A Photo-walk and Drive to Basai and Sultanpur

Before I start about this topic, first of all hello and welcome. And thanks for reaching out here via whatever medium you did. I hope you’ll enjoy this journey.

Starting from the start, I had planned the walk for Okhla Bird Sanctuary originally with a friend. He was reluctant over my idea of spending much time there though, and in the end I changed plans to Basai with another friend who was going there. As it turned out, I did enjoy the experience, and got some lifers.In addition, got some improvements over my bird photographs.

Definition Alert: Lifer is a sighting of a bird for the first time for a traditional birder, and a picture of bird for the first time for a birder with a camera.

Going there, at first, the traditional poser treated us with plenty of images. The Green Bee Eater, in its usual pose for getting clicked- nothing really extra-ordinary. The fact that they look beautiful makes up for that though, and the challenge is always trying to get a better picture. This time, I didn’t quite succeed as last time.

The Traditional Posers: Green Bee Eaters.

Then came the surprise. I noticed a couple of Grey Francolin ahead of me. A minute later- noticed whole of the family. And they spotted us too like we spotted them- so they went up and running. They went inside the bushes- all hidden almost. It was a lifer. I’ve had sighting of Black Francolin but not Grey Francolin. Also, it was number 99th of the species I’ve captured (actually 100th but I’ve not been able to find the Koel pic I had clicked so 99).

Then came another lifer- which actually looked like a Wood Sandpiper. That moment, I had taken pics just in case it wasn’t a Wood Sandpiper. Later, I had doubts over it and the couple of images gave the hint which was confirmed by a very helpful FB group Ask ID’s oF Indian Birds- that it was Timminck’s Stint. With birds, you can’t be sure anytime, so if you have a camera, take a picture.

A few common birds came in between, lots of egrets and cormorants- which I didn’t click. I was only looking for Intermediate Egret- and I didn’t know how Intermediate Egret looked to be honest. Mridul (my friend and co-walker) helped me identify one later. There was a Pond Heron in Breeding Plumage- and it looked completely different. Painted Stork gave a beautiful picture, and so did the ever-so-angry and solid Black Kite.

And then we move on to a few lifers. First one was Ballion’s Crake. There were a couple of them very near. They were in muddy areas- looking for something. Perhaps they’d lost their ring? The next one was Clamorous Reed Warbler. Okay- it was only the sound that I heard so it was a lifer sound. No sighting, no picture. The bird didn’t come out of the bushes for more than a couple of hours, and I lost my patience (a crime if I really want to be a bird photographer). The third lifer (fourth of the day) was Streaked Weaver. It’s a beautiful bird with yellow cap. I tried several pictures and finally got one right.

There were lots of Moorhens, Wood Sandpipers, and Paddyfield Pipit’s. Moorhens in particular were waiting for a good photographer- and they had to do with me. Sandpipers were ever-ready. And Pipit’s were too fast. I managed to get some shots of them.

There is one important thing I noted- a whitish Paddyfield Pipit. It’s called Leucistic pipit. It’s basically a disease in birds where the colors of the skin get washed.

Among other lifers- which I had apparently seen earlier but didn’t photograph- lay Citrine Wagtail. It’s a small yellowish bird which is extremely difficult to photography. While we found the bird near the Crake, I photographed it well only later. And that too- just a normal shot, nothing really good.

Also hovering around the space- both in Basai and Sultanpur- were lots of Red Wattled Lapwings. And they were shouting a lot. Guess what? I got a picture of them shouting while flying to embarrass them forever. Sadly, they don’t give a damn. But they did give damn good pictures for me, personally.

We moved to Sultanpur post that. Apart from egrets, cormorants, red-wattled lapwings, we also had pigeons, babblers and common myna for our company. Apart from that, finally I got the picture of Intermediate Egret.

Alone Here, As if Waiting for Me.

A couple of insects did catch my eye. Primarily, I’m a macro lover, and have had plenty of experience with insects. So it was good to finally get a couple of half-decent pictures of them. On the left is bark mantis. Humbertiella sp. (not 100% sure), on the right is Dragonfly.

Also, Asian Open Billed Stork was there. I have a solitary just a record picture of the same. Also, the Sarus Cranes- these birds mostly stay with their families.

And coming to the hero of the walk- it was the snake that came sliding over water- or whatever it may be called. The snake is Rat Snake.

And the walk ended with how my previous walk at Sultanpur ended- Spotted Owlet. It gave lots of poses. Here’s the pick I had from them.

And the walk ended with amazing sandwiches and cold drinking water- heaven in summers.





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