Prelude to Winter Provides a Lifer

Hello Readers, I hope you are welcoming the coming winter. Islamabad did not receive any rain for over a month now and it’s still warm, dry and dusty.

Me, Swabi Birder, Zr and AK had a wonderful weekend with birds in different areas of Margalla Hills National Park. Our journey always starts at 0545 hours in the morning and then the whole day is spent watching the spectacular wildlife and birds of Islamabad.

Male (above) and Female Rufous-bellied Niltava
The water sources have diminished along Trail 5 and in Kharian village amongst woodland. So far, we have seen only one Rufous-Bellied Niltava visiting us on the stream at Trail 5. However, a Rufous-breasted Accentor also showed up on the stream beside the Warblers bathing in a side pond.

Rufous-breasted Accentor
Lemon-rumped Warbler
White-cheeked Tit
Rusty-cheeked Scimitar Babbler
The Thrushes, common in winters haven’t yet arrived, as the weather is still quite warm, with haze and smog in the city. The Meteorological Department is forecasting some rain starting from this coming Tuesday until Thursday. I believe, hopefully, with the rain, the temperature will drop more at the higher altitudes and will persuade the birds to move further down to warmer areas.

Male (above) and Female Chestnut-bellied Nuthatches enjoying forbidden fruits
Because of human expansion, less space is available for the wildlife. However, some wise birds have learnt and started sharing food and places with the humans. A male and female Chestnut-bellied Nuthatch were continuously feeding on a local made sweet food called ‘jaleebe’ cooked with sugar and bread from a local shop, which was built near the complex of tress in a woodland. Though it’s probably not good for the birds to eat this type of processed food, birds are opportunists.

The weekend ended with a lifer for us and we found Brambling, a species of Finch that stays mostly on western mountains with snow has been recorded for the first time in Islamabad by us. I am sorry for the bad quality of the photograph I but am sure if it stays for some time, we will share its close-up.

We are looking forward to the winter as, is working side by side with stills photographers making videos. I hope we can share our video with you soon and you all will have the chance to listen to islbirder and his experiences of birds in the Margalla Hills National Park.

Red-billed Leiothrix

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