Spotted Creeper Exclusive!
I went up to Tal Chhapar (Bangalore –> Jaipur –> Chhapar) upon the invite of Mr. Surat Singh Poonia to photograph spotted creepers. Pooniaji (the legendary range forest officer in Tal Chhapar) has been observing spotted creepers for a few years in the beautiful arid Kejri (prosopis cineraria) forests in and around Chhapar.
Pooniaji has been very thoughtful not to reveal site findings during the breeding season. Much after the breeding season he invited a few keen birders / photographers to glimpse this rarity in his ‘backyard’ which he literally knows every inch of! Earlier this year, in Feb 2011, Delhibird felicitated Pooniaji on his commendable work in Tal Chhapar. The Spotted Creeper is an amazing and mysterious bird of NW and Central India (and Africa) and its recent sightings have completely dried up. For the last couple of years, the bird has been regularly observed by Pooniaji. The bird behaves more like a nuthatch than a tree-creeper making it a tough object to follow unless it makes one of those momentary stops to introspect! We even got to see the nest that a pair used earlier in the season. All creeper images including nest at the end. Having come to the beautiful grasslands of Chhapar again, and with the creeper behind me, I targeted several other species — from falcons to desert foxes and gerbils to spiny-tailed lizards.