During recent trip to Pong Water reservoir in Himachal Pradesh, we saw lot of flocks of Bar Headed Goose and they were almost every-time around us because the huge migration count in this region. This Photo Journey is purely dedicated to Bar headed Goose, which had top count during Bird Counting activity during Jan 2012 @ Pong Dam, Himachal Pradesh, India.
At Pong, Bar Headed Goose can be seen in flocks of hundreds to thousands. Above Photograph shows some of the birds from a huge flock, which was flying from east to west with Snow Covered Dhaulandhar Mountain Ranges in the background. During this trip, Bar Headed Goose were most encountered birds and during the second I was able to recognize the sound among the various other bird sounds near Pong Lake.
At Pong, Bar Headed Goose can either be seen around green fields where they graze on short grass OR near water, either floating and socializing :) . Bar Headed Goose have been reported as migrating south from Tibet, Kazakhstan, Mongolia and Russia before crossing the Himalaya.
The Bar-headed Goose is thought to be one of the world's highest flying birds and having been heard flying across Mount Makalu, which is 5th highest mountain on earth at 8500 metres. Apparently Bar Headed Goose are seen over Mount Everest (8848 metres, although this is a second hand report with no verification).
Flying Bar Headed Goose in front of Trans-Himalayan Ranges of Dhauladhar with fresh snow of Winters !
Incredibly demanding migration has long puzzled physiologists and naturalists: 'there must be a good explanation for why the birds fly to the extreme altitudes, particularly since there are passes through the Himalaya at lower altitudes, and which are used by other migrating bird species" quoted from Black & Tenney (1980).
The Bar-headed Goose (Anser indicus) is a goose which breeds in Central Asia in colonies of thousands near mountain lakes and winters in South Asia, as far south as peninsular India. It lays three to eight eggs at a time in a ground nest.
This year some of the Bar headed Goose were also seen, who were marked last year. Wildlife department of Pong Dam, Himachal Pradesh, add bands on neck of some of the birds to analyze the patterns over years, because these birds start going back in March month of every year. Which means a bird which had come last year after flying miles from Siberia, came again this year. Many experienced birders were seeing the same bird again after an year and I could see the happiness on their faces.
At pong many professionals have come to do bird counting. Bar Headed Goose were in dominance. . After two day of long exercise, it was concluded that 119500 waterfowls of 103 different species visited Pong Dam Lake this year. Dominant species were Bar Headed Goose (25000), Common Coot (17750), Northern Pintail (13200), Common Pochard (10200), Tufted Pochard (7600) Common Teal (7400), Little Cormorant (6800) and. Pied Avocet (12) is noticed for the second successive year. Common Shelduck (30), rarely seen in Indian wetlands, was also observed.
This was my first serious attempt to know birds and bar Headed Goose were the first ones which can be remembered very fast. Name of the bird is also very easy to remember, as it describes well the appearance of Bar Headed Goose. I am sure that you must have noticed black bars on the head.
Bar-headed Goose birds migrate over the Himalayas to spend the winter in parts of India (from Himachal, Punjab, Assam to as far south as Tamil Nadu. The winter habitat of the Bar-headed Goose is cultivated fields, where it feeds on barley, rice and wheat, and may damage crops. At the same, these can be beneficial which depends upon time they spend in your fields. Some of the wheat seed can better handle this problem as it may lead to multiple branches in a plant, which means more production. At the same time, they also contribute nitrogen and other relevant stuff for the soil. Birds from Kyrgyzstan have been noted to stopover in western Tibet and southern Tajikistan for 20 to 30 days before migrating further south.
Bar Headed Goose are very Photogenic and favor Photographers, as the movement of these birds in quite predictable and smooth. These birds fly with a consistent speed and people with high zoom could have tried nice Panning shots :)
Lot of information shared here is picked from Wikipedia and official note form Himachal Wildlife Department.