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Birds, Birders and Twitchers: Part I

“Flight has immense meaning for us humans because we can’t do it. Instead we live in a dream of flight, and flight envy is part of the human condition. That’s why birds, more than any other group of living things, draw us into the world beyond humanity.”

Simon Barnes in ‘The Meaning of Birds’

 

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A Purple Heron glides over the waters of Rajbagh lake in Ranthambhore. Photograph by Anjali Singh

 

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The Crested Serpent Eagle is a formidable predator and a charismatic raptor that breeds and resides across most of Rajasthan. As the name suggests, they are often seen preying on serpents as well as other reptiles. Photograph by Yusuf Ansari

With close to three hundred species of birds between them, SUJÁN’s locations are a ‘Twitcher’s Paradise’. But, before we delve into the differentiations between a Grey Shrike and a Bay-backed Shrike, this week’s blog sets an introduction for the coming weeks and months which will see a series on the birds at SUJÁN.

 

 

From commonly seen Jungle Babblers – a veritable mob of the forest – who shriek other feathered cousins out of their peace and calm first thing in the morning and nibble at your cookies which await guests at tea to the rarer Ospreys and Marsh Harriers whose charismatic display of predatorial prowess leaves even the most experienced birder awestruck, we have quite a range.

 

 

With the approach of summer other, migratory and otherwise lesser seen species such as Paradise Flycatchers, Greater (and lesser) Flamingos and the graceful Siberian Cranes begin to check-in to our sphere. The forthcoming series shall focus on these different species specifically, going into behavioural aspects and other fascinating nuggets about them.

 

 

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One of the most endearing (and amongst the boldest) of our birds is the Rufous Treepie, a scavenger the colours of whose plumage matches that of Tigers. Photograph by Anjali Singh
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Pied Kingfishers although fairly common, are not seen as often as their cousins the White-breasted Kingfisher. Photograph by Yusuf Ansari

 


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Flamingos are as much a feature of the Jawai landscape as the other creatures that inhabit it. Here a group feed late into the evening in the shallow waters of the Jawai Bandh. Photograph by Yusuf Ansari
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The Purple Sunbird is one of those blink-and-you-miss-it residents around our camps, forever sucking the nectar from blossoms. Photograph by Pallav Pahuja

 


What for instance is the collective noun for a group of Peacocks, and does it apply to Peahens as well? How are Twitchers’ different to Birders’? Where do the Demoiselle Cranes of Jaisalmer’s deserts come from and where do they go to? Do Ranthambhore’s Rufous Tree-pies really share a Tiger’s kills? What do Grey Partridge in Rajmahal Palace’s grounds feed on? How many species of birds dwell in Jawai’s wilderness? These and other questions will find their answers in the blogs to come. With birdwatching becoming easier and more accessible for more enthusiasts than ever before, birders have never had it better and our guides are twitching to take our guests around in the coming weeks and months. And while they conduct hours of bird-watching in the forests, farmlands, grounds, scrub and other habitats around our locations, we will continue to keep you updated with their findings and observations from the fields through this series.

 

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