Archive for December, 2012

2012 in review

December 31, 2012

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2012 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

Click here to see the complete report.

Bannerghatta, Zoo area and inside the Zoo, 301212

December 31, 2012

Hi,

I generally do not like to go to the Zoo,as it depresses me to see
animals in captivity….particularly those which, a few metres away,
are free in the wild.

However, in Bannerghatta, the Forest Department is almost finished
with the task of making most of the areas that were common earlier,
into walled, ticketed areas that birders/nature lovers like us cannot
access any more.

The path that led to Jungle Lodges Hill View restaurant from the
“quarry pond” next to the Butterfly Park was walled up some time ago;
now, when Naveen and Rashmi Toppo,Rohan Kunte, and I visited this
morning, we found that the path just opposite the Butterfly Park,
which was the new access to JLR, is also walled up, and a sliding gate
being erected, to include the space in the Herbivore Safari. This
means that morning nature-trail people’s access to what I have dubbed
“Flycatcher Avenue”, and “KIngfisher Pond” (near the present Herbivore
Safari gate) are completely cut off. The only way we can gain access
is after 9.30am, when the Zoo ticket gates open.By this time, the bird
activity would effectively have died down.

Is there any way in which we can contact the Karnataka Forest
Department, and ask for some special ticketing whereby we can pay (we
don’t in the least mind that) and enter the area at 6 to 6.30am, which
is the time we normally do the nature trail? The present arrangement
cuts off our access completely, and it’s not fun to enter at 9.30am
along with large crowds of tourists, when there may not be much bird
activity…and we are not really interested in visiting the Zoo.

Or….wait…I’ll come to this later.

Another problem is that the parking lot of the Zoo area also does not
open in the morning, until 9.30am. We then park on the side road. When
we return, we are harassed for no fault of ours, and though there is
no one to collect parking charges in the morning, we are made to pay
the charges as we exit. If we are to pay the parking charges, why
should we not be allowed to park in the proper car park?

As far as visiting the Zoo goes….

Today, I realized that our only way to access my favourite areas were
to buy tickets and enter. Luckily for us, it was already 9.30am, so we
bought tickets and entered the Zoo first,before the crowds did..and we
were richly rewarded. We did not pay much attention to the animals in
captivity (except looking at the Hippos, which were bellowing away for
some reason)….but the amount of birds we saw in the Zoo campus
staggered us. We then walked along Flycatcher Avenue and went around
the Kingfisher Pond…and it was Flycatcher Fiesta, with several of
them deciding to sit and pose for us! Also, for the first time, I saw
a Sandpiper at the Kingfisher pond, in spite of the boating being
organized there, and a huge water fountain spouting water into the
air.

I have put up my photos on a Facebook album at

https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.10151225873473878.473348.587058877&type=1

I was very lucky to meet Rohan Kunte, who’d read my blog posts on
Bannerghatta and decided to visit! We all had a marvellous time!

Birds;

Babbler, Jungle
Barbet, Coppersmith
Barbet, White-cheeked
Bee-Eater, Small Green
Bulbul, Red-vented
Bulbul, Red-whiskered
Bulbul, White-browed
Bushchat, Pied
Bushlark, Indian
Bushlark, Jerdon’s
Buzzard, Oriental Honey
Cisticola, Zitting
Cormorant, Great
Cormorant, Little
Coucal, Greater
Crow, House
Crow, Large-billed
Cuckoo, Common Hawk
Dove, Laughing
Dove, Spotted
Drongo, Ashy
Drongo, Black
Egret, Cattle
Egret, Intermediate
Egret, Little
Flameback, Black-rumped
Flowerpecker, Pale-billed
Flycatcher, Asian Brown
Flycatcher, Asian Paradise
Flycatcher, Tickell’s Blue
Francolin, Grey (heard)
Heron, Black-crowned Night
Heron, Grey
Heron, Indian Pond
Iora, Common
Kingfisher, Small Blue
Kingfisher, White-throated
Kite, Black
Kite, Brahminy
Koel, Asian
Lapwing, Red-wattled
Lark, Rufous-tailed
Leafbird, Golden-fronted
Martin, Asian House
Minivet, Small
Munia, Scaly-breasted
Munia, White-rumped
Myna, Common
Myna, Jungle
Owlet, Spotted
Parakeet, Rose-ringed
Pigeon, Blue-rock
Pipit, Paddyfield
Prinia, Ashy
Prinia, Plain
Robin, Indian
Robin, Oriental Magpie
Roller, Indian
Sandpiper, Common
Sandpiper, Green
Starling, Brahminy
Starling, Chestnut-tailed
Starling, Rosy
Sunbird, Purple
Sunbird, Purple-rumped
Swallow, Barn
Swallow, Red-rumped
Swallow, Wire-tailed
Swift, Asian Palm
Tailorbird, Common
Tit, Great
Treepie, Rufous
Wagtail, Grey
Wagtail, White-browed
Warbler, Booted
Warbler, Greenish Leaf
White-eye, Oriental

Butterflies:

Blues, Various
Emigrant, Common
Emigrant, Mottled
Gull, Common
Jezebel, Common
Lime, Common
Mormon, Common
Orange-tip, White
Pansy, Chocolate
Pansy, Lemon
Pioneer
Psyche
Rose, Common
Rose, Crimson
Wanderer, Common
Yellow, Common Grass
Yellow, Three-spot Grass
Yellow, Spotless

The birds were so abundant today that I really did not concentrate on
the insects or butterflies…and there were several that I could
neither photograph, nor sketch, nor identify.

A big thank you to Naveen and Rashmi, and to Rohan, for a wonderful
morning-up-to-afternoon trail, with great chai breaks (made by
Rashmi), and the delicious masal dosa at Mayura Dose Camp!

Having been out of town and not on the internet, I am guilty of not
having posted my plans on Facebook as usual….I missed each and every
one of my friends, and wished they were with us on this productive
outing!

Cheers, Deepa.

Sloth Bears of Daroji: article in The Alternative

December 25, 2012

click here

to read my article on the efforts at Daroji, Karnataka. The photos are mine (to use a terrible pun!)

Donde esta Santa Claus?

December 24, 2012

It’s Christmas Eve…Silvesterabend…and here’s one of my favourite children’s songs.

here

are the lyrics.

Mamacita, donde esta Santa Claus?
Donde esta Santa Claus?
And the toys that he will leave?
Mamacita, oh, where is Santa Claus?
I look for him because it’s Christmas Eve.

I know that I should be sleeping,
But maybe he’s not far away,
Out of the window I’m peeping,
Hoping to see him in his sleigh.

I hope he won’t forget
to clack his castinet,
And to his reindeer, say,
“Oh Pancho, Oh! Vixen, Oh! Pedro, Oh! Blitzen,”
Ole! Ole! Ole!
cha cha cha.

Mamacita, donde esta Santa Claus?
Oh! Where is Santa Claus?
It’s Christmas Eve.
Mamacita, donde esta Santa Claus?
I look for him because it’s Christmas Eve.
I know that I should be sleeping,
But maybe he’s not far away,
Out of the window I’m peeping,
Hoping to see him in sleigh.

I hope he won’t forget
to crack his castinet,
And to his reindeer, say,
“Oh Pancho, Oh! Vixen, Oh! Pedro, Oh! Blitzen,”
Ole! Ole! Ole!
cha cha cha.
Mamacita, donde esta Santa Claus?
Oh! Where is Santa Claus? It’s Christmas Eve.
It’s Christmas Eve. It’s Christmas Eve. It’s Christmas Eve.
Alright, Mamacita. I’ll go to sleep now. It’s Christmas Eve……

Merry Christmas, and happy holidays, everyone!

4th Sunday outing of Bird Watchers’ Field Club: 231212, Muthanallur Lake, Sarjapura area

December 24, 2012

Hi, everyone

After a very long gap, I was able to go for the 4th Sunday outing to the Sarjapura area,thanks to Suneel’s very kindly offering to pick up my friend Ravi Srinivasan (from Chennai) and myself.

However, co-ordinating with multiple members and multiple meeting points caused a lot of delay and instead of depending on the correct directions that Shishir had given, we made the mistake of asking the locals, and this delayed us even further! When we finally reached Muthanallur kere, we were never able to meet up with the main group, and we wandered around the lake bed and the banks on our own. The mist also played its part…

231212 bwfc 4th sun srjpura mist

After a pathetic monsoon this year, it’s a blessing to be able to visit any kere with water in it, and Muthanallur kere was very picturesque and scenic (with not too much of litter, either). We were able to observe many of the waterfowl, whether resident (like Brahminy Kites or Pied Kingfishers) or migrant. While we felt sad that we could walk so much on the lake bed, it certainly allowed us to get just that little bit closer to the waterfowl.

However, the presence of the bodies of three dead Brahminy Kites at various places on the lake bed, and that of many dead fish along the banks (uneaten by any predator), made us wonder about the quality of the water. There was a lot of algae in the lake, which, at places, gave it a bright emerald colour. However, since there were live fish, too, and some Checkered Keelbacks, we felt the water might be OK.

Several raptors soared on the thermals and being “rocky on raptors”, I was hard put to id them. The Red-necked Falcon delighted us with an appearance, as did several other birds of prey. However, it seemed to be Brahminy Kites which have adopted the lake; we saw many juveniles soaring and hunting.

As usual, there were not too many small waders, but there was a good number of Painted Storks and Openbills. Two Pied Kingfishers hovered, dived, and then dried themselves on the mud banks. We managed to sight, and observe, the

WESTERN REEF EGRET

for a while…

231212 bwfc 4th sun srjpura wstrn rf egret

Ravi and Suneel decided to go to Decathlon, and I took a ride with the Managoli family, Vaibhav and Deepu. Of course we got lost again, and finally decided to eat brunch at Sarjapura before making our way home, watching Kestrels and some of the warblers on the way. Moral of the story: never try to use the words “early return” on a birding trip!

I do not know who else was there, but our group consisted of:

Aparna
Deepu
Ravi
Sanjeev
Suneel
Surekha

and I.

Bird List (let me know if I have left out any)

Babbler, Jungle
Barbet, Coppersmith
Barbet, White-cheeked
Bee-eater, Small Green
Bulbul, REd-vented
Bulbul, Red-whiskered
Bulbul, White-browed
Bushchat, Pied
Bushlark, Indian
Coot, Common
Cormorant, Great
Cormorant, Little
Coucal, Greater
Crow, House
Crow, Large-billed
Cuckoo, Common Hawk
Cuckooshrike, Large
Darter
Dove, Laughing
Dove, Spotted
Drongo, Ashy
Drongo, Black
Drongo, White-bellied
Eagle, Indian Spotted (I think)
Eagle, Short-toed Snake
Eagle, Tawny
Egret, Cattle
Egret, Great
Egret, Intermediate
Egret, Little
Egret, Western Reef
Falcon, Red-necked
Flowerpecker, Pale-billed
Flycatcher, White-browed Fantail
Flycatcher, Asian Paradise
Heron, Black-crowned Night
Heron, Grey
Heron, Indian Pond
Heron, Purple
Honey-Buzzard, Oriental
Ibis, Black
Kestrel, Common
Kingfisher, Pied
Kingfisher, Small Blue
Kingfisher, Whitethroated
Kite, Common
Kite, Brahminy
Koel, Asian
Lapwing, Red-wattled
Leafbird, Golden-fronted
Martin, Dusky Crag
Minivet, Small
Munia, White-rumped
Mynah, Common
Mynah, Jungle
Openbill, Asian
Oriole, Eurasian Golden
Parakeet, Rose-ringed
Pigeon, Blue Rock
Pipit, Paddyfield
Plover, Little Ringed
Prinia, Ashy
Prinia, Plain
Redshank, Spotted
Robin, Indian
Robin, Oriental Magpie
Roller, Indian
Sandpiper, Common
Sandpiper, Green
Stork, Painted
Sunbird, Purple-rumped
Swallow, Barn
Swallow, Red-rumped
Swallow, Wire-tailed
Swift, Asian palm
Tailorbird, Common
Treepie, Rufous
Wagtail, Grey
Warbler, Greenish Leaf
Warbler, Booted
Warbler, Blyth’s Reed
Warbler,
Wagtail, Pied
White-eye, Oriental

Butterflies were there in plenty, too.

Blues, various
Castor, Common
Emigrant, Common
Emigrant, Mottled
Gull, Common
Jezebel. Common
Leopard, Common
Pioneer
Psyche
Rose, Common
Rose, Crimson
Tiger, Plain
Wanderer, Common
Yellow, Three-spot Grass

We also saw many Dragonflies and Damselflies; and I thought of Ajay as I watched some Weaver ants for a while, as I rested in the shade of the Eucalyptus trees, through which the wind soughed as it rippled the surface of the lake. The fine Cirrus clouds overhead promised only sunshine….and we came back feeling much hotter than when we set out!

I am sending some photographs to the experts I know, for id…so the list may get amended. Sorry, folks, I make LOTS of mistakes!

I have put up photos from my Mary’s Lamb camera (Sony HX200) on an FB album, at

https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.10151215624103878.471834.587058877&type=1

Please, if I have made wrong id’s, feel free to correct them!

Cheers, and with heartfelt good wishes for the festive (and holiday!) season ahead…

Deepa.

My child, and hers…

December 21, 2012

When my child sighs
In distant shores…
It brings tears to my eyes.
She misses her child,
But her separation is mild…
A matter of a few hours.

My child, alas, is so far away…
I cannot wipe her eyes.
In matters of a mother’s love,
I am not very wise.
My arms ache for my child
Quite as much as hers for her own;
I’d like to rise above
My emotions, and say
I’m practical. But I’m wild…
I’m not missing her alone
But her child as well…
They’ve both cast a spell
Over my heart….
It’s tough…living apart.

Romancing the Wind…Ray Bethell

December 21, 2012

I found this incredible video and would like to share it with all of you…

The control the grace, the beauty of it all…there are no words needed…just watch it…again!

The future…thoughts before the “end of the world”

December 20, 2012

Is there a future? After tomorrow?
What would mankind not give, to know the future!
We consult oracles, read palms, gaze up into the stars;
We wish to know our fortunes, our loves, our wars.
Is there, for prediction, any reliable feature?
Could we know early, and so avoid sorrow?

We gaze at the tea-leaves, at the coffee-grounds;
We read our palms, look at numbers;
We interpret the dreams that we have in our slumber…
We look at the cowrie shells that have no ocean sounds…
We ask little birds in cages,
To pull out predictions, in little messages.

This cow that is supposed to predict good times…
She just nods her head…and hopes to be fed.
The future, beyond that, for her, is dead.
It’s only humans who think of the future..and pen rhymes.

And yet the future lurks, unseen, unknown:
Humanity stands in the present, alone.
The future…if by chance, we could know
What lies in store, perhaps…we’d not be human any more.

boom bm maadu btm 151212

The “boom-boom maadu”, caprisioned, is led along the houses where loud cries of the good fortune that is in store for the householder (with the cow nodding agreement) will result, hopefully, in cash, clothing and food for the man and his bovine working partner.

BTM Layout, Bangalore 161212.

Disney Bakery, BTM Layout, 181212

December 20, 2012

Here

is my write-up about one of the popular “Bun-butter-jam” Bakeries that dot my city.