Trip report: Basai, 2010-08-01

By Abhijit Menon-Sen <>

At the end of a hectic and stressful week, Hassath and I spent a pleasant morning at Basai.

While driving to Basai, we saw a fat White-throated Kingfisher trying to kill a very large (and very resilient) insect. It grabbed the bug from a puddle in the road in front of us and smashed it repeatedly on the road; but the unwilling victim kept trying to crawl away, only to be grabbed and subjected to the same harsh treatment again.

A little further on, I almost overlooked my first pair of Greater Painted-snipe in a shallow pond by the road. I've been hearing reports of this species for years, but never had any luck looking for them, so it was a pleasant surprise to get such a nice view.

Other highlights included a lone Whiskered Tern in flight over Basai, an adult and a juvenile Oriental Pratincole, Pheasant-tailed Jaçanas everywhere, some very dark Ruffs, and dozens of Little Egrets—some still with plumes and a patch of purple skin in front of the eye—fighting each other in a flooded paddy field.

Apart from the Ruffs, there were a number of other waders, including Wood, Green, and Marsh Sandpipers, Little Stints, and Redshanks. There was also an unusually large number of Cormorants at Basai—I guess these are the birds that usually feed at Sultanpur, but have been forced away because the lake was drained.

Speaking of which, Sultanpur is still closed.