Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Bannerghata zoo area with Chandu, and David Frye, 120414

April 17, 2014

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David Frye (seen here, posing with all the wildlife on sale at the Zoo) is a birder from Detroit, and the previous week we had taken him to Hoskote Lake. We had a good time, too!

In the zoo, we hunted for this

GREAT PIED HORNBILL

all over the cage, and finally found him right next to us, huddling in the corner of the cage (not distressed at all!) and looking at us with a beady eye.

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We saw a

JUNGLE MYNA

trying, literally, to feather its nest:

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This

TICKELL’S BLUE FLYCATCHER

deighted us:

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The

GULMOHAR or the MAYFLOWER

had started blooming:

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The flowers of the

RAIN TREE

looked lovely, too.

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The Kingfisher Pond (I was very happy to hear the guard in charge of boating call it by this name, and say, “A naturalist has named it!”) looked green and peaceful:

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Here’s David, documenting something:

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I couldn’t id this tree:

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the

QUEEN’S FLOWER

is another tree in full bloom everywhere now:

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A

GARDEN LIZARD

displayed its scales:

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Chandu and David walk down Flycatcher Avenue:

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See the beauty of Flycatcher Avenue:

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This is the only SMS I could get of the

GREY-BELLIED CUCKOO:

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This

PALE-BILLED FLOWERPECKER

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looked quite greedy as it took a whole Singapore Cherry in its mouth (but it only sucked at the juice and threw the fruit down.)

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this

PADDYFIELD PIPIT

foraged along the path to the Quarry Pond area:

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perky little bird:

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the

RED-WATTLED LAPWING

made its characteristic “Didyoudoit?” call:

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It was lovely to see the Champaka Dhama temple on top of the sheet rock, from the orchard area:

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a

PENINSULAR ROCK AGAMA (male)

showed its breeding colours:

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This is a very non-green “green” photograph, of broken glass litter left behind by visitors:

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Some of the animals on sale were very realistic!

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We saw these two, with a net and a cage, and we hope they wer
e not going to catch butterflies, because that is illegal:

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Everywhere, the

DARK BLUE TIGERs

were flitting around, on their annual migration:

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David appeared to enjoy his morning, and we gave him a really democratic experience..we took him from my home to the zoo area by one rickety bus and brought him back in an even more rickety one!

Let me close with this close-up of the Queen’s Flower:

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Am mad about Am….

April 15, 2014

Mangifera Indica-Summer in India

When you’re facing the summer sun
When your skin burns and it’s no fun
To walk in the sunshine, it’s too bright
The summer glare hurts your head and sight…
You’ve got mangoes on your mind….

You pick up the fruit, scattered all round
Or in the market they can be found.
Small and raw, or with golden ripe sheen
Or any of the stages that happen in between,
You’ve got mangoes on your mind….

Made into pickle or eaten with salt
Made into milkshakes or a thick juicy malt
Any of the numerous varieties you get
To crunch, or down your throat the smooth fruit you let
You’ve got mangoes on your mind….


Other times of the year, you may not really see
The beautiful leaves, the bark of this tree
But when the fruit in bunches is hung
About the mangoes paeans are sung!
You’ve got mangoes on your mind….

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Summer is awful, hot and sticky,
About many fruits you’re choosy and picky:
But when it comes to the King, mango…
Into transports of delight you go…
You’ve got mangoes on your mind!

here

are pickles

and

here

is the fruit

Oh, this wonderful delectation…I am an Am aurat, and I am certainly an “Am Admi Paati”!

The Camp Elephants at Bannerghatta Zoo, April 2014

April 15, 2014

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Having gone thrice to the zoo area in the course of a week, I was able to see the camp elephants being brought back from their foraging trips in the periphery of the Bannerghatta forest area.

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I must say, I am very impressed with the health of these camp elephants, and their excellent relationships with their mahouts.

They are fed large balls of rAgi (a kind of millet that Karnataka is famous for…Kannadigas love rAgi muddhE, small balls of rAgi flour, with sAmbhAr), every day, and are given enough fodder, too.

As they come back towards the Kingfisher Pond, they seem to love having dust baths. Here are the females, lying down in the dust:

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They are helped by their mahouts…the second one is just about settling down!

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Look at the little one nuzzling up!

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The amount of dust that a female human being would instantly set about cleaning, seems welcome to a female elephant!

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A young one comes along curiously (she’s called Roopa):

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There’s work to be done…this wood has to be carried inside the zoo, but neither youngster is doing to do that (just like humans!)

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The little one, indeed, roots along happily:

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They start walking towards the rear entrance of the zoo:

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Here’s a short video of their gait:

It’s left to the adults to bring the baled wood:

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The elephant’s trunk and mouth are such amazing things!

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Obediently, El Nino follows his mother and aunts:

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Now, it is the turn of the tusker (in India, only male elephants have tusks) to come and settle down:

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Not an appealing sight, the rear of an elephant? I found it quite interesting…

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Because, as the mahout dusted him down, I saw a part of an elephant I’ve never seen before (no, not THAT, you dirty-minded lot!)

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The soles of an elephant’s feet!

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This tusker is called “Vanaraja” (King of the Forest):

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After his dust bath, he headed in the opposite direction, back into the forest periphery:

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Here’s the tusker getting up:

We watched him as he swayed off, majestically:

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After being brought back into the Zoo, they seemed to be very happy in their enclosure:

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Throwing dust over themselves, or dusty stuff, seems to be a way of relaxing:

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The unnamed baby was especially happy, lolling about in the fodder:

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Eco-volunteers’ Meet, ThoughtWorks, Koramangala, Bangalore, 120414

April 12, 2014

The first meeting of Eco-volunteers (those who took the Volunteer Training Program, or VTP), was held at ThoughtWorks, Koramangala, Bangalore, on 120414.

It was as if Ganesha, the Elephant God, had waited in the foyer with a gesture of benison!

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Raju KV took up the job of co-ordinating the meet, and conducting it:

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Over 40 people turned up, showing their interest in volunteering for wildlife conservation:

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Raju welcomed the gathering, and while the two Prasahanths set up their video presentation,

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N C Mohan talked about patches of fragmented forest, which needed even more protection than areas designated as National Parks. He showed slides of patches of forest which were deliberately set on fire, patches where he found snares, and tried to take action against these on his own.

This was followed by Prashanth Nageshappa and Prashanth Nayaka talking about the film they made on Bhadra, titled, “Unsung”. They also showed a short about how it was made, and there was a discussion about how this documentary, made entirely by their private funds and effort, could be made into a meaningful tool, while facing possible legal implications about its being a corporate-owned film or a documentary under a creative commons licence.

Raju KV then presented a slide show, called “Guarding the Guardians”. This was about hygiene and health issues amongst the Forest Department personnel, and how the team of doctors tackled them. The plan is to spread this to the rest of the Forest Department, with sustained monitoring of health check-ups. Funds were appealed for, for this initiative. The doctor team talked of how some Forest Guards missed out because of lack of communication.

Nutan then made a presetation, “Saving the Last Wild Tigers of India”. This, rather than the usual feel-good images, gave the audience some striking and disturbing images of the kind of snares that poachers use, and tigers caught in them. A lively discussion ensued, about snares.

Meanwhile, I photographed some coins minted to help in the cause:

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Sarath then spoke. He stressed the value of patience and slow and steady learning, in the field of wildlife volunteering. He enumerated the several communications he’d received from various Forest Department officials, regarding volunteering help that they need with various census activities. He stressed that things have to be done with the co-operation of Forest Department personnel…especially the RFO.

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He touched on the fact that the VTP members were already 220 strong, and that they need to put their skill sets on record so that these could be utilized when needed. He proposed that various core groups be formed to take care of various areas, such as health of Forest Department personnel, awareness-raising, camera trapping, pilgrim management in forest areas, education, and post-rehabilitation monitoring. Brinda Suresh would be co-ordinating these core groups.

He announced a Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) meet on the 30th of April, 2014, at the Marriott, to get the corporates involved in funding wildlife conservation and volunteering activities.

He also announced the next VTP, which will be held at Kudremukh, from the 18th to the 24th of May. All members present were asked to spread the word.

The gathering also resolved to meet once in three months, and the next meet scheduled for June 14th, 2014.

Here’s a short video of the gathering:

Raju then closed the meeting with a vote of thanks, starting with Sumeet Moghe, who had kindly made the ThoughtWorks premises available for the meet, and for providing refreshments, too. (Some of us need a 101 on operating the coffee machine!) The meet was generally felt to have been a very productive one, and many of the members continued their exchange of views for a while after the meet.

April 11, 2014

I was dozing off in a fit of heat-inducing somnolence from somewhere out of my dull brain came the thought of my mother…and her love of wildlife documentaries. She was far, far ahead of her times…she had Salim Ali’s bird book with her, though she only watched garden birds..and we often went into the jungles of West Bengal and north India. In a time when wildlife was plentiful, she enjoyed reading about it and going to watch it. I still remember the trips we used to make to places like Betla Game Sanctuary in Bihar, where we saw magnificient tigers…

I thought of two documentaries that my mothe raved about.

One was

The Living Desert, by Walt Disney (69 minutes), made in 1953

Here’s the description of the amazing way in which this amazing, path-breaking movie came about:

Winner of the Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature of 1953, Walt Disney’s The Living Desert marked a departure from earlier Disney “wildlife” productions in that it was a full-length film. All previous subjects in the studio’s True-Life Adventures series had been shorts.

Disney was inspired to make the film after viewing footage taken by a UCLA doctoral student of a thrilling battle between a wasp and a tarantula. The producer agreed to fund the project which was filmed in the southwest U.S. The film, which focused on the diversity of often unseen animal life was both a critical and commercial success, a rarity for the era.

In addition to receiving an Oscar for The Living Desert, Disney collected three other Academy Awards in 1953, at the time a record for one individual. The Living Desert was chosen for preservation in the National Film Registry in 2000 for its’ “cultural, historical and aesthetic significance.”

Here’s a snip from the documentary, choreographed delightfully to a square dance (with an observer, too!)

********************

Another film was “The Flute and The Arrow”, which I never saw. But the name, etched into my subconscious like many childhood memories are, suddenly re-surfaced.

I googled for “The Flute and The Arrow”, and I realized that it is actually a Swedish wildlife documentary, 88 minutes long, made in 1957:

called, ” En djungelsaga” in Swedish

and I tried to see if I could watch it online.

Here is a video about following up on the main character, a Bastar tribal, long after the documentary was made:

this, in itself, is well worth watching! But alas, I am not able to get either The Living Desert or The Flute and The Arrow online…could someone help?

We tend to think only of Discovery or NatGeo when talking about wildlife documentaries, but there must have been a solid body of work in the past, before these became household names. I’m glad I was able to dig out two out of my erratic memory!

How difficult it must have been, to make these films in times where far less technology was available

There was also the Disney documentary, “The Vanishing Prairie”…can others come up with more such wildlife films from the past?

News about The Boods, STL

April 8, 2014

On the 31st of March, the siblings had water fun:

a bda bdi bath 310314 STL

On the 6th of April, they went to a friend’s Minnie-Mouse-theme party:

boodi with Minnie Mouse, STL, 060414

bdi bday pty 060414

A little more, and he won’t be a cutie, he’ll be an electrocutie:

booda elec 060414

I’ll be going to visit them in the not-too-distant future!

Sunset, Fire, and Outer Space, 050414

April 8, 2014

As we waited for dusk, so that the Slender Lorises would become active, we were treated to the sight of a beautiful sunset.

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However, as the sun sank, I watched a villager set fire to the edges of his field:

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When I asked him, he said he was burning the Lantana bushes.

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I am still not sure why he had to burn them, but the sun and the flames seemed to compete.

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It seemed that, along with the fires, the whole sky was aflame:

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I watched the fires rage…

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I walked away, down the trail, and watched the moon and stars come into their own:

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Lovely to see out into space, while waiting to see something in our little world!

When trees shade the roads..

April 8, 2014

As I boarded the bus to go and meet my friends (we were going to Nagavalli, in Tumkur District, to sight the Slender Loris, aka kAdupApA), I saw this artwork silhouette of a tree on the bus:

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As we drove into Tumkur district, it struck me more, and more, how beautiful roads look when they are avenues, that is, shaded by trees. So…here are some shots of roads with trees, showing how inviting they can be…you can also see the variety of transport vehicles that we use in our country, which makes our traffic so haphazard and difficult to negotiate!

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Why do we not think of trees as living beings who share this earth with us, and must not be murdered to make more room for us?

Visit to Nagavalli to see the Slender Loris, 050414

April 8, 2014

Gopal called me and asked if I’d like to go to Nagavalli village, in Tumkur District, where there is a colony of

Slender Lorises .

So off I went, though I had just returned from Hoskote lake!

As I got into the bus to join Gopal and friends, I saw this beautiful piece of artwork on the window!

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Here’s one cyclist, getting a free, if illegal, ride:

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We lost our way and reached Guleharavi, with this beautiful temple:

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The region is so beautiful, with plenty of trees:

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We stopped at Nagavalli village:

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At the High School, a sign about the Slender Loris was put up:

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We had pAni pUri and masAl pUri at this pushcart:

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Mr Gundappa, affectionately known as “Gundappa Master” (he is a teacher in the High School) came and met us.

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He led the way to the place where the Slender Loris could be found.

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This villager looked at us curiously, as we passed:

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Here’s Gundappa Master with us:

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We had arrived too early, and had to wait until dusk. Here we are: Davis, Gopal, Gundappa Master, Samrat and Tharangini:

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The area was beautiful and I walked along the road:

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Gundappa Master had a word or two with the villagers as they passed, including this man bringing his cattle green fodder:

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Meanwhile, I was looking at the birds, and got this

ORIENTAL MAGPIE ROBIN:

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In one field, a scarecrow guarded the crops:

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The sun sank westwards:

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It was gO dhUli lagna…the “hour of cowdust”..when the grazing cattle are brought home:

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As I walked further, I found a farmer setting fire to the area along the road:

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He told me that he was burning Lantana bushes:

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The sun and the fire made a good counterpoint:

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I was a little intrigued about why Lantana bushes should be set fire to at this time, but did not ask further.

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The sun set, shimmering in the heat waves from the fire:

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It seemed the whole sky was aflame:

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Manu, one of Gundappa Master’s assistants, brought us fresh cucumbers to crunch on!

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Meanwhile, Samrat entertained us with various amazing wildlife videos on his mobile:

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We began the walk into the fields to try and sight the “kAdupApA” as it is known locally:

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A half-moon shone overhead, along with the first few stars:

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We followed Gundappa Master as he went around, looking for the elusive mammals:

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We did manage to find two, but the shy creatures immediately retreated into the foliage, so photography was just not possible. We decided not to disturb them too much, and ended the trip into the fields.

On our way back, we saw this Russell’s Viper disappearing into the bushes:

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This brick cottage looked beautiful in the dim moonlight:

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We were happy with our sightings of the kAdupApA (baby of the forest), but decided that trying to see them was certainly causing them some disturbance and distress. So another trip is not likely!

click here

for my first visit to Nagavalli, on Oct 12, 2007, when I got a shot of this beautiful creature:

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For more photos of the evening,

click here

for my FaceBook album.

Gundappa master says that the group has increased in numbers. I will be talking to Ameen Ahmed,of Wildlife And Nature Conservation (WANC) and will find out the facts of this conservation effort.

Hoskote kere, 050414

April 8, 2014

Since David Frye, of Detroit, Michigan, had contacted Chandu to go to Hoskote, Thomas, his son Aakash, and I also joined in from south Bangalore.

We crossed the K R Puram bridge as dawn was breaking:

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This palm tree was bouncing an orange ball as we reached the lake:

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The lake was a mirror:

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There were an amazing number of swallows on the “bund” or the shore of the lake.

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Here’s my short video of the surfeit of swallows:

Here are two, preening:

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They sat on the dried-up trees in the lake, too:

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David Frye and Chandu arrived as we were observing the birds:

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I was very impressed with his sketching and documentation:

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Here’s our little group against the morning sun:

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L to R: Chandu, David, Vignesh( who also arrived at the same time), Thomas, and Aakash.

On the lake bed, we found an ex-crab:

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We consulted to get id’s….

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Especially one bird that was a lifer for me, the

COMMON GREENSHANK:

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Meanwhile, Sanjeev Managoli also drove up on his way to his teaching duties, and in his car, I saw this delightful Ganesha, with a laptop and a mouse:

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We took a brefus break, and here are all of us:

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And here’s IVC (Iddli, Vada, Coffee!)

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Suvarchala, Chandu’s wife, had made these delicious gulab jamuns, so we ate them, too:

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For more bird photos,

click here

to go to my FaceBook album of photos taken with the Sony,

and

click here

to go to my FaceBook album of photos taken with the Canon 30D.

I’ll add some photos from the 30D after I upload them to Flickr!


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