t forget to credit David Bishop for these as well.


All the best



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