Posts Tagged ‘bangalore’

In the morning on the first of April

April 1, 2020

Me: Your parents cleared out your Lego pieces yesterday.
K2: WHAT! Rushes off to check.
Me: April Fool!
K2: Ha, ha, ha. But actually….you shouldn’t joke about my Lego. It gave me palpitations.

K1: OW! I stepped on a piece of glass! *limps to the sofa*
Me: Oh, let me have a look.
K1: April Fool!

The terrace and the window..

March 30, 2020

Being housebound is not very tough for me, as we have our essential supplies, and are quite used to doing our house chores without maids. But certainly, the time spent indoors has been very rewarding because of the two features of our apartment, that form my subject title.

The builders of this apartment designed the terrace in a rather unusual way; the access is only through one of the bedrooms, so I cannot go out on to it whenever I wish to. However, one window in the living area has a view of the terrace, and I sit at my laptop, facing the many pots placed there.

I always have noticed the Red-whiskered Bulbul pair that flies around, as well as many Purple-rumped Sunbirds. That, I thought, was the sum total of what I would see through the window.

Of course, you all know that the story has turned out differently! One day, both my son in law (I typed sin in law, which is a very interesting relationship!) and I watered the plants, and apart from the shallow plate kept on the floor of the terrace, a couple of pots had an inch or two of water in them.

The two Bulbuls, which had, so far, disdained using the shallow plate, suddenly decided that the muddy water in the pot was ideal for their hamam! First the adults, and then the juvenile, would come and alight at the edge of the pots, and very carefully look, and hop around, the edges. Then, emboldened, they would sit in the water and splash to their hearts’ content, coming out and sitting on a branch of the small Frangipani tree, “shivering” themselves out and preening, with that fashionable “wet-spiky” look.

I started hearing the tiny cheeping sounds of the Sunbirds too; but they were much more wary in approaching the pots, and would often only take a dainty sip or two before flying off. However, as I started watering the plants both morning and evening, I started seeing them having a quick dip, too. They would perch mostly on a small twig just above the water, and pick their moment to dip in.

Then came a bird with its “upticked” tail…yes, a little Tailorbird, which literally zoomed in and out like one of the bazooka lenses that my friends use! After the rapid bath, though, its call was loud and clear.

The Bulbuls, I found, are bullies! They often sit on the edge of the pots, not allowing the other birds to come near at all.That probably accounts for the lightning-fast visits of the Tailorbird and the Sunbirds!

Meanwhile, the squirrels did not come to have a bath, but did come over to take a little drink from the pots. They whisked themselves into gravity- defying poses on the branches of the Frangipani, and would then scurry off.

I must say, there are no House Sparrows, and the Barbets, Koels and Pigeons seem not to want to bathe in the water at all; so I thought to myself that three was the total of birds that were bathing and drinking. However, I corrected myself when an Oriental White-eye delighted me by coming in for a very, very brief visit! Here I sit, now, with my eyes glued to the terrace in the fading light of a warm evening, hoping to see the yellow beauty again.

The household chores call, as do two active young grandchildren who want to play a card game with me; but still I sit on, looking through the window, into the world of the thirsty squirrels and the bathing avians.

I took a quick video of one of the Bulbuls bathing. It was through the glass of the window, and the anti-mosquito wire mesh too, so it’s a little hazy:

More about K2

March 26, 2020

Father: If I give you $5, how many quarters will you give me?
K2: Don’t ask me such hard questions.
Me: Let’s take it step by step. If I give you one dollar, how many quarters will I get from you?
K2: Zero. Thank you for the dollar. I am not going to give you any quarters back!

I broke into O+ laughter…

March 25, 2020

K2: My blood group is O+.
Me: That means it’s Hopeless (O+).
K2: (angrily) DON’T MAKE FUN OF MY BLOOD GROUP!

Birding at home, 250320

March 25, 2020

It is the first day of the total 21-day lockdown announced by our Prime Minister. I decided to move to my daughter’s home as that makes more logistical sense.

I have watered all the plants in the pots on the terrace, not knowing that my son in law has already done so. This results in a pool of water in some of the pots (though the Coleus plants still look droopy and deprived).

I come inside and sit, typing random stuff on my laptop; the terrace is visible through the grille of the window, which also has an anti-mosquito mesh.

To my delight, one of the pair of Red-whiskered Bulbuls that are resident in the building, decides on a long, luxurious bath in one of the pots! After a few delighted moments, I quickly get my camera, and the following video.

I wasn’t able to get the lady sunbird that was feeding off the Hibiscus earlier; I am glad I’ve had more success this time, though it was through the grille and the net…I can call it the Internet Bulbul!

The bird flies off, and I return to my work, smiling happily to myself.

Life with K2

March 3, 2020

Peanut “brittle” is traditionally made at home in small little balls, and we call them “kadalai mittAi” (peanut sweet). K2, after he comes home from school and has his snack and milk (and finishes any leftover lunch), comes and sits up close to me on the sofa and we read a few books together. I call this “cuddly mittAi” time. When his elfin, naughty face looks at me and his eyes twinkle, he is indeed a “mittAi” and the sweetness of my love for him overwhelms me.

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Just caught K2 in time…he was putting liquid soap on to his toothbrush because the paste was over. In few years I might do that myself if he uses swear words!

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K2: When it comes to Lego, Deepamma, your grammar is very poor.
Me: Oh… Why?
K2: You keep calling them “pieces”. But when I have built them together… they are “structures” !
Me, chastened and humbled: I suppose you mean my “vocabulary” is poor, but I get the idea… Early morning Lego 101 for me!

Here he is, photo taken 16 Mar ’19…just about a year ago.

IMG_5787

Bngbirds 3rd Sunday walk, Madivala kere, 160220, evening

February 16, 2020

Following Deepak Jois’ suggestion that I conduct an evening walk, I met up with a reasonably large group of birders at the entrance of Madivala lake at 4.30 pm, after paying uncomplainingly for parking, entry and cameras.

I had been a little worried about the other visitors to the lake, but as it turned out, they were not a hindrance at all. From our meeting point, we could scan the lake…and the first thing that struck us was the horrific growth of the water hyacinth, which appears ready to choke off the entire water body. Boating too, has been stopped because of this. It seemed to be more of a green lawn with some stretches of water.

However, there was enough water for several birds. Purple and Grey Herons, a huge flock of Intermediate Egrets (I have not seen this large a congregation before), Purple Swamphens (no, I will not call them Grey-headed!) and Coots moved around in the vegetation. There was a lone Pelican in the water, but most of them were roosting on the island, waiting to come down to fish later, perhaps.

Moving on, we heard the calls of Barbets and Bulbuls; some of us sighted a few, too. Sunbirds flitted around on the Singapore Cherry tree, as did a solitary Pale-billed Flowerpecker (Sabyasachi told me that they are called “Tuntuni” in Bengali…I know some names like Shalik and Tiya, but this was something I learnt today).

Some Asian Openbill storks were also spotted on the island, and Job exclaimed at seeing several Northern Shovellers on the far side of the waterbody. His sharp-eyed spotting enabled all of us to enjoy a peek at these winter visitors.

Meanwhile, three majestic Marsh Harriers entertained us (and terrified the birds) throughout the walk, alternately perching on the water hyacinth or floating over the water with their whitish heads and the typical “headlights” on their wings showing, as they hunted for unwary prey.

The light on the water turned golden as sunset approached, and it was a great time to watch the birds as they foraged for food. I enjoyed the company of several of the children. Ahana, Surya, Trayee, Vismaya…some of the names that I remember…these were some of the children whom I interacted with. Surya, in particular, seems very knowledgeable about bird names, and was often testing me to see if I knew enough! Such bright and interested minds are fun to spend time with!

We walked to the left of the entrance gate, till past 6pm. Then, as several people bid adieu, I too decided to turn back as the lake gates close at 6.15pm. We were all out of the lake, as I had said, by 6.30 pm, leaving the lake to flights of Little Egrets flying in, and bats beginning to flit about in the gloaming.

The eBird list (45+ species) is at

https://ebird.org/checklist/S64561731

I took few photographs as I was busy scanning the lake with my binoculars! My FB album is at

https://www.facebook.com/deemopahan/media_set?set=a.10157320888153878&type=3

and my Flickr album on

IMG_4534

Thanks to everyone for joining in, and letting me enjoy the golden sunset in the still-pleasant weather of a February evening!

Cheers, Deepa.

The “teacher’s” note, K2, 080120

January 8, 2020

K2’s “teacher” allegedly sent this note from school.

K2 "Send Chips" note,080120

When faced with it, he unrepentantly grinned and said, “Yes, I wrote it!”

Wonder what he will think of next!

Hoskote kere, 220919

September 25, 2019

Email to Bngbirds:

The very first time I have changed the venue for a 4th Sunday walk! After getting the reports of Greater Flamingoes having landed at Hoskote lake, I felt it would be great if everyone were able to see this unusual sight. So I changed from the original venue (Bhutanahalli Pond and Suvarnamukhi temple in Bannerghatta NP) to Hoskote. But by Friday, we knew that “the birds had flown”…and all those who only wanted to come to see the Flamingoes, dropped out! But there was still a turn out of 50+ people on Sunday, disproving accusations of our being “twitchers”.

I usually find weather.com very accurate…but the morning of the 4th Sunday outing was one occasion when the forecast went completely wrong! As several of us gathered and drove to Hoskote, drops began dotting, and then streaming from, the windscreen. At the lake, we did try walking down the path…but the heavy rain had made a morass of it, and we found ourselves with clumps of mud on our shoes. So we decided that instead of the usual breakfast-after-birdng, we would reverse the order, and see if the birding got better a little later.
Here is my video of a few birders having breakfast…thanks to the rain, I could not get a group photo!

Off we went to Nandi Grand, and fortifying ourselves with hot food, we returned to the lake; The rain had certainly let up a little…and the lake truly lived up to its reputation of never disappointing. On the shore side, Munias and Swallows kept us clicking, and on the water, a Pied Kingfisher delighted us with its hovering, and vertical swoops into the water in search of a meal.

Egrets (all three kinds), Cormorants (again, all three), Grebes, Coots, Herons, and Painted Storks were active on the water, though the Spot-billed Pelicans still did not think it time enough to venture out from their “sitting room” on the far shore. A few hardy (and muddy!) souls did go down to the bamboo area and beyond, but most of us were able to sight quite a few birds from the bund. From under umbrellas and raincoat hoods, we looked at various drenched birds: Rose-ringed Parakeets, Sunbirds (which did not like being Rainbirds!) and Ashy Prinias (which wanted to be Dry Prinias).

But then, we also got some bonuses for having gone to the lake in spite of knowing that the Flamingos were Flamingone! A Grey Francolin sat, waiting out the rain, on a dry twig in the clutter; since we usually sight this bird scuttling away into the undergrowth, everyone had a good time, observing and clicking to their hearts’ content.
We then decided to try our luck on the field side, but only two cars had the courage to brave the muddy path down. We were rewarded by the sight of just one solitary Red Avadavat, and several Scaly-breasted and Tricoloured Munias, a Long-tailed Shrike and the sight of flocks of Glossy Ibis floating on to the lake.

The two cars were driven by (sounds like one of those Hindi Santa-Banta jokes!) Arun and Varun. Varun’s jeep, with its 4-wheel drive, made it safely back to the main road, and we were well on the way home when Sreyoshi called and told us that Arun’s car was stuck in the mud! We werel aas, too far away to return and help. But with the help of four local men, and with Chandu and Manpreet pitching in, the “Push”paka Vimana finally got free of the clutches of mud. They got a sighting of the Pied Cuckoo, as a reward!

On the way back, we stopped to observe the active nesting colonies of the Baya Weavers, and got a ringside seat to a domestic quarrel between Mr and Mrs Asian Koel. Well satisfied with our day, we went back, laughing at our damp but productive morning.

Though it was not a morning to watch butterflies, we still got some Grass Yellows, Common Mormons, Common and Crimson Roses, Emigrants, and a beautiful Common Lime in the field area. We also observed some handsome six-footers…wasps, ladybirds, jewel bugs, mating flies…and some eight-footers too, in the form of Orb Weavers and Crab Spiders. Several lovely wildflowers, nodding in the rain, were also beautiful…so there was enough to see and enjoy.
So…it was a very productive morning, in spite of the “Flamingone” and the rain!b

The eBird list, compiled by Chandu, is at
https://ebird.org/india/view/checklist/S60021164
(55 species)

My FB album is at
https://www.facebook.com/deemopahan/media_set?set=a.10156909705193878&type=3
and the Flickr album at

IMG_0156

Looking forward to the next outing,
Deepa.

More from K2, 190919

September 19, 2019

K2: Paru Sharma is actually Rama.
Me: Oh, really?
K2: Yes, he is Vishnu, born as Rama and then as Krishna.
Me (catching sight of the Amar Chitra Katha in his hand): Oh…that’s Parashurama!

He’s very annoyed that I am laughing. I am hoping that he doesn’t make the Buddha into a Buddhu…