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Beauty and time

September 29, 2015

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, goes the saying.

But some things are so beautiful that their beauty is universally accepted. Flowers, for example. They don’t have to do anything but exist…and that, too, for a brief period of time, before fading away into memories tucked into our brains, or stored somewhere in the cloud.

This flower has definitely faded by now. I snapped it at Galibore, on the 25th of September. But it lives, forever, here: the sunlight shining through it, make it appear as it were aglow with an inner light.


I think memories, photography, and historical accounts are the only way we have of freezing the fleeting, evanescent moments of time.


September 29, 2015

The recession has hit everybody really hard.

My neighbor got a pre-declined credit card in the mail.

CEO’s are now playing miniature golf.

Exxon-Mobil laid off 25 Congressmen.

A stripper was killed when her audience showered her with rolls of pennies while she danced.

I saw a Mormon with only one wife.

If the bank returns your check marked “Insufficient Funds,” you call them and ask if they meant you or them.

McDonald’s is selling the 1/4 ouncer.

Angelina Jolie adopted a child from America.

Parents in Beverly Hills fired their nannies and learned their children’s names.

My cousin had an exorcism but couldn’t afford to pay for it, and they re-possessed her!

A truckload of Americans was caught sneaking into Mexico.

A picture is now only worth 200 words.

When Bill and Hillary travel together, they now have to share a room.

The Treasure Island casino in Las Vegas is now managed by Somali pirates.

And, finally…

I was so depressed last night thinking about the economy, wars, jobs, my savings, Social Security, retirement funds, etc., I called the Suicide Hotline. I got a call center in Pakistan, and when I told them I was suicidal, they got all excited, and asked if I could drive a truck.

Instead of the usual sunbath…Turahalli, 270915

September 28, 2015

I’ve often seen lizards, agamas and geckos bathing themselves in the rays of the sun.

Since all these are reptiles and cold-blooded, I have always thought they needed more warmth when they could get it. But at Turahalli, I was treated to the spectacle of a Rock Agama cooling off!


I’d never before seen a reptile deliberately get into the water to bathe, so I watched, quite entranced.


There was a small round depression in the rock, probably made by the priests of the temple nearby, to grind pastes for the food offered to the deity.

The Agama had clearly already been bathing for a while, as the wetness of the periphery showed:


Surprisingly, after we had gone away for a bit, we returned, and the little creature was still bathing!


Always alert, the reptile jumped into the water and splashed about, much like anyone who’s desperate to take a dip!

Here you can see the Agama using its limbs to “wipe” its body:

A little action in the world of Nature that I might have easily missed…now I know that Everyone Needs An Occasional Bath!

Galibore outing, 230915

September 28, 2015

Email to the bngbirds egroup:

Hi everyone

Almost on the spur of the moment, Guru Darshan, Kiran Kashyap, Suhas Kashyap and I decided to drive down to Cauvery Wildlife Sanctuary and drive down the road from Sangama to Galibore. We little imagined what a “B” (Bird) day it would be!


We started out with an Oriental Honey Buzzard sitting on a tree in the distant morning light,


and from then on, it seemed to be birds of prey all the way. As if to speed us on our way (speeding not being something birders can do…there is always something to stop for, and
stare at!) a Common Cuckoo (so common that I’ve only seen it now!) sat on a wire and posed for us.


Water bodies on the way both alarmed and delighted us. Alarm was when we came to Harohalli kere and we found it just a mass of weeds and trash, with hardly any water in it. The lotuses blooming in the stagnant water looked beautiful, but apart from a few coots and moorhens we could hardly see anything else. The delight was the lake opposite the arecanut plantation with the little Nandi temple in its centre (I do not know its name) beyond Kanakapura, which, though low on water, still had dozens of Painted Storks and Spot-billed Pelicans
in the water, along with Asian Openbills, Great and Little Cormorants,and one each Green Sandpiper and Little Ringed Plover.

A little later, we watched as a Crested Serpent Eagle swept the slopes looking for a tasty morsel to eat, and soared up high as the low-level reconnaissance did not seem to work.

As we neared the Jungle Lodges and Resorts (JLR) property at Galibore, a sudden flight had us looking in astonishment at a Jungle Owlet that sat on a large branch, but was rather too alert for us and flew a little deeper into the trees.


The night hunting must have been successful, because the owlet seemed ready to rest. It’s always nice to be able to watch a less-seen bird for longer stretches than the usual quick sightings!

As we entered the Sanctuary, the sight of a Crested Hawk Eagle, perched quite close to the road, kept us riveted for a while.


Two Shikras decided to give us “darshan”, one in a fly-past and one on a


A little later, we watched as a Crested Serpent Eagle swept the slopes looking for a tasty morsel to eat, and soared up high as the low-level reconnaissance did not seem to work.

At one point, Tri-coloured Munias in reeds on the riverbank flew in and out.


As we neared the Jungle Lodges and Resorts (JLR) property at Galibore, a sudden flight had us looking in astonishment at a Jungle Owlet that sat on a large branch, but was rather too alert for us and flew a little deeper into the trees. The night hunting must have been
successful, because the owlet seemed ready to rest. It’s always nice to be able to watch a less-seen bird for longer stretches than the usual quick sightings!

We were also extremely lucky to get a sighting of the Brown Hawk Owl, and we were quite thrilled with this sighting. The bird did not seem disturbed at all, but was still alert and looking down at us from its perch with those incredible eyes.


Here we are, looking up at it:


Our return journey was, of course, less productive in terms of birds, but there were several things to hold our interest. The near-threatened Grizzled Giant Squirrel, both adult:


and baby:


Mongoose, a foraging wild boar, several macaques,and these Flying Foxes


our mammal sightings were nothing to complain about.

Several frogs, one possible rat snake, and a crocodile innocently floating in the Kaveri made sure that our amphibian and reptile sightings were also excellent.

What seemed like a beautiful strain of music that extended through the entire day was the butterfly migration. All around us were many common butterflies: Orange-tips, Emigrants, Roses…and the Blue Tigers and Common Crows seemed to pour around us in aerial streams as
we made our way along the bank of the Kaveri. There were several places where Blue Tigers, Plain Tigers and Common Crows seemed drawn to small bushes, and the very area flickered with hundreds of wings, fluttering around.


Here’s a short video:

Sugarcane juice as we returned home.


Our bird list is at

The butterfly list:

Blue, Gram
Blue, Line
Blue, Palm
Blue, Zebra
Castor, Common
Cerulean, Common
Crimson-tip, White
Crow, Common
Emigrant, Common
Jewel, Grass
Jezebel, Common
Leopard, Common
Lime, Common
Mime, Common
Orange-tip, Plain
Orange-tip, White
Orange-tip, Yellow
Pansy, Chocolate
Pansy, Lemon
Rose, Common
Rose, Crimson
Tiger, Blue
Tiger, Plain
Yellow, Common Grass
Yellow, Three-spot Grass
Wanderer, Common

I am sure that if expert “butterers” had been with me, the list would
have been far longer.

and the photos I took are on my FB album at

We made our way home, filled with happiness at the wonders the day had unfolded for us. The beauty of the Kaveri as she rushed in her glittering silver wavelets and sudden whirlpools was as captivating as any of the creatures she nourishes and sustains.

Happy Birthday, Donna!

September 16, 2015


Happy birthday, Donna, and may health and happiness attend you all the days of your life!

Lalbagh, 130915

September 16, 2015


This is a Plains Cupid. But to me, it’s a beautiful Blue butterfly, showing its lovely colours as it soaks in the morning sunshine

Probably someone will have the correct scientific name for these insects in the public garden.


But to me, they are lighted jewels….

Someone will know the name of this grass. But to me, it’s the delight of the wind in the reeds and over the water.


Someone will have the precise name of this palm. But I only saw a beautiful pattern.


Drama of death and dismemberment!

September 16, 2015

As we meandered through Lalbagh on Sunday (2nd Sunday outing of the Bird Watchers Field Club..we didn’t stay with the group very long, though!)…we came upon this jumping spider, which landed on the ground by us, on a long thread of silk.


Idle curiosity prompted us to watch..and we were little prepared for the sudden drama of attack and death that followed!

The spider made her way across the path.


When, all of a sudden, a Solitary Hunter (Pompilid) Wasp zipped in and attached the spider.


The spider was helpless. One paralyzing bite and it was a permanent sleep for her.

I’ve seen wasps taking Taratulas to their nests on a couple of occasions (my blogpost about it is




and documents an earlier occasion too)

But…something I’d not seen before! The wasp proceeded, very efficiently, to chop off the legs of the spider.


Ants immediately came to claim this fresh food.


The wasp took the thorax of the spider and rapidly vanished!


We were rather dumbfounded by the rapidity of what happened…how swift and final events are in the natural world!

Manchanabele and Savandurga, UGS outing,060915

September 9, 2015

Email to bngbirds egroup:


We were a baker’s dozen as we set out to see what we could see in
these beautiful “outskirts” of our city. This was a farewell outing,
as avid birder Sajid Yunus is moving to Mumbai.


We approached Manchanabele Dam with many stops on the way, and were at
the reservoir on the side opposite from the army encampment. There
were enough birds to keep us all busy, and since photography was also
on the agenda, we clicked away happily. Some early migrants, such as
the Rosy Starling, made us happy that the migratory season seems to
have already begun.Discussion over raptor ids was inevitable.(Most
often: “What’s that in the air?…oh…Black Kite.”)

We watched Munias in the reeds, Baya Weavers busily building homes.


Larks on wires,


a Leafbird eating a grasshopper..


.and so the list
went. Small birds and large, colourful ones


and little nondescript


loud ones and quiet ones;beaks, shapes, feet of all types various behaviours…we never knew how the time flew.

Ashy Prinia

Jungle Prinia


Purple-rumped Sunbird


Black (Red-naped) Ibis:


Jerdon’s Leafbird


Stopping at various places,we then headed towards Savandurga, going
through the State Forest. The highlights were watching a group of
Egyptian Vultures “falling” off a steep, high rock pile, in an awesome
landscape; here, let me give the series of photos, zooming into to the high pile of rocks where the Vultures were sitting:


You can just see the dots on the rock pile (it was Prem who spotted them!)





and a magnificient Black Eagle flying along the sheer rock
face, its shadow chasing on the rock, while it looked for prey.


The birds blessed us this day, in more ways than one!


The butterflies were also out in big numbers,







and if there had been
some experts, I think my list would have been even longer. I also
looked at many wildflowers,








Giant Wood Spider female:









Water skaters




Pink Lotus:

Leo otis (Lion’s Ear)


some reptiles like this Garden Lizard


tiny amphibians


One of us photographed a Black-naped Hare, and some of us saw a mongoose, too. Another mammal was getting ready to drive off:


The scenery was magnificient, too,



Paddy fields


Manchanabele Reservoir




Ancient temple


Shiva and Parvathi look down on us from a more recent temple


Beautiful (but probably leaky) tiles on a house


Old pillars in the water, indicating the level of water


and the weather, never more than a
little warm, allowed us to spend the day without tiring too much.

One thing I notice these days is that all the local people seem to
have turned into helpful experts! So many people offered us tips on
where to go ( “Al hogi, sir, thumba chennagide” or “alli thumba
paksigalu idde” or “alli photo-kke best spot”!). A group of boys
hectoring us to contribute for Ganesh puja, several days away, was one
of the less pleasant things…but when we shared our binoculars with
them, and showed them some of the birds that we were watching, as well
as our photographs, their slightly belligerent attitude completely
changed, and they told us, “Vaapas banni, and we will take you to more
beautiful places!”

A couple of chai stops



and the huge array of snacks that we shared


managed to keep us going,


and it was only after I reached home that a
few of us had a brunner…a combination of breakfast, lunch and
dinner! That was how busy Naure kept us throughout.

A very memorable and enjoyable day…I cannot think of a better way to
bid adieu to a nature-loving friend!

The Manchanabele checklist is on eBird at

and the Savanadurga checklist is at

(both prepared by Soham Sinha, age 7)

The butterfly list:

Arab, Salmon
Blue. Gram
Blue, Tiny Grass
Bush Brown, un id
Cerulean, Common
Coster, Tawny
Crow, Common
Crow, Double-banded
Emigrant, Common
Emigrant, Mottled
Four-ring, Common
Jewel, Grass
Jezebel, Common
Leopard, Common
Mormon, Common
Orange-tip, Great
Orange-tip, White
Pansy, Blue
Pansy, Chocolate
Pansy, Lemon
Pierrot, Common
Tiger, Blue
Tiger, Plain
Tiger, Striped
Rose, Common
Rose, Crimson
Yellow. Common Grass
Yellow, Three-spot Grass
Wanderer, Common

My FB album of the day is at

Looking forward to more outings as Shishir Ritu continues!


Cheers, Deepa.

A dozen compliments that are not.

September 8, 2015

“You looked so good back then! I can hardly recognize you!”

“Your camera takes good pictures.”

“I love the way you’ve managed to create a home on a budget.”

“How courageous of you! I could never bring myself to do that.”

“Thank you for the gift…it’s the thought that counts.”

“For your age, you are quite active.”

“You always dress so originally.”

“In those days, sitting at home must have been very difficult.”

“Your daughter is dark but quite intelligent.”

“You’re really smart for a south Indian.”

“I checked all the bird and plant names you identified, and you were right!”

“I have something exactly like that.”


September 4, 2015

The air rapidly cools.
The wind blows, and the smell of the waiting earth
Fills the air, as
The first heavy raindrops fall.
Soon (monsoon) it’s a heavy downpour
Washing the dust off the leaves,
Muddying the roads…
My heart swells with emotion
As I come out of my home
To stand in the street,
Face turned up to the clouds
Letting the rain soak my face.
The monsoon touches a place deep in my heart.
My longing for the rain, too, is washed away.
I think love is like the monsoon;
Little acts of affection
Nourish the yearning heart
Wash away the pain of many small hurts,
And make joy bloom into smiles
Of pure, deeply-felt joy.



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