Pune: Birdwatchers in the city are up for a treat as they can travel 70 to 80 kms on the west at Lonavala and get a view of the migrating Amur falcons as they halt here just before crossing the ocean into Africa. On the eastern side of the city, you can go about 140 kms from the city at Ujani dam backwaters to get a glimpse of the migrated Flamingos and Bar-headed Geese.
Hobby photographer Adv Deepak Laddha has shared interesting information and brought these stunning pictures of the Amur falcon spotted at the Lonavala grasslands for the readers of Deccan Express. Here’s his take:
We Punekars are fortunate to be surrounded with nature and migratory birds know days Lonavala grassland is famous for Lesser Kristel, Eurasian Sparrowhawk but main attraction is Amur Falcon, it is like icing on Cake, it is great opportunity and feast to student of Ornithologist, birds watchers and Photographers to learn and study about Amur Falcon before he starts his next journey towards southern Africa. We can see groups of Amur birds in the grasslands and they are continuously busy in the feeding and getting prepared themselves for non stop fly and cross Arabian Sea which will take a couple of days continuous fly.
The Amur falcon is a small raptor of the falcon family. It breeds in south-eastern Siberia and Northern China before migrating in large flocks across India and over the Arabian Sea to winter in Southern Africa. They visit India during their migration journey. This migration happens in large numbers and the sheer size of the flock makes it a great spectacle, something every wildlife enthusiast must witness at least once in their lifetime. Fortunately for us, these handsome falcons make a stop-over in India.
The Amur falcon feeds mainly late in the evening or early in the morning capturing a wide range of insects in the air or on the ground. They capture most of their prey in flight, sometimes by hovering, but will also pick prey by alighting on the ground.
The winter diet appears to be almost entirely made up of insects but they take small birds, mammals and amphibians to feed their young in their breeding range. The rains in Africa produce swarms of termites, locusts, ants and beetles that provide ample food.
Amur 150 gm bird every year, the small, resilient birds make the daring voyage from breeding grounds in Russia and China to winter in southern Africa. It is supposed that the falcons cross the Arabian Sea during their migration, but much is still unknown about the patterns of their estimated 22,000 km migration.
Amur Falcon is also famous for being the world’s largest migratory bird. Nagaland is also known as the Falcon capital of the world.