Menar again, for owls and vultures this time

11:07 pm | | Comments 2

Menar seems to have find a place in my every winter trip to Udaipur. So, when I was in my hometown ‘City of Lakes’ once again this winter, I had already planned a morning of birding trip. Well, that all depended on birder friends to accompany as I am still quite unfamiliar with that region. So, though my to be companion backed out because of some other work, he managed to hand me over to another of his birder friend, a senior automobile executive. I later realised that Udaipur now has a culture of birding and photography trips every weekend- either solo, with friends or in groups. There are photography groups, birding groups with regular activities, sharing and learning, all with utmost sincerity.

Awake and alert! The Short-eared Owl, or ‘Shortie’, is an unusual owl because it prefers to be out and about in the daytime. It is most easily spotted in winter. It is often migratory in Indian sub-continent! They mainly hunt during the daytime, flying low over moorland, grassland and saltmarshes where they feed on field voles and small birds.

I knew this trip was going to be different as I had an entirely new companion. Also because we were not going to follow the traditional touristy bird-watching trip. Therefore, although we could have gone for easy sightings of flamingos, pelicans, and other, but we kept roaming in wilderness of dry grasslands in Menar for owls and vultures. That was offbeat and only serious birders would have taken that pain or shown that patience, also to get perfect pose, light and distance to get a good click without offending or disturbing the birds.

The Sunday Brunch! An Egyptian Vulture at Menar Village near Udaipur.
Who has got a better hair-do today? Two seems to have an argument!!
Monday meeting! But nobody seems to be interested!! Morning blues!!!
A group of Eguptian vultures at Menar.
I am least interested in these theatrics! I fly away home!!

I had seen Egyptian vultures earlier also at Udaipur near a water body very close to my home. When you are in an important bird area like Menar, you always have to keep your eyes open and cameras ready for sudden sightings or moments to capture. As was the case with this hud-hud who was in its full elements right besides our way. So was the Robin shortly thereafter.

A Hoopoe on full display with opened up fan. This wonderful crest is composed of 28 feathers. The crest is sandy-buff with black and white tips and is usually depressed. The bird gets its name from its call “hoop-hoop-hoop”. Beautiful bird is often heard in the country. It perches in open, giving repeatedly its typical call. Is also called as Hud-Hud!
Hello Robin! A call at the Menar bird village!

Having done at Menar and then decided to not go for any water birds as the water level had receded and birds had moved inside making it tough to get good clicks, we moved towards Vallabhnagar, another place near by which has a dam, that has been lately good habitat of water fowls. But, even there it was this owl, which caught our attention.

हर शाख़ पे उल्लू बैठा है, अंज़ाम-ए-गुलिस्तां क्या होगा!

Dam had gone dry, with no signs of any good sightings. Hence we turned back, but not before making another try on a different route. And as luck would have turned, I got to see my first ever sighting of a Sarus Crane couple with their juvenile offspring.

A Sarus Crane couple with their offspring at Vallabhnagar near Udaipur. A sarus crane selects a partner once in its lifetime and remains with it for whole its life. They are so much in love with each other, that once any one of the couple dies, other one forfeits all interest in life as well! A true love!!
Head held high! A sarus crane at Vallabhnagar, near Menar in Udaipur district.

We rounded up our trip with this colour full sighting of Red Munia. Lal Munia has almost a mythological status in our folklores. Its always so fascinating to see it and more so to capture it in camera.

Munia in woods! The Red Munia or Strawberry Finch or Red Avadavat (Amandava amandava) is a sparrow-sized bird of the Silverbill family. Their natural range stretches from the Indus valley of Pakistan to the plains of the Brahmaputra extending south to the peninsula of India. This species of bird is actualy the only waxbill that has a true song.

It’s already spring time. Migratory birds are on their trip back home. I am already counting days to next winter fo another go at Menar.

For more on Menar, read: Morning lights at Menar-the birds village

Have you ever been to Menar for bird watching? How was the experience? Share with us in the comments section below.

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  1. Nice photo of the hoopoe. The red munia is also a nice catch.

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