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Vol. XXV No. 24, April 1-15, 2016

Some rare sightings


Eastern Marsh Harrier at Nayapakkam Grasslands, Chennai, on February 13 by Gnanaskandan. and Team – the first ever confirmed record for South India!!

A bulky harrier very close in size to the Western Marsh female. Got the ID confirmed by a few other birders as well. When we had ticked Montagu’s, Pallid, Western Marsh and Pied Harriers from Chennai, Hen Harrier was the only one left that we could expect. But from nowhere, an Eastern Marsh Harrier male landed up here. As it matched closely an immature Pied Harrier (m) / adult Pied Harrier (f), we had to carefully look at each of the identification pointers to eliminate the rest and confirm it as an Eastern Marsh Harrier.

Tickell’s Thrush at Guindy National Park, Chennai, on January 30, by Vikas Madhav and Team – first ever record for Chennai.


“I saw a bird which caught my eye. It was an unusually coloured, Mynah-sized bird on the track at Guindy National Park. The bird looked grey from afar and had a yellow bill. On closer approach, the bird dashed into the thickets. I thought it was the Eurasian Black Bird. Later I got the identification confirmed from my grandfather and mentor, Prof. Reginald Victor of Oman, as a Tickell’s Thrush.

“The Tickell’s Thrush is a wintering specie that has been recorded in Bangalore and Rishi Valley.
“Its Behaviour: it was shy and stayed on the path for a very short interval. Then disappeared into dense bushes and was not traceable.”

Crested Serpent Eagle at Guindy National Park, Chennai on February 20 by Vikas Madhav and team – first ever record for Chennai City.

Backyard bird count

During the great Backyard Bird Count and Campus, Bird Count during February the following sightings were made.
Overall, 339 species sighted: 1486 checklists were submitted from Tamil Nadu, second only to Uttarakhand.
104 species were sighted in Chennai, mainly in Guindy National Park (71), Vedanthangal (70), Pallikaranai (40), Sholinganallur (55) and Adyar Estuary (25).

Campus bird count

50 Tamil Nadu registered of which 20 were from Chennai. The participating campuses from Chennai were Loyola College, Queen Mary’s College, Madras Veterinary College, University of Madras – Guindy Campus, IIT-Madras, Dharmambal Polytechnic, SRM University, Anna University, Stella Maris College, Theosophical Society (TS), The School-KFI, Good Earth School, Post Graduate Institute in Animal Sciences, Women’s Christian College, Madras Christian College, Sri Ramachandra Medical College, Sri Venkateswara College of Engineering (SVCE), Al-Qamar Academy, Kalakshetra and Sishya.

The top 5 sightings of species were IIT-Madras (70), The School-KFI (30), Kalakshetra (38), Sishya (38) and Theosophical Society (38).

* * *

As part of the Asian Waterbird Census 2016, a Madras Naturalists’ Society team visited Pulicat Lake (SHAR Road) in January. The sightings included Spot-billed ducks, Common Teals, Northern Shovellers, Garganeys, Little Ringed Plovers, Kentish Plovers, Black-winged Stilts, Wood Sandpipers, Marsh Sandpipers, a lone Temminck’s Stint, Little Stints, Coots, Pheasant-tailed Jacanas and Streaked Baya. The highlight of the survey was the sighting of a group of 7-10 Asian Pied Starlings from a distance of about 250 metres from the SHAR Road.

– (Courtesy: MNS Bulletin.)

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