Mar 182013

Bird Watching with BSAP or Birdwatchers’ Society of Andhra Pradesh– A Visit to ICRISAT

I have been to ICRISAT last year for bird watching with GHAC, but this year I have not been able to go there till I came to know of BSAP or Birdwatchers’ Society of Andhra Pradesh, a dedicated society of bird lovers, very active in Hyderabad, and also organizing field trips outside of Hyderabad.

cormorants in flight in Hyderabad India

Cormorants flew away when we approached the lake

On 3rd March 2013 I visited ICRISAT once again with Bird Watchers’ society of Andhra Pradesh. This was a special trip as the purpose was to see the migrant birds one more time before they head back to their summer homes in Central Asia and Europe.

Purple Moorhen- Porphyrio porphyrio in a swamp in ICRISAT

A Purple Moorhen in an ICRISAT Lake

purple moorhen or purple swamphen in flight in ICRISAT

Purple Moorhen in Flight in ICRISAT

We get a good number of migrant birds from Europe and Central Asia in and around Hyderabad, unfortunately due to slow killing of all the lakes around Hyderabad the numbers have been dwindling as per the seasoned birders of the city.

 painted stork  or Mycteria leucocephala

A Painted Stork with a Twig in Beak

The meeting time was 6:45 am in the morning and in typical Hyderabadee style people started trickling around 7 am and we finally started moving inside the ICRISAT Campus around 8 am. This is pretty late for bird watching as a a lot of action happens just after dawn. Fortunately the ICRISAT campus is a safe bet when it comes to bird watching. Just as we entered the campus we saw a couple of Grey Hornbills, right next to the water tower. As we moved inside the campus and the first lake welcomed us with a flutter of Cormorants taking off from the placid waters. The Purple moorhen was braver and decided to not give her territory, giving us a good opportunity to click some pictures.

migratory birds in a swamp in ICRISAT in Hyderabad

The lake had more than 50 times birds than what you see here

Now talking about pictures, for the first time in my life I had a complex about my little 300 mm lens as so many people around me were carrying 800 mm lenses that brought the birds so much closer to them. Hopefully I will be able to upgrade to a bigger lens once Luxmi approves. This also brings me to the principle that  I postulated, it is called the Desi Effect on Optical Exclusion and it says- The size of your lens is inversely proportional to the size of the telecom equipment  you  use. Basically it means the smaller your cell phone the bigger is your camera lens. Though more research needs to be done to confirm the findings.

Although it was late in season but in one of the swampy lakes at the far end of ICRISAT we saw literally hundreds of birds at one place and you could have just pointed your camera in any direction and got some birds in the frame. I think what has happened is with disappearing of lakes from surrounding areas ICRISAT is a safe haven for birds in the nearby area and they all congregate in the small lakes in ICRISAT thus increasing the density of birds in every lake. Over all it was a great experience meeting fellow birdwatchers and also revisiting ICRISAT with BSAP or Birdwatchers’ society of Andhra Pradesh. Do check the website and Facebook page of BSAP

a painted stork or Mycteria leucocephala landing in a lake with BSAP

Perfect Landing by Painted Stork

bird watches from BSAP with camera and binoculars near a lake

Bird Watchers from BSAP at ICRISAT

But the  highlight of the day for me was this brave Mongoose who decided to take a walk with the bird watchers from BSAP looking at it in awe. He was a bit shy to begin with but I guess he had some thing important to do, hence he slowly emerged and walked on the path before disappearing in bushes again.

A Mongoose walking on the road with a bird in background

A Mongoose decides to take a walk


Water hen or Amaurornis phoenicurus hiding in grass

Water hen hiding in grass

Himantopus himantopus or black winged stilt pair in water

Black Winged Stilt or Himantopus himantopus

Indian Grey Hornbill Ocyceros birostris

3 Indian Grey Hornbills on a Power Tower

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  5 Responses to “Bird Watching with BSAP at ICRISAT”

Comments (5)
  1. I could not refrain from commenting. Perfectly written!

  2. nice collection 🙂

  3. Hello Prasad, The vivid colour of the Moorhen stole my heart. It was great to discover you as well . The hornbill and painted stroke was awesome as well. I realised why a painted stroke is called a painted stroke only after watching that awesome ones. Great see you in Gandhipet trip

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