Indian Skimmer pair at Pune

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The Indian Skimmers (Rynchops albicollis) are found mostly in the stretches of Chambal River in Rajasthan, UP and few parts in Orissa but visit rest of India in the winters. The stay normally does not last beyond a week or two in Pune. This freshwater species is considered Vulnerable in IUCN red List due to disturbed breeding grounds from human encroachments, sand mining in rivers and dams on the upstream releasing sudden waters when they breed in the river islands. The polluted waters in major rivers is another worry that has dwindled the prey fishes that they depend on.

While I had visited Chambal to see them, I had missed them there but this time they were closer to home and I thought to make the most of it. The pair seen here was mixed with a very large flock of river terns and would be mostly seen its beak tucked in its feathers but would fight it out with every tern that would want to land nearby it.

The Indian skimmer or Indian scissors-bill (Rynchops albicollis)
With the lower beak longer than the upper one, it dips that in water to skim the water for fishes.
The Indian skimmer or Indian scissors-bill (Rynchops albicollis)
The pair would turn back and skim the water in tandem as if performing a duet dance in sync.

 Indian skimmer Skimmer1.jpg Conservation status Vulnerable (IUCN 3.1)[1] Scientific classification edit Kingdom: Animalia Phylum: Chordata Class: Aves Order: Charadriiformes Family: Laridae Genus: Rynchops Species: R. albicollis Binomial name Rynchops albicollis (Swainson, 1838) Synonyms Rhynchops albicollis The Indian skimmer or Indian scissors-bill (Rynchops albicollis)
The pair was very haphazard in their aerial acrobatics just before landing.
The fun part was off course to watch them to skim the waters in search of their food that is mainly fish. I found out that they are pretty lazy in the morning flying only when there is a raptor like Marsh Harrier overhead and resting most of the times. So, I visited following days on evening to see if they skim the waters. I was not disappointed though. They become active towards evening and then skim the waters for a pretty longer duration. The only issue was light and waters was good only at eastern side so I have to wait for it to skim there. Rest of the time, I would just enjoy their show and wait for them to arrive where I was expecting them to be.

The Indian skimmer or Indian scissors-bill (Rynchops albicollis)
With the extended lower beak in the water, it searches for fish in the water.
The Indian skimmer or Indian scissors-bill (Rynchops albicollis)
The white trailing line in water is the skimming line of the Skimmer.
The Indian skimmer or Indian scissors-bill (Rynchops albicollis)
caption
The Indian skimmer or Indian scissors-bill (Rynchops albicollis)
Sometimes, they would immerse themselves in pursuit of fishes in the water and come out with a splash…
The Indian skimmer or Indian scissors-bill (Rynchops albicollis)
This was the best to see them in tandem skimming the waters together like a perfect couple…
The Indian skimmer or Indian scissors-bill (Rynchops albicollis)
It got a stick instead of fish and snapped it in two the next moment with its scissor bill !
The Indian skimmer or Indian scissors-bill (Rynchops albicollis)
For a moment, I was happy to see it get fish in its skimming but it turned out to be plastic that it let go after releasing the false prey.

Different Strokes

The Indian skimmer or Indian scissors-bill (Rynchops albicollis)
The small river island is usually used by the cattles of villagers nearby. Skimmer is resting in the front here.
The Indian skimmer or Indian scissors-bill (Rynchops albicollis)
The illusion – The Skimmer flying past the Black Winged Stilt.
The Indian skimmer or Indian scissors-bill (Rynchops albicollis)
Skimmer hovering its wings to wait for the place to land in the crowd of River Terns.
The Indian skimmer or Indian scissors-bill (Rynchops albicollis)
Panning while Skimming…

Equipements : Canon 7D Mark II, Canon 500mm F4, Canon 1.4 TC, Tripod and lots of visits and patience 🙂

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Birds of Pune
Vernal Hanging Parrot (Loriculus vernalis)

 

 

 


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