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19 January 2012

Bird Census of Chandaka Dampara Sanctuary

The Entrance
Waterfowl Census of Chandaka Dampara Sanctuary_13.01.12

One Friday, we again got the opportunity with the Wild lifers and Naturalists to count birds in the Chandaka Sanctuary Region. The first venture was to Chilika and this would be the second one. For this one day trip, I started with Udayan, early morning around 5 to Chandaka. The morning bike ride till there was super chilly and almost killed us :( Reached there and met Shakti bhai, Dipti Ranjan and Partha who was also our team leader. Started the journey in the Bolero for the Range Office, inside Dampadra Range. The distance was pretty good but with beautiful sights it didn't matter. Full of green big trees, pre-set path, shrubs, bushes, birds everywhere, sharp shrill chirping and cold cozy weather. At the office we got our kits and met other birders who had bird counting in the nearby region. We met the most senior members like Biswajit Sir and Babu bhai. It was a great pleasure to be associated with them and know them. :) 

7.10 am: From there we reached Mahanadi shores where Biswajit Sir and Babu bhai took a boat for their journey.There on the river bed we saw so so many Small Pratincoles and River Lapwings. I saw Pratincoles first time and found them so cutie :)
Small Pratincoles

8.05 am: We then turned towards our designated places :) Jaria, Charigharia and Upara-pathapur towards north-eastern part of the sanctuary. With our young guru and TL Partha, me and Udayan too jumped off to view the place, alongwith Shri.P.C.Nayak (RO) geared up with full excitement. In the start I could hardly see anything but heard beautiful voices. Even of peacocks :) 


The Fisherman setting the nets
Then we started spotting Purple Moorhens, Sandpipers, Redshanks, Common Snipes and the Spot billed ducks. :) Ofcourse accompanied by pond herons, cormorants and Egrets. Also saw spotted dove, Hoopoe and white throated kingfisher. We moved closer to the lake sides, walking and stopping by, keeping an eye on the birds :) the view was amazing. I could have never imagined a place coming through Chandaka :) Again the mountains, fields, water, chilly air, marshy land, walking inside fields...hmmmm :) There at a place a fisherman was setting his nets for fishes :/ which disturbed the birds and they mostly flew away.

Red-Wattled Lapwing
8.40 am: We kept walking on the shores of the lake and the edgy fields. With Partha's guiding we could see and collect most of the bird information. :) Mr. P.C. got irritated with us as were weren't walking up to his pace. He preferred more safe places and didn't land into marshy fields. So obviously he reached places fast and we didn't :D He clapped for the birds to fly away and count. We continued watching and spotting the birds. Missed clicking a spotted owl though. The photography helped in recognising birds more closely.
We then reached near villages where people were fishing by, washing clothes and lining up to bath and all of a sudden they realized we are there :P They started asking in loud tones if we are from OTV and shooting :P  After a little more of roaming there we were off for other places.

Lesser Whistling Ducks
Partha made the vehicle stop at a place with lake view sighting many birds. All dropped down and saw birds flying by in large number of flock. Partha made us recognise them as Lesser Whistling Ducks.  Yes I too could here the whistling :)

The Mahanadi banks

9.45 am: We then got back into bolero and reached at a Mahanadi reservoir area where we picked up Biswajit sir and Babu bhai and were all off to have tea nearby. All snacked up, breakfast plus yummy bara-tarkari (Vada-curry) at the local Dhabha. There all got into conversations on the birds one found and related information. After having a light talk time all got divided again to continue our respective journeys.

The next place was almost empty of birds except one man bathing making bear sounds :P we were scared. :D We stopped at various places on the way. One marshy place was full of Egrets and Herons, Cormorants and Purple moorhens. Asian Open billed storks and one Oriental Darter too. I saw one Citrine wagtail nearby :) The following place was superb with avid flora and fauna. The water source was even more blue and beautiful with Cotton teals and couples of spot-billed ducks swimming by. 
The great Banyan tree
There was one typical huge Banyan tree, very tall and very pleasing underneath it. Again we missed an owl that just flew away from us. Other birds spotted were Brahminy Ruddy Shelduck, River terns, River lapwings and lots and lots of Purple Moorhens. 

Common Redshanks

Cotton teals & Spot Billed Ducks
Spot-Billed Duck, Purple Moorhen, Citrine Wagtail, Wood Sandpiper, Large-pied Wagtail

1.00 pm: All were packed back in Bolero and dropped at the Range Office. There lists of birds were marked, counted and added in the pre-defined lists provided. Discussions and questions in air were shot in different species one found and on their recognition with the help of descriptions and photographs. Took lunch break in between and then finished the listings. 

2.50 pm: Partha was ready with the listings and submitted it to the DFO. After everybody's submission all started off to the main gate.

4.00 pm: Reached to the starting point i.e. the entrance gate. All got together with the conversations on their places and sightings. :) We bid goodbye to other members and were off from there. Yet another memorable and priceless trip. :) Looking forward for more, but this time to add more value to the census :)

list if birds spotted: In the order of final listing

  1. Little grebe
  2. Little cormorant
  3. Oriental Darter
  4. Indian Pond Heron
  5. Cattle Egret
  6. Little Egret
  7. Intermediate Egret
  8. Purple Heron
  9. Grey Heron
  10. Asian Openbill
  11. Lesser Whistling Duck
  12. Brahminy Ruddy Shelduck
  13. Indian Cotton Teal
  14. Spot-Billed Duck
  15. White-breasted Water hen
  16. Purple Swamphen
  17. Little Pranticole
  18. River lapwing
  19. Red-wattled lapwing
  20. Redshank
  21. Marsh Sandpiper
  22. Greenshank
  23. Common Sandpiper
  24. Common snipe
  25. Indian river tern
  26. Citrine wagtail
  27. Large Pied wagtail
  28. White wagtail
  29. Pied Kingfisher
  30. White breasted Kingfisher

 Few more photos:

With the Bolero
Inside the fields

 The team walk :P
On the way...

The beautiful Marigold fields on the way
'A priceless learning experience for me'
"Chandka Elephant Sanctuary is a wildlife reserve located in north western fringe of Bhubaneswar in the Indian state of Orissa. Nestled on Khurdha uplands of 'Eastern Ghats' biotic region, Chandaka forest spread over 175.79 km2 of rolling table land and small sprawling hillocks of Khurdha and Cuttack Districts."
 Source: Wikipedia


  1. Lovely Description Tanuja :) ,
    the scene is pretty much lively :) .

  2. Loved reading your accounts of that day. I loved the place, the wildlife, the food and of course the company of you guys. We should set off on such trips more often. Keep such posts coming lady.
    You can have a look at my very-ill-updated blog if you like

  3. Thankyou Udayan :) I know the time had been a very important one with a lot of knowledge to gain and share.

    Thankyou Partha :) Glad that you liked it. We always look for more such trips. Going through your blog too...

  4. Nice one Tanuja..very good report.The Large Pied Wagtail is also known as White Browed Wagtail..