On Thursday, 3rd of August 2003, 3 of
us undertook a trip to Sara-i-Alamgir, a town
about 15 kms from Jhelum city. The trip was intended to be a 5 hour
trip, about 4 and a half hours of traveling and half an hour of stay.
The journey began from Rawalpindi city, with the common but yet special
and near-endemic Brown Rock Chats singing from our roof top. Inevitably,
it was to be the 1st bird on our list.
We set out on a Corolla at about 5:30 in the morning, going to Jhelum on
Trunk Road. The journey from Rawalpindi to Jhelum on the Grand Trunk
Road is a very beautiful experience, as on the whole way you get to see
the magnificence and beauty of the Potohar Plateau.
Being Monsoon season nowadays, the hills of the Potohar Plateau were
green as ever. The weather was also cloudy. So not many species were
seen on the way to Jhelum. However after taking the turn to Pir Khana
from Jaggu Headworks, birds started to become ever the more visible.
First came the singular Brahminy Starlings at many sites, presently
common but previously rare according to Tom Roberts's book "Birds of
Pakistan". Next came the very surprise, which was most welcome. It was a
flock of 6-10 Asian Pied Starlings near Dandi Dara. The birds were a
delight to see, and certainly are the highlight of the trip.
Other species that were seen include the Ashy Prinia, Rufous-fronted
Prinia etc. However at the place where we intended and subsequently had
to stay for half an hour, there was rain, so no new birds could be seen.
Because of the cloudy weather, we saw no Black Francolins in this trip.
However, the journey back to Rawalpindi brought with it Shikras,
Egyptian Vultures, and Grey Francolins. Finally, the birding came to an
end at about 10:45 in the morning with a list of 51 bird species seen or
Because we did not have a 4x4 vehicle, we could not enter into more
off the road. Had we been able to do so, I am sure I could have added
the Ruddy Crake, Black Francolin, Painted Sandgrouse, Small Button-quail
and Black-breasted Weaver to the list.
Below is a compiled list of the
species that were seen:
1.Black-crowned Night Heron
2.Indian Pond Heron
5.Crested Honey Buzzard
14.Eurasian Collared Dove
16.Rose ringed Parakeet
21.White throated Kingfisher
32.Brown Rock Chat
33.Pied Bush Chat
46.Asian Pied Starling
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