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Home >> Birding Banter >> Khadar in the days gone by
 

Khadar in the days gone by

Apr 19, 2006 at 01:37 AM
 
Khadar in the days gone by - Sudhir Vyas Oct 2001
 
Though the sighting of Ruddy-breasted Crake in October 2001 was inconclusive, Madanpur Khadar does hold (held?) Ruddy-breasted Crake. Donahue collected it here in 1962/63 and I saw them on a few occasions in mid 1980s at just the same spot - in reed-bordered ponds below the ashpit bund, a little off the stream. Could not locate them in 1990s. But they could well still be around, pushed into the remaining patches of reedbed, where they may be easier to locate. The Ruddys were probably resident, as they were seen both in mid and late winter as well as in June/July. 

May be worthwhile looking for them at the same or other patches, before they vanish completely. 

I felt very bad reading about the ruination of this site. I've spent many wonderful mornings there since the late 1970s. There was no habitation or construction between the Agra canal and the river then (no road, just a dust track - one had to come through Madanpur village across the canal. There was no Sarita Vihar or Kalindi Kunj, no Okhla barrage either). Just reedbeds, ricefields and vegetable gardens, all very green and very wet. Till mid-1980s, it was still relatively untouched though the barrage was coming up; in the 1990s, the road appeared and with it all the construction, By 1999, reedbeds were bulldozed to expand the ashpit. 

In 1978, Sarus bred here. In the mid-80s, a Black Ibis pair nested on the cross-bars of the big pylon that stands in the fields. As recently as 1996, I've had a flock of 15 Black Ibis feeding there. Till mid-80s, upto 5 Adjutant Storks sometimes appeared in late summer (June-July) between Okhla and this site. An Imperial Eagle was often present in winter then; one glorious morning there were four between the canal and the river! Steppe Eagles were common, upto 25 together once, probably a migrating group. On one occasion, a classic black phase Long-legged Buzzard was hunting over the marsh with a brightly marked juvenile Spotted Eagle, a male Pallid Harrier and a male Marsh Harrier, all in superb view together. The marsh was also a favourite hunting ground for a Peregrine in the 1980s, which perched in the evenings in the edge of the bund to survey the scene. The vegetable gardens produced a Siberian Rubythroat once. More recently, the marsh has held Black Bittern, White-winged Tern and Bristled Grassbird.
 
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