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Hello *|MMERGE10|*,

The monsoon is upon us, and has showered a new dose of vigour into life, as depicted so well in this cartoon by Rohan Chakravarty.

Looking back at the summer that passed, while it is normal to see a dip in migrant sightings during May-June (as nearly all the wintering species have already left for greener pastures in the north), yet, the enthusiasm among birders refused to wane. This is the season to keep a lookout for breeding migrants instead, including one of our most famous (and intriguing) birds - the Pied Cuckoo. As the monsoon currents developed over the Subcontinent Pied Cuckoos -- flying in from Africa -- made an appearance in various parts of northern India. The action promises to continue over the next couple of months.

Of course, the focus during summer has shifted more on summer migrants such as Indian Golden Oriole, Asian Paradise-Flycatcher, Indian Pitta and Blue-tailed Bee-eater. With 119 and 85 migrant species being reported in May and June, respectively, the total number of species logged in the current migration year rose to an impressive 273 -- all thanks to keen-eyed birders who refused to let the summer dull their spirits.

Meanwhile, a lot more people have been using eBird to log in their observations. And the Monthly eBirding Challenge has added a fillip to the rising interest in bird listing. We hope that you too have been putting up your birding lists. In case you haven't yet discovered the joys of listing, we urge you to give it a try with eBird and the eBirding Challenge.

Please visit our blog for news and updates.

Happy birding!
Raman and Suhel

May-June 2014 at a glance

[Note: the following summaries are based on reports pertaining to migrant species only]
Top contributors in May 2014
MW: Prathamesh Desai, Kiran More, Shantilal Varu, Arun Bharos, Sarthak Awhad
eBird: Chris Bowden, Panchapakesan Jeganathan, TheNatureTrust, Mike Prince, Praveen J
Top contributors in June 2014
MW: Jayant Wadatkar, Prathamesh Desai, Shantilal Varu, Vikram Jit Singh, Aditi Mukherjee
eBird: Ramit Singal, Chandra Sekhar Bandi, TheNatureTrust, Ninad Thakoor, Raman Kumar

First time contributors
Sixteen new participants joined the MigrantWatch fold in May-June. We are pleased to welcome Harish Prakash, Alkesh Vishwasrao Thakare, Manish Chinchane, Yogeshwara Krishnan K, Rajdeep Mitra, Sumanta Pramanick, Satish Chettri, Bharat Patel, S Rajagopal, Banu Prakash KN, Ramana Kumar Kandula, Aditi Mukherjee, Abhisheka K, Vishnu Kumar Sharma, Anshuman Sarkar, and M V Bhaktha to the MigrantWatch community!

Top States - May 2014
MW: Maharashtra, Gujarat, Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh, Karnataka
eBird: Uttarakhand, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Kerala, Jammu & Kashmir
Top States - June 2014
MW: Maharashtra, Uttar Pradesh, Gujarat, Rajasthan, Chandigarh
eBird: Himachal Pradesh, Karnataka, Goa, Tamil Nadu, Maharashtra

Total records in May 2014:  1,147  [68 on MW + 1,079 on eBird]
Total records in June 2014:  723  [45 on MW + 678 on eBird]

Total sightings for the 2013-2014 season7,370 [+ 28,167 on eBird]

Total sightings in the MW database: 30,169  [+ 64,625 on eBird]

Blog

Recent posts
Celebrating the monsoon
Pied Cuckoo, Pied Cuckoo, where are you?
30,000th record on MigrantWatch!
Monthly eBirding Challenges
Results out for Great Backyard Bird Count 2014
Demoiselle Crane ringed in Mongolia sighted in Rajasthan
Revised names for MigrantWatch species

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And if you would like to use the blog to share an interesting story about migratory birds with other MigrantWatchers, do write to us!

Migrant Photos

Recent photos
Pied Cuckoo by Vishnu Kumar Sharma
Indian Pitta by Rakesh Khedwal
Brown-headed Gull by Kiran More
Lesser Flamingo by Shantilal Varu
Oriental Pratincole by Yogeshwara Krishnan K

Enjoy many more such pictures on the MigrantWatch gallery.

Pied Cuckoo campaign 2014

The Pied Cuckoo has landed! In the past couple of months we have had about 150 records of this extraordinary bird. Did it arrive earlier this year? To help find out please upload your Pied Cuckoo sightings for this season. As more data trickles in we will have a clearer picture of the patterns of its arrival. Meanwhile, you can take a look at previous year's patterns and tips on identification on this link.

The monthly eBirding Challenge

There has been a lot of interest in the Monthly eBirding Challenge that was started recently. It is a fun activity that helps you keep track of your birding activities, such as: how often do you go birding, how many species do you see each month. The Challenge has a different flavour every month. What is this month's challenge? To find out more and to take part in this exciting activity, visit this link. The Monthly eBirding Challenge helps you maintain your sightings, and contributes to knowledge about India’s birds. What's more, it gives you a chance to win prizes too!