Dewar’s Calendar – December

This entry was posted Friday, 14 December, 2012 at 4:31 pm

We bring to you the second in the series of extracts from Douglas Dewar’s A Bird Calendar for Northern India, published in 1916. This is what Dewar writes for December.

December, like November, although climatically very pleasant, is a month in which the activities of the feathered folk are at a comparatively low ebb. The cold, however, sends to India thousands of immigrants. Most of these spend the whole winter in the plains of India. Of such are the redstart, the grey-headed flycatcher, the snipe and the majority of the game birds. Besides these regular migrants there are many species which spend a few days or weeks in the plains, leaving the Himalayas when the weather there becomes very inclement. Thus the ornithologist in the plains of Northern India lives in a state of expectancy from November to January. Every time he walks in the fields he hopes to see some uncommon winter visitor. It may be a small-billed mountain thrush [1], a blue rock-thrush, a wall-creeper, a black bulbul, a flycatcher-warbler [2], a green-backed tit, a verditer flycatcher, a black-throated [3] or a grey-winged ouzel [4], a dark-grey bush-chat [5], a pine-bunting, a Himalayan whistling thrush [6], or even a white-capped redstart. Indeed, there is scarcely a species which inhabits the lower ranges of the Himalayas that may not be driven to the plains by a heavy fall of snow on the mountains. Naturally it is in the districts nearest the hills that most of these rare birds are seen—but there is no part of Northern India in which they may not occur.

Current names: [1] Scaly Thrush; [2] Grey-hooded Warbler; [3] Dark-throated Thrush; [4] Grey-winged Blackbird; [5] Grey Bushchat; [6] Blue Whistling Thrush.

Taken, with grateful thanks, from Project Gutenberg.

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