About 15Km from Saswad, near Pune, is a farm that was in limelight recently among birdwatchers for a very unique reason – Vernal Hanging Parrot. Apparently, these parrots were a rage this season and everyone was scrambling to get a glimpse of these beautiful birds.
This place is not very far from where we live, hardly an hour’s drive in spite of the bad roads. We were at the farm at exactly 6:00 AM and were surprised to see that there were at least a dozen photographers at the site already. We hurried up with our setup and got into greed mode.
This area was a corn field in near full maturity. The birds would come and sit on the tassel of the corn to feed. Over the next 3 hours, we were able to not only get glimpses of the beautiful Vernal but had a chance to see many other birds of interest as well.
Vernal Hanging Parrot
Vernal Hanging Parrots are tiny parrots resident to the Indian Subcontinent and parts of South East Asia.
The Vernals have got their names from the way they hang upside down from branches, fruits, etc while foraging. Being so small, the average weight is only 36 gm, they can basically hang from anywhere. They have a short tail, a red beak, and rump in the case of males, and a blue throat patch. Their eyes are very beautiful.
The Indian Silverbill, also called White-Throated Munia (Euodice malabarica) is a small passerine bird of the Indian subcontinent. It has a stout body with a stout bill, and a black pointed tail. It is usually found in semiarid grasslands, scrub, and dry woodlands, but can also come near human habitats.
Baya Weavers feed and groom themselves on the tassel of corn. These tiny birds are well known for the beautiful and intricate hanging nests that weave. A pack of these birds was flocking the corn field while we were there.
A spiky upward crest distinguishes the Crested Bunting from similar birds. The male is glossy black with a chestnut brown set of wings and is in general, very handsome. The female is smaller and duller, but adequate.
The Crested Bunting loves mountains as much as we do. It thrives on rocky-bushy hillsides and is often found in terraced fields.
Common Rose Finch
The Common Rose Finch is known for its distinctive red head and breast that gives them its name. Adult males are generally more colorful. They are found on varying altitudes and geographies; we have seen them in Spiti as well as relatively lower elevations in Konkan.