In a first for Delhi-NCR, birders spot rare Brambling in Bhondsi

Delhi: 15 March, 2022 (Hindustan Times)

Experts said the sighting was extremely rare as the bird is usually found in northern Europe and in India, where it is sighted in the western Himalayas, Kashmir Valley or in the higher reaches of Himachal Pradesh.

 

The non-breeding male Brambling. (Source: Shivani Sharma)

In a first for Delhi and the National Capital Region, a non-breeding male Brambling was sighted in Bhondsi area of Gurugram district by a group of birdwatchers on Sunday.

Experts said the sighting was extremely rare as the bird is usually found in northern Europe and in India, where it is sighted in the western Himalayas, Kashmir Valley or in the higher reaches of Himachal Pradesh. Birders said the sighting could be a vagrant bird, since it is not known to be found in the plains.

Before this, the closest the bird was spotted to Delhi-NCR was at Uttarakhand’s Landour this January, they said.

Pankaj Gupta, a birder with the Delhibird Foundation, said, “This is a higher hill bird. In India, it has been sighted in places like Kashmir, Chitkul, Kalpa and Sangla in Himachal. This bird is not supposed to be in Delhi or anywhere in this region, and there is no historical record of it being sighted in the plains before this.”

The sighting was recorded on eBird website by birder Shivani Sharma, Rajagopala Rao Srinadhuni and Arushi Kanwar. The rare bird was recorded among 23 other species spotted during a walk on Sunday by a group of birders, according to the details uploaded on eBird. The website is an online data base of bird observations from across the world, where records are uploaded after verification.

“It is difficult to say why the bird was spotted here. The nearest spot to Delhi NCR where the bird was sighted earlier is Landour in Dehradun district, where it was seen in January this year. Some sightings have been reported near Shimla also, but no place located lower than that,” added Gupta.

Birders said Brambling is a rare winter migrant, and they are usually found in flocks. They said the authorities must keep an eye on the region next year onwards, in case the bird is sighted again.

Kanwar B Singh, a Delhi-based birder, said, “Brambling is a European bird and a winter visitor to few areas in India like Kashmir or Himachal Pradesh. Most of the sightings in India are only from these two states during peak winters. There have never been any sightings from plains, therefore the sighting in Bhondsi is extremely rare. The recording has verified, but as the bird is already rare in the higher reaches of western Himalayas, a sighting here means that this could be a stray vagrant bird.”

He said the bird was sighted in Pahalgam, Kashmir on February 26, and in January too during this winter.

Shivani Sharma could not be contacted for a comment.