Gurgaon: A bountiful monsoon and Budhera’s boggy fields have now emerged as the winter home to a flock of migratory birds, including a rare grey plover and grey-headed lapwing. A long-distance migrant, grey plovers are known to breed in Russia during the summer and along the shoreline in the winter months and are uncommon to the Delhi-NCR plains.
“Grey plovers do not usually travel to this part, so their sighting was a real delight. A grey-headed lapwing, also rarely seen in this region, was spotted,” Nikhil Devasar of Delhi Bird Society (DBS) told TOI. On Sunday, a 15-odd group of birders from DBS also spotted 80 species of birds at Budhera and the areas adjoining Chandu.
According to birder Ashima Kumar, the Budhera area is a low-lying agricultural field. “This time, due to the unprecedented rainfall in late October, the whole place is underwater and has become a haven for migratory birds,” Kumar, who was part of the DBS team, said.
“Just a couple of minutes at the site and we spotted a grey-headed lapwing. These birds, more common in China, fly to the north-eastern part of India during winters. We were plain lucky to see one today. As the team took a single-track road that winds around the fields and goes further down, we saw the water was full of coots, greylag geese, shelduck, shovelers, spot-billed ducks, little grebes, avocets, black-winged stilts and black-tailed godwits, among others. Amid this massive congregation was a tiny bird — the grey plover,” Kumar added.
According to the DBS team, Budhera was probably a pit stop for the grey plover. “Grey plovers have been known to land in freshwater wetlands though they cannot get by on them for long and have to find their way to the mudflats of the coastal regions,” Kumar said, adding that Budhera, an unprotected land which hosts thousands of winter birds, was an important home for the migrants. “Though birds still make their way here every winter, the area is dwindling steadily, a universal story around the globe.”
Among other species that were spotted include scaly breasted munias, house sparrows, pied bush chat, black-breasted weavers, ashy prinia, warblers, red-headed buntings, shrikes, black drongo, common and pied starlings.


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