Friday, February 8, 2013

Pariej – Sarus Kingdom

Although I have tried to showcase the wonderful avifauna of Pariej in my last post, I have kept the best for the last. The star of this rich land must surely be the Sarus Crane!!

This is our second trip to Gujarat and I had planned Pariej with the express purpose of sighting this elegant crane which had eluded us the last time. Words failed me when I first caught sight of it. It was a pair in the fields quietly and gracefully going about their business. Watchful, one would look up, turn around in all directions scanning for any danger and then go back to their feeding. Their deliberate movements lent an impossible grace for so tall and lanky a bird.

We came upon three pairs, one with a juvenile within a couple of kilometres of the wetland. And all this from the main road. I’m sure if we had ventured into the lanes we would have seen many many more. It certainly is SARUS KINGDOM!! After quietly watching these beautiful birds to our heart’s content, we finally moved on....

Sarus crane with a flegling

A happy family...


Much has been said about Gujarat as a birdwatchers paradise. Surprisingly, Pariej is hardly ever mentioned despite the fact that there exists a bird sanctuary there! Nonetheless, I have never seen a place so rich with avian fauna in a totally inhabited and farmed area. 

We reached Pariej from Vadodara (Baroda). Pariej is a large wetland in the middle of extensive fields in every conceivable direction. The watch tower at the wetland which comes on the left seems too inadequate to sight much since the birds are quite far inside... 

Nevertheless, driving along the main road for barely a few hundred yards ahead brings one to a small temple on the right hand side with a watch tower close to it. This place has immense potential! We saw comb ducks, wigeon, gadwalls, common teals, sandpipers, shanks, pratincoles, greylag geese, swamphen, moorhen, plovers, lapwings, munias, weavers, reed warblers, terns, harriers, red necked falcon, kingfishers, kestrels, shrikes, wagtails, bulbuls... the list is endless. Some of the sightings captured on camera are attached below. 

Pied Kingfisher

The Kestrel (f)

Rufous tailed shrike

Black shouldered Kite

White wagtail

Common Greenshank

Blyth's reed warbler

Gadwal pair

Clamorous reed warbler

Eurasian wigeon pair

Comb ducks

Black headed munia

White cheeked bulbul

Little Grebe Juvenile

Long tailed shrike

Common Moorhen

Baya weaver

Blyth's reed warbler

Common Pochard

Red necked falcon