After a mixed hectic first day, next morning was a quick starter with the jeep all set and Pratap bhai coming on time. Chestnut-bellied Sandgrouses were the toast for the morning, they are so beautifully camouflaged that its very difficult to spot them in the Rann and if you have seen one or two, you would have missed a dozen that would be right next to you and as you approach them closer, they all fly away in unison with a ‘phurrrr’...
After the patient session with the sandgrouses, then came the herd of wild asses and I was next busy occupied seeing and shooting various water birds, from flamingos to pelicans, to shovelers to gulls.
As Pratap bhai had to leave early, I called it a day for the session as going around without a person who knows the place is like searching a needle in a haystack... very difficult, every location looks the same and an untrained eye can never see anything unless its closer and in your view. With the early coming in, got more time to relax and enjoy the meal spread.
For the evening session, Pratap’s brother accompanied me and he was equally good as Pratap in sighting birds and identifying them. The evening belonged to the raptors, kestrels, harriers were there everywhere and it was a sight to the sore eyes seeing some of them coming to roost after dusk.
Literally, as the sun went down, the Rann looked like infested with harriers everywhere, all of them roosting and at one time I could see 8-10 individuals just around me, but albeit all at a safe distance from me. I tried getting some ground level shots of a couple of them but with absolutely no light around, it was a tough ask. Another interesting note was the female harriers were more co-operative and didn’t mind my approach than the males who took off every time I tried to approach them!
Next day would be a ‘mega day’ with loads of action… stay tuned :)