October “bird fest” at Miyun Reservoir, Beijing

The weather in Beijing is Schizophrenic- one day its smoggy and the next- blue skies! *Roll Eyes* Well, no bad weather can put me down- spent a smoggy noon at a pottery workshop, which was a lot of fun! But on a clear day, nothing beats birding!  Standing on a hill, we had great views of the birds coming in all directions, as well as the wind! Brrr….!!!

Miyun reservoir

Me in shadow!

As always, the early bird gets the worm! Ducks including Baikal Teals, Chinese Spot-Billed etc., floated in the reservoir, while Black-Headed Gulls, Mongolian Gulls along with a Whiskered Tern and some waders- Golden Plovers, Black-Tailed Godwits and Spotted Redshanks, to name a few,  roosted on the other side of the bank. There’s also Bean Geese, Swan Geese (lifer for me) and a Beijing 3rd record-Great White Pelican!

A symphony of Baikal teals

A symphony of Baikal teals

It was a busy birding morning- our eyes rolled in all directions making sure no birds were missed! Birds of prey of all sorts- Hen Harrier, Hobby, Japanese Sparrow hawk, Kestrel, Saker, Marsh Harrier, Common Buzzards performed their morning hunting rituals and some swept past us like the wind! But one bird did a graceful,  180 degree panoramic flyby- the Great Bittern! It was an unforgettable sight!

Great bittern over Miyun, Beijing

Great bittern over Miyun, Beijing

By the end of the day, I think we had recorded over 70 species! It definitely felt like a “bird fest” in October at Miyun Reservoir! A truly hidden treasure in China!

 

Wild West India- Rann of Kutch, where the thrill continues!

Driving through the early mist of sand scumbled the contrary outlines of the landscape, livestock and kids, who mirthfully waved at me. In other words, I was covered in sand and dust! wakakaka! 😛 😛 So, if anyone plans to head up to Rann of Kutch, remember to bring along handkerchiefs, towels and bags to cover your camera gears and yourself!!

By the time we reach the lake in Little Rann of Kutch, the reflection of the sun had already shimmered relentingly on the waters! “This should exude good lighting,” I exclaimed! When my jeep halted in front of the 180 degree view of the wetland, I was astounded! There were a myriad of greater and lesser flamingos, great white pelicans, dalmatian pelicans, bean goose, common cranes, ducks and many others basking in the open sun! The view was ________!! I could hardly spew any form of emotion then, and even as I savour the moment now, I simply could not synthesize my thoughts and emotions and deliver in any word form! 😛 That majestic sight had strongly imprinted into my brain; in particular, the moment I nimble towards the flamingos with my bazooka lens, these erudite and elegant feathered friends somehow “had enough” of me and the whole flock suddenly took off in a trajectory path! Below were pictures of the greater and lesser flamingos taken in those great moments! 😛

greater and lesser flamingo

greater and lesser flamingo

greater and lesser flamingos

greater and lesser flamingos

Great white and dalmatian pelican

Great white and dalmatian pelican

Sublime moments with these majestic birds ended when Sam, my driver, beckoned to move on! Our jeep hurtled off again and soon we spotted the eastern imperial eagle, who was very obliging even when we were so close to him; the steppe eagle however, was quite the opposite! As soon as we steered close, it pooed and took off! Whichever way our jeep was positioned, it kept a close watch on us and had its butt “in position” ready for take off! 😛 😛

eastern imperial eagle on the left and steppe eagle on the right

eastern imperial eagle on the left and steppe eagle on the right

Rann of Kutch was not just about feathered friends, despite that was key reason I landed in this place! 😉 Besides the Indian wolf and wild ass we already saw, we also spent an afternoon hurtling with the desert fox, who finally caved in as he needed to catch its breath (me too!!) and gave us time to take some pictures before it forged on again!

desert fox

desert fox

“Red Bull gives you wings!!” is a drink advertisement I often saw on TV, but here in Rann of Kutch I saw the Blue Bull, and it’s not even a bull! It’s actually an antelope…! This weird looking beast looked clumsy to me, but it sprinted fast when my driver puts on another chase scene with the bull antelope!!

blue bull

blue bull

The Rann of Kutch was truly an eye-opening experience for me! Staying at Rann Riders was unquestionably an explicit choice- good accommodation, good food, dedicated staff and great safari trips provided by them! I was more than pleased when the short eared owl came out in the open;  a nice, happy coda to this chapter of my trip in the wild west India!

short eared owl

short eared owl