Archive for November, 2013

Cauvery Wildlife Sanctuary: Wings and Six Feet

November 6, 2013

On our visit to the Cauvery Wildlife Sanctuary, several birds thrilled us through the day.

this

TAWNY EAGLE

put in a thrilling appearance, and was mobbed by crows:

DSC01602

DSC01601

A distant

BAY-BACKED SHRIKE

smiled at us:

DSC01718

Everywhere there were

PIED WAGTAILS:

DSC01721

It’s only when we see the

BLACK-WINGED STILT

out of the water, that we see how well-named it is!

DSC01645

This

GREEN SANDPIPER

was cleaning itself:

DSC01641

a

GREY HERON

walked gracefully through the water:

DSC01637

several

GREAT TITS

hopped around:

DSC01588

some

BRAHMINY STARLINGS

sat on a wire.

DSC01584

A female

DSC01582

and a male

PURPLE-RUMPED SUNBIRD

appeared:

DSC01581

SMALL GREEN BEE-EATERS

were around:

DSC01578

this

INDIAN ROLLER

was posing well:

DSC01699

DSC01656

BLACK DRONGOS

have arrived in force!

DSC01627

We listened to the cacaphony of the

JUNGLE BABBLERS:

DSC01595

Love and grooming go on, side by side!

DSC01592

BAYA WEAVERS

at their nests:

DSC01543

We saw a group of

EUROPEAN BEE-EATERS:

DSC01667

DSC01666

(taken at high zoom…the idiot birds were far away from the road and we had to beat a path through heavy scrub and fields…still could not get close.)

We stopped at a roadside pond in Sathanur:

DSC01526

The pond had this

BRONZE-WINGED JACANA:

DSC01566

COMMON MOORHEN:

DSC01555

DSC01554

There were two

BRAHMINY KITES

DSC01541

DSC01538

eyeing a family of

COMMON COOTS

chugging through the water, until, at last, one them got one of the babies.

DSC01537

DSC01534

until finally, we saw one Kite attack, lift a little one successfully, and fly off…

A

POND HERON

caught a huge fish, and struggled to swallow it:

DSC01517

DSC01516

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

Several insects and butterflies caught my attention.

TAWNY COSTER

in the greenery:

DSC01716

WHITE ORANGE-TIP:

DSC01710

YELLOW ORANGE-TIP:

DSC01544

DSC01524

COMMON GULL:

DSC01563

CRIMSON ROSE on the Lantana:

DSC01559

LEMON PANSY:

DSC01713

BLUE TIGER male:

DSC01743

SEVEN-SPOT BURNET MOTH:

DSC01751

PIERROT:

DSC01748

several

DRAGONFLIES

zipped around:

DSC01571

The bird list:
Babbler, Jungle
Barbet, Coppersmith
Barbet, White-cheeked
Bee-eater, European
Bee-eater, Green
Bulbul, Red-vented
Bulbul, Red-whiskered
Bulbul, White-browed
Bushchat, Pied
Bushlark, Indian
Bushlark, Jerdon’s
Buzzard, Oriental Honey
Cisticola, Zitting
Coot, Common
Cormorant, Little
Coucal, Greater
Crow, House
Crow, Large-billed(Jungle)
Dove, Laughing
Dove, Spotted
Drongo, Ashy
Drongo, Black
Duck, Lesser Whistling
Eagle, Lesser Fish
Eagle, Tawny
Egret, Cattle
Egret, Little
Egret, Intermediate
Flowerpecker, Pale-billed
Flycatcher, Asian Brown
Flycatcher, Asian Paradise
Francolin, Grey
Grebe, Little
Heron, Grey
Heron, Indian Pond
Jacana, Bronze-winged
Kingfisher, White-throated
Kite, Black
Koel, Asian
Lapwing, Red-wattled
Lark, Ashy-crowned Sparrow
Moorhen, Common
Munia,Black-headed
Munia, Scaly-breasted
Myna, Common
Myna, Jungle
Oriole, Black-naped
Owl, Brown Fish
Owlet, Jungle
Parakeet, Rose-ringed
Pigeon, Blue Rock
Pipit, Paddyfield
Prinia, Ashy
Robin, Indian
Robin, Oriental Magpie
Roller, Indian
Sandpiper, Green
Shikra
Shrike, Bay-backed
Silverbill, Indian
Sparrow, House
Starling, Brahminy
Starling, Rosy
Stilt, Black-winged
Sunbird, Purple
Sunbird, Purple-rumped
Swallow, Barn
Swallow, Red-rumped
Swamphen, Purple(Moorhen)
Swift, Common
Tailorbird, Common
Tern, River
Tit, Great
Treepie, Rufous
Wagtail, White-browed (Pied)
Warbler, Greenish (Leaf)
Weaver, Baya

The six-footer list:

Blues, Various
Castor, Common
Crow, Common
Eggfly, Great
Emigrant, Common
Emigrant, Mottled
Gull, Common
Jewel, Grass
Jezebel, Common
Mormon, Blue
Mormon, Common
Pansy, Chocolate
Pansy, Lemon
Pierrot, Common
Psyche
Rose, Common
Rose, Crimson
Tiger, Blue
Tiger, Common
Wanderer, Common
Yellow, Common Grass
Yellow, Three-spot Grass
Yellow, Spotless

Various Beetles, Bugs, Dragonflies, Damselflies,Moths, Spiders.

Mammals list:

Boar, Wild
Jackal, Indian
Mongoose, Indian
Squirrel, Grizzled Giant
Squirrel, Three-striped Palm

Let me close with this

COMMON WANDERER
female:

DSC01568

What a treasure house of creation the Kaveri area is!

Advertisements

Cauvery Wildlife Sanctuary: The people, and the scenery

November 6, 2013

I was given a sudden, late-night query: Would I like to visit the Cauvery Wildlife Sanctuary?

DSC01746

My companions were Apoorva Managoli, her dad Dr Sanjeev Managoli,and Vaibhav Chowdhary…that was like Black Forest with 3 different flavours of ice-cream! No, Sanjeev is not a car-diologist, but it was his new vehicle!

He also had a new toy:

DSC01509

DSC01603

I’m making a separate post about the birds, and the six-footers.

The road passed through beautiful land:

DSC01661

DSC01691

DSC01690

DSC01685

We indulged in some mammal photography, little knowing that our mammal sightings in the evenig were going to be very good!

DSC01684

Temples were being decorated:

DSC01632

The goddess,Kaveri, revealed herself in all her beauty:

DSC01753

DSC01745

DSC01727

DSC01707

The endangered

GRIZZLED GIANT SQUIRREL

was around:

DSC01730

DSC01738

and here’s the large nest:

DSC01740

the majesty of the trees at the JLR campus was staggering:

DSC01728

Apoorva posed with Harish, who was our guide for the Squirrel, the Jungle Owlet, and other delights on the JLR campus:

DSC01729

The forest often gives us gifts to disperse:

DSC01708

Several wild plants and flowers delighted me:

DSC01546

DSC01547

DSC01590

DSC01754

A carpet dotted with red:

DSC01681

DSC01678

Our final destination became Galibore JLR:

DSC01757

The rain clouds lovingly wrapped themselves around the hills:

DSC01767

Rustic living on the banks of a lake looks picturesque, but may not be comfortable!

DSC01772

Houses were decorated beautifully:

DSC01599

Sericulture was in progress:

DSC01596

DSC01573

How can I forget the food? Here’s brefus at Kanakapura:

DSC01503

DSC01501

DSC01505

And here are elevenses:

DSC01647

Gaily decorated vehicles (I don’t know how the drivers could see anything of the road!) were all around:

DSC01652

DSC01650

DSC01778

KTB’s nonsense “Indian” singing

November 5, 2013

AM writes to a friend, who says she’s had a quiet Deepavali:

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

Quiet would indeed be lovely. Please enjoy these last moments of quiet and make them last for 10 years.

I get an earful of Parva-lay-mathi-klakka-klakka daily, this is Kavya’s new nonsense bhajan. She has figured out how to make Indian sounding words and practices this skill as often as she can, loudly and insistently. Her brother eggs her on in gleeful fits of giggles each time, sending her into a tail spin of loud and braying giggles as well, into which the last two klakka’s are dissolved. The only saving grace is that it is better than her other bhajans which includes, “I love my booty body”, learned from older friends.

Yeah, yeah, It sounds funny and cute now, but after the 100th Parva-lai-mathi-klakka-klakka, associated braying and baby trying to join along in his own capacity, I am seeking to vicariously live those quiet moments.

Today morning’s latest was Pangalaathi-pongalam.

I write this because it sounds more fun with some distance.

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

Ooooh…HOW I miss my Boodi and Booda! Here I am with them, preparing to leave them and go off, far away…

DSC01041

A lovely song, well sung

November 5, 2013

Listen to my very talented nephew, Rakesh Raghunathan:

Apart from his great musical talent, he also runs a take-away wrap business, called Petawrap (mostly vegetarian, I think)in Chennai, with a chain of outlets, and runs a cookery show on one of the TV channels…all very successfully!

A versatile guy…and a very likeable person, too. Rakesh…your nickname is “Rock”…and you rock!

Ragihalli, 021113

November 3, 2013

What could be a better medicine for severe jet-lag and symptoms of serious withdrawal from one’s grandchilden (who, as the miles slip away behind the aircraft, progressively become the best-behaved, most ideal children of all time)? A visit to my favourite haunt!

DSC01482

Rajesh had posted on the birding e-group, asking if anyone would go to the Bannerghatta area. Well, of course I would! I was joined by Amitabha, Kiran and Zainab, too..

DSC01449

DSC01410

the latter were coming for their first birding/natiure trail. The only bird in their lives now is the Stork, which will be arriving early next year.

It was a cloudy and dull morning,

DSC01412

DSC01409

DSC01408

and initially, all birds were Grey ‘Silhouette Birds, I had to keep showing Zainab and Kiran what the birds looked like, in the bird book. But we persisted, and not only did we see a respectable number of species,

DSC01485

DSC01481

DSC01443

DSC01416

DSC01418v

DSC01419

DSC01421

we also enjoyed the beauty of the Bannerghatta forest,

DSC01426

the weak sunshine,

DSC01477

a hot breakfast in the iddli shop in Ragihalli,and the sight of innumerable waterlilies,

DSC01424

and a few white lotuses, blooming in Ragihalli Kola (Pond).

DSC01446

DSC01448

Some living things grew fast after the rain…

DSC01457

The highlight, for me at least, was a big group of Lesser Whistling Duck babies, huddling along, trying to keep right behind their parents, in Ragihalli Kola.

DSC01450

DSC01451

DSC01453

DSC01455

There were several butterflies,

DSC01429

DSC01459

DSC01462

DSC01473

some interesting spiders

DSC01404

DSC01478

and other insects.

DSC01425

DSC01435

and we delighted in the various wildflowers, too.

DSC01466

DSC01464

DSC01438

DSC01432

DSC01423

DSC01414

DSC01407

DSC01396

DSC01398

DSC01399

DSC01401

It was a deeply satisfying morning, and I returned home with peace in my heart, on the festival of lights.

The villagers of Ragihalli told us that the elephant movement was not at a high, but we were warned by the Forest Department people at the Ragihalli watch tower. But the Forest Dept staff keep harassing photographers, even when we are on the main road, and this does not make sense to me. On the whole, they adopt a very confrontational, hectoring tone. When I talked to them, they were a little more polite. Perhaps they come across a lot of tourists who make nuisances of themselves.

The Ragihalli sheet rock area was surprisingly free of broken bottles and picnic litter, and this was a big improvement. However, litter surrounds Ragihalli village.
Our plastic trash is poisoning our environment at an alarming pace.

I have put up some photos (I’ve also written in a narrative) on my Facebook album at

https://www.facebook.com/deemopahan/media_set?set=a.10151797656438878.1073742033.587058877&type=3

The bird list:

Babbler, Jungle
Babbler, Yellow-billed
Barbet,Coppersmith
Barbet, White-cheeked
Bee-eater, Small Green
Bulbul Red-vented
Bulbul, Red-whiskered
Bulbul, White-browed
Bushchat Pied
Bushlark jerdon’s,
Buzzard, Oriental Honey
Coucal, Greater
Crow, House
Crow, Jungle
Dove, Laughing
Dove, Spotted
Drongo Ashy
Drongo, Black
Duck, Lesser Whistling
Duck, Spot-billed
Egret, Cattle
Egret, Little
Flowerpecker, Pale-billed
Francolin grey (heard)
Grebe, Little
Heron, Indian-pond
Hoopoe, Common
Kestrel, Common
Kingfisher, White-breasted
Kite, Black
Koel, Asian
Lapwing Red-wattled
Martin, Asian House
Munia, Scaly-breasted
Myna, Common
Myna, Jungle
Parakeet, Rose-ringed
Pigeon, Blue Rock
Pipit, Paddyfield
Prinia, Ashy
Prinia Plain
Robin, Indian
Shikra
Silverbill, Indian
Starling, Rosy
Sunbird, Purple-rumped
Swallow, Barn
Swallow, Red-rumped
Swallow, Wire-tailed
Swift, House
Treepie, Rufous
Wagtail, White-browed
Warbler, Greenish-leaf

Butterflies:

Blues, Various
Castor, Common
Eggfly, Danaid
Emigrant, Common
Jezebel, Common
Leopard, Common
Lime, Common
Psyche
Rose, Common
Tiger, Common
Yellow, Three-spot Grass
Yellow, Spotless Grass

Various Dragonflies, Damselflies, and Spiders, too.

DSC01436

The Indian Silverbill, 011113

November 2, 2013

When you’ve been fasting, you tend to break your fast…and overdo it! I’d not seen anything of Indian birds for a longish time now, and when we went to

Muthur

to help my friend Shangon celebrate the life of her husband, who passed away in 2005, I just walked around the school building while the speeches were going on.

Just behind the toilets,a barbed wire fence separated the High School property from a field of millet; and there, I was delighted to find a group of

INDIAN SILVERBILLs

DSC01289

alternately foraging on the ground,

DSC01290

and sitting on the fence, or the telephone wires.

DSC01302

DSC01339

So I just clicked away happily!

DSC01286

The Indian Silverbill or White-throated Munia (Lonchura malabarica), the Wiki says, is a small passerine (sparrow-like) bird, which forages in flocks in in grassland and scrub habitats….and in several villages!

DSC01344

They are

Estrildid finches which means they are included in the genus “Lonchura”, and are called weaver-finches.

DSC01346

They are found in flocks of as many as 60 birds.

DSC01350

They feed on the ground or on low shrubs and grass stalks. They constantly utter a low cheeping or chirping contact call as they forage. They visit water and drink with a rapid sip and swallow action.

It feeds mainly on seeds, but also takes insects and has been known to visit nectar bearing flowers, such as those of Erythrina trees

The breeding season is spread out and varies with region. They nest in winter in southern India and after summer in northern India. They nest, an untidy ball of grasses with an opening on the side, is placed in low shrubs, often on thorny Acacia and are known to make use of the old nests of Baya Weaver sometimes even visiting those that are occupied by the weaver birds. They will sometimes build their nest below the platform nests of vultures or storks!

Here the beak structure, suited to the cracking and eating of seeds, can be clearly seen:

DSC01349

The clutch varies from 4 to 8 white eggs and these are incubated by both parents for about 11 days. Helpers may be involved in breeding as more than a pair are sometimes seen at a nest.
It’s a pity I couldn’t see any nests nearby!

I even took this ideo showing one bird foraging:

The Indian Silverbill brought me back to Indian birding, and what a delightful start it was!

DSC01347