November is the time of the year when (in birding terms) winter truly sets in. Most winter migrants will have arrived by the end of the month and those on passage wouldn’t be seen until spring next year. The chirps of leaf warblers can be heard across the country while the wetlands now play host to varying amounts of waterfowl. This is a wonderful time to be out birding and start exploring to look for the many surprises that this season has in store!
If you have been following the journey(s) of the Beijing Cuckoos, you would know that the first of the tagged cuckoos has made its way to Africa already, while a second is almost there. But it is not just cuckoos; Amur Falcons also pass through India on their way to Africa in this month and as of October, a few places in the country were already turning up reports of the falcons.
A gaggle on its way
Have most of the ducks arrived in your region? Now its time for the geese! Both the common species of geese in the country – the Greylag Goose and the Bar-headed Goose – reach wetlands south of the Himalayas much later than wintering ducks. They should be visible November onwards though, and as the line graphs show – the Bar-headed Geese will make their way further south (in this example, Maharashtra) around the same time as the Greylag reach their more northern winter grounds (in this example, Haryana).
Filling the gaps
A new eBird challenge was also announced this month. This challenge encourages birders to visit the most under-birded districts (by month) of the country. For this month, that includes 326 districts across the nation which have no more than 30 minutes of birding represented on eBird over the past years.
If you are unable to take part in the gap-filling challenge, you can also take part in other challenges! The recently announced and very exciting Patch Birding Challenge as well as the eBird India Data Challenge are still up and running. As the season changes, both challenges (one uses your observations and the other uses the eBird dataset) are especially useful to track changes in birdlife or even to answer simple questions like “Where do I stand the best chance of seeing both species of geese in November?”
As usual, there is always the eBird India monthly challenge to take part in. This month’s challenge asks users to visit multiple sites and upload multiple lists from those sites. You can also take part in the global eBirder of the Month challenge by uploading more media (pictures and audio) to your checklists.
Two important birding events happening this month are the Bird Festival of Goa (11-13 Nov) at Bondla Wildlife Sanctuary and the Tamilbirders meet (12-13 Nov) in Tirunelveli. Bird Count India and eBird-India will be represented at both events; do drop by to say hello!