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Pindi Gheb - D.G Khan
January 28th - February 9th, 2006

 By BCP member Saad Nawaz Qaisrani

Finding some 2 weeks of free time, i decided to make a visit to Pindi gheb on 28 January and stay till 30th. A second trip to Dera Ghazi Khan was planned from 4th February to 9th. Birding was done, and did prove worth the effort and time, as should be revealed by the trip list.

The 1st trip to Pindi gheb was started on the evening of 28th of Jan. By the time we reached the destination it was already night time. So we decided to check out rabbits after dinner. Our decision proved worthwhile as we saw about 9 rabbits in 2 hours. Another good thing seen that night was a pack of wolves. Due to darkness
the numbers couldn't be ascertained, but the pack must have included 5 wolves at least.

The next morning gave numerous Grey Francolins calling and seen. It also produced a Jackal. After breakfast we decided to take a walk to reach the river Soan to look for water birds. The hills of Pindi gheb are immensely beautiful. The landscape is generally rocky. One specie missing in this trip was the Painted Sandgrouse. The
hills were ideal habitat for it. The scenery during the walk to the river was exhilarating. Worth mentioning are the rocky hills, the sheer precipice of cliffs that housed colonies of Rock Pigeons and Parakeets. Also seen here were the Common Ravens. Also, there was a natural stream flowing that drained into Soan. Its water was crystal clear. The trip to the river proved great. Immediately we were rewarded with Ruddy Shelducks, Gadwalls and Coots.  Also present were the wintering Tits. Later came the Black Storks. In the evening we came across a fox and the same Grey Francolins.

The Trip to Dera Ghazi Khan was same as usual. A single pond was earmarked for birding and it produced everything we could want. Red necked Falcon, Prinias, Water Rail, Common Coot, White breasted Waterhen, Snipes and numerous other waders were seen. Other than this a trip was made to the desert tracts and this paid off immensely, by rewarding me with my first Saker Falcon.

On the way back we passed from Chashma barrage. The reservoir there revealed most of the Ducks, Egrets, Gulls and Terns mentioned in the list. Worth mentioning is that a trip was made to some Ancient Tombs near Proa in my area. The drive was very hard, and after doing it I really consider myself an expert driver!

The details of the tombs are foggy, but as per our renowned historian Professor Ahmad Hassan Dani the tombs seem to be of Tughluq style and era, dating back to the 13th century A.D.

A trip list is attached for reference:

1.Great Cormorant
2.Little Cormorant
3.Indian Pond Heron
4.Cattle Egret
5.Little Egret
6.Great Egret
7.Intermediate Egret
8.Purple Heron
9.Black Stork (More than 50 seen in the bed of river Soan in Pindi gheb on 2 consecutive days. Also kept circling above for long hours on both days)
10.Bar headed Goose (A single bird seen in abandoned Cotton fields alongside a pond in Dera Ghazi Khan)
11.Ruddy Shelduck (Flocks seen in River Soan)
12.Eurasian Wigeon
13.Gadwall
14.Common Teal
15.Mallard
16.Northern Pintail
17.Northern Shoveler
18.Common Pochard
19.Tufted Duck
20.Black shouldered Kite
21.Black Kite
22.Egyptian Vulture
23.Marsh Harrier
24.Shikra
25.Eurasian Sparrowhawk
26.Long legged Buzzard
27.Tawny Eagle
28.Steppe Eagle
29.Common Kestrel
30.Red necked Falcon
31.Saker Falcon (It was spotted flying very high up in the air by a falconer. He noted its presence by the fact that the falconer's captive Laggar Falcon was feeling afraid/shy of something above. Later it was shown to me)
32.Grey Francolin
33.Black Francolin (Amazingly common in the bed of River Soan. Males were calling in January. A single female was flushed and a cousin saw 3 more running)
34.Common Quail
35.Small Buttonquail
36.Water Rail (A single bird seen in a pond in Dera Ghazi Khan. Some numbers were seen on that pond last year too. This particular pond proved to be a great birding spot, revealing 4 rail species, a Common Teal, a Bar headed Goose, Sind Sparrows and many more waders and passerines)
37.Common Coot
38.Common Moorhen
39.White breasted Waterhen
40.Black winged Stilt
41.Small Pranticole
42.Little Ringed Plover
43.Red wattled Lapwing
44.White tailed Lapwing
45.Northern lapwing
46.Common Snipe (Very common but shy. Uttered beautiful sounds when flushed)
47.Spotted Redshank
48.Common Redshank
49.Marsh Sandpiper
50.Green Sandpiper
51.Common Sandpiper
52.Common Tern
53.Black bellied Tern (Common, seen at Chashma barrage)
54.Lesser Black backed Gull
55.Black headed Gull
56.Greater Black headed Gull
57.Rock Pigeon
58.Eurasian Collared Dove
59.Laughing Dove
60.Rose ringed Parakeet
61.Greater Coucal
62.House Swift
63.White throated Kingfisher
64.Small Blue Kingfisher
65.Pied Kingfisher
66.European Roller
67.Common hoopoe
68.Black rumped Flameback
69.Crested Lark
70.Eurasian Skylark
71.Barn Swallow
72.Paddyfield Pipit
73.Grey wagtail
74.White Wagtail
75.Common Woodshrike
76.White eared Bulbul
77.Red vented Bulbul
78.Blue throat
79.Black Redstart
80.Brown rock Chat (This specialty bird was seen in Rawalpindi before journey started)
81.Pied Bush chat
82.Common Stonechat
83.Desert Wheatear
84.Variable Wheatear
85.Indian Robin
86.Graceful Prinia
87.Rufous fronted Prinia
Seen commonly in Pindi gheb.
88.Plain Prinia
89.Lesser Whitethroat
90.Common Babbler
91.Striated Babbler
92.Jungle Babbler
93.Great Tit:
Wintering in Pindi gheb.
94.Bay backed Shrike
95.Southern Grey Shrike
96.Long tailed Shrike
97.Black Drongo
98.Rufous Treepie
99.House Crow
100.Rook (Seen just outside Rawalpindi)
101.Common Raven (Rare in Punjab. However, still survives in good numbers in Pindi gheb)
102.Common Starling
103.House Sparrow
104.Spannish Sparrow
105.Sind Sparrow (Common. Seen at many places. For example the pond mentioned above)
106.Common Myna
107.Bank Myna
108.Baya Weaver
109.Indian Silverbill
 

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