Surprising Kallara

Yesterday evening (Sunday, 8th Feb. 2009) I saw more than one
thousand yellow wagtails in the paddy fields along the Neendur-Kallara
road. It was harvesting and machines were used in fields. The yellow
cloud like formation caught my attention and they were found to be
yellow wagtails. At least two subspecies were visible in the large
I also noticed one unidentified raptor at the site. Later a few
miles ahead in the west on the Kallara-Vechur road we saw large
congregations of mixed egrets and waders (mostly common, green, and
wood sandpipers). They were even uncountable. A black eagle was also
seen around. Plenty of waterhen are also coming on to the road at
dusk. Thousands of whistling teals were also resting in the
waterlogged fields.
While south Kuttanad seems lacking in bird density, north and
upper Kuttanad seem to be thriving with them. This is the observation
that I derive from my recent experience in both Vembanad and Pandy
counts. Cultivation is more rigorous in the south. That could also be
a determining factor. In Kallara and around there are more
uncultivated patches with water. Any way it offers diversity and
dynamism for birders nowadays, but beware of the poor roads.

A Green Patch in Kollad

Last saturday (31 January 2009) I was lucky to experience a real
relieving weekend at my friend Advocate Sureshbabu Thomas’ home at
Kollad near Kottayam. It is on the southern bank of Kodoor river and
on the fringe of an old paddy field. A leading Prosecutor and a busy
lawyer he is also an ardent nature enthusiast. My friend adopts a
mixed cultivation approach and allows wild and endangered trees and
herbs inside his hybrid plantation. It attracts a lot of birds and
butterflies. we have encountered the following individuals:

Jungle Owlet:Just in front of the house!
Just in front of the house!
  1. A pair of Jungle Owlets regularly coming to his front yard
  2. Oriental Scops Owl (call)
  3. Purple Swamphen 3
  4. Cattle Egret 3
  5. Forest Wagtail (call), a regular visitor
  6. Common Myna 20+
  7. Rose-ringed Parakeet 6

The owls came to us at night around 9 pm. But all other birds
were seen or heard between 6 and 6.30 pm in the evening. We also
observed a small congregation of Common Psyche butterflies dancing
around its favourite shrub.
Next day we went for the first ever Pandy Count near Edathwa in
Alapuzha district. We were surveying some fields south of Edathwa
town. I hope the official posting is on its way. We saw atleast 7
Marsh Harriers and a few busy colonies of Baya Weavers. The nesting
and courtship displays of this interesting birds are really moving and
engaging. Including all the common birds our team observed 34 species
in total. The paddy was already knee-high. That is why the waders
were elusive. Let us wait for the consolidated data.