Archive for May, 2011

Hike in the Lake of the Ozarks, 300511

May 31, 2011

On our last day at the Lake of the Ozarks, Memorial Day, we decided to go on a short hike…the hike had to be short because of two reasons….several things (including a very late night the previous evening!) made a very late start, and it was rather hot and humid.

On the way, from the car,when we looked down, we spotted some turtles:

trtls loz 300511

When we looked up, we spotted some


trky vltr 300511

The bluffs on the way had been graded to enable the roads to be built:

bluffs 300511

We stopped at the Lake of the Ozarks National Park:

loz st pk sgn 300511

We decided to go to the stables there, and take the trail.

stbls 300511

We saw a tepee, rather bedraggled:

tepee loz 300511

We walked a short while on this trail, but all we seemed to be doing was to avoid horse poop, and the dug-up path that the horses’ hooves had left; so we decided to try another trail instead. This made us later still, and we opted for the shortest rrail possible, the Lake View Bend Trail:

lk vw bnd trl 300511 loz

Alas, it was bird siesta time, and by the time I did see some birds in the trees on our way back, it was very late, and I had to walk really fast, so there was no bird photography at all! But as it was, I dallied to photograph some mushrooms:

crscnt mshrm 300511 loz

mshrom 300511 loz

I got to photograph only one butterfly, but there were several more that were, alas, in “flitting” mode and which I could not follow!

un id b'fly 300511 loz

Several wildflowers rewarded our walk (though there was a good breeze, it was still a humid and rather uncomfortable affair, and we were getting really hungry!

blue wildflwr 300511 loz

thrny wldflwr 300511

wldflwr 5-ptl 300511 loz

crwn flwr 300511

It was lovely to see this bed of green:

clover loz 300511

Even when we went to Jefferson City later in the evening, on our way home, there were some lovely flowers to see:

jfrsn city flwr 300511

mauve adukk flwr 300511

As we walked around, I spotted this beautiful dragonfly, which looked rather like our Pied Paddyfield Skimmer back home:

pied dgnfly 300511

Right up on the Capitol building, I spotted a


hsfinch captil jfrson city 300511

and a baby


lolloped by:

ctntl rbt jfrsn city 300511

On the trail, of course, were the mammals dearest to me….here they are, resting briefly at the lakeshore:

mdak near lake 300511 loz

You can see them through the shade of the trees:

loz mdak 300511 hike wds

It was quite an enjoyable hike, though it certainly delayed us quite badly on our trip home!

Back to the Great Horned Owls….

May 29, 2011

I’d wanted to go and renew my acquaintanceship with the

Great Horned Owls of Forest Park

and emailed

Mark Glenshaw

That I’d meet him on Wednesday evening (25th)…but alas, the tornado warning, and the heavy rain and wind, put paid to the plans, and since he said he would be taking his friend Brenda (Frenda?) and a couple who were her neighbours, on an owl prowl on Thursday, I was at the Boat House meeting point at 6.30pm.

Mark introduced all of us to each other, and first of all, pointed out the nest that Charles and Sarah has finally chosen (out of three sites!) this year, in a large Cottonwood tree where they have nested before:

fp owls nest 270511

It took rather a while to get a sighting of even the fist Owl (Dalton, the son of Charles and Sarah.)

owl siltee 250511 fp

Monica, the female sibling of Dalton, flew in and out, but the light in what Mark calls the “wooded area” was already very low; but as we circled around later, we managed to spot both the parents as well.

Here’s Charles, looking quite majestic:

Sarah fp 250511

As it was already ten past eight, I bid a reluctant good-bye to all of them, and walked back home in the deepening dusk, happy to have seen the Great Horned Owls once agin!

Lake of the Ozarks, Missouri, 27 and 280511

May 29, 2011

We’re spending this (Memorial Day) weekend at the Tan-Tar-A resort in the Lake of the Ozarks:

tantara sign 280511

Yesterday, we went to see the Castle ruins:

cstl runs 280511

tonka cstl 280511

You can read all about the castle


The ruins were quite impressive:

rnd wlls 280511

I went up close to the Water Tower, and the view from there was impressive, too:

lake view 280511

Photography was indulged in, with monkey tricks:

ape photo 280511

the name of the game WAS to indulge:

indulge 280511

Some folks like four wheels, some like two:

bdl bike 280511

We all set out on a hike after lunch:

all of us 280511 old mill

Watched a few birds along the way (is it possible to avoid this when I’m around?)

un id bd 280511

This bird above is called the Eastern Phoebe, and it’s similar-looking to the Eastern Pee-Wee, and that inspired me to versify:

If I were a bird
And needed a name that was impossibly twee
I’d still chose a word
…Or two…that was not “Pee Wee”;
Because, you see
Someone might feel
The name is a deal
Too long…and just call me a “Pee”…..
So…I’d rather be
An Eastern Phoebe….

Heard them singing, too:

snging bd 280511

Some moths were around, too!

big moth 280511

The mist at the spring was awesome:

mist spring 280511

and so were the natural formations…this one is a natural bridge that spans two slopes:

ntrl brdg 280511

None of us shopped, but if we’d wanted to, we could have gone to Ozarkland, which was modestly claiming to be a “fantastic gift shop”:


We wound up with dinner at a Mexican restaurant, which had this lovely piece of wildlife:

frg mxcn rstrnt 280511

Let me close with the most common insect here, the


cicadas 280511

and the ex-Cicada:

x ccda 280511

We saw Muskrats and Otters and Red-eared Sliders (Turtles) as well as water snakes…and several deer, too.

More details…go to my Facebook photos, (it’s SO much easier to upload hi-res pics to FB and add the narrative!)

click here

Let’s see what today has in store for us…there’s going to be fireworks in the evening on the lake.

Saying no…

May 26, 2011

I’ve been having conversations with a couple of friends; one is waiting for a response on the personal front, and another, on the professional front. And a feature that strikes me as common to both these processes of waiting is the way a “no” is communicated.

A “yes” response to anything means, always, that there WILL be a response. The person calls or communicates, and makes it clear that what you are asking for is of interest to them (whether it is a position in their organization, a role in their lives, a plan of action, or anything else)…and that the process of engagement can go on, at the very least. But saying no..comes in different forms.

One way, of course, is to call back the other person, tell them that you considered their proposal for whatever it was, and you don’t see it working for you. This, again, is clear-cut and leaves no room for misinterpretation. Disappointment, perhaps, but that’s someone one has to deal with.

The other way is that of silence. The other person just does not call back. “Silence is consent” goes the old saw, but in this instance, silence is an implicit refusal.

The silence could be because of two things.

One, the person is still considering the proposal, and is yet unable to come to a decision. Unwilling to communicate a final “no”, the person lets the communication hang, hoping that clarity will arrive, and a clear-cut decision can later be conveyed.

But it’s the second scenario that I’m talking about here…where the person decides on a “no”, but lets the silence convey that decision, rather than communicate that decision actively.

I find this “lack of response is a response” reaction very difficult to take, and very difficult to understand. Surely, if someone has take the trouble to ask me something, I should expend equal time and effort to communicate my “no”, and also, perhaps, explain why I’ve reached the decision?

Companies, especially, seem to do this all the time. If you are applying for a job, they will respond only if the response is positive. They do not feel it worth their time to take the time and effort to send a negative response. The person asking for a job or an interview is left to have it slowly sink in that the company is not interested, and start looking elsewhere.

After talking to several people, however, I’ve come to realize that the decision not to communicate a “no”, however, is not just a simple lack of consideration for the other fact, it often is an active consideration for the feelings of the other person. “Why should I return an often hurting negative answer, when the silence can speak the message better, and softer?” seems to be the reasoning behind this.

Another reason, especially in relationships, could be an anger that does not even permit a response. If you are asking if there is something wrong, the other person is angry that you don’t even seem to know what is wrong…and feels that there is no use of even communicating a “no, things are not OK” response to you. They feel that they might as well just remain quiet and let things lapse.

This kind of “negative response” is something that I, personally, would not like at all. Surely, if I am applying for a job with you, or asking you if something is wrong in our friendship, or want to know if you can do something for me….it would be far easier for me to deal with a clear reply, that tells me where I stand (whatever it is, is not possible, or cannot be done), rather than leave me in a fog of mystification….and the troubling thought that maybe the person has just forgotten to respond, and that it is not a “no” after all (yes, that’s happened enough number of times to make it, always, a distinct possibility.)

However, I do know enough people who find this kind of “no answer” to be enough of an answer, and who are quite happy to have this way of being told that what they are asking for will not happen. They feel that they are spared the confrontation with the failure of their efforts.

Personally, though, I would much rather have both the courtesy of a response, and the unambiguity of it, rather than be kept in the penumbra between hope and despair…when my rational mind may be telling me that it’s a “no” but my emotional mind hopes that a positive response may yet be forthcoming.

One area where this kind of negative response operates all the time is when one is hiring domestic help, at least, in India. The maid may feel that the timings you ask for don’t suit, the salary is not enough..or any other reason. But the only way you’ll know about the “no” is when the person does not turn up for work. After a day or two of absence, the message does, indeed, sink in that it’s a no!

Even here, I wonder why the person who has, after all, come to you because she wants a job with you, cannot come back, express her dissatisfaction at whatever stipulation it is, and ask for a different time, more money, or whatever? Why this lackadaisical passing on?

Another scenario is when I am waiting for a mechanic or a service person to come for a scheduled visit. Often, this guy knows that he cannot make it on the day. But he will not communicate that (often, rightfully, fearing an irate response!) and leaves me to wait the entire day, with other chores piling up…and calling up the next day, when I am about to leave the house to do those piled-up jobs, to ask if he can come over!

I guess there will always be two schools of that holds that a lack of response IS a valid enough message, and the other (to which I belong) that says, a no must be communicated as clearly as a yes. I at least have the comfort that the other person respected me enough to take the time and effort to communicate the refusal, and I’m also happy that the other person took the time to consider what I said seriously, before refusing.

Well, “yes”es are also not always communicated clearly …but that’s another story!

The Mammals, and other creatures, of Kabini: 14 and 150511

May 25, 2011

The creatures of Kabini…well, the large ones are what I am talking about here (remember the yellow-thighed tarantula that I photographed in

this post

or the Southern Birdwing?

Well, anyway…the larger creatures of Kabini come in an astonishing variety of sizes and shapes, too. I think the one mammal that everyone goes to Kabini to see is the


(not much chance of seeing an African one here, I must add)

yng tskr 140511 kbni

These majestic animals can be found in herds, especially on the banks of the backwaters:

elphnts bmbo 150511

Here’s another magnificient tusker:

tskr 150511

Of course, it’s several people’s ultimate dream to be able to sight a big cat. On the first safari, we got a sighting of an


rather far away in the forest:

farwy lpd 140511 kbni

It stayed there until we saw it again on our way back from the safari, and then slowly moved off:

lpd mving off 140511

Several jeeps were able to get a glimpse of the animal:

lpd 1 40511

More shots of our second leopard sighting, which was far closer, are


One of the animals that acts as a “Early Warning System” of the forest, giving alarm calls at the nearness of any big cat, is the


…here are two, at a salt lick; you can see one actually licking!

langur slt lck 140511

It was great watching this one actually bringing a figure of speech to life…”showing a clean pair of heels” is to run away…and that’s exactly what this one is doing!

langur 140511

Several times, we spotted the


in the canopy…can you spot it in this distant shot?

mlbr sqrl 140511



is a variety of deer which has a glandular secretion in its neck:

smbr 140511

Here’e another one. a young male showing the antler buds:

sambar 150511



or wild bison, are also seen in both the jungle and the river banks:

gr 140511

Here’s a young one, taken as our jeep lurched forward over rough terrain:

juv gr 140511 kbni

And an adult, reaching up to the leaves to feed:

gr fding 140511

When near the backwaters, it was lovely to watch many animals at once, in such mixed groups:

mixed grp 140511

A particularly lovely sighting for me, this time, was being able to watch a


at work, catching its breakfast.

Here’s the first sight of this streamlined animal:

otter first 150511

Off into the water it went:

otter head 150511

The meal was caught:

otter fish 150511

And devoured…watch those canines!

otter fngs 150511



was one of the several that we were able to see:

wld br 150511

A reptile which we all like to see from a safer distance than all the others, is the


and here’s a large specimen, with a cormorant giving it company:

croc and cormorant 150511

Of course, I cannot miss out the mammal that also tries to live in these forest areas; here are the people of the Kabini region, who try to make their livelihood and are in constant conflict with the wildlife:

pple kbni 150511

I’ll conclude with the only mammal that goes to considerable effort and expense to go and watch other creatures…the Wildlife Tourist!

tourists 140511

I’ve posted about the people and places on the Kabini trip on my Facebook page


and more photographs of the mammals are


More photographs of the Otter are


Walking in Forest Park….

May 24, 2011

Though I am usually up at 3.30am, I carry on with my walk to, and in, Forest Park…

Here’s a lovely flower, from a very large tree that I cannot name:

flwer fp 220511

They are strewn all over the place, and as I walk, I also enjoy the sweet scent of the honeysuckle.

I find this very interesting newspaper vendor on my way back; he’s got his “head-umbrella” on in case it rains again…there have been heavy showers and a town 100 miles away (Joplin) got devastated by a tornado:

nwspr vndor 220511

I come home and settle down to some recording on Muziboo, having put some of the roses I got, into a vase next to me:

rses lptop 220511

But almost immediately, KTB is sent home from daycare with a low-grade fever, and she thoroughly takes over the rest of the day, until, at about 6pm, I turn her over to her Thatha, and collapse in utter exhaustion!

More pics at my FB album,


The Birds of Kabini: 14 and 150511

May 24, 2011

This trip to Kabini was a real bonanza in terms of birds; we sighted a 103 or 104 species of birds in the two days that we were there, and also got to observe a lot, rather than just looking and passing on.

As we drove towards Mysore, we decided to take a little detour through Ranganathittu, not going towards the boating area but towards the old quarry. And of course, we immediately struck a jackpot with several


flying around. One came in, obligingly, with a Cicada in its mouth, and posed for us:

bt betr 140511 kbni

Meanwhile, high above, a


soared, looking for food that was not as small as a Cicada:

shkra 140511 kbni

We saw several


around, and one on the tree had just found a fig for breakfast:

indn gry hrnbl 140511 kbin

The deep pit in the quarry area had a lot of reeds, and of course, reeds mean Weaver birds; in this case, some


strkd wvr 140511 kbni

(their triumph of home architecture is on my Facebook album, the link is at the end.)

A wire on the wire…several


sat up on the telephone lines, and I caught one:

wr tld swlw kbni 140511

As we went further, we stopped as we suddenly spotted some


which were a lifer for me. It was very difficult, indeed, to catch one of these in flight, so there will be no snide remarks about fuzzy photos…one of my usual SMS (Shamelessly Mediocre Shots)!

alpn swft 140511 kbni

In the fields, of course,


were walking around feeding on the insects:

blk ibis 140511 kbni

A sight that truly lifted our hearts (like that of the poet Wordsworth!) was the one of several


on the ground, or the wires, singing:

crstd lk 140511 kbni

Gopal’s car had stopped, unable to move past this


blk wngd kt 140511 kbni

Now that’s my favourite “urban” raptor, so we too ogled it for a while and then we moved on.

As we prepared to join the JLR (Kabini River Lodge) safari in the evening, we first heard, and then caught sight of, this


cs brbt 140511 kbni

It might be a very common bird, but it certainly is very beautiful!

In the gardens, several


reassured us that sparrows are, indeed, back amongst us. Here’s a male, helping with nesting material:

ml sprw 140511 kbni

Here’s a female, ready to fly off to her nest under the eaves:

fml sprw 140511 kbni

The next morning’s safari started, for us, just outside the JLR gates…in the most eventful way. A mother


and her three babies decided, suddenly, to cross the road just as our jeep went past…we screeched to a halt, and the jeep went right over them. We looked back in horror…and found that since the three babies had “frozen” to the ground at the first sign of a threat, they were fine, and that the mother was still under our jeep, looking for them! Here’s one of them….just look at that little clump of feathers and that eye…have you even seen anything more defenceless?

bby quail eye 140511 kbni

We had to stop three more jeeps coming out on to the road, and everyone was wondering what the fuss was about! Sometimes tiny problems can be large one…

Here’s another one…would you believe that this little scrap is actually a living creature?

bby ql scrp 140511 kbni

Prasanna, our naturalist from JLR, scooped them up carefully on a small piece of paper and deposited them carefully at the side on the road, where they quickly clambered off into the foliage. The mother followed…and heaving a sigh of relief, we carried on, too. These birds…did make us quail for a while!

On the path, every safari, we saw this beautiful


on the tree:

bbbetr profile 150511 kbni

and here, the beard is showing:

blue beard b-etr 150511

I have never before seen so many peacocks dancing…and two at a time, too! Far ahead on the jungle path, were these two dancers, practising for some unknown female, but certainly enchanting us.

First they both faced the other way:

pcks back view kbni 140511

and then one faced us:

pcks one back vw kbni 140511

Here’s the beauty of one of them, who came closer and started preening himself:

pcck tail 150511 kbni

The peacock flew up to the tree-stump too close for my lens focal length, so I had to use a diagonal shot to get his full flauntiness!

fll pcck 150511 kbni

The next morning, we took a boat safari on the backwaters of the Kabini, and saw a multitude of birds, including these


opnbl stks 150511 kbni



prpl hrn 150511 kbni



swooped and landed, reminding me of the many I’d seen in Thattekkad, in Kerala:

a wdswlw kbi 150511

On the banks, another unusual sight was several


all together; I’ve always seen only one at a time, before this.

gy jngl fl kbni 150511

On the water were the fishermen, sorry, fisherbirds, that included this


gt crmnt 150511 kbn

it was lovely to watch the


fish…they hold their wings up over the water so that the fish cannot see the sharp beak of death shooting through the air, lethally!

pntd stk 150511 kbn

Another able angler is the


which is also called the


because of the shape of its neck, suited to gulping down wriggly eels!

darter 150511 kbni

Of course another fisher is the


shown here in successful pursuit of breakfast!

kf wt fsh 150511



waded about, in similar pursuit:

gt egrt 150511 kbni

and a beautiful


was waiting for his turn…

spt bld dk kbn 150511

talking about turns, here is a


rvr trn 150511 kb

a mother


brought “six-legged breakfast” for that very demanding young one next to her, and then went on repeated sorties for more food:

ltshrke 150511 kbn

We were prevented from bemoaning the lack of raptors because this


appeared to pose:

cse 150511 kbn

Late in the evening, on a “This property belongs to R Raman” board (the “this” is visible!)…an


couple sat:

omr 150511 kbn

A few final sightings included this beautiful


hpoe 150511

and as we were leaving Water Woods, the extremely expensive resort where we stayed, we watched for a while, and saw this baby


snug in its nest, peeping out curiously, and fearlessly!

barbet bby 150511

and the State Bird of Karnataka (or as someone put it, the “National Bird of Karnataka”!)

rlr 150511kbni

More detailed photos on my Facebook album,


Here’s the bird,mammal, and others list:

Babbler, Jungle
Barbet, Coppersmith
Barbet, White-cheeked
Bee- Eater,Blue-bearded
Bee-Eater, Blue-tailed
Bee-Eater, Small Green
Bulbul, Red-vented
Bulbul, Red-whiskered
Bushchat, Pied
Buttonquail, Barred
Buzzard, Oriental Honey
Cisticola, Zitting
Cormorant, Greater
Cormorant, Little
Coucal. Greater
Crow, House
Crow, Jungle
Cuckoo, Common Hawk
Cuckoo, Indian
Duck, Spot-billed
Drongo, Ashy
Drongo, Black
Drongo, Bronzed
Drongo, Greater Racket-tailed
Drongo, White-bellied
Darter, Oriental
Dove, Spotted
Egret, Cattle
Egret, Great
Egret, Little
Egret, Intermediate
Flycatcher, White browed Fantail
Eagle, Crested Serpent
Francolin, Grey
Flameback, Greater
Flowerpecker, Pale-billed
Heron, Pond
Heron, Grey
Heron, Purple
Hoopoe, Common
Hornbill, Indian Grey
Hornbill, Malbar Pied
Ibis, Black-headed
Ibis, Black
Iora, Common
Junglefowl, Grey
Kingfisher, Common
Kingfisher, Stork-billed
Kingfisher, White-breasted
Kite, Black
Kite, Black-winged
Kite, Brahminy
Koel, Asian
Lapwing, Red-wattled
Lark, Crested
Minivet, Small
Munia, Black-headed
Munia, Scaly-breasted
Munia, White-rumped
Mynah, Common
Myna, Jungle
Myna, Hill
Openbill, Asian
Parakeet, Rose-ringed
Parakeet, Plum-headed
Parakeet, Malabar
Parrot, Vernal Hanging
Peafowl, Indian
Pelican, Spot-billed
Pigeon, Blue Rock
Plover, Little Ringed
Praticole, Small
Prinia, Ashy
Prinia, Jungle
Prinia, Plain
Robin, Indian
Robin, Oriental Magpie
Roller, Indian
Shrike, Long-tailed
Spoonbill, Eurasian
Sparrow, House
Starling, Brahminy
Stilt, Black-winged
Stork, Painted
Stork, Woolly-necked
Sunbird, Purple-rumpled
Swallow, Red-rumped
Swallow, Wire-tailed
Swift, Alpine
Swift, Palm
Tailorbird, Common
Tern, River
Treepie, Rufous
Trogon, Malabar
Vulture, Egyptian
Wagtail, Pied
Warbler, Blyth’s Reed
Warblers, un id
Waterhen, White-breasted
Weaver, Streaked
Whistling-duck, Lesser
White-eye, Oriental
Woodswallow, Ashy


Boar, Wild
Elephant, Asian
Langur, Black-faced
Macaque, Bonnet
Otter, Smooth-coated
Squirrel, Malabar Giant

Reptiles and Amphibians

Bullfrog, Indian
Keelback, Chequered
Frog, Bicolored
Frog, Skittering
Skink, Red-tailed


Brown, Evening
Bush Brown, Common
Castor, Angled
Emigrant, Common
Emigrant, Lime
Gull, Common
Jezebel, Common
Leopard, Common
Lime, Common
Rose, Common
Rose, Crimson
Tiger, Common
Yellow, Common Grass
Yellow, Spotless Grass

Un id Jumping, Orb and Lynx Spiders, and Dragonflies. Damselflies, Ants, Millipedes, Stick Insect

Surgery: Financoctomy

May 22, 2011

operate for you 210511 stl

Please note that those who Operate For You are the ones who have the Mercs For Them…

The Tired Traveller

May 22, 2011

amp;current=DSCF8354.jpg” target=”_blank”>wry trvlr 200511 jfk

He sleeps, the weary traveller.
Caught in the immpersonal process of being moved
As part of huge, faceless crowds
From one destination to another…
Across the world, across time,
He tries, yet, to keep in touch
With home, family, work, his life.
His laptop is powered by a cord
That is his umbilicus to the world.
But, in spite of valiant efforts,
The body protests: too little sleep,
The very cells of his physical being
Force him into closing his eyes,
To recoup a little of the lost energy
As he travels. The miracle of long-distance travel
Is at work: but like all miracles,
This one has a high cost, too.

A trim and slim article…

May 22, 2011


is the article about music and how it’s taught, and regarded in Bangalore, which I wrote for Citizen Matters…this article was sponsored by Max Mueller Bhavan, and it appears on their website


The original article, as I wrote it (before it was, like untreated cotton, shrunk after use) is


The last updating was 187 days ago!

Am I happy with the way the article has shaped up (actually, down) , after all these months that MMB has taken? All I can say is, it’s an artcl now!