Virat Jolli: Bundi is situated on South East of Rajasthan. It is 471 km from Delhi and 35 km from Kota. It is easily accessible via train and road network.It is surrounded on three sides by Aravalli Hills and it has some number of water bodies which is a lifeline for whole region. These water bodies includes small dams, lakes and ponds. These water bodies not only provide water in the region for agriculture and drinking purpose but they also being used by many birds including migratory one as stop over and nesting sites. Its not surprising that the Bundi is known to harbour variety of birds. This has prompted us to visit Bundi and explore the birds of the region.
Our team visited Bundi, during winter season i.e in the end of December 2017. We spent a total 4 days with a total of 10 hrs spent in bird watching and recorded a total of 51 bird species. I am presenting a short travelogue of my visit.
On day one we visited Civil lines and Raniji Ki Baori both these places are in Bundi town.
Civil Lines: The Civil Line is official residence place of Government official of Rajasthan. It is well maintained and has thick avenue plantation that comprised of Neem, Peepal, Banyan and false Ashok trees. On these trees, flocks of Grey headed canary flycatchers, Rose ringed parakeets, Red vented bulbul and House crow were spotted. Apart from this White throated kingfisher and Spotted owlets were also spotted the later usually seen in the middle of canopy during late evening and night.
|Grey headed canary flycatcher|
Raniji Ki Baori: The Baori was a source of fresh drinking water for Bundi people in the past now this site is maintained by Archeological Survey of India. Around this site we recorded large number of Rock pigeons, House sparrows, Common myna and Ashy drongos. It is to be noted that house sparrow is declining in majour cities of India, but their sighting in Bundi filled us with a ray of hope.
|Rock pigeons at Raniji ki Baori|
|Flock of House sparrow|
On day two we visited Romeo Tower a forest site in Bundi town and later visited Buddla Dam.
Romeo Tower: We tracked 2 Km uphill for bird survey and reached Romeo Station which serve as signal tower for Bundi. Its part of Aravalli hill and is dominated with Vilaytee kikar trees. We spotted flocks of Jungle Babbler, Rufous tree pie, Grey partridge and House crow along this track. Plantation of non native trees resulted in low species richness of birds.
Buddla Dam: Its one of the largest Kuccha Dam of Rajasthan. The water body is surrounded by agricultural fields. We reached there at around 11:00 am and with the help of boat surveyed the Dam. We recorded migratory bird like Ruddy shell duck, Comb duck, River tern, Little egret, Indian pond heron, Black winged stilt, Great egret, Little cormorant and Sandpipers. Along its banks we spotted Pied starlings, Red vented bulbul and Jungle babbler. We also saw people engaged in fishing at the dam site along with agricultural activity around the dam.The presence of migratory birds like ruddy shell duck and other beautiful rare birds make this site important from conservation point of view.
|Flock of Comb duck|
Umaid Sagar: Its a private property and is a resort. Its well maintained and must visit for nature lover and bird watchers.This is a shallow man-made jheel which attracts rare and large size birds and during my visit I spotted various migratory birds like Spotted billed ducks, Grey lag geese, Purple heron, Little grebe, Little cormorants, Bronze winged jacana, Purple swamphens, Common kingfisher, Black winged stilts, Red wettled lapwings and Oriental honey buzzard.
|Umaid Sagar, a birding site in Bundi|
|Birding in Umaid Sagar|
|Pair of Grey lag goose|
On the outskirts of this lake we spotted, Plum headed parakeets, Rose ringed parakeets, Pied Starlings, Common myna, Spotted dove, Rock pigeon, Flameback woodpecker and Grey hornbill.
The site is privately managed and is a must visit site for bird watchers.
On 4th day we visited Jawahar Sagar Dam, a site close to Mukundra Hills Tiger Reserve.
Jawahar Sagar Dam: This site is located on Chambal River. Through boating we accessed the site and traveled a distance of 2 km within Dam. During our visit we spotted, River terns, Grey herons, Stork billed kingfisher, Common kingfisher, Woolly necked stork, Great cormorants, Striated heron, Indian Darter, Serpentine eagle and Osprey.
|Woolly necked stork|
At the outskirts we recorded Rose ringed parakeet and Indian peafowls.
Bundi district of Rajasthan has plenty of avifaunal wealth. The undulating topography interspersed with agricultural field, semi arid forest and many man-made water bodies has the potential to support large variety of waterbirds. The number of waterbirds may fluctuate and is dependent of monsoon. Based on our interaction with locals they reported us that this year there is drop in number of migratory birds. Despite this fact, we encountered a total of 51 bird species which represent 1/10th of the total bird species recorded in Rajasthan. In future, we planned to visit similar sites.
Acknowledgment: We are thankful to Mr. Adarsh Sidhu (IPS) and Mrs Kiran Kang Sidhu (IPS) for their hospitality and encouraging us to undertake this survey.