sparse winter visitor


A tiny wader with slightly decurved, black bill and black legs. Size, plumage and bill length varies. In non-breeding plumage, grey above; grey breast sides. Breeding plumage a mix of rufous, black and grey above with rufous-streaked crown and unique black belly patch below black-streaked breast. Has wing bars, black line through white rump, grey tail.

Jack Snipe

The smallest and most distinctive snipe, and the only one with a wedge-shaped tail that is not rufous. Short-billed, with distinctive head pattern (split supercilium, with short dark line over eye and no pale central coronal stripe), conspicuous long straight golden scapular and mantle-stripes and streaked breast. In flight, no pale panel on upperwing-coverts; note rounded wings with faint white trailing edges and pointed tail, partly white underwing and extensively white belly.

Short-eared Owl

A medium-sized, heavily-streaked buff, terrestrial owl with long wings. Upperparts and breast streaked blackish on buff ground colour. Upper primaries
are yellowish with black tips and white trailing edge. Under-wing whitish with black tips and carpal crescents. A small head with short ear tufts and bold facial disc; black mask round small yellow irises. Cat-like face. Sexes alike. Diurnal hunter covering ground buoyantly. Rests in grass clumps or in shade of thorn
bush. If flushed often flies high when may be mobbed by raptors or corvids. Will perch on posts.

Red-crested Pochard

A large, square-headed duck, the male has a deep orange-crested head with red bill and black neck and breast, brown back, white flanks and black stern. Female is more coffee coloured with pale cheeks and dark bill. In flight, both sexes display broad white wing-bars; male looks black below. Swims high and proud.

Common Shelduck

A large, pied duck with a broad chestnut breast band that wraps around the upper back, glossy green-black head and neck, red bill, black flight feathers, back and belly stripes, chestnut vent, green specula and dark pink legs. Size varies; females smaller but otherwise similar. A strong flier on long pointed wings.

Demoiselle Crane

Sexes alike. Overall plumage grey; black head and neck; prominent white ear tufts; long black feathers of lower neck fall over breast; brownish- grey secondaries sickle-shaped and drooping over tail. Young birds have grey head and much shorter drooping secondaries over tail than adults. Huge flocks in winter, often many thousands; feeds early mornings and early evenings in cultivation; rests during hot hours on marsh edges and sandbanks; flies en masse when disturbed.

Yellow-wattled Lapwing

Sexes alike. Jet-black cap, bordered with white; sandy-brown upper body; black band in white tail; in flight, white bar in black wings; black chin and throat;
sandy-brown breast; black band on lower breast; white below; yellow lappets above and in front of eyes and yellow legs diagnostic. Solitary or in pairs, rarely small gatherings; sometimes with the more common Red-wattled Lapwing V. indicus; as a rule, prefers drier habitat; quiet and unobtrusive; feeds on ground, moving suspiciously.