March 19, 2018

GBBC 2018: Stories from the Field

CBC 2018 in Manipal, Karnataka

This year’s CBC at Manipal Institute of Technology (MIT) was, as it was last year, a lot of fun. What made it more exciting for me this time was the fact that the students showed great interest and initiative! They were eagerly waiting for the proposed Sunday campus birding, especially after the surprise first-time sighting of the Blue-faced Malkoha on campus a few days prior and the discovery of new birding spots on the recently expanded parts of the campus which otherwise also hosts a mixture of urban, grasslands and plantation habitats in the 180 acres it encapsulates. This is compounded by the presence of other wooded patches which hug the campus at various locations.

The Sunday campus birding saw five of us starting from the main gate at 6:30 AM which started with an auspiciously welcoming note from an Indian Pitta just as we were starting up the eBird app. This set the tone for the remaining birding session. We saw many expected birds, and some special ones like the many Asian Brown Flycatchers found in several spots around the campus (last time we could spot only one), a Rosy Starling trying to blend in a flock of Chestnut-tailed Starlings, and an annoyed-looking pair of Spotted Owlets eyeing us suspiciously. Other sightings which garnered several oohs and aahs were the White-cheeked Barbet going back and forth to its nest in a tree trunk with fruits from a nearby Singapore cherry tree, the White Wagtails in the fields being a delight, a Purple Sunbird sitting against the sun showing off its iridescence, several House Sparrows being very industrious, and a Black-headed Cuckooshrike hopping from tree to tree.

The latter part of our birding session was starting to become slow owing to the rising heat and we decided that the area around food court would be a nice place to explore at that time. Just as we reached the oxidation pond near the food court, a flash of red caught our eyes which turned out to be an adult rufous male Indian Paradise Flycatcher with full streamers! As we were scurrying to get a better look at the bird, I spotted the white Indian Paradise Flycatcher sitting on the opposite side of the pond! To be able to spot both the morphs of this bird at the same time is something one scarcely believes can happen even in a forest! This greatly satisfied everyone’s birding aspirations for the day.

Just as we were thinking that our session could not get better, an Asian Openbill rose out of nowhere and covered our skyline and a Clamorous-reed Warbler sat out momentarily on some reeds in the pond. After basking in the glory of our sightings for a while and scarcely realizing the events that had just transpired, we decide to end our birding session with a high count of 57 species, which is a great step up from last year! I suspect the whiff of breakfast coming from the food court had something to do with their decision to end the birding session there as well. All in all, the sightings and the company I had made this GBBC was a very memorable event at least for me. I am positive it was a fun and informative experience for my students as well, especially when they compared this time’s checklist with the one from last years and seeing the change in the campus’s species composition. We now eagerly wait for the next CBC!


– Rahul Narlanka, Assistant Professor at Manipal Institute of Technology

Newest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Pourush Borgaonkar
Pourush Borgaonkar
2 years ago

this activity is attracting more and more young people , they learn the importance of protecting environment and life of other animal. I am retired forest officer, naturally wild life and environment protection is my passion. My son is an Army officer. They have large campuses with lots of trees which support birds and other animals. Where ever I go , I prepare list of birds and give it to the concerned officer to be kept in record and also request them to conduct census in ensuing.

Bird Count India
2 years ago

Wonderful to hear this Sir! We need more and more people, from all professions and walks of life to be involved. Please let us know if Bird Count India can be of any assistance. Our email address is

Babasaheb Jawale
Babasaheb Jawale
2 years ago

बहोत अच्छा कार्य हो रहा है. विद्यार्थीयोंमे पर्यावरण और पंछीयोंमे रुची बढने लगी है!

More Reads

Delhi eBirders’ Meet-up: 25 November 2017

Delhi eBirders’ Meet-up: 25 November 2017

On 25 November 2017, some eBirders from the city organized a meet-up to get birders together under one roof with the aims of discussing eBird, how to use it more productively, and to ensure that the growth of eBird in Delhi is sustained over the coming years.