Posts Tagged ‘bangalore’

Morning walk, 130720

July 13, 2020

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Brazilian Nightshade, Solanum seaforthanium, Muthanallur Lake, 110720

This morning’s walk…
A scooter with two people managing a newly-bought carrom board.
Two crows pecking at the innards of a dead rat.
Walkers with masks on, masks off, masks absent.
Picking up the fragrant Akasha Mallige (Indian Cork Tree) so that it will spread its heady scent around the home when I return.
A woman collecting cowdung (I didn’t know this was still done in urban areas.)
A young girl looking up at the sky to determine whether she should make the rangOli or not. (She did, and it hasn’t rained.)
The spectacular, crimson flowers of the Sausage Tree, and the “sausages” themselves hanging in profusion.
Parakeets screeching as they fly past.
A milk delivery guy looking in disgust at the milk leaking out of his bag on his moped.
Several masked maids on their way to work.
The quickly brightening light sends me back home to start my morning chores.

Anatomy of Two-wheeler riders in Bangalore during Covid times

June 14, 2020

The body of the Average Two-wheeler Driver (ATD), in Bangalore at least, is a wondrous thing, consisting of:

1. Nose, uncovered and free to breathe anything in the air, from the exhaust fumes to any germs/virus going around.
2. Mouth, sometimes uncovered, the better to hurl insults at other road users, and to talk on the mobile phone (see below)
3. Chin, for the mask to be tucked under, (see below)
4. Head, uncovered as there is nothing inside to be protected by a helmet.
5. Elbow, most important.There are two of these, one to hang the helmet from, and the other for the mask (if not tucked under the chin).
6. Shoulder, to tuck the mobile into for talking convenience when riding in the traffic, with the head at a strange angle.

There are other parts of the body, too, but they are not as important as the above-mentioned ones.

Begur Lake, a triumph of rejuvenation! 060620

June 8, 2020

The last couple of occasions I had visited Begur Lake, it was under renovation, and we were a little concerned about how the job would be carried out.

Well, on Saturday the 6th, a few of us

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decided to visit the lake, as Dhanapal has been getting such excellent images from there; and we were very happy that we did; the birds (and other living beings) are back at, and in, the lake.

The onset of the monsoon meant that we walked on to the lake bund. Following Dhanapal’s directions, we walked along the eastern bund instead of the western one near which the Panchalingeswara temple stands. We found several stands of reeds and almost immediately, our attention was riveted by the variety of birds that we found. Coots, Grebes, Egrets (all sizes), Herons (both the common colours of grey and purple) all went about their business of securing breakfast in their different ways, ducking in the water, or wading along the shoreline.

In a while, we could discern even more activity in the reeds. Streaked Weavers were building their nests, carrying long reed-leaves to one stand and expertly weaving them in;

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In this connection, I would like to add two excellent videos Ashwin has made, of Streaked Weavers feeding their young:

and

Pond Herons in fine breeding plumage

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stood stock-still while their sharp eyes scanned the water; and a few Yellow bitterns, which are rather difficult to sight as a rule, were quite clearly visible as, clutching the reeds with both feet, they darted their beaks into the muddy ground for insects, snails or a small fish.

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The typical spider-like movement of these birds, along the reeds instead of over the ground, made them easy to identify, and tell apart from the Pond Herons.

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For many of us, this was a “lifer” (a bird being seen for the first time) and the binoculars and the cameras were very busy indeed!

One surprising fact was that there were far more Brahminy Kites than Black Kites, in a city where the reverse is often true. We enjoyed their soaring, and their swoops into the water to catch fish, the attempts being successful occasionally.

Cormorants, Little, Indian and Great, were in plenty, and flew in and out of the lake, stippling the water as they landed or took off. Overhead, too, they formed skeins as they disappeared into the brightening sky, perhaps bound for other water bodies. Several Darters added their zigzag snake-necks to our bird count.

Several Spot-billed Pelicans were found in the far reaches, while a few swam lazily around nearer to where we stood. We found only a few Spot-billed Ducks, and some Lesser Whistling Ducks, far away. Meanwhile, Ashy and Plain Prinias, and one single Clamorous Reed Warbler, delighted us at the front of our birding stage. Both the Bronze-winged

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and the Pheasant-tailed Jacanas wandered around, the males of the latter in their spectacular “comma-tail” breeeding plumage. For some reason, there were only two Painted Storks, one of which struggled (successfully!) with a very large fish, as we looked on.

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Purple Swamphens

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and Common Moorhens added both colour and black-and-red, and we saw the Pied, White-breasted and the Small Blue Kingfisher. Red-rumped Swallows collected mud for their nests, from the shore.

Indeed, I would say that Begur lake is an ideal spot for bird watching and bird photography. One does not need to walk far; the light of the morning sun falls on the birds; one can watch the behaviour of the birds at leisure, rather than just sighting them and moving on. The first frenzy of the cameras gives way to the calm use of the binoculars!

Nor were birds the only thing that caught our attention, Starting with a gleaming Jewel Bug at the entrance, many handsome six footers welcomed us to the lake. Pentatomid bugs, Net-winged Beetles,

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different kinds of bees and wasps nectaring and gathering pollen

and several spiders which were ready to catch any unwary ones,

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Lynx spider killing a bee which came to nectar in the Dhatura flower.

dragonflies

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Ruddy Marsh Skimmer

and damselflies

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…there was no dearth of six- and eight-legged creatures. Several butterflies woke up

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Lesser Grass Blue

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Mating Mottled Emigrants

and flitted around as the sunlight warmed up; we saw Emigrants, Common and Crimson Roses, some Blues, Tawny Costers…and so the list went.

The lake itself was redolent with the peace of the morning. Scudding grey and white moisture-bearing clouds, across patches of freshly-washed blue skies;

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the reflection of those clouds, along with the old Panchalingeswara temple and the multicoloured buildings of Begur, in the waters of the lake; the fresh monsoon breeze and the gentle monsoon sunshine..it was utterly delightful to be out in the open air, enjoying all of this.

Alas, some trash has also made an appearance at the lake, as has some stagnant areas with stinking algae,

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but with the easing of the lockdown, I hope that the lake will be better maintained.

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Mexican Poppy

We shared our snacks (having removed our masks for a bit, in case you were wondering) and munched contentedly with the ease of undemanding camaraderie, and went homes with our spirits lifted and our memories, and memory cards, filled up!

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I have posted my photos on Flickr

here

and on FB at

here

The eBird list is
here

Looking forward to more outings with all of us having our good health intact,

Deepa.

The menagerie and the porcupine, 050620

June 5, 2020

Of late, we have a large collection of birds and animals in the house.

This started with Pik and Pok, two woodpeckers made with the fingers of both my hands, which helped wake K2 up in the morning, and also made mealtimes easier.

These were then joined by San and Diego (both of K2’s hands), Ta Claus and Rox (add San to the beginning of one name and to the end of another….both of K2’s hands).

Further additions were two birds called “Buh” and “Erd” (Derek’s hands), and several deer (Reed and Blitzen with my hands, Julius and Caesar (K2’s hands) Cleo and Patra and Hatshep and Sut (K1’s hands).

Yesterday, suddenly K2 came up with a porcupine which throws out its quills in the most realistic way! Here you have my tiger approaching it in the forest, and it opens up its spines menacingly, with the “shinnnn!” sound! He thought ot this by himself.

About Prasad Natarajan

May 10, 2020

When I first met Prasad, he had a pad and pencil; and since then, I have rarely seen him without something to do with his artistic endeavours.

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Prasad with his father, Sri Natarajan

In today’s competitive world, it is not easy to leave a full-time job to become a professional artist; it takes a leap of both courage and faith, both of which Prasad showed.

He reads widely, studies the work of several artists around the world, and has developed his own unique style, working in many media. His canvases sell very well indeed, with their mix of talent, technique and expressed passion.

One of the reasons why he is an unusual artist is that rather than nurture just his own talent (and that of his son), he has, from the beginning, been what I call an “umbrella artist”– gathered together other artists, and worked hard to provide the struggling creators a platform where their talents can be showcased. To organize a show is not easy, and he has taken on this daunting task several times, in a pioneering effort to highlight wildlife art.

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The first wildlife art exhibition on 27 Sept ’18. Prahlad, Sudha, Prasad, Nidhi, Sreelata.

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Prasad’s family. His wife Asha, son Dhritiman and daughter Parineeta.

He has cannily harnessed social media to build up a circle of friends and connoisseurs worldwide. He has not hesitated to help upcoming youngsters, in a field where competition can be fierce. He has his pulse of the purchasing public, introducing innovations like a show of miniatures where the prices were pegged at Rs. 5000.

He’s conducted workshops and teaching session for many children and adults, giving of his time and effort very generously. He has overcome obstacles in his life with determination…and a cheerful smile.

It’s been my privilege to be his friend, and I wish him, his art, and Art for Wildlife and Nature, the very best in the years ahead.

A tiny Golden Jackpot!

April 29, 2020

Sometimes a small success at home is as satisfying as getting a rare bird far away.

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On our terrace, the Red-whiskered Bulbuls (or as I call them, the Bulbullies) always chase away other birds which come to drink water or bathe , and I have been lying patiently in wait (when I get a little breather from the Endless Dishes in the Sink) in the hopes of getting Purple-rumped Sunbirds, Tailorbirds, a solitary Jungle Myna , and several of these delightful Oriental White-eyes.

Today I managed to click at exactly the right time! Certainly, before the lockdown, I didn’t know that I could find these birds in the middle of Jayanagar 4th T Block.

Blr, 280420.

K2, from last year…

April 26, 2020

26 April 2018:

I delete a video (K2 explaining his robot jet aircraft) on the laptop after uploading it to YouTube. K2: You have just killed me by deleting that video. You really are an evil grandmother.

Morning walk during the lockdown,140420

April 14, 2020

My walk around the driveway of the apartment building this morning. Fragrances spilling from the jasmine on someone’s balcony, and from the Frangipani blooms; much milder, from the Parijata tree. An orchid spray holding its own for the past few days, in spite of the heat.

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A Tailorbird calling loudly, out of all proportion to its size. Mynas feeding on the palm berries.

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Barbets flying from tree to tree. Several people taking their waste to the compost bin. A milk vendor delivering his daily quota. Dust on the parked cars, with no naughty little fingers drawing pictures or names on them. A view of the vegetable shop opposite the front gate, whose narrow entrance makes a joke of distancing. The first butterflies of the morning, flitting, large and small.

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The sun gathering power by the minute. The usual smile and “Good morning” to,and from, one lady who walks regularly, and the absence of response from other walkers, though I see them daily, too. The building security men with their masks on; they are an essential service. No newspaper delivery; I will return to read the Deccan Herald and Economic Times online, and print out the crosswords that make my early morning enjoyable.

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The KK restaurant, Blr, 100420

April 11, 2020

=K1 and K2 opened a restaurant yesterday, and it was called the KK Restaurant.

A beautiful menu was prepared:

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Two customers seated themselves, playing some soft romantic music and dimming the lights:

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The Sous Chef also doubled as the maitre d’hote, and waited at the table:

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The Head Chef also gave the dishes his attention.

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The entree and the main course seemed to be Monaco biscuits with toppings of ketchup, cream cheese, olives and jalapenos, and chips with tomato sauce.

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Dessert consisted of chocolate biscuits, sadly depleted in the kitchen because the Head Chef sampled them too freely. (The same problem occurred with the Monaco biscuits, the chips and the cream cheese.)

The Sous Chef made a bowl of Maggi all by herself and divided it between the two customers. Alas, the Kitchen Manager-cum-Dishwasher (fired by the Head Chef for “disturbing the kitchen” and rehired by the Sous Chef ) was busy taking photos elsewhere and forgot to click the Maggi fine cuisine.

There were also delightful drinks of Blue Curacao, Orangeade, and Mint-flavoured water. Here’s the Head Chef, in his other role as the drinks waiter:

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The Dishwasher was thankful when service ended at the restaurant, because it already meant quite a lot of dishes and bowls to be washed and dried!

The restrauteurs took a bow from the deeply appreciative customers, as also an extra, elderly customer who came a little later. The customers paid the bill with hugs!

DGA…Doting Grandma Alert!

April 7, 2020

K1 watched Ramayana with me in the morning, and as the crown was brought to Sugriva (after a prolonged weeping and moralizing bout and the terribly protraced death of Vali), she said Sugriva was eager for the coronation, and was saying, “Bring me the corona! Bring me the corona!” I fell about laughing at her apt pun for this time of the virus.

And about Mahabharat…after watching Drona rescue the ball for the Pandavas by shooting blades of grass into a long line,piercing it, and pulling it out of the well , K2 went and pulled something out, too…. the exact Tinkle Digest where the same story was illustrated! I am very impressed.