Twenty years in Bombay had not provided me an opportunity to be in close proximity with nature, but this place presented me that and not for a day or two, but for two years. This University, provided me with an excellent opportunity for pursuing my interest in birds.
The University of Pune, in addition to being a highly esteemed educational institution is also famed for its variety of ecosystems spread over an area of about four hundred acres.
University campus has the largest cultivation of Dalbergia , open drylands, scrublands, few evergreen patches, agricultural farmlands and small waterbodies. All these together form a very fascinating combination of ecosystems.
Seasonal changes are very well noticed here. The tiny green leaves of Dalbergia melanoxylem and green carpets on the ground dissappear soon after monsoon. Cold breeze sweeps away the greenery, but soon the warmth of the spring sprinkles pink and red colours on the Glyricidia and Silk Cotton trees. In March a brilliant yellow appears on the Cassias. Small dark red Ficus fruits attract not only the eyes of the passerby but also a variety of birds.
This campus locally known as Ganeshkhind lies at 18 degrees 34' North latitude and 73 degrees 53' East longitude. It has a mean elevation of about 575 metres above sea level.
The total area of the campus is 6,50,000 square metres out of which 1,16,619.8 square metres is used for construction. Average maximum temperature of this place over the last two years has been 30 to 35 degrees Celsius and the average minimum temperature is 18 to 20 degrees Celsius. Absolute minimum and maximum temperatures were 2.7 and 40.3 degrees celsius respectively, over the last two years. This place receives average annual rainfall of 900 to 1000 mm usually over four months in a year, from June to October. But sometimes most of the rainfall is received over a week's period in July-September.
The checklist (List 1) contains seventy six species of birds. When this list was compared with the checklist made by Dr. Goel in 1974 , 22 species of birds were present in that list that were not sighted by me (List 3). Other birdwatchers like Yogesh Wadadekar and Ramana Athreya have either sighted these birds or heard their calls, but this need further verification.
This campus provides shelter for variety of birds. Some are migratory but most of them are residential. Although the distribution is more or less uniform there are patches like University Park, old swimming pool, nursery and Botany garden which have a higher density of birds than other places in the campus. Paradise Flycatcher, Hornbill and some waterbirds are the major attractions of University Park. Near old swimming pool too, many birds can be seen.
Birds like Pheasant-tailed Jacana are not seen on the campus anymore. There is only one waterbody left on campus and that is the old swimming pool. Even this place is now highly disturbed. The small lotus pond in the University park dries up soon after the monsoons. Khadki pond which was an ideal place for such birds was drained and converted into plantation. The forested area is being drastically reduced. University park which is good bird habitat, is also highly disturbed as it has become a favoured picnic spot.
These observations provide just qualitative data. Due to insufficient time, quantitative studies could not be undertaken. However I hope that this work would be helpful for amateur birdwatchers and future detailed studies.
I am indebted to Dr. Gadgil of the Geography Department and the people at the Estate Office for providing me with the necessary information regarding the University campus.
There are no words to convey my thanks to all my friends and classmates.
|Whitebacked Vulture||Gyps benghalensis|
|Pariah Kite||Milvus migrans|
|Blackwinged Kite||Elanus caeruleus|
|Whitebreasted Waterhen||Amaurornis phoenicurus|
|Indian Moorhen||Gallinula chloropus|
|Pond Heron||Ardeola greyii|
|Night Heron||Nycticorax nyctycorax|
|Cattle Egret||Bubulcus ibis|
|Little Egret||Egretta garzetta|
|Little Cormorant||Phalacocorax niger|
|Blue Rock Pigeon||Columba livia|
|Spotted Dove||Streptopelia chinensis|
|Little Brown Dove||Streptopelia senegalensis|
|Redwattled Lapwing||Vanellus indicus|
|Wood Sandpiper||Tringa glareola|
|Pied Crested Cuckoo||Clamator jacobinus|
|Indian Koel||Eudynamys scolopacea|
|Crow Pheasant||Centropus sinensis|
|Roseringed Parakeet||Psittacula krameri|
|Palm Swift||Cypsiurus sinensis|
|House Swift||Apus affinis|
|Whitebreasted Kingfisher||Halcyon smyrnensis|
|Small Blue Kingfisher||Alcedo althis|
|Coppersmith||Megalaima haemocephala muller|
|Mahratta Woodpecker||Picoides mahrattensis|
|Crag Martin||Hirundo rupestris|
|Dusky Crag Martin||Hirundo concolar|
|Common Swallow||Hirundo rustica|
|Redrumped Swallow||Hirundo daurica|
|Rufousbacked Shrike||Lanius schach|
|Golden Oriole||Oriolus oriolus|
|Common Myna||Acridotheres tristis|
|Brahmini Myna||Sternus pagodarum|
|Small Minivet||Pericrocotus cinnamomeus|
|Scarlet Minivet||Pericrocotus flammeus|
|Redvented Bulbul||Pycnonotus cafer|
|Large Grey Babbler||Turdoides malcolmi|
|Jungle Babbler||Turdoides striatus|
|Redbreasted Flycatcher||Muscicapa parva|
|Whitebrowed Fantail Flycatcher||Rhipidura auriola|
|Paradise Flycatcher||Terpsiphone paradisi|
|Tickell's Blue Flycatcher||Muscicappa tickelliae|
|Ashy Wren Warbler||Prinia socialis|
|Indian Wren Warbler||Prinia subflava|
|Streaked Fantail Warbler||Cisticola juncidis|
|Magpie Robin||Copsicus saularis|
|Lesser Whitethroat||Sylvia curruca|
|Indian Robin||Saxicoloides fulicata|
|Tailor Bird||Orthotomus sutorius|
|Grey Tit||Parus major|
|Yellowcheeked Tit||Parus xanthogenys|
|Purplerumped Sunbird||Nectarinia zeylonica|
|Purple Sunbird||Nectarinia asiatica|
|White Eye||Zosterops palpebrosa|
|Red Munia||Estrilda amandara|
|Spotted Munia||Loncura punctulata|
|Whitethroated Munia||Loncura malabarica|
|Baya Weaver Bird||Ploceus phillipinus|
|House Sparrow||Passer domesticus|
|Grey Wagtail||Motacilla caspica|
|Large Pied Wagtail||Motacilla maderaspatensis|
|White Wagtail||Motacilla alba|
|Yellowheaded Wagtail||Motacilla citreola|
|Small Green Bee-eater||Merops orientalis|
|Grey Hornbill||Tockus birostris|
|Black Drongo||Dicrurus adsimilis|
|Jungle Crow||Corvus macrorhyncos|
|House Crow||Corvus splendens|
|Spotted Owlet||Athene brama|
|Indian Roller||Coracias benghalensis|
|Black Redstart||Phoenicurus orchruros|
|Pied Bushchat||Saxicola caprata|
|Domestic Fowl||Gallus domesticus|
Last modified on: Tue Apr 5 15:45:22 2005