entry smap 25 titled

i am right at home with the weekly theme bird and sand. our house in india is very close to arawali/shiroda beach in maharashtra. the beach is often locally called paradise beach but in the last decade tourism has changed the place so much that it no longer deserves the acclaim. fortunately the beach is 4.5 km long and the development is centered around the parts that have road access. so on a walk to the less popular areas one can still encounter different species of waders.

tiroda creek empties into the arabian sea at southern end of the beach. there is a population of kentish plovers (Charadrius alexandrinus seebohmi)living along the creek. when the tide is low single birds or even a flock can often be spotted on the beach itself.


as long as you are friendly and don't come too close they all seem to be quite relaxed pleasantly enjoying another carefree day at the beach
but don't even think about getting into a heated discussion or even a staring contest with them.

but we don't have to go to the beach to see birds in the sand. our plot is pure sand, the same sand as the beach 200 meters away. when we dug our well we struck water at 6 metes and it was pure white sand the whole way down. so any bird on the natural ground at our place is on sand. they include many species
of songbirds. here are a couple of the residents
Blue-winged Leafbirds Chloropsis cochinchinensis are among the birds who enjoy chickoos the most. when leafbirds are in the trees they are very hard to spot but they prefer to eat the ripe chickoos which occasionally fall to the ground.

there they really stand out with their beautiful green bodies and yellow and black faces. though the species is called blue-winged, the local birds are more green than the ones much further east.

we often see White-browed Bulbuls Pycnonotus luteolus in the birdbaths we have in front our house or on the ground eating chickoos and the seasonal cashew fruits, amla and mangoes.

Chestnut-headed Bee-eaters Merops leschenaulti are very much at home in the sand. we have a vertical sandbank about 1 meter high. a small colony of these bee-eaters nest there by making long tunnels and laying eggs in the sandbank. some years bees make their hives in the trees but they never seem to last very long. in addition to the chestnut-headed we have we have green bee-eaters and blue-bearded bee-eaters so that may be the reason.

i could show many more passerines around our house but i know most folks associate the combination of birds and sand with aquatics and waders at the beach so i will leave you to ponder this curious feathered friend

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