Participant Profile: Sachin Shurpali

This entry was posted Friday, 6 April, 2012 at 9:07 am

Where do you live?
I live in Bangalore.

When did you start watching birds?
2007! I Started by photographing birds but lately I am trying to do only birding. Thanks to the purists in my group.

Who would you consider your birding mentor?
My birding mentor is Praveen J.

Please describe a memorable birding experience.
One of my most memorable experiences was my trip in the open ocean off the coast of Kannur, Kerala. The trip, specifically intended to look at pelagic birds, was the first of its kind, I believe, at least for the Malabar Natural History Society (MNHS) and the first time for all of us on the venture. Pelagic birding involves long hours of gazing at the sea, with mostly no birds, and add to that a bird-repelling chum in the form of vomit from fellow sea-sick birders! To start with, all the pelagic birds from the field guides were unfamiliar to us (all of them were potential lifers!). How do we really spot them if they are there? If we see them, can we get close to them at all? Would we get enough time to identify them? Will these birds tolerate us or fly several nautical miles away? On the other hand, we were warned not to get too excited with sightings and jump off the boat to get the best view among all birders and get watched as Homo sapiens pelagicus!

It had been quite a few hours, the dullness was setting in when to our good luck we saw the first shearwaters. Our energy levels were all up to identify the birds and witness their shearing-water flight. We also soon realized that the bird activities around the fishing boats is one of the best ways to find them. Our pelagic trip ended with more than sixteen hours into the sea and maybe just two hours of actually seeing some birds. However, it was worth the effort, for we managed to see many pelagic species, including Masked Boobies, Arctic Skuas and Flesh-footed Shearwaters. An interesting entry to our list was pelagic Brahminy kites! Thanks to MNHS, Praveen J and all birders on the boat (and off boat) for this memorable experience.

What are your favourite migrants?
All of them, although my current interest seems to be in warblers.

What is your favourite place to watch migrants?
Since I largely focus on warblers, I find Hessaraghatta to be a good place for the Hippolais (also called Iduna) and Sylvia warblers, Nandi Hills for Phylloscopus warblers, and Rampura for Acrocephalus warblers (all locations around Bangalore).

Do you have any advice for beginning birdwatchers and naturalists?
I recommend them to read Bill Oddie’s Little Black Bird Book. (Thanks to Mike for his insistence.)

Why do you think people should care about birds and nature?
On a lighter note, because it’s fun, and on a serious note we must ensure that the next several generations have fun!

Any other information that you’d like to share with MigrantWatchers?
MigrantWatch is a good initiative in documenting our avifauna and thus contribution to the same will be key to continuation of ecological studies which are important for the healthy survival of all.

You can see Sachin’s MigrantWatch contributions here.

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