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Vol. n Mo.i January '7 

fhe Tenth Annual GGneral Meoting of the Bird- 
watcher.^ Field Glub of India scheduLd to L h^ld 
on Saturday, the l6th January 1971, ' is"" nn^tnnn 



B-I R D YjA T C H E R S 

* ^"^^^^' Number I , January 1971 


Taped iinpressions, by A» Navarro. S.J i 

Kaziranga for Birds, by F, M. Gauntlett 4 

Birds rn urbdn_environ.-nents, by lavkumgr J. Kacher g' 

burvey of Pesticides position in India, 3.y Datta - / 

Brevity in bird names, by D. A. Stair^aad "^^"'^^^^^ l!'."'' 

Notes and Comments 13 

Correspondence 14 

Winter visitors at Sandra Creek, from' vipi^ Parikh ■ 

f^ i ■ ^ Vi:.ey Bhatt ■ ' 

Orows as destroyers of mosquitoes, fron- Kameshwar Pd. 

"A tree that attracts birds: f^untingia iialab^l^ from 


I , 

Ananta Mitra 

A, Navarro, S.J, 

For two consecutive years I have been Soendinq the Mav 
vacations going up and do^^ through the" r.^vines and pla- 
teaux of the Khandala region v;ith the solo object of fuU 
tilling my long desired ambition to record the songs and 
sounds of the birds of this region. ^ 

■ ^^ ?^^^^i^ ^^ ^^ ^^^^- - simultaneously collected a ser- 
tr.?f H,lf ' '^f Observations that may be of some interest 
to all but mnnly to birdv/atobers. 

Since last year's recordings were not up to mv exDecta- 
tions possibJy on account of lack of exoeriencef in i9V0 ~ 
with the hope of better luck and with tne experience of " 
last year rrom the beginning o^'.my holiday. 1 started mv ' 
■rounds, going throughout th.. very same spot, where the ^ 
recordings were made the previcus year wit.i this idea ih ■ 
view that I wDuld find the same birds more or less under 
rhe same circumstances; in fact U happened as expected ' 
L^2 ""y ?^^-'^ surpn^^e, nc-t w.-.h the sam. results/ 
What called my attention from the beginning was the ab- 
sence of the cheerful and noisy atm.^si^here proper to the 
breeding season, i.e. the lack of the songo of sinqinq 
hirds and the calls and sou:,d& of the non-singing birds 
Jo all appearances, everything seemed to be norrnal, most 
bi^as,J^jtil^n^...^KCept-ion of the thrushes and a fpi^ nth, 


Newsletter ^ o r fl. i r d w a t c h e r 




LTactivill^s'"' through th. p^,c.eding. of their b...d- 
raost ol ?^^^t"^ that the irrc-golar behavloor observed in 

seven. in the ^Sv.ning: I^e Blackbird didnotenLr into 
xts^ singing mood until towards the end of the :^onth"o? 

year'round^''Lf a^^f'^tn'^^ will_si„9 or call the wholo 


xneir rather monotonous musical c^^lls v.ux±ny 
sinSLfif 2n^ fn?'^'' t' ^^" l^^^^^i"9 season since the 

most of thP tir^^ TV? ^^^°-p^2b ^^^^ mysterious siloncG, 
^ongs ot ijh6 larks and the pipits were so brief and feeble 

r n :y 3 J ^ t t e r for B i r d w a' t c h e -r s 
. 3 

as to givfj the impression thst they hsd forgotten their 
songs. The Shama never went furthern than the melodious 
short soPGs uttered out of their breeding season. The pi- 
geons and the doves seemed to keep to the^iselves in volun-^ 
tary confinement or seemed to have absconded to some far 
avjay forest for only a few sporadic call^ oould be heard 
i;hroughout the season. The Indian Robin ani the bulbuis 
appeared fr-r belovj their high standards. 

The fact that some birds have shortened i:heir sonas or 
lowered their standards or dropped them altogether at this 
time or the year is clear evidence, as earlier stated, that 
some factor must have been responsible fcr this behaviour. 
Many are of the opinion that the influence of lioht and 
weather conlitions arc responsible for thg chanced behavi- 
our among the birds. 

In order ':o confirm this -fch^ftry I am going to give a 
detailed account of the observations on a colony of House 
^parrows at the entrance oF the compound Jt the Court of 
■^ail Causes on Lokmanya Tilak Marg, Bombiy. There is a 
Jak tree, v.t.ereon hundreds of house-sparrows come every ' 
day to^i^ost; it may be that the healthy condition of the 
tree with its heavy foliage offers the sparrows a safe and 
comfortable olacej the tree is so situated that it is well 
protected from storray v'oather. Every evening and morning 
the sparrow :horus is heard and well observed by the neigh- 
^ours of the court building. There is a systematic control 
by the light factor^ During summer, around 6.30 in the 
evening the -sparrows come in small groups from all direc- 
tions to the Jack tree; from the moment the first groui? 
arrives the evening chorus starts^ the tempo of the chorus 
inr ceases until the last groups have settled in evening 
concern, lasting usually for an hour. The ne^t morning. 
around 5, en. whole colony starts the morning chorus; 
almost simultaneously, all at the same time, suddenly 
cease to Bine as if some one approaches the tree or may 
be tor some other unkno™ reason. After a break of a few 
seconds the chorus would start again. The mining concert 
lasted well ever an hour. Day after day the sparrows fol- 
lowed the programme of arrival and deoarture from 
their roostMg tree. The time would be regulated by the 
rising and "^he setting of the sun,- the mosL striking fac- 
tor IS that auring the monsoon the whole of the roosting ' 
colony drops entirely this morning and evening chorus. I 
^ Ubservatiors and experiments have revealed that light l 
iS the most favourable factor that induces the birds to 
sing. Ajialysis of the weather observations collected dur^- 
ing the month of May reveaJ s that the stagnant weather 
that prevailed durinq this month would be martially res- 
ponsible for the retrospective behaviour of most of the 
Dirds in Khandala tovJards the end of May, ."or most of the 
time th'e sky was overcast vjith thin anfepiow clouds. It is 

—-- :'' . 

K^i'fs. etto"^ for Birdwatchers 

evliient "Ltat there is correlation between light and song. 
In cloudy weather the morning chorus is delayed until the 
light becunes brighter: in the instance uider observation 
the morning chorus was delayed for an hou.:: or more; when 
this happ'?-"ied, the Jtiorninc; chorus was vex/ poorly attended, 
for by th: r. time most bir^s had already dispersed into the 
nearby for^^st for their daily routlns^ actLvities. 


F. M- Gaunt'.ett 

The pijblici"y for Kaziranga is indicative of a rather 
blinkerea a'?,titude to '.vildiife censervatin because in all 
the ballyhoo about rhinos there is little mention of any- 
thing olse, least of all the rich birdlif ;, Even if there 
were no rh^rocerouseSj disastrous though ":his would be in 
other respects, Kaziranga would still be ;, major attraction 
particularly for the ornitholcgistr 

t^Y v;lfe snd I arrived in Kaziranga at aboit midday on 
- '2,iii,l969 srmed vath the Bird s of_ B urrn a , which, with all 
due respect lo Dr Sallm Ali, was the" "onTy v^ork which cov- 
ered the are:i at all adequately^ Already, we had seen many 
Lesser Adjut..nt Storks from the National Flighv/ay from Jor- 
hat, " and thv bird is supposed to be a shy forest species. 
It is the cjrrtjnon stork of the A^sam Valley, 
Longbilled Vultures and Brahminy Kites weie more numerous 
than in V/« Bengal but were still outnumbered by Whiteback" 
ed Vultures and Pariah l^tes « 

As it appjiii^ently takes some time to orgpoise the logis- 
tics of cleptant rides in the Sanctuary [it v/as also sies- 
ta time) thJ-i could not tpike place till the following 
morning so v;t had lihe afternoon to explox-; the surround- 
-ings of the iourist lodge^ which, with tea gardens in 
front and t r e slopes of the r^lirkir Hills behind^ looked 
interesting , 

In the garden of the lodge itself Tree S:jarrows were as 
numerous as House Sparrows and a small flcroxing shrub 
held Vftiite-eyes, little Spiderhunter and t-ic Yellowbacked 
Sunbird. -Dtl.c 7 birds in the immediate vicinity were Pied 
flycatcher-thrikOj Bluethroated Earbet, Bronzed Drongo, 
-- and Verdicex .-lycatcheri Seen soon after v/erc Haircrested 
DrongOj Rufou-ibacked Shrike, Bluctailed Be'J-oater and 
'Stonechat, Trrinediately behind the lodge we encountered our 
first prcolcn:; a small party O"!^ v/eavors fe-'^cing on the 
nectar of Ccxal blossom, App^xcntiy smaller and briyhtex 
coloured than B^yas, v;lth conspicuous yellow eyebxows, 
cheeks and urderpartt, blackish on the bad" and wings with 
feathers edged buff forming two. indistinct v;ing-bars. The 


Newsletter for Birdwatchers 

description fits well that of Golden V^eaver which is sup- 
posed not to get any nearer than central Surma. Its habi- 
tat is la^ge tracts.' of elephant grass and it may v;ell 
wander in nVinte^, who knows? A little further on, the 
shade trees of an experimental coffee pl^intation held 
Scaxlet ^linivet, Redbreasted Parakeet, Ycilowbrcwed War- 
bler and' Ri^dbressted Flycatcher. A small stream contribu- 
ted typical waterbirds such as Little Coiniorant, little 
Egret, Gre'^n Sandpiper, Yellowheaded and Pied Wagtails, 
Suddenly from the jungle across the stream came- a cackl- 
ing of maniacal lauyhter and across a clearing tumbled a 
flock of birds with glistening white bushy crested heads 
and rich red-brown bodies; VJhite ores ted laughing Thrushes, 
We were to encounter these fairly regulax'ly in scrubby 
jungle and L think they must bo quite cormon in the area.) 
Along v/ith :heni was a second species, groy-brov/n above 
with a long tail. I think they were Black- 
gorgetted laughing Thrushes, In the jungle were, appro- 
priately en'^ugh, Jungle Mynas. The forest resounded -with 
a chorus of various barbets, Bluethroated, Lineated, and 
Crim5onbrea.ited acd also Spotted Doves to Vhhich Red Jungle- 
fowl occasionally joined in. Returning in the failing 
light a Bro^dbilled Roller was seen and was followed 
.shortly after by a Jungle Nightjar starting up its single o 
cylinder engine. As the list for .the day included such 
old friends as Green Parakeet, Palm Swift, Roller, Red- 
rumped -Swallow, Large -CuckooTShrike, Brov/n Shrike, Common 
lora, Magpio Robin, Indian Robin, Tair Bird, Rcdvented 
and Redwhiskered Bulbuls, Spotted Munia, Common Myna, 
■ Pied Mynaj /greyheaded My^a, Black Drongo, Ashy Swallawt 
Shrike,, Hou^e Crow, Jungle Crow and Tree Pie the first' _' 
day pj:oved to. be a promising beginning and we liad not' 
even samplecl the Sanctuary itself- .' 

After a vri-ry early csll the following morning which me 
had been^ to;..d was necessary to suit the arrangements 
made to visit the sanctuary, we waited ^ hour before the 
Forest Depf'j tment staff turned up,^ The delay was spent 
watching the unusual . combination ' of tame white' pigeons 
and wild Reel- Junglefovjl finishing up^ . the._ remains of the 
elephants ■" breakfasts ,.".■/"'. " " "'""■'■ 

.. Arriving i^t the Sanctuary itself, Spotbill^d Pelicans,' 
Pallas^ Soii Eagle, Sv^amp Partridge, Striated tVeavex and 
Imperial Pigeon wore soon in evidence as were Lesser 
Adjutant Stf.rks which were quite a f eature of the Sanc- 
tuary^ It v^>ry soom became clear that the back of an 
elephant v/a.i a far from ideal platform from which to "try 
and identifv the numerous small brown jobs flitting about 
in the 4 m high grass. Even when the mahout understood 
our requests to halt to watch birds [an incomprehensible 
pastime to him], the elephant thought it was a good - 


;j«;wslettar for Birdwatchers 

opportunity^ to continue its intorruped breakfast. An ele- 
phant munching, interspersed with ill-mannered birps and 

^^t=?f/' ^^""^^^ ="^ ^?^'^ ^^^^^^' Various pipits, larks, 
wagtails, _weayer5, warblers, babblers and bulbuls es.aped 
definite Identification. (Tho suspension characteristics 
individual elephants obviously vary, soms glide ouite 
smoothlv but others roil like a drunken sailor with a 

untn"l ^^A^i'^r^''^^^^"^^! quite cowon and it waS not 
until later that I found out they could have been, and 
probably were, '-Vhitetailed Stonechats which have a parti- 
cular preference for this sort of habitat. 
n^uil^^ ^%^^~°^'^l ^"°'ther visit to the jungle produced 
Pd t^ h^f T^l^l^ f"^ Crested Hawk Eagle, and I return- 
ed to be smugly told by my wife that she had seen a Shama 
in a patch of scrub near the lodge. I looked in this pa?ch 
many times but never saw it. However, I did catch a brief 

Crak^perhaps?'""'" '""''"^ ^'" ^""^^^"^ into it,'Elwe:'s 

fj^f,t ^^M="*-" ^T^^S"" ^IfPhant trip had been arranged 
tor us, ^his time to the seldom visited w-^stern end of the 
Sanctuary. The highlight was undoubtedly .: magnificent 
tiger but a jheel with both Blacknecked and Black Storks 
and a Bengal Florican flushed right from the elephant's 

lurDle'Ferf 'n^ ^^^^"^-^ ^"t^^^'^ ^^^^^ ^ad Night Herons, 
i^";^Pi%^"'''°"^' '^^j;??^^' ■^■o^hens and Slackheadc-d Munias 
round the edges, Whiskered and. Blackbellied Terns beatind 
up and dovm over SpotbiU Ducks and Mallards. An immfturl 
Tawny Eagle rounded off the trip. 

r.f^tu^'^,:'^'^'-^} morning, thero was another trip to the area 

sLi^t A^H^^t^l ^ir* ^i^ite-^ but by another route. A 
Striated Marsh Warbler singing lustily at the Sanctuary 
entrance was a good start and numerous coucais in the 

sonn f!^?i^"^\^PS^''f^ ?? ^^ ^^^^^ Coucais. These were 
soon followed by Storkbilled Kingfisher, Dusky Eagle Ovd, 
Yellowbellied Sfeen-Warbler and the usual lesser Adjutants 
Pelicans and a Pallgs 's Sea Eagle "^^^er Aojutan^s, 

™ite^n = L^+"'^;.^''?^^''^"\^"P^^*'"^"'^ Staff were getting. 
^p*L"|^l^? t^= i^«^ of birdwatching and after breakfast 

s2L + M V ? ^°?'' n- u'{ "^ ^''™ ^ ^^^^1^ deep into the 
Sanctuary to .^he Diphlu river to a belt of woodland with 
a large number of Silk Cotton trees in flower. 6^ t^ way 
pt.t^^ ^i Avadavat. Redcapped Babbler, Yeilovrfooted Sreen 
Pigeons Eastern Blossomheaded Parakeets and a small 

hut +r ;-^ i""^ "''^"^ ^^'"^ '^'^^^ a Longtailed Broadblll 

but the Circumstances make it rather unlikely. Swamp 
Partridges pottered about on the road like time chickens 
and we stopped tg look at a small jheel which contained 

hfrTlt^ t'^^"^.''^^lJ''''^.^^^ ^'^"^^ Adjutants, an immature 
Black Stork and half a dozen Pelicans. 

r™ T^ne Diphlu the trees were alive with birds, mostly . 
k^ d A.^k"?^ and Greybcaded raynas, Redvented and Redwhi-s-, 
kered bulbuls ano Green Parakeets, but also Black Bulbuls, 

Nievsletter for Birdwatchers 


Goldenfronted Chloropsis ajnd a flock of birds I could not 
identify until later. Obviously closely ^elated to Grey- 
headed h'jL^^s but with blsck heads, chestjiut underparts and 
a large vv:-Lltish spot on each wing, they eventually turned 
out to be Spotwinged Stares, They were q-^ite Common and 
were seen later near the lodge itself. There v/ere also Red- 
breasted Parakeets, a Fulvousbreasted Pi'>l Woodpecker and 
a good variety of birds of prey included Pallas^s Sea 
Eagle, Greyheaded Fishing Eagle, Crested Serpent Eagle and 
Spotted Eagle, and Junglefowl called tro.i the undergrovjth. 

On the return journey I spotted to get a tape-recording 
uf a colon-/ of Redbreasted Parakeets in -tnother belt of 
v^odland wl^en a noisy cheeping flock of small birds tumbl- 
ed across a clearing- I think they were Me.rsh Spotted 
babblers, .he novj almost inevitable Junglefowl added a 
backgrouixJ to the recording, Finally, a l^esser Scalybel- 
lied Green Woodpecker alighted in a tree just beside the 
car and an excellent morning .was rounded off by a'Tawnv 
Eagle and tv/o Pied Harriers, 

"A further visit to the jungle behind t^:ie lodge in the " 
afternoon i.idicated its possibilities ha<^ still not been "■ 
exhausted. A long tail sticking out of a bush was found 
to have a Greenbilled i^^alkoa at the froni of it. Then two 
Pied HornbiJls sailed over followed at intervals by a ■ 
Shikra, then an Oriental Hobby, ±n the undergroi.^rhh were 
two Dark Grey Bush Chats and a party of small brovjn jobs 
scuttling through the grass. Some sort o£ bush warbler 
probably but the lighL was too poor, I also got a good 
louk at a shrike, the like of which had ^e^^ puzzling me 
^^Yf "titf'es already. It ^as a Tibetan Shrike, 

We had to leave by noon the following day so had another 
early morning car trip down to the Diphlu river and on to 
another lodge^ now apparently unused, aln?ost on the other 
side of the sanctuary^ Nobody seemed to give much thouohf 
as to what might happen if ^.^ encounte-^ed a rhinu hesd-on 
on the narro'v track flankod on both sides bya wall of '■ 
elephant oras^* Fortunately we came across nothinq more 
fearsome than a startled Sambar. ■ - 

This other lodge overlooked a small jheol which held" a 
surprising vjriety of birds for its si:^all sizei Uttle 
Cormorant, Grey Heron, Large Egret, Uttle Egret, Paddy- 
tiird, bp-otbilled Duck, Greyheaded Fishing ^agle. Moorhen," 
Biackbelliod and River terns, Storkbilled Kingfisher with 
tptonechat anl Bluethroat round the edges- 

Back 3t tha main lodge with a couple of hours to "kill ■ 
before departure, a final quick look round still produced 
surprises in the jungle at the back in the form of two" 
^rge Wood Shrikes, a Yollo^/vented Flowerp-ckei' and a ^ 
Blackcrested" Yellov/ Bulbul vvhich provided a delightful 
farewell to Kaziranga. 

^ \ 

Newsletter for Birdvja-cchGrE 

8 ■ 

Reluctantly we had to drag ours^^lves sway and return 
to the horrors of civilisation after three remarkable days 
in v^hich v:c had seen not only rhino, buffalo, tiger, swamp 
deer, hog deer, sambar and hog-badger but also over a hun- 
dred specioG of birds, nearly half of which were complete- 
ly new to us, 

Lavkumar J. Khachet 

In the last couple of issues of the Naws letter there have 
been interesting notes on birds in-citie^ as far apart as 
Khatmandu Delhi and Bombay, In Notes and Comments of the 

f^H^^"^ -t^'^uJ^^i ^'^^^^^ mentions his garden. How mod^^st 
indeed,Mhe Editor's garden is a veritable paradise and 
is^nhabited by a variety of pe&i<^ent birds and Palm Souir- 
rols, and visited by many migrants. It has been my privi- 
lege ^o_have enjoyed the seclusion of this wondexfui spot 
hpr^'^tH^^ T K^S proximity of the garden birds and ib was 
^^^^^^/d?"^ c^ ^^^^"^ introduction of the particular 
species of Palm Squirrel in a most amusing fashion. Of ' 
course when I ^^s there last, the tall buildings had not 
sprung around and it was with some difficulty that I real- 
ized I was indeed living in one of Indians largest cities, 
so rural the atmosphere was. At the time we had discussed 
the rapid expansion of the city with regret though accept^ 
ing 1. as an inevitable and inexorable fact. But all alono 
I refuse to accept the fact that Man must destroy his sur- 
roundings totally and I firmly hold the ^Ll^t^ll wherea! 
we may be able to do little about the spread of gities, 
this spread does not have to be ugly. Most of the birds ^ 
can and indee^ do find it quite simple to live along with 
jnan, in tact we can complement one another. In the Old 
world where Man has been dominant for thousands of years 
enci in India xn particular, birds have easily adapted t(^ '■ 
human acT:ivities and where these have been hai^onious with 
the environment, birds. have gladly been accomodating. I 
saw my first Purplerumpod- Sunbird and Redwhiskered Bulbul 
in the small garden of the Taj ?^ahal Hetel- In Ahmedabad. 
Ashy Wr^n-war^lers live cheerfully among scraggy hedges " 
in the most congested localities. Of course, all species 

?=-^^S' ^^^ ^^^ ^^ accomodating and a few are downright 
X ac L 10 1 u s , 

Very many mor-' birds v/ould inhabit our cities if, as cur 
Hdi.or^ suggests, a judicious planting of avenue treeS and 
flowering plantc in traffic islands and in parks "aM open 
plots were undertaken. Private individuals could qrow 
EhruE.s and climbers in their city gardens ,-.nd even'in 
verandas to provide food and shelter for birds- 
Keeping birds in view, a list of trei^s, shrubs and 

Newsletter for Birdwatchers 

climbGrs should be for each city. All these should be 
species which nsed least care from climatic considerations. 
After this^ stipulation, I would- place desirable plants in 
the following categories: 

i. Plants with tubular flowers containing nectao to at- 
tract suobirds and the like as well as insects' vMch 
give other species reason to be around. 

U- .Plants with an abundance of large leaves t^ 'which- 
^ . come Tailor Birds and Ashy Wron-Warblers for.purpos- 
_"_/ ■ es of nesting, - 

lii. Plants having an abundance of berries are lodestones 
to bulbuls and the like. 
iv. Densely growing and thorny plants are useful for 
nesting by bulbuls, babblers, doves, etc. 

Many species of plants have more than one or all of the 

desired qualities and such plants are the most welcome. 

It the pr'jgramme could be taken up by the city authori- 
ties and private individuals, then our cities, howsoever 
congested, would become veritable bird sanctuaries, Imaoine 
a tall skyscraper festooned with trailing vines and smoth- 
ered in choice flowering plants. Could anything be more 
, attractive? 
. VJho indeed E^old deny that plants add colour, shade, and- 
scent and as such are welcome indeed. Birds would add life 
brilliance and song. In addition, birds ^vould .bo effective 
insect killers, while plants would absorb the quantities 
o^ carbon dioxide thereby reducing, the pollution of urban 
air and so help in making the cities cooler: carbt-n diox- 
ide absorbs and retains heat. So, all in all, a little 
propaganda and vje may well see our cities full of men 
plants and birds. What a thought.' How easily expressed 
yet , . . ? J f 


batta Manchekar - ^ - . 

In responsQ ^o the Editor's call in the November 1970 
issue or the Newsletter the following information may be 
tound useful m the survey of pesticides position. 

" M Manufacturers of Pesticides may be grouped as of: 
aj Technical \,aterial, and b) of Ready to use Dusts, Wet- 
table Poi;;oers, Emulsifiable Concentrates, Household sprays 
and Granulated insecticides. ' 

Among (a) such firms as T,':,ta-Fison, Cyanamide India. 
Byers India, Agromore, Pesticides Indi.i Ltd, Ciba India, 
bandOE Ifidi.a, Union Carbide and Hindusthan Pesticides Ltd 

-I - i , 

Newsletter for Birdwatchers 

-10 . ■■■ _ 

may be m-ntionad as_the typical firms manufacturing amonq 
thGraselvc-s such basic toxicants as Malatliion, Rogor, Sevin 
.; Warfarin, D.D.T., B.H.C. Zinc .and Allurai.aumPhQlphldesr 

H.^H™tt^^ *!]■ ^^°r ^c"""^ ^^°"3 '■■^^^ ""^"V ^"'a^i "nits as 
Hindusthan Minerals, Standard Minerals, Bharat Pulverisers 

Flintrock, etc. may be mentioned in grou;. (b) whose cspi- 

■■■,^n<t ^^■I^Jf' '"^^^^*' tetween 2 and S lakhs.* Significantly'^ 
most 6f thsso fiiffls are located in Westeir India-exceot ■- 
Jor half a dazen in- ether states in south and norlheaft. ' 
,.^-r?^.*i'?S tb) prospered on account of laroe scale Govcrn- 

-■ ll^L^""^" t"^^"^ ^t^ ^\^"* ^ P^^"= ^"^^^° suffering a 

"'"■ T^ tt 5?'^^"^'' they have no direct sales apparatus. 

- . ns,^it™ = °r I^t'"^ are required to be registered with the 

■ --Dapartment yf Industries of the respective states. I am 
_not aware or any Central Rules regarding cogistration. 

litf^'t ^?^ t-'-' ''^^"="^ ^°^ ^'"^"^^ <^ota r^-iuirements 'of 
either the -firras or the pesticides. ■ ' 

■.. However India has so far not developed "any new Pesti- 
, cide and IS., and other standards are based on Federal 
AgriculturaJ law U.S;A. and B.S.I. eoerai 

■ iif'F,.^^ Pesticides may be grouped as: i] Rodenticides, 
W^Pd^^?^f ?^' "k^ F^igants, iv) Insec .icides- and v)'. ■ 
Weedicides. I may be able to give you a detailed list of 
. Technical materials and their Trade names given by each 

afFnHH^^^-''H-K^T^"^*^"=^' ^a^athioti i. sold by Byers 
'■ nL,? ^"f-u^' ^''^°^ ^^ Ecatox. Maiatrion is made 

popular as antibug inseCT;icide under the different trade 
. ,,. ^names as Knock '99 , Bug Mar, Mala-mar, Tic-20 etc' 

■ h^^ J'^'^T'"^' level Pesticides are used fo^ Agriculture 

■ ■ '■-'- Tt:-. . f- u'^f' ^' government and Aerial spraying contrac- 
"-■ tJ^L^J Cumbatas. c] Poultry and Animal farms and d) Gov- — 

, , ernmental Ftesearch farms, etc. Besides these Urban Pesti- 
./ ''t- Service- agencies and Municipalities as well as Mal- 
■■ ^ ji h ^J?*'-^" Pi-ogramms authorities- and Armed torces 
handle PesMcides. The householder -also need not be foe- 

'a' ^^^,^^9a-:ds safety and caution in the'use'of Pe&ti-- 
cides, there :,re OJiIy passive rules ,the market- 
ers to mention the Dangers and Antidotes etc. on the 
labels and Sot specifications in Packing etc. Otherwise 
--j^. .F? "^^J^^/^'^ft ^^^^- ^''^ instance though Parathion 
- IS restricted for its forrr^ulation licencing Endrin, an 
equally danccrous pesticide is Uft free. It is reported 
U have caused many deaths. Moreover, there are no penal 
■^ , . provisions against deliberate misuse of Pesticides ex- 

cepr ot course in case, of human beings, I ^vas reported of 

■^t ^"^^K? " ^°P^^f^'^^^ ^i^^ed by feedin.^ Endrdn on f 
carcass. This was in Ratnagiri some- two ye^.-^s ago. Very 

■ li t^\ language papers report cattle allegedly killed by 
:.. ae^Tifll sprays of Pesticides s^Jch as Endrin, .. ^ 


WtvJBietter fov Birdwatchers 

4, I am myself oo.t systematic in keeping any account of 

ecological effects of Pesticides use. Moreover, I have no 
knovdedge of any organisation doing this useful vjork, I v/ould 
have loved to exchange infoxmation on this important subject 
if I had known any. However, National Institute of Communica- 
ble Diseases N^w Delhi, Indian Agricultural Research Insti- 
tute, Ne«v Delhi, Entomological Society of India, Delhi 12 
are some of the apex bodies who should b^ in tho know of 
these facts. I,A.R,I* has a set of excellent publications 
(Periodicals) giving out research information who should not 
be averse to our project. 

The above is a general basic information sketched out of 
my personal observation and contacts. I shall be pleased to 
lend my services to the Birdwatchers' Field Club in its use- 
ful pursuit, I pm not aware of the responsibilities involved 
in the. role of a co-ordinator of this Survey, However, you 
may depend on me for v;hatever -services y-ju feel like extract- 
ing from me to promote judicious use of :he double-edged 
weeport. ' . 


D, A> Stairmand 

My earlier commonts have ir^diiced a certain amount of 
^ inbroTTity ^ fa new subspecies) from Mr F, M, Gauntlett -, 
in his reply snd elaboration on tho above subject in 
Newsletter 10(12): 2-6, I wish to r epiy to Mr Gsuntiott-'s 
remarks so far as they concern my own stand. Persons well ■ 
qualified may wish to air their views on the elaborations 
of Mr Gauntlett, "■ '■ " " ■" '- 

Firstly I wish to state that my Qriginal comments were 
made because Mr Gauhtlett vas advocating certain changes 
in the cause of brevity. I ivould have read ' Green Para- 
keet ' and passed on without a moment's hesitation had it 
not boen for Mr Gauntiett's comment ' why do all the books 
have to be so long-winded and call it Roseringed? ' My 
thoughts on reading this cbn^inont were ' Is life so hectic 
these days that do not have time to write or say a 
word such as ^ Roseringed '? Well, if lifo really is so ■ 
hectic surely it is high time that we attempted to f ind ^ 
trme again and relax a bit. Thore are many killing effects, 
in different ways, due to the present stresses, strains' 
and pace of modern living and I hope that it will be ap- 
preciated that my line of thought was that if we could 
not relax and take It easy ivith our bird books wo could 
hardly expect to relax and take it easy in any other part 
of our lives. To advocate ecpedicncy in the matter of 
' Green ' instead of ' Roseringed * is the antithesis of 
my attitude towards the subject of v/riting or reading 
about birds, I personally do not decry everything that is 
Victorian, EHA was literally ^ a Victorian ' and his writ- 
ings eve, or perbaps especially, today are a pure delight. 

Mewsletter for Birdwatchers 

What I think should be avoided as far as possible is ugli- 
ness in word and style and I fear that if we are all in . - 
such a hurry that we do not have time to v/rite or say a 
word such as ^ Roseringed ' ugliness will be the end re- ■ 

suit. I'b: Gauntlett took this point of mine very well in 
the last paragraph of his aTticle, 

I would take this opportunity to state that I would 
-rather" refer to a person as an ' eccentric ^ than as a 
__. nut case ' and perhaps Dr Fleming ^s use of ^ Titmouse ^ 
IS not" £0 old fashioned as 1 notice that this word is 
used in that excellent book Birds of tlie VJorld by Oliver 
L, Austin Jr, v^ich was published less than 10 years ago. 

So those aXQ my reasons for having raised this issue. - 
I will now deal more specifically with fi^.r Gauntlett^s 
remarks regarding my own comments. 

Mr Gauntlett quotes VJhistler as using ' Green Parakeet ' 
(actually ^ Parrakeet ' in those days) in his Popular 
- handbook pvblished in 1928 but goes on to say that my 
choice of ■ Large Indian Parakeet ^ for comparison was 
perhaps unfortunate. It may be noted, however, that Vfliis- 
. tier in this same book labels Psittacula eupatria ' The 
large Indian Parrakeet \ You cant have your cake and 
eat it. Whistler's Popular Handbook was Mr Gauntlett 's 
choice not mine. % nomenclature ^j^b taken from Ind-- Hand- 
book Vol, 3. As I hinted in my original comments ' Gree'n^ 
and ' Large ' would probably be amplified to ' Small 
Green Parakeet ' and ^ I^rge Green Parakeet ^ thereby 
negating the effect desired by p/.r Gauntlett, A possible 
reason why ^ Roseringed ' v-rgs introduced, or perhaps ■ 
xe-inbroduced, was that ' Green ^ was considered unsatis^ 
factory and. I would be interested to know the .facts reaard- 
ing this, ^ "" . 

Ur Gauntlett states ^ If Mr Stairmand is still in favour 
of using English names for each subspecies perhaps he.-'- --- 
would Care to suggest a solution to the follovdng problem'-- 
and then sets me an algebraic problem for the solution of 
which I would have had to have attempted to recall Einstein 
from hiS grave, rortunately [for me and Einstein) I have 
never indici^ted that I am in favour of English names for 
each subspecies, V.'hat I wrote about the Indian Scavenger 
Vulture was quite patently in specific regard tj that 
bird. My objection to Mr Gauntlett's ' Egyptian Vulture' 
was that the known range of this bird is nowhere near 
Bengal. In^. Handbook Vol. 1 states, i.n re'spect of dis- 
tribution oi the nominate race's appearances -in our area, 
West Pakistan and HW^ India * possibly straggling into 
U,P., Kutch, W, Rajasthan, etc, ^ I understand from an' ' 
earlier artj cle of Mr Gauntlett that he possesses power- 
ful binoculars supplemented by a zoom telescope but to ^ee 
glL the way across Bihar into U.P. is stretching things a 

Niewsletter fo;r Sirdwatchers 

13 ■ 

bit, X think; and the bird is te:nned only a passible 
straggler into that area, S-o, circumstantially at least, 
only the Indian Scavenger Vulture would be seen in Bengal, 
I would mention here a rather apparent difference between 
the Indian Scavenger Vulture and the Egyptian Vulture, 
The former has" the bill yellow'' iiv adults as against dark 
horny at all stages in the "latter* These birds are seen, 
not infr^jcuently, at fairly cloao quarters on the ground 
and I doubt that the Egyptian Vulture would have been 
overlooked all these years in Bengal, I did proffer ^Neo- 
■ phron ^ which has it:^ antecedents, 

I think it is erroneous to say that birds are fort^ed to 
bear long names. Admittedly, if a man gives his son the 
name of, say, Royston Arlington Spangler Smith that boy 
-is forced to bear the name. But a IVhitethroated Fantaii ^ ". 
Flycatcher vjouldnt give a dam what you c-illed it. 

While Mr l^vkumar J, Kacher is filling in idle moments 
tapping out nostalgic and romantic memories fow readers - 
will be in doubt how Messrs Gauntlett and Stairmand have 
spent their evenings J 


The Editor wishes all members of the Birdwatchers ' Field 
Club of India a very Happy New Year, 

It might seem as' if the Newsletter has started off badly 
because of lack of a printed cover. The fact is that the 
covers v^ich wo have been using last year hd.vs been admit- 
tedly'rather -second rate, and it was intended that we 
, would start the issues of 1971 with something better, Dur^ 
ing the recent visit of the Editor to LoMon--he had the 
good fortune of meeting Mr Stuart Melluish who apart from 
being such a generous friend of the He vjs letter is also a 
competent artist- Ho has offered to make a sketch of the 
cover based on some excellent photographs of Indian birds 
_ taken by Peter Jackson, 

It was hoped that P/ir Melluish would send in a sketch 
sometime in Decemberj but unfortunately this has not yet 

Annu^il 'General Meeting . '■■'■_ 

We had sent you a notice regarding the Tenth Annual 
General Meeting of the Birdwatchers' Field Club of India 
which was scheduled to be held on Saturday, the 16th 
January 1971 at the residence of the Editor at Juhu Lane, 

Unfortunately Dr Salim All will be out of Bombay on 
that day and the meeting will be how held on Saturday, 
the 23rd January 1971 at 5 p,m. at the same place. 

tiewsletter for Birdwatchers 

We hope that all the members in Eombdy will be abj£ to 
-come and others will send in their suggestions for Improv- 
": ing.-the Newsletter and for stimulatino the activities of 

the Club. 

- The Honorary Secretary apologizes for his somewhat ' 
' sleeping partner ' attitude during 1970. 

International VJildfowl Census 

Mr G, W, Savage, IlF Gulburga, Lahore^ W, Pakistan^ 
has played a notable .part in organizing the International 
Wildfowl Census every year. Readers will recall that in 
■ the past vje have circulated the Survey Fcrms end many 
members of our Club have taken the trouble to send back 
these forms to the Editor for tranmission to Ua: Savage/ 
We hope that this year too that a careful effort would be 
made to assess the population of Wildfowl in various parts 
uf the country. Heedless to say that it is most important 
that the returns as far as the, identity of the species is 
concerned must be unimpeachable. It is quite possible to 
be somewhat off the merk as fax as numbers are concerned. 
The questionaire is enclosed in the Newsletter . 

• ''. - 


Winter visitors at Bandra Creek 

..^.. On 22nd November 1970 we were driving towards Tulsi via 

■the Western Express Highway '(Bandra). At the beginning of 
the Highway just after the bridge ^jur attention was drawn 
by a large number of waterbirds on the marsh as well as 
near the edge of the waters of the creek, We hurriedly 
scanned but could not wait long. We hence went again on 
26th November morning for a leisurely-view and found that 
. there were almost hundreds of Blackwinged Stilts ( Hlman - 
. topus himentopus) with their lanky pinkish legs and almost 
jet black vdngs. The wings assumed pointed triangular shape 
m flight while the long legs trailed behind. While the 
majority of them had pure white head and neok there were 
some with a touch of faint grey on head. They were all in 
\ scattered patches and stood-in a- row with patience^ 

\ _Tu^^°"^ '^'^^^ }'^^ stilts were the Redshank' and Sandpipers- 

\ ■ J^9 Redshank ( Trinoa totanus) however was solitary and 

V '■ ' ^{^^'^^''^"^^"^^iy 1^^^ ^"^e of its red logs lame. In flight from 
\ " above, we diagnosed its broad iwhite band at .the outer edge 

Of its vdngs. There were alsj small flocks of Wotjd Sand- 
pG,per [ Trinq a qlarer^la ) and the Common Sandpiper" ( Trinoa 


Nrev;sl^L^^^i for L:^rHj.d[:chorb 

15 - 

hypoleuco O, Seeing them together with thp Redshank afford- 
ed a good opportunity in identification, Tho Wood Sandpiper 
had no wing-bs^^^vf iignt while the ctmunon one had a promin- 

t end white 1-^^*^ v, 

-,"- A Pond t^on or Psd^^ybird) was sitting alone crouched and 

T morose. _^, the m^rsh w^also came across two V/hite Hagt^ils 

runnjj^ and lying acr^^ the dried portic'.s of the marsh. 

"Vipin Parikh 
--i^ Vijay Bhstt 

2nd Khetwadi Lane, Brmbay 4 

Prows as de s trover a of moaoultoes 

I recently observed that crows, especially the House ^ 
Grcvjs are great destroyers of mosquitoes, There is a 
pool of stagnant water nearby vjhich is fLll^of mosquitoes 
which breed in it. Every morning I see that e few crows 
gather thera and they snap ax:" the flying mosquitoes. This 
shows the usefulness of a bird which looLs obnoxious and 
is a big bully to many bea'^itlful birds in the garden. But 
the usefulness of this bird as an efficient destroyer of 
; .pests and a^ a scavenger should not be ignored* 

Kameshwsr Pd* Singh 
A.N.S, College- P.O. Barh 
- :. Bihar, Patna Dist 

,,£ tree that attra ct^ birds ^ Muntingia Calabura 

] - ■ . Mr F. M. Gauntlett in his nice article ' Bird's, in a 
Bengal Garden % I^Jews letter lO(lO), has requested the 
readers to identify, the tree^ in his garden, which attr- 
acts so many birds throughout the seasons- -- 

From the c'esciiption given, 1 thinf: the small tree is 
■---:. Muntingia ralabura p It is. popularly calle Chinese Cherry. 
Bu-t it. is ncL a reel Cherry' 'v.hich belongs to the genus 
£runuE_, It is ao i^.alled because its beriles outwardly 
resemble these ^of the cheriy. 

This small tree has wide ..spreading h.ranches which often 
droop downwards so that the outermost twi'^s come near the 
ground. The iiarrow pointed leaves are obl,.quei and serrate 
and are arranged on very shoi?t stalks in one' plane on 
opposite sides of the branches. The leaves ""^re smooth 
above and silvery-tomontose belev;- Tne small white flowers 
having 5 sepals and 5 petals 'sj:-^ borne siiigly on long 
stalks from above the axils. The petals last for one day 
only. The fruit is a red berry liice that u± cherry but 
unlike a cherry contain a nurnber os small seeds in a 
watery pulp. Fruits of genus Prunus generally contain one 



o r 

1 r 

w a 

e r s 


or two seeds only, 

. r 



The plant is a native of tropical America and has been 
introduced in thiG country, particularly in Bengal,' within 
the last half of a century. The flowers and the fruits 
appear almost all the year round and the ripe juicy berr- 
ies are very attractive to fruit-eating birds. As suggest- 
ed by Mr Gauntlett bird-lovers having some space may plant 
this tree in their gardens. It grows very rapidly and 
spreads a showy canopy. For a sapling one may contact 
the Secretary of the Royal Agri-Horticultural Society -of "■ 
India, 1 Allpore Road, Calcutta 27- 

Ananta Mitra 
6/1 Prince Anwar Shah Road 
Calcutta 33 

Zafar Futehally 
Editor, Newsletter for 
32A Juhii Isne" 
Andheri, Bombay 5S-AS 




VOL NhJo a -1971 FES 




..B I R D W-A T C H E R S 

Volume XI Number 2 


February 1971 


Birds of the Dandeii Sanctuary By S*G. Neginhal 
Miking with Birds by Owen Martin ■,.; , -,■..,. - n 
On Woodpeckers and other matters By K.D, Ghorpade 
The Tenth Annual General Meeting 
Notes and Comments 
Correspondence : 

Redstart from Mrs Sarah Jameson 

Out on the prowl again from D,A, Stairmsnd 

Trema oxientalis from S,G- Neginhal 

-^ J . . - 









S,G. Neginhal 

One will be startled to know that the Dandeli Sanctuary, well- 
known for its mid animals, also harbours one of the richest 
Avifauna. This sanctuary is situated in the ^Vestsrn Ghats of 
North Kanara District of ^lysore State* The forest is mostly a 
moist deciduous type, containing timber trees of Teak^ Rose- 
wood, Nsndi, fu^atti, Kindal, Heddi, etc., and Bamboos, The 
area of the Sanctuary is 206 sq. K.M. I had the good fortune 
of living in this area from July 1969 to July 1970, which 
offered an excellent opportunity of Bird V«"atching vis-a-vis 
the fascinating wild animals like Elephants, Bisons, Sambars, 
Spotted deer, Tigers and Panthers, etc, I could not devote my 
whole time on tjjis bird-watching » as I had to be busy on my 
professional f ore str/* works. Hence I could cover only some 

When I joined at ICulgi, a Central place of the Sanctuary, the 

South-West monsoon ^as in full swing,. On one July morning. 

I-EswsI-^tter- for Birdwatchers 

when i€ was not raining. I spotted 2-3 pairs of Spotted Doves 

[btreptopelia ^hineasis) leisurely hunting insects in my larqe 
compound. A lone yellov?-coloured Grey Waotail (Motacilla 
caspicaj, running about and w-gging its tail, v/ss noticed not 
far from^the Spotted Doves. This Grey Wagtail was seen up to 
April. ihe Spotted Doves turned out to"be. the resident birds 
of this locality, Tno othsr V/agtail I saLv occasionally, du.^ing 
this^period, was the Large Pied V/agtail {Motaoilla maderaspa- ' 
tensis) with its conspicuous white eyebrow. By late July "as 
the rains roceded the Indian Pipits -{A-nthus novaese-^landiae) 
rather in appearance like- 1 ho female house-sparrow started 
visiting- my compound. It was a pleasure to observe those 
plaits, sharply running about and suddenly stopping to hunt 
their prey. The Bluetalled Bee-eaters (Merops philippinus) 
were spotted on thtf hednes when tlio rains were heavy in July- 
August. These suddenly disappeared, v/hon the monsoon ended in 

much noise to roost in a riearby Terminalia tomontosa tree in the 
evenings. I observed an interestihg habit of the^e birds, VJhen 
■the sun IS setting in the evening, these birds sit puffed, 
touching shoulders to shoulder in a line on small branches of a 
hig tree - facing invariably the setting sun in the West. It 
would be interesting to find out what direction they 'would be 
tacing at the time - of dawn, and as to hov; tht'" other birds behave 
in this respect,.;,- 

As the season stepped into Kugust/September the brilliant 

coloured Sunbirds and Flower-Pec'kers started flitting from tree 
to tree and flowers to flowers. They v;erc identified to be the 
tTJrple Sunbird (Nectarinia asiatica), the Purplorumped Sunbird 
tNectarinia zoylonica), the Vellowbacked Sunbird (Aethopyqa 
|iparaja) the lickell's Flov.-erpocker (Dicaeum erythrorhynchos) . 
trom th3s time .onwards v/ere seen the Gr.^en Eulbuls - the Gold- 
^""2^ r^ ■^?''°P^^^ (Chloropsis .aurifrons) - on the inflorescence 
Ox the Eucalyptus tre^s, hanging up and dov.n for their nectar. 

In October, when- the ,Tfonsoon_.v.'as over, the quiet little greenish- 
yellow Common loras [Aegithina- tiphia) announced" their arrival 
on the trees by their quiet note of we-c-e-e-tu. These" were 

, - , I 

Newsletter for Blrdwatchers- 
3 ' " . 

lovely arboreal birds, ^th white barsacross the dark winqs 
lower plumage deep yellow and greenish below tht. breast. These 

tnoved in pairs. On the far off TL-rmin^lia paniculata trees - 
wero sc^n the contrasting flocks of Scarlot .v.inivets (Pericro- 
coi^us flanimous) and Small Minivets (Percroootus cinnamomeus ) in 
lovely colours of bright soarlot and glistening black in male, 
and yello^v and dark plumage in the female. Those were shv 
nature a* ' 

On the telephone wires, opposite my office, the glossy Steel 

blue Common Swallows [Hirundo rustical and the Redrumped 
Swallows (Hirundodaurica) were seen perching from October to 
April. Occasionally the Wiretailed Swallows (Hirundo smithii) 
were seen. A cousin of th.:se Swallows - the Dusky Crag Martin 
IHirundo concolor) - was traced at the nearby Syke^s Point 
ever-whee?ling in the air over the famous crag there, 

:I saw only two typos of Kingfishers and Drongos in this area, 

.nS ^''^i^-^^f v/ere the Common Kingfishers (Alcedo atthis) 
and the '.Vhitebreasted Kingfisher (Halcyon smyrnensis) the 
latter used to come far away from water source to visit mv 
compound Thc^ '.^/hi to- bellied Drongo (Dicrurus caerulescens) 
was seen throughout the year; and the graceful Racket-tailed 
Urongo (Dicrurus paradiseus ] came during the winter and staved 
up to summer, 

I hsvG ECGn all the three typos of p.-irrskocts in this arc... The 
Alexandrine Parrskeet Psittacula aiipatria) with its rose-pink 
collar, a dor.p red bill, red shouldor patches was the most 
raajcsUc. The smaller edition w^.s the Rosaringed Parrakoet ' 
[Psittacula kramen), without the red patch on the wings but 
with a black ring round the neck. Still Emallor was the ElossoHi- 
headed Parrakeot (Psittacula oyanocephala ) with its bluish red 
head (male) and an orange.ycllow beak. All these Parrakeets 
were seen throughout the year. Mention -must bo m.-de here of the 

Ulliputian" Parrakeets I used to see feeding on the nectar 
of the inflorescene of the Eucalyptus trees. These were the 
w?th r^t- ^''^^^^''"' vernalis), in appearance a baby parr.ikeet 
^^d h^n ^tJ ^'"'°" colour, conspicuous crimson rump and a *oral 
Tsa bill. Those were very suspicious arboreal birds, - never 
gave me a chance to go nearer to them with my binoculars. 

hor^f^o^n'^^l"''''""'^'^ ^'^^'^ ^^^■^''^ Whistling Thrush {Myiophoneua 

fh^w^ ^-' """i m"^** whistling deeply in the early dawn. At 
the beginning of November some large "Zebra" marked birds 
started thoroughly inspecting the Cassia ferrungina trees, 
behind my quarters, for insects. These came In pairs and in 
noe^ohollandia:); '""^ '^^"'^ ''^ '^'^^^ Cuckco-Shrlkes (Coracina 

Newsletter for Blrdv/etchers 

In November, after tho rains wore over ?nd the winter had 

cofjimancGd the heevy-billed Hornbills commenced visiting the 
.Sanctuary forests in flocks from the E?.5terr dir&ctlon. The 
fAp.lcb^r PiQd Hornbill (Anthr-coceros coronatus ) h-^d o horn- 
shspod Yellowish bill. The Malabar Groy Hornbill (Tockus 
griseus) was cssqueless above it&'bill. The largest of those 
species was rarely come ^-^cross - the Groat Indian Hornbill 
{Buceros bic-ornis). ' -. ■;-" -_ • '■ \.-'- 

■Whlch /Tire the woodpeckers found in this' erea? I could spot 
.out two bor^.utiful spcci:?s, as the r^ins. receded, Tho Goldon- 
backed woodpecker ..{Dinopdum bongh-lensa) w.-^s the l.-^rg^^st one 
with tht upper plumago mainly black {l could not seen its 
golden-yellow colour ::) Tho^kahratta ^Voodpcokor (DGndrocopos 
fliaharattonsisj v?as comparatively too small and w^s r^rolv come 
across. . ' ^ 

■ One day, in early tJovember. sorne brilliantly yellow- coloured 
--birds, silently moving in tho foliane of a Trema ori^nt-^lis 
tree attracted my attention, Ihose^wcre the- prottv Golden 
Orioles tOriolus oriolus) and" the Blackheaded Oriolos [Oriolus 
xanthornus). It was a prised sight to see them on a single tree. 
One e^.rly morning of this month, while p-ssing below a tall 
Adina cordifolia tree, some ple.iSE^nt musical whistles stprtlod 
me to look up, only to see a flock of lovc-ly common Green 
Pigeons (Treron phoenicoptera ) basking in the <^crly winter Sun. 
They had lovely lilac patches on their shoulders. The winti.^r 
had brought down on earth a paradise for a bird-watcher. 
Suddenly on a fine morning of c-arly December the Hoopoe {Upupa 
epopsj came down on the dusty road, walking and running with a 
peculiar gate, probing with its long. Slender bill into 'the 
dust for insects and their larvae. This vathdrew from the scene 
as the South-V/cst monsoon advanced in June later. 

Tho attractive Grey Jungle fowls {G:illus sonneratii)", which were " 
so profuse about a decade ago, were- now found scarcely on the 
forest roads. This may be due to the much disturbance of the 
forest floor caused during the- extraction of bamboos by the Pap=r 
miils, Dandeli- The only Quail found was the Jungle Bush Quail 
IPerdicula asiatica), No Partridges were to bo seen. 

The other birds I saw were ric?"re-Si^ Hv'e'ly, Amongst the h--wks, 
the bhikr?-hawk Accipitor badius) vjas seen often- Flocks of 
Jungle Babblers (Turdoidos striatus) wore hopping about and 
flying low on the ground. The House Shifts [Apus af-Finis) wore 
sQsri flvmg near- the culverts, 'The piod Buschat (Saxicola 
capra^a] and the Magpie > Robin., (Copsychus saularis ) were often 
noticed, r>ut their similar colofation (in male) often confused 
thoir identification. The Crow-Phoasant (Centropus- sinensis) 
was often soon stalking on the ground. The mbuseHiko Nuthatch^^s- 

Wewslett^r for Birdwatchers 

5°^^^'^'^^'l"^*-'=°'^"<*.fSitta castanea) arid Velvetfronted (Sitta 
frontalis) wero occasionally found actlvGly moving up ,^nd down 
the branches and trunks. A lone hlue Jay (Coracias Lnghal°n"is) 
was_found sitting on tho tclcphono wire from November Snwfrds 
Rndv!!^t^H'fr"'°^".' this was not traccablo. C Bulbuls ! the 
Rcdvented (Pycnonotus cafor) and the Rodwhiskered (Pycnonotus 
jocosus) - were quite plenty throughout the year, olo Till 
ZT^^ h ^^^""^ bird Orthotan>us sutorius) Ls founS chirping 
on_a bamboo tvag, calling her ;rata to roturn home! An<-T the 
rains wore over the Nightjars Caprimulgus .isiatUus) «r-- seen 
p'r^i"? tS'"^" ^''^^'^ moonlight/ C^r National bird -^te 

?ho K^in^^^t'nt' 't!^'' '^'^° 'P°^^=-f "°^'^ ^^^ ^y^'^'^ paint and 
^„^^'^!w°"'^£ ^r.; '"' ''°'""""' "'y"^ lAoridothoras tristis) wes 
.^^^"^^'^""S.lout the yoar as also the- House Crow (Corvus splendens) 

fSturnus ^^^ H ^^°7 ^"^^^^^^ macrorhynchos). The BrahmLy Myna 
Uturnus pagodarum) was occasionally seen. The Guttle Eqret 

roported'tfh^Vof %'?"?? "'*' .'^° grazing cattle. Thov'are .von 
Ihichni^ T V^ following the grazing Bisdos and -Sembars, 

-■which prize I could not bag. .One day I saw the Bsnq^l Vultures 

an Eloph-nt or a Brsoni - in the f.-.r off v-liov. The House 
sparrow was conspicuously absent. ■ °^' '^^^ House 

St^r'in^iL''^'^^ " ^^^ '^'^ (Ex^dyoamys scolopacea) - silent and 
l^t^m 1^1^ "^^^ ''°^^°" ''"'^ ^-^^^y ''■'i"^^^^ suddenly orruptod 
-t??n.? M n' "°*f '.l^^^^vlding the spring in March! Ih/plL 
ttiGSt bird I srw during the summer from Apiil to May w.-s the 

F^nt ■ rFf^^':^^'''^ (Torpsiphonc paradisi ). The W^it^spottcd 
Fantail Flycatcher (Rhipidura. aibogularis) with its striking 

■?^^.^J" TiS'^ t"'^ ^'-"""^ ="* *'^i^ ™= f«^"<i i" the driver 
tracts of the Sanctuary. 

Th«''^.t^^ a nurabsr of ponds P.nd water t^nks in the Sanctuary. 
"I^t.l Ir. ""^^r '^^^^^^ the Sanctuary on two sides. These 

iVfll Mvh"^ ?h^°k <=-^?2ll='"* opportunities for observing the 
water-birds side by side the f^.mous wild lifo of the Senctuary. 
At- those spots I spotted the P-'.ddy Bird (Ardeola grayii) the 

So li ^"'^-thrf'i.'^^'r^^:-') ^^^ kittle Grobe Po^ic^s ' 
ruficollis), the Utile Egret Egretta garzetta), the Kiver Torn 

the Uttt^'^r'''-'' the Redwattled Lapwing [Vanellus Indicus) 
(Pornh Cormorant (Phalacrocorax nige.r the Purple MoorheA 

;fntPd^T=^ = ^ = r?H°'-:^^" '^°°^ '^^l^^^^ ^tra) and the Bronze! 
winted Jacanas (Metopidius inaicus) and the Darter (Anhinga " ' 

Wo thus Jiave plonty of bird 5ong, snd when t took the recorder 
into the g.^rd^n for tho first trial I folt reasonably sure that 
I would got B.t least somo bird sounds on to tho tape. It was mid- 
April ^nd I v/as .-^ut woli before da^vn; the ?,ir smc-lt good and it 
was mild: m.^,ybo ? roal Spring day was in store for us at last. 
And it was quiet - but not for long as suddenly, from the Cherry 
tree only a few feet above my he?d, our resident Hobin broke into 
song-^ There was just enough light to make out his silhouette 
and to Eee_the puffs of condensation from his beak at each burst 
of .sound, cor a Eninut;: he was on his own, th-^n c^me tho chellen- ' 
ging answer from his riv-^^l doxm" the road. This was a really 
superb duet, ?,nd in my anxiety to get it on to the record I ■" 
dropped the microphone, fumbled tho starting switch and adjusted 
the Tone Control instead of Volumcj . But at last things were set - 
and tlip recorder vjas workingi 

5oon the other birds came in. First one- Blackbird then ahbthor; 
then Song Thrushes, Tits, Greenf inchj-s, Dunnocks, Chpffinchos, 
Carrion Crows, a Tawny Owl, a cock Phe^^sant - the lotj "This was 
terrific stuff and I was trembling with ^-xcitement when the tape 
r.-'n out twenty minutes later, with the chorus stiU qoina full 


Newsletter for ^BirxJwgtchcrs --^ 


Owen Martin 

- — ■ i 

Since first hearing Ludwig Koch^s splendid bird song records I { 

have had the urge to make some myself. So when I acquired a ^' f 

portable recorder i was very keen to try it on our own local " 

birds- : 

Before I tell you how I fared, 1 think I should describe th^ bird ^ f 

aspect of .the outer London suburb in v/hich we live. It is a .' 

typical suburb with miles and r-iilos of roads -nd houses, but there 

are .public parks and woo'dland, and many private g^.rcens with the 

usual lawns, ^flower -beds, vegetable patches, hedges and orchards * 

which make oases in the brick and concrete desert. There is also 

a human populace which is at least tolc-r:\nt of birds, so for those 

species which hayo learned to accept man and his many undesirable 

ways, this is attractive territory - plenty of food both natural 

and man-provided, numerous and varied nesting sites, and good 

places to roost. So it supports a bird population far higher than 

that of tie open count-ry, and although the number of species is -low 

t I. have logged only 32 regulars in our garden) volume makes up 

for variety. 

Newsletter for Birdvvat chirrs j. 

7 . . - 

The first play-back was equally thrilling, but the next roplay 

began to show up tho faults. Th^ davm chorus' was all thore 
very loud and v^ry cloarj so. too were less .attractive sounds", 
and 1 began to l..^arn fhc'loBson of unw^.nted Background Noiso. 
A Boing at London Airport has almost drowne<^ the Tau^ny, and surely 
there could not have been all that traffic in our road at that 
early hour? And what was that peculiar thumping and pumping that -- ■ 
competed with one of the Song Thrushc-s? It was mysterious until 
I recognised my own hoarboats and not-so-subdued smokor's wheeze. 
I now have a reminder pasted on to the recorder - "Don't breath 
into .the mike"- 

Background noise is a nuisance and difficult to avoid* If it's 
there, you just have to w3it until it stops, or put up with it. 
But happily not all is objectionable: -1 have a pleasing record 
of a Willow ':'Jarbler in duet u/ith his rival, with a distant village 
clock chiming in tho background; .-^nd a jangling bullock cart makes 
a nice accompaniment for the Saurus Cranes at kooladeo Gh^na - 
but rno:ce of- that anon- 

Sorae birds^are just too easy to record, others infuriatihgly 

difficult. The confident, persistent singers are the easy ones, 
particularly those vdth constantly used song porches. With them 
i-t may be only a matter of vj;? Iking up and offering them tho micro- 
phone, and for those vjho resent a direct approach it is simple ' 
to rig up the mike with a long lead and work the recorder from 
nearby cover. 

In tho more difficult category are the less persistent singers, 

and the- skulkers and flitters of tie treetops and undergrowth. 
They use no song posts but whistle as they w:3rk, as it were. Some 
of the warblers in particular are this way inclined, and to get 
them on the record enta-ils waiting around in the hope of being in 
the right place at the right time. Singers and callers on the wing,- 
the larks, and the waders, wildfowl and raptors - are even more 
audibly elusive, and I have not yet becn'ablo to record any of 
them well, 

I hove tried vvith limited- success to record tho other noises made 
by our garden birds - their call notes, sub-songs and conversa- 
tional chattering. The naturally garrulous species seom to derive 
considerable satisfaction and .stimulous from cominunal chatter 
sessions and Starlings at times engage in mimicry of, the 
other birds whose territories they share. Last !7inter vje h=id one 
who made perfect imitations of the lovely call of the Curlew, a 
bird one is not likely to see' or hear within" less than 50 miles 
of our house, 1 thus suspect that this individual was one of 
the many V/intor migrants IjVg get from Mortharn England and Conti- 
nental Europe, To ponder where he learned the Curlew call is 


Wewsiettor for Birdwatchers 

Our Goldginchcs too are great talkers. During the '/dnter th^ 
garden flock - or should I use the old English collective noun 
for these birds: 'charm'? - builds up to about 24, attracted by 
the seods of the toezlcs w^ grow for their spocial pleasure. 
Tho microphone placed in .the Teazle clump collects some remar- 
kable sounds. Th,.ra is ""tha usual pugnacious bad language during 
competition -for a particularly "attractive seed'hcad, and also a 
continuous flow of contact c^Hs. V/ith practice, and until l^,to 
Autumn, one can distinguish adult voici^s" from those of juveniles 
of the year- 

Sub-Eongs are difficult to record as the mike must be much nearor 
to the singer and I have succeeded once, and only partially, with 
a Blackbird, This was a known and easily rocognised individual 
who had allowed the taping of his full sono earlier in the ysar, 
and I was surprised to find fronj conipaxin9''the two records that 
the sub-song was not merely a subdued replica; it was different 
in key and rhythm, V/hather this applios for all sub-songs I do 
not know, 

TO a^evett to -India, I brought ths recorder .with me on my last 
visit, and G-S, Rahganathan and I tried it first at Keoladoo 
Ghana. It was in April and the Taurus Cranes wore courting 
loudly, V/c made some splendid tape and were pleased with one 
bit in particular for as well as the bullock cart wo caught 
other pleasant noises - gurgling water, plonking frogs and a 
not tpo strident cricket. Unfortunately that piece of th:: record 
had to be stopped suddenly; I wonder if I dare suggest th^-?t the 
Warden fS.ts a silencer to his motor bike? 

We made possibly our most successful record one evening as we 

were heading back to the Rest House. From reeds alongside a 
bund came a terrifically loud song; challenging, urgent, enthu- 
siastic - and not knovjn to either of us; 'Tockety tockety 

frogety tock tock " And would the singer show himself? He 

would not, G.S.R, suspected a Groat Reed i^arblor, and a play- 
back later to Dr. Salim Ali confirmed that he was right. 

In the morning from the Rest House balcony we made some good 
Indian dawn chorus records which make an interesting comparison 
with my English ones. There were Bulbuls and Parakeets, Magpie 
ftobin and Drongo, Pied Kingfisher and Peacock, Purple Sunbird 
and Doves - and of course the Crovjs, Jungle and House, and many 
more. Background noises wore there but not too obtrusive - pot 
banging and gossip from the kitchen, and the inevitable human 
dawn chorus of throat clearing. That I suppose would be classed 
as essential local colour. 

Newsletter for Birdwatchers 
; 9 . . r. - 

We also made a recordiny of the "Yacle yockle. > , -!, " of the 

Indian Nightjar" one Gvoning afKartialan This was a now sound 
to mc, and quite unliko the continuous, low-pitchod churring 
of the Europoan iJightjar; iri fact I at first thouoht we were- 
: listening to some kind of owl. After making tho record we 
■-playod it back at maximL-m volume with quite startlljig results 
V ;.as our Nightjar responded at considerably increased speed to 
-: ■challL^nge a suspected rival In his territory. I made the mental 
- .-.. ■.-Jiote that this playba-ck technique might oossibly -encourage birds 
-■ 7 •■■ within range of jay camera; this hap; yet to be tried in practice. 

Our final recording- attempt was in the Editor's lovely garden 
'■■': ■^t_^ndhGri where we hoped to catch the Koslis evening clamour, 
; ■ This was not to be as the clamour we heard was different and 

L unexpected: "Oom pah pah, oom pah pah" from a very near and. very 
loud nuptial brass band. 

You. see what I moan abbut background noise? 


. K, D, Ghorpade 

When' 1 wrote that initial article describing the alleged 
destruetive habit of the Blackbacked Woodpecker, my main in- 
tention -.was, as I have F-lready pointed out, to bring it to tho 
notice of fellow birdwatchers and to find out if 5uch a habit 
has been seen, read .or hoard of by any of them. Unfortunately 
(probably due to f-.ulty presentation by myself ^nd/or misinter- 
pretation by h\r, Neelakantan and jjlx-. Uvkumar), things got a 
little out of hand and I was" credited with s- view that I vjr-s 
b.ent- on proving th^-^t all woodpeckers were harmful to coconut 
and other fruit; and hence on promulgating their exteXTi^i nation 
in the interest of our econorny and the benefit of the Indian 
peasant. So, instead of getting an answer to my problem, 1 
found myself plumb in the middle of a heated debate in "the 
defence of woodpeckers and on the urgent need for the conser- 
vation of our natural environment, including our bird life. 
The only consolation .1 deprived from all this discussion was that 
indirectly I had managed to provoVe a very welcome exchange of 
views, ideas and in.-ormation on -a particuiar topic, which un- 
happily, is such an uncommon feature in thi^. Ne wsletter. -: 

But, in a way, frorii:i;he seVoial articles that have appeared on 
the apparent injurious habit of tie Llackbeckod Woodpecker, I 
have come to ? sort of conclusion on the subject which prompts 
me to close (temporarily) the arguemcnt over this c:introversial 
subject with 'the following comments '-■nd observations;- 

Newsletter for Birdwatchers 

Since no one has confirmed the alleged destructive habit of this 
woodpecker to coconut fruit and :ipinion has been contrary to the 
allegation, it may -be tentatively presumed thst such a habit 
docs _ not exist end that the damage done to t>ie coconuts may be 
attributed to soms other factor; thus Leaving the woodpocker in 
the clear for the present. Henceforth, more attention could be 
paid by birdwatchers in the country to the food habits of the 
indigenous Picidao; to establish exactly what percentage fruit 
occupies in the woodpeckers' normal diet in different regions 
and conditions. Evon if a vjoodpecker, or for th^.t matter any 
bird assumes pest proportions (i,e, causes damego to a crop to 
such an extent th'-t it comes in the way of successful and profit- 
able production of that crop), extermination either by shoot- 
ing or by other methods such as poisoning by spraying the crop 

with suitable pesticides or by poison-baiting is not the 

primary means of roduoing bird damage; in fact, measures currently 
in use ageinst bird-pests of agriculture include bird-scaring by 
noise , by a man on gu^rd vdth a catapult, by the traditional 
'Scarecrow^ or more recently by the mechanicel bird-scaring 
device specially manufactured for this purpose- Against v/ood- 
pecker pests, vjq c:?uld benefit by adopting the measures prp.ctice 
by the United States as suggested by iMr, Serrao /^ev;slotter lO(il): 

^f^^' ^eelakantan^and K-unvar S^ri Lavkumar have probably taken a 

their ranks and go ell out for the cause of conservation. At 
this point lot m^' make it clear that 1 had shot the woodpecker 
not so much to please the local .peasants or .to present it from 
destroying my coc-nuts as I had for possessing a skin of this 
uncommon species f^^r scientific purposes. , If I so desired and 
found necessary, I could have killed all the woodpeckers that 
entered our estate, but needless to say I did not di so. As to 
Mr, Lavkumar's opini >n that further acquisition of bird skins has 
now become unnecessary, 1 would like to take him up on that 
matter, and will discuss this later on in this article. 

It is no doubt true "that the need for conservi:iti:)n in recent 
years has d.iublod, ^nd th.'>t this current av/areness and c^nce]^n 
for the preservation of i^ur natural wealth c uld not come 
at a more appropriate moment; but a distinction has to be 
made betvjeenthe type uf cT^nservation required in different 
regions'and countries of the w^rld, and the diverse f?rms of 
anirtial and plant life to be given special thought and consi- 
deratiJn, Surely this present crusade in the vjorthy cause of 
nature conservation does not intend to pron.mnce a complete 
stoppage in the killing of any kind of animal anywhere in -the 
v^rld, does it? It is probably for this wesson that the lUGN 



;^2V^3letter for Birdv/stchars 

is preparing its 'Red List' of animals in ijiunccliate danger of 
e>:tinction, sj that cjncontrst^d affcrts are made to protect 
at least those seriously cndangerGd animals. Similarly it is 
hoped that this laudable International body d&dic3te<i ,t:^wards 
the catiSd of consorvation will come up vjith scientific sugges- 
tions that will help us tj tske better care if jmx .'environment 
in future, - , T ' , 

vVhat I an trying to get at is this: in the name of c mservation 
WG need net prohibit the killing of a species which, at prcsu^nt 
is in no d3ngor ef extinction. On the other hand, every effort 
mte t be made to protect and c unserve th.: species that are threa- 
tc-ned; there can- be no doubt ^bout that. At least for systematic 
studies and other scientific research vte will need specimens of 
animals (including birds) from different parts if the wjrld, 
some parts of which, including India are inadeqieteiy explored 


that no more scientific specimens, even among birds which are 
the best known animal gr jup in the vjorld today (9B per cent of 
thG probably existing species and subspecies being known) are 
needed by musoums and museum workers. In India alone, the glaring 
gaps in tho knowledge of oux birds and the lack of 'bird skins 
from many parts of the country and of many species is revealed 
by Mr, Huma-/un Abdulali in his commendable catalogue of the bird 
specimens in the ciiliection -Df the Bombay Natural History Society 
(JBNHS 65: 182 et seqO- It is now an established fact that the 
days of random collection of a large number ef bird specimens 
from different parts of our subcontinent are gone; but v^at is 
really needed new is the careful acqoisiti Dn :if small series of 
different species from are- as where such specimens are not avai- 
lable in museums as evident from Mr, Abdulali's Catalogue. Such 
series wDuld not only help in the knowledge of the exact distri- 
bution of each sp^^cles in our area but also in the more c^jrrect 
delimitation :f the 'different subspecies of each species, the 
precise range inhabited by each subspecies with the areas of 
intergradation, and an idea of the amount of natural variation 
that exists within a species, vjith the effect of various environ- 
mental and genetic factors over this variation. These fundamental 
and applied studies^ especially in India, are a must for the 
better understanding of our fauna, which at present is very 
poorly understood when C'jmpared with that of the British Isles 
for instance. It is to be hoped, therefore, th^'t the number of 
professional Ornithologists "and sciontif ically inclined amateur 
bir^^watchers increases and these persons are given more encou- 
ragement, guidance and opportunities for research on the Avifauna 
of the country. 

Newsletter for Blrclw?tch<?^rs 

My observation on the reduction in the numbers jf migratory water- 
birds t3 southern India during tho 1969-70 winter reason waz^ « 
supported by a similar :>bs5rvatijn by Mr, Neeleksntan which pro- ^T 
mpted Mr, Serra u to pon his most informative article on thi.-^ - ^ 

I subject ^Newsletter 10(9): 7-8. _/, He quotes Vidal's sugcj^st-aon i 

-■that" owing tp largo tracts in the north Indian plains being inun- 

■..: dated 'with huge sheets of w^.ter dua to excepti:jnally ho.ivy rains 

■?'- in ths p3^sceding. mjnsoon season, migratory waders, shorebirds and 

.waterf :>wl "presumably found it unnecessary to continue their south-' ^ '■ 

'"- ward migration to southern India in their usual numbers. This '° \ 

suggestion is in complete agroc^ment with J'^, Neelakanten^s end ray 
observations last winter, ^ 

But Vidal' also observed that in the esse of certain migratoi7 

birds not influenced by the presence and extent of inland wsters, 
the reverse was the case. i»e. Ring Dovos, migratory Warblers and 
Rosy Past:irs were in greater numbers while the water birds were -' 

poorly represented in such seasons of hoavy rainfall mentioned 
■ above. This is another interesting 'aspect jf such abnormal 
seasons which could be profitably pursued. In my case, I cannot 
say that last winter I noticed any increase in the numbers of 
migratory birds not attached to inland waters, such as 'v/arblers, 
Flycatchers, cuckoos, falcons, etc, but it should be interesting 
to know from Mr. Neclskantan or any other birdwatcher from the 
south if he did observe such a thing. 


The Xth Annual General Meeting of tiG Birdwatchers' Field Club of 
India was held on Saturday, 23rd January, 1971 at the residence 
of the Editor, Approximately 20 persons were present, 

1) Dr. Salim All v/as elected Chairman of the Meeting., 

Before going on with the agenda, .he. referred to the sad death 
of Mrs Usha Ganguli who was one of the Editors of the Newsletter, 
and had played such a c .instructive r^ie in the past many years. 
Dr. Salim All said that she wa.s according to him one of the 
finest field ornithologists in India, There were many people, 
he said, who^ wero .able to identify birds in the field correctly, 
but few were so well briefed vdth the separate identification 
points of each bird and in a positi:)n to, point these out on the 
spur of the moment, 

2} The Honorazry Secretary gave a report on the functioning of the 
Club, and s^.id that the Newsletter was being sent but to approxi- 
mately 250 persons of ^vViich 145 had paid subscriptions, Oit of 


Newsletter for Birdwatchors 

the subscribers 13 were stuclGnts who paid a subscription st a 
conccssr^nal rate of fc.V- only. However, taking every thing 
mte account the financial position of the Club w^b less un- 
^™^T ^ ^^^ than an the previous yeers, for tho total receipts 
trom January and December 1970 amounted to fe. 1,460,99 and the 
total Gxponaiture was fc.i,809.19 leaving a deficit of fc,348.20; 

" As usual the Dynaoraft Machine C?. Pvt, Ltd. had absorbed ^ost 

' ot the printing and postage e:<penditure and in the current 

account of the Club there was a sum of fc. 1,3^0,95. Some printing 

^t^i . ^^^^ ^^^^^ outstanding and these w.uld be paid from 

xnxs aiiiounta 

- 3) The Honorary Secretary read out a letter from Mr. K.D. Ghor- 

pade and one from Dr Chottubhai Sutar in which they had made 

nV,^^ r^^'f^^^^t^""^ ^^^ ^'^^ Newsletter and for the Activities 

; ?L S ? n^^^^S^^.^^? ^ gerieral request for continuing with 

to .^.^ ^L^il ^^?.?^ the^Month\ and Mr, S.V, Nilakanta .greed 

to gear himself to this again. 

Members also felt that it was essential to have reqular field ' ' 

llloVnflf^ ^ri ^^^^^^^ ^^'^ ^^^^ ^'^- ^^^^^i^ should bo 
?Er^f ^ t""^ Secretary. An attempt should be made through -■ 
l^l f^t^ Transport and other organisations to let us have^rbus' 
for these field outings at a a reasonable charge, 

nl.J'^^.^^-^n^'^^^^ persons were duly proposed and elected on the 
Editorial Board of the Newsletter, ^ t^ un tne 

Dr, Salim Ali,, |^.K,^Ii, 

46, Pali HilX, 
Bandra, Bombay 50, 

^^r5 Jamal Ara, 

Horth Office Para, - ■ 

Doranda, Hinoo PpO,, 

ftanchi; Bihar. 

Dr, Biswamoy Biswas, 
Indian iVuseum, ' 
Zoological Survey of India, 

Calcutta - 13. 

Kunvar Shri Lavkumar, 

Rajkumar College, 

Mewslettex fbx Birdwatchars 

Prof. K.K. Nenlekantan, 
Govt. Victoria College, 
Palghat - 1, ICarale. 

Mr. B.R, Grubh, 

Bombay ■Natural History Sjciety, 

Bombay - 

Mr; RiCt Fleming, Junior, 



Mr. D.A,_-Staiiinand, 

Mercantile Bank Ltd-, 


Brother A Navarro » 

St. Xavier's High School, 

Bombay - 1, ' ■ 

5) Mr. Zafar Futehally.and Mrs L. Noelakanta wer'^ duly prop'.scd 
and elected Honorary .Secretary and'Honorary Treasurer jf tho Club. 

The meeting CDncluded mth a v^te of thanks to the Chairman, Dr, 
Salim hli and also t; the hostess of the eveninq Mrs Laeea 


At the Tenth Annual General Meeting {at which incidentally nJ one 

, "comntented that tha Newsletter had survived for adecade in this 
precarious world) some changes were made in the Editorial Do^i-d, 
Mr, S,V, Nilak^nta and R,K. Scthna were dropped merely to allow 
the induction of fresh bio ^d and is no reflectijn on persons 
deposed ace to the valuable contxibution which they made to the 
Club. Tho Editor app^logises to Messrs .Floniing, Stairman'd, and 
Navarro for including their names in the Editorial Board without 
getting th^ir previous written consent. There have been legiti- 
mate complaints about the poor cycl restyling and et:iting- 
Readers can help greatly by typing their manuscript (double, 
spaced) and including wherever appropriate the Latin'names of 
the birds. Members are requested again tj send in extracts 
and^procis of the various articles they read in v^ri.'us ornitho- 
logical magazines- This section can be a valuable addition- to 
the Newsletter and several members who do not get an opportunity 
to go out int:) the field could yet play an important p^irt in 
supplying us with material. 

Newsletter for Birdvjstchers 


The Editor vnuld bi3 f.'^iling In his tiuty if he did not pay a 
special tribute to J,S; Serrao for typing and editorial assi- 

VJe are still "coverlcss", ?nd this is perhaps because of the 

postal strike in England. VJs are sure that Stewart .Melluish 

tias by nov- completed the- line dravdngs oij which he has been 

working- " ■ 

*lHHt *** -frit* *** **** 

In a recent talk in Bombay Sir Hugh F,l, Hiliott, speaking on 
the "Ec^loglcB.1 Basis of Conservation", referred to the tenacity 

of birds and vegetation and -thoir capacity to survive in h.:istile 
urban environinentsi The .Editor wont out for a bixding with Sir 
Viugh on.ttie 26-^h 'Janiiary and ^s3"vj;a "delightful congregation, of 
Birds at 'Ma him Creek, aiiiiost-'under a rarli^ray bridge oyer which 
there was c :>ntirLU'?us traffic ^ 'The "morning ' s list included black* 
winged Stilts, Blecktailed Godv/its, ^Redhanks, Sp^ttoi^ Sandpipers, 
Indian'Stints, Desert Vlheetear, Blackheadcd Gulls, Gullbilled 
Terns, All these were seen in a very small area of the creek 
during a brief twenty minute period, V/hat can attractive Bird 
Sanctuary could be made in-the area, if our GovdroiaeBt' woi;ld 
apply its mind to it. Will any of omr readers tako up this 
cause? ;^"It must be done before the "development" of the area 
is takeh'iri hand. 

**** *** *#j(- *** **** 

Will all members please send in their subscription "for the 
period ending 31-12-1971? Cheques to be made in the name of 
'Zafar Futehally^. -...■" 



I 'was very glad to I'iild an article on the Redstart by D,A. 
-Stain-land in the December Nev-fsletter, as for'the £irst "time, 

a Redstart (Phenicurus ochrurus) has come to our garden- On 
October 24th 1 heard a new call, and again on the 25th, and 
saw the bird - a" male Redstart. I have not heard this call 
since, though the bird is still around, ' In winter, according 
to Whistler "the call then is a curious little croak". I 
have not hoard this. Forabsut twoweeks the Redstarts 
regiJlar beat was round the house jutside our bedroom so I 
was able to study him frequently and at close quarters- Al- 

Me^-^letter for Birdwatchers 

though i-t was early in the Kiint&r, thece vjaa very little grey 

ab'jut him. On November 18th 1 saw him on the drive. I st^jod 
absolutely still and watched through binoculars at close range 
for about 5 minutes. During this time on four different occa- 
sions he fle^ up about 3 or 4 feet to capture- insects returning 
to the ground immc-cistely after. The rest of the time he shi- 
vered his tail, hopped about, and did "knoe bends"- I was not 
able to discover the cause of the knee bonds. On December 14th 
I saw him >n the ground under a myrtle bush almost next the well 
of the huuse- 

I frequently look Jut of the v.'indow at odd times of day. in the 
hopes of sooing something of interest, and at 2 p,m, on December 
28th I was rewarded with "an eyefuil", Within an area of not 

Wurnix suscitatorj, and a male Koel, his beady red eye and 
olue black plumage gleaming in the afternoon sun> The sp^^rows. 
Quail and K.00I are permanent residents jn this garden, 

In-thQ:-9'^^ issue of ^le Newsldtter I was interested to see Mr 
Gauntlett's letter referring to ray article sent from Coonoor, 
and hrs agreement that birds are frequently found a-t much higher 
elevations than are mentioned in the books, 1 am verygl^d that 
he has confirmed that the sunbirds I saw must have been Lotcn's, 
1 am not sure how high Kodaikanal is, but 1 have seen the Purple 
^'^S^nn^^^^ times in garden in Coonoor, at a height of about 

I am glad that iV.r, Gauntlett has been able to identify the 
warbler as a Greenish, or Dull Groon Leaf Warbler, I now hope 
he will be able to s ^Ive This warbler problemJ 1 quote from my 
notes: On October 25th saw and heard f ^r the first time s >me 
kind of w?rbler or flycatcher- Two -^jf them, sparrow size or 
smaller » olivaceous brot^n above with perhaps a faint yellov;ish 
tinge, buffy white below, round heat! brownish greyish, bl.-^c'< or 
very oark eyes, bill yellowish, logs greyish, dirty white oya-- 
brow, and a possible very faint dirty white vdng bar, Verv 
quick jerky uiovom^nts flitting restlessly in creopers en hiuse 
anc? nearby shrubs. Saw them as close as it was possible thi juqh 
binoculars but very difficult to describe accurately, hence 
.the number ai "ishos" on the descriptive in^ordsj IF ONLY thov 
would stay still for even a few seconds: The two, a pair-^/ 
were calling alternately t:> each ottier from a yard or tivo apart 
a very pretty little song, quite loud, something like ^poo-poe- 
pera, pee-pee-^per \ full speed ahead and almost continuously- 
1 have seen and heard them several times since then, and on one 
occasion I recorded their song, which I hope will help in identi- 


f^av;slG.tter for Birdwatchers 


fying thera I hear that Mr. Gauntlett is quite an eaoGrt at 
recording bird calls, and as I find he lives le^ss tha^ 50 miles 
■away I am hoping to meet him and get his advice on tap-recording, 
as mine is still very much, in the expsrimental stage. 

^""^pJ^t"?^ fii *''° trouble, in Bengal, I am glad to find the birds 
are still with us, and we are still hping-t^ see you here one dayJ 

Kith "our best wishes for the New Year, 

Mrs Sarah Jameson 
Dlsergarh P.O., 
Dist. Burdwan, W,B. 

■ " Out on the Prowl again 

I was_confined to my flat, duo to a minor illness, for two weeks 
from just before Christmas until this morning (6/i) v/hen I was 
allowed out of captivity for a short spell. 

^ ^h''^}^t ^'^^°^'^ sunrise I to::>k a taxi upto the public "qarricns 
on Hill, Bombay, and although the area thesrclays is 
In thi"Lv°''^ and more surrounded by flats, and many people were 
in the gardens taking their morning constitutional irglk/u was 
marvellous to be out on the prowl again. 

Roseringfed Parakeets, House and a fovj Jungle Grows, Palm Svifts 
and Pariah Kites wore the birds to immediately attract my atten- 
tion_and I welcomed the call of a Kbel. At least this bird does 

^T^no^th^^^^"^* '^ e- check on the crow overpopulation. Walking 
along the GJttreme west side of the gardens I soon had the 
delightful experience of watching a- part of about ten "^ite-eves 
and several Purplerumped Sunbirds. These birds were down below 
me and mace an absolutely beautiful picture as they flew around 
= nd ir ^^^""^ ''^"■^■^^,?" poirsettia, roses, red and yellow canna, 
d^d l^t f b-^'^'^g.-^invillea in tubs. The l«ftite-eyos and sunbirds ' 
die. not always^appear to get on too well, but perhaps this was 
merely high Spirits, and occasionally these birds co-existed 
^^^^^^^^^."^"Sether on the same plant. There were obviously 

H.t^^^5^ ever twenty minutes and presented a particularly 
delightful spectacle against the brilliant bracts of the poin- 
otttf- T '^0'^^93i''"fll?a; One sunbird had a very liquid bath 
on the dew on bourgainvillea bracts and several of the i'Jhite- 
eyes appeared to heve white on the crowns of their heads; 

f^^ +v:I i^^^ ^Pf"'?f^"'=^ "■^^ caused by the morning dew or pollen 
from the flowers vixtY< which they came into contact. The H'hite- 

Newsletter for Birdwatchers 
18 . 

eyes and sunbirds visited the flower sprays of a- -Royal Palm 

and then settled in a plaasant leafy tree to preen and sun 

themsGlvc-s- A Tailor Bird also visited the Royal Palm for m 

insects. I was delighted vjith all this as, over tho past two 

years, I have seen little of IVhite-eyes. I am much better at ^ 

spotting lores which, apparently contrary to other readers' 

experiencijs, I have little difficulty in seeing most weok-ends- " 

1 Tjeved on from this spot and noted the lovely ixora which also' 

attracts sunbirds and m^-inaged to see a m^le Koel in a large -. 

tree next to a big Poepal, but the socretive female Koal eluded ^ 

me. The peepal had some ripe figs an:l a small party of Copper- ^ ■ 

_ smiths were there with their stackiness and bright colouration 
and even a few cslls. It was now one hour after sunrise and a 
Green Bee-eater had risen and was voicing its pleasant trilly 
tree- tree -treo and making graceful sallies after insects, I had 
missed the usual pair of V^itesp.^'tted Fantail Flycatchers in and 
around their favourite Asoka but I did see, and hear the tinkling 

- song, of those charming lively birds in a flowering mango on my 
way dowf) through the gardens to Babuinath Road and this made a 
fitting end t"? a very pleasant hour jt so to be had even in a 
big crowded city in 1971, 

D,A, Stairmand 

"Trema grlentalis 

In the article entitled "Birds in a Bengal Garden" by Shri F;M, 

Gauntlet published in the Nev/slstter Vol.10 NoilO of October 

1970, the author has referred to a "Cherry" tree on which be ^ 

observed many birds flocking. From the description of the- said 

tree as given by Shr:. Gauntlet, the "Cherry" tree referred to ' 

appears to be Tx-ema or lent a lis species, which he may verify. 

The T r e mg^ .oriontalis is a small fast growing tree. Its bark is 
thin. The leaves are alternate, ovate or ovate-oblong, acuminate 
crenate serrulate, scabrid above, soft-temontose beneath, b-se 
3-7 nerved. The fruit is a drupe- It has horizontal branches. 

I have observed many birds flecking on this tree for its flowers ' 

and fruits; which included Parrakects, Bulbvls, Orioles, loras, 

bunbirds, Flowerpeckers, Flycatchers, Chli^ropsis, and Lorikeets, 

/men there sr& no birds :;n other trees, one is sure to trace some 

birds on this -species. The birds seem to be attracted by this 

tree,^which fact should give it a piece in the bird^vatohcrs gard^-n. 

Likewise a Eucalyptus tree with its evergreen nature and profuse 

nocta.r-bearing inflorescence attracts all the nearby arboreal 
birdsv ■ -. 



Dr, Salim Aii 

Mrs Jamal Ara 

Dr. Biawamoy Biswas, 

Kunvar Shri Lavkumar 

Prcf, k,K, NoGiakantan 

Mr, B.R, Grubh, 

Mr. R*L. Filming, Junior 
Kathmandu^ Mepal. 

Mr. B- rt.- S-talrmand, 

Br, h, Navarro 
Bombay . 

Editor; : 

Mr, Zafar Futahally, 

Juhu L^no, Anciheri, 
Bombay - 58 AS, 

Annual Subscription Rs.lO/- 

Students Hs,5/-, 







Newsletter for 


I" t 








Volume li, Number 3 March 1971 


An exciting day near Bombayj by 0. M, Ashford i 

The Indian Courser, by D, A_ Staixmand 4 

A field key for the genus Phylloscopus ^ by F, M, Gaunt- 

lett 5 

Does a leafing peepal attract insectivorous birds, by 

B, A, Palkhiwalla 
Revie'vv: Guide to the Bird Gallery - Madras Govt, Museum 9 
Notes fi. Comments ■' ' ^ J„ 

Correspondence - ~r^ 

Nest-ing colony of Pelicans in Andhra Prsdeshj from 

Brig, R, lo.karanjan 
^ Birds in a Bengal Garden ', from Ajin Talbot Smith 

Rufousbaoked Shrike (Lauius schach), from B, A. Palk- 


0. M„ A^liford 

This note is the result of b promise given to the Editor 
uf the Ne'vVS letter after a fascinating day's birdvjatching 
with him, Mr S^ V, Nilakanta and ^'ir Kar.nan (part of the 
time). If I had suspected that 1 would ever be so rash as 
to agree to ^\rrite an account of such a day, I would of 
course have made some fairly extensive notes at the time; 
as it iSj two weeks after tho event, I must rely entirely 
on my memoryj a list of the birds we identified easily 
and some field notes on the ones which caused diffioulty- 

Ihe axea we covered on this memorable day^ 7 February 
1971, was from Vihar Lake up to the Kanheri Caves^ At 
about 7 = 30 a*m* we v;ere hoping to have some really good 
vievjs of the Red Spurfowl ( Galloperdi y s^adiceaj before 
they took cover for the day,, Mr Kannan proved to be right 
lArhen he said that we had arrived about half an hour too 
late, for all I sav/ of this specios was a rapid glimpse 
of a pair flying up about 10 yards ahead of me and dis- 
appearing rapidly into tho thick undergrowth^ There were 
however to be many compensations- The first vjas a Malabar 
Grey Hornbill ( Tocku s oriseus ) which obligingly stood on 
a branch long enough for us to confirm that it lacked the 
casque of the somewhat similar lockus^ birostri s* Thank youi 

Mowsle+te^i' foT B±z:6.\"!3.tcheTs Mareh.1971 

By now v^e^itfere climbing up a '^Ty ditch constructed to 

lead flood waters into Tulsi I^ko- Greon Barbct^ ( - ■ 
ima ZQvlanica ) v/ere c?_lling all arcund but only rarely did 
we catch a glimpse of ono. I v/a£ impressed by the variety * 

of Drong^is: in addition to the usual Black Drongo (Dicru- 
£ij5 a dsimilis ) I saw tho Ashy Dror.go (D^ l QUcot:^haeus ). ihe -o 

rarei^ Whitebellied DronQc (D^ caerulescens ) with its very 
musical song, and Jast [but not leasti ) the large Racket- 
tailed Drongo (D-_ p^,rQdX3J^'s_) vdth its incredible tail. 
which miraculously does not seem to impede it in any way. 

As w& approached the top of thb ditch I caught a glimpse 
of bright green in a silk cotton tree and v;as delighted to 
find that it vJas a Goldfxonted Chloropses ( 
aurif rons ) catching the rays of the early morning sunshine* 
I carefully observed the golden forehead which so readily 
distinguishes it from Jerdon^s Chloropses ( Chloropsis 
. cochinchinens J 5 ,i. erdoxi J - ) . seen only a few days earlier in 
Trivaodrun tvith Professor K, K, fJeelakantan, For me, the 
f^ther most exciting bird seen from the ditch v/as a Heart- 
spotted Woodpecker ( Hemi circus canente) with its immense 
black crest contrasting vdth its stunted tail. 

We spent tne next fe^v hours on the shore of Vihar Lake 
where there is apparently always in winter a good variety 
of visiting waders, duck, wagtails, etc,, in addition to 
a large number of resident species. \'ie caught a glimpse 
of a large duck with a blue-green iridescence on the wings 
at it flew over the lake,. It ^ landed ' on the water too 
far away for easy identification but we suspected that it 
was a Comb Duck t sarkidiornis melanotus ) , Vnrhich my hosts 
informed me v^s ra"r'e*" in this area* Fortunately we saw the 
same bird at much closer quarters later in the day and 
were able" to confirm its identity and even to take its 
photograph. As we were sitting down to have a rest in the 
shade (by this'tim^^ it was after midday), a large bird of 
prey with conspi::uous v;hite head and underparts flew very 
close afeove our .heads; it was a ^'I'hitebellied Sea Eagle 
( Haliaeetus leuco gri ster )^ always a thrilling spectacle,_ 

On our way along the road towards the Kanheri Caves in 
the early afternoon we stopped by a small puddle of water 
which I was told vjas a good place for _'"lycatchers. Sure 
enough, within a feyj minutes we were watching a rather 
dull blue- and- brov.Ti flycatcher- sitting on a branch of a . 
tree before flitting down to have a drink; it was probably 

*,^pareritly only record for Salsette Island, Two other 
records traceable for Bombay neighbourhood are; a solitary 
young collected by jnverarity at Penn, on 28,xi,18S7, and 
another shot at Kihim (both places in Kolaba diet.) in May 
in 1930s. -- Ed, - - - 

Newsletter for Birdv/^tchers" March 1^71 

a female Blacknaped Blue Flycatcher (Mo narchy azurea ). It 
was followed by a female Paradise FlycatcJier ( Terpslohone 
paradisi), surely a beautiful bird in its own right with 
its chestnut upperparts dominated by a blact^ crest, but 
completely outshone by the male which appeared a few minu- 
tes later displaying his silvery white tail streamers. 
Earlier we had seen several Tickell's Blue Flycatchers- 
(Jtfiusci capa tic kelliae ) with their distinctive rusty breasts 

Instead of going right up to the Kanheri Caves- which we 
could sec through our field c;l3sses thronged with large 
numbers of Homo sa piens , we struck off to the left up a 
narrow path and were soon far away from the transistoriz- 
ed homing Calls of our fellow men. I spotted vvhat at first 
sight I took to be a nuthatch but a closer examination 
quickly revealed the barred dr>rk brown- and- ivhite upper 
pattern of the Browncrowned Pygmv '.Voodpecker*(Picoides 
nanus )^ vVe also saw a thrush which I have not yet been 
able to identify from my field notes (Biown, Broad pale 
superciliary stripe. Russet flush on sides of breast. Rest 
of lower parts off-whito); the noarest I can get to it is 
tho Eye-browed Thrush (Turdus obscurus)*?^, which broods in 
Stboria but apparently does not v/inter so far west as Bom- 
bay. Any suggestions? 

Sy the end of the afternoon we had accumulated a list 
of nearly 80 species - in these notos I have of course 
only mentioned a few which were of particular interest to 
me and which have thus retained the most prominent place 
in my memory^ 

I returned to the same area on the morning of 9 February" 

and added another 10 specios to the list. Just as 1 vvas 
about to return to Bombay i noticed a kite flying low over- 
head. I had plenty of time to pick it up in my binoculars 
and to see the rich rusty underparts, the deeply forked 
rufous t^.il and the large white undorwing patches which 
are diagnostic of the Red Kite [ Milyus irilvus]> According" 
to ^ Volume 4 of the Handbook of Mrd s of; India ^nd Pckistan 
this species is a vagrant or an irregular visitor in this 
part of India. I have complete confidence in this observa- 
tion as I have had many opportunities to compare the Red 
Kite with the Black Kite (i' /dlyus m igrans ) in ^vjir^erland. 
Perhaps the Red Kite sometimes escapes notice in India be- 
cause of its similarity eft fir.^t glance to this very com- ^ 
mon relative? 

*Three different Individuals of this vroodoeoken were 

seen by J, S, Serrao and Humayun Afcdulali on 2i June 1970 
in the Xulsi environs, -- Ed, 

**Ih6re is only one record of Turclu s pb_scu_rus from the 
Peninsula -- specimen secured by Capt. H. A, Butler in 
Belgaum in A^ril (iSSl), Perha^js the bird seon bv Mr Ash- 
ford could be the commoner Turdus unicolor, — Eci. 

•r ■-,■.■' 

Newsletter for BiTclwatche-rs March 1971 



In the middle of October I was just off the Nasik Road 
some 20 miles north of Poona in an area of sparsely grass- 
ed, stony wasteland with cvjltivation below mo in the dis- 
tance, I ^vas v/ell pleased with the niorning^s birdwatching 
and decided to sit on the ground in the shade of a track- 
side Banyan aJid ceusually watch the pipits and various 
members of the ' lark ' family (Maudidae) which wera so 
numerous and tame. So tame in fact that I could vjatch them 
well without the use of binoculars, I had been sitting 
there at rest and in complete harmony 'vith the vjorld for 
only five minutes when I noticed with my naked eyes a 
bird gbout 60 yards away in front of rocks, which looked 
something like a ' partridge '. Vfl^en I took up my binocu- 
lars I immediately saw it was not a ^ partridge ' but an 
Indian Courser (Cu rsorius coromandelious ) and there were, J 
in fact, a party of five of these very "attractive birds 
strung out in an uneven line over a distance of about 25 """ 
yards. This party of birds looked delightful v/ith their 
rich rufous crowns, conspicuous double black and white 
stripes through and above the eyes, white chins, general 
coloration of sandy and grey-brov/n, long china-whito legs 
and slander, curved and pointed bills. The Indian Courser 
is only ten inches in length but these birds gave mc the 
impression (and it was only that) of being larger as they 
ran around very fluently on their three forv/ard pointing 
toes dipping forward obliquely, in plover style, every 
now and again to pick up some insect. At first they often 
stretched up their nocks and looked at me but aS this 
party of Indian Coursers grew accustomed to my presence 
they became much tamer Bnd occasionally a bird was v/ithin 
forty yards of me running quickly and dipping down to the 
ground for food. The party also became much more close- 
knit. Once tvio birds presumably went after the same insect 
as one bird raised its wings vortically high over the 
level of its body in a thrcatGning attitude and caused 
the other to move away, IXiring the half -hour that I wat- 
ched these birds ti-vo people "walked behind me on the track " 
and a noisy lorry clattered past. The passers-by did not 
notice these birds, but on both these intrusions at least . 
two_of the' Indian Coursers raised their wings high over 
their bodies - in an attitude scmetimes shoivn in books | 
to illustrate the Pratincole — in the direction of the : 
intruders, I 

When thi5 party of birds decided to move on they passed 
quite closo to me down a slope and out of sight- They had 

Newsletter for Birdwatchers March 1971 


pxTJvided me with such an enchanting half-hour that I easi- 
ly resisted any temptation to pursue them. 


F, Mi Gauntlett 

This large group of small, closely similar leaf warblers 
has been a great problem to all ornithologists, particu- 
larly those in India where 21 members of the genus occur, 

K, i"filliamson, now Migration Research Officer for the 
British Trust for Ornithology and one time warden of Fair 
Isle Bird Observatory has produced on behalf of the BTO 
the solution to this problem in the form of Identification 
for Hinge rs - 2^ The oenus Ph^JJqsco^us, As its title sug- 
gests, it is intended primarily for idonti+ication of the 
bird in hand, but I have also found it invaluable as a 
field guide. From it, and with all due acknowledgement to 
Mr VJilliamson and the BTO, I have devised my own field key 
which differs in certain aspects from his which included 
measurements. It may be noted that Identificat ion covers 
all the palaearctic members but my key is confined to 
those species found in India , 

The basis of the key is to ascertain whether the bird is 
of the green/yellow or broi'/n/white type, how many wing-bars 
it has and what sort of head patternj. This method h^s en- 
abled me to identify lb species in the field vjith a high 
degree of probability, 

A Green above, yellow or yellowish white below 

Al" Strongly marked head pattern, 2 v/ing-bars and yel- 
low rump 

1 P*_ euichor, Orangebarred leaf Warbler 

2 orange wing-bars, yellow crown stripe, dark 
coronary bands and yelloLv supcrcilium. Outer 3 
tail feathers largely v;hite. Confined to the 

2 P^ maoulioennis ^ Greyf-aced,or Ashythroatedi Leaf- 

Warbler - '- ■. ^ 

2 yellov; wing-bars, whole head including chin and 
throat grey, L\hitish crown stripe and dark coro- 
nary bands, Himalayas, common around Darjeeling, 
Similar to some f lycatcher-warblers, _5_eicercus 
sp, J but 2 wing-bars distinctive. 

Newsletter for Birdwatchers . March 1971 


3 P.. proreQulus, Pallas U Leaf Warbler 

2 whitG wing-'bars, ysllow crown stripe, ccionary 
bands less v;ell markod, long yellow supercilium. 
Very small size, flutters like a Goldcrest to pick 
insects off leaves. Himalayas over 8000 ft, fairly 
common in l\aahmir> 

4 Pt. subviridls , Brocks 's Leaf Warbler 

Crown stripe and coronary bands less well marked, 
yellow rump indistinct. Long golden yellovj superci- 
llums meet on forehead. Cheeks yellov/. Confusion 
possible with strongly marked exi^mples of Yellow- 
browed VUarblGr^ Northern W,Pakistsn and Gilgit, 
Mnter "^sitor to NW. India, 

A2 Well-marked head pattern of crovm stripe, coronary 
bands and conspicuous supercilium* 2 wing-bars 

X Pj_ occipitali s, Western Crowned, or Large Crov;ned, 

Leaf Warbler 
Upperperts yellowish green, underparts white with 
. .some yellovj. Palo crov;n stripe of constant width. 
Has habit of waving one wing, VJestern Himalayas, 
common In Kashmir, widespread winter visitor, 

2 P^ requloides, BJyth's Crowned Loaf Warbler 

Upperparts olive-green, Pole croi,vn stripe broadens 
into a spot on the nape, Apparently also" has habit 
of waving one wing. Himalayas, These two not very 
readily distinguishable, 

3 P^ cantator , Yellowfaced, or Blackbrowed, Leaf Warbler 

Yellow crown stripe meets yellovj supercilium on fore- 
head. Coronary b^nds black. Chin, throat and breast 
yellowj rest of underparts white. Eastern Himalayas, 

A3 Head pattern confined to supercilium and dark line 

through eye* 2 wing-bars 

1 Pi. inorn^tus, Vellov.tfrov\ped Leaf Warbler 

Dull olive above, v/hitc belov^', 2 whitish wing-bars, 
long creemy supercilium. Rather small, Himalayas 
in suiT^er^ vddespread plains winter visitor, usual- 
ly gregarious. May sometimes have faint crown, stripe, 

PA Head pattern as in A3, 1 wing-bar only 

1 Pt trochiloideSj Greenish, or Dull Green, Leaf Warbler 

Dull greyish olive above, dingy white belovj. Long 
thin supercilium. Common winter visitor, usually 
solitary ■ 

Ne'ATsle-^te?: fo>- Birdwatchers March 1971 

"7 .: ... 

2 Pj^ borealis^ , Arctic . Warbler 

Very similar to Greenish but slightly brighter coi- 
-. oured. Legs pale flesh instead of dark bluish grey. 
Rare vagrant, 

3 P^ maanirc^tris . largebilled Leaf Warbler 

Large and dark. Upperparts^ particularly crown, and 
line through eye dark olive, Himalayas and p-lains 
winter visitor. 

4 p£. nitidus . Bright Green Le^f Warbler 

Bright green above, mostly yellow belovj^ Supercilium, 
cheeks and wing-bar yellow. Winter visitor, mainly 
t^ W. Pakistan and weste]:^ .India, May sometiiiLes show 
alight second wing-bar 

A5 Head pattern as in A2, i wing-bar nnly 

1 Pt_ cQronatus . Eastern Crowned Leaf Warbler 

Similar to P^ occioitalis vjith which it may be con- 
specific, but darker above, Crf^wn stripe less dis- 
tinct. Winter visitor to S. Assam. 

A6 Sui'ierc ilium only. Mo wing-bar 

1 £t af finis , Tickell^s' Leaf Warbler 

Superciiium and whole of underparts a deep intense 
yellow. In summer above tree-line. Plains winter 
visitor. Grant^s Leaf Warbler, P^ ^^ sub.gffinis is 
considered conspecific and is unlikely to be dif- 
ferentiated in the field 

2 1^ tytlerij Slender-billed, or Tytler^s Leaf Warbler 

D_]ll olive above, yellowis"h white belovj, long thin 
bill, Kaslimir in summer^ winter visitor to- v/est 
side of Peninsula mainly. May sometimes show/ traces 
of a v;ing-b3r 

B Brown above, dingy whits or yellowish below- 

ttot readily subdivided as group A due to lack rif dis- 
tinguishing marks, but all have a superciiium 

1 Pi. collvbita. Gh.iff chaff 

Brown or greyish brown above, with some olive on 

wing and tall edges, Superciiium and flanks buff. 
Legs usually dark. Plains winter visitor, usually 
solitary and arboreal,- Confusion possible with 
Greenish in vjorn plumage which has lost its wing-bar 
through abrasion 

Mev/sletter for Bixdwatcherg^- March 1971 

8 ' 

2 P-_ s indianus. Mountain Chiffchaff 

Rather greyer than Chiffchaff \ndthout any olive fea- 
ther edges. Sometimes considered conspecific. Arid 
areas of V/. Pakistan and mU -India in winter 

3 -p/'^trochiluSj Willov; Warbler 

"^rey-'brown above, dull white belov; with greyish 
breast. Legs pale, usually. Best distinguished from 
Chiff chaff by voice. Rare visitor 

4 P, - fuscatUB, aisky Warbler , ^r n i 

■ ^rown'abo'Tt, dirty white tc. fulvous or buff below, 
ansli but distinct rusty white supercilrum. The 
bromest of the group, Winter visitor, usually '^^Q- 
garious in waterside scrub, 

5 P; ariseolus , Sulphurtellied, or Olivaceous, Leaf ; 

""Dark grcy-brov^ above, dull yellow below with bright- 
er patch on the belly. Supercilium orange-yellow in 
. front of eye, pale yellow behind. Has a habrt of per- 
'chinq crossways on tree trunks. Plains winter vrsixor 
■ in deciduous forest. High r^.W* 'Himalayas in summer 

ft P. schwarzi, Radde's Wsroler . 

"Hot officially recorded ■in India but winters in Bur- 
ma and has been recorded.^as far away as Britain- l 
have seen one in Durgapur which agrees with the cna- 
racters of this species-, .,. ', . j u^-^v.4- 

- ■Bro\'m above. Conspicuous supercilium broad and bright 
-yellow in front of eye, tapering behind and P^l<^^' 
Underp^rts buff, deepest around vent, separated from- 
white throat by greyish breast band 

7 g. fuliolventer . Smoky Leaf VJarbler 

Dark sooty brov/n above. Indistinct supercilium and 
underparts. dusky yellow. High eastern Himalayas, 

g P. neclectus , Plain Leaf Warbler , ,, ,. 

"Greyish bro^ATi above^ buffish white below. Very small, 
Goldcrest sized, with short tail. Winrter visitor to 
W. Pakistan, possibly slso HW. India and Kashmir on 
passage. Breeds Baluchistan 

There are "at least two other species of small warblers 
which could be confused with phyllo&copi and should be 


1 Hiooolais c;.lioata . Booted Warbler ". 

■"Greyish above, v^hite below, ij^ite supercilium and 
narrow eye- ring. Bill longer and heavier than phyi- 
loscopi of same size, ctownpeakGd and tail square 

NewslGttfjr for Birdwatchers ' ^^^ ^^^j^ 


2 AcrocgphjLljas dumetr^-rum Blyth 's Rsed Warbler 

Brov/n abnvc-, white below. Larger and longer with a 
long ^rounded U±l and long bill. Much Igss active 
tnan a Phylloscogus^ 

■ fi^^ whr"K*%"'^^ criticisG the Key for being over-si^pli- 
fied, which of course it is. It would be Impossible to pro 
duce a >«rkable field key to include all the variations'^ 

thrmo=t^?,-ri ^^^^ andseasons, but it has been based on 
■cne most likely and typical averages. 

B. A. Palkhiwalla 

??n=^l™^^ '" office, I pass by a big Peepal ( Fjcus reli- 
^o§^) tree growing in the compound of X Divin^F"P^li3?, 
Office where large drams of illicit are stored before dls- 
posing L r i 

O.n^'' ^r^ ^^^n ""^ r"^^' ^ ^^'"^ '^^^^ observing a pair of 
U>mmon Green Bee-eaters on the topmost branches of this 
Tree, ihe tree is having new foliage. Normally, my atten- 
tion vjould not have been drawn to these birds! but for 
xheir aerial sallies, which wer^ visible from quite a dis^ 
tance. It is really a joy to wetch them. 

± would like to know, however, why they prefer this paj> 
h ^ T tree though there are many trees nearby. Sometime 
back also, I had seen similar birds further up on a peepal 

Is it possible that the Peepal having new foliage is 
attracting more insects? It would be interesting to know 
the experience of other birdwatchers. 


-f ?o^°roT^ ^V! ^^?^ GALLERY. By S. T. Satyamurti, pp. xii 
^11 30 ^ ^^dras Govt Museum, Madras 1970. Price 

5^e pleasant and easy way of getting acquainted with birds 

tt ^S ^f^_,-the specimens in the n;useum with descriptive- , 
hlf^.^ ^5 ""^."'^^^^^^ species displayed. Dr Satyamurii 

exM^??^^'^ ir\^''.''^ ^ ^"^^ dealing with 400 specias ' 
exhibited in the Madras Museum. 

thpl^L^ l^^l ^^^^ }]}^ ^^'''^ ^^ ^^ expensive and will 

stud!n?r K ^^^"^t ?^ ""^^^^ ^^ ^^^^^^ ^"^ university ' 
students, who might have otherAvise made use of it. Also ■ 
T^ne photographs of the stuffed Urds indicate that the 
specimens have been very poorly mounted and some of the 
birds look rather grotesque. This however is something 

Nevjsletter for Birdwatchers March 1971 

v;hich the author could not have helped, but it goes to 
show the great need for better taxidermists in this coun- 

■ ■ ■ ■ Z.F^:' ' 


Complaints are being rightly made by our subscribers 

in Bombay that for the, whr?le of 1970 there had been no 
outings at all. The fact is thai^. attempts were being made 

Under the circumstances could members please assemble 
on their ■ovjh on Sunday, 2S March 1971, at 7,a.m, at the 
Aarey Market, An attempt will be made to reserve the 
Forest^Iog Hut overlooking the Vihar Lake, so that those 
who want t-nTi spend the VLhole day in the Park. A notice 
of this reservation will bi? s^nt to the members as soon 
as confiiTn.ation is received from the Forest Department, 

I have written before in the Newsletter and elsewhere 

about the interesting assortment of birds one sees in c^jm- 
paratively urban surroundings. During my recent stay in the 
Railway Hotel at Ranchi last month, I saw the following 
species : 

Common Mynas and Pied mynas feed on the lawn close to 
each other and it was difficult to determine what their . 
specific preferences were for food ^n6. habitat. From the 
bougainvillea bush the sharo tsch, tsch indicated the pre- 
sence of a Blyth's Reod Vi'arbler though 1 have given up 
trying to see this bird after many unsuccessful attempts, 
A Coppersmith locked absolutely. splendid" with its-crimson 
forehead and. throat patch, Tfiere vjere Redvented Bulbuls. 
House crows, tjouse Sparrow^, Raseringed Parakeets, Spotted 
as well as little Brovirn Doves, Blue Rock Pigeon, Pariah 
Kite, and Ccmmon Swallow, The most alluring birds were 
the White-eyes probing into the bark and flowers of a 
Drumsticks ( Morinq a Bterygosperma ) tree. The Moringa of 
Bihar flower much more profusely than those of Bombay and 
the little birds had ^n unlimited supply of food. These 
White-eyes have a tremendous social bond among themselves 
for they moved invariably in little packs from tree to 


Newsletter fur Birdwatchers March 1971 

11 ■ 


Mggtinq colony of Pelicans in Andhra Pradesh 

1 wonder whether any subscribers k^ss live in the vici- 
nity of Tadepallegudeirio This is because I noticed that 
the Department of Tourism is continuing -to mention the 
Nesting Colony of Pelicans in the vicinity of Aredu and 
Kolamaru in Andhra Pradesh, 

I happened to visit the area in January 1970, but found 
nothing at all to indicate that the Pelicans were nesting 
there during that period. 

If there are any interested readers of your Kews letter 
v^Q have information on the Pelicans in that region, I ' .' ' 
will be very grateful if this could be made knot^/n, prefer- 
ably in the Newsletter itself, so that all the readers 
get to know. Even any recent visits which nay have proved 
futile would be worth knovang about, and perhaps the Tour- 
■ist Department kept informed of the position. 

Brig . R, Lo karanj an 
Hqr CE JSJ^ Zone 
c/o 56 APO 

^rof* K, K. Meelakantan who studied the pelicanries 

of Andhra Pradesh some years back may be able to throw 
some light on tho Tadej^allegudem nesting colony. 

Before the year is out we hope to circulate a list of 
our members regionwise,. — Hdj/ 

^ Birds in a^ Beagal Garden ' 

Knovdng it would be of interest to her, I passed on Vol. 
10 of the 1970 October issue of the ^JevJ5Ietter to L^dy 
fAcHeice vjhen she came to Sin;gaporc for a short stay in 
October- On her reading F, M, Gauntlett^s ^ Birds in a 
Bengal Garden ^ she immedia tely identified the Cherry 
which ^'ir Gauntlett described as a Muntinaia . a speciiTion 
of which grew in the garden of their home in Ku^ile Lumpur 
when she and loke Wan Tho were children- She asked me to 
look it up in E.J,H, Corner^s Wayside Trees of Ma^laY; a, 
This I have at last got around to doing [I have bean 
away and have desperately been trying to catch up since 
my return) and now enclose a photostat of the entry in 
the book which you Ltight care to forward to Mr Gauntlett. 

Ann Talbot Smith 
Cathay Building 


Lii^ws ^et t&r lOT Birdwatchers March 1971 


/TfiG Hditor regrets ths delay in dealing with this 
Interesting communication- The photostat is being sent to 
Mr F. M. Gauntlett. - Ed^ 

Rufousbacke d Shrike ( Lanius schach l 

I used to see regularly near my tent st the Scout/Guide 
Jamboree held recently at the Aarey Milk Colony a Rufous- 
backed Shrike. It seemed to be least disturbed by the 
thousands of boys and girls who had invaded his usual 
hunting ground, and it was exciting to soo it carry on 
with its usual work. It afforded me the opportunity of 
introducing it to such of the Scou-Jjs/Guidea who showed 
an interest in the bixd, 

~' - : B, A* Palkhiwalla 

785A, Dadar, Bombay 14 

Zafar Futehally 

Editor, Newsletter £or Birdwatchers 

32A, Juhu Lane " ' " 

Andherij Bombay 5B-AS 




Dr. Salim Ali, 

Me.s. Jamal Ara, 

Dr, BiHw^inioy Biswas, 

Kunvar Shi'i Lavkiiniar. 

Prof. K, K, Neclakaiitan, 

Mr-"B, R, Grjbh, 

Mr R. L. Fleming, Jiinior, 
Kalhmaiiiiu. Nopal. 

Mr D. A. SlaiiniiinJ, 

Br. A. Navarfo; 

Mr, Zafar Fu I eh ally, 
;^2A, JiihiL Lane, Aiidhcri, 
Uonibay-58 AS. 

Annual Subscription Rs, ]0. ," 

Students Rs. 5/-. 


Covr.r design by R. A. Stev'tirt Melluuk 


^fewsletter for 




i'. L. ii <^ ±^ li i £ a ii F Q H 

.. _ A i, .. -. : C H E K S 

Volume 11, Number 4, April 1971 


The Pelicanry at Kolamuru by K.K. Neelakantsn .... 1 

An afternoon's Sirding near iuiysore City by 

DJV. Stairmand .... 4 

Regional Mews; Gujarat by K-S, Lavkumar J- Khacher -,.,5 

Editorial Note •••• 6 


The Ctjmmon Grey "Hornblll in the Gir Forest 

from Robert b- Grubh " .... 6 

K»K, Meelakantan 

I am very happy tc get an opportunity to \^ite on this subject, 
for I believe that the Birdv;atchers Field Club of India could 
bring seme pressure to beor on _ the Government of Andhra t'radesh 
and make them give the policanry some effective protection, 
Beforo saying anything with regard to its present state, I must 
maite it clear that the last time I saw it was in Decemberj 1960. 

The real question raiseo by Brig. " Lokranjan's letter [NEVJSLETTER 
Vol-Xl, L^lo ,3 ) is - Do pelicans still nest- in the area betvveen the 
tov/ns of Ganapavaram and Undi? He says th^t he ^found nothing 
at all to indicate that the pelicans ^■vere nesting there' in 
January,' 1970. It is not clear ivhother he looked for pelicans 
in the air over tho Aredu- Kolamuru region,, ox searched for 
their nests covering tho iv'nole aroa on foot- If he had looked 
for tho birds and thair nests from various points on the motor 
xoad, and, from their absc?nccs concluded that thero was no 
breeding colony, I would hazard a guess that the nests ivcro 
all at some place to the west of the Ganapavaram-Undi road. 
When the bre'^ding colony is at such a spot, birds seldom appear 
near the motor road- Asking, tho villagers also does not help, 
for rrtany of them simply do not know- In Docomber, 1960, when 

NGWslfitter for Birdwatchers ^ " April 1971 


I first went to tho places where there had been many nests in 
1959-60, I was told by many villsgors that the birds had not 

.turned up for the 60-61 season. Sonic said that tho birds had 
arrived ^nd moved to unknown destinations far away. Yet there 
was a spectacular concentration of birds and nests hardly two 
miles awayJ That, however, was before the activities of the 
Virus Research team, Mr. E.P, Gee, and a unit of (prcsuinably) 
the Films Division of the Union Ministry of Broadcasting S 
Information had made the villagers realise that the pelican 
was a SomebQtiy, 

From well before 1900 bill 1961 tho pelican had nested very 
regularly every year in this region^ though net at the same 
spot» The temptation to console oneself with tho thought that 
Brigadier Lokranjan had somehow been misled and that tho birds 
must be nesting a little farther av/ay fro^ Aredu and Kolamuru 
is very strong. It will be a great pity if his conclusion is 
oerrecti But that possibility cannot be ruled out, for, in 
1966, Sri P,S. Rao, Chief Conservator of Forests, Andhra Pradesh, 
^;rote: "During this year the birds are reported not to have 
arrived," In the same letter he stated also, ".,, the Govern- 
ment of Andhra Pradesh was ploased to declare the pelican as 
a protected bird throughout tho area within a radius of 20 
miles around Kolleru lake in September, 1963, Staff for the 
protection of the birds vjhen they arrive in thM_ usual season 
is also being sanctioned every year>" ^ ^ 

It is vjorth mentioning that this was the only letter 1 received 
from any Andhra. t'radesh official that touched upon the fate of 
the pelicans and the pelicanry. The general attitude of thos;? 
in authority is v;cll revealed by the fact that tho original 
copy of the 22 page typewritten report I had submitted to the 
Government in February 1961 ended up eventually in tho office 
of the D.F.O.^ Eluru, v.'ho, on being asked for it in F^^bruary 
1956. by the Chi^f Conservator of Forests, replied:"As tho 
booklet containing the notes of Prof, Sri. K,l^, Neelakantan 
is misplaced in my office, I have addressed the Professor 
separately to send a copy of the same at an oarly date and it 
is awaited- Tho same will be submitted to the Chief Conser- 
vator of Forests soon on its receipt from the Professor." I 
was favoured with a copy of this letter with an endorsement 
on the back: "BY RcGD , POST aCK,DU£. Copy to Sri Prof, K,K. 
Neelakantan, etc, with a request to please send a copy of 
report on pt^licanry area at an oarly date as a report in this 
regard due to the ChiJf Conservator of Forests is held up," 
I had sent copies of the report to the Chief Conservator and 
the Deputy Secretary, Department of Agriculture, also in 1961, 

Newsletter for Birdwatchers April 1971, 


Evidontly those too had been "misplaced" or were not "forth- 
coming". Thinking thr-t my refusal to typo out another copy 
might mako all the differc-nco to tho poor pelican, 1 prepared 
one and sent it. That, for all practical purposes, vras the 
end of the affair, ._y' 

Mr, J- Spillett who surveyed ihe V/ild Life sanctuaries of 

Andhra Pradesh in 1966 (the ye^r in which the pelicans vjore 
'reported to h^vc not arrived') v/as very noncommittal with 
regard to the p::'lic5nry (seo J.B,N.H,S, Vol, 65, pp. 1-16). 
Though he had the Deputy Chief Conservator himself for guide, 
he seems to have been quite unaware of the pelicanry's official 
status, if any; nor does he make it clear v;hothcr he visited 
the place and found birds breeding. If Mr, P. 3, Rao tvas right, 
Mr, Spillett could not have found any breeding activity in 
Movc-mber, 1966J 

Shri B, Seshadri^s statement in his THE T^'ILIGHT OF IWDI/v'S 
WILD LIFE (1969) that the Kolamur-j pelic.vnry "is not a pro- 
perly constituted sanctuary, but ,,.-(tho) P^jlicans are fully 
protected by the vill.^gers" (Unfortunately, this is not quite 
true. In 1960 there vjas plenty of evidence of the commercial 
exploitation of the pelicanry as there was a market for its 
eggs and flesh.) makes me suspect thst staff for the protection 
of the birds is no longer being sanctioned. 

Having learnt from past experience the utter futility of 
asking officialdom for information, may I suggest that the 
Editor should try to elicit information from the Chief Conser- 
vator of jVidhra Pradesh on the present position, and give the 
gist of it in the HEiVSLETTER? Perhaps a petition signed by all 
the members ef the Bird^vatchers^ Field Club of India may help 
to jog the memory of the officials concornod and lead to a 
revival of the irnual appointment of guards. 

Apropos of this, I heard from a reliable source that at the 
pelicanry at ICoondakuiam (Tirunelveli Dist,, Tamil Hadu] it 
is the pr^.ctico of the State 'i^'ild Life Department to sanction 
a few temporary posts of gup.rds or watchmen every year; and 
that this year {1970-71] the guards vr^xQ a'.^pointcd and then 
disbanded as the pelicans failed to nest there "due to inade- 
quate rains". Tire plight of the -L^Tetched temporary guards 
is as precarious as that of tho pelicansj 

If _ the pelicans failed to nest at Kolamunj i^nd Koondakulam 
this season, one vjould have expected some to go to Veden- 
thangal. But no pelicans nested at Vedanthangal this ye^^r. 
I visited this famous sanctuary on 17-1-1971 and vjas shocked 
to find tho state it is ini But more about that later. 

Mcv/sl'^^ttor for Birdvjatchcrs April 1971 



D,A. Stairma'nd ,v ^-^__ 

About twelve milos outside Mysore City is tho Krishna Raja 
Sagar Dam vdth the sacrod Rivc-T Cauvory, a Hotel (whioh was 
full) and the glorious Brindavan Gardons, I saw the gardons 
both in the afternoon ^nd floodlit at night and I have never 
seen moro beautiful gardens. 

Aftor sooing tho gardons in tht- afternoon sun I v/andored 

further on into tho adjoining mango orchards .Tnd banana and 
cv^conut plantations of the Dopartmont of Horticuituro , It 
vjas mid-January and tho mangoes wore in full flower and many 
Purplorumped Sunbirds tjorc having a gay time around them. 
Passing undor ono mango I listened to the persistent calls of 
a pair- of 'Redvontod Bulbuls', But sixth sonso told nio to 
investigate and I found that tho birds were. In fact, a pair 
of Jordan's Chloropsis- Thc-y ivcre busy in the tree acroba- 
tically taking insects but they also found time to imitate 
tho calls of Purplorumpod Sunbirds and loras, A littlo fur- 
theJ^ on sovorai loras wero engaged in a squabble in a Noem 
and as I paused to vjatch this rather unusual spectacle 1 
noticed that also in tho Neem v;ore Grey Tits and the quiet^ 
unobtrusive Blackhoadod Cuckroo-Shrike, I ai^'.'ays seem to 
sec Cuckco-Shrikes purely by accident - they never bring 
themselves to my notice- An interesting sequel to the lora 
squabble v/as a bird puffing itsolf out into a ball and para- 
chuting dov/n with accompanying whistling calls. But the bird 
was not in breeding plumage. Other birds seen on this little 
stroll wore Redvented Bulbuls, Tailor Birds, Coppersmiths, 
Indian Robins, Green Bee-e:iter5, Ruf ous-baoked Shrikes, 
Elr.ckbclliod Finch Larks and many Redrumped Swallows over tho 
canals in this area. Crossing the River Cauvery on the way 
back I noted Largo Pied ;Jagtails, Lifflo Connorants and River 
Terns while in the far distance beyond the Brindavan Gardens 
and over the dam I noticed hundreds of birds which by their 
numbers I thought must be small gulls, although they looked 
wrong for 'gulls' even at th^t distance. So I set off for 
tho bund of the dam and tho birds turned out to be a party 
of ca, 400 Small Practincoles, birds which I had never seen 
before. It was now about 15 minutes before sunset and swarms 
of midges were rising from tho Cauvery over tho dam and being 
snapped up by the Pratincoles. Hot that the Pratincoles 
caught all the midg:js< My nose caught quite a number and 
others stuck on my anns like limpets. Some of the Pratin- 
colos vjere very low in flight over my head and as they 
wheeled and glided I could hear their pleasant calls and the 

M.cwslGt-tei- for Birdw^-tchors April 1971 

5 ■ , ^ ' N^ 


snap cf their bills closing on insocts. This fisast continued 
until 20 minutL^s aftor sunsot v.'hon, of a suddofi, the delightful 

Pratincoles Vcinished :is if by magic, 



K,S, Lavkumar J. KJiachor 

Wg have boon vory happy to recGiv(;> the March issue of tie 
Newsletter and vjouid like to extond our congratulations to 
our Editor for tho fine covcr> Our local rnombor and artist 
K.P. Jadav is planning a covt^r for the- next year. 

Though we have not incroasod in numbers, wo' arc still a very 
viable group and thoso of us vho have- boon intorosted in birds 
are very activo and axo going out regularly ivith the exception 
of the Regional Editor of course and what he fails to do by 
way of activo bird-watching he makes up by periouically 
sending '-jH articli-'S and typed scripts to the Newsletter- 
Howoverj we all are very keen and actively av/ait our copies 
of tho Newsletter^ 

Mr* Ashford^s note on tho Eyo-browcd 'Thrush Turdus obscurus 
is interesting and of special significance to us hore because 
this v'inter our veteran birdwatcher Lalsinh Raoi wrote from 
Porbandar with a description taken by hiin in tho field of a 
strange bird which I could identify as this bird. 1 had 
asked him to write of tho occurrence to the Ncv/slottor and 
to the 3,N.H,S, but ho being rather shy of putting pen to 
paper has not done tho needful." I have again written to him 
send his record to he published. 

We must express our approciation for the 'key prepared by 
Mr, Gauntlett on the Phylloseopus , I "hope he will not be 
too annoyed if I in turn use his material to produce a still 
simpler key en what is certainly, with all the keys on Earth 
a job for experienced bird-watchors. Talking of keys, some 
of our members here would like to bave a reprint of my own 
key on svallows produced in the earlier issues of the News- 
letter and I v;ould request our Editor to oleasc bo good 
enough to have it reproduced, 

Mr, Stairmand has indeed a capacity of transporting his 
readers to the spots where he spends time observing birds 

and wo are all happy to road his notes which are coming at 
regular intervals. I believe he comos over to our part of 

NewsTejfir =£GxTiJ^tJwatchers - ■ ^ - ^. -^ ftpril 1971 

6 -T- ' ■ ' ■'^ 

^ . . . ^; - ^ ■' 

of tho^counti^y in-- the course ^f his duties- and^hc-is reque- 
sted to inform the Rogionai Editor in adv^inco so that vv'c all 
may "entertain him. 

Dr, Salim All has vory kindly taken interest in the- bird " 
dravjings by K,P, Jadav and he is novj preparing a few plates 
for a book on tho birds of the Delhi regi:..j written by late 
Mrs. -U. Ganguli and b^^ing published by her husband Prof. Li. 
Gancjuli, This has been a groat encouragement to our young 
artist and v/e all hero aro eagerly awaiting the book to see 
our friend in print. 


The Editor regrets that owing to^ unavoidable circumstances 

and the illness of J.S, Sorr^J "there has been delay in pro- 
ducing the tJevvsletter for A^^ril. We are making this into a 
short number tg svoid further delay. 

CmRES"PC^DEHC£:- . ^ - ^ 

The Common GrevHornbill in tho Gir Forest "" ^ "" 

The Common Grey Hornbill ( lockus birostris ) v/ere once common 
in the Gir Forest, but have become cotjiplctely extinct now. 
They were highly prized for their flesh and feathers t'/hich- 
are believed by the local folk to be of great medicinal value 
especially for expectant mothers, I have been, looking for 
them since I came here besides asking th - maldharis and 
others living in the Gir. All have the same answert that it 
has been v^iped out, iiir, K.T.B* Hodd was recording all the 
birds during his stay here, but did not find this species. 

Here is an example of a bird vjhich apparently has become 

extinct not because of habitat destructi-^n or any other 
ecological limiting factors but because of man- Thoreforo 
by reintroducing sufficient nuTubcr of these birds in Gir it 
should be possible to reclaim this lost species in Saura- 
shtra - Of course, it will be necessary to protect them once 

Mr. Dharmakumarsinhji in his Birds of Saurashtra has the 

Newsletter for Birdvjatchers 

April 1971 


follo^'jing to say on this 
boiief thst the £cath:?rs 
value, many are killed, 
wer^ often destroyed in 
niGn of the Gii- say that 
and that they were seen 
wore plontyful during th 
report of a bird was in 
Fci re s t . " 



bird: "On account of the general 
cf those birds are of medicirial 
Tho birds brooding in large trees 

forost coupes Old forest 

onco those birds v^ere not uncommon 
regularly throughout the year and 

winter months The las t 

1950 in the Kunki block of the Gir 

Kcbext Grubh 
Gir Sanctuary 

Sasan Gir. 

Zafar Futohally 

Editor, Newsletter foi" Birdwatchers 

32A, Juhu Lane, 

Andheri 1/est . 

Bombay - 58 (AS), 



Dr. Salini Ali. 

Mrs, Jumal Ara, ; 

Ranch i. 

Dr, Biswanioy Bisw[LS, 

Kunvar Shri Lavkumar, 


Prof. K. K. Neelakanlan, 
Tri van drum. 

Mr. B. R. Grubh, 
Rom bay. 

Mr. R. L, Fleming, Junior, 
Kathmandu, NepaL 

Mr. D, A. Stairmand, 

Br. A. Navurro, 

Bombay. ^^.• 

Mr. Zdfar Fuli^hally, 

32A. Juhu, ■\ndhcri, 
BombLiy-5a AS. 

Annual Subscriplion Rs, 10.-. 

Siudcnts Rs. 5/-, 

Cover design by R. A. Stewart Mellidsk 

Newsletter for 



i^: E' v7v&,L,.£ T T H a V C R 

B J..-^ dVa T C H E R S ^ - 

Volume 11, Ho, 5 Way 1971 

'r^ - '■'■■ . - -, . . . 

CONTENTS , ■ ■ - - 

Screaming tif:^'eaCOck heard in the Himalayas, by Sohan 

Singh Saini ■ - " ■ 1 

A puzzling bird:' A nev; record?, -by lalsinh M, Raol 2 
Birdwatching at Arnala Island, Bombay, by A, Navarro, 

S,J. * ' ?- 

Tungabhadra reservoir birds, by S. G, Neginhal 6 
Birds seen on 'txvo mornings in the Botanical Gardais, 

Ootacamund, by D. A, Staiimand ^8 

Notes and Cotnmerits -^q 

Correspondence "■ ^ r ■ - - j_X 

Wintei; visitors at Mahim Creek', from D. A, Stairmand' 

Roosting .flight, from B, .A* Palkhiivalla 

Sohan Singh Saini 

During my recent visit to a place named Shangarh in Sainj 
Valley of Kulu Himalayas, I v^as fascinated by the sight 
and songs of various birds. Among more common ones are the 
Yellov^illed Blue Magpie, Himalayan Tree-pie, Himalayan 
Nutcracker, Grey lit. Black Tit, Whitothroated laughing 
Thrush, Blackheaded Sibia, Whiteeheeked Bulbul, Kashmir 
Dipper, Spotted Forkt^.il, Paradise Flycatcher, Scarlet 
Mnivet, Wagtail, Himalayan VJoodpeckers, Hoopoes, Jungle 
CrowSj Pheasants, Parakeets and Himalayan Snow Pigeons, 

This village Sh^.ngarh is situated at an altitude of c^ 
82CO ft above m.Scl-, on the left bani' of Sainj rj-ver 
lA^ich merges vdth the Beas about 20 miles down west near 
Aut. Tho 'place bave large be-iutiful grassy meadows nil- , 
round and presents a 'charming sight- in the evening when--, 
the sun throws its golden rays of diminishing light -,.■ _ 
through the marvellous cedars ptid pines. . : ■■ 

It vjas my first evening at this place that I came^out 
disturbed confusingly by the screams kan-nn-onn resembl- 
ing thoso of a poacock. All my initial efforts to find 
out the truth were fruitless but inquiries from the local 
people gave the clue that it was nothing by the peacock 
and I became curious to see this marvellous bird at such.. 
, a. heavenly plaic, I did not have to w?,it long as tvjo pea- 
hens snd one ceacock emerged from the forest and entered 
the' agricultural fields. It was only vmen the visibility 
became too poor to view these birds that I bade good night 
to them,' After that I used to meet these friends every day. 

Newsletter for Birdwatchers May 1971 

From my immediate studies and inquiries m3de with the 
local people 1 gathered the foilovdng infoxmation; 

i. There are no peacocks found down or up, the valley 
except in this particular ares bounded by a ridge in the 
east and a small stream in the west, the main Sainj river 
in the north and fir forest in the south. The peacocks are 
seen wandering about up to 9000 ft above m.s.l, 

ii* The total population of peahens is about 8 to lO 
while that of peacocks is about 2 or 3* It v^as told that 
in 1966 one pair of peafowl migrated from somewhere to 
this place and has' been multiplying since then, 
iii. The local people dod not kill this bird for eating. 
Very recently I had been able to explore another loca- 
lity a little away from Salnj valley, where 1 found pea- 
cocks. But this locality is not so much in the interior 
and peafowl. are found only up to 6000 ft above m.Sil, 
SnoH"jfall is almost negligible "as compared to Sainj valley* 
Nov/here else I have met peafowl at high up places , nor 
have I heard of any such incidence. This bird has not been 
recorded in the L^j^ n Hill Birds, by Dr Salim Alii Hven 
in his The Book o'j^ Indian Birds Dr Salim All has describ- 
ed the upper limit of this bird at 5000 ft above miS*l, 

Inspite of my best efforts I could attribute no reason 
for this peculiar behaviour of this bird except that 
either this particular family vjas a great lover of charm 
and beauty of natural surroundings with least human dis- 
turbance or that it was driven by intense heat, to take 
abode here some time ago, 

I request- the readers to kindly throw some light on 
this beh-aviour of the bird. 

Jyalsinh M, Raol 

On 30 October 1970 I went birdwatching at Sukala, a small 

lake some four miles NE. of Porbandar< There, I chanced 
to see a bird of about the same size as a myna flying 
away and disappearing on tny approach. The impression of 
that first fleeting glance was that of a strange bird 
never seen before by me. After completing a check of the 
eastern side of the lake, 1 cautiously returned to the 
spot hoping to come across the stranger again. The bird 
was there moving about on the ground in a tangle of under- 
growth of a babool thicketJ It remained in the vegetation 
and shade hopping around picking up inserts. From time to 
time it flew up into the lower branches of the trees above. 
It never gave me a good view in sunlight, but it certainly 
was not shy and I was able to watch it for several minutes 
before it flew off, I had field notes jotted down. The 

* - 

NeiAfS.ietter for Birdwatchers May--1971 


first impression I had was that it resembled the Nilgiri 
Laughing Thrush as illus.trated by Roland Green in l^fliistler^ 
and on returning home I at once drew out the book and com- 
pared my field notes' with the picture and tho text. The 
tally was not full and so I had an onigma on my hands,' I. 
thus visited Sukala again on Ist November hoping to meet^ 
my new friend again. The bird v;as located in approximate- 
ly the same placei It vjas hopping about on the ground in 
the underbrush picking up food" as "before- It was totally 
silent, I reproduce my field notes of the 1st here! 

l,.xi, 19.70: Sukala ■■ Porband^^r, 8^45. a^m. Size when seen 
bes] de a Comnton Myna, slightly smaller and slimmer. Hopp- 
ing about on ground like a thrush. Bill yellowish; this 
particularly at base, of .lov/er nsandible. Black line from 
Bill to eye; white line above the eye; upperparts dark - 
earthy brovjn; head and cheeks ashyj unter tail-coverts 
lA^ite; a small white line from lov/er mandible to eye bel- 
low the dark line; upper throat dov^n to upper breast 
whitish; sides of he=td finely streaked with v;hite; breast 
and flanks light browiv; belly white; a faint white line on 
closed v;ing; legs flesh coloured. 

On going through my bird books I just could not place"-' 
this thrush 'and a birdvjatcher become fidgety when baffled 
in this way, I therefore i.vrote off to our Regional Editor, 
K, S, Lavkumar and he identified the^ bird as Turdus obscu- 
rus, _.^ -.- 

I again visited Sukala. ofi-S,xi. 1970, 22-xi,70, 27.xii*70 

and 4.11,1971, but my fridnd had left, in; the March 1971 
issue of the Newsletter , Mr Ashf ord hgs a'' similar problem 
to mine from Bombay, Turdus obs.curus v, T, unicolo^. Why 
not the former"^ 

A.Navarro, S,J, 

A birdwatching trip to Arnala Island on- January 8, 1971 ■■. 
was rewarded by the locatlpn^of a small colony of Sander- 
lings, ""■- '■■' 

Arnala Island is situated less than a mile from the 
mainland and quite near the entrance to Vaitarna Creek, 
The size of the island is relatively small; it comprises 
Arnala Fort v^ith its watch" tower and a small fishing :vilr- 
lage.'.As for the vogetationi it seems as if the island 
never had its own flora,. Around the village, there are a". 
■r^ew scattered palms and scanty vegetation with" a few treos 
and. bushes; most of the land that is not covered by high-r 
tide is cultivated, bu-t only during the monsoon, '--" 

■ .To gq"birdvjat£hing on a small island, like this one is "" 

Mewal^tter for Birdwatchers May X97I 


like gambling, since the nature of our observations is 
fully' controllod by the influence of the tides; no one 
"knoivs the surprises ^nd disappointments one vdll gather 
at the end of a day's birdwatching.- As a matter of fact 
as. we stepped on the island we visualised that to make 
our birdwatching a success we would have a hard task to 
face, for vje never did dream that the ebb-tide would be so 
low that the water-line was more than half a mile distant 
from the centre of- the island; besides, it was exceedingly 
difficult to move over boulders and stones heavily covered 
with barnacles and slippe^^y moss, combined with aquatic 
plants proper to the 'winter season^ we wore lucky in that 
we carried a fine pair, of binoculars through which we ■ 
would screen the water-line and cbservo the varieties of 
v/atorbirds along .shallow vjaters around the island- First, ' 
we had a grand sight of a long line of Gullbilled Terns 
[ Geloohelidon nilotic^) all the gulls VJore facing the same 
sxde - a manner of line fo.rmation peculiar to the terns 
and gulls_; as thoy ar^e landing, each individual places 
itself tp_ the side of the first one, always facing the 
same direction. Behind the gulls. there was a Grey Heron, 
Ardea cine re a standing like a sentinel; further on, on a 
long narrow rock, - surrounded by shallow/ water, were small 
groups cf Brovjnhoaded Gulls ( Larus b ru nn i c e ph alus ) with a 
."fsw Yellov/legged Herring Gu 1 1 s" ~( ^r u s. argenta'tusT : novj and 
then a few lonely Reef Herons ( Egretta ouiarlA J could be 
seen* Thase/hei-ons, cculd be seen in two colour patterns: 
one pure white and the other a:bluish white slate; most 
of them v/ere„v/earlnq . the dark pattern* we could locale 
only, two- o-r three Reef Herons with" the white pattern. In 
the sa^e vj'ay, around "the island the Pond Horons ( Ajrdeo l g 
Qrayii ) could be seen in their static hunched position- As 
we bent around, facing the sea* there v/ere a few Cormorants 
( Ebalacrocoray niger j and a 'Small group of Red- and Green- 
shanks, In the fai^ distance, on isolated islets, we saw 
the Plovers flying in large numbers, performing their 
synchronised up and do'nvn movements vdth their unpredict- 
able sudden turns, so typical of the plovers. Some groups 
were lost to if Ight in the haEy skyline as others were seen 
landing back on the islets from where they had come- 
Around the island w^ noticed the presence of 3 few 
Gould ^s Desert Chats ( Oenanthe deserti ): the Collared 
Bush Chats (Saxicola torguata ) v/ere seen only in the small 
dry patches of dry fields, perching on sticks or small 
patches of grass - the remnants of the last crop. 

On the parapet of the Fort there was a pair of Rock 
Thrushes (Mon tjcola solitaria) and quite a good number of 
Rock Pigeons, Ajxjund the village the usual nucleus of birds 
that are i^lway^ seen associated with the human element. The 
Common Sparrow ( Passer domesticus ) , the Common House Crov; 
( Corvus splenden^ rrV f e'w" JungTe'Crows ( Coryus macrorhvn* -' " 

;He"w£-fcttt.7 iox Eirdwstchers j^y Xgyi 


ch2E_), -bhe Common Myna .(A cridotherGs tristis ). A single 
^-^^ng Gro^/ (Dicrurus_ adsimllls Ims nnioyi nr> its usual free 
-rides, on ^hs saddle of a small h^rd of buffaloes, labori- 
ously attended by a small colony of Cattle Eorets (Eubul- 
SMs.1^^, and on a few occasions we heard the calirnq' of 
the ^itebreasted Kingfisher [Halcyon smyrnensis ). 
' c -^^T^^^ Jf:Y ^^^^'^ "t^-e^^ ^'^t:re a laroo number of Common 
bwailows (hirundo rustic^), and the Dusky Crao J^artins 
^Kj^rundo concol^r), together '.r^ith a feV; Bee-eaters (Merops 
g^ientalj^sj. The Common Kites wore flying or resting on 
tho paLn xrees; for a few minutes we had a giirr^psc of a 
Kestrel soaring into the sky; apparently it was not muclj " 
interested in tho island aS it flew back to the malnlajfd. 
Atter lunch we ventured to explore the side of the -is- 
land nearer -.he entrance of the Vaitsma Creek; here the 
terrain changes: .here is a sand strip nearly halfa mile 
long. Scat^^ered all over the sand the Lesser and the Laroe 
band Plovers (Cha^radrius m^ongoXus and C^ leschonaulti K " 
■ ?^ ^ ^J^^ Uttlc- Rir^ Plovers and Wagtails". I did not 
.tmd It easy to ascertain their final identification. Aswe 
were nearer the very end of the Sgnd strip we were reward- 
^^m"^^ the sighfof a sm^ll group (about 8-iO) waders 

■^i™ S""^ K^ ^^''"S^ °^ ^"^^^^ feeding on the low-^tide". ^ 
_ surmised to ^^ the Sanderlings. Just to clear my. doubts " 
alter n:uch deliberation we decided to collect a single 

!.^^^^r k^ S^f^ ^^ confirm their identity. In fact, they 
were the Sanderlmgs and 1 am inclined to point out that 
the v^tcning of a group- of Sanderlings on our soa shores 
IS a very rare- incident, .-: - ■.,-'■- ^^ 
^Xt_is well kno^^ that the .Sandeflings winter in Africa^- 
and in India; they also 6ccur in the Laccadive and j^aidive 
-islands-and they are considered regular 'visitors to the 
Indian sea coasts. Nevertheless the-.Sanderling is very 

N^tn ^t^'m^^S^^"^!"'-^'^ '"'^ ^^^^^^ coll^cticns, the Bombay 
^atural History Society having tho largest nun^ber of spe^: 
cimens collected during, the last half century, 

df.irti'nf'^ ^° recognise the Sandorling can bo taken from the 
..description given by Salim All and S, Dillon Rioley's 
■g^nd^$^ §£ the Birds of India and Pakistan where they 
describe tne general habits as ^^b;Si^^5"^iftIy in a 
^^^rf/^^'^^"l;l^"5 1^93 after each receding wave to pick . 
u?^^i^"^r^ It may cgst on shore-.^nd hurriedly retreating 
befor^;the coming next wave. ^ The Sanderlings have com o 
■^rev^n%M ^'^?^^^ plumage; the upperparts are whitish 

whit^ Tt°i°^^H^^' the underparts from chin to tail, pure 
-?™''"' ^■^^^■^"^^^^^^''^^5^^ ^"^ ^^^ ^^t-C Coast; some-- 
^'^im/^r ^'^tK''n^^^ Penetrate into th^ Arctic Tundra 
around the Worth:Pole. -i 

= f^^^5u^^i"-^''^ doubts whether the Sanderling. ;.ean--pos^iW^£ 

,^tand the .long non-stop, trans-continental "■flights, we 
may-assume that "t^he. migratloi^uraute-. to the Indian -sW 'shore 

Kewsletter for Birdvratchers B4ay 1971 

must be a long one. The most favourable route may be that 

from their summer grounds bordoring glorig the sea shores 
of' the Atlantic Ocean down to the south of Europe, through 
the Strait of Gibralter into the Mediterranean Sea, enter- 
ing the Red Sea and bordering .the Saudi Arabian shores up 
to the Persian Gulf from v/hore they follov/ the whoio of 
the Indian sea shores. This is only an hypothesis; never- 
theless since we doubt of the possibility of the Saader- 
ling boing able to cover the straight land route to "che 
Indian sea shores and they hava to follow a sea route, 
the migration flight will be around 11,000 miles. 

The size of the Sgnderling compares with that of the 
Common Sandpiper, -'■'■'- ' 


S- G. Neginhal 

On the loth and ilth February 1971, I had to camp at Shing- 
talur, a tiny village on the banks of the famous Tungbhadra 
river, in the Mundargi Taluka of Dharv;ar district, ^Vsdre 
State, The readers may recollect that a big dam is built 
across the Tungabhadra river at Hos^et (Munirabad) , Mysore 
Stata, with the main purpose of irrigating the fields^ All 
the same hydro -electricity is th^ by-product here, Shmg- . 
talur, is a little over 75 miles upstream from this dam. . 
Up to Shingtaiur the backwaters of the reservoir a^aumu- 
late. Being situated at the last end of the resen/oix the 
stagnated water of the river, at Shingtaiur, is not deep. 
At places the water is knee-deep and at places shoulder- 
deep. One can cross this river at this place to the other 
side villages of Bellary district. Incidentally this river 
forms the border of Dharwar and Bellary districts. There 
are three big islands here, bearing tree-growth. The sur- 
rounding watershed areas bear the scrub forests of f vqaci;^ 
and Albizzia am ar a * The "average rainfall of the traet Is 
about 13 inchest The summer is very hot. The rainy season , 
and the winter are qvaite pleasant. Here, there is a famous 
temple of Lord Veerabhadra, A small rest house is built 
overlooking the river, for the visiting pilgrims, 

I TGached Shingtaiur on the evening of 10th February, X 
was extremely tired after walking 16 miles under the 
scorching sun in the surrounding scrub jungle (all the 
trees in deciduous condition, save the Ixora trees; most 
of the trees not more than my height;)- On reaching the 
Rest House I lay down on the granite floor. of tho veranda 
to allow the cool stones to absorb my fatigue. 

Just then, in front of me I saw 6-8 beautiful birds, 
light grey above and white below, flying forwards and 
backwards on the Tungabhadra rivor. No\v and then they were 
diving down into the water obviously to catjh some fish^ 

iJewSle^c'^r for Birdwatchers . . . May 1971 

X forgot my fatigue and iimncdiately went to the river 
bank. On closer look I observed that tha birds had red 
bills and slightly forJc&;J tails* Thoy had a black cap. 
Their bill and eye were- intently directed below as they 
were scannirig the water for prey.."The most delightful 
s.cene was accorded when these birds dived and plunged into 
the still" watar- of the rivor to catch fish. The calls 
uttered in flight were Of three types. When they vjere on 
flight to Catch their proy the call v^ras a deep ohow-phow . 
On their return upward flight after a successful oatch, 
the Call was a victorious and elongated phe^-o h'-ghej^_Qh ■ If 
■the diving v/as not rewarded, a painful note thiv^thivi-' " ^ 
thiv-thlvl was uttered. The foregoing detaiis 'of the' bird 
must havealready revealed their identity - the Indian 
Vftiiskered Tern j Chlidonias hybrida, ) ■ These birds are never 
tired of flying to and fro* They were found flying as late 
as the late dus^k. Their silvery grey and vjhite coloration, 
their to and fro flighty the dive and the plunge and their 
enchanting calls are unforgetful. 

On the evening of 10th February I was startled to se« 
tvjo black coloured birds flying together withfive snovj- 
white Cattle Egrets ( gubulcus ibis ) across the river. On 
close .observation, when thoy flew low over my head, I was 
amazed to find the -black birds to be nothing else but the 
black coloured Cattle EgretsJ A Nature's freakii On the 
11th February, I again-Saw tvvo v/hite cattle' egrets flying 
with one charcoal coloured cattle egretiJ^'jne black colour- 
ed cattle egrets were c^wnpletely black as A crow, A rare 
sight; : ", " \^ -' ^ 

As I v;as sitting, on.the .river bank I saw a lonely Cormnon 
Sandpiper [ Trinoa hyp o 1 e u_c o s. ) , greyish brown above and 
white below, walking along the river edge. It flew off 
■_across the river uttering a shrill tee-'tec-tee , flying 
very.low over JJ^^iW^tpr and revealing its characteristic 
wing-bar, . , . - " "" - 

A long Vh'ading Blackwinged Stilt ( HliLantotjus himantopus ) 
attracted my attention en the other side of the river bank. 
It had black wings. Its- breast, s izomach and all its under- 
parts were pure white. The head had a black cap. The collar 
and the forehead was white. The black colour of the head 
covered both sides of the eyes as well, leaving the fore- 
head white. When it noticed me, it flew off uttering 3-4 
■times peep-peep-Tjeeo - a frightened or rather a protest- 
■ing note for intrusion. It- had a long and sler^der beak, 
black' In-.colour, . The legs v^re lean and long, reddish in 
colour, I have seen different types of coloration of black 
and-'V/hite on^ these birds - some having white heads-; The 
presence of this Blackvjinged Stilt made rne to look out for 
the other wader, the_ Spotted Sandpipers ( Trinqa gj-arepla ) 
which I have alv.^ys noticed wherever the former Lvere found. 
Three or four of these little" waders ^vcre inimediatoiy noti- 

" Newsletter for Birdwatchers May 1971 

8 , 

ced probing with' their bills for food, often wagging their 
tails;- On being disturbed they flew vertically into the 

air and off they went like a helicopter v/ith a shrill note. 

;"■ On'the 11th February I crossed the river and went to one 
of the islands of this rivor. Here the Ring Dove ( Strop to - 
E gjj i A^ de£aocto) and the Little Brov,!! Dove ( S, eene.galsnsis ) 
were plorty. The Common PeafovLfls (wild) were also commonly 
seen in herds. A pair of Ashy Wren^V/arblsrs ( Prinia soci3_- 
11s ) were seen actively hopping in a shrub. The common 
Green Bee-egtcrs ( M_erops_ orientalis l were making much 
noise in a low-branched tree along the river. The Barhsad- 
ed Geese [ Anser i,ndi ous ) were seen resting on sandbanks, 
in low vator, in the middle of the river nca^ afi islet. 
Of course the Paddy Bird ( Ardeola gravii ) was there stand- 
ing hunched up at the v-fater's edge* A Common Kingfisher 
(A 1c. ^P atthis_) was perching on a low branch on the river 
bank. On my return to the Rest House I saw the Common 
Myna, the xndian Robin, the' Black Drongo ( Dicrurus adsi- 
mjlis ) . 'the Conmon Quail ( Coturn i x ooturnix: ) . the Grey 
Partridge [ Franco linus pondicerianus ) . the Painted Part- 
ridge (P-_ plctuj ) ^ the Common Babbler ( lurdoides c^udgtus ) , 
the Hoopoe, the Crov;-PheaSant , the Roseringed Parakeet, 
and the Roller, 

I made friendship with an educated Andhrite young, Shri 
Venkatpati Raju, who has taken up agriculture on modern 
lines. He is cultivating a great stretch of land on the 
banks of the Tungahhadra at this place. He has thoroughly 
studied all the birds here, I ivas surprised to find a - 

powerful binocular and The , Boo!^ of Indian Bi r ds by Salim 
Ali with hijn. He told me that the other birds seen by him 
in this reservoir were the Brahminy Duck, the Gorrjnon lealj 
the filuewinged Teal, the Pintail, the Vfl^ite Ibis, the 
Black Ibis, the ^Vhitenecked Stork, the Elackneoked Stork, 

. the Indian J'-lcofhen, and the Flamingo, 

As I v/as sitting on the river bank late at dusk, I saw 
a large number of crepuscular and nocturnal birds started 

■ coming to the river, I could not knowj which were these 
birds as 'I had no lights, A 6 volt or "12 volt battery 
fitted to a search light v.^uld be better suited to study 
these birds, I ^vish somebody would start X'Vriting something 
.about these nocturnal birds. 


D, A, Stairmand 

The Botanical Gardens, which are situated at the edge of 
the town, consist of S^ acres and the elevation ranges 
frgm 7350 ft to 7710 ft. Temperatures were approximately 
70^-40 and the days gloriously sunny. The gardens arc 
beautifully maifitainod and contain plants, shrubs and many 

-.tisws letter for BjLrd^'ja'tcbers , May 1971 

. - _ L J 


magnificerst t"CQ2£ a Isi'ge number of v^ich, gs befits a 
botanical gaifJenj originate from various foreign countries. 

On tv,o mornings,. 16^1 and,.l7.i, I regogoised the follow- 
ing birds ; ■ ■ ■■■■:■':■' 

Snail Green B^rbot-j Indian Pitta, -Grey Drongo, Jungle 
Myna, "Houscr Crov, Junole Crow, HecEvjhiskerGd Bulbul, 
. Whitespotted rantail Flycatcher, VJillotv IVarbler, 
"Soutnern Slackbird^ Pv'ountain Thrush, Blueheaded Rock 
.Thrush, Pied Busjichatj Blue Cnat^ Magpie Robin, Grey 
Tit, Tree Pipi-tj- Grey Wagtail, Purple Sunbird, L^ten^s 
■ ' ■ Sunbirdj Vyhitc-eye, House Sparrow, Posefinch, 

It -may be noticed thi^t ali except one of these birds are 
of the urder Passerif oriViesa Some of the birds were at an 
altitude highr^r.than usualiy recorded for them, e.g, Indian 
Pitta, Magpie Hobin. 

Vdllov-' Warblors (rrobably Tickell's and Greenish), 
^Vhite-eyes and Grey lits were common in these gardens and 
Small Green B^rbt?ts "oall their pu cock ppcQ ck frequently* 
I was able to ViPatch one calling from a branch and it 'jj^s 
evident that the bird^s throat get much violent exercise- 
The Vfliitespotted rant.:fl Flycatchers vrere even on the 
paths in "the hicihtr parts of the gardens dancing from side 
to side. Also hich up vjere most of the Redwhiskered 'Bul- 
buls - taking berries from bitshes - and sunbirds. The 
Purple Sunbirds 'vj'^re in non<-breeding dress and taking - 
nectar in the approvetl manner for- sunbirds. However, 
loten^s Sunbird wac^^^^jJJ^ing forth after insects and re^ 
turning -^o the ' pr-i.'-ch in the manner of a flycatcher, 
Rosefinches added further colour to these higher reaches 
and there was ur.ualJ.y j Grey Wagtail gaily tripping a^rcund. 
The 'Vagtail -s coloration seemed less good here thcin those 
seen at about 400Q ft aiid below. There v^ere small parties 
of Tree Pioit'; but I vjas able to ^^ratch these only after I 
had disturbed hhe::^ from the gress and they had flo\vn up ■ 
onto horizontal bcuohs percnjng there on full view pumping 
their. tails slcw.'-y up and dov/n. They are finely niarked 
birds and very attractive despite "cheir sober colours. 

Pied SusiVchsts, with the iiiaies in song on exposed perch- 
es and femalo^ close by, and Grey Dronoos were v/ell spread 
over the, gariiens while the cj.^ows, sparrows and Jungle 
Mynas v;ere most nu::Lerous on the lav-'ns near the entrance, ■ 
' Thrush Corner ■'■ '.vas on^th.e Icv^ level in a secluded- spot 
'with plenty of cov^r j-y vvay' of, tree's, and shrubs, a carpet 
of dead luaves, 'and' a concealed clit^.h V' a trickle of 
water, .Here v.'::re the rather plentiful and bullying Southern 
Blackbirds (but.thov i,-i-?i ,Elr--- songsters during their breed- 
ing season), a scli'^'i^"/- t'iOunt^.in Thrush, a malo. Blue Chat 
and the thrush-like -Pilta^ I .saw a lot 'of "'the Blue CHat 
and the Pitta in their little area 'arid vjas -able to study 
them for long periodsa I oai'? the' Mountain Thrush only once 

tJewsletter for Birdwatchers May 1971 


and then it was flicking over leaves in the ditch. This 

is a beautifully marked bird. 

On the first rnorning I saw - very briefly - the female 
Bluehsaded Rock Thrush not far from ' Thrush Corner ' as 
she flew onto a branch of a tree. The second morning I 
disturbed the male as I walked along the mid^section of 
the gardens where the previous morning I had watched a 
pair of Magpie Robins, He flew onto a big bare horizontal 
bough and as he stayed there motionless I sat dowi on the 
grass and studied this lovely bird. He used three trees 
as his bases and, if I've copied the labels correctly, 
these were ^ .g uercus. suber , guercus c.erris and araucaria 
ru.lei , ' Horizontal boughs about 10 feet above the ground 
were favoured and the bird used these as his look-out 
posts for prey crav/ling on the grass. Every five minutes 
or so he flew to the ground and either disposed of the 
prey on the spot or» if more succulent, he took it back 
to the same or a nearby perch and - if i-t-wa^s large - put 
it on the topside of the bough before eating "^"t. Grey 
Drongos - once three - tried to rob the thrush of his 
prey but totally without success. When perched the bird 
often had a hunchbacked appearance and the white in the , 
wings v/as always noticeable. Probably he was holding his 
vdngs a little avjay from his body. To test the apparent 
tameness of this bird I, upon leaving, walked very close 
past him and had a glorious view as he didn^t retreat. 

These gardens are absolutely delightful and well repay 
a visit by any nature lover. 



A v/eek's stay in Matheran (12 to 20 April) ivas most re- 
freshing, ShamgS and i^VhitettsEoated Ground Thrushes called 
from every direction, but the ventriloquistic attributes 
of the latter were most annoying. The high-pitched notes 
of the Thrush seem to come frora one direction, and the 
low-pitched ones from another. Very often it took 20 min- 
utes to locate a bird calling from within a radius of 50 
yards. Then there v/ere Xoras, Orioles, Barbets, Elacknap- 
ed Blue t-lycatchers, Tickell^s Blue Flycatchers and others, 
One evening in the valley below Echo Point we got splendid 
views of three falcons v^ich from their brown and white 
colouring seemed to be the migrant race Fa leg perearinus 
japonensis . The next day below Porcupine Point vje saw a 
Shahin Falcons ( Fa.lco peregrinus oeri_arina.tor ) which were 
much darker. On tivo occasions we saw a pair of Crested 
Serpent Eagles screa^^ing and wheeling overhead. 


Je^njs^eti-^r for BinJv.atcheirs Ina^y 1971 


The Bonnet Monkeys and the Langurs'are doing very well. 
They have plenty to eat in the v;ay of the Para Jatnbu 
-fruits vjhich are too bitter for humans - otherwise they 
would not be so viell supplied, A talk with the Foresx 
Officer, V, l^^ Kardekar revealed that panthers are still., 
occasionally seen, , . . -.^ 

But like everywhere else in India, the erosion of the 
soil is consequent gn.-''-ee cutting and grass cutting and. 
over-grazing is most -distressing. V/hile the trees on 
^jajtha R-an (the forest .at the top) is well preserved, the 
excessive cutting of the'gress has led to erosion of the 
soil on the slopes below^ for instance, Alexandra Point,- 
Panorama and Porcupine. Point and other areas, Thi.s must 
he checked. M2: J, S, Lord, the active President of the 
Matfeeran Municipality is av/aro of this and h^s baen con- 
templating plans to take protective measures-. 

we must act soon to ^reserve the precious qualities o£ 
this beautiful Hill Station, 


Wjlriter visitors at Mahim C reek 

X was interested to read the letter in the Correspon- 
dence section in the January issue v^rrltten by Messrs 
Vipin Parikh an6 Vijay Bhatt in which they mentioned that ■ 
a Redshank had one 'leg lame- 

On several occasions I noticed Stilts and other long- 
legged birds at the Creek with only one good log, I have' 
also managed to intervene, more than- once, ^en I have 
seen boys near the edge of the Creek catapulting the birds 
and this unthinkingly cruel pastime is a 'probable reason 
for the bird ^s lanenoss. There is one word of caution 
here though - sometimes various comparatively long-legged 
birds [including small vraders) and certainly the Stilts 
at this Creekj occasionally stand on one leg with the 
other log showing merely as a short savm-off stump. There" 
is obviously the utmost urgency to educate the young in 
all respects but this, unfortunately, will necessarily 
take some time. However, could not catapults be banned, as 
they are invariably usad on living creatures? The lYorld 
Wildlife might consider some campaign although their funds 
must be limited, VJhile 1 was in the grounds of Bombay^s 
apology for a zoo - Victoria Gardens - earlier this month 
t\'-iO pairs of paraJ^eots v^erc fighting over a nest hole in 
a tree and being catapulted at the ;ame time even though 
catapults are prohibited in the zoo. Perhaps the paorakeets' 
problem was soon solved^ 

D, A, Stairmand 

Mewsletter fGi-. Birdwatchers Jfey 1971 


Roosting, flight ■ .: 

Almost every evening at about 7 p.m. I have been obser- 
ving a group of birds flying in formation from \-jest to 
east, possibly returning to their roosting places Their 
number may be approximately 50. They are not Roseringed 
Parakeets about which I had referred to earlier. As they 
are flying at a considerable height, I have not been able 
to recognize them. 

Yesterday evening at the same time I saw these birds 
circling in the v^festern sky. I was confused at the time 
and thought they may be pgrleh kites, but very soon they 
broke the formation and continued their flight east. 

The circling seemed to be very unusual and I wonder if 
you have also noted such group flight. If so, can you tell 
me ifthat birds they could be. They flap their v/ings and 
the size is that of a crow< But the formation is something 
worth admiring* "" ^^^-^ 

B. A, Palkhiwalla 

Zafer Futehally 

Editor, Newsletter for Bird^^/atchers 

32-A, Juhu lane 

Andheri, Bombay ^S-AS 

I ^ 





Dr. Salim Ali, 

Mrs. Jamal Ara, " a 

Raiichi- Z 

Dr. Biswanioy Bibwas, 

Kunvar Shri Lavl;umar, 

Prof- K. K. Ncdakaiitan. 

Mr. B. R. Grubb. 

Mr. R. L- Fleming, Junior, 
Kalhmaiidii. Nepal. 

Mr. D, A. Stairniand^ 

Bomb ay - 

Er. A. Navarro, 

Mr. Zafar Ritehally, 

32A. Juhu Lane. Andhcri, 
i3ombay'58 AS- 

AbouelI SLibsLfiplion R.s. 10 ■■. 
SEudcuts Rs- 5'-- 

Cozrer design by R. A. Stewart Meliiiish 



Newsletter for 

VOL XI NO 6 JUNE 1971 





Volume il. Number 6 June 1971 


Birdwatching around Musaf f arnagarj LFttar Pradesh, by 

B. D. Rana and A, P„ Tyagi 1 

Birds o£ Jamshedpur, by V^ Harayana Swami 4 

Birdvyatching from a train, by S, Ka Sen 5 

The Indian Pitta and the Blue Chat, by D, A, Stairmand 7 

Notes and Comrr.ents 9 

Correspondence 10 

Bird notes from the Hilgirls^f^^nSarah Jameson 

Two 0::^^ ■"-'■,-" ti:: -G, z"i.o:.; S, '1^ '^_-r. 

The Indian Pittr'. r.rrivos on schedule in Soriyli Park, 
Bombayj from D^ A, Stairn;and 


I i-i 

B. D. Rana and A, P^ Xyagi"^ 

Muzaffarnagar district is situated in NVJ, Uttar Pradesh, 
the mean latitude and longitude being 29 N., 77 E, It is 
about 52 miles e|ast to west and about 30 miles north to 
south. The district has plenty of river vjator resources, 
viz, the Burhi G^nga, Solani, Kali Hadi, Krishna, Hindon, 
Katha, Khokhni, Ganges and Jamuna, Besides, there are a 
few canals and quite a few pexennial lakes and tanks. The 
average rainfall varies from 45 cm to 100 cm. Little is, 
however, known about the avian fauna of Muzaff arnagar dis- 
trict, V/e are reporting here the birds seen during a week^s 
observations in the month of May 1970, 

18th May, we proceeded to Ahiyapur village. The area 
comprises mostly wetlands under irrigation, except a few 
^dry land in p^-.tches- The main crops are wheat, barley, 
peas, gram, and other pulse-^„ There are also orchards of 
of mango, litchi or lokat, pear etc. and we are giving 
below a study of the birds in these groves and orchards. 

In the orchards of mango, litchi ana aru the conversa- 
tional calls of the Jungle Babbler (Turdoides striatus ) . 
locally known as I Ximnl attracted our attention. They were 
hopping and feeding upon the ripe litchi arid unripe mango 
fruits, Redvented Bulbuls ( Pvcnonotus cafcr) vjere in abun- 
dance but there were a few YeTTo^vvented Bulbuls (Pvcnono- 
tu5_ leucooonys 1 , Roseringed Parakeets [ P s 1 1 1 a cu j a kr amer i .) < 

■Wiimal Studies Divisions Central Arid Zone Research Inr- 

'S-titute, Jodhpur i 

Department of Zoologyj D^ApV^ College, Muzaffarnagar ' 

Newsletter for Birdwatchers j^^ j^-j^ 


House Crows (Corvus splGndens l were seen on litchi -fruits 
Tree-^piGS (. Dendrocitta vagabunda ) were also seen ho-inq 
from one tree to another.- "^.'e located koels ( Eudynamle 
scoio^aceaj in the mango groves emitting sweet and lovelv 
songs. The Magpie-Robin ( Copsychus saularis L Piod Bush- 
Chat CSaxicola caori^tal^ ^'Jhitebackod Munia j lonchura siri- 
ataJ, Hoopoe [UpugA e^-QEs), the Common Beo-eatsr (Mer^pT" 

oriontalis) were also observed in the orchard. 

Wo went farther into the mango and litchi gardens and 
observed the follo^'dng species: The Piod Myna ( Sturnus 
con_cra?, the Vellowfronted Pied Woodpecker ( Dendr'o'cooos 
gahrai^tensis} excavating a hole vdth the help of its strong 
beak in the trunk of a Alubukhara trc-e, so wo could soe it 
vcry^closeiy. The Common Hawk Cuckoo [ Cuculus varius) was 
teodxng upon lokat. There were i^itothroated ?toi>~[ Lon- 
gh^malabarica), Rufousbackod Shrikes (lanius schac hTT 
both male and female Purplo Sunbirds ( Nectarinia' asi^t-JcRl- 

jomale Redstarts [Phoenicurus nch-ri]rn^T;"TnHn- .■;;-.j7kT-;^ 

l^axicoloides fulicata ), HGdhEartPd Hnnt.^ng^ ( Ejtiberi za 
bruniCG^sl, Tickell's Flower Peckers (Dicaeum'li^^S^hvn- 
cnosj. Grey Tits ( Parus ma.jorj . We did not i^dtneas any 
interspecific competition in spite of the fact that the 
bird number was appreciable. 

Next dayy. when wo reached the scrubland, situited to- 

n'^^h\^^^'"^^^''f^l!-^° Muzaffarnagc-.r on J^nsath Road, a large 
number oi Rock Pigeons ( Columba livja ) were found tS be 
rooseing in the crevices of bridges of an old Nala, The 
Hing Do^e (S^repto^elia docaoctoj and the Uttle Dove 
^k^^QtgpQljL^ seneoalonsis), the Spotted Dove ( Strcpteoe lia 
chinensisj were seen together feeding along the harvestol — 
tieids of wheat, gram and in other rabi crops follov/ed by 
the pigeoDS^i When we advanced farther into - a sandy tract 
wo met with the Blue Jay (C oracias benohalensis l which wag 
preying upon the eggs of an unidentified species of bird 
most probably of the Golumbidae family, large Green Bee- 
eaters (Merops superciliosus l were sitting near by a huge 
sand dune. Firstly we could not identify them, but a little 
wniie later, vjhen they flew off a distance o^ about 50 
yards, v;e could identify them. Groups of ^gj^out 20 to 30 
Jungle Crows ( Corvus macrorhynchos l vjere found to sit 
nearby a water pot and hukka^ whore the meal of a working 
tieldman was kept. Crow-Pheasant ( Centropus sinensis ) were' 

rnnnrJ in ciih-*-.---.- _ ^ <. 4 ^ i j „ , — ' — — ^- ' 

fJH ^^^^- ^^^^-^ (Acridotheres. glngini^nus ), the Common Myn^ 
t Jit tosj^is J were feeding upon insects in an irrig.-'ted field. 
fie ;;^^ker Babbler (Alcippe poioiceohala iand the Blackbellied 


Mnch-l5.rk ( Eremop terix arisea? were noticed by the bank of 
a dirty drain emerging of the ^luzaf f arnagar City, The follow- 
ing scavenger birds were found to bo roosting on the Eucaly-" 
ptus and pipal tree, the Whitebacked Vulture (G;:^ bencjalen - 
SIS ) , 

Mo VJ5 letter for Birdwatchers June 1971 


ThGre were also i^^ite Scavenger (Neophron p,ercnopterus) ^ 
the ComrEion Pariah Kite ( Milvus migrans }, and Crested ber- 
pent Eagle ( Spilo^nis ch e el.a j ■ The Black Drongo f Picrurus 

adjj,rni,ll £,) was flying to-and fro emitting the attractive 
call, most probably to assert its right to the territory 
it was in possession of, A large number of occupied nests 
of the Common Baya f gloceus Qhilifipinus ) werG_seen on a- . c 
babool tree. The other common birds were the lailor Bird 
( Qrth o tomus sutorjus 'l . the House Sparrow f P a_s 5_e_r domosti. - 
cuF l 

When we v/ere walking on the bank of the Ganga canal, the 
folloulng species of birds vje:re seen in scrub-covered bank 
of the Canal; peacock ( Pavg cristatus.) , Grey Partridge 
( Francpllnus oondicerianus K Grey Shrike t Lanius excufciter) 
and the Dusky Crag !'/iartin ( Hi run dp concolor" ) . Common Wood 
Shrike ( Tgphrodornis oondicerlany.s. ) , the Comuon Rose Finch 
(Carp odacus ervthrinus )/ a pair of Spotted t>/lets (Athene 
bram^') the V^'hite spotted Fantail Flycatcher ( Rhipidura 
alboQUlaris ), the TJhitebrowcd BuXbul f Pycnepotu s luteolus ), 
the Large Pied Vlagtail ( Motacilla ma d e r a s p at e nsis^ Ja nd the 
Wiretaiied Swallow ( Hirundo sTniJ:hi ll . 

Once when wo visited the lakes, ponds and rivers, when 
it was raining during the ciay, we located roosts of the 
House Swift ( Apus ^ff inis )undgr the bridges of the rivers 
and Canals, The Paddy Bird ( ATdgola ^a;yii ) was seen prey- 
ing upon fish fingerlings. The penetrating calls of both 
the Redvjattled f Vancllus indjcus ) and the Yellov-j^wattlcd 
Lapwing .(V^nellus ma 1 aba r i cus ja 1 1 r a c t e d our attention. 
They wore flying from one corner to the other in the ir- 
rigated field in search of their prey. The Pheasant-tailed 
Jacana ( Hydroohasi^^nus chirurous ^ and the Indran Whiskered 
Tern ( ChJj-dPpAM hybrida ) wero located in the sugarcane 
field, standing nearby a freshwater pond. The Pied King 
Fisher ( Ceryle rudis ) were found sitting together on a 
telegraph wire, crossing over the pond. The Grey Heron 
[ Ardea cinerea ) and a group of the Cattle Egrets (Bubul- 
cus ibis ] were seen several tines. The Darter ( ^nhinga 
melanoQ aster) were located in a small group on the sur- 
face of the v;ater, swimming with the body partially - 
sometimes completely submerged leaving only the hcad_and 
neck exposed, swaying and turning this way and that in 
search of food. 

Also encountered were the Little Grobe ( Podioeps rufr- 
CoUis.), the Shoveller ( An^s clvpeata ) in fair numbers 
and the V^itebrcasted V^^ater Hen" t ^aurernis. phQenicuru_s J 
Late in the evening vjhile returning to camp our atten- 
tion was attracted tovjards the VJh.itenockcd Stork (Ciconia 
ciconia) and the Little Green Bittern (Butoroidos. strla- 
tus ) vjhich v^ere sitting on a huge stone. Both of these 
species were reluctant to fly off and allowed an unusual- 
ly close approach. 

^^ 2.^ tj: e r . .fo^ Pj.rdvatchers j^^^ 2971 


In the avian community of the jv^uzaff arnagar district 
we vatnesaed such a harmony and peac^fut co-existence, 
that wo could only wish that hmgns could take a lesson 
from 'tnem, 

BIRDS- OF JAWSHEDPUR";-- -- - ^... _.'-: '-- 

Vk"'ife;t'ay3na Swacii ~ 

Having equipped myself Dr Salim Ali^s The Book of 
I^di^ Birds, Hugh Vi^istler^s Po pular Handbook of India n 
mrds and 7 x 35 binoculars, I did not want to Silow lack 
of coajhxng by an expert to handicap me. In the last three 
mon.hs J. have been doing a good deal of wanderioo around 
ulie woods and been able to observe and" identify some fifty'-' 
species of more common birds- 

As I can lay some claim tc being Janjshedpur's only bird- 
watcher [ij I wonder if readers might be interested in what 
l_have seen around here, ^lorenver I have also a few oues- 
rions to ask. But first let me mention what I have seen» ■ 

10 begin vath Fied and Common Mynas are found in plenty. 
And flrrting zo and fro about the ornamental duck-pond on" 
t^ hostel lawns is a tiny bob-tail which I believe is the 
Ashy Wren-Warbler. A qommon Wood-Shrike also pays visits 
to xhis beeutiful lawn. ' ^ 

A few -days back i saw a Black Drongo spending a few minti-" 

tes on vh4 Hostel terrace on its way to'the woods outside, 
in tne Tata Jubilee Park there are a number of Redvented 
buibuls and Purple Sunbirds. And a number of Tufted Pchards 
are found on the Jubilee Lake. On the lakeside I have seen 
a cluster of what I believe is the small Indian Skylark 
feeding on the ground. But then the books say larks and ' 
pipits are rather difficult to tell apart. 

Out in the woods close-by lives a Crow-Pheasant which 
creeps silently up and trees. But I was able to look 
at Its chestnut wings and longish tail quite easily. Plenty 
of Green Bee-eaters fly high overhead. I have also seen in 
the same woods a tiny olive^green or o? ive-yeilow bird with 
a white ring round its eye. Possibly a V^.ite-eye? Besides 
there is also an Indian Robin whistling lustily from its ■ 
perch on -a-bush-top. It does not allow to be closely appro- 
ached* I have also seen a group of Lapv/ings but since they 
are very jv'ary of my presence, I could not get close enough ' 
to tell whether they are Red- or Yellow-wattXed. Cattle J. 
bgrets are seen everywhere and on the 7th February I was""' 
particularly pleased to see tvo wagtails (Urge Pied and 
Blaokheaded Yell ow] on the hostel lawns. I find that the 

'^Mdress.t^ Management Progi^mmG, Xavier Inst., Jamshedpur 1 
Hoven:ber and December 1970, and January 1971, 

iQVjs l etter for Birdwatchers June 1971 

Large Pied Wagtail keeps'.to watery areas, and the only 
explsriation I can see for, its presence vjas that the lawn 
was rather wet with the hose running on. These t\vo birds 
hopped very freely about the lawn, '-_-■'- 

Now I have a few questions. First, therG are a number 
of Pariah Kites flying overhead. Whenever one flies low 
[say 20 or 30 ft) I find that a crow chases it. After a 
minute or so the kite grows tired of the game may be, and 
flaps its wings once. This displaces such a lot of air 
that the cro^v flutters in mid-air and gives up the chase. 
Does the crov; follow the kite because it feels food may 
food may be in the vicinity [especially as the kite is 
flying low)? If it is so why dont all the crows follov/ it? 

On 7th February a sunbird-was come across which was 
glossy black all over with a touch of cobalt blue oti the 
sides of the neck. This might be the Purple Sunbird in 
breeding plumage. But [as the breedincr season is given as 
March to May' does the plirmago change this much in advance- 
of the breeding season? 

Answers to the above from rnei^^rs will be welcome* 

S. K. Sen 

I reside in Calcutta a^^ ^Y 'vork takes me to Kalyani, a 
place about" 30 miles from Calcutta, several times in a 
month. I travel by train and it takes 1 hour and 15 minu- 

While most commuters spend the journey time by eithei 
reading a paper or a book, or dozing or just sitting and 
looking bored, I place myself at a window and look outside 
watching the feathered Species. X vj^s surprised to find 
how many did I see- 
When the train passes a built-up area, there are the 
House Crows ( Co r vu^s splendens ) , Sparrows ( Passer domesti- 
cus ) f senti-'feral Blue Rock Pigeon ( Columba liv ia ) , Fancy 
pigeons, domestic ducks on the ponds and domestic fowls. 
There are common mynas and one household had a pair of \^- - 
geese which looked like the Hawaian Geese, 

VJhen the train passes a field or pond and. jheels choked 
with w^ter hyacynth, one can see hundreds of Cattle Egrets 
( Bubulcus ibis,), most of them foraging on their own as 
there are not enough cattle about. There are also Little 
Egrets [ Rgrett a ^arzetta) and Paddy Birds ( j^rdeola qrav_ii_ ). 
in plenty but not so numerous as the cattle, egrets. Paddy ■ 
Birds are- so. unattractively coloured until they take flight 
when their glistening v/hite "wings sho.v up so well. The 
train passes so many jheels and ponds but 1 have never seen 

^jews !^ei:tg^^ fpx Birdwatchers. June 1971 


a heron. If a maxshy, place appears, and there are quite ^ ,_ 
few en the wBr-ff one can see sorne CotTimon Sandpipers ( Tring'a - 
hypoleucos ) and Spotted Sandpipers ( Tringa glareola ). 

On the bank of a large clear pond once 1 sav; six Lapv^ings 
flying in tee-ing and settling on the bank. Although it 
was rather far off, from the sizG, general colour and 
white wing-bar I was reasonably certain that they were 
Yellovj" watt led ( Vanellus malabaricus ). 

Track-side bushes and trees are always 'full of flocks 
of Pied Mynas [ Sturnus contra ) and House Sparrows [ Passer 
doiaesticus. ) flying off and settling on a bush further away, 
as the train passes by. Seeing .these very familiar birds 
in flocJcs gave me a different impression; they did not 
seem to appear so familiar after aHI Once 1 saw a'cloud^ 
of, sparrows passing over a field at a distance, Were they 
migrating? Off and one one can see groups of Jungle Crows 
[ Corvus macro r hy n 3 h o s. ) sitting on a branch or a wire, their 
blsck plusDago glistening in the sun* 

Sitting on the telegraph mre all along the track one 
always sees two or three Spotted Doves C Streotooelia 
chinensis ), a lonely Black Drongo ( Dicrurus adsimilis ) or 
a couple .of Common Bee-eaters ( ffierops orientalis ) i every 
now and again. Blue Jays f Ccraclas benghalensis ] are also 
commonly seen sitting on the vdre and posts» 

On the ledge of a tall factory building along viiich the 
train passes, I have always met a small flock of Roseringed 
Parakeets ( Psittacul a krameri). 

Most spectacular sight is when the tr^in passes an 
animal carcass by the side of the track. There is a vir- 
tual feast there. Some stray dogs trying to have a bite, 
joined and encircled by a large group of Bengal Vultures 
Igyp^ benaalensis ). and very many of their kind in the 
air on their vjay to the feast. Above and around can be f ^:- 
seen a whole lot of House Grows and Jungle Crows, all very 
noisy, sitting, flying and coming down to have a bite. 
Also in the air are a very largo flocks of Pariah Kites^ 
(Mllyus. nu ^rans ), flying, circling and swooping. There is 
'a melee of these birds in the air. 

On the bushes, mainly lant^na, along the track I have . 
seen"-vivacious Redvented Bulbuls ( gycnonotus oaf e^ j , Com- 
mon Vifood Shrikes f Tephrodornis pondice r lanus ) swooping on 
their prey and Crow-Pheasants ( Centropus sinensis J taking" 
on their laboured flight to another shrub* Once I saw a 
male Koel ( Eudynai^vs scolopaceaJ . glistoning black bird _ 
with reci eyes, . - 

Sitting on the branch over a pond or sometimes with no 
water near or flying, I have seen and recognised Common 
Kingfisher [ Alcedo atthis ); l^itebreasted Eangfisher 
( HalcxQ.^ . smvr n e n s i sT a nd "P led Kingfisher {Ceryle rudis ) * 
Sometimes- I h^ 'e seen a Tree Pie ( Dendrocitta vagabunda ) 
and a Blackheaded Oriole ( Qriolus "::anthornu s.) . I have seen 
C""i.llv-''':- :(- ' . ■.■::_' 1 ' -"' ■i-'0»"' r^-^-^c-. \r^'^ -^I'u.^d 

rig W5 letter for Birdwatchers June 1971 

swallows circling over fields and open spaces but could 
not determine their identity. Occasionally an odd Grey 
Wagtail or a Magpie Robin c?in be seen. 

Vfetching all these species betvjeen the months of May 
and December 1970, all from a running train and with bare 
eyes, I realised the truth of vjhat Salim All says in his 
book, that Birdwat'^hing can be indulged in vjherever one 
may be and it does not need any equipment, 

D, A, Staii^and 

I found the Pitta and the male Blue Chat in a secOiuded 

corner of the Botanical Gardens, Ootacamund, in mid Janu- 
ary. I had v.'andered a little way off the path and came to 
a likely looking place for birds as, inside a small open- 
ing, there was a pile of dead leaves, a fair amount of 
undergrov^th and the area was almost completely shielded 
and shaded by trees. Nearby was a concealed ditch with a 
trickle of water and plenty of mulch. 

As I approached this area I heard movement over the 
dead leaves but when 1 got inside the tangle saw nothing. 
But my interest had beo^ a^fakened so I stood completely 
still and waited for perhaps ten minutes v.rhen I heard a 
bird moving over th© leaves and the noise was getting 
louder. Then the Pibta came into sight; looked at me and 
continued to hop to the pile of leaves until it was only 
20 feet from me. I was delighted es although I have been 
very lucky to 5ee this bird in Bombay these last two Mgys* 
I had no thought of seeing it that morning. ^Vhile the 
Pitta was advancing a little ^ blue ^ bird caught the 
corner of my eye but 1 resisted temptation and concentra- 
ted on the Pitta. However, the little blue bird refused 
to be ignored and hopped to within three feet of me. Xt 
was about the size of a sparrow, dull blue above with a 
white streak over the eye and bright chestnut below. I 
had never seen this bird before but my memory instantly 
flew to an illustration in Dr Salim Ali^s Indian Hill 
Birds - a Blue Chat; and this was the male- Well 1 didnt 
lose the Pitta that morning and during the next four days 
I visited the Pitta and the Blue Chat as often as possi- 
ble — perhaps six times — and spent up to an hour there 
each visit. The procedure was always the same - I would 

Readers will recall the Pitta's arrival dates, 18 May 
1969 and 24 May 1970 in the Kanheri Caves vicinity, Bombayj 
recorded by Mi D^ A. Stairmand ( Mews letter 1017) : 5 et se^ . 

g^ews le tte r for M^^'atche^s june 197i 


arrive - no Pitta, no -Blue Chat, After^g wait of 5-10 min- 
utes the Blue Chat revealed hinDself and then the Pitta 
left cover and made for the pile of leaves just 20 feet 
from me. The birds showed jvio fear of me or my binoculars 
trained on them but any sopnd of footsteps on the nearby 
path made the birds ^lert.' t'vhen people approached the 
Pitta \would look up intently and perhaps turn and retreat 
a tew hops towards cover and the Slie Chat would vanish ' 
below the "undergrowth. .When the footsteps receded the 
birds returned immediately to feed in their favourite 

Anyone who knows the Pitts well vjill. of course, realise 
that its ultra-serious facial expression and demeanour are 
lovably amusing to watch ss it"-digs into the mulch violent- 
ly hurling leaves and soil over its shoulder until it finds 
3 grub which is 5 '/.'allowed, folic:. ed by a little meditation 
then back to work again. ±t is amazing hotv tho Pitta ^s 
guady colours merge into the scene it freouents. Once 1 
had waited in vain for 15 minute for the Pitta and had 
almost given t:p hope that time. Then I noticed movement 
amongst the golden and red leaves and 5aw that it was the 
Pitta ^s upper parts vjorking away - I had a view like a 

portrait-picture ' as the Pitta had dug a big hole [or 
should 1 Say ' pit '?) and this had not only obscured the ' 
bird_but possibly also muffled the sound of its activities, 
I think it had been there the whole 15 minutes although 
possibly only watchful for most of the time. Then when it 
really got doun for a grub, the crimson abdomen showed . 
above the pit; again mingling with the background. 

The Blue Chat spent most of his time on the ground too, 
although both birds are capable of flying long distances. 
The only exceptions were v^rhen he once flew ^^rom behind me 
to the Pitta's pile of mulch - and it was fast, low, noisy 
flight. The other time I sa'.v Lt leave the ground it Vl^s 
only to perch on a very lov/ horizontal twig and answer a 
nearby call with one of the same tenor - a harsh metallic 
£hi£k ^ili£k chickj pausG, chic^ chick chick '^'dth his tail 
movihg up and down, OthGrwi:ie both bi'rds""i,ia]:ing this call 
as well as the Pitta, t/ere silent throi-:rhout„ The Blue 
Ghat is an active pretty little bird always on the move, 
hopping around and digging into the soil vdth his bill - 
body and head stretched forv;ard - one, tvjo, tl^roc, four 
quick digs 'into the soil flicking it av/ay, the success - 
minute insect. This bird often-cpme within ten feet of mej 

I spent much time watching these two birds and these mus- 
ings were only disttirbed when a pair of Southern Blackbirds 
frightened the- Pitta off on t"fO occasions, .1 v/ished to ! 
leave these two birds as I had fir st found them - appa^^ehti 
ly safe and contented - and a: I bade farev.'sJl to the "lovely 
fat Pitta -and that little Prince, the Blue Chat, the day ■ 

Hewslgtcer lor Li rdwa "r. c her s June 1971 

before I was due to leave COty. ray heart was heavy. I went 

out into the^ sun and sat on a bench to make notes and I 
realised tha't a beautiful chapter in my life had ended. 
Then a Grey Wagtail came tripping around near my feet aS 
I vn:ote; and the day brightened. 


He received a letter recently frora a reader of the News- 
l|±±eil Saying how sad it was that Stewart MelluiEh hid" 
left .he country. His beautiful writing and meticulous ■-- 
birdwatchmg, was greatly appreciated by everyone, l/nfor-" 
.-""^i^^l' anotner strong piUax of the Newsletter; is leav- 
i;^^ Jhe country. D. A, Staim^and is goIFlTi^^n five 
months leave and it is not certain ivhether he will i a turn 

to lilll th"" f'^'^rf K^' "■ '■"' '^^-^ "^-""1 continue 
birds! Hewsletisn by his careful notes on Indian 

* * * 

Incidentally a few contributors to the Newsletter have 
felt _ aggrieved that the editor has not used their inateriai 
and inconsequence to use their om exprlssiSn ' Sfdis- ' 
the vIM^,^^';^'' birdwatching '. The NgivLetter has been 
reason hi:%^°i^-^ which many beginners have attained a 
to o?ve iir °^^^"^^ ^" birdwatching and it will continue 
and take th!^^'"'K';"'^?^'"^t^* }° P^°P^^ '■'^'' ^^^^ carefully 
h^, .^^ ^^2'^''^^ *" '^'^^''^ °^^^ '^^^ references. We 

and a^^fn^r ^+ ? ^^^'^^ ^^^^ard of which we are proud, 
crinin^tfnr^h^^^-^^ in a position to be somewhat more dis! 
criminating than we had been in previous- years. 

* * * ' 

^L,^' ^f^^^° on whom the Editoi leans so heavily for the 

production of the Newsletter complains that thf Editor 
ht^ In ''1?.^^^" sitting back without making any effort on 

tlbTtr^^W'^'^^-^^'l^ '^^^ 3°"^ ^°™^ ^"=^ ^^^ Editor hopes ■ 
to Ke more active in the future. 

reLer/^'Srf *5 ?"^ Editorial Board, as .veil as to our 
June """ ^"^^^'"1^ material before the end of 

L^-'H^_4^ii^X £y_r Bi^dv^Qtche^s June 1971 



Bird notes from the Nilgirls 

I have just {29, iv, 1971) arrived up here to spend two 
months , and although I have not- had much time yet for 
bixdwatching, I have been aware very much of so many bird 
calls, I love hearing then\ ail clsy long, and somehow the 
pleasure is intensified v;hen I -.can identify them. I have 
heard the rich notes of the Southern Blackbird, the noisy 
conversa-tion of Jungle Babblers, the soft sleepy cooing 
of the Spotted Dove. Most days I hear the Deccan Scimitar 
Babblers, and the urgent notes of the Ashy Vibren-Warbler, 
the breeding se^ion^s wheecjiee wh_eechee s of the Grey Tit, 
and the well known kutroo calls of theSmall Green Barbet 
- or is it the Green Barbet? Their calls are almost iden- 
tical. The Pied Bush-Chats are still round the house, and 
their song is surprisingly loud and sv/eet, though I mostly 
hear the stone-knocking calls, 

I am glad to find the Common Pariah Kite family still 
in_the huge old eucalyptus, and hear them daily. As I was ' 
driving up the Ghat road from ^^ettampaliyam on my way here, 
a Pariah Kite suddenly swooped down in front of my car and 
carried off a snake- which mu^t have been at least 4 ft long. 
Sometimes I hear the pretty song of Tickell's Redbreast- " 
ed Blue Flycatcher, ^nd the 7 or §-noted whistling song 
of the Whitespotted Fantail Flycc^tcher, and tho loud clear 
double whistle of the Vellowbrowed Bulbul, Of course the 
chearful calls of the Redwhlskered Bulbuls are hoard every 
day, and I have found tv/o nests in the garden, 
_ As I arrived I ^s delighted to find a Magpie Robin sing- 
xng away, I have heard the Hoopoe some days, and the Streak- 
ed Fantail-Warbler snipping his scissors overhead. Jungle 
Mynas, Sparrows and Jungle Crows are heard daily, and one ■ 
morning I ivokc to hear the harsh grating sound of a Para- 
dise Flycatcher. I have only twice seen one fly across the 
garden. Its strange how such a boautiful bird c^n have 
such an ugly voicej 

On two occasions I have seen the Brown Shrike sitting 
on a telephone wire in the garden, tho second time being 
yesterday, April 28th. Salim All writes in Birds of Kerala 

Winter visitor, [last date rocorded 27th April) \ I won- 
der if I will sGe this bird again. 

Most days I hear the chiks of the Small Sunbird. There 
3TQ two or three hej:o, usually sipping nectar from hibiscus 
blossomsj and as they are one of tho loss shy birds, I have 
often seen them at very close quarters. The males arc'in 
non-breeding plumage, 

iV.y first evening here I noticed two little birds outlin- 
ed against the sunset sky. They looked like Bee-Eaters of 

blotter dated 29,lv,197l 

c - 

Nevvslc-tt^T for Birdvatchers ' jg^^ j_g7j_ 


some kind, but I have never seen ^ny here before. The next 
afternoon they were on the same bare twig ^t the end of the 
lov;est branch of the big encalyptus, diving after insects 
eyary novj and then, I have seen them every evening since. 
Dither one, two or three birds; Twice I have had an abso- 
lutely^clear view of them in full sun from very close and 
thero Is no doubt whatever that they are Chestnutheaded 
Bee-eaters ( iMeroos loschenaulti ). I 'am very surprised to 
find them hero, but delighted, as they are such attractive- 
ly coloured birds. Salim Ali i-vrites in Birds of Kerala : 
I . . . hills up to about 3500 foot ^_ and VJhistl'e'r says: 

• • . In the Hilgiri and Pulney Hills is common up to 
5000 or 3000 feet respectively. ^ Since this gairden is all 
but 6000 feet afeove sea level, I am wondering if this is 
a recgrd? 

Sarah Jameson 
Culmore,Coonoor, Nilgiris 

The Indian Pitta arrives on schedulo in Borivli Park, 


I went to the area below Kanheri Caves on the mornings 
of 16. v and 23. v in the hope of being abJe to see some of 

the first arrivals of one of the birds for which I have a 
deep affection, the Indian Pitta (Pi tta brachyura l. I had 
no luck on 16. v and much depended on my visit of 23. v as 
I was due to go on long leave and would be leaving Bombay 
for S, India during the following week-end. So 23. v was - 
virtually my last chance to s&e the Pitta in Bombay. 

I had Spent from 6 a.m. to 7.4b a.m. patrolling what I 
knew to be Pitta's favourite are^ below Kanheri Caves but 
there had been no sight or sound of the bird. So I sat 
dov^n for ten minutes and v;atcbed other birds, having larae- 
ly given up all hope of finding the Pitta in that ap^a. 
Some sunbirds i^^er^ out of sight but merrily active in a 
tree in flower about 40 yards to my right and slightly 
behind me and I decided to get up and have a look at them. 
^J-1 /ti^^u^ht of seeing the Pitta had vanished from my so 
that, as IS usually the cas^, this v^s precisely vjhen I 
saw rt. -Just as I got up and turned round a Pitta flew up 
from the ground onto a low branch of a tree vjagging its t^ ' 
tail, not so slowly, up and down. The time was 7.55 a.m. 
on 23. V and latei- on I saw other Pittas, perhaps five dif- 
ferent individuals in all. They were all very shy and com- 
pletely silent unlike the first one I saw and heard last 
year v^ich called av;ay for long pe:--iods as mentioned in 
Hewslett|r Vol, 10(7). My recordings of the arrival of the 
Indian Pitta in .this same area have been quite consistant 
over the three years I have been here: 

' ^3Y-_jjet tg;r foT; Birdwatchers Jurie 1971 


18. V, 1969 
23. V. 1971 

My birding has, of necessity, been generally limited to. 
week-ends and holidays*' 

(l also have a remarkably consistent record with the 
Pied Crested Cuckoo but to give dates tvould embarrass me, ) 

The status of the ^/hitethroated Ground Thrush in Bori- 
vli still remains uncertain. There was no evidence of it 
below Kanheri Caves on 16, v but on 23*v it was impossible 
to miss as there were several birds singing away and I was 
able to see at least six of -them, 1 could scarcely have 
missed their song on 16, v (and these thrushes should have 
been singing tl)en) however one bird on 23. v had a billful 
of food v;hich looked, by the evasive movements of the 
bird, as if it v^^as being taken to feed young- So the sta- 
tus in Bombay of this lovely thrush remains not only incon- 
clusive but even more confused. As bhe Editor has said 
before it offers bird^vatchers a subject for investigation, 

Many of the typical birds of Borivli National Park were 
seen including Blackheaded Orioles, often with food for 
young, Goldfronted Chloropses in vjonderful coloration with 
the blue on the wing very bright, pairs of Goldenbacked 
and parties of Mghratta VJoodpeckers, Large Green Barbets, 
Blosscmheaded Parakeets, pairs of Whitebellied and Racket- 
tailed Drongos, Tree Pies, targe Cuckoo Shrikes, Grey 
Jungloflow, Peafovjl, several members of the cuckoo family 
and many others. 

There v^ras a troop of c» 20 Rhesus Macaques feeding in 
a tree by the picnic spot at Tulsi Lake. Borivli has three 
types of monkeys - these, the Bonnet Macaques and Common 
Langurs. The Park also has Wild Pig, Hare, a few deer, etc, 
particularly the Barking Deer, many beautiful butterflies, ?■ 
and much more. Some devoted mernbers of the Bombay Natural 
History Society have formed a Study. Group and traced evi- 
dence of a few Leopards in the Park, 

If there is no further encroachment and disturbance '.""'i 
{which has increased a lot since I first went there 2i^ 
years ago) is reduced Borivli can remain a fine Park for 
generations to come- 

D, A, Stairmand \-- 
^ Bombay 

*The. distribution of the Rhesus Macaque is north of a 
line dray/n from the mouth of the Tapti to the mouth of the 
Godaveri river. The troops seen in the Borivli National 
Park may either be the remanants or descendants of the 
animals .released there during 1942-43, Consignments of this 
macque ear-marked for laboratories abroad vjere awaiting' 
shipping space in Bombay at the time. But the stringency 
the Second World War brought in on shipping space made the 
Govemnment to release the animals around Bombay, - Hd, 




Dr. Salim AH, 

Mrs. Jamal Ara, 
Ranch! . 

Dr. Biswiimoy Biswas, 

Kunvar Shri LLivkuinar, 

Prof. K. K. Nei?lak:LiU:in. 
Tri van drum. 

Mr. B. R. Grubh, 

Mr. R, L. Fleming, Jiiiiior, 
KailuiiLiiidu. Nepal. 

Mr, D, A. Stairmnnd^ 

Br, A. NyvEiiTo, 

Mr, Ziifar FiUchiilly. 
.^2A. Juliii Lane. Andheri, 
Bombay-58 AS. 

Annual Subficrl prion R^. 10 . 
Suidcjirs Rji, 5 ■', 

Cover design by R. A. Stea/art illeliuish 


Newsletter for 

VOL XI NO 1 JULY 1971 




Birds around Tiger Tops Hotel, Chitwan District, rJepal, 

by Robert L, Fleming ' ' - . ^ 

Birds at Mt Abu, by B, M, Shukla 3 

Vihar Lalce, Borlvili National Park, by G, De 5 

Vedanthangal, by D, A. Stairmand ^ 

The Houbara, by Madansiahji of Kutch _ " 

Black Drongo (Dicrurus adsimiiis) fishing, by *'^ 

J^S.Serr^o iO 

Notes and Comments xq 

Correspondence Jj^. 

Pled Crested Cur;koo in Bihar, frOTTi Jamsl Am 

'Strange Thrushes^ Turd u s unidentif iablis ' , from VJinston 

Cresdo ■ 

Robert L. Fleming . ' - ■ 

A brief summary of some of the 120 species of birds found 

near Tiger Tops may be of interest to our readers. My 
visit there v/as or. 17'-I9i:h of Way 1971. 

Located in the newly created Royal CJiitvjan National Park 
about a hundred miles south-southwest of Kathmandu, this 
area is the last Hepal stronghold "of the Onehorned Khino- 
ceros. ImjRediately to the south of the hotel rise the 
ridges of the Son^eshwar Ran^e with the Indian border of 
Bihar only about three miles avjay- To the west flows the 
mlghLy i^arayani river. Irrimediate ly to the north is the Reu 
river and boyond that the Rapti river, A twenty-five miles 
stretch of clon land extends to' the Mahrt^^harata Range with 
a backdrop of eternal snows of Himalchuli and Annapurna* 
To the e3!■^t one again finds the and also the Sorung* 
The altitude varies from 900 fe'et to 1500 feet, 

A heavy, mixed forest with many sal trees, surrounds 
Tiger Tops^, Parakeets, n-Jnlvets, jungle mynas, doves and 
bulbuls calling from tali- trees/ swelled the early morning 
chorus. The commonest drongo was the Crowbillod Drongo, 
Dicrurus ^nnectanfi with its forked, slightly upturned tail. 
The most spectacular woodpecker was the Large Yellownaped 
Wbo'dpeckcr™ Pio us f Isv inucha. though bhe Goldenbacks (three' 
and four-toed)" added sound and colour. Loud double notes 
froft; a shady ravine revealed' a -pair of ""trim and striking 

Hcwslerter for Birdv;atchexs July 1971 

GreGnbronstGd Pittas, Pitta s.ordida and thair companions, 
Orangehsaded Ground Thrushes, goothera . P . itrioa . In the 
distance came the clatter of Pied Hornbills v;hile among . 
the trc-es overhead sounded the metallic kluk of tht? Dark 
Roller, Eurystomus orientalis ^. The pitta and roller are 
summer nesters vJhich arrive the ond of April, 

Up on the Someshwar ridges a few hundred feet above Tiger 
Tops, one has a grsnd view of Rapti Dun, the Mcgauli air- 
strip and the northern mountains. Numerous bauhinia flowers 
attracted purple sunbixds, goldonfrontod chloropsises and 
streeked spiderhunters. The varied whistles of the Lesser 
Racket-tailed Drongo, D igrurus^ remif er . enlivened shaded 
ravines. Wo saw no larger racket-tails though they are 
numerous over the range, in tho bhebar and terai forests 
a few miles to the south. Large Necklacod Laughing Thrush- 
^^1 ^^^la x i^e.ctoralis , bathed in a trickling stream. 
Strange that their smaller cousins, not seen here, are so 
common in tho open terai forests. 

Among bushes edging a bread, shallow river basin and 
vast expanses of swam grass, was an assortment of longtail- 
ed wren vjarblers — "^ranklin^s, Hodgson^s, Stewart^s a^hy 
and tho stroake'^ -' ^n vjarbler. But the loveliest of all, 
grasping a slender stom above the reeds, v;ith rays of the 
afternoon sun striking it, vjas the dainty Yellov/bellied 
Longtailed V/ren Warbler, Prinia f laviventris . It sang a 
snatch of a song before disappearing. Black Partridges and 
peafowl were in evidence. Rather numerous was the Lessor 
Crov; Pheasant, Centropus touJou, perched singly above the 
sea of vegetation, giving its plaintive call kuk jcujc kuk» 
t allapa-t£^llapa-'t£^llao a. In the drier spots, elephant 
riders invariably scared up a half dozen Grass Ov/ls, Jyt o 
cap ens is which wavered awkwardly off through the sky, 

A visit to the wide Narayani river revealed an empty 
expanse of sand- In Hay no ducks, cormorants nor porpoises. 
But it was not Quite empty for there was one lone Small 
Pratincole, Glareola lactea . After a bit a spurv^finged 
plover flovj By, then river and blackbellied terns and a 
single black ibis, A large gaviai crocodile camo out to 
sun hiiiLSolf on a sandbank followed by 3 marsh mugger. From 
a distant tree emerged a Groyheadod Fishing Eagle, Icthyp' - 
phaaa nana , and moments later an osprey passed by on grace- 
ful vjings. It ivas too late in the day to see tho flight of 
the giant hornbills, a laborious wing-beat and glido, one 
after another, across the Rapti river. 

It was late afternoon vjhen a guard, with rifle in hand, 
and I started for a heronry near tho Sorung stream. Our 
forest road was ' littered ^ vjith fresh tiger tracks, A 
green pigoon flew above the path vjith a twig in its beak* 
It was an OrE^ngebreasted Groon Pigeon, Treron bicincta . 
Three times it flevj back and forth still holding the twig. 
As soon as we moved away from the tree against which tho 

Newsletter for Birdwatchers j^iy 1971 


guard iGanad, the bird flow there to its nost site. Imme- 
diato to our right rose tho Someshvjar ridge. The startled 
voice of a Kalij Pheasant, lophura loucomolana , carac froiti 
a sunny spot under the trees. Then out stalked a cock bird 
straggly black cr9s"t cjroct, scolding as ho v^rent. ThG r^-ys 
o^ the sun enhanced his livid face and cast a blue sheen 
Oil his dark feathers. 

We now turned away froni the hill into a tunnel of tall 
swamp grass towards a ton foot platfoxm facing the heronry 
and a lagoon. We eased ourselves up the ladder and onto 
the rnachan . Directly in front a Purple Heron, Ardsa pur - 
£Urea^ stood above its nest containing one egg- To the 
right, in a mass of taller grass wE?re a hundred birds — 
four species of egrets, many pond herons and one lone small 
coxmerant, rnon it was that 1 was distracted by a loud bub- 
bling sound. CVer in a large puddl:^ to the left and just 
beyond a fringo of reeds, I discovered three martially 
submerged rhinos with bank mynas on their backsj Latter 
another pair attempted to join them but ^verc challenged 
and were only allowed to occuoy a shallo\^ edge of the 
pool„ Finally yet another beast appeared but had no diffi^ 
culty taking his place in bhc deeper mter, About that 
'time a whitebreasted wate^i^hen skidded across tho lagoon 
and then appeared a bicolourcd bittern, yellowish b^low 
and darker and streaked above. In the fading light blue- 
, tailed bee-eaters skimmed through the air afte^ insects^ 
Then one of the rhinos began to moo like a cow. The guard 
whisporod that we should be going back as it v;aS getting 
dark. Along tho forest road jungle nightjars flew out of 
our way vjhile s. hawk owl v;atched us pass under his perch. 
The guard interpreted a uiovement in tho qras^ nearby as 

pig 'and tho breaking of a stick gs ' bear ^ The North 
Indian Scops Owl, Otus ACops . had begun his ii^onotonous 
triple wnistle took-to-took . as we turned into Tiger Tops 
Hotel for a shower and supper* 


B. !A, Shukla 

Three days are to6 short for exploring the bird population 
01 a ball-rosort like Mt Abu. However, having seen all 

places of interest ^ on a previous visit, v^e decided to. 
deyoto as_much-time as possible to an exercise in birdwat- 
cning during our -four day "trip from 9th-i2th May 1971, It 
was soon realised ho:v difficult and yet how exciting this 
pastime can be m 3 complotely arboreal surrounding like 
Mt Abu. Easiest places to watch birds is a shallow lake or 
a jheel in winter and a semi^dry or open country where 


Newsletter for, Birdwatchers 

4 July ig-ji 

Sf:^ai?/SLl^t:Ir^6n'?.^^^'' ''^--. ^i^^3 revoal 
Play_hide-and-seek in dens ^ o^.^'''/?^"^""^ howovLrbfrds 

Although forests ara'r.^o%'ndLg'^I?h' ^PP"-h. i'np^.^lb?:. 
^n th ".^=^y difficult to locatP =ni^:'""!^= *^<^ ^ol<> 



'"orjhr!hi£¥"'^^"'i-tsf ^ ""'^^ ^^^ ^-°^ ^^ada of 



Nevjsl'^vCer for Eirdvvatciiexs July 1971 


ping frctn bush to trees and to the rock. 

We suddenly caJuo acr05s a now bird ( ' new ' as far as 
we were concorried) of groenish colour, and long kingfisher 
like bill and wero trying to cstabli&h its identity whon 
the youngest of the family Dhireri found out from Salim 
All's bookf and wg were cor^vinced that it was large green 
barbet. Soon tho typical note ku-tr_op_k-Xu-troo Jc bi^gan to 
reverberate in the trees. Is t e rV & rin^g^ t ho' da y whon we 
;Were resting near Trevor -Lakej we saw largo green barbots 
in nesting activity and feeding their youncf^ 

This spot noar Nakki Lake yielded another surprise. The 
youngost carne out with ari announceir.ent that ho had seen 
something like a paradise flyc^tciior vfhosc picture ho had 
seen in tho books. Since this was anothor ^ nev; find ' for 
us, a serious hunt began for locating this bird and after 
some searching someone located two long serpent-like stre- 
amers in the foliage and we could soon find out that it 
was ^ young ' paradise flycatchej.^ wliose plumes had not 
attained white colour- ^ero must bo C(uitc a few in the 
area but we had no more "lime nor leisure for this. 

In the evening, family had a climb on the Toad Rock and 
Pradeep reported that he had seen whitebeliied drongo, 

I have not mentioned the comironer birds whioh are found 
in plenty, suoh as Indian Robins, Brahniiny %nas, Jungle 
Crows and babblers, Hov/ever absence' of common green bee- 
eaters and Shrikes was notice^^vle, 

G. De ' , ■ 

A walk throughthe woods in the northvjostern part of Vihar 
lake on the -30th May reminded me onco moro that cuckoos 
are the harbingers of monsoon in Bombay,, At several spots 
"one could hoar the -assiduous call b ou - kath a - k ao {In Bengali 
it means: ' Hcney. say something '"r"of the Indian Cuckoo 
( Cuculu's pucropterus ) , Occasionally, tho reproachful tir- 
ade Oh-lo^ gh -lq . oh.^l_o_ t oh^J^, Q h-lo^ n . •- Pa -oooha . 
[-peeha_ . pj-p_e_oha of tho Co nim o n" H a wf:- Cu c ko o 'TCucuTuF 
varius ) could be hoard. The feel JSudy namis scolopa^ea ) 
by means of his enticing cressndo KuzllHi ku-hu , ku-hu. •,. 
and his lady through her monosyllabic pj -.k.-o.ik-pik kept 
their presence folt:, At the sam^ spot as in the last year, 
I was- pleased to see a pair of Pied Crested Cuckoo (Clama- 
^ ^Ji " J acoMn_->^ J ^s also hoar their nasal soprano one a e -one - 
pne, png e_c_-g_ne_-^ one - oneoe-pne-Dne . They porhaps belonged 
to the first batch of visitors of the season and it may be 
noted that Bombay experienced its first heavy "shower in 
the evening of the 29,Vel971, At one spot, this musical 
moi^ning was accompanied by another cuckoo-like call .and 
for about 10 minutes I was straining with binoculars and 

Newsletter for Birdwatchers July 1971 

6 ^ 

cocked ears, with a hope to meet a nev/ species of cuckoos, * 

ultiii^ately to find that a Greater Racket-tailed Drongo .._, 

t Dicrurus_ paradis.sus ) vjas jny detracter^ This chorus of 
cuckoos was joinod by an Indi-.n Plaintivo Cuckoo (Cacoman- 
tis morulinu_s i putting forth its Oh- lee , oh- loo., oh-lee*.> 
like the continous but subdued background note of an orches- 
tra, from a tree-top by the side of the Povjai i^ko. The 
only missing meuiijer of this orchestra was the Drongo-Cuckoo 
f Surniculus luQubris ) with its Kuh^Viih^knh-kuh-kuh-kuh in 
a rising scale, who is an unfailing partner of monsoon in 

this area- 

The recent observation of tho following two species m 
"the Vihar-Tulsi take area of Bombay is v;orth noting in 
view of". the set^ning rarity of their occurrence in this 

(a) A Combed Duck ( Sarkidiornis mclanotus .) v^s observed 
on iS,iv,197l at tho northernniost edge of Vihar 
Lake at about 8,00 a.m, for more than half an hour. 
The bird was most of the time preening.* Thore were 
' two Spotbill Ducks (Anas, p o e c i lor h yr ic hs_ ) near it, 
feeding themselves. In the' earlier part of the 
watching^ '::here i^/ere a flock of Gullbilled Torns 
f GelQchc?lidon nilotica ), Brovjnheadod Gulls {I^rus 
brunniceoh^ilus J. one Herring Gull fL, ^raentatusj ^ 

and ■■•MO Caspian Terns ( Hvdrooroone c^spi;^ ) at _ the 
same spots The bird had a small blob on its bill, 

tb) About a dosen Grey Hornbills ( Toc.kus, bi_rostri_s ) were 
observed in the woods between Vihar and iulsi Lake 
on 8.v.l97i at about 7.00 a-m. The birds were en- " ^ 

gaged in feeding on and gliding past trees. Each ^ 

of %hem had a distinct casque on its beak< Black 
subterminal band on graduated tail was prominent 
only in some birds. On 10-V,1971 at about 7.30 a.m. ^ 

one bird i;jeiS observed on a roadsido tree, a little 
beyond Tulsi Lake, feeding energotically on yellov/ ^ 

berry-like fruits. Tho Casque with black side of 
the bills and graduated tail with white tip and 
subterniinal black band were clearly visible, 


D. A* Stairmand 

I fervently hope that the follo\wing exchange of letters ■ 
between Prof. K, K, Neelakantan and myself mil be a cause 
'of great. concern not only to all readers of i.he NewsletT^er 
but to such bodies as the Botnbay Natural History Society . 
and the World Wildlife Fund, ' 

if ' 

^Regarding status of this" duck in the Sglsette refer to 
footnote to p, 2 of Newsletter Vol. ll(3), March i97i - Hd. 


4vjvu;il-v L-^ ^■,-.- . ^l:..',^ . 'iL-.^.^i^ , *luly 1971 

.1 wro-^e to Prof. Heclakantan on 14th April 1971 as fol- 
lows : 

^'I have just received a copy of the April issue-"ol the 

Hewslettgr and read your measured comments on The Policanry; 
at Kolamuru which wore largely prompted by Brig- Lokaran- 
jan's earlier lotter to the magazine. Since 1 paid an after- 
noon^s visit to Vedanthangal on 11th January this year I 
have intended to write 3 few remarks on the disappointment 
I experienced there and Brig, Lokaranjan's remarks about 
the possible absence of pelicans in Aredu-Lolamuru region 
stirred my memory afresh'* The Editor of the magoEiine wise- 
ly solicited commonts ^rom you and in the last paragraph 
of your article you touch upon the deplorable state that 
Vodanthangai is now inj with a 'promise to expand on this 
later, I shall bo very interested to reaa your article on 
Vedanthangal .. 

'Before I visited Vedanthangol I had read several times 
Spillett^s survey on the 3anctuc;.ry in Journal of the Bombay 
Natural History Society Vol^ 65 and you- can well iinagine 
whab I expected to see and the shoc'c at what was actually 
there - or more to the point^n what i"jas not there, when I 
visited the place^ 

'Spillett said that the canopy of a grove of 500 Bar - 
riOQ tenia occupiod about half the area of the tank. On my 
visit on 11th January 1971 I personally could count only 
Cj. 70 trees on the tank and these must have occupied only 
about one^tenth of the area of the tsnk at most. I spoke 
to Governj-iont employeos and one of them told me there vjero 
117 Barrin_qtQ_nia_ on the tank* I was perfectly willing to 
accept this figure. So what had happened to the other 
BarrinqJonia that v^ere there previously? The answer I iwas^ 
given ^n/as that they had all died of old age v;ithin the 
last 2-3 yearsr This 1 could not accept. After all this 
has been a nesting colony for v/atcrbirds for a very con- 
siderable tiFi:e, according to Spillett, and it seemed in- 
credible that so many trees should all die at once. 

'I- vjas informed by another Government employee that on 
d^ay I vifas at Vedanthangal there vjere over 10,000 birds on 
the tank. He v.-as including duck, eto. but the figure ^jas 
pure fantasy.- 1 regret I did not make even a rough esti- 
mate of the number of birds nesting there but was it about 
1000? ^^ost vjaterbirds appeared to be just sitting around' 
in a melancholy stateaThere w'ere few Darters and I saw no 
sign of pelicans or stoi±s, other than openbills* i 

'1 verv much regret that I made so few notes on this . 
visit but I vjas so extremely disappointed and perturbed '. 
over the fate of the birds that I was jogged out of my \ 
usual routine of noting even disappointments, I did men- _ 
tion the present state of Vedanthangal to fc J, C. Daniel 
when I returned to Bomb<iy„ 

^Getting av/ay from Vedanthangal specifically I vvould 
_a^tLjthat_iiiy_sist^r „c^rng^^£o^this country in February for 

■ Newsletter for Birdwatchers July 1971 
8 . 

'one month's holiday and I sent her up to Nal Sarovar for 
a. visit; The birds that impressed her most were not flami- 
gos but pelicans. You know how huge pelicans look in their 
natural state and for her to see these birds fishing and 
then rising from the water in flight was her greatest 
thrill of all while birdwatching in India, 

Yours etc- - • . ' 

Prof. Neelahkantan^s reply dated 23rd /^ril contained 
the following remarks: ^ 

'Thank you for your letter of the 14th April, I v/ent 
to Vedanthangal just 6 days after your visit. Unfortunate- 
ly, v;e reached there only at ^.45 p.m. and left the tank 
before 7- 1, too, vjas shocked by the sight of the scatter- 
ed, diseased-looking trees, and noted only that there were 
at least 11 species on the cro^'^ns of the Barring tQ_ni3. 5 » 
with a fey/hundred unidontifiable duck and some Little 
Grebes floating on the water. The Paid Stork was definite- 
ly not present. 

^The 11 breeding birds were; Vifhite Ibis, Little Cor- 
' morants, a few Shag, Darter {about bC?), Openbill Stork, 
Cattle Egret, 2 other Egrets Ci^ttle and Median?), Spoon- 
bill, Grey Heron and Night Heron, No attempt was made to 
estimate numbers- Isn^t your 1000 too low an estimate? 

^I think you are right in s aying that only some 70 tre^s 

■ survive - very precariously. I too wondered why the trees 
in the tank should have started dying out all of a sudden. 
So far as I could gather, two important changes have been 
introduced since the promotion of the heronry into an 
offjcial Sanctuary: the phosphate-rich water is no longer 
released into the neighbouring fields, and the traditional 
practice of removing the silt from the tank bed annually 

-{after the birds have left) has been stopped, Gould these, 
I wonder, be the reasons for the dec^y o^ the trees? Death 
from old" age need not be ruled out, but there should have 
been natural regeneration also. Perhaps the limit of toler- 
ance of the trees to the chemical contents of tho v;ater has 
been crossed in recent years. Also, the accumulation of 
silt around their bases ma^ ^ detrimental to the trees. 
It would certainly have been vjiser on the part of the 
authorities to permit tiine -honoured exploitation of the 
ijianure- laden v/ater and mud, 

'Some attempts have been made, it seems, to plant Bar- 
ringtonia on the tank bod. But so far no sapling has sur- 
vived the first flooding, 

'What matters to us is that, at this rate, very soon 
there wili be no trees in the tank. And the Tourist lodge 
and Lvatch tov/er will be Ancient Monuments commemorating an 
extinct sanctuary. . 

'As I have already let off steam "on 'o^e page of the of4 
ficial Visitors' Book at Vedanthangal, I would rather leave 
it to you to v.Tite on this subject for the Newsletter, So; 


i..-,^-_ ■ ^ _-u_- .i:.:.s,L.^ L'.^i.ei'^ July i97l 


please qo ahead. 

Yours, etc ' 

Prof, Neeiakantan has brought several '^igent facts to 
light regarding the sad deterioration of Vedanthangal as 
a Sanctuary for nesting waterbirds. Surely it was the 
height of folly for Officialdoni to change tirr.e -honoured 
custom which had put Vedanthangal in the. forefront of its 
type of Sanctuary. This Sanctuary had been protected by 
the villagers of Vedanthangal for perhaps hundred of years 
not purely on the grounds of sentiment alone but because 
the villagers themselves derived great benefit from the 
manure of the birds' droppings v;hich v^^as released into 
thear neighbouring fields. Under the nev; system nearly all 
benefit h^s been lost to the villagers and the state of 
the birds is pathetic, 

■I agree vjith Prof. Neelakantan 's list of tlie 11 breeding 
birds. It may well be that my estimate of 1000 birds n . est - 
inc[, was 3 little too low but I would stress one point very 
'Clearly — many birds that had gone to Vedanthangal to nest 
were not. nesting when I saw them. They simply had not qot 
the space, ' . j f ^ j 

^^ will_undoubtedly talce many years to restore Vedanth- 
angal to its fonner glory but hovjever long and arduous the 
task and the amount of endeavour involved this surely must 
be done, 


Madansinhji of Kutch 

Kutch has had very good rains last year [1970) but the 

migratory position of the Imperial Sandgrouse. and duck 
remains tho same, i,e, the former is not seen, and the 
duck v/ere very few -in the jheels to which normally in good 
years they come in good numbers. The Greylag geese have 
stopped coming for a long time- 

The^migration of the Houbara ( Chlamydotls undulata mgc - ; 
Queenri ) was also poor this year, I have been noticing for 
the last few years that each year the 'number of birds visit- 
ing seems to be getting less. In the dunes on the seaside 
near and around ^landvi v;here wg used to get 12 or more 
birds in a day's driving we hardly see more than 12 or 15, 
Formerly the number of birds s^en in a day^s drive was 40 
to 50. ■ 

But the migration of both the Grey Quail and Rain Quail 
was strong. Both the birds have come in good numbers and 
between March 17, 1971, and up to date {8 April'. 2 guns 
have bagged over 1^0 birds. The Rain Quail, are calling 
and it appears to me that they are breeding. Normally they 
come with the monsoon and breed herej-but this time they 

Mewsletter for Birdwatchers July 1971 


have stayed aver_3nd are found in good numbers along with 

the Grey Quail* 1 have not seen their nests but my shika- 

ries have found oviduct egys while cleaning the birds. 

Of course the local came such as partridges and hare are 

fast disappearing mostly because of snaring in and out of 

the season. Both partridges and hare are sold in the mar- 

_/Pepradation£ in Houbara numbers caused by the wealthy 
oil-rich Sheiks of Arabia received considerable publicity 
in the press last year. Some schemes are afoot to breed 
houbaras in captivity and release them in suitable areas 
for_ those interested in falconry. We hope that this arti- 
ficial breeding will commence before the last bird in the 
mid becomes extinct as a result of Xrver hunting. - Ed^ 

J, S, Serrao. 

Standing at the edge of a canal along the western bank of 
the /iha- Lake, Borivli National Park on 14.iii.i97l, we 

were watching a large number of Black Drongos gathered on 
the Lake shore. There was a .drongo on every low bush dot- 
ting the shore, as also on every pieco of dead wood or 
stick jutting out a few inches above the ground. From 
these vantage points they sallied forth every novj and 
again foraging low along the ground. 

One of the drongos nearest to us left its perch, flow 
to the canal and started hovering low over the vjater. As 
we now stood wondering what its next movo vjould be, the 
bird splashed on to the water and took off carrying a tiny 
fish in its beak. Settling gn the bank opposite us, it 
battered the wriggling prey ..limp. Disposing it off the 
drongo flew back to its perch. We now waited in vain for 
aoout half an hour for a repeat performance, but were dis- 
appointed. The Canal water contained shogls of tiny fish 
(mostly Aplocheilus line^tus and Ra sbora daniconius) mov- 
ing, into the lake. 


Grants _fgr Bird Stud^y 

The Bombay Natural History Society has' instituted 3 fund 

knovm as the S^lim Ali-Loke Ornithologica;, Research Fund 
for fostering field research on Indian birds^ Small grants 
are available, either ad hoc or tenable for a specified 


i^e^/alotL^o: fnr Birdwatchers July 1971 

11 ■ " ' 

period, to students of zoology and ssrious amateur bird 
watchers who vdsh to investigate a specific problem of 
bird ecology, V^hile the Society is roco^jnized by tho Uni- 
versity of Bombay as a guiding institution for post-gradu- 
ato research in Field Ornithology leading to the M.Sc, 
and Ph.D* degrees, applicants need not necessarily be 
university students- The main object is to encourage and 
foster among all cla5ses an intelligent interest in the 
li yiQ^ bird in its natural habitat. To this *^i\d, applica- 
tions from young people and undergraduates w/ili be equally 
welcome. Details of the problem, and the ways in which it 
is proposed to study it, should be submitted with the 
application, together with evidence of the candidate's com- 
petence and an indication of the financial assistance re- 
quired, to the Honorary Secretary, Bombay Naturp^l History 
Society, Hornbill House, Bombay 1-BR. 

* * * - * ^ 

One Feliovvship may possibly be given to V, S, Vijayan' 
of the Bird Banding Group of the .Bombay Natural History 
Society. He intends to study tho impact of bulbuls on 
Agricultural Economy. Economic ornithology is a branch in 
which little work has been done so far, and holds many 
possible fields of study in relation to cultivated plants. 
There are many species of granivorous and fruit-eating 
birds which directly or indirectly influence plant ecology. 
The purpose of the present project Ig, to study a few such 
species in relation to sylviculture. 

The objectives of the research vjill be: (i) to investi- 
gate tho role of bulbuls in the dispersal of plants; (ii) .- 
to assess the aggregate effect on Indian forests and sylvi^ 
cultural practicesj (iii) to determine the influence, if 
any, of food plant on the distribution of bulbuls. 

Ihe methods employed will be to: (i) t-tudy tho flora 
with special reference to the fruit yielding trees, and 
plants and their main seasons of flowering and ripening 
of fruits; (ii) classify the plants into economic impor- 
tance; [iii) observe the feeding habits in the field; (iv) 
analyse stomach contents both quantitatively and qualita- 
tively from nestling to adult stage; (v) make thorough 
population study by visual counts and netting; (vi) esti- 
mate hew much one individual consumes per day? (vii) com- 
pare the stomach contents of the same species at different 
stations; (viii) collect sample seedsj (ix) feed captive 
birds with kno^^n berries to find out the quantity of con- 
sumption and preferences to berries; (x) sow the seeds col- 
lected from both faeces of the bulbuls, 

^Si>jri Vijayah will appreciate if any readers of the News- 
letter would assist him in this investiqation by supolvinq 
relevant data, "^ / ^-k / y 

fCewsIetter- for Birdwatchers July xgyi 



Pied Created Cuckoo in Blhajr 

The Pied Crested Cuckoo ( Clamator iacobimj2_) was he^ird 
in the Harmu Housing Colony, Ranchi, on 20, v. 1971 at 1,45 
a-fn- We arc having rains since April, Last year I have 
heard and observed this bird as late as October 7, in 
Chajjubagh, Patna. 

The first Pied Crested Cuckoc was observed in Patna 
this year on 9*ui,i971# There v/as heavy rain ne^t morning 
(10, vi. 1971), 

Jamal Ara 
Ranchi, Bihar, 

' Strange Thrushes, Turdus urtidgntifiabilis ^ 

I have seen a spate of reports on ^Strange Thrushes, 
Turdus unidentifiebilis ^ in recent issues of the H ews let-, 
ter, and I invould like to contribute my own particular 
enigma to this section: 

Somo tir.e ago I saw a .strange thrush in my garden by 
the seashore at Juhu (Bombay). It was rathor a large bird, 
about the si^e of an oriole, and it was skulking in the 
sparse hedge and hopping about on the ground. It seemed 
relatively unafraid of human beings. It was a dull brown 
in colour, with blackish wings and tail - the tail also 
having white corners. The sides of the bill were a cons- 
picuous pale orange, and there v;as a broken necklet of 
black spots across the breast* 

There have been several recent references to the Eye- 
browed Thrush in the Newsletter , but the thrush I sew, 
as far as I could make out, had neither eye brows nor 

Wins to n Cre a do 
^Blossom'j Silver Beach, Juhu 
Bombay 54 

Zafer Futeh^.liy 

Editor, _Bicv^letter for Birdwatchers 

32A, Juhu Lane 

Andheri, Bombay 58-AS 



D\. Salim Ali, 

Mrs, JamnI Ara, 

■^Dr. B is wamoy Biswas, 

Kurivar Shri Lavkumar. ^ 

Rctjkot, • 

I'rof. K. K. NcclakaiUaii, 

Mr. B. R. Grubli. ^* 

Bom bay - 

Mr, R. L. Fleming. Jutiioi, 
Kathmandu, Nepal, 

Mr. D- A, Stairmaiid, 

Br, A, Navarro, 

Mr, Za[ai- Ful^hally. ^ 

32A. Juliii Lane, Andheri, * 

Bombay :>K AS. 

Annjal Siibscrtplion Rs. 10. , 

Students Rs. 5/-- ■ 


Newsletter for 




August 1971 



The- Heronry at Koonthakulsrn, Tirunelveli district, 

Tamil Nadu, by J. Mangalaraj Johnson 1 

Birding near Ooty, by D, A, Stairmand 4 

In Memoxiam Kolleru Pelicanry?, by K, K^ Neelakantan 7 

Confrontation among Koels, by Zafar Futehally . g 

The rains and birdlife around Bombay, by J, S, Serrao 9 

Bird nates from the Nilgiris, by Sarah Jameson 10 

Owlets; How Sivamlji Shri Japanandji of Shree Ramkrishna 
Mission at Abu was sav^from confrontation with a 
tiger on the banks of the Narbada, by Sursinhji Jadeja 

Notes S Comments j_2 



Birds of Jamshedpur \ from Mrs S^rah Jameson 
The ?"^onal Pheasant, .from R, N. Mukhorjee 
News for Bird Enthusiasts, from Shama Futi^hally 

- ^ 


J, Mangalaraj Johnson 

Koonthakulam (77^46^H., 8°29'N., 60 metres above m.s.l,) 
is a pleasant little pastrol village with ferbile paddy 
fields in the Naguneri taluk of Tirunelveli district. Com- 
munal breeding of v/aterbirds (egrets, night herons and 
painted stork) has been known from times immemorial. These 
birds nest on trees within house compounds and on fields 
close by. 

Chosen Village, Most of the paddy fields are owned by " 

Telegu talking vegetation Pannaiyars, who are said to have- 
said to have migrated from Andhra some 300 year.s back, dux- 
ing-a faminef They had been, all along, the anxious care^ 
takers and cautious custodians of the breeding birds and 
had prevented other meat-eating communities from molesting 
nests and nestlings. Anyone found to have harmed or killed 
a fledgeling was taken in procession around the village, 
with the dead bird tied around his neck. Such punishments 
effectively provided protection* Now, of course, everyone 

Wewsitttor f'oT Birdvjs-tchers August 1971 

is proud _-.f v.hQ unique privilGgc of playing host to the 
breeding birds and is happy to bo the resident of the 
chosen village, 

^ second crop. The Koonthakulam tank is fed by Manimu- 
thar channel and normally contains v^ter enough for one 
crop only, A second crop is possible only during the years 
when vjater is avail^^lc for longer pi^riods in the tank. 
The vjaterbirds instinctively knovj these years as the local 
people bslievo and nest in large numbors as the local be- 
lief goos, continuing their brooding activities later than 
the usual tijvio . So^ birds breeding in large numbers are 
alvjays welcome as it is. a sign of" the possibility of a 
second crop. 

Choice of site-influen cing fac tors. As with Xoonthakulam 
assurance of availability of adequate acquatic food, pro- 
tection from predators, occurrence of suitable hosf treeV 
and accessibility to nesting materials, chiefly influence 
waterbirds in their initial choice ef site for their com- 
munal breeding. Once a site is chosen and utilized for 
some years, the future generations are knev/n to persist in 
spxte of human interference and disturbance, 

Seaso n and _specics. Birds start arriving here usually by 
the middle or November and stay till Aoril, tho followinq 
year, oven after completing their breeding, Tho species 
seen nesting during 1963-64, 1964-65, 11967-68 and 1963-69 
nesting seasons wore: Night Heron, Litlile Egret Cattle 
Egret .and Painted Stork- Local people say that Spotbilled 
or Grey Pelicans were also nesting in large numbers on the 
large tamarind trees on the banks of tho tank, till they 
wore felled ten years back. 1 have seen those pelicans 
nesting in Moondraippu some 25 miles away on the ?^dras- 
Kanyakumari Highway- I hed counted the nests on 11th and 
I8.ii-196B with the help of the residents, from roof-tops 
and. stairs of bouses. Though it appoarod that thoro miqht 
not bo more than 500 nests in all the actual counting tur- 
ned out to be ' ' 

Night Heron. 366 nests 

Littio Egret 244 " 

Cattle tgrct 218 " 

Painted Stork 155 " 

Total 934 

■The nests were very close and wore actually running initv 
ono another, and one wondered how mixing up of chicks was 

being avoidod. Cormorants, Spoonbills, and Spotbilled or 
^rey^Pelioans were observed feeding in the t^nk, but these 
species did not stay during the night vjithin the village 
^ Host trcesj^ Hosts were built on all avail.-.blo trees with- 
in tnc village and adjacent fields. During 1967-68. the 
following trees were used: Agadiracta i ndica (34 trees), 
Peinci^na el^ita (15), Tamanndus indica (3), Coconut (l) 

^:.«slottor for Bird.vatchors ^^^^^ ^^^^ 

palm sap. The trunks and brLchL of ^fV^^ ^?^ ^^° 
werG almost white with tho birds' H^ ^ " 5°^* ^'^^^^ 
of tho viUago cvon leaves o^ n% ^J°PP^"9s. In the centre 
covered -^Ith bi?d "^^retf tt "f ^^^^^^^^ "^re completely 

Birds which arrive M^lvforder of ^^ ■'"''? *^^^ ^^^^''='^- 
oattle egrets, littfrGarets n^^n+^^^r-^.S^^^ht herons, 

ing on the trees in the c™on„^3f^S''^^*°^^' .^^^^^ ''"il'^' 
Of the village. Their achn^??"^? ^^^'^'^ ^" ^^"^ ^''^^^ 
four ' Car Strsetr- t^f^^hl/^^^^ ^^^'^^'^ °^°^ ^° the 
by fields. Ti^ep.lnt^d s?Srk°^.Sl^f =^"5^^^ ^° ^'^^ '=^°^^ 
tbe tree fringed ofthe vilfegT^ '""'"' '° "°^' ^"^i' i" 

-SSr'f;^fliaift,»5j' «o.«=uow stick pi,«.„ 

miles away. An examination of nHf ^l°W^ f^-™ placeFsTr" 
nearly. half of thftwigs werf ?hornv' ?h''' T'"^" ^"^^'^ 
an each nest ranged between 324 and^lsT ""'"^^'^ "^ '^^^'''' 

f'r& TT^l^fluTntlly or^^o^^"'^^ ^">^ neighbourhood 
appetite of the ybung Li^M? n '^''^'^f^o*° ^'^^^^t<^ the 
the inundated shaliow-i.nds and ^hJ^"^-^^ ^"'^''^^ ^"^"^ 
Ing July-August vains centain ronc^ ' u', "'^^"^ ^°^'"^'^ ^u^" 
During March-Apri^ the Eirds hrf ^^^^^^5 ^^^ntity of fry. 
Sea which is 2o miles Lav Th^^ ^^^^ ^^™ ^^^ Arabian 
falls down and sea fLh Is'netLcd^on?-^'^^^ ^°'"' "f^^" 
and April, when the tfnks and m?l ?^ '^ii'^J^^ ^^^^ "^^^h 

carrying aWay eggs, fledqeiinos and +^f ^^"^^ °" ^^° "<'s* 
House cats also account for so^^r *''?^^'^9"^9itated food. 
Painte_d Storks ■ Wettino .^H '^^f^^lties among the youriq. 

from the nearby water sources ™^^*^ °^^^"'<^d to bring vrater 
q'^ently once 4 times between f5 nn^^°T ?r^ '^° y°""9 f^e- 
birds mated on the nestfwith ts^ ? ^"^ ^^:2° hours). -These 

Vflien night herons arrnvld J i'"^^^^ standing. 
food, they beweS SLplavIno thl '^ °n thoir nests with 
their_hc-ad. It appoa^ed^thlt aftLX'^^^ f ^^^ P^™^^ "" 
ne.tUngs .espond^d cominglo^.L^^d^ ^^S^^^ -%,,. 

KcwtiL^xjn^ _:di- -^ii^dwaxchera August 19*ri 


^ Guano^ ThG fertilising property of the birds' droppinqs 

IS well usod by the villagers. PcriodicQliy basketfuls of 
the excreta are collectod from beneath the nests and used 
as manur^^ mostly in vc-gotablo gardens. 

, How_Lo reach the place. Buses are available from Naguneri 
twice daily. Buses plying to Karaiandi, via Mulakltaraipatti 
only touch Koonthakulam, There is no rest house or hott^l to 
stay m toonthakulam. But people are very hospitahlct osoe- 
cially to a bird lover* 

I have to be thankful to Mr R. Subbaraja Reddiar, Presi- 
dent, Koonthakulam Panchayat and his son-in-law j^Ur Ramsubbu 
for th^ir kind hospitality, and also to the other residents 
who admitted me into their homos and helped me in many ways. 


D. A, Stairmand 

I spent one week in Ootacamund from 13th-20th January this 
year and although perhaps my birding achievements were 
modest I did my ov^n thing, was very Satisfied and thorouqh- 
ly cnjeyod every day, I think that to enjoy birding in the 
iTtanner and way it suits each individual best is the essence 
o± birdwatching. It is a sure .guarantee that one will qo 
birdxng more and more and thereby increase one's experience 
and knowledge. That surely is the object of the exercise. 
Oi the birding I did during that week in Ooty I would like 
to mention here just one or two occasions 

I had been in Oooty for five days when I decided to take 
\^n^ to Ko tag in and as I left Ooty at daybreak it was 
cniixy and all ear windoivs were closed for wsrmth. As the 
car slowly clirr.bed through a shola just outside Cbty a 
Grey Junglecock ( Callus sonneratii) in magnificent condi- 
tion_paused momentarily in the middle of the road before 
running for cover at a good speed, This was a lovely sight 
and a fine start to the day. About three miles further- on 
1 left the vehicle and walked a little way into a shola 
and stood stock still to listen for evidence of blJdTIfe 
i heard various calls and within minutes I was thrilled to 
watch a party of birds - Nilgiri Blackbirds were hoopino 
around on the grcuj^d flicking over leaves, while forties 
of Slatyheaded Scimitar Babblers [Pomatorhinus horsfieldilJ 

ULf^" Th °;' ^^^^^^^^ V^*^^ - ^^^ Hilgiri RufHusbreasted 
laughing Jhrushes (Trech.UoDterQn cachirmnns}- of the weird 
but amusing laughs - flew, not too adroitly, short distances 
from' tree tc tree searching for food. A delightful male 
verrclo'f Sv "^'h'"'"' t Si^t^. f-ntalU ) appeared on a tree 
r^L u v!^^ f .'-'"^^ ^"^^ ^''^^^^ ^y ^^^ "'ate, The female . 
lacKs xhe black stripe above and "behind the eye but both 
birds -wore most attractive in their shades of purplish blue 
and greyish lilac set off to. perfection by velvety black 




^'--X-?^.r fo. Birdwatcher.., Mgust 1971 


about six feet in f r^nf nf^ \ ^ % ^'^^^ ^'^^'^ ^^^ °EiJ-y 
Tits and thol^atn fv^^ f ' ^'''^ ^-'"^ ^^"^^^^ ^°t^ the Grey 

f t^a^:.^KSrj ri His -^=- -- 

and whooping cIlU P^-^^^^^t memories of th^ir beauty 

erYthrorhynchu^) on rocks on Tit n J^^J^ ^^-^i£-"ia 

cover amongst the rocks Th^=^ + except tw soon sought 
several more minut^rnnH Ih ■ ^ '^^""^^"^d on view for 
the rest Of th^ covey ?hatTn"'^^ ^T"" "^''^ i^P^^^-i^n to 
trooped out and fwas trotted t""^^ ^^°^^ ^° ^^'^ °^^'°^ seven 
again; but noffo; lTnJvt^J°l -m'v.?^ *^£ ^"^^^ ^^''^Y 
Greyheadod Flvcatrh^" (r,!^?^- " *°,"^^^^ waterfall a 

Ing forth fromftioc m^^^.l^^^'^^^^^} "'^^ l^-'^h" ■ 

with its constant prottv lift] n , -i-^f^^^^^^^^^^htod me 

favouritiea. Aaain in fh!= =i f^^ became ono of my 

S=i".itar Babblers" Rufou^breraterCo Mn''"^"^V^^=^ ^^^-' 
this time, Small Green Sorbets G.i^R^ Thrushes and, 

colourful'wiliow Warbler^ A Mt+r^-^Ju^''" ^"'^ ^'^^^^ 
had success vith th^ "^ f ,'. ■ ^H^'^ further on at last I 

mocked me for so lono .nf ?h^"^' ^'"'Peckers that had 
were three of ^hen ^ t,^ ^ f^ ^^''? ^ ^"^ ^^ ^^=- ^^re 

aliilif lisS-- 

-\^^. ^.^L ^. ^ _j:^.^j^,^.„Oj,tti^^^ August 1971 


Goldcnbackad Vifoodpeckers ( Chrv£o G Q_la^ es lu cidus J.ThG 
Handbook states thst these birds are vory agile in dodg- 
incj behind txee-trunks to escape observation- Having had 
success only on my fifth day 1 fully agreo. That day I had 
hoped to see the magnificient 19 inch long Great Black 
^odpecker [D ryocopu s javensi .q) on coffee plantations be- 
low Kotagiri but I had no luck there. So these Urger 
Goldenbackod '/fcodpeckers provide much consolation. 

One afternoon at a shola neax lovedale I had again wat- 
ched a party of Niigiri Langurs and vyas sitting under a 
tree (and, incidontallyj under a large bird-of-prey - 
vJhxch was sitting high up above me in this tree to iwhich 
it had floum) looking across a tiny stream when I noticed 
that glorious little bird the msle Black-and-Orange Fly- 
catcher (Ochrgjtiela nigromf a). He ^vas. on an horizontal 
branch of a tree about 12 feet above the ground and shafts 
of sunlight were filtering through and shining on the run- 
ning water, trees and ground- As he flitted around in 
these surroundings and descended to the ground to pick up 
insects an irTjnature male Paradise Flycatcher ( Terpsipjione 
paradisi ) t^dth chestnut strea-ners flowing and a Greyheaded 
Flycatcher, moving gracefully in short loops and ^^istling 
avjay, came into viow. It v;as a scene of great beauty. At 
one stage a Small Green Barbct started to call but halfway 
through its third pucock it was interrupted by a raucous 
laugh" from a Laughing Thrush ond instead of a train of 
pucoGks being sot up there v.'as deafening silence ^nd this 
added a touch of humour to the afternoon, 

_Ihere v/as another afternoon when I got some good exer- 
cise in glorious vjeather and lovely surroundings bv walk- 
ing across Wenlock Downs when, from a birdwatcher's point 
of view, the highlight was that handsome little falcon, 
the Kestrol, I think kestrels are best to watch in flight 
when a strong wind is blowing^ as oj^ that afternoon. Some- 
times the kestrela were perched on stones or mounds and I 
found that they did not fly away until I h3d got quite 
close to thorn, I suppose that this might have been an in- 
dxcation that they had experienced littlo disturbance from 
people. Usually there \Yas at least one kestrel in the air, 
to be seen peifoctly vrith the aid of binoculars, quarter- 
ing its feeding territory and then occasionally hovoring 
in mid-air ready tc pounce on its prey. These kestrels did 
have success on several occasions but I was not able to 
distinguish utiat they had caught. As 1 walked the Downs in 
perfect poscc I' set-up Nilgiri Pipits (Anthus nilghirion^ 
sis; and probably other pipits as well, and in a wettish 
part at the bottom of a slope, a few snioe were flushed 
snd it always gives me a thrill (and slight shock) when I 
inadvertently flush snipe. 

During the time I spent in Ooty 1 was a -little surprised 
that whereas Redwhiskerod Bulbuls were particularly common 
X saw far loss of the Black Bulbul that I had expected- I 

-.o- jJir-^jwa'tgritjrs August 1971 

they have stepped coming diB to lack of food in the area 
v'uch r.^-^si-itly suffered from e cyclone* Heavy comrnGxcial 
fishing is goir.g on which may have affected their foo'd sup- 
ply. It v^s a gre^t disappointment for me r^is 1 had planned 
to do somf. serious photogr.-i.phy there. Bi-rd photogxaphy is 
my hobbyj ar.d I exhibit my bird photographs in the photo- 
graphic saloons in India and abroad, i am interested in 
birdv^'stching alsoi . * , * 

The letter does not c^ll for any olaborate comnjent. If 
it is true that the pelicans did not nest in the area in 
1968, 1969 and 1970. the. chances of their returning of 
their own accord in 1971 or latex are very very remote. 

Does it mean that we have heard the last of this once 
flourishing pelicanry? I hope not, 

I do not know whether commorcial fishing ivas intensifi- 
ed after i960 when I last visited the pelicanry. Unless 
such intensification has resulted in a deliberate Campaign 
against the poiicanj it could net have been a major factor 
in the birds ^ disapponranco. The pelicans could have caught 
"all the fish they and tJieir ycung required from areas that 
ivould not interest the fishing trade. 

If it is true that the birds have been forced to desert 
their traditional nesting plaCGs, the cause is likely to 
have been large-scale depredation by man. This would not 
have happened if the authorities had implemented the very 
modest proposals I had placed before them for the preser-^ 
vation of this splendid pelicanry. 

Zafar Futehally 

On the- morning of 22nd July I heard the usual calls of a 
male Koel frou^ a mango tree adjoining my house. On looking 
out of the vvindovj I noticed two male kools facing each 
other in a most threatening manner. Their blood red eyes 
added to the ferocity of the soene. The k uoc-kuoo calls 
of one were irisediatoly ansvjered by thi? oponoent; sometimes 
both the birds called sharinly kee -klk-kik . kee-ki k»kik- I 
must have watched the scene for 20 minutes, ITlc position 
of the birds on the branch was practically unchanged for 
the first ten minutes or so. Th.en the battle was joined, 
and on two occasions the -birds" flew at each other in a 
viscious vjay. Soon a ring of crows took their positions in 
the box seats and after a while the contenders flew away. 
On the evening of the next day I sav; t'^ koels agaon on our 
Pel too h o rum tree [l presume they were the same birds) be- 
having in the same manner. Obviously the birds are strongly 
territorial and resent intrusion by other of their kind in 
their domain.- 

i^ewsxctter tor Birdwatchers August 1971 



J . S* Serr ao 

Ihe vagaries of tho rains this year aopear to have hit the 

routine life cf some of our birds around Bombay. This im- 
pression I received during a excursion in the 
Borivli National Park on ll,vii.l971, A comparison of the " 
day% notes vjith thoso made in the area on 21. vi andJ2,vii 
in 1970, a year of good rainfall, tends t-0 confirm this 
impression, ^ The total rainfall uo to 11" vil 1971 is c 

trickles as late as ll,viia971. As a result a birdwatcher 
missed the whistlings of the VJhistling Schoolboy (Myiooho- 
neu.s h orbfl Gldii). last monsoon the bird's startlingl^ 
human whistles could be heard coming up fron the valley 
below the Car Park as early as 21, vi. The water conditions 
prevailing seem not to be to his liking this nonsoon. The 
bird must be silently biding its time for the rains tc 
pick up before it ventures en raising a family. 

H^ mi_i beat i^ou, of tho Spotted Babbler ( Pello meum rufi - 
I^J greeted one ^s ear last year as early as 21, vi around 
the Uar Park, But nowhere up to the Caves was it audible 
on ll^vi3.U971, As if to compensate for lack of its sweet 
notes, an individual flow up from the valley below as we 
neared the junction of the road leading to the Caves, and 
settlt'd in front of our transport. It reluctantly took off 
when v;e were almost upon it^ 

Hovjhere could the Drongo Cuckoo (Sy^ucjUus lugubris ) be 
hear or seen. Last year about this tine-one could see it 
whistling Ev^ay its 1-2-3-4,.,, from perches on roadside 
trees all along tho Park road. The b rain ^ fever calls of 
the Common Hawk-Cuckoo (Cuculijs varius J^ which true to 
description appeared ' obstreperous and aggravating ' when 
heard all over the place last year, were heard only at one 
spot on ll.viia971. But the cros^s-word^^uzsj^ of the 
Indian Cuckoo (Cuculus mic ^ ropteru sl v.'as conspicuously miss- 
ing, -chough it was a corrjyion sound this time last year. 

Three individuals ftu.-o together and e solo) of BIyth's 
or WhitGheadod Myna were seen, though the Greyheaded foirriL 
so common in tho Park last year, was totally missed. 

ilie highlights of the day^s birdwatching wore: i 

[1} A Swallow-Shrike (Arx:amus fuscus) demonstrated its ■ 
mode of bathing in a driz:;lc. Sitting on an overhead wire, 
llt^ £'^5^ opened out its wings -full-stretch horizontally to 
the body, and with feathers fluffed turned and twisted on 
Its perch presenting its back to the direction of the driz- 
zle. Occasionally it dipped its anterior at a deep angle to 
the ground b-low so as to attain an almost head down posttire 
on the perch, ■ "- ^ 

Neivsletter for Birdwatchers August 1971 


ed on thr.. ovorhead wire passing across the top of the hill 

^e hahit^ ^^^^.^-■^!:^"?^"^° appeared ratho? unusual for 
the habits of a ihiT^obollied Drongo. As v,o stood gUeslnq 
It and dou.'.ting the identification, the Mrd, as if to con 

ic-Trl, f -t ''?^'' '^P ^",^'^ ^" f-^"- ^^^ peroh'and having" 
reached its volplaned back to it. In so doino it 
exposed to full view its vAite belly. ^ 

Sarah Jameson 

Llf.^'i ^'"'" ^jy l"<='^y <>n this visit to Coonoor. Not only 

have 1 seen and hea:.d the Chostnut-hoadad 3ec-eaters (Ser- 
- --fifiS ieschea?u.lti) and the Common lora (Agaithinrtiphiir 
in our garden over a period of tv.-o montHT^ f^ bK 

June T^'^t-T ' ~^^ i?"^ '*° ^^""^^ "°^^ ^° h^r^; * 9th 
June I j^^eard a song^ had never heard before and tl^n 

again the next day. I rushed out with my binicu^ars nd 

Tievralett^r for Birdvjatchers August 1971 


OWLETS: Hovy Swamiji Shri Japanandji of Shree Racikrishna ^H 

Mission at Abu was saved from confrontation a ' ^M 

tigex on the banks of the Harbada ' 

Sursinhji Jadeja 

On m Abu I often meet two people vjho are lovers of Nature 
and everything connection with this fascinatinq awe insnir- 

ing chapter pertaining to life. 

Swamiji Shrse told me that 5 few years ego while he was' 
travelling on foot on the bank of the hold Narbada river 
in Oiujarat, the part of the trail passed through dense 
thick jungle- Swemiji had been v/axned by various people 
not to risk the journey through the jungle late in the 
evenings or in the very early mornings, because the jun- 
gle was alive with tigers and panthers. But Swamiji, an 

ardent lovor of God, disregarded this warning and started 
walking irrespect:ive of whether it was light or dark Afti 
a short distance he- cEme across a branch of a big banyan 
tree that was overhanging the trail, which meant that he 


would be forced to stoop, bend low, get under the branch 
and then continue his v^alk on the other side 

Just as he was about to get under that branch, he noti- 
ced that seven owlets {locally known as Chibbi r birds) 
were_ seated close to each other on th^.t low brTnch over- 
hanging the trail, Swamiji hadn H the heart to disturb 
them. So he just stood t he r^." watching those cute little 
imps conversing with each other sitting on the branch. 
ihey went on nodding at each other and appeared very wise; 
they also nodded at Swamiji and tried to convey to him to 
be on the alert. This little wise nodding lasted for four 
foT~T ^^^^'^^^ ^^^ ^^^^ 3^^ "tl^Ej seven flew away into the 

The Swamiji who had been terribly fascinated by this 
little interlude th^n bent low under the branch from where 
the trail descended to the level of tho Warbada flow. He 
then saw a little rurther on the trail itself the fresh 
steaming dung of a tiger who must have come to drink from 
the river and left a little earlier. Had the Swamiji not 
waited to watch the seven little owlets and seen their 
nodding pranks, bot the Swamiji and the tiger would have 

l^li^'fuL Morning ■ to each other, Swamiji still thinks 

lu^^ nr? ^^^^''^r °^^i^;^\™'^^^ Saotarishis {seven sages of 
with the tier ^ ""^ ^"^^ ^''^^^'' confrontation 

/^is note was received in May 1969 and had got buried 

undei: less unportant papers. - Ed_J' 

i■j^^ws ^ot !:t.x- tor Sirov/atchers August 1971 



Mr D, A* Stairmand who is touring India at a rather fast 
p?:iGt! v^rote a fev; deys back from My^oTO complaining that 
even at this time of the yesr Quail riire served in the 
botes . The Editor v/roto to tho Chiof Conservator of Forests, 
Bangalore, to lind out vjhGth.?r thc-ro is s law against the 
GOmmerGial exploitation of these birds, Tho CCF says that 
no law has yet been brought into force but that some moves 
are contemplated. Let us hope th^t the Act vdl.l be based 
on linos which exist in Maharashtra to prevent serving of 
Game Birds in restaurants, VJlll members in Mysore, Mr K. 
D, Ghorpade, for G^amplCj please take up this matter with 
the authorities and pursue it to a successful conclusion- 
After finishing vjith ^^y5or"e, 7'/Lr St.oirmand has written 
from Srinagar comploininc; about certain ispects of the ad- 
ministration of the Dachigaon Sanctuary- The matter has 
been taken up with the Chief Wildlifo Warden, 

» , ■* ^ ■*■ 

Towards tho end of May, the Editor happened to be near ^4an- 
dva harbour in the Kolaba. District, Maharashtra, Surpris- 
ingly on a tree in tha compound of a r^'^i'^snce by the s.ea 
a number of Common Bayas v/cre busy making nests- There must 
have been at least 30 nests hanging from the tree, many of 
them almost complete. Both males and females i^^^cre around- On 
inquiring from the local people it v;as learnt th^t these 
birds very often nest in ^''^^^y in that locality, Hcivq any 
readers cross Bayas nesting outside the monsoon months? 


^ i-irds of Jamshedpur ' 

In tho June Mews letter there is an article by Mr Marayana. 
Swami on the Birds of Jamshedpur, v.'ith a query at the end 
about the breeding plumage of the Pur|:>ls Sunbird- As Dlser- 
garh, 'Wf. Bengal, is only about 4 hours away from Jamshedpur 
by road, tho writer might be interested to hear about our 
resident Purple Sunbirds. As it happens, I have -11 my bird 
notes with me., including the. News l etter for Birdwatchers Vol, 
i0(3), ^larch 1970, in which you puEXished my month by month 
notes on the Purplo Sunbird, 

^'Jhistler v-rites: ' The breeding season varies a good deal 
according to locality and in different ' parts of India eggs 
may be found from January to August; most nests, vdll, how- 
ever, bo found in April and May, There are at least ti^vo 
broods, and these are reared in'rapid succession, sometimes 
oven from the same nest, ' 


Newslpiter for Birdivatchers August 1971 

13 .;,"■-- : 

_ If I rrt^^y have; your penniEsion 'to quote from y proviaus cLrt- 
j-cls, I would like to give extracts specifif icaliy dealing 
.with the change of plumage. 

''rtMstler writGG that the lAdntor plumage is assumed from 

abou^, September to Decomber January, Saw a male very 

close ., the fuU midday sun bringing out the most gorgeous 
metallic greenish purple- sheens ail over its body August- 
Seen thre^ different pairs in 9arden. Males very a lot in 
■tidiness cmd broadaess of dark stripe from chin to abdomon-,, 
aGi;obor. Dns male getting very mottled, November. Have notic- 
ed colour change varies tremendously just er.iong the 'birds in 
our garden, Hov. 12th, Saw a ::nale with a lot of black over 
his yellow breast, 21st. Saw male entirely black, 26th, Saw 
male v^ich had lost nearly all his yellow colourin.-v, 30th. 
Saw s male entirely black. 30th, Saw anoth,.r mal- vory -^.cttL- 
ed though head and neck glistening, December. On 3th saw-a 
male black except for tiny yellowish patch under root of t^il, 
iwo yards further along ohe s^ne v-lre saw another male not 
changed at all,. 16th, Saw a mole \\lio hasnt even begun -to chanae 
colour* ^ ojiya 

. Mr Harayana Swaml's second question asks why a o^w chase£ 
a Pariah Kite whenever it flies low. Judging by my observa- 
tions on the resident Pariah Kite family in the bio old euca- 
lyptus tree hero in Coonoor, I should imagine it is partly 
because "chey are both scavengers and after the same sort of - 
tood, and partly because the kite has a taste for crow-babies, 
.^nd the crow chases it in annoyance for present or past thefts, 
or contemplated thefts of the future! It is obvious here that 
itne crows have no love for the kites, 

Mrs Sarah Jameson 

■ Culmore, Coonoor, HUgiris 

Iho i>Jonal Pheasant 

The Monal (Lophophorus im pejan us) Is one of the most beau- 
.titui and somewhat r^ro winged creature of Hiiviachal Pradesh, 
so that _ of India. But unfortunately people oi the area are 
destroyin g^ this national v/ealth by unnecessary killinq lust 
tor collecting its cz^own feathers for fno purpose of decora- 
l^% "t^ft t" r^-u."^"^? ''^ ^ croM^, People particularly of dis- 
■^,lt %l .- ' f^^^^'^^ ^^^ some portion of Kinnaur got very 
-much affection xo use this crown feather; it is rather a mat- 

T^A^-f'^'^T iJ?^^' ^^ spite of sincere efforts of the 
nJ^ h ■ ^ SS""^^ ^^^^ practice is still continuing, as a result 
II Hnn^i ■^■''^L^^'^! ^^^^^ ^^^ ^^^^^-^^ extinction. A living pair 
o. aonal IS offered up to S75, but instoDd of makii^ a good 
deal peopU- are dosxroying it only for their meaningless van 
:l^ r^ \ ^ ^ ^y ^° Prevent this mass killing , nature lover 
should bring pressure on the Government of India through the 


NGivslGttar for Birdwatchers August 1971 


S III dJ^o^^^^in!"' '''=°'^ ^ '^" °" '^'^ "^^ "^ ^'■^'^ ^-^- 

, R. W, Mukherjoe 
: The Nest, Saproon, Simla Hills 

^Joli' i££ Bird Enthusiast^ 

' The .Indiah National /^^peal of the Vforld' Wildlife Fund h^s 
taken over stocks = df tho book About Indian Birds, by i^.llm 
All ^nd Lac^cq Futehally. , ^ 

The Il'JA is reselling the book at thenominal price of F^i/- 

per copy. Readers who would liVc to purci arS reouosted to 
t^^'s^^'t" ''S^'', '^t}'^''^ " India/c/o Bombay NatSrafHis!- 

Bo^.v^ '^' ^r?^^Hi^£^"^' ^^^^^ °^ ^'^^^^ ^^^^^^ Compound, 
tiomiDay l. The book wxil be sent by V,P»P. 

Shama Futehally 

Zafar Futehally 

Editor, Newsletter for Birdwatchers 

32^A Juhu Lano 
Andhcri, Boml^ay 58^AS -^ 

^ V 


Ed i I or 

Dn Sdlim Ali, 

Both buy, 

Mrs. Janiul Ara, 

Dr. Biswamoy Biswas, 

KuTiViir Shri T.iivkumiir, 

Prof. K. K NeeI;Lk:Lnl;tn, 

Mr R. R. Grubh, 

Mr R. L. Floniing. Junior, 
KaQiniaiidu, NepiiL 

Mr. D. A. SUiiimjiiti, 

Br. A. Navarro, 

Mr. Zafar hiitdiEilly- 
32A. Jiihii l.anc, Aiidheri. 
Bomhay-58 AS. 

Arnual Subscription Rs. 10.-, 

Sliid(:nls Rs. 5/-. 




Ci'^-ei- iiesigii by Ji. A. Stewart Mell-nbh 



Newsletter for 

VOL XI rso y si:PTEMBi;R 1971 

VoluTie lis NiHiber 9 

September 1971 


Sirdwetching on Malabar Hill, hv Neela D^S^uza 
A 3Ujr£r-eT wsek^ead in Khandgla, by D. A. Stai::^and 
A lew birds ^t Pigh^j by Anania Mitra 

*Vhitab:reast=c ^Jateirhen/ by Zafar Futehaily 
-fetee and Coinnientfi 
GorrQspondsr*ce . - 

fisgardir^g Mews letter for Birdv^-tchets , -from Lee M, Talbot- 




■j ■- , ' , I 

Neeia"D'Souxa " . 

Ihe blrcman appeared this morrjlng after a lona while, I ha«^ 
, ter;LT:^^ yo „he GsrdeTis fj:^r 3 close l^ok at his pet; Meena had 
.,- inyesT^^^aced earlier and :reporte< the bird had webbed feet. 
-iSa^xm Al^ d^dnt help "the identification pjrocess as there was 
, MO i^ird lifted cf-tnat size, with webbed feet and that could 
■ run so- ^ast, Ano then the birdman didnt show up for'several 
weeks .le3ying.iT^:e;.r.o nearer solving the puzsle. So when I heard 
^hat'rin(^i,ng, un?n:!.sta:-^abi,e call I looked out of the wihdOw 
and vjent to the Gardens 3B i^st as 1 couM. 
' Ihe Hanging Gardens on' Malabar Hill attract a number" of 
:.:-heaUh:ana.f:ce£h air fiends who d'jtifully stride their requi- 
sixe nujTiber of tintes around "its circjnif srence. There "are 
inrants 'and childre'ri' and teen-agers accodpenying qrown-uos. " 
.'Jhere are dogs that frisk a^oi^nd the bedl and lope '' 
. -obediently after athletic mastors. And there is this b^'rd/ 
It turned out^T.o be ^ partridge"- why had.Meena chosen to 
. Sive It webbed-TGet? Out of .pique, perhaps, as the mar.d had 
^o-Pjeven-ced ner ootning rlo-se on the pretence the bird would 
;. a-^taok- Tne ^.a^^ brings it for a walk as partridoes seem to 
,,. neod a dai-^y [constitutional. It run- swiftly behind ita keeper 

and occasionally if it stops to investigate an .'Jn wary wornv or 
. P^^ohes on top of a hsdg$, "ne calls out and it ^nsvvers-^clear, 
■ "^i^""^ ?^:^ -°^^' Weantir^e he is getting, bis ivork-out tob and 

a^SPEW.ha^r-an-hour divests ,n:k!iiself af his shirt and proceeds 

xo vrnisn*. . , - . ■ 


Newsletter for Eird^tchGis ' September 1971 

t3i^n incxinE>d to oisboxiGve. Driving home in a hurry he was 
stopped nc.'^r one of the city gatGs. The urgency with v/nich 
ills car v;ss rlaggod suggested that somebody decidedly impor- 
t^nt^ and all important poople visit Aurangabad on route to 
Ajanta - was about to use tho road. My friend slaiDmed on the 
br.-ites and the Aur.-^.ngabadi who t>ad wavod his artr.s so urgontly 
ran up to ^^plsrn th^t his quail was taking ^ w?ilk and would ho 
be kind enough to i.seit till it h^d crossed the road? N'ow X 
him P^^^^'^-^^ ^^^P ^y Hanging Gardens partridge story with 

,_ Some weoks ago, before the r^ns, a f^.ntail picoon wandered 
into the courtyard of our house, -We couldnt begin to quc-ss 

r^^5?^^^ ^^^'^ ^^^'^ '^'^"^ ^^ ^"^^y ^^ ^^'^ chosen to visit cur place. 
,it didnt soem hurt and was reasonably friendly, approachinq 
ciosG'and strutting all over the house although it fled if you 
went after it. It stayed on arjd at night perchod on top of the 
budgerigars^ page. It was a companionable sort, especially 
when rice was being cleaned in the courtyard and made itself . 
quite at home, A fow evenings later it wandered eut of the 
iront door and was intrigued by the Thildren playing cricket. 
Ihoy reported that it flew up on top of the garage at dusk, ' 
But when I went looking there wasnt a trace: it didnt 
return the next day or the day after. It left as mysteriously 
as it had come. ^ J^^ 

Yes, this was supposed to be a birdwatcher on Malabar HillW* 
- byt there are birds and birds ,", , 

Our garden wakes up every mornina with the Redwhiskered Bui- 
bui who 5oes his che.erful circuit around the house. As I lie 
awake in the early morning, listening to bird chatter, the 
steel and concrete of the city seejn very far away. I seldom 
hear the bulbul aft^r breakfast but occasionally he is back 
in the -afternoon. For sume -reason he shuns the Hanging Gardens 
and prefers the informal privacy of our lawn. Tho barbet does 
not ceme into our compound but the trees across the wall re- 
sound with his persistent note through tho day. Wo have flecks 
Of. spqttGd munias- occasionally; a regular visiter is the tailor 
bird who shatters the quiet with his loud chn.tter. You wouldnt 
cfroam all that noise came from 'that dainty body* 

Sunbird^ come in pairs, singing their way from exora to sun- 
tiower and through the pumpkin and brinjal patches on the side 
et -the house, Yeu, can -tr.-.ce their progress through our qarden 
and over the wall to the Hbnging Gardens, There w.-^s one morn- 
ing, just once, whon a rufousbackod shxike perched on mv vdn- eyes and his delicate rust and white cclourinq. The 
extravagant' colouring and shrill scolding of roseringed and 
biossemheaded parakeets among the- sunflowers is another vivid 
two-dimonsion"al memory. - 

^J'^}2 ^^^'^ rc\-j3^^1ng place to go bird^vatching on Malabar Hill 
IS the Raj Bhavan estate. Permit holders have" the privilege 
01 a sandy beach with a sea calmed and gentled by breakwaters. 

3 ■ ' 




'i: tr -■ ;-. ':>r: c'' cin - !iU'^'"Jay i^crn^.'^o ^n '■■^,y is a 
IriGre 3,5 o-ne '.jul.TiOhu::: -.V' — ch Lb p-jiL^J al^.ost "theat-r 
rically against thnS clear sky In a lovely pley of 
cij?,i^i"l: bi^js. The l:iburr\ura sg^^s more golden here- tharv sny-^' 
where else. The feataii flycatcher wGlccmes your grrival in 
song and entertains you as yo^i walk alon^, keeping just a 
hop, steg and jump ahead. When we lived ±n this estate years 
ago, I listened for the koel every year ^nd rejoiced '/jhen h^ 
began to'cail in iflld March, He still frequents Raj Bhavan; ; 
the female lurks silently in the bushes, occasionally rush".': 
ing out in a ivliir of wings, ^ 

The bulbuls shun the estate though they seem guite fond of 
my garden which is not too far away* I have notices this 
through the years. The sunbirds, koel, fly over Malabar Hill, 
impartially but not the. bulbulsj ^ , 

One year ^ pair of hornbill nested down the road^ some -dis- 
tance fr:5ro the beach,. Wo. v/atched .their clumsy antics, listen- 
ed to their cackling and agreed that they were remarkably / 
like a pair of clowns. They .n-ever i^a.^ie back tc nest but we 
do see and hear them sometin^es when v/e go to the beach* 

Ihe bee-eater fancies the trees in one paxiticular stretah 
of the beach - is it beftaush the hunting is more rewarding 
here? X explo?:^ this corner hopefully rayself each time I am _ 
there; a. friend or-f^e' caught a baby turtle hare and took it - 
home in triumph. Turtles *ome up 'from the sea (shades of Gala- 
pagbsj)- to lay their eggs here and. t^ugh I have seen their- 
tracks and once even found an 'egg".'- "'alasr no baby turtle!' The 
bee-eaters dart around In profusion near this spot^ starling 
the sunlight with bright jrass-green wings^ 'outlined like 
minature kites ^s .they glide back to their perches- . ■ 

There are I'ittlc crabs here scurrying sideways on the sand, 
darting su'dd'^nly tor. cover " are- thes^": what the kingfisher 
fancies? For the common kingfisher - fcut what is common about 
that brj-lliant blue and that emphatic beak? - finds the beach 
profitable" too. Vftien vJe row out- s'oistetimes on a qiiiot moiling', - 
the fishermen around, quite. ,cloSe to the beach, Th€?y sit in 
their bo^ts, patient, floppy hats shadowing their, faces, ■ their 
small boats rocking gently' in the swell. Each has an attendant 
gull perched in. the water, waiting equally patiently* 

And as we r eturn home in the late aftejrnooii, the magpie- - 
robin who frequents the drive sings especially for us, his 
white-fxinged ^tail keeping time to his song. ' -- " 

Ihe peacocks are seldom to be seen now in the estate, I 

remembei with nostalgia June mornings' a few yoars ago- when 

there were several, in full feather just before -the rains* 

Around a bend in the road you came across them in many- - ■ 

splendoured array, tails iridiscent in the dappled". light, ' 

courting- the quiet, drab females, Ihey were so tame that 

when you drove past they st^ppsd aside vdthout bothering to 

close their -tails and continued to display. On Cannichael 

Road, you stJ^li see.them| there i,vas one. that even walked into' 
- ----- -^ : - ,-, \p_ 

■_- l _F -- _ 

iiev/slettei- for Birdvjatdi;BEs September: 1971 

4 . 

my" pantry and surprised me in t>te midst of cake-making I" But" - 
where we livG now, between the Hanging Gardens and xhe Towor '' 
of Siloncoi there is only the shrill cry atnight jarring you 
into wakofulness, 

/Going through the' above note J, S, Serrao writes as under; 

The note adds four species to tho li"st pubiishod in 1942 by 
Rt Rovi R, D, Acland, 'BishoD of Bombay in the Journal of the ■ 
Bombay Natural History Society, Vol, 43: 525-9. The additions 
are: Rufousbacked Shrike, Blossomheaded Parakeet, nesting 
hornbills and the Common Kingfishc-r, His Excollency ^had list.- ■ 
ed about 40 species of birds visiting his garden at Bishop ^s 
lodge; Malabar Hill, under the title ' The Birds of - a Bombay 
garden \ He tells us of tho Indian Robin -and the Ihdian Ori- 
ole which were present in his garden in 'the 40s — the Indian 
Robin must have now loft tno area completely,:' The Gray- and 
White V/agt:^ils were regular cold season visitors up to I94l> ■■ 
but in 1942 he was looked up but once or twice by a Groy- and 
not at all by any-VJhite" Wagtail, He found the Purple Sunbird 
to bo a remiss which he glimpsed but onco", though the Purplc- 
rumped was commoner^. Other raritios in the list include the ■ - 
Paradi-se Flycatchers and the Piod Crested Cuckoo, 

Among Rt Rev'. /Acl:^.nd^s * Alost Honoured- Visitors ^ were; 
White-eyes in January 1942, which bird E. H, Aitkerp (£HA) ■ 
never saw on the_-Malabar Hill in his time, were seen by Cr 
■Salim Ali in the- Government House Grounds (Jj^ Bombay na.t. Hist , 
^c- 40i 158); the Whi.tebellied Drongo vMch macTe a series of 
late evening visits in December 1941: and the Indian Shikra, 
a common bisd on Malabjir Hill in EHA's time, visited him once'" 
±n January ,1942i Sihce EHA the shikra met on Malabar Hill ' 
only once - ?, female taken by W, S. Mill?ird on 9*i,I^l9. A 
Peregrine F^.lcon ( Fa 1 c o poregrinus oeroqrinuj^ l also visited 
him onoj and 'three , Large Cuckoo Shrikes, a frequent bird in 
EHA's day visited the garden in January and in March 1942. 

Malabar Hill also happ^ens to be the venue of ^ new record 
for Bombay; an Indian. Button Quail (wild, and not captive) 
which flew into Na^z Restaurant on 23.v<1949 at c- 10 p,m, ■ 
during heavy showers accompanied by lightning" and thunder 
[Doris Ferrcira, Jj_ Bombay n'at. Hist, Spc^ 46: B08-9 ) - 

Destruction of habitat since the forties must have displac- 
ed many of the birds listed by Rt Rev, Acland, and careful 
notes made in" the area by'^members of " the Birdwatchers Club 
would be useful in studying the" changesthat haveLreaiilted in 
'the birdlife ofth© area in the wake of this destruction in 
the name oi. J progress '. — Ed^/ 






M'.-',i.'l >t-..u 1 )!' BirJ^-"j; I::- Septeinber 1971 


D, A. Stairmand 

I arrivGd at the hotel in which I. always stay in Khandala in 
time for tc-a on Saturday 24th April, It had been a hot 23^ 
hours drive from Bombay with s few birds to be seen- at thst 
time of the'year- 

As I settled dovir. to tea or. my Hotel room balcony there 
were Redwhiskered and Redvented Bulbuls, Jungle Mynas and a 
Coppersmith in the Hotel^s compound. I was told by the young 
bearer that the pair of Redv^ntod Bulbuls th.-^t had nested in 
an Hibiscus in the compound had reared their two younc; suc- 
cessfully and these had flown from nest the previous day- The 
Hotel is over ^ mile off the road and the main trees in bhe 
compound are jambool ( Sv^yqiun cumini ) , mango," casuarinas and 
gill mohurs while there is a variety of shrubs. 

By 4,30 p.m. it v/as cooling off and I wont down to the road- 
side tank where I saw a I^rge Piod Wagtail, Paddy Birds attain- 
ing handsome summer dress, Rodwattled Lapwings and Wiretailed 
Swallows, the latter's steel blue upperparts shone beautiful- 
Xy in the sun as they banked over the water^ Three Dabchicks 
were hiding froni view amongst vegetation on the tank^ A pair 
of Dabchicks had brought up three succ^issive brbo'ds on this 
tank between August-Decombcr last year* The usual Common 
Kingfisher was not there but its absence vjas compensated by 
the sight of a Greyheaded Yellow We.gtail -in glorious plumage. 

I spent, that evening walking near and along a quite well- 
wooded and very well-covered stream below the hotel. The out- 
standing trees there wore siris ( Alblz^la lebbek ), kusim 
( Schlexchera_ o^, ) and wilf fig^ ( Ficus^ spTT- All held at- 
traction for the birds as the kusims were in full grsen leaf 
— having just changed from rod — and had some spikes of 
yellowish flov/ers, the siris were in flower and the Fious in 
ripe fig, many of which had fallen to the ground. It is usu- 
ally a quiet .fairly undisturbed area and the ^ thrushes,^ had 
just returned there, presumably from the forest belcv;, a cou- 
ple of weeks or so before. That evening I saw 'many Blackcapped 
Blackbirds (Turdus morula nigropilous ), one Whitethroatod 
Ground Thrush [ 2eoth,^ra citrina. cyanotus, ) , bulbuls, Jungle" 
Babblers, l\^itebreasted Kingfishers, Jungle iMynas, Magpie 
Robins, a Drongc, a female Golden Oriole and Spotted Doves, 
I could watch only one Blackbird as the others were shy and 
flew up into trees or a way en my approach, Tho one Blackbird 
I watched was under- a tree avjay from the stream flicking over 
dry leave's in, typical thrush stylo, 1 had perfect' views of 
Snail Green Barbets", Coppersmiths and pairs of Common loras* 
The males of the last named "Were glorious at that time of 
the year .with rich yollow fronts and uhat looks like a black 
cap but the black, in fact, extends over much of the upper- 
parts. The lora is not shy and if a pair arc heard calling 

.■: xl -t ; ■?: : iL ~dc' t r- SsptembGr 1971 

L. -_'.._'. J i.uo-: ;.iv:.T nearby trees it is merely a matter of min- 
utos before they come into view- acrobatically ' tjorklng ^ the 
treos fcr inbocts. They have a variety of calls^ uttered al- 
most constantly such as st^ort v^i&tles; a h^rsh chr^rr chrrr : 
a plaintive pee^oo and tho v;elX-known shgubeegl froin which " g 

their local name is derived- On a telegraph vdro near the 
stream was a Common Green Bee-eater with its tail broadened 
out. Surely this was part of its breeding display, A fairly i 
quiet afternoon and evening's birding but^ then, the Symphony 
of Khandaia always opens slowlyj Mine is not, of course, the 
Khandala of the ornithologists (I've been down into the forest - 

only 3"4 times and then missed practically everything that, . 
presumabV/, was there) but 1 love the area near the Hotel and 
I know it fairly well by nowi At dusk a l^itethroated Ground ^ 

Thrush sang near my room -- the first I'd heard since last 
July. As nioht fell there was a loud resounding chook_-chook 
chook, c hpok - chook , etc, with an e6hD like the " t u k " " tuT ' ' L^^ 
of the Goppersmithi Can Br, Navarro identify this sound for > 
me from these. meagre notes? It is a common sound there just ■ 
after dark. 

I set my alarm for 5,15 a«m, Sunday 25<iv but there was no 

need for it as I woke at b a-tn, to the wonderful sound of the 
song of a Whitethroated Ground Ihrush singing just 'outside my 
room. At 6 a,m* I was on my way down to the stream but paused 
for several minutes to watch and listen to a Ground Thrush in 
two trees. The first bird I saw on the stre^'i* ^3s a Spotted 
Babbler ( Pellorneum ruficeps j vjhich looks very thrush-like '■ 
(and, indeed^ why GhouIdrT^t it?) . From 6 a.m. to 9 a.m. I had 
a glorious time at the covered, wooded stream and saw many 
birds. Here I shall mention only a few -. several Golden Orioles, 
a pair of Goldfronted Chloropses — and they v/ere in glorious 
plumage - pairs of loras.,/ ■one of the males was descending like 
a fluffy yellow ball in his i^'ondecful breeding display, part- | 

ies of Wood Shrikes - snd Small Miniveta - both male and female = 

of the latter in about equal numbers, a mi>:ed party of Black- 
headed Cuckoo-Shrikes chasing arotsnd very merrily, and, of -- 
course, the Blackbirds. I notices pretty orchids in flower on ^ 

trees and took some time to locate a Ground Thrush singing 
avjay in a magnificent kusim, 'As I moved 'closer to the kusim 
and then walked around under the tree still searching for the 
Ground Ihrush on bouyhs or amongst foliage I thought that any 
second he would fly ^ but no, he just- sang on and one even 
long after I had spotted him. He is a slightly stubby but 
handsome bird - a typical thrush look about it and coloured 
mainly blue above with yellowish'brown head, neck and under- 
parts. In the race cvanotus the sides of the face, chin and 
throat 'are white and there are" two very distinct dark'bands 
down the sides of the face. The female is often close by and 

*she differs by havirg the upperparts suffused with olive-green. 
Also in this fcusim were lovely Greyfronted Green Pigeons 

i ^.g-yQ.Dr - P-Q""iDa'^°^.al je5tinq--JXLnt&nt^dly — Earllex-^tJ^y^-had- j>eejv - - 

h'jwsletter for Birdwatchers September 1971; 

calling rirjsic^iHy - * a series of sc^^f'rich whistles up and 

down the scale ^ [ Handbook Vol, 3), Three during the 
morning a Malabar VJhistling Thrush ( Myiophorteug horsfioldii ) 
had broken out into song and though this please me no end I 
found it slightly out of context. I love this song most dur- 
ing the SW, iiionsoon season at Khandala when the rain slackens 
momentarily J the mist swirls and the light brightens barely 
perceptibly and over the sound of v;ater dripping froin trees 
and the rush of streams comes the Miistling Schoolboy^s song 
rising above all other sounds of nature mth clarity and pur- 

Back at the hotel for breakfast I ^^.^N a Brahminy Myna - with 
glossy black crown and long recumbont crest - on the Dining 
Room roof and a 'Jungle Cj-ovj flashed past chased by a female 
Golden Oriole, vjhom i suspect was nesting close by. This was 
the only crow I saw all v/eek-end end birds such as House Spar- 
rows near the roadside tank. The mango next to my room vjas 
loaded with fruit just about to ripen and Loten^s Sunbird 
hovered in front of its leaves taking off grubs while loras 
and Leaf VJarblers combed this tpe^- 

Out again after breakfast 1 saw tv^o Gornmon Green Bee-eaters 
--copulating on telegraph wires near the streap. A female Pied 
fiushchat and a Redvented Bulbul had bills full of food and 
they eyed me warily and wouldn ^t move anywhere near their 
nests for fear of betraying their young. 

Atop a pylon near the stream and above the Old European 
Cemetery v/ith the forest below was a large bird of prey. I 
made notes; ' Dark brown head; yellow cere and legs; brovm 

"■.. above, lighter brown below; vdiite patch on back of head. In 
flight slim tail, white bars on^ underv/ings; high-pitched 
screaming calls over forest . ^ One or two things really 
mystified me - the white patch seen on the back of its head 
man the bird turned its head around while perched on the' 
pylon. Also the much darker head than upperparts. Next even- 
ing at Hornbill House Mr Humayun Abdulali sorted out both 
problems and it most certainly had been a Crested Serpent 
Eagle ( Spilornis cheela ) , I was shown one specimen with a 

■ dar^ brown head, and lighter upperparts and the ' v/hite patch' 
on the back of the head had obviously beenca^Jsed by the wind 
blowing the crest feathers, I had bcsiunable to see the crest 
or, indeed, the white bar across the tail, in the Khandala 
old cemetery were a pair of adult Common Langurs and the mot- 
her had a babe-in-arms. A charcning little fellow - body only 
about one foot long and the tall longer. 

I had a sleep after Sunday lunch and was out again after 
tea when a Common Mongoose was seen on his usual b o^clock 
stroll near the Hotel room. 1 am on friendly terms with this 
mongoose and he has even had the courtesy to show me where 
he lives near the Hotel, A Ground Thrush sang high up in the 
nearest jambool against whose fresh, long sliUL_gxfieji J^eaves 

.._5-Jnal-e--I-ora 'looked a picture. 

l^ov.^l^-Ur,z f::i bird w£i tailors September 1971 

■8 ■ . ," 

1 walked bcyQnd th(^ sfreaia up an incline to an open stonv 
area wyih scattered treei; known as Po^walla Hill from where 
^nd''thp\^i. t^'^'m^ ""^^n^ spoiled only by pylons, of the forest 
^nd the E^keJ? Nose, hero there were Rosefinches, Rufousbacked 
Shrikes, Indian Robins, Indian Pipits, several of one of the 
smaller Crested l^.rk. and Eulbuis. It was a mellow evening and 
L^?;S^r^n ^^^ht Conunon LangurB wore romping around at play. 
About 200 yards fvirther on five Bonnet Mscaques v;ere ollmbiAg 
pylons for fun„ Here I must relate to you '^he Tragedy of 
PoiM^alla HillT ^s told to 'me by my good friend the Hotel owner 
A few years ago a certain Dortrir from Bombay walking his dog 
on Pow^valla Hxll when th^ dog caught sight of a macaque and - 
chased it. Tooth to tail they hurtled across the piateau with 
the monkey going at great speed towards the cliff when, a 
second or so from th^ precipice with the dco very hot oh its 
xraii tcr ^ailj, the monkey leapt up onto a pylon v^ile the 
dog careened on and emulated the lemming, The moral of this 
story IS that no dog should romp the Ghats country without a 

^,^^^ i}!" ?^^^^'s ^^9^ Dusky Crag P.fartins (Hirundo concolor) 
judged the length of my nose to a nicety and I alway s know 
when they are that close a3 I can .clearly see the roundish - 
white spots on their tail feathers, "During the worst of the 
rnonsoon rains at Khandala these lovable, trusting, cheekv 
birds will sometimes rest on a window sill oniy 5 feet from 
my chair. They have almost as much difficulty walking as I ' 
would have flying^ 

h ^^ ^^V^^^' ^P^"^^ ^^^ evening by the stream again as I 
wanted .o listen to t he thrushes songs. FroiTi 6.15 p.m. to 7 
Pr^*^ Wiitethroated Ground Thrush sang from a bough of a wild 
fig above the stream Uhe female wvas close by) while I sat 
V|^ll tucked into a slope- The thrush often sang i^ith its back 
towards mc, when it was more difficult to see the bird The 
iT ^K^^5 }^^^ and descends early behind the hills surround- ■" 
i^.^,^^"^fi%?° tl^^ light was good but net brilliant, A Red 
^purtowl t^^oileperdix spadicea jcame down to drink but on its 
way up the .opposite bank it saw me and raised its (as 
recorded by Humayun Abdul-ali and mentioned in Handbook Vol/ 
^) in excitement but dithered and dithered before maETno for 
oover. It was a i:>vely bird. A few. minutes later I heard move- 
ment over dry leaves above and behind me and I sat tight ex- 
pecting a Spurfowl or-Quail. VSh^n. it passed me I saw it was 
a ioveiy snake - yellow vjith good dark markings. Mr J, C. 
^fV t^b^ "'?T^* ^^^ probably a completely harmless Rat 
oS.1nf;v .n^"" ^b ""^ ^3^^,^"^y ^^^^ poisonous snakes in this 
country, and snakes are not natural enemies of man. Quite" the 
reverse, m fact, Bird songs and calls brought the week-end 
to a charming close- 

^.^^ u^ the much welcomed lack of crows there were few calls 
-^o be heard from Koels. However, quite often a bird of the 
same tamily 5sked me very impertinently ^ Vfliat^s your trouble?' 

It was--a crQ55_- word - p_UEsle . ■ 



9 ■■■"■■■: 


Ananta Mitrs 

West B^ngsl now possesses a se-aside rssort. It is Dighs on 

- the Bay of Bengal, "I had the occasion of having a short trip. 
,to Digha in the last week of October, this year, I availed, ' 

- this opportunity of having a glimpse of sorce 'birds on .this 
cogst 'line 'of ^the Bay^ 

On >the morning of 23.x. 1970 I was on the balcony of our room 

of, Saikafabash -'a tourist lodge set up by the State of West 

(J iT-^e sea with its beauty ^and. grandeur was a bit rough that 

day. The sky was overcast with clouds, rJone-bu-t a few groups 
of f isherrnen - were on the beach, A big net was beino drawn, 

- There came flocks of Indian River Terns ( Sterna aurantia ). 
They were gracefully plunging into the shortening arc of the 
drawing net and sometimes carrying small fishes in their beaks- 
Whirling along with them were some other birds. From the dis- 
tance 1 could Identify the Pariah and the. Brahminy Kites, 

As the day wore on, the weather and the sea became more and 
more rough and the beach showed deserted looks. There apoear- 
ed a large flock of Brownheaded Gulls ( Larus b r u n nice oh'a'l us ) 
mostly resting on the shores, _,.Side by side with them were a 
number of Little Stints (C alidris minutus_) strutting along 
most busily near the edge of the water and collecting minute 
marine bodies carried to the shore by -the waves. 

Next morning, i,e, 24, x, 1970 \vas bright and sunny and- I - 
could stroll along the sea shore- as I pleased, Digha beach ^is 
all along planted with rows of Casugrina e_Quisetifolia which 
in itself is a beautiful sight, "ihere 1 qot my first olimpse 
of a pair of Biackcapped Kingfisher [ Halcyon pileata )!^ Their 
^ -colour combination seemed romantic but a bit unlike the pic- ^ 

ture in Dr All's The Bo.gk of Imdian Birds , The underpa'rts be- 
low their white throats v/ere yellowish brov^, more like the 
iJ^derparts- of the Storkbilied -Kingfisher, They had, of course, 
the large white mirrors in thed.r primaries. Can they be any 

The birds found along the shores and/or near our lodge v/ere; 
Common Drongos, Brown Shrikes, Common Bee-eaters, Junale MyngS, 
Indian Rollers, Blackheaded Orioles, Tree Pie^ Redwhiskered and 
Com.mon bulbuls. Spotted Doves. Of course, there were House 
Crows, House Sparrows and .Common MynaS in plenty^ 

I found another single bird on the beach sitting atop a 
casuarina treu and this 1 could not identify It was a light 
green and white bird a bit larger than common myna. It had 
; a greenish head, a black streak through the eyes like bee- 
aters, and wings light green fading to white at the bottom. 
The wings at the sitting position covering the feet. Beak 
seemed to be short and slatish. Would any of our readers id- 
. _ .^ntify .it?._ ._ _. ■' . . _..- — - ^ 





■^ - -C .. :ij 

t^'l/t&.ii.-'O:!' iV7i 


j\3 my stay was yory short and had to leave in tho aftexnodn 
of 24*>: I could cover only a small area at this eastern sea 
board of our country. I would like to return hero ^A*\en possi- 
ble and Vs'ould ask. our readers to come here to study the avi- 
fauna of Digha which see^med rich in birdlife. 


Zafar Futehally 

Far the- past many years vjg have been delighted by the presen- 
ce of Whitebreasted Watcrhens in our garden in the suburbs of 
Bombay, Uncaniiy just before the monsoon breaks the birds ai^- 
rivo and announce their presence by their outlandish callSi 
Sometimes in the middle of thoir sojourn they seem to disap- 
pear suddenly, I have noted in my diary on 6,i:<.l970; ^ the 
waterhens hav.e apparently disappeared from pur garden. Ho 
signs today. They have been hero for the last tv^o months, ' Oh 
30.x, 1970 L wrote: " Just shows how wrong one can be. The 
Waterhens exe still in our garden and nov; are getting as 
friendly as domestic poultry ;,, One camt] almost on the step^-s 
of the housej The white shirt front is not too white. Also 
saw a young chitk a few days ago scurrying away in the neigh- 
bouring garden. Do not recall hearing them call, lately^ ' 
' This year I first saw a single bird on our iav;n on the 29th 
of' May and on the 30th I saw d pair very confident and not at 
all shy feeding'"right in the open on our lawn. Since than I 
have watched this pair regularly quite frequently having a dip 
in our lotus pond and sometimes having a very thorough wash in. 
our birdbath, i knew from their general behaviour that they 

■ must be nesting and though once or twice I thought I would 
definitely find the nest by just following the birds as they 
stealthily w^ilked elongside the hedge, then jumped on to a 
chikoo tree and then to a Golden Shower creeper where they 
had nested once before, I failed In my attempts, I put up a 
hide near the lotus pond whore the birds camo around 6,30 in 
the morning and managed to get a couple of flash photographs. 
One day (25, vii, 1971) I saw a bird bringing an egg shell in 
its boak, "and I knew that the eggs had ^hatched. On the next 

'May I had a fascinating view of two chicks emerging from under 
a roselia bush on the side of the lotus pond. This was just 
10 ft away from where ■! was'in the hide and the parents sud- 
denly sensing danger did a most intricate dance going round in 
circles in front of the chicks pursuading them v/ith all their 

.might to follow 'them into cover. This they obediently did. 

After a few days only one chick vjas seen. It grow rapidly 
and by middle of August had reached adolescence pnd was quite 
frequently seen stepping out on its ovm in a confident manner, 

"Sometimes it charged across the lav/n like a race horse at a 
tremendous speed. From the 17th onwards the chick has not been 

-^een-and has obfiously been; devoured. The adults(according~to^ 


!rl ± 

rs Cs^t&.„l5E;]: Vnk 

^ ". :i- '■'.'. ■:-^^ -.■■■] J c , l.,j J :■ ;,'?, red to be a littles sjd and dia- 
■-:i.-hei.l and seejned to call more, frequently than they have been 
;.ji'li^ iji tilt last few days* 

.,--"■ "As I write this I see them on my lawn pecking away at insects 
""and_roots and I wonder whether they will attempt another fami- 

^,^ly^^ raising effort this season, 

,ri" '24.viii.l971. From try observations today it seems very like- 

,"Jy that the birds axe brE?eding again. Fox a long period there 
was, .only one bird seen on the lawn suggesting that the other 
was on the nest. This bird wa-s also extremely aggressive and 
chased a Magpie Robin in the area in a very determin&d manner. 
Incidentally". I had a lovely view of this bird having a long 
and satisfied bath in the lotus pond. It is amazing how iw=ter- 
pxoof the feathers ere. J saw the shining vjater just slip off 
the feathers v/ithout leaving traces of wetness on the i^rimar- 
les. The bird appeared to be making a strong attempt to see 
that the water did actually reach its body through' the feathers. 


Intensive Study Group for the Borivali National Park 

Ihe Bombay Natural History Society has organised a group of 
enthusiasts to conduct studies on the fauna and flora of the 
Borivali National Park. One of the activities of this group 
is to mark the resident birds of the Park with coloured plast- 
ic rings. A beginning v/as made on Ibth August 1971, Nino mist 
nets were set up around the pagoda ribove the Car Park. Success 
at netting ^./a^ rather restricted owing to breezy conditions 
prevailing during the operations^ and only five resident birds 
-were netted in the course of gbout four hours work; 2 Redvent- 
ed Bulbuls, 1 Redwhiskered Bulbul, and two 'i^itethroated Bab- 
blers, and vjQTQ marked with coloured plastic rings on. their 
Isft leg- This is a small beginning, which may lead to valu- 
able developments in course of time. The activities at the 
moment are in the Pongsm Vallay, the area between the Car 
Park and the Vihar Uike, Birdwatchers interested in taking 
part in this work arc requested to contact the Curator of the 
Bombay Natural- His tory Society, and have from him the detail- 
ed programme ^of the weekly activities. The work will be c;ar- 
ried on Sundays and public holidays, 


Regarding Nevjs letter for Birdwatchers 

A hasty note to thank you for the copy of ^Jewsletter fcr 

Birdwatchers . This is the first copy that I have seen, it 

seems to me a very useful publication and I am glad to see 

it and know it exists, - ,, -^ ii_ ^ 

I^e W, Talbot 

Senior Scientist 

Council on Environmental Quality 

V/ashington, U.S.A. 

^V^ Ulkl' 

-.e>vjxt3x-ct!r for J^irawatchers - . ' ""---September 1971. 


"' " , Pre-^.lonsopn Breeding 

of the Bava (Ploceus phillipinus) 

Under '^Motes and Comments" in the August issu^ thG.Editor raises 
the question of the-Baya nesting outside the ^^onsoon months. 

^Behind Aarey- lu^arket, A"drey Milk Colony, Bombay I have noticed over '' 

t^he last three years a colony of Bayas who start nesting activities » ■ 

roi;nd about tho end of April. The Bayas usually nest in three Date A 

i^alms and below and around these palms there is an extensive field " ^ 

used for growxng grass for cattle fodder. With tho aid of irriaa- 

txon this field is groen almost throughout the year-. The male Bayas 

of this colony make their nc-sts from strips" taken from the leaves 

ot Hate Palms and (mainly) from -the grasses. Although I have made 

no study of this Baye. colony I believe that this particular field 

provides adequate food for tho Bayas and the ground there is always 

wet enough for the Bayas to obtain the blobs of mud which appear "j 

to be such a necessary part of their nests. These blobs of mud are ■! 

stuck inside the dome near the egg chamber and are possibly used 

as balancing or anchoring agents. ■ i 

So then, this Colony of Bayas would appear to have suitable I 

breeding conditions nearly all "the year round. Therefore, as soon " | 

as the malos of this Colony attain breeding dress and, with it, ^ 
the_urgo-to reproduce it i-s but logical for them to'start building 

thoir masterpieces which we prosaically call bests. Other colonies -i 

less.rortunately. placed have to await suitable condition.s brought ' | 

about by the Monsoon before they can commoriCe the breeding ritual', ^ -" 

As' I have said above, I have m^de no study of tills Cplony but I ^ 

am sure that their brooding activities not only start early but 

also end early, probably before the end of Auoust, ^jhereas other m 

colonies elsewhere i^hich start" later' also end later so that each ^ ^ 

colony h^s- roughly the same breeding cycle as far as- length of 

'time IS concerned. - ■ 

In passing, I would add that the .vjhole of Aarey Milk- Colony - 
whicn adjoins Borivli Uationai Park - is always blea^ant t-o visit 
due to the perennial greenness of its field and' it is nover more ' 
rotreshi-n.g to- see. this than' in the months, of Acril-May when the 
a-yenu-es of trees add to -the scene their flamboVant and glorious 
flowers, ^ ^ 

- - ■■■ . D.A. Stairmand, 

■ ... . C/0 Mercantile Bank Ltd,, 

] G,P,0, Box 14, 

.,-■' ■ : London h-C.3. 

(How cheering'tftat"Mr, Stairmand continues to 
keep in touch with us, after his- dc^parture from India). Ed. 






Di\ Salim Ali, 

Mis. Jamal Ara, 

Dn BiswEimciy Bi<;was, 

Kunvar Shri LiivkiiiTiaL, 

Prof, K. K. Neelakuinan, 
Trivaiidi uiii, 

Mr B. R. Gnihh, 


My. R. l-r h'iemlng, Jiinioi. 
Kathmandu, Nepal - 

Mr. D. A. Staimiaad, 

Br, A. Navarro, 


Mr. Zafai Fuichally, 
.12A. Jiiliii Lane, Aiu[h»:n, 
BoinbayoR AS. 

Annual Subscnpiion Rs, lO-. 

SUidenis Rs. 5/-. 


Cover iUiigi! by R. A. Stewart MelUdsh 

,. .^ 

Newsletter for 





- '.-V- 1 T if. H FOR 

■^ - . ' -- ^ October i97J. 


Dusl nationality, by Owon M^artir^ 1 

Blackwingsd iCi.te n^Gtinrj in Kerala, by K, M. Nair 3 

A -crip to the Elephant pond, by_ A, JHian^aiik ' 4 
Roosting fligiit; 'Ji±th a discourse on ths Re^f Hersn, 

by D, A, Stni^Ti^rjd 6 

Notes and Comm&nts 9 

Correspondence 9 

^^estirifi of the Paradise Flycntchsr, froir. Yuvraj 

Shivraj kumr.r of Ja^^dgn 
Westini;; of tli^j Baya Weaver Bird ( Plp.cgug philippinuG ) 

from J» S, Serrao 


Owen Martin 


Ii: is Surprising how many birdst srtr nationals of both India 
and England, 1 becrnme mbty av/art of this vihen x liv^d in 
Lahore a long tlQie ago, before tliat delif^htfui place became 
out of bounds, iS^ere in -chi.- cold w;>ai;3,er w^ ^ri^vj ii^igrants I 
knev/ ^t hoinc d'jrin.j their breedin'-! jcaEon n.nd I found it 
strange and exciting] to see European Swallo^"js, fox^ example- 
aiongsido e^ to -mr, axotic, Roller or Dronoo^ Of course I Ig- 
nored ar^y idea that rliose swallows irdght. have <^om^ from Jib 
fiirthr^r than Kashmiri '."-,. 

In England, Starlings play the part of Common %nas in 
India; in Lahcrej we had both. Every 3u::unin a fev/ ST^arlings 
Came through neading south for the plaljis; sorrie stopped in- 
the garden for an hour ^or so to reed and""bathe and entertain 
us, and then were ^ane. In reverse, Rosy PastQrs are rirport- 
cd most years in Erijla-nd as strag^jlers, in Lahore v-iq 
had them in garrulous droves. They f^^d on the simui flov/ers 
and later gorged the mulberry crop; not once in five seasons 
was I able to boat their, to that deloctablj h.-jr-.'est. 

Another migrant we saW on pa'ssage every year was the Wry- 
nock, a bird 1 knew well at hoir.e in my youth. Since then, 
the wryneck has become rare in England; I do not knov; why, 
ihe decline started before tha use of pesticides, and suit- 
able hsbitat is still there - if depletv^d by oresEure of 
50-GalI " " 


shortly gfter those of tho first cuckoo. This, incidentally, 
3.5 why the country folk though the wryneck was the cuckoo's 


;*e'.V3j.'e-tGr for LiLrdv/.^t^nyrs October i97a, 

P I 

So 1 was dolii'ntod to ^ec a wiynr^ck in Dolhi Zoo on my 
ias"^ visit - wild and fro^, I haGtcri to add. It was picking 
ants almost zxoin Lindor the fc-et of Lhc crov;d. Shortly attor- 
wards - and this has nc"ching whatevGc to do with migrants 
or vanishing spocics - we saw a Baybacked Shrika attacking 
a li^axd almost twice its length. Although battorod, the 
iizard survived. 

Races of many of the littlo grGsn warblers are common to 
both countries, and so difficult ara they to identify that 
i nave almost givan up the batt.le< In England, you can at 
least tell a Willow VJarbler from a Chiffchaff by vastly dif- 
ferent sonc, but not so in India where - in my experience, 
anyvjay - they are silent. The V/agtails ?re equally confusing. 
In England the common one is the Pied, Mota cilia 3.1ba var- 
rsllii, and in India it is of course the V-Tiitc-, U^ alba, alba 
But I have seen the latter in England, and I have seen in 
India what I would swear to be yarrollii. Th'en there are the 
Yellow and the Grey, I can glibly identify them as f lava and 
cinerea - but of what race? And when it comes to the Blue- 
headed, and variants, I give up, 

Some o'f the birds of prey also overlap at the tnds of my 
birdvjatching boat. V/e have Kestrels which stoop successful- 
. ly at the House Sparrows in our Surrey garden, and I am 
minded of a splendid kestrel sighting with G, S, Ranganathan 
at Tughlak's Fort near New Delhi, We were at the top of the 
battlements watching swifts and Rock-ch^ts when we saw the 
kestrel, away up in the blue, wings shimmering, tail fanned. 
Xt h-ung for an instant, dropped a few feet, poised again, 
then down - straight and silent - to its prey at the foot, 
of the v;all below u:^. A wonderful stoop and a clean kill' ox 
an undei-sized grasshopperi 

We also see Kites in England, though not many- The Pariah, 
or Black - Milvus mir.jrr7.ns " is a very rare straggler, but in 
deepest Vy^ales wo have a small but fairly successful breeding 
colony of Red Kites, iVdlvus milvus . And Ospreys - I once savj 
one cer Tansa L^ke in the old days, and here in England - 
or rather Scotland - they are breeding again after a lapse 
of a hundred years, at a reserve established by the Royal 
Society for the Protection of Birds, Last year four pairs 
raised eight .young .between ^them, and over 30,000 visitors 
each paid the equivalent of five rupees for a distant view 
of one of the eyries through a telescope from a hide. I wish 
we could make birdwatching in India as popular and as profit- 

Last vanter a Collared Dove, Streptooelia decaocto came to 
our garden for the first time. You know this bird as the 
Indian Ring Dove; its recent rapid expansion across Europe 
and the the British Isles is now a matter of ornithological 
history- Our English Ring Dove, Columba galumbus is a dif- 
ferent creaure; a big lumpy grey pigeon the size of a Green 
Pigeon. The Handbook , Vol. 3, page 130 describes it as an 



3 , ■ ""■ 

' errstic wa-ndsrei- ' in northern India, 

1 suppose the waders and wildfr^wl have the biggest claiin 
to du^l nationality, I have soen Dunlir^ trippinc like lit-- 
tic laijry baiieS; ^anctrs on the coast at Surct an-cl c. :ina~ 
lish estuaries. Widgeon and Pintail on the Sutlej and on' 
London resv^rvoirs, Goctv/it on Mahim Creek and on North Sea 
shore!^, V/e have sightings eaoh year even of such typically 
Indian spuciea ^s Cattle Egrets^ Night Herons and Snocn- 
bills. And of ny favc^jrit-s ^■adors, the Biackwinged Stilts; 
I wish they were .t-cr^ than j-ust rare visitors to England^ 
In India, my last sight of them is 'usually on that'same 
creek .3t ^J^ahiiTi, en routG for Santa Cruz and home, 


K. N, Nair 

On 28,xi,l969 while watching birds at Walayarj a Black:ir;inged 
I'j.te was seen carrying a twig In its beak* Closer e^^amination 
revealed that a pair of birds vjare engaged in nesting- The 
nest was being constructed on an. Xnaa dulcis i'rse standin^-j 
Oil th''e bund of an irrigation t^nk situstsr] ir ^n coen -nra? 
having scattered tre^s iiks palmyr,] palm. ta.:narind', Aracl j 
axa b ica . etc. Only a few twiae- were seen collected snd plac- 
ed en a branch of this tree at a height of about 30 ft. The 
birds luight have started nesn; (construction a couple o-^ ^ays 
sro; they v/ere rather silent* 

On i.xai,1969 the birds were seeai collecting tv;igs and 
constructing the nest v.hich was a loose untidv crow-like 
stri-cture of twigs. On 2.xii a:3d 5.xii, T^hey werr^ engaoed 
in collecting u'.ateriai for linino the nest. This consisted 

to the nest at longer inter\'als than before, 

fiJo activities were seen on 6,>cii,and 7^xii, Cne bird was 
in the nest and the other perched on a tree nearby. There 
was a lot of interference from crows. The birds were voci- 
ferous ivhj.le chasing the crows and silent at othor tiTnes. 
Though birds like parakeets and mynas visited the tree, the''' 
were Ignored. On il.xii, there was considerable interf^^r^nce 
from crows. 

On the 24th December, the bird was not brooding as expect- 
ed. One Was on a tree a little away from the nest. As the 
area was approached, the bird flev; av^ay to anot):er tree where 
Its i^atr^ was and both of them flew away as if coui^ing and 
one returned to the same tree. They were very vociferous; 
' crows were noticed troubling th^m, 

Cn. 26. -^ii one was in the nest brooding while the other A»as 
perched in a nearby- tree^ -they were- silent. 

Msv-jalfe^Ler for i-^j-dwdt^hers Oota^.sx 1971 


On ?,i.l9-'0 oi,e bird was seen returning co nest with a 
rPOu"e"in its talans. It alighted ne^r the nsst and satti:..- 
and ^et?led in it aft.r eating the mouse. After some time 
Tit mpte came and aUghted on a tree nearby. As soon as i., 
aUgvted.ttwafseen dropping something which was found 
to belmalldead mouse. It i^.mediately flew away ^"^ ^^^um- 
Pd wtth a fairly big rodent and ^ts it leisurely, perched 
o^ a branch near the nest. A xrae-pie came to the tree but 

"^On'thfne^t visit to the nest site on 15.1 a remarkable 
change was not 'oed in the birds. Cne of the brrds ms^by 
thf side of the nest, and as the tree was ^PP^°^^^^^ ^^^ 
flew away to a nearby tree. Bi^t it was p^Uess and was 
flvinq round and -ound the nest trea but d:id not enter the 
nest?^B5?h the parents were observed ^^^q^^^tiy/^Vin^ in 
search of food. They resented a close approach to the nest 
trolriwice they fl4w towards me and I had to wave my hat 
and binoculars in an attempt to drive them away. 

On 23.1 only one bird was seen. The other was probably in 
■fhp nps^ The-e we-e aboat 60-70 crows in tne loca-Li ty and 
the bird' outside Ihe nest was constantly engaged In driving, 

*''!?:rerLrtUngs'"bo^t the size of a myna were seen by th. 
sl5^ of -^he nes? on 28. i. The black of the eye was very 
conspicuous! but the white colour was rather dirty, ihe 
birds did nit like my presence in the vicinity and once 

*'of4!?i'thrnsstiings were flying about. They had grow., 
eonsiderably and it v/as difficult to distinguish them in 
flight from their Parents. The parents resented my^pro:<i- 
mltv ard onco attacked me. On my last visit on ll.ii all 
the bfrds were near the nest. The nestlings hpd become as 
big as the_parents. As I had; o be -ay rom this pi co 

nt some tiJ^^rir^arn^t possible to v.atch th. birds 

This is probably the 
Kite nesting in Kerala, 

^^'felf if probably th^ first record of the Blackwinged 


A. Mangslik 

As a result of soms difficulty mth a local headmaster 
and the rain Goda we had to change our pL^ns of go^^g ^o 
Gulmarg (aftex the skiis had been wax^d and the boots 
oiled) The forest of KhUser near Yamuna Nagar was sug- 
gested for the regaining few day^ of the vacation in Dec- 

^W^^spGnt three deys in the Hath.nikund rest house. The 
main }^iiv. of the trip was birdwa-tchmg , for which thexe 
ms considerablo scope. Th& trees around the rest house. 




Wev^sietter for Mrawatcliers ' Ootci^ev 1>7^ 


the river srd ths re^^db all provided a variety of birdi^r 

'Jujit upstream of the resthoHse tho river Gprecids out 
amongst rocks and is shallovj. In this, we savva Isrge num- 
ber of Brahminy Ducks. Along the bank tjere a number of White, 
Pied and Yellow V'agtail, The Redwettl^d Lapwings as usual 
were noisy and conspicuous, A number of Black Redstarts 
(male and female) and V/hitec^pped Redstarts were seen on the 
rocks where the v/ater had been diverted to make a channel for 
a wa';er mill. Bulbils, the V.tiitecheekGd and a few R^dventeci 
0]ies were seen oh the fruit trees around the hillock on 
the resthouse is built. Here we saw the RuFousbacked and' Day- 
backed Shrikeb, Dark Grey Bushchats, Cinnamon Tree Sparrow-'i, 
Indian Robins, Indian Wren Warblers, Vfliitethroated Munias, 
White-eyes, Common Sparrows and Jungle Groves, Pipits, Crest- 
ed Larks, Jungle Babblers and Ring Doves were also frequent- 
ly seen in big groups eating s.eeds of the tall ^ Sarkanda ', 
■We also came across ?. Rufoustailed Flycatcher, 

Overhead were some fascinating big birds. In Simla in Oct' 
ober wo had seen the-so large dark birds and were unabl*^ to 
identify them. We had--' hoped ' we saw the lammergeir but 
could not really fit in th-s d^-scription. Khushv;3nt Singh in 
X shall not hear the niohtingale jrientlons the lammergeir on 
a number of occ;gsions and so we had seriously considered 
.this possibility, I i^'as able to follow one of these birds 
as it came down to perch on a tree and was really surprised 
to find that it was a Vfliitcbacked Vulture, Such are the 
problems of a novice^ The other common bird over-head was 
tl 1- Neophron, The most fascinating sight was that of an 
Ospray, The huge bird dived on a number of ocoasions and 
onue I sav; it catch a big fish which it took over a rock, 
and crushed it by throwing it down to rapidly devour it up. 
This was in sharo contrast with the fishing methods of the 
Pied Kingfishers' v/hich w ere also seen ofton but w^re much 
less hero than around Delhi, X saw one Pied Kingfisher with 
a double crest and of a sj^ze almost double of what may be 
called a 'King ' -Kingfisher. 

The next day we drove into the reserve forest. We wfire ao- 
companied by a professional shikari turned guide. Despite 
his best efforts wo saw no animals - not evon spotted deeri 
I'owards .the evening we did he ac a panther. In the forest we^ 
saw a r'rumber of birds which vj& have not seen in the Delhi 
area. There were a number of Blackheaded Orioles, Golden- 
backed and Pied (? VJest Himalayan) Woodpeckers, Also there 
were some chloropses, I had a glimpse of a flock o£ Jungle- 

The forest was' \rery dry and as mentioned there was little 
evidence of life. Human encroachment was prominent special- 
ly in the form of wood cuttiag.and cattle grazing. In one 

^Hlmnilayan Pied Kingfisher, 

Diacg ther^ was wid^-'Sprsad clearing o± the forest for thd^ 
purpose of planting Eucalyptus^ It is difficult to accept 
the short-sighted oolicy of planting this foreign tree into 
our forests. Despite its ecociumic value I cannot understand 
how the dangers of tampering with ecology can be neglected. 

The trip was all too brief- ihe tnird morning vc saw the 
Tajewala hogdworks before roturning to Delhi, ^e saw d lona 
Vvhitenecked Stork in one of the fields. There was the usual 
compliment of birds we could not identify. These were the 
^ small brown ones ', These unfortunately are a feature of 
all our trips - the help of good birdwatcher could make all 
the diff -^jroncs. 

The following are some tips for thos« wanting to visit the 
Khilser forest. On the Karnal bye-pass there is a sign to 
' Y, Magar '. This is not the best route and it is better 
to drive on to Piply (Kurukshetra) and then turn east toward 
Yamnnanagar. From Yamunanagar one can proceed on the Paonta 
road or go towards Dadupur, ihe road to Dadupur is definite- 
ly safer than the direct route which involves driving through 
a river with about 18 inches of water, Fron Dadupur to Taje- 
wala again, one can go along the canal road or the public 
read* There are ousss available to Yaniunanagar from Delhi and 
then on to Tajewala, 

"f^here are three resthouses in the area: Hathikund tcanai ^ 
department and Haryana tourist department), Tajewala (canal 
department), and the forest resthouse near the forest, Char- 
go''. are reasonable; Ba^-^O a day^ Except fresh" vegetables all 
the necessities are available, 

ROOSTING FUOiT, with a disccurse on the Reef Heron ' 

D^ A, Stairmand 

Mr E- A. Palkhiwalla in Tjews letter Vol, 11(5): 12 askes for 

identifioation of a flight of c^ bO birds flying in formation 
at a considerable height at about 7 p,m, every evening in 
Bombay in April. Although ^ir Palkhiwalla does not mention 
whether the birds were seen flighting over the sea and the 
movement ^ west to east ' goes a little against n^ assumption 
X feci that they might well have been Reef Herons ( Egret ta_ 
qularis ) . 

For over two years I have been able to study from my .flat 
balcony the comings and goings of a colony of Reef Herons 
that roost in the troes at Breach Candy from September until 
May. In the winter of 1968-69 there were c^ 24 Reef Herons 
in this particular colony and the following winter the num- 
ber built up to about 36 by mid Hovember- Regrettably this 
winter (1970-71) the maximum number was down to c_^ 24 again. 
The proportion of birds in the slaty phase to the white phase 
was, in all cases, in the ratio of approximately 4 ; 1, How- 

- -lul , X--^.-.^ - ..O^E fjCtc'tt-l^ i'j/J 

(iViiX, I 57! told thct r.cross the harbour from Bombay this 
ratio IS rever&eo- 

The Ftfief Heron is said to ti'^ed ^ between April and Ai-^T^st 
in Sind (Karachi CJty ^nd harbour) a-id Kutch [Gulf cjf l^tch); 
end of May in Ceylon (Ghilaw; rare), no record else^ivhere in 
between ^ fl n_d>- I'lar^dbook Vol* i), which is, in itself, very 
intrij:Ljin9 to an enquiring mind- 

The E^eaf ?lerons in Bombay osuslly begin to arrive by about 
rnid September (the odd one or tvjo - mainly iinmatijre birds — 
m^y be ^een a little earlier)* That is not only ' mv ' locsl 
cpjony b-jt other birds which may be seen on the S?lt Pans, 
rocky sheahoresj etc, of Bombay, TJiere is a big build-up in 
nuuibers over the first few weeks and it has been a constant 
delight of mine to ivatch an incree.sing number flight in east- 
wards over the sea to the big trees at Breach G^ndy at about 
30 minutes after sunset in early winter against 3 nrjlti- col- 
oured sky. This colony does not flight in altogether. First- 
ly there are tv/os or threes but usually later on there is a 
formation of about 1'2"20 birds flying some ^0-60 fi?et above 
-J\e sea, with the topical flapping flight of the Hero.-i fami- 
ly, in very attractive clos..^ fom^ation. This large flight is 
usually 'the last of the colony to return to roost for th^s' 
nignt from their day's fishing at Hornby Veilard nnd bevond 
and it arrives when there is very little light left so that 
it is extremely difficult to niake out the birds ^ colours -at 
s)ll. All the birds look ^ dark ' until on their final arc. 
into the trees th& background of buildings reveals sotne Reef 
Ke:-"^ ;nc in the v/hite phaso. While awaiting for this larcie 
flight I have often seen, particulsrly in early and late win- 
-ter^ flights of 2C-riO Reef Herons v/ell out to sea trgvellino 
fro^iT i^ort'i to South or vig^e versr. . They fly in fiyht foxma- 
"cion about SO feet above the water flapping their win9S stee- 
dily. Of an evening I have also seen similar flights -of these 
birds over Back Vay and there is probably a sizeable regular 
oolonv in the Govern;Tient House grounds area during winter* 
The trees at Breach Candy usod by the Reef Herons winter are 
occufjled solely by £i 80 crows until the Reef Herons arrive 
and "cnere are many evenings of battling with the crows before 
the Reef Herons re-establish thefi^selv^*s- A week or two after 
thi.S Paddy Birds - this year c_-_ 30 - join the Reef Herons for 
the months up to May- I have noticed that the Reef Heron is 
more crepuscular than the Paddy Bird. Whereas the Paddy Birds 
comings and goings sre usually fairly close to sunset and sun- 
rise, the Reef Herons leave abotit 30 minutes before sunrise 
and return about the same period after sunset. Hovjever, both 
the. Reef Herons atid Faddy Birds ' movements ai'e somewhat gov- 
erned by tides- If there is a particularly strong, high tide 
approaching around sunrise or sunset these birds may be obser- 
ved to stay longer in the trees. The reason for this is quite 
apparent ■■ the rocks ("or reefs) from which they fish are cov- 
ered or about to be covered by the sea,'"' 
... ._nie_. number of Reef Herons in. the Bomba y vio-?_n it-y_ 

. '^I.^'_ ^1 

Jv I 

rE'D--t'lv around t,i3 Tiddle of April sr.d it wouid be_interGst- 

iM"'to know '.-/hother Mr Palkhiwlla's flights diiriinised ir 

nS^bsrs or disappeared about than. Mr Palkhiwalla-^ea-.ians i| 

his birds cirolVU .round. This is not an urusual faatur. -f 

in tho Re:!f Herons I watch, ihey often break formation . 

shortly before raaching their roosting plaoas and >.irole . } 

Iromdl swirling and delighting to float into the wind AS 

Sainst -Che glorior. coloured sky_beoro sweeping in to - W 

#o.t. In formation or other fairly long distance flight ^ 

iheir necks are drawn well into their bodies - as in Cat- ^ 

tie Egrets, Little Egrets, etc. - but when they_ 'float 

Ind this is frequently into the Worth vdnd of winter -their 

necksare partially stretched out, with a charming typical 

kink! and fgain^t the lovely setting of twilight they look 

like something wonderful out of Disney. ^ . , , ,. 

This attempted answer to i\!r PalkhiwaUa has inadvertent- 
ly developed into a discourse on the Reef _Heron, f/>^ vAiich ^ 
many apologies, but my pen has run away with rne. Mr Paikhi- 
walla's birds could, I suppose, have been Night Herons 
flighting out in the evening but a flight of 50 wouid per- 
haps be a little unusugJ for those birds and the noise of 
their raucous cali& ™ould create quita an jmpression. An- 
other possibility i5 the Cattle Egret but their flignt 
■formation is not so likely to attract attention ^"d. they 
generally flight a bit lower than the. Reef Heron. The Reef 
herons fly in silence and it is an interesting fact that - 
whereas thoy most often spend the day in solitariness tney 
group themselves Together in the evening flight to their 

^^I'cal^o^^he!; feeling that. -the ' black Cattle Egrets ■ 
mentioned by Mr S, G„ Meginhal in his very interesting ^. i 

■TungaShadra Res.r;oir Birds ( Newslet ter 11 ?)= 6-8) were ,; 

possibly Reef Herons of the slaty phase, flighting wn^h ■ __ 

those of the white phase. The ^^ef Heron - being a true - J 

SQi^et - is a [r,ore beautiful bird than the Cattle Egre^ bfit 
they are" both quite similar in appearance m flight and ^ . ^ 

-there is not much difference in the colour of their bills. k 

Admittedly the slaty phase Reef Heron is not black_but it 
Muid look to be very dark in fading light and their shades 
of ' slaty ' do vary, possibly according to age a^ i^.^a- 
ture birds' slaty parts are pale slaty. "I woulcnt iet_it 
worry anyone that the birds seen by Mr^Neginhal were in - 
■land as Reef Herons are not uncommon at Deolali, "3^^*=-, 
for example, fc Neginhal's birds could hardly be thought 
by any reader to have been cormorants or black ibis, ihe • 

vlry fact that thes.^ dark birds were in flight with 'Cat- 
tle Gorets'' indicates to mo that they were all Reef Her- 
ons, incidentally, flights of hundreds of Little Cormorants 
fly, of a winter everting, directly over a certain hillock 
at Deolali on their way home to roosH. They dont ad:us. 
lititud^ wiicn passing -over the hillock and this makes them 
pass very close ■overhead an observer sitting on the _top-Ot . - . 

Lvi;"i,uijJ'^ i . J. 1 

f the h.nor;k. Ih^v ^11 ^-^v^ thGir bills slightly cp?-- Iti 

flight -_ I wonder ..vny? Th^ only sound is from their i^inqs. 

Mr >!C9itihai rriGntions a large number, of^ and 

nocturnal birds which started coming to the riv^r at dusk 

and _ rightly wxshss to know more about them- Howovor, I thir^k 

he IS mistaken in thinking he could study them v.ith a search. 

iigh^. Perhaps a brilliant inocnlit night - with Mr Nc-ginhai 

weU concealed - would be a hotter idea- I ^m tuily in =vm-- 

pathy with him regarding his msh that somebody should write 

soT.atning about nocturnal birds, I would avidly w-icom^ anv 

informaxive article on Bitterns, Owls, " Nightjars, etc, "in 
the Newsletter . ■ 

I know th&:^e are written about very expertly in 'the books' 
but IS anything more alive and readable than the Newsletter? 


rield .Cutinq ■ ■ 

"Fbe field; outing on Sunday, 26th September 1971 at the. 

hJorivali National Park was most enjoyable though only half 
a doEon people turned up owing to inclemont weather. It wa^ 
a oeautiful day however, and it Was fascinating to see the 
flora looking so different to its appearance in the dr^- 
weather. The sheeshaiP (Palbeima latifolia) looked delight- 
f ^L^n ^^^J^^cry white flowers. And among the trees identi- 
fied for_us by Prof. P, V. Bole were Morinda tinctorla, 
ka^^iga ^inneta, Tr^ma or ientalis , Bahaunia racemosa. -Streb^- 
lum ^I2£ra, Delinia pentaohvlla, Adiny^ ooidlfBli^ Fi 7^7I^~ 
^^-Uana, A^o^tus. latifolia, Torminalia Crenul a tITTnd 
Sc h . Uich^r i ^ trijuqa. S^T^TThe members of tF e group Pat 
Louis nas taken -some delightful colour pictures of the 
flowers in the Park, and it seems worth v;hile producing an 
allustrateo check-list of the numerous trees, sh-ubs and 
ihT^^f ^^ ^^■9/^/^' '^^ ^^^v--^^tter could m^ke a beginning, 
wi^ provided some of cur readers are in a position to 

to do sol ' ^^^^' ^^"^"^' ^^^^ "^y ^"^ volunteer 

* * * 

bi rdwatchers ^ Field Club of India 

One of the questions raised at the last Annual General 

Meeting of the Bombay Natural History Society was that the 

thrw'v'of'^.''' Birdwatchers' Field'ciub of^ndia c|r^e in" 
the way of the membership drive of the Bombay Natural His- 

B?X!t^v"^T V^ "fTrV^t^ ^'^^ <^>cample that members of the 
onfv^?n/'' Fa^ld_ Club who paid an annual subscription of 
?^iX h iZ J\^''^'y,^f'^ ^° "^^'^ meetings and film shows organ- 
ized by the Bombay Natural History Society. Why then shouJd 
they become members of the BNHS bj paying a higher subscrip- 
tion of R3o6/- per year? It is true that -this argument appli- 

■^vs.tot-cr'for Bir-^watchers October 1971 

1 r\ 

as only to tne Bombjy members of both thsse institutions. 
But nevortheless it i^/iil be interesting to investigate Ae- 
ther this proposition holds good, 

Tho Editor's view is "Chat far from coming in the v^ay of 

the Bombay Statural History Society, the Birdwatchers' Field 
Club of Indici in fact helps to promote tho objectives of the 
Society, and many FneTnbers v^o do not have a serious interest 
in Natural History but who are interested ±u birds in a gen- 
eral way start subscribing to the Newsletter , then get ser- 
iously interested, aid ultinigtely also become members of the 
Bombay Natural History Society. This view is not based on 
statistics but only on chance conversation v;ith one or two 

The Hditor will be obliged if 3II readers of the Newsletter 
would write back to say: 

i. VJhether they were members of the Bombay Natural His- 
tory Society before joining the BirdwatcheirS'. Fiield 
Club of India; 
ii* whether they joined the Birdwatchers^ Field Club of 
India without b'iing members of the Bl'^S; 
iil, whether they first joined the Bir dwatchnrs ^ Field 
Club and then joined the BNHS; 
iv. and finally whether those who were first members of 
the BNHS discontinued their membership and have 
remained members only of the Birdwatchers' Field 

Fauna of British India volumes^ 

Kare is a rare opportunity for a^y birdwatcher who may be 
interested in buying the set of S volumes of E. C, Stugrt 
Bakei ^s F_ay_rL.a of British India,- Birds, 1922-30, The books 
were recently bought in a London second-hand bookshop^ for 
a total cost of £21/-^i a^d are in good condition. Those 
interested may write to: i^rs R- W, Ghate, Shivangaon, Nagpur, 
5, M-.Ss 


E^estitio of the Paradise Flycatcher 

On the 14th July 1957 I had seen a nest of the Paradise 

Flycatcher ( Terpsiphone p_gradisi ) in a babool tree in a nul- 
lah in tho Rampara V/ildlife Preserve near Wankaner belonging 
to H,H. the Maharana Rajsaheb of VJankaner- On the iSth July 
1958, I had agsin seen the nest at the same place. At both 
these times the bird v/as incubatijig eggs. On 12 September 
1971 I took Dr Salim Ali to see this place and to my'surprise' 
wo saw a nest of tho Paradise Flycatcher at the same place 
where I had seen it years ago. The nest v/as from the last 
season. This shows how birds w^'ill breed regularly in the same 

L^ev'i^iotter for P'^rdwatcViGxs ©otober 1971 


place if left undisturbodr 

Shivraj kuiTiar iChachar 
Jasdan, Gujarat 

Nesting of the Bay;a We aver Bird ( FIpcqus philipoinus l 

The Baya Weaver building nosts towards the end of May in 
Kclaba district, reported by the Editor ( £^ewslettpr Vol, 11 
(8): 12) is not unusual. In 1930 Dr Salim Ali came across 
in Aliba? Tjiiuka, Kolaba district weaver males in breeding 
plumage in mid May; he saw a conpany of them in full nuptial 
dress busily building on 22. v {J-_ Bombay nat- Hist. Soc. 34; 
947^64). ^ ~^^^ *■ 

In tbe September issue of the Newsletter ^^1. li(9); 127 
Mr D, A, Stairmand refers to the colony which activates to- 
wards the end of April in the grass field behind Aarey fviar- 
ket in Bombay. For some seasons nov; I have had this colony 
under observation and am inclined to believe that each year 
it Consists almost entirely of ^ Bachelor " or ^ Doot^ling ' 
nests. These arc built by the males of the year who do not 
secure a mate to rear a family* When the colony starts these 
males are in female plumage and give the impression that 
femaJes 'are building, A great proportion of these nests do 
not progress beyond the^helmet' stage of construction. Thus, 
in a colony of 30 odd nests each year, there were 3 comple- 
tec nests in 1969, one in 1970, and in the cur?rent bc^^dihg 
season four completed nests on 26. ix, 1971, 

Jm S. Serrao 
I Bombay 

Zafar Futehally 

Editor, DJewsietter for Birdwatchers 

32A, Juhu -Uine 

Andheri, Bombay 58-AS 


Dr. Salim Ali, 

MrK- Jamal Ara, 


Dr. Bfswamoy Bisw;ts, 


Kunvar Shri Lavkumar, 

Prof. K. K- Neelakaiiian, 

Mr, B- R. Griibli, 
Mr. R. L. Fleming, Junior, 
Kiithmandu. Ncpjjl- 

Mr. D. A, SUiirniLiiid, 

Br, A, Navarro, -^ 


i , 


Mr. Zalar Fut^hiilly, 

32A. Jiihii Lane. Andheri. 
Bombay-58 AS- 

Anniial Suhicription Ri. 10. . 

Students R^, 5/-. 

Cove^r cUsi^n by R. A-Su'^arfr Mdkiish 


Newsletter for 




.'. ". „■ '^ .^ R 'L T E 7i FOR 

i T^R-P W.A I G H E H S Efov^mbei' 1971 

Volume 11, Number 11 


D^li^htful distractions, by Brig- R^ Lokarsnjan . 1 

Harly mcrning on a Khandala Hillsids, by D. A. Stairn-.and 3 

ih'i avifauna of Pp-.rhap - a small isolated Reserved Forest, 
in Bihsrj by Jamal Ara ^ 

Indo-Ciernsar. bird sar,ctE:ary, Ri. S. Dharmakumarsinhji 

Mjtes and Comments ,„ 

Correspondence ■j;2 

TTHstone (. Arenaria. interp"es ) in Poena, from Prekssh 

Brig. R. Lokaranjan 

Ihe letter from Sbivra j kumar Kacher, in the correspondence 
column of the October .1971 issue of the Newsletter regarding 
the n<^st of the Par^di^e Flycatcher seen at the same place 
in -July 1957 and ^^8, then agsiri in 1971- reminded me vividly 
of a somewhat similar experience of mine, 

terha^js the first time I consciously observed these fascin- 
ating birds was during a short visit to Udhampur (J. & K^ ) 
in 1963~ Not wanting to attract undue ^ttontion watchlr.g the 
bird3, 1 merely loitered outside the bosces's office j where 
I was summoned, long enough to iiotice the nimble twisting 
and turning of the male birds with their streaming, waving, 
long tails. It was ail very fascinating to me. I also no- 
ticed a nest, which I presumed must be the Paradise Flycat- 
chtr^s. On my i-oturn to myrathor bleak station (it happen- 
ed to be Leh) reference to Salini All's Book of_ Indi an SirdSj 
describing the bird's nest virhich was so distinc'tTy a woven 
cup in a fork'^d portion of a branch, with a nicely plastered 
look on the outsidoj confixmed my views, I forgot this inci- 
dent of the identification of the nest, but the. memories of 
seeing these bi::ds - rather their tailsl - that morning-re- 
mained quite vivid right up to the time six yenrs later^when 
it so happened that I moved there, and occupied the same of- 
fice^ The mcnth was April^ in 1969^ There were mtilberry trees 
amongst. the others__in_the -^rea and_th_e_se_ were_ fu^l_ of__fruitj 

'.^i.d th(? oonrn:jL_LDa oi vaj:^ious ' hj.xTls was to say the least -very^' " 

riO::sy; biit what a delightfuj distr-nction from uvorki ^ 

My co'istar^tly pcGping out of rhe window/ while files marked 

urtjent ' kspt coiTj'ng in, and jny x-eridjusting :ay chair end- 
oifice t?.bie to a b^tte-x^-sulted position in the midst of all 
the roniusion of files and visi';uis, caused some problems to 
my FA partic-uia::ly, hut he gallantly -efrainod from giving 
rue tne ^Iz-gn^-eb t indication of what; appeared to him no doubt 
a ^.Efked ecf-entricity in my office seating arrangemantsi I 
later however shared the secreb of watching the birds with 
h^if a£ my binoculars were carefully concealed in the ' pend- 
j.T.g ' trsy a id he had to be toldi /vn unlorgetable experience 
c- the nesting of a white-eye^ that fiuffy little 9rGenir>h 
yellow fallow, just a few feet from my window was another ex- 
perience E^hared with a chosen few, but that I will v^ite about 
.EOT.e other day. 

To get back to the Paradise Flycatchers of Udharapur, I was 
t^me and again disUraci^Qd from iirsportant work- but always re^-- 
W'=ird6d with the most impiG^s-jonablo and stT^iking antics of 
these birdi.. Above all, ^ the agile fairy-like movements of 
the male as he twists and turns ir. the iiiT^ aftor flies with 
Si"? "ta^f.^i^t^ons looping or traiUi^g behind ' (l^m ouokng ' 
Salim All) ^ a spectacle of axqulaita chartri '; 

It was such a pleasant surprise when a few days later I 
ed th^'y noticed a nastj ' Ah ' I thought as I now recollact- 
ooss Mv tri'u^" incident OT six years earlier, ' could it 
poss..bly be the same n^i^t? ^ I racked my brain and oaced im 
and aown to recon.truo th^ earlier loitering outside^?h^s of. 

1 v^ ^^ ^^y^^ ^ "^n; '^^^^^'^ ^-^^^ ''^^ ^^^ tret? and so o^i 
1 wa^ soon quit^ sure that :.t was the same nest, 

Uah^?M? ^"^^ '■"''^ ^'^' ^^ AprilAlay 1970. 1 had the same de- 
Itfrf ^'^Pri}^^?_^ ^^ ^nter ended and it was spring- Dry 
c^^>%r/H?n^^^' *^?^" n.illions of gre^n leaves -bird i voices 
■ f ^'r?.4 ^2-" '^^^^f^-^^^^' appeared as if from nowhere - the 
iair?.^^.^ 01- paraaise reappeared - and then THE WHSI, The ■ 
sam^ one w-^s occupied. Again I had the same joyful experience 
of Observing all this and particularly the posterlo^^f the 

t^'t^^h! ^'H ^■'■- ^"^^ Pl^^.on transfer. The sad thing is 

be->c huitt ^'; u '"-^r?* be there in 1972. A new office is 
bu-^^dira '^V,, .^'-V'^ '/''^^ ^""^ P^^^^ ' ^^^*' ^ Storied ■ 

^o"^^-'\?,:,.''r^r'^.''r?'^' ^^''^' ^^^^ ^ car park outside, and . 

if^^lfn hlrt I' ^\-^^^^"ot be so, I know. It may be appro-' 
prxato here to quote Thomas Moore 

'rfhsn tizr.e who steals our years away • 

ShaM steal our pleasures, too 
____The mein:!j:y of the past vd'll _stay^_I ■ " -' 
"and"haTF'"bur Joys renew/^ 

. J^ J- 



D. A. Stairmand 

To be more precise the h.ill to the east of tha Duke's Nose 
on th^ cf 2nd May from b,4li --i m*-9 a,in, TlTe hiii is 
a few hundred feet high and it's a fairly stiff climb up 
three-cu artf^Ts c-f the vmy, thei there are sitiail tracks lead- 
ing .r^ejptwards aoross the hillside^ These -cracks pass over nul- 
lahs and even in '^l^y there is quite a lot of undergrowth. This 
|trett:h is rjencrally well wooded mainly with smallish trees 
(which I Ga:it identify but pr-esume are typical trees of this 
paat of the Western Ghats) and there are big eunhorbia Drakes 
over the nullahs^ Some of the trees I could r'jcogi'lze were 
^^-^^ (A lbizzia lebbekjin flov-'-^^r, many Coral (Erythrina sp,) 
m:iinly very spikey r.nd bare with onJy a fow -^lowors left on 
the branches, orvd some splendid Kusims vSGhle lcher e oleosa ). 

Although it was May it was a very pleasant cool morning 
Wi^th a gooaish bree::e and as 1 went along a trar,k three- 
quarters of the v/ay up the hillside and rounded a bush I carr^ 
upon a pair of Grey Junglefowl feeding and they rapidly made 
for cover with excited calls.- At just on sunrise 1 decided to 
sit down well tucked into a bush ^o that I not only had good 
cover all round but also commanded a good vie^v. Within minutes 
a paii of Hed Spurfowl came into sxjht but instantly saw me 
and made off in panic. From dawn the Junglecocks had been call- 
ing r'nd this continued on the hillside for several hours. Often 
they were near to ine but they kept good cover. I eiso heard the 
whistles of Bush Qa^sil close bya 

Si-L^:Lng -quietly in "chis busb - like a dog facing out of its 
kennel - I noticed a Jungle Grow perched on a bare Coral and 
being harrassed by a p^ir of ilhitebellied Drongos (Dic rurus 
g^.eruj. escens) who were flyjnc at the crow from behind^ The 
Ciow cf i^n turned its head and thrust violentl'^ at the Dron- 
gos with 'its hu^e bille The crow v/as literally'f igntitig' a rear- 
guard acoionj Tnese drongos locked tiny against bhe ::rrw and 
took some time to dislodge it. I have noticed en previous oc- 
casions that the Whitebelliod Drongo does not deal ouite as 
efftrctively with the crow as other Cicruridae do. These were 
the only drongos I saw at Khandala all u'e-i^k-end. A "^Vliitethroat- 
ea Ground Thrush mounted the bare Coral nearest me - about 20 
yards away - and sang enthusxastically and well for some min- 
utes, Ihen a Magpie Robin ^^ng no less enthusiastically a lit- 
tle fur ther away. X shoulc; mt-?ntion that this hillside was 
full of Redwhiskered and Red\'9nted Bulbuls and their cheeri- 
ness was definitely an essential part of tho scene, Afte^ 
over twt) years practice I now f-ind it .comoaratively t-asy^to 
pick out another very typical bird of Khandala - the Small 
Qreen Barbet ( Meoalaima v.iridis). I saw much of th^se obiit- 
eratively coloured birds ^'hi-ih are readily distinouishablo 
from J:Le_Large- Gr-oen Barb^-t (M, zeylonicus ) a-s the-- la-tter--has- 

licwslj-ttez^ for Biiuwatchers &tov.eMjftr 197i 

a v,iri' noticeable n^ked oranqe-coloured p^tch around the eye. 
A tiiir-k that rr.any of the Smi^il Greon Barbets had al-eady hack- 
ed their nest tunnGJ s around mid ?%rch and nou- the birds we-r^ 
mainly seen in flig'it and in the; fo.liage canopy of trees. How- 

ever there w^s one bird low down on a nioss-covered bouc.h look- 
ing v^iy intpr.35tad in the wood. Coppersmiths and Wood "Shri Ices 
[ j-^Ph,^o QQ JLHl s. £oad-r-g gJ^^ilSl^l ) . w^^re also sson up in the trees 
while ^.ho moil^vu Galls OT Scirr.itsr Babblers got closer, how* 
• e^.Q^r WT-thou-^ me seeing these birds^ An ashy grey bird flew 
s,:ru-ght and I failed to * pick it up = with binocL'lars but 
froiQ the general look of the bird rAi-^ calls just befor-e 
ip '^s undouotedly an Indian Cuckoo f Cuculus mioropterus ). Up- 
to one year ago this hillside was a regular KKinHala beat of 
ij^ne and I was now surprised that I did not see or hear anv 
iree Pies (Dendrocitta. vr.Qabundai - formerly they were usual- 
ly around. I have also noticed their absence - or. ^et least, 
apparent absence - from the Hotel area over the oast year, 
X.e niain purpose o£ this revJsit to the hillside -.'jas to see 
S'^nbirds - ir. particular the Yellowbacked Sunbird (Aethopyqa 
s.3e^^l^J ^and the Goiall Sunbirds ( Mectarinia j^-. nim^'^t.i-.P m^lVc, 
o^ both 01 wnich are absolute gems. I had now rnoved into a 
Oensely snaded v^ooded area with much undergro^/th and I dis- 
turoed a pair of Rod Spurfowl on the track. They made off with 
a gr-^at fluster and flurry of reddish brown bodies and dark 
heads. A kittle before a cock had called its rattlinq Kr>'-- 
krek^ K^-krek, Krr-^krek. Soon L found sunbirds, A big~sS'is 
was in full flower and all around tho flowers were Yellowback- 
ed oinbirds^ Purple Sunblrds* Loten's Sunbird and at least^ 
one i^^a.e Small Sunhr.rd and perhaps a few females or males in 
non-^^eed:.,ig dress. Tnese birds were not always easy to seo 
a^ .he Sins was a big tree and up the slope, so often the ' 
sun..irds were _ lost to view above the tree canopy. I ^i^^ys 
thi;.ic *he Sins looks like a superb Raim Tre^- [Enterolobium 

-^i'" u^'^^^^"^ ^^■*-' ^^'^^^ "^^ ^^^^^ ^^^ closeir^^ated. The 
yellowbacked sunbir^s were the most numerous of the r^ectarl- 
nii^ac- --Lnd X suppose there must have been at least ten qlori- 
ous males and several of the less noticeable femalos flittinq 
around ^^^ Siris so olectrically- Also in this tree was a" 
UJdfronCed Chloropsas taking insects and this livelv bird " 
l.-OKed aijnost pedestrian compared with the quick^sUver of 
tne^su.ibirus. '.■talking on through this shaded steep area after 
hdving had a long look at the su^birds I remembered the flv- 

R^r^h"''"'.'' ^^^^^.^^^"^ ^h^^^ ^'^^i^g my first two winters In 

Bofr±ay -jhen every ^ new ' bird was a mirarle to me. The most 
com.-y,on_ flycatchers up there had been the Redbreas-.ea and the 
mo., sxrifcing the Paradise. As I came out of the thicket into 

Tp ?i?S^.o^'' ? \^?S^H^1^ glorious male Bluewinged Parakeet 
l^:kittacula ^olumboides] ^^o had perched on a bare bough one 
wint^I^nay for as long as I liKod to look at hi^:. riie red 
Di,.x and ."-illiant blue^green and black collar were perfec- ' 
tion^ ^bu^ <_ can^t remember that he_s_pDke to me in .Arabic, '' 

Ne'^ler.tex for JJxiav. a ichors Elovemb^^r X91i 


1 Wiis now on the extreme .'festsidy of the'^ hill with a gloi-i- 
, ous unobstructed viev/ of the Duke's Wose and the forest be^ow-^ 
M''' hi:Jtop was a cliff Jedgo ^r.C. t'jvo Redromped Swallows ( Hixori - 
do _ ^5<i_i:i_c;_a) flev; (.-irounci^ I had ratsi^r expecteo Dusky Crag ^Sar- 
txri^ Bc- those blrd^ had been common near the foot of this hill, 
Ihe Redrumped "Swaj-^ows 'were eytT^^mel-/ lovely to watch as they 
bani.ed in ilig^^ showiifg their chestnut rump^ and the sunli^ght 
mad^ t'leir deeo blue ooloiaticn ^^hioii. A pa'ir of Crested Ser- 
f^.it EagJep (^j^lo inis cheela) soared and -called with wild 
' f-rreedoni and the ci^gnostic v/hite bar across the tail was clear 
to ioe wher! the tail was spread out. One bird c^nie down to 
irest on a spall tree above me arid as it passed excreta it ruf--^ 
fled its body feathers and the bird^s markings became much more 
easy to see. As I sat on the edge of the hillside watching the 
swallows and eagles in flight a strong v;ind v^istled around me it was difficult to reali3e that it was a May morning near 
Eombay, A very far cry indeed from the staleness of Warden , 

1 retraced my steps end the surbirds v/ere still around the 
Siris. Just b&yond I heard tne loud percussive, cle^^r whist- 
les of a party cf those delightful little birds the 'Spotted 
Babbler (Pellorneum ruficepsj . They had been calling all morn- 
ing on thG""hiri5ide " he ' ll. ' T^cat you, he/ I I beat you , h^'ll 
be^ t you, etc. but now they were inj what to me, is their 
woruiexFul singing mood. They were L-n thin branches and I got 
very close to thcm._ I. think that there were over one dozen . 
- tair^:,-; in this party but T- could concentrate only on a few as 
they were spread over two to three small trees and occasion>- 
^all'" '^levj boisterously at one another- Their song is veiy loud 
for" the sl^e of Lho bird, and I find that it has great puri'cy 
of ^ound; and how .livi^ly they are. Two birds were within an 
inch -or so of each other and as on^ otarted its loud clear 
v-hi:tling rambling up and down the 'iale the other follofed 
jusTi a split sGCoad behind, Tliey ■.. - .e v^histling into each 
other:: isars with feathers on the head raised to for a crest^ 
.brcas-'-- rump and tail cover feathers fluffed out and tails '. 
■ '■twitching violently. Others continued when these two stopped 
and there were pleasant calls and much chasing. They stayed 
-ror O'/er ten minutes and it thrilled me even more than when 
1. ss'i muc^ xh-:- sani^; sort of thing from them down belov; the 
liotel last monsoon, E'. , Navarro reniarked in one of his Bir d 
fe^ '^o r j or . ' ^i O j ^ a r^^ programmes on AIR. last year that this song 
j.s rr'jiiheir monoLonous. Mayb^. but to see the antics and sheer 
naiicihtir.ess of these littie'birds that goes with the song is 
,X''CP.-llv- an exhilarating spectacle^ The Whitethroated Ground : 
T.'irush is fo-id of imitating the Spotted Babbler's song but '-. 
the song then comes forth with a thrush's typical romantic i 
integration and losis mu-.h of its gaiety^ -■ 
As I came down the hill there were parties of Jungle Bab-' 
bler^, some Jungle f^/n^s, bulbulS; ?ied Bushchats, Green [ 
.Ee^-ectersf Grcijn.4.J^TaiLiil££-^e^iQ9.-Oa. tbe OTQ^Qd or sinnin g,.... 

iiewsietter for T^ir'-TOwatchers , _ .Mbveffd?e?r-J^71 

6 - . -^ 

■From shady tx-ees, psirs of loras witVi ono male sporting his 
feathers in display and a pair of Blacknaped Blue Flycatchers 
i- ygOPJgg^A azLirsa ) making agile sallios in the deep shade of 
a Kusim, 

A wonderful morning? Yes, b^t those are the golden hours 
of birdwatching, 



Jamal Ara 

%rbap is nine miles {14^4 km) to €he- southeast of Ranchi 
town lying on latitude 23^20'N. and longitude 8^ 2a'E. It 
is 4 miles. (6a4 km) from the nearest r:.ilway station, 
Tatisilwai^ It is reached by ^n all-weather"" road, and is 
an Idyllic spot of its ovjn kind. But Harhap finds no men- 
tion as a tourist attraction of Ranchi plateau - emphasis 
being all the time on the waterfall?- 

Hgrhap was declared a Res-?rved Forest in 1SS3 and is one 
of the oldest Rserves in the State of Bihar^ It forms a 
small compact block of slightly over 3 miles in length and 
1 mile in breadth at its widest (4<8 km >: 1,6 km), 

Ihe ground is hilly for the most part and is considerably ^ 

cut up by ravines and nullahs. The salient feature is a high " 
ridge of gneiss, the crest of which forms the southern bound- 
-■— ary of the Block, with many large barren rocky outcrops, 'Tbe 
fo:/est covers the northern slope of this ridge and the undu- 
lating and broken ground at its foobt The soil for the most' 
pc.rt is coars'-, ^anJy and of poor quality.. On the steeper '^ 

slopes it is very shallov/, and even at the lower levels and ' 
in the depressions, erosion has greatly impoverished the 
SoiJ* ** 

Cli_mate_L The average rainfall of Namkom and Ranchi, 4 (6.4 
kmT f.nd 9 (14,4 km) miles to the west of Harhap are 55,9 and 
60.75 inches (1388 mm and 1^19 mm) respectively. The average 
relative humidity at Ranchi ranges between 42 in the month 
of April and S9 in August, The masiimum shade temperature in 
hot weather varies from 90 F C32,2'^G) to 105 F (40^0) and 
very rarely 110"'F (43.3 C), In the months of December anci 
January temp-ratures range as low as 36 F (3-3 G) but frost 
is not recorded^ 

Fores t types, Harhao comes v/ithin Champion^s Tropical 
^'ioIstDeciduous Forests, The sub-typo is Ci-Molst Sal fon^sts, ' 

The predominant tree is sal ( Chorea ro bu s t a ) . During the ' 

last 25 "years or so^ lantana has made tremendous inroads,-, 
having come up everywhere sal was clear felled. It now j V 

chokes the forest and natural regeneration and threatens i \ 

number of the weaker plant spscies, Lantana is freouent all .iv \ 
-_BY?JL_ilXl,f^£^li_plat^u>^' ■ 7 

- -.\ 



o/er the K^nol.?. piaf;c:)q, ■ | 

At Harhap Lor a.nxh^is was in-^ntionod "as^ i^aTs^in 1930 but nov/ 

5-^ems to have incr^jsed in incidencs., 

haihap has a tot=l ar^^^ of 12^? ^^crss (512 hectares), of ' 
Vrhich gel oc".jplos 851.6 acres {;340. 6 hectares), miscellany 
-feouE 297,^ acres (119 hectares}, and rocky blanks 132,8 ac- 
r^s t^jJ hectdTGs). The -nain [niscellaneoas species aref Tar- 
minajaa tomuQtosG, G aT-denl a sp^, /A typhus x ylooyrg, gribeTTi ca 
oji^^^-'.gU.s, .AnoOiei^susTTS^f^DllJ^T^^ 

oCh .eicherr: tri.-|i!a ,-i. scattered specimens of ^Boswel lia serrg- c?, 
ir,a Ucjostioomia irjd ica_ are also found, but there IT'no Aca- 
iliS g- atechu ^ ■ 

SyFtematic working started in 1915 and continues till to^ 
■lay. The system is coppice with standards on a 25-year rota- 
tion- Harhap is ringed with paddy cultivation in "the villages 
around -chc poripher^-, 

Eeri?_^_5^feL_ Harhap has baen visited in all seasons ih 
..9517719^^, 1953, 1954 and i960, (Prolonged stays extendinq 
^ver two we^ks at a tLT.e were made.) Again the place was 
v^Lsjted frequently :Lr^ 19^2, 1963, 1965, 1966 and 196ii, 

A-t one t:|.me ;^a:chap abou.jdcd in tigers-sambar, -spotted deer 
■q"^ wrld 519 : bur t Le pothers by their predatory activities 

hi; . r ^''r ^h^?^H^^,3^d xeduced the'^others bo negligi^ 
ble members. Ga^-ne birds to'e have disappeared. 

^J'^u^^^t. 2 ^^^! fo^ shooting practices inside the for-^ 
^^.T-Lv^'^°?^f/ ^^^^r^^' ^^'^V are creeting havoc to^ 
^^%!^^^^i^^^ °^ ^^S^^ap. A few ye,:,.rs back the casual visi- 
tor . to Harhap^ _usod to ^aJ^e the acquaintance of a few hoof 
prii^^s at watering places, that too, is no i^ore. But it is 
?i7^ "i^^n ^"^^%-^ ^^" !^^^'^' Department could convert it 
D^m^n" IZa. i-^'^^^'^fz'^ ^^^ ^^Y to import some ar.imals and 

?f b^2;. ^i'^'^Th^^^ ^^'^T^ ^r?^^5^-^ situation can still be 
.e ,^ec.i.ed. Th-_cheetal and kallj, which should be made so 

Do..:^ -Lourxsts can see ther, en short trips from Ranchi. 

.^$^^ S^SYli. Pond Heron, Common 
g^o'jlcuB, ib.LS . Cattle Egret, Common 
F'aj:|tta a^^tta^, Uttie Egret 
pf^^^^r^^^DJ^ticoy^Si^.. Might Heron- Coiamon 
k.-'^oili-Ji ^o.ij.conus. j^hitshecked Etork 
ii^^'M'l -A-^^Ji^^ Fai'iah Kite 
f^^cj^^, Cl-.ikra 

p2Si:;^^r. nisus. ?pai'row^iH-.wk. Winter visiW 
^^ ^ni-.icji^. Indian lor.^biUod Vulture ' 

\pT3' m>-^a^llSJll^^. -Indian ^Jniteba-^kod Vulture 
{^^-^:?!?,^m .^.Ercn^pte_ru^. Scavenger Culture 
^'Mi^^ii^ ^U^^ls. Cre^^bed SerpGnt =.aqle 
j^£^'.^ .ch3. jauer£ n RiD-ihe^ued Merlin 

rxancolifijs £ont!lcericnv;s_. Grey P^ridqe 



-^^ii^c^ius OuDius, Ut-tle Piiige-i Piove, Se^n in venter 

f^^£ ^''^^■-?^'^^- '^^-*''^' ^i^jeon. Common 

'fe-f^^f-H-? ^^-^^" ?^^'iarr Ri-ig'Cove, Common. 
-Sfe^J;^ r^e.J V'^ Dove 

H-^T^f^ i^i^^n^>i.^I^JTsi^. Utae Brown Dov& 
F.^^-^^_cul3 krainGTi., Roseringed Parakeet 

.^^4.4U£. mlsroDtgrus , Indian Guckao. Calling Koi^dokho f.. 

Ini-, call heard ir. N, Bihar but n"3t 
^mghbhum Inhere ihe^call is Utho-d ekh 
Opan ' 

- , breoa in Chota N'aqpur 

miOlM^ scolppg^^a , KoeU Only .ne male seen at Eorh^p 
-. , in ^962 i 

'■mtr^^UG sinenii^. Cou^al. Quite commoP, 

)0. breat Horned Owl. Call hu^bn or hu-ho 

Bubo baj__ _^_ 

A^l^^brama. Spotto'd 'iwiet! cSnJmoJf 

S£^4ii o cellata . Wotfcled Wood Owi. Rare 
eati^^MUl^us indicus, Indian Jungle fJightJar 
,53fi^4'i^]uiau&_ macTur^ Longtail^d nightjar 


Sa9-^i?Iul3J^ af|ini^. F-rankUn^s Nightjar 

^:;^;:Iii|_..Hou.^- 3.nft. ^Soar tX Sanatorium 

^^^vls_ luoubrjd .. Pied Kingfisher 

^^^gfe at:^ ,i£> . CDjfj-noi. Kingfisher I 

'"^liyAP. ^■.£^en^^.^Vfeitebreasted Kingfisher, Hear paddy fields 
^^9?..\ ^riQn talis.. C-i^^Q.LB«e-eater i'd'^^ t+eids 

^££P.^, i^^i^HiSSi- Chestnut-headed Bea-eater. ^nter 
j^^Ol^--^ £^[l^iyjil§i^- Indian Roller • -- t^^ , 

|jl'-^p.a ppops. Hoopoe, Frequent 

5:^4a^P^ J-aemaceohala. Grlmsonbreasted Sarbet, 
laaoDium oenqhalense. Goldenbacked Woodpecker; 

k^iil^cop^os inaceirTulvousbreastc-d Pied Woodpecker. 

n -- . 10, xl. I960; were very shv 

a^IldlTicqoo^ nanus^ Figrciy Vfcodpecker 

^?^i^i2£lierix ^^isea , Ashycrovvned Finch-Lark 

bj-.-Mnoo r. U£tlc^ . i:',vallow. Winter 

di^O^ ^^iJ£i£3, Striated Swallow^ Winter 

J;^".^"^ e>^qbifcor , Grey Shrike, Mostly winter 

4fa>i^s vittatus Baybacked Bhrike. Mimicing" shama 

.^^ILiJ^ s ciac h. Rufousbacked ShrlEce 

^}1}=1^ ^A^^ch tricolor. aiacMie^ded Shrike 

ihr^olus. or iolus . Golden Oriole, Winter 


Two se^n 

,u .. - I'm 

^i^^-O UA ?<^Jl^A2;2nii3 .. Bl--icJ<hca'-:ed Oriole 

^ ■; , ^^ru^u s^ ^oslr^j^i^, Pl=Lck Droiigo 

bicrij^^ caerij,.^c^.ns, V^Jtobollled Drongo 

y^J^Ihi'i nia^^a^ri^Ei^. Greyheaded Myr^a. Coircnon; numbers incr- 

£-i.„-n..-^ ^ -1 r.T f^^^ ^^^^ mmui and palXas bloom 

f£y,^Us cpjilr^. Pisd Mvna, A few, 
fri^^^^i^er^^ i^rostl^, Gorrr-,cr. Myna, Mot many 
Lieniro^ivta vac;abu_^a. Indian Tree Pi^. A nest with two 
n 1 young on 7.viii.l953 

^^vus, mi^nd^ni- House Crow. A few, 
^,?^ai^ mao^rrjiixcbos , Jungle Crow, Common 
, 20ndiGDrA_aniJs. C-o^nmon Wood-^Shrike 
^ajpi^ Ilio^anoptera.. Sl^ckhGaded Cuckoo-Shrike 
Perp.orQootus llamrnovs. Scarlet Minuet 
,^iricrocQ:cu^ oinr'an^om-^u.^ . Smr^ll ^Univet 
A^qithina tirjhi:i . Ccmmon lora 

-t~^^|^^^^SInpM^ '^'^■l^'^-^ntled Chloropsis. Frequent 

^'vcnanotuG cafe -. FLedvented &jlbi.;l 

ajilietia. hj:2cxxthxa, ajfousbelliod Babbler 

£:hr:>:iomm^ sinensis. Ycllow-ey^d Babbler. Fairly com^non: 

I^^id^ ^^^, ^.nS^Ba-b^L'i?^^^^.^r'^^^ ^^^^^^^ - 

^±l4.togys yjtorius. Tailor Bi-d. Miomorous 

^Yj^l.^, M^-tcnsis. Orphean Warbler. Vantor, us trocliilcidss. Dull ^oen^U.f Wa.bler. Co^ori 

:ffiE^YC.^:^s. a, a'Jlaris , fegpie Robin'^" ^^ 

^^xicpia caeraLa. Plod B,.sh Chat. In open ^Duntry near T.B, 

|Mi£0l2ide^ fuiicat^.Indian Robin 
^^^ti c p la solitarijjs,- Blue Rock Ihrush 

f'Smsm ciMina. .tan^eheaded Grour.d Th^sh. Alwavs near " 
£..£"£ =Mi^. Gr.y Ti?, ^sent from Horbap, though reported ' 

\?°l a place 20 miles (32 kml north 
.EMH-- ia;--]:cacni.. Bla.ktfo«'^i&-?611ov. Tit. Very common i^ 

F^:.n-.hi^ 9-71110^^(14.4 km) we:-t of Hor- 

^.^ S^Iia^a . Ch..tnu?ber% ef N^Tha^ch "S?l'5^. . ■ 'A 

fiitnug. nov,e3ecla.r.-P,iae. •-"'addyf ield^Pikt ^"^ " "' " " I 

pitapila ' -aspi ca. Grey rit. Winter 

F" c3'--a.Ti e rghigih^^hoE., ^JckaU^s Flo^.-^ipec^er. Common 

^c-"^'p:'*XSb?3^;a. V^iUte-^yc. /er^- common. Seen mating 

-— ^^-^^"^ ^^-' twice jn lO.via^^D, .'^air silent 

whil^ minting, 

Papser don^;bticu&- House SparrovJ, A few 
grf5^^sJT^"m:"^oc olJ-i s . Yeiicv;i;hxOcit,-^d Spai-zrow 

R. S. Dharmak^Jmarsinhji 

E-rerv year when ths monsoon rain sxrivss. and makes the dry 

arid Jrt^i-deaert land of the ?hal flat lands :.n^o lux-jn^nt 
iSssiand and wet mar.hiand, the V^xt^ Stork, [^onxa^ cico- 

■ ^La) come in the months of August and Sop^iember. 
-T'-.'^-At one time th^ Bhsl qrasslaads were extensive ana were 

a haven for birds breodinc during the wot period of the mon- 
soon. This September ourlr.g the third week, I visited T:he 
Velavadar-^'iithabpur grassland, the former a BlacKbuck-- ^ 
Bustard sanctuary', and S3W^ hundred of Wnit.^ Storks scattered 
ovpr ^he grassland I'.'hich wss well protected by xhe Forest 
Department and the grass iusri ar.^ dense. My estimate of the 
Wh5te Stork population VJas cbout „ tho-asand biras over a _ 

' fairly wide area of about 1O,:-0O acres. The storks soemed t:o 
be feeding on live food not exactly known. The birds although 
Icrj^l'v ^rapoed vjere rot really scared, but the local ^^-^^ 
Florlcans which I had seen early In the season nad vanished^ 

— 'Tl-o ^fl-,ite Stork is '^^^est Germany 'o National Bird and this 

qra.'-.-Tand '^n the Bhal is obviously the wintering grounds of 
the bird, although the birds are on passage and disanpear mth 
■the -ood about November and Dece^Dber and visit .-he areas close 
to tl,e ^Jslsarow^r Sanctu.^ry north we^st of the sToa, Hence ..he 
■itorkc iiiay 1^^' considered autumn migrants in the Bhdl= 1|_ 

■ Tinginc-j of birds can be org.^nised iv would i?e an iceal Bi.vd 

Einqinq Station and records of Rii^god Birds may b-^^ n-.ore 
easily available from abroad o.vlng to their larger size. 
V.hettier these birds are really ccming .rom Gerr.any or i^ome- 
v^ere else could be ascertained^ I hope Dr Salim All may 
consider movini^ in that matter in nii usua- energetic manner. 


Th.^ yg nthlv Revi ew. January IS?.!; the official Journal of 
th'^TInltod'langdom citizens' Association carries aO interest- 
ing column-headed the ^Birdwatchers Foru^- ,We arc g^ad ..o see 
that the Bombay Natural Hislory Society and the Birdwatcners 
_N,ews let ter are pj^pminently men i:io nod^ 



^r/.y xesponoc to the Birdwatchers^ cOTm?. in October sricl 
Wovember numbers of The Monthly Reyiei^j has been dGlayGd due 
+ preoccupation vjitFi' artic les for tna Bombay Matur^i History 
Society, which was mentioned iast month, I can really recom- 
jnead Bo:nbay NHii to anyone interested in wild xife. Its 
addres-^ is Hornbill Hcjse, Shahid Bhag^t Singh RoDd^ Bombay 
1 ER, It publishes a Journal three times g v^^^ ''vith serious 
arli-oles oa all £ispeccs of natural history including birds 
and also a morfthiy Mewsletter for Birdwatchers in a more in- 
foma.l ton^ which J am sure readers of this page would find 
very useful. It ^^lould enable them to find out what other 
blidv/^.tchers, not just UKCA memberSj were doing and seeing.' 

Vfe see that this note has been written by Mx F, h\, Gauritlett 
who contributed many interesting articles from Durgapur, 

^ One of the most infonnative and interesting bulletins is 

t^abijtat. published eaoh monbh by the Council for Nature, Zoo- * 
logical Gardens, Regent ^s Park, London, NIV I 4 RY, 

The annual cuh^^nr^ption for individuals is ^l, VJe quote two 
paragraphs from Vol^ 7(7), July 1971, 

^tlT?w'^ From BTC3» ihe British Trust for Ornithology's news- 
;;;^^^ reoGn.lyj.u^ted that British ringed birds had boon fe^ 
l^Tt^ ^f^^rii rr.os. pait^ of the world, both old and new. Common 
and Arc pic Terns and a'^^w, Shear^ter fead been recovered in 
fikui tr -' ^^-'^^^ ?^ ?^.^nx S-[.^.r.jaters and an Arctic and Great 
co^ ' ■ 'inn ] -^y. -''y'^V ^"^ii^ ?" ^^^^-^c ^^^^ ^^'■s recovered after 
recv::iC^,,^''L^Ti:^t^^^ ^t^ the Antar.i:i.^ice. The first 
a ^. --■-^ ^Ll ~ f' s-^b-centinent has just been reported - 
Abb^rtnn ?n p' ^^^9^<^^^t -ths vVildfowl Trust ringing station' at 
^^^.''^^^f;^ ^f^^^ %\^^ ^'^y 1969, was shot on 14 April this- 

-Tb^,^;^verv w^f .fn^^'/S^^^''^"^^ ^^ aaWalpindi in West Pakistan, 
on thrwndL^?%^^^^''^^ through Christopher Savage whose work 

6''m^'^> I '^-L t^ \t '£?'';^ ^° rostock the area .dth its 
cref b^t h=^v^S;n ? '"^^^1=^ p3l vws once common in ths 
M^ 1-.C idl^h^ .^t''' '^2^t^^'^ because of exces.ivs hunting. 


^femb .^i-'ships of th& Bombay I'Jstural Histor/ Society and the 
_ _ Bi;.-c1\v3tchei-5' ^i---'^^ Club of Indi a 

T^-'^ Editor L i. .- g.^ateful to the seve-al readGrs who 
have -ak'^^n ::he trouble to write in about the allogeC can- 
flict betweer th^ Bon-ibay Natural History Society and the_ 
Finld Club, From nhe dozen o:- ^c replies that have come in ^ 

nt^i= obvious that no such conflict exi^ts^ But "co come to 
"a :>xooer conclusion we n'ust av.'ait further replies, ^ 



Tu ra stone (Arenaria :nterpres) in^ Poona 

On 26th Septf?mbGr in th^ evening in ^n inundated field 
behind Agakhan Palace, ^eraw^da, Poona 14, 1 saw a snipe- 
like wader, but \vith a short black blllj bright pink-orange 

.edly±oo:c a 5nap^hot..from z distance of about 30 ft vvirh 
telephoto lens» On bein9 ala^rmed ix flew av/ay and I s?w 
the char-Tcteristlc pattorn on its vdngs with conspicuous 
(^ii±te bars.. On referring to the Field Guide I found that . / 

my identification v^as correct. Bui: the Guide as v/ell as 
Dr Salim Ali in his Birds of, Kerala refer it as a shore 
bird. May I know whether it is, also found inland during the 
mijrat-ory season, (E saw it i'; Poona for the first time,) 
wh^'ther it is common during winter in VJ, Maharashtra and :- 
fn^:^ which place it is recently reported, 

Prakash Gole 
Sudarshan Rubber Works 
184, Shanwar Peth, Poona 

/?t:cj\ the deactiption given and the photograph enclosed, 
the i'::'e:itiilcatioi is corrects The bird occasionally strag- 
gles j-fiiand- - ^jt7 


Zafaiz Futthally 
£dit;;r, '-J 

L^awsletter for Birdwatchers 

32-A, J-Jhu LanSj Andheri, Bombay SS-AS 

Cover oesign by R, A^ ^.. Melluish from a photograph by 
Peter :?, R* Jackson 




Dr. SaJiin All, 

Mrs, Jamal Ara, 

Ranch!. ^ 



Dr. Sisv'iiiinjy Biswus, ^ 


Kunvar Shri J-avkiitiiai , ' 


Prof. K. K. Nct:iak:miaii, 

Mr. B. R. Grubh, 

Bom bays 

Ml. R. L. Fl^^iniiig. Junior, 
Kaihmunclii. Nepal. 

Mr. D. A, Slaiimand, 


Br. A. Navarro, 

Editor 1 ' , % 

Mr. Zafar Fatclially, - ^ 

.^2A. Juhu Lar^, Andhcii, 
Bombay-58 AS, 

Annual Sabscriplion Rs. 10-. 
Stiidonti Rs. 5/-. *" 

Cover iiesi^nby R. A^ SUw^t Melkihh