167th HBP Bird Walk at Osman Sagar
Sunday, 3rd September, 2017
Osman Sagar, also known as Gandipet is a reservoir 20 km west of Hyderabad. It is a large water body supplying drinking water to the city. It attracts many resident and winter migrants with more than 250 bird species being reported on ebird- a bird listing website.
Hyderabad Birding Pals (HBP) organised its 167th birdwalk here, 20 members participated. The weather was sunny with plenty of sunlight. September is a time when monsoon starts to recede and there is good possibility of seeing migrants that may have a stop-over for further migration. There was still time to see warblers, migrating pipits and waders but any surprise sighting was possible.
And this happened, we reached to Westside farms at around six thirty when some members who had went ahead spotted Terek Sandpiper Xenus cinereus on the shore as soon as they scanned the reservoir. This bird favours sea coast and is rarely spotted inland. Sightings are reported inland when it travels to the coastal areas. This turned out to be the first sighting to be reported on ebird in Telangana state. RK Balaji and Mohit Joshi took some shots before it flew away. Meanwhile, we saw Oriental Honey-buzzard Pernis ptilorhynchus, Asian Pied Starling Gracupica contra, Baya Weaver Ploceus philippinus, Indian Robin Copsychus fulicatus as we reached the reservoir after parking our vehicles. We heard calls of Rain Quail Coturnix coromandelica from the bushes, they were much less frequent as compared to few weeks back. Black-headed Ibis Threskiornis melanocephalus, flew over us. A pair of Yellow-wattled Lapwing Vanellus malabaricus were in the open grassy area along the mud road.
Some members went to explore the right side, where they saw Greater Flamingos Phoenicopterus roseus — some of them were immature, many feeding Eurasian Coot Fulica atra and Little Grebe Tachybaptus ruficollis, Lesser Whistling-Duck Dendrocygna javanica, Cotton Pygmy-Goose Nettapus coromandelianus and Indian Spot-billed Duck Anas poecilorhyncha. Ashy-crowned Sparrow-Lark Eremopterix griseus were in a mixed group with males frequently showing their prominent courtship display. They were often seen on the path. A Pied Cuckoo Clamator jacobinus was also seen. Towards the left side a large male of Indian Peafowl Pavo cristatus was seen on a bungalow, a flock of Glossy Ibis Plegadis falcinellus flew over us in a V- formation. There was another group of Greater Flamingos Phoenicopterus roseus. We heard many calls of Painted Francolin Francolinus pictus from the bushes along the tree-line. A flock of twenty Kentish Plovers Charadrius alexandrinus rested and foraged in the mud along the water. Little Ringed Plover Charadrius dubius were also nearby. There were more than hundred River Terns Sterna aurantia with one Whiskered Tern Chlidonias hybrida in them. On the rocks scattered in the grassland were many types of larks- Oriental Skylark Alauda gulgula, Tawny Lark Galerida deva and Ashy-crowned Sparrow-Lark Eremopterix griseus.
Some of us crossed the slushy area to go further to a larger grassland area, this is where usually raptors are frequently seen in winters. Here, we saw many fishing nets placed along the length of the shore. One Little Ringed Plover Charadrius dubius was stuck in these nets, we freed it using a blage and continued to look for birds. At many places we saw Common Sandpiper Actitis hypoleucos and Wood Sandpiper Tringa glareola. As we walked along, Blue-tailed Bee-eaters Merops philippinus were busy foraging and Pied Kingfisher Ceryle rudis kept a lookout for fish from a post.
The sunlight had become strong, we decided to wrap-up and go back. This bird walk give us a new bird for Telangana state and an amazing experience of bird rescue. A total of 78 species were reported on ebird.