Wednesday 11 December 2013

Sanjeevaiah Park, Hyderabad, December 2013

Apparently everyone is supposed to pay the IR10 charge before entering Sanjeevaiah Park through the subway tunnel or cellar steps. So it was odd that I caused such a stir in trying to hand over my money. The man at the ticket desk seemed shocked and I had to pass through an airport-style security scanner and get my bag searched. Cameras are not allowed in the park, but I suspect that the guard had no wish to look after my bag and waved me on. Meanwhile, the rest of the park visitors streamed through an open gate (at Google Earth ref; 17 26 4.59N 78 28 39.98E), ticketless and possibly intent on mischief; or worse, photography.

In 2010, 2 bombs exploded in Hyderabad, claiming 42 souls. 2 other devices were found and defused. The next day 19 further unexploded bombs were found at strategic points around the city. I suspect that the security presence is in response to perceived threat. Bearded wierdos carrying rucksacks attract attention from security guards wherever they go.

The 92 acres of Sanjeevaiah Park in Hyderabad extends out into Hussain Sagar, the city’s big lake. It is a typical city park with lawns, trees and well made paths. It is bordered on 3 sides by the lake and has a small pond which was screened off today. This was a shame as the surroundings of the pond were nicely unkempt.
 The trees along the road that passes the pond were busy with birds. The Indian Golden Oriole was split from its European counterpart a few years ago. The extended eye-stripe is probably the best field marking.

The cawing of House Crows made me think that I would not be able to hear any other bird calls, but a thin insistent “Chiweet” gave away a Greenish Warbler and the harsh “chick” of a Purple-rumped Sunbird drew me towards a stand of pink-flowering trees. 

Other park visitors seemed to have no qualms about flaunting the rules with compact and camera phones, so I pulled out the Canon and took a couple of discrete shots.
There was a Purple Sunbird in the same tree wearing pre-breeding colours. Some species of sunbirds pass through an eclipse plumage. 

I don’t confess to understand the purpose of this phase of the moult, but I suspect that this was what the Purple Sunbird was changing from. What is the difference between eclipse plumage and non-breeding plumage? And why do only a few families pass through it? Sometimes only selected species within a family undergo eclipse. As well as sunbirds, ducks are commonly said to be in eclipse rather than non-breeding. If anyone can shed any light on this issue, please do.

A Black Drongo was perched in the lower branches of the same tree and I ventured a quick snap and then stowed the camera again before my crime progressed from lamb to sheep.

Birds seen; 29

Indian Spot-billed Duck 25, Little Grebe 1, Little Cormorant 1, Cattle Egret 35, Indian Pond-Heron 4, Black Kite 3, Eurasian Coot 3, Red-wattled Lapwing 3, Black-winged Stilt 15, Common Sandpiper 3, Wood Sandpiper 2, Spotted Dove 3, Asian Koel 3, House Swift 6, Coppersmith Barbet 2, Indian Golden Oriole 1, Black Drongo 2, House Crow 70, Barn Swallow 10, Red-vented Bulbul 1, Greenish Warbler 2, Blyth’s Reed Warbler 1, Yellow-bellied Prinia 1, Red-breasted Flycatcher 2, Common Myna 4, Asian Pied Starling 4, Purple-rumped Sunbird 5, Purple Sunbird 4, White-browed Wagtail.

Sanjeevaiah Park is on Necklace Road, on the north shore of Hussain Sagar Lake. There were no facilities inside the park that I could see. There were a couple of refreshment stalls outside the park, close to the entrance.
I should have checked the opening times. There is a big metal fence that will prevent all but the most persistent from getting into the park by any other means that the gate or the subway. According to the HUDA (Hyderabad Urban Development Authority) website, general tickets are issued for entry from 08.00 'til 19.00

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Birding, Birdwatching in Hyderabad, Andra Pradesh, India.


  1. I've wondered about the plumage issues too, especially with species like the Long-tailed Duck and the complex challenges of gulls, so hope you get some responses.