to be one of the 50 most rarest birds in the world, the sighting
of this pair of globally threatened white bellied herons
is really significant because a nesting site of the white bellied
herons had not been seen for over 80 years since the last sighting
in Burma in the 1920s.
In 2003, with financial support from a wellwisher,
Society for the Protection of Nature (RSPN) started a project
to study the White Bellied Heron, which is found in Bhutan. A few
individuals were known to live along the Punatsangchu Valley. In
April of 2003, the RSPN found a nesting pair!
The photographs in the series here were taken on May
18, 2003. This was my second visit to the nesting site with the
researcher from RSPN who was stationed at the site. The pair already
had a month old chick by this time. The site is a chir pine forest
in a small dry valley of a tributary to the Punatsangchhu. The nest
is high up on a large chirpine tree and you would not see it or
the birds unless you knew where to look.
The chick is about a month old in the pictures and
has started to stand and stretch its wings a bit. It has the characteristic
white belly and has a yellow stripe on throat. The parents take
turns feeding. When one bird is out feeding, the other stands guard
over the nest. That morning, from 6:30 am to 1pm, two shifts were
observed with one parent away for 2-3 hours at a time.
These are the best pictures I could get within a limited
amount of time and with limited equipment (80-200 lens with 2x converter).
View is from a hide upslope with difficult lighting. There is some
amount of cropping of the pictures excpet for the photo below and
the top-most frame.