Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

A movie of my favourite haunt: Bannerghatta, zoo area, 261114

November 28, 2014

Instead of the pictures, this time I decided to try and make a movie, and here goes:

Hope you enjoy the images!

More photos on my FB album,

here

Nandi Hills, 271114

November 28, 2014

Email to the bngbirds egroup:

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The morning clouds wreathed the mountains:

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I thought, “Giants are those who rise above what obscures them, and raise their heads to the sunlight.”

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Five of us found ourselves free, and decided to visit Nandi Hills this morning. One of us had to drop out, but the rest of us had a very pleasant morning. It was rather surprising that apart from the Black and Brahminy Kites, we did not sight a single raptor. But that did not come in the way of our enjoying Blue-capped Rock Thrushes playing hide and see k with us, a flock of Oriental White-eyes darting like Christmas ornaments in a large Thuja bush, an Asian Paradise Flycatcher flaunting his ribbony tail in rippling flights, or watching Puff-throated Babbler leaf-litter behaviour.

Mist and most…that was the theme.

Mist: It was lovely watching the clouds flow like rivers across the valleys…

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but very disturbing to see the pall of dirty smog over Bangalore.

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It reminded me of the awful smog one saw as one landed in Los Angeles…we don’t seem to learn from the mistakes made in other countries. However, the mist lifted quite soon and we enjoyed all the birds that we sighted and observed.

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Most: We saw most of the “regular” birds that one expects in Nandi Hills, and though we would, of course, have been happier if we’d sighted some more raptors, we were still satisfied. Another “most” was that most of the birds could not be photographed, appearing for fleeting seconds, or grinning at us from behind a lot of leaf litter. This was definitely an outing for the lenses in our eyes, not the ones in our cameras. I need not mention that the warblers led this list that I call “Avian Flew”…before we got a good look…off they flew!

I can never understand some of the logic behind what happens at Nandi Hills. The direct access to the nursery area was wide open…and yet the path that leads to the Arkavathi spring was completely blocked, for no good reason at all. Similarly, the view bridge across the valley, no doubt constructed at considerable cost, has the central section locked up!

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Why do we have this “you can’t go there” attitude even in public spaces?

I was happy to note that new toilets have been built at the old ticket area, which are still reasonably clean…but there was no water in the stalls, and this would stink them up in no time. Building facilities is one thing..maintaining them well is a definite need which does not seem to be addressed. And for the crowds we see during the weekends,surely these facilities are very inadequate. We were not spared the sight of many men with their backs to us, in “streaming video”.

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Rs. 1 for peeing, Rs. 2 for pooping! This never fails to make me laugh!

I’ve added the bird list at eBird at

http://ebird.org/ebird/view/checklist?subID=S20694936

I have a question…where does one enter the Common Tailorbird? Did I miss it out somewhere in the list?

Physical list:

Babbler, Puff-throated

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Barbet, Coppersmith
Barbet, White-cheeked
Bee-eater, Green
Bulbul, Red-whiskered
Bushchat, Pied
Dove, Laughing
Dove, Spotted
Drongo, Ashy
Drongo, Black
Egret, Cattle (on the way)
Egret,Little (on the way)
lowerpecker, Pale-billed
Flycatcher, Asian Brown

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Flycatcher, Asian Paradise

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Flycatcher, Tickell’s Blue
Flycatcher, White-browed Fantail
Iora, Common
Junglefowl, Grey
Kingfisher, White-throated
Kite, Black
Kite,Brahminy
Malkoha, Blue-faced (on the way)
Myna, Common
Myna, Jungle
Oriole, Eurasian Golden
Parakeet, Rose-ringed
Pigeon, Blue Rock
Robin, Indian
Roller, Indian
Sunbird, Purple-rumped
Swift, Asian Palm
Tailorbird, Common
Thrush, Blue Rock
Thrush, Blue-capped Rock

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here

is my earlier post about the male…

Thrush, Orange-headed
Wagtail, Grey

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Wagtail, White-browed
Warbler, Blyth’s Reed

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White-eye, Oriental

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One Un id Raptor that flew over the trees.

Quite a satisfying list, though we did not sight the Pied Thrush or the Nilgiri Wood Pigeon, or any of the usual raptors!

Several flowers also delighted us:

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The scenes around were beautiful, too.

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Hero stones at Tipu’s Summer Lodge:

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The age-weathered Nandi still looked out over the hill:

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In the crannies in the temple wall, grew these tiny beauties,

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Which reminded me of

Tennyson’s poem

(only, I cannot ever understand why the poet had to pull out the poor little flower and kill it!)

My thanks to Brinda, Nitin and Gayatri

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for the great company. Tea and snacks taste better with friends!

More photos on my FB album,

here

BWFC: 4th Sunday outing to Kaikondrahalli Kere: 231114

November 24, 2014

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Email to the bngbirds egroup:

It was very pleasant to be able to go to Kaikondrahalli Kere after a long time and find that, apart from the dumping and levelling going on down one side of it, the lake is generally still well-maintained.

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An ambling walk of a couple of hours were very productive from the bird point of view, and we watched the nesting behaviour of the Great Cormorants,

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and the fishing by almost all of the waterfowl. Several juvenile Brahminy Kites, swooping at the surface of the water now and then, provided the raptor touch.

The flock of Chestnut-tailed Starlings feeding on the Eucalyptus fruit pods made me muse on how species adapt even to exotic trees and utilize them.

Some of us compared notes over breakfast; there is a restaurant called “Sri Bhema’s” around the corner which is ideal for the purpose!

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Many thanks to Prarthana for organizing the outing though it was a little difficult for her. Her daughter Tanushree is developing into a good bird-spotter! There were several children on the walk this time, and it was heartening to see.

I have put up my album on FB,

click here

My e-Bird list is

here

Babbler, Jungle
Barbet, White-cheeked
Bee-eater, Green
Bulbul, Red-vented
Bulbul, Red-whiskered
Bushchat, Pied
Coot, Common

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Cormorant, Great

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Cormorant, Little
Coucal, Greater
Crow, House
Crow, Jungle
Darter, Oriental

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Dove, Laughing
Dove, Spotted
Drongo, Ashy
Drongo, Black

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Drongo, White-bellied
Duck, Spot-billed

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Egret, Cattle
Egret, Intermediate
Flameback, Greater
Flowerpecker, Pale-billed
Grebe, Little
Heron, Grey

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Heron, Indian Pond

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Heron, Purple

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Honey-buzzard, Oriental
Ibis, Black
Jacana, Bronze-winged
Kingfisher, Common

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Kingfisher, White-throated

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Kite, Black
Kite, Brahminy

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Koel, Asian
Lapwing, Red-wattled

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Munia, Scaly-breasted
Myna, Common
Myna, Jungle
Oriole, Eurasian Golden
Parakeet, Rose-ringed
Pelican, Spot-billed
Pigeon, Blue Rock
Pipit, Paddyfield
Prinia, Ashy
Robin, Indian
Sandpiper, Green

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Sandpiper, Wood
Silverbill, Indian
Shikra
Sparrow, House
Starling, Chestnut-tailed

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Stork, Painted

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Sunbird, Purple
Sunbird, Purple-rumped
Swallow, Barn
Swallow, Red-rumped
Swallow, Wire-tailed
Swamphen, Purple
Swift, Un id
Tailorbird, Common
Tern, River
Tit, Great

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Wagtail, White-browed
Warbler, Blyth’s Reed
Warbler, Clamorous Reed
Waterhen, White-breasted

Loved the shades of green that Tanushree pointed out:

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The Akasha Mallige (Indian Cork Tree) is in full flower now:

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Lots of six-footers, too, like this

COMMON CASTOR:

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this

DAMSELFLY:

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This weirdo with more legs than I could count, and backpacks, too!

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Some abstract images caught my eye, too:

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Some bird seemed to have built its nest with soft, inviting straw rather than the usual twigs…de luxe residence!

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The gatekeeper’s dog was a real dish:

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Here is a Striped Tiger, and then two Plain Tigers, to bid you goodbye for now!

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The weight of words…

November 20, 2014

A few days ago, Amith Kumar introduced me to a rather unusual bookshop in Jayanagar…”Book Bonanza”.

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Tipu Pasha, Book Bonanza. Pic: Amith Kumar

I have always been a lover of second-hand books, Somehow, these, to me, have the lustre of the previous owner, in addition to their contents, and so are greater treasures than usual.

When I walked into the bookstore, I was quite thrilled to see books stacked up along all the walls, and piled up along bookshelves, too.

All sorts of books, fiction and non-fiction, best-sellers as well as arcane treatises, jostled each other, and in front of it all sat the young man who owns the store, and has been running it since 2006 (and at the present location for the past two years.)

A passion for books made Tipu Pasha give up his job with a multi-national company, and set up shop with an investment of Rs. 2 lakhs, which he used to import books from Europe and the US. He bought 40 tons of books, which might have retailed for 22-25 lakhs!

He still continues this practice, and so the bookstore deals only in English titles.

The unusual part of the bookstore is that 95% of the books are sold by weight. The other 5%, are the brand new books, which are still sold at about 50% discount over their retail prices.

“The response has been quite good from the beginning,” says a smiling Tipu, nodding to several people who, starting as customers and browsers, have now become friends. “I have quite a group of regulars, and the people who come in to browse and buy are a very heterogeneous lot– scientists looking for reference books, artists, writers, ad designers, children, parents…”

What he enjoys is the personal interaction with all these people, as well as being able to help them with their requirements as he knows exactly what books are where.

Apart from this, he says, several lending libraries also come here to source books. “I am also called in as a consultant by many schools to design and stock their libraries,” he adds.

How has he, as the owner of a bookstore, felt the impact of e-books and online reading? “There has been an impact, no doubt,” he remarks, “But people still seem to like the actual feel of a book in their hands, and I have no complaints!” Many people, he says, often also come and exchange books at the store…a facility not offered anywhere else.

If you would like to go to a store where you can browse around, find some books that you like, and buy them by weight, go to

Book Bonanza,
532, 32nd Cross, 11th Main Road,
Jayanagar 4th Block
Bangalore 560011.
(Landmarks: KFC and Metro Footwear are right opposite the shop, which is close to the Jayanagar 4th Block signal.)

Proprietor: Tipu Pasha, Mobile no: 97413 25687
Email: bookbonanza86@gmail.com

here

is my post in Citizen Matters.

The things that Go Wrong during a long absence….

November 19, 2014

1. Gas disconnected. For “my protection”, I am locked out of my connection if I do not book for 180 days since the last booking. I am consuming less, and so I should be praised, shouldn’t I? But no…I get locked out instead.. I have to give a letter of request, a proof of address, and a proof of id. Several visits to reactivate it, and waiting for the cylinder to be delivered.

2. Electricity disconnected, and no proper reason being given for it,giving rise to the worry that it will happen again. Multiple visits to bank and BESCOM office. This is one of the biggest messes, with different BESCOM personnel giving me widely varying reasons why the power was disconnected. One lady at the office asked, “Since you’ve got the power back, why are you complaining?” All the contents of my freezer lost.

3. Driving licence expired, since I crossed 60. Process of renewal under way. I have to apply in the “prescribed form” and stand for a photograph (which is not shown to me). I cannot take delivery of the licence, but must wait for it to be delivered by Registered Post, and hope I am at home when the postman comes.

4. UPS batteries died…it was not just the distilled water in the batteries going down, but the batteries themselves had run down in five months. Since I don’t have cell phone on which I can access the numbers of the battery repair people, the process of getting them home to check it took a while. Batteries have been taken away, recharging under way. Waiting for the people to come and re-install the batteries. Then, if there are still problmes, will have to call the UPS people and go through a similar process.

5. Cable TV set top box died. Contacting the cable guy took 3 days, getting him to come home, Replacement set top box given and process of repair under way. Will have to wait at home the day he comes to reinstall it.

6. Landline cordless phone not working properly. Have to find time to go and buy another one. It is very irritating to find the handsets suddenly dying in my hand. Have to find someone to try and repair it, or get another one.

7. Cell phone died in the US and still under inspection, I may have to buy another phone, because I am not sure, even if I get this lemon repaired, if it will continue to work. Multiple visits have been made. Not having a cell phone that can access my Google contacts means a lot of inconvenience.

8. Printer died. Friends want to buy me a new one as a birthday gift, so I’m waiting for them to find some time. Meanwhile feeling the lack of a printer.

9. State Bank of Mysore account ( the one in my name alone) made inactive. I was so disgusted I went and closed the account, which I cannot do with the Vijaya Bank accounts. (Even closing the account took 4 visits as the Branch Manager was never around.)

10. Good tenant vacated. Have started the painting of the flat now. Getting a plumber and an electrician to check out various problems in the flat.

11. Sleep pattern, always bad, now completely spoilt, thanks to terrible jet lag. Neither melatonin or lorezepam is helping in the least, I’ve stopped taking them.

12. Decided not to fight Airtel who charged me for International Roaming for 5 months and never activated the service. Just don’t have the energy for it!

I never know whether to go out and do the chores or wait for the people to come home for the repairs, delivery, etc. At every place, I am told, “Ask someone to be at home for the delivery (of gas, post, batteries, etc.) I *don’t* have someone And I want to do my own chores, not take obligations from others.

But… I did manage to see two good plays, attend a wedding, volunteer for a children’s event in Bandipur, go for a birding outing, and interview a bookstore owner, meet friends from out of town, make a start on cleaning up the flat…

It takes 2 to 3 weeks to get the systems in place after a long absence. Moral of the story…don’t go away for more than a month. Or if you do…don’t come back!

November 19, 2014

1. Gas disconnected. For “my protection”, I am locked out of my connection if I do not book for 180 day. I have to give a letter of request, a proof of address, and a proof of id. Several visits to reactivate it, and waiting for the cylinder to be delivered.

2. Electricity disconnected, and no proper reason being given for it,giving rise to the worry that it will happen again. Multiple visits to bank and BESCOM office. This is one of the biggest messes, with different BESCOM personnel giving me widely varying reasons why the power was disconnected. One lady at the office asked, “Since you’ve got the power back, why are you complaining?” All the contents of my freezer lost.

3. Driving licence expired, since I crossed 60. Process of renewal under way. I have to apply in the “prescribed form” and stand for a photograph (which is not shown to me). I cannot take delivery of the licence, but must wait for it to be delivered by Registered Post, and hope I am at home when the postman comes.

4. UPS batteries died…it was not just the distilled water in the batteries going down, but the batteries themselves had run down. Since I don’t have cell phone on which I can acces the numbers of the battery repair people, the process of getting them home to check it took a while. Batteries have been taken away, recharging under way. Waiting for the people to come and re-install the batteries. Then, if there are still problmes, will have to call the UPS people and go through a similar process.

5. Cable TV set top box died. Contacting the cable guy took 3 days, getting him to come home, Replacement set top box given and process of repair under way. Will have to wait at home the day he comes to reinstall it.

6. Landline cordless phone not working properly. Have to find time to go and buy another one. It is very irritating to find the handsets suddenly dying in my hand. Have to find someone to try and repair it, or get another one.

7. Cell phone died in the US and still under inspection, I may have to buy another phone, because I am not sure, even if I get this lemon repaired, if it will continue to work. Multiple visits have been made. Not having a cell phone that can access my Google contacts means a lot of inconvenience.

8. Printer died. Friednd want to buy me one as a birthday gift, so I’m waiting for them to find some time. Meanwhile feeling the lack of a printer.

9. State Bank of Mysore account ( the one in my name alone) made inactive. I was so disgusted I went and closed the account, which I cannot do with the Vijaya Bank accounts. (Even closing the account took 4 visits as the Branch Manager was never around.)

10. Good tenant vacated. Have started the painting of the flat now. Getting a plumber and an electrician to check out various problems in the flat.

11. Sleep pattern, always bad, now completely spoilt, thanks to terrible jet lag. Neither melatonin or lorezepam is helping in the least, I’ve stopped taking them.

12. Decided not to fight Airtel who charged me for International Roaming for 5 months and never activated the service. Just don’t have the energy for it!

I never know whether to go out and do the chores or wait for the people to come home for the repairs, delivery, etc.

But I did manage to see two good plays, attend a wedding, volunteer for a children’s event in Bandipur, go for a birding outing, and interview a bookstore owner, meet friends from out of town, make a start on cleaning up the flat…

It takes 2 to 3 weeks to get the systems in place after a long absence. Moral of the story…don’t go away for more than a month. Or if you do…don’t come back!

The Panchalinga temple, Begur, 161114

November 17, 2014

Sometimes a lot of the hard work is done for me!

Arvind took Gayatri and me to the 1200-year-old temple of nagarEshwara in Begur. I thought I’d write about it, but

this blogpost by Anita Bora

has done a great job of it!

The only difference after 6.5 years is that two rAja gOpurAs have been constructed, and will be consecrated today (17 Nov 2014). There are some rather unimaginative, but well-meaning, repairs in the temple, but the age old nagarEshwara shrine is still rather tottery!

Lovely video with the commentary in Kannada:

So, here are a few pictures I took.

A temple I saw before the Panchalinga temple:

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A view of the Panchalinga temple:

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The simple temple rathA (chariot) in a “garage” opposite the temple.

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A rAjagOpurA under construction (it’s supposed to be consecrated today, and seems nowhere near done!)

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The other one, more finished:

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How can I have a post without birding in it? A migratory Spot-billed Pelican soars over the temple (the Begur Lake is close by).

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The old shrine:

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The small gopura:

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The old part of the temple:

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The tottering old nagarEshwara shrine:

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the Nandi in front:

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Small bas relief of Ganesha:

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Getting ready for the deepOtsavA (lamp festival):

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A yagnya being performed:

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The low ceilings and granite pillars:

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rAvaNA, the king of Sri Lanka, a great devotee of Shiva, and the “villain” of the epic, rAmAyaNA, as a vehicle for the god in procession:

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Another such pallakki both are at the shrine of kAlikAmbA:

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Shrine to sUrya nArAyaNA:

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The view of the Nagareshwara shrine:

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Hero stones and inscriptions in the courtyard:

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A Ganesha carved out of a bullock horn:

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View of the “staircase” to the gopura under construction:

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It’s made of bamboo and bricks, earth-friendly materials instead of metal; looks rickety, but that’s what the builders are working with!

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Another view of the temple:

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A “vilva”(crab apple) tree in full fruition:

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One of the trees in the courtyard:

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Another one next to it:

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The flower seller outside with her umbrella flying in the breeze:

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I’ve put up some more photos on my FB album,

click here

(especially those who like to see what everyday religious life is like Over Here!)

Chidiyon ka pinjra, Ranga Shankara, 151114: Theatre review

November 17, 2014

found that

this review

has said it all equally well!

The only thing I have to add is that I am sorry that there was no brochure, and no introduction of the cast and crew…two things that always add to my enjoyment of a play.

Email to the bngbirds egroup: 3rd Sunday outing, Hulimangala, 161114

November 17, 2014

Hi Everyone,

In the chill pre-dawn,

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a group of us met up at Shoppers’ Stop, and after the MCS (Mandatory Chai Stop) at Bannerghatta Circle, where we introduced ourselves, we proceeded to Hulimangala.

Even before looking for the birds, the majestic trees of the avenue there had their usual awe-inspiring efffect on us. We looked up to see the many nests of the Parakeets, the Mynahs and other birds.

The Lantana and Eupatorium weeds yielded Prinias and a Booted Warbler, but of course, when the Mottled Wood Owl made its dramatic appearance,being mobbed by a group of Drongos,

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there were “ooohs” and “aahs” from everyone, with craned necks and pointing fingers!

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After a while, we moved to the water body on the other side, which also yielded many species of waterfowl. It was also thrilling to see some raptors.

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An excellent sighting was that of Geetanjali and Subir Dhar who, in the middle of pressing family business, came to see how we were doing!

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I was very happy to see Soham and Chinmayi …we must have more children in our groups! Birders…do bring along your children and introduce them to the wonderful world of birds and nature.

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Plain Tiger caterpillar:

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Plain Tiger:

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Blue Tiger on the rain-drenched grass:

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We all came back to our cars, shared some delicious snacks, and dispersed. Some of us had breakfast at Upahara Banashree.

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Gayatri and I went with Arun to see the Nagareshwara (Pancha linga) temple at Begur, and here, the lake nearby delighted us with 2o+ Spot-billed Pelicans as well as other waterfowl.

My list on eBird is at

http://ebird.org/ebird/view/checklist?subID=S20577592

Here’s the physical list, please add/correct as necessary:

Babbler, Jungle
Barbet, Coppersmith
Barbet, White-cheeked
Bee-eater, Small Green
Bulbul, Red-vented
Bulbul, Red-whiskered
Bushchat, Pied
Bushlark, Jerdon’s
Coot, Common
Coucal, Greater
Crow, House
Crow, Jungle
Dove, Laughing
Dove, Spotted
Drongo, Ashy
Drongo, Black
Drongo, White-belled
Eagle, Booted
Egret, Cattle
Egret, Little
Fantail, White-browed
Flowerpecker, Pale-billed
Francolin, Grey
Grebe, Little
Heron, Grey
Heron, Indian Pond
Honey-buzzard, Oriental
Hoopoe, Common
Kestrel, Common
Kingfisher, White-throated
Kite, Black
Kite, Brahminy
Koel, Asian
Lapwing, Red-wattled
Myna, Common
Myna, Jungle
Oriole, Eurasian Golden
Owl, Mottled Wood
Owlet, Spotted
Parakeet, Rose-ringed
Pelican, Spot-billed (Begur)
Pigeon, Blue Rock
Pipit, Paddyfield
Prinia, Ashy
Robin, Indian
Roller, Indian
Sandpiper, Wood (?)
Silverbill, Indian
Sparrow, House
Starling, Rosy
Sunbird, Purple-rumped
Swallow, Barn
Swallow, Red-rumped
Swamphen, Purple (Begur)
Swift, Asian Palm (Begur)
Tailorbird, Common
Treepie, Rufous
Wagtail, White-browed
Warbler, Booted
Weaver, Baya

I’ve put up my photos on my FB album at

https://www.facebook.com/deemopahan/media_set?set=a.10152578344283878.1073742295.587058877&type=3

I’d like to see the others’ photos, too, could you send us all the links?

Apologies to those who are getting this in duplicate :(

Thank you to each person who added to my enjoyment of the morning.It was a great time for both birding and bonding!

Children’s Day at Bandipur, 141114

November 17, 2014

As wildlife volunteers, Kumuda, Siddharth and I went to Bandipur to help celebrate Children’s Day with about 150 children from three local schools: Hangala, Mangala, Bheemannabeedu.

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I love that old Karnataka logo!

Here are the Forest Dept. officials at the event:

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13 of the children spoke about wildlife and conservation, and we were very impressed. One of the Adivasi teachers also spoke with great passion.

Here’s Chandrakala, a versatile girl who both sang and spoke well:

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Here are some of the children, who ran up and asked to be photographed…such delights!

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Here’s everyone at the end of the event:

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Here are all the Eco-Volunteers who attended:

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(Deepa, Harsha, Satish, Veena, Ashritha, Kumuda, Sandeep, Siddharth)

Other sights, and thoughts:

Wildlife:

Love can be Wild-ly Boaring….

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Hanuman Langurs were everywhere:

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This beautiful

ASIAN BROWN FLYCATCHER

delighted me:

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As did this

TREE PIPIT:

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The Peacock’s breeding plumage, and That Amazing Tail, is just starting to grow out at this season.

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“Horn OK Please” is the slogan at the back of most trucks (meaning, sound your horn to overtake)…but here was a horn, sorry, antler…

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This plastic sheet, excreted (probably by a Chital) was a scary reminder that the litter we leave behind could kill animals that ingest it. This animal was lucky to be able to eliminate it.

Bandipur has always been a place of Mother and Child, for me. Here are the species that I clicked this time, quite appropriately, on Children’s Day!

Langur:

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Gaur:

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Elephant:

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Just look at those two little cuties!

Human beings:

Life at the edges of the forest continues to be hard:

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Our old temples fall into ruins:

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But instead of maintaining them, we keep on building new ones…

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Such beautiful banyan trees, shading the highway. They were planted long ago…can we keep up the practice?

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Contemporary Indian architecture certainly seems to celebrate colour!

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So do our buses!

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(Don’t miss the usual hanging-from-the-footboard mode of travel.)

We also dropped in to see Loki (Lokesh) at JLR Bandipur, and I asked permission for Kumuda and Siddharth to see the beautiful murals in some of the rooms:

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I’d written an article on the three artists who did the murals…the project was left unfinished, and the newer cottages don’t have them.

I’ve put up more photos on my FB album,

here

(the official part)

and

here

(the other parts!)


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