Tuesday, December 23, 2014
Jharli Power Plant, Jhajjar, Haryana
Sunday, the 14th December 2014
Cloudy weather, light drizzle and hailstorm in the vicinity, cold.
While enjoying the cozy warmth of the quilt on such a cold day sipping my herbal tea with Sunday newspapers, was pushed out of my bed by a phone call from Dr Chetna Sharma whose enthusiasm for nature-roaming has not staled for the last over one decade old birding and spiritual rapport we both have shared so far. In a jiffy I was on my toes and wanted to visit Jhadli Power Plant, about 20 kms from Jhajjar.
Beginning was equally wonderful with a couple of hopping House Sparrows and a small party of Pied Starlings and a few Bank Mynas near the “Himalayan road hugs-soaked car’, a calf was looking at me with ‘God knows why divinely expressing eyes’. Phoned Jagat at Jhajjar to get ready for Jhadli. He in turn called Aditya.. both of them were new to the site I was taking them along.
On way, saw roadhits – canine and feline; and among avian dead was a Greater Coucal. Packs of stray dogs almost everywhere. I have long stopped shedding croco tears on such tragedies.. If I could change all the drivers and vehicle owners into bird loving ones, things would become a bit more tolerable for the animals..
Plenty of ‘silently in prayers doves’ on the transmission wires, a few solitary Black-shouldered Kites, Indian Rollers on poles, parakeets in swift flights, egrets, probably cattle, in the one foot tall grassy wheat crops in their sweet infantile smiling vastness. Mustards patches blooming in yellow – looking a bit gloomy in cloudy weather, they look wonderfully cheerful in sunny weather.
Took Jagat and Aditya and drove towards Jhadli; and we were driving along the dirt road of largish water ponds of the power plant, I guess the total wetland area must be over 200 acres, though Jagat estimated it over 500 acres; ponds were teaming with waterfowl. Habitat is wonderfully bird conducive and can be improved further if our bird-loving experienced birders (not the fund-loving specialists – God save my country from them) can interact with the management. I promise to do my part.
Wryneck .. can you spot it?
I invite my birding fraternity to accompany me in my further forays there.
To be brief, I am giving a small list of highlights :
Small Buttonquails – a pair, first a single tiny quail like stuff busy in pecking the dusty road behind a bush ahead of the car, then the second one joined from roadside bushy cover. I did not let my birding friends open the window, and persuaded them to take pix from inside the car. I took time to realize that they were not barred or yellowlegged, but Small Buttonquails. I took a few pix too. Attaching.
Ruddy Shelducks – eight with one Common Shelduck, Eurasian Wigeons, Gadwalls, 8 Mallards, Spot-billed Ducks, Common Teals, 2 Garganeys, no Pintails (?), plenty of Shovelers, Common Pochards, a few Ferruginous Pochards, Tufted Ducks and numerous Coots being harassed by three Marsh Harriers, while an Osprey sat leisurely (do they sit or stand?), two species of kingfishers, a Sirkeer Malkoha, numerous noisy Alexandrine Parakeets, reed patches hold promise for crakes, thanks God no water hyacinth so far, a few small waders but no gulls and no terns.
A Peregrine Falcon on the pylon – see the pic for what race it is..
Great Cormorants near their nests, Darters, egrets and herons, at least two Greater Flamingos and two Spoonbills, a dozen of Painted Storks, Longtailed Shrikes, Bluethroats, lonely Variable Wheatear, swarm of Plain Martins and Streakthroated Swallows, White-eared Bulbuls.
Moustached Warblers in plenty, Common Chiffchaffs – so many of them, Dusky Warblers (not so sure – but they looked like them)
A Wryneck perfectly camouflaged in the burnt reeds;
Larks, pipits, Spanish Sparrows, wagtails, Indian Silverbills.
More frequent trips are going to produce some rarities too.
Happy surprise – nosy House Crows seem to be dwindling …