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In a first, birders sight ‘Ortolan Bunting’ in Kashmir

Srinagar:  For the first time, birders have sighted ‘Ortolan Bunting’ in Kashmir.

The bird was spotted at Hokersar wetland on the city outskirts.  


The bird, which is usually found in the European countries and Western Asia was spotted during the four-day-long ‘Great Backyard Bird Count’ (GBBC) that started globally on Friday. 

 “The GBBC is a global bird count event during which birdwatchers all across the world look for birds for four days in February every year. We are also taking part in this global event. We have already set a record by sighting Ortolan Bunting. The sighting happened at Hokersar and this is for the first time that we sighted the bird in J&K,” Irfan Jeelani, founder of the ‘Birds of Kashmir’, told The Kashmir Monitor.

The bird was sighted by ‘Birds of Kashmir’ member Reyan Sofi. “Presenting the first record from J&K and only a few sightings across India,” Sofi said in a Facebook post.

Jeelani said they had dispatched different groups across Jammu and Kashmir as part of the four-day-long event that will conclude on Monday. “We have dispatched 8-10 groups across J&K where we do birding, count species, and do report jointly. This happens all over the world,” he said.

The Birds of Kashmir had started a Facebook page in March 2020 after the start of the Covid-19 lockdown where people started birding from their balconies.

Interestingly, the club later not only brought together birders from across the Line of Control (LoC) but also started documenting rare and exotic winged visitors in Jammu and Kashmir.

After the easing of lockdown, the club intensified its activities and has already documented several rare birds like the Pallas’s Rosefinch, which incidentally happens to be the first in India.

The sightings of Common Redstart (Irfan Jeelani and Wajid Lone), White-Tailed Eagle and Eurasian Curlew (Irfan Jeelani), Little Bunting ( Ansar Ahmad), Duraian Redstart (Akhter Ali), Blyths Rosefinch (Jagjit Singh), Tundra Swans (Reyan Sofi), Yellow Hammer (Reyan Sofi), Pallas’s Rosefinch and Eurasian blackbird (Akhter Ali) are some of the other greatest achievements of the club