Saturday, October 29, 2011

Bird Watching on the Edge!

...Of the forest that is! Last week the students wanted to take us to a place that they had gone few months before and had had great bird sightings. We never made it last week because we saw too many birds along the way and ran short on time. Not a big problem, but we did want to see what we could find...on the edge of the Gokarna Forest Reserve. So this week we vowed to avert our eyes if we saw any birds before we reached our destination and were pretty successful. Fortunately for all of us, there were no new birds or even any Kingfishers to stall us!

We did have some business to attend to though; introductions of Sarah Stock, who is here to help out with teaching. Sarah is a wildlife biologist in Yosemite National Park who does research on the resident birds and mammals. She gave the students some real park notebooks and lots of insight into her passion for birds! Sarah will be here to co-teach for the rest of the month. We are so lucky!!

Menuka Basnyat from Bird Conservation Nepal was also along again and brought her friend Lucinda from the UK who is here working on BCN's website. She shared so much about her job and birding in the UK. These kids are getting so much attention! And they shared their passion too - wanting to get going right away!

Today's leader - we are practicing leadership as well as identifying birds - was Thupten and he got us moving at a perfect pace. We walked through rice fields again, this time not stopping much except when our attentive leader checked to see how his group was doing. Good job.
We got to cross the river again (this time no splashing or rocks...) and then we started looking for birds. Three White Wagtails flew in to greet us!

We walked up the hill to the edge of the Forest Reserve and the birds were indeed exciting! The day's bird list will follow, but let it be said that the birds here are unbelievable sometimes.
Check out the colors of the Great Barbet! Look up the Blue-throated Barbet! The Scarlett Minivet...! Please try to imagine trying to keep a group of excited teen birders quiet through all this unveiling of surprises. They even muffled the Asian Koel for a bit of time before we heard the wailing call.

It was great to have Sarah to teach her craft to these eager students. Sarah has a natural ease with people and she helped the kids to look up birds with some tips and guidance that come from her deep passion and her expertise. It seemed that the students were also very excited to show Sarah some new birds to add to her list.

On the way back we saw some raptors that were not Black Kites to practice identifying, and got to splash in the water a bit too. Back at the hostel, hot dal baht was waiting for all of us. A perfect end to a perfect birding day. We were all thankful for the birds we saw, for the people who care enough to want to learn about and protect them, for the camaraderie of this group and for food upon our return.

We will meet again on Tuesday as it is a holiday (no school)! See you then...

Today's Group List:

White Wagtail 3
Black Kite 11
Intermediate Egret 17
Common Stonechat 9
Great Barbet 2
Blue-throated Barbet 3
House Crow 6
Gray-headed Warbler 3
Asian Koel 3
Scarlet Minivet 2
Gray Treepie 9
Pied Bushchat 3
Black Drongo 3
Hume's Warbler 1
Chestnut-bellied Nuthatch 1
Common Tailorbird 1
Common Buzzard 3
Great Tit 7
Black-lored Tit 3
Rose-ringed Parakeet 1
Gray-bellied Cuckoo 3
Indian Pond Heron 1
Long-tailed Shrike 2
Wooly-necked Stork 2
White-throated kingfisher 1

These were seen on our walk today...though not ALL saw ALL of them.
We also saw a woodpecker and a small hawk that we couldn't i.d.

1 comment:

  1. Sounds like an AWESOME day!!!! Wish we could be there too!