Posts Tagged ‘bannerghatta’

Doresanipalya Forest Research Station, 160417

April 18, 2017

It was still very pleasant when several of us met up at the Millennium Avenue gate of DFRS, and Harish led us, literally, up the garden path.

Knowing what it is to drive long distances for birding, I must appreciate the interest of people who do this. For example, Latha and Satyan came all the way from Vidyaranyapura! Others in our group have the DFRS as their backyard and they just walked to the outing.

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The place is green and lovely now:

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A Shikra started off our sighting and bird list, and in fact, the sightings of these birds (probably two individuals, a male and female) were a recurring part of our whole morning.

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It was nice to have several knowledgeable people talk to us about plants, insects and several other things, as we walked. Since we are still at the season where some trees and plants are in flower, the walk was punctuated by plant and tree information too. We started with the exquisite flowers of the Sesbania grandiflora, commonly called the Vegetable Hummingbird tree….

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The list went on. Ajit was delighted at finding Ixora pavetta:

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Here’a closeup of the fragrant flowers:

For example, Ajit powdered the resin of the Shorea roxburghii, and told us the common name of the tree…”dhoopa”, as the resin is ignited during the puja rituals. We heard an interesting story about why the cashew is so called (ask Harish if you weren’t there!)

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Resin of Shorea roxburghii

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When powdered, the “dhoopa” resin gave off a stronger fragrance.

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Nest of Social Spiders

Perhaps there were no “unusual” surprises…but the “usual gang of suspects” were enough to keep us interested throughout. A few Flycatchers, the flowing song of several Magpie Robins, both seen and unseen, a tailorbird flitting in the bamboo thicket…so the list, and the walk, went.

There were some very interesting mammal sightings too. A group of these, known as the Bangalore Butterfly Club

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Rohit, one of the founders of the Bangalore Butterfly Club, RHS

were having their fortnightly “buttering” walk there, and we had a Tiger sighting ….as well as Jezebels, Skippers,

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Indian Skipper

…and a few Blues in the short time we
spent together. They were beginning their outing while we were finishing ours. I think the time frame is one of the things that determine whether one devotes oneself to birds or butterflies!

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Common Picture-wing, a dragonfly.

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A dead Tailed Jay allowed us to see this butterfly close up.The antennae and the body were eaten away, probably by ants.

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Funnel web spider waiting for prey

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Exoskeletons shed by Cicadas

A few mongrel puppies looked delightful as they settled at the base of a bamboo plant, but the few bonnet macaques I’ve noticed once in a while were absent. Since these invariably try to snatch the processed food and drink from people’s hands, it was good not to see them!

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We shared biscuits and khakras, and that made the walk all the more pleasant…but after 9am comes Breakfast O’ Clock, and soon, a few of us were seated in Adiga’s, getting outside some calories.

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I’d like to add that I missed Deepak, and would like to take this opportunity to thank him for every 3rd Sunday outing that he’s tirelessly organized. On any 3rd Sunday walk, of course, Geetanjali and Subir Dhar, who started this outing with a few of us pitching in,
are never far from my mind.

The eBird list, diligently compiled by Prasad, is

here

and my photos are

here

Hoping to meet many of you again next weekend,

Cheers, Deepa.

Two outings with Savithri Singh, 23 and 241214

December 25, 2014

Email to the bngbirds egroup:

The visit of an avid birder and a friend from Delhi, Savithri Singh, meant a couple of birding outings, one to the zoo area on the 23rd of December, 2014. (Kartik, Karuna, Savithri, and I.)

This visit was curtailed as I had forgotten that the zoo would be closed on Tuesdays, and Flycatcher Avenue, being now in the ticketed area, would not be accessible. We birded in the orchard area and returned reasonably satisfied with our morning. observing Lark behaviour and the flight of Rosy Starlings. I also got to see the Rufous-tailed Lark in the orchard area after a long time. I wish I’d been able to take Savithri to show her Flycatcher Avenue and Kingfisher Pond…but that will be next time! We took a drive along the Reserve Forest on the Bannerghatta Kaggalipura Road, too, up to the Bhavani temple, but the Kingfishers eluded us there, too.

Birds:

Barbet, Coppersmith
Barbet, White-cheeked
Babbler, Jungle
Bee-eater, Green
Bulbul, Red-vented
Bulbul, Red-whiskered
Bushchat, Pied
Bushlark, Jerdon’s
Coucal, Greater
Dove, Laughing
Dove, Spotted
Drongo, Black
Egret, Cattle
Egret, Little
Flowerpecker, Pale-billed
Flycatcher, Asian Brown
Honey-buzzard, Oriental
Lark, Rufous-tailed
Kite, Black
Kite, Brahminy
Myna, Common
Myna, Jungle
Oriole, Indian Golden
Parakeet, Rose-ringed
Pigeon, Blue Rock
Pipit, Olive-backed
Prinia, Ashy
Prinia, Plain
Robin, Indian
Shrike, Long-tailed
Sparrow, House
Sunbird, Purple-rumped
Swallow, Barn
Swallow, Red-rumped
Swift, House
Wagtail, White-browed
Warbler, Booted
Warbler, Greenish
White-eye, Oriental

Photos on my FB album

here

However, Savithri’s wish to sight the Tickell’s Blue Flycatcher came to fruition on the 24th, when a group of us ( Brinda, Kartik, Karuna, Kiran, Savithri, Sharmila and I) went to Nandi Hills. Though the Nursery area was rather sparse on sightings (more photographers/birders than birds!), enough birds obliged us to keep us very happy. One of the highlights was sighting both the Red-breasted Flycatcher and the Red-throated Flycatcher, the differences between which I came home and read about. My post about this beauty is at

http://deponti.livejournal.com/1110764.html

(All my pics were of Ficedula parva, and none of F. albicilla! I’ve also included a short video of its call.)

The Blue-capped Rock Thrush put in a very brief appearance at the ‘water leak puddle” near Tipu’s summer lodge, but thereafter, the hordes of visitors seemed to keep it away. We followed a pair of Puff-throated Babblers around the entrance to the Nursery area, and into the broken shed of potted plants there. Bird photography can be “potty” work sometimes!

The Pied Thrush and the Nilgiri Wood Pigeon eluded us, I am afraid, as did many of the raptors. But an Asian Paradise Flycatcher did its Ribbon-tailed Flaunty Dance in the area near the Monkey-Puzzle tree near the summer lodge, the Auricaria cookii tree opposite the water reservoir, and again at the Nehru Nilaya. We were happy with our morning as we headed home.

Here is the list I’ve put up on eBird.

Barbet, Coppersmith
Barbet, White-cheeked
Babbler, Jungle
Babbler, Puff-throated
Bee-eater, Green
Bulbul, Red-vented
Bulbul, Red-whiskered
Bushchat, Pied
Bushlark, Jerdon’s
Coucal, Greater
Dove, Laughing
Dove, Spotted
Drongo, Ashy
Drongo, Black
Eagle, Crested Serpent
Egret, Cattle
Egret, Little
Flowerpecker, Pale-billed
Flycatcher, Asian Paradise
Flycatcher, Asian Brown
Flycatcher, Red-breasted
Flycatcher, Red-throated
Honey-buzzard, Oriental
Kite, Black
Kite, Brahminy
Malkoha, Blue-faced
Martin, Dusky Crag
Myna, Common
Myna, Jungle
Oriole, Indian Golden
Parakeet, Rose-ringed
Pigeon, Blue Rock
Pipit, Olive-backed
Prinia, Ashy
Prinia, Plain
Robin, Indian
Robin, Indian Blue
Robin, Oriental Magpie
Roller, Indian
Shikra
Shrike, Long-tailed
Sparrow, House
Sunbird, Purple-rumped
Swallow, Barn
Swallow, Red-rumped
Thrush, Blue-capped Rock
Wagtail, Grey
Wagtail, White-browed
Warbler, Booted
Warbler, Greenish
Warbler, Tickell’s Leaf
White-eye, Oriental

Photos on my FB album

here

Up next, my quick “bird-butter” trail to Valley school this morning (Christmas Day), after the disappointment of having to cancel the volunteer trip to Bandipur. That will have a bird and butterfly list!

Cheers, and hope everyone is enjoying the long weekend and the festive time!

Valley School and Vaderhalli Kere, 021214

December 2, 2014

Email to bngbirds:

Highlight of my morning!

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A quick decision made Amith

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Gayatri

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and me, decide not to go to Nandi Hills as per our original plan but to visit Valley School; the three of us set off in the pre-dawn darkness, and though birding was a bit slow as we drove down the road to the Valley, things picked up once we started walking along the periphery of the School wall.

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It was delightful to walk along the familiar path after a long absence, and the bamboo groves certainly did not disappoint us!

A new raptor added to the usual Honey Buzzards seems to be the Black-shouldered Kite, of which we saw two sitting on a tree. We therefore assume that the raptor that we saw in the distance, with hovering behaviour, was not a Kestrel but one of these birds.

The Warblers, of course, delighted us, and we were often at a loss to identify various songs, or know if it was the Black Drongo that was fooling us!

A Tawny-bellied Babbler was an unsual sighting, as was that of a Jerdon’s (I think…please confirm the id) Nightjar…not on the ground, but quite high up on a tree!

The White-rumped Shama and the Asian Paradise Flycatcher flaunted themselves briefly before us.

After the Valley, we went further to Vaderahalli Lake,

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and enjoyed the sight of many waterfowl. Brahminy and Black Kites soared and swooped, and we came to breakfast at Adiga’s refreshed in mind and spirit.

The birds (those at Vaderahalli are marked with V):

Babbler, Jungle
Babbler, Tawny-bellied

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Babbler, Yellow-billed

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Barbet, Coppersmith
Barbet, White-cheeked
Bee-eater, Green
Bulbul, Red-vented
Bulbul, Red-whiskered
Bulbul, White-browed
Bushchat, Pied
Bushlark, Indian

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Coot, Common (V)
Cormorant, Little (V)
Cormorant, Great (V)
Coucal, Greater
Crow, House
Crow, Large-billed
Cuckoo, Common Hawk
Dove, Eurasian Collared
Dove, Laughing
Dove, Spotted
Drongo, Ashy
Drongo, Black
Ducks, Spot-billed (V)
Egret, Little (V)
Egret, Intermediate (V)
Flameback, Black-rumped
Flowerpecker, Pale-billed
Flycatcher, Asian Paradise
Flycatcher, Tickell’s Blue
Flycatcher, White-browed Fantail
Grebe, Little (V)
Heron, Indian Pond (V)
Honey-buzzard, Oriental
Iora, Common
Kingfisher, White-throated
Kite, Black
Kite, Black-shouldered

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Kite, Brahminy

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Koel, Asian
Lapwing, Red-wattled (V)
Minivet, Small
Myna, Common
Myna, Jungle
Nightjar

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Oriole, Eurasian Golden
Owlet, Spotted
Parakeet, Rose-ringed
Pelican, Spot-billed (V)
Prinia, Ashy
Robin, Indian
Robin, Oriental Magpie
Sandpiper, Green (V)
Shama, White-rumped
Sparrow, House
Stonechat, Common (V)
Sunbird, Purple-rumped
Swallow, Barn
Swallow, Red-rumped
Swift, Asian Palm
Tailorbird, Common
Tern, River (V)
Tern, Whiskered(V)
Tit, Great
Treepie, Rufous
Wagtail, White-browed (V)
Warbler, Booted
Warbler, Greenish

Butterflies:

Blues, Various
Coster, Tawny

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Crow, Common
Emigrant, Common
Lime, Common
Mormon, Commn
Gull. Common

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Pioneer

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Pansy, Chocolate
Pansy, Lemon
Psyche
Rose, Common
Rose, Crimson
Wanderer, Common
Yellow, Spotless Grass
Yellow, Three-spot Grass

I have put up my eBird checklist

here

My FB album is

here

Off to Kelamangalam near Hosur, Tamil Nadu, for an overnight volunteering trip…with the children of Aarohi.

Turahalli Day, 281114

December 1, 2014

For some years now, we’ve been celebrating

Turahalli Habba, or Festival, or Day

just to register the presence of those who love this patch of forest, and want to prevent any more encroachment

Here’s the

FB page

A group of us decided to do the bird walk, and here we are, at the MCS before heading out to Turahalli:

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Light gathered in the sky:

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I spotted this little gem on the side of the road:

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tells me it is a Dodge Truck from the 40’s…

“The grille is very distinctive. Don’t know the exact model, but it sure seems similar to

this

he says. Indeed it seems to be the same!

We arrived a bit late, thanks to some befuddling GPS, but still got the rising sun:

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At Turahalli, a lot of activities were going on.

There were rock climbers:

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There were people just enjoying the peace:

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Some were sharing their knowledge:

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Some were collecting trash, and laughing about their “spoils”!

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It was good to see far less trash than before, and even more heartening to see children collecting it, too:

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There was cycling:

It was good to see adult and children’s cycles!

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We opened our “birding account” on the way to Turahalli with this female

KESTREL:

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MBK pointed out this

PEACOCK

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but later the butterfly group

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told us that some people were trying to poach these birds by setting the dogs on to them. I have made a complaint to the Forest Dept, and am hoping for more active surveillance.

A

SOUTHERN COUCAL

skulked through the trees, but we were able to see it.

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A delightful

CLERODENDRUM

greeted us:

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The butterfly group got 50 species! Here’s a

COMMON CROW:

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I found this dead

FRUIT-PIERCING MOTH:

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I saw a

YELLOW PANSY:

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It was not nice, though, to see the loooong line of cars which had come for the event…but I suppose it can’t be helped!

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Naturally, there is a huge block of buildings coming up right opposite, with this as the selling point:

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Of course, some of us finished with a good breakfast at Adiga’s:

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On the way back home, I was wondering if I could hire this silver chariot!

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I’ve put up more photos on my FB album,

here

We hope the sun always shines on an undisturbed patch of Turahalli Forest:

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A movie of my favourite haunt: Bannerghatta, zoo area, 261114

November 28, 2014

Instead of the pictures, this time I decided to try and make a movie, and here goes:

Hope you enjoy the images!

More photos on my FB album,

here

Bannerghatta with Rosita and Mark: All the Feet, 030614

June 4, 2014

Rosita called and invite me to go with her and Mark to his yoga teacher, Rama’s farmhouse in Bannerghatta, and I immediately said yes.

It was a quick visit, but it was so pleasant and enjoyable. The farmhouse is situated right behind that of Fred and Clare Pais..and I had a wonderful time looking at two feet (and a huge beak) (Loten’s Sunbird)

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The beak amongst the blooms:

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Six feet:

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Six very tiny feet with a very business-like sting:

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Tiny jasmine:

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Two feet that have difficulty, yet go everywhere:

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A place for feet to pass:

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A beautiful place for feet to tread:

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Here are Mark and Rosita, four feet, posing happily for me:

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Other photos from the visit, click on my FB album

here

Great company, the great outdoors…a great pleasure, indeed!

A morning with children! Valley School, 010614

June 1, 2014

Email to the bngbirds egroup:

I suppose by now everyone who went for the first Sunday outing to Hebbal would have come back, digested breakfast and settled down to the rest of the day…meanwhile, Garima, Jahnvi,Niket, Pradnya, and I went to Valley School to see what the morning would yield.

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Summer colours on the ground:

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In the trees:

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It turned to be a very enjoyable morning..and Valley School always shows us something unexpected. This seemed to be a morning of children! We saw a Jungle Babbler mother literally “spreading her wings” over her baby, as she also preened her baby.

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We saw many juvenile Small Green Bee-eaters. whose plumage lacked the bright sheen of the adults, or the distinctive tail. Coppersmith Barbet “children”, too, were everywhere; the crimson patch on their foreheads not developed yet.

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White-browed Bulbuls

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and Red-whiskered Bulbuls, too, seemed to be flying about with their young ones. We watched several Flamebacks.

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Birders at the Banyan tree near the sheds:

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Spotted Owlet in the Banyan tree:

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Young White-cheeked Barbets:

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The children were not only of the bird species. A few showers have had a magical effect on the landscape in the Valley School area; greenery is bursting forth everywhere, as fresh shoots push their way up through the wet. fecund soil.

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A couple of caterpillars reminded me that babies come in all shapes and sizes. I will be asking for id’s for these; but their beauty by any other name would remain as beautiful.

Here’s one, on a blade of grass:

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Here’s another, on the Calatropis (Milkweed) plant:

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I was also fortunate enough to meet Thomas Job and Ajit Ampalakkad…

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the latter immediately showed me the Indian Lavender plant,

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and proceeded through the morning, to edify me on matters botanical.

Hog-Plum tree:

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I renewed my acquaintance with several trees and plants, and “shook hands” with a few more.

Loranthus (epiphyte), aka Mistletoe:

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There was, indeed, one seed, round and a light mauve in colour, dispersed around one area; that we could not source the parent tree of,or id.

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Grasshopper with a spider sitting on its head:

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Plain Tiger:

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Common Gull:

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Young saplings of Flame of the Forest (Butea monosperma) seem to be coming up in large numbers. This made me dream of the day when, festooned in flame-coloured blooms, these young trees will attract a lot of birds (though Ajit tells me that only one or two species pollinate the tree!). To dream of a Nature Future is lovely, especially when all the land nearby is getting flattened….perhaps for “Prakriti View Layout”s, or perhaps, as Niket said, a temple is going to come up. The green saplings give hope in an atmosphere of pessimism!

I watched several “ant rivers” pouring along the path as their nests must have got submerged…they were busy carrying larvae along. I watched, fascinated, as two Ant-mimicking Spiders fought each other fiercely; the contest ended abruptly, and they went their separate ways.

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A Solitary Hunter Wasp flew along…where would she make her nest and stun her prey,storing it in the nest and laying her eggs on it, so that the newly-hatched children would have fresh food to eat? We just prevented ourselves from walking into a web with a very tiny spider in it…the home was ready, the next step was procreation!

I enjoyed watching the camouflage of the Malkohas, and even of a Jumping Spider that just melted into the tree-trunk with exactly similar markings.

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I did try to catch some of it on my camera…but for the most part, I just watched, and enjoyed myself hugely.

What is the need to build a temple? The whole place, with all our fellow-citizens on this planet, seems to be a temple of Nature to me. I go there, I feel peace in my heart and mind, and come away energized…to me, all of the beautiful wilderness is a temple, and God (I am an agnostic, I don’t know if there is a God or a Goddess..or not) seems to reside in every leaf, every feather, every piece of stone.

We also met several other birders there, and it’s nice to say hello to like-minded people even if one does not exchange names. Two boys from Valley School asked us, on our way out, what we’d seen…and I was happy to see these two youngsters on their way to absorb the various wonders that Nature has in store for them. A magical place, the Valley School area…long may it last!

I’ve put up my SMS (Shamelessly Mediocre Shots) on my FB album at

https://www.facebook.com/deemopahan/media_set?set=a.10152224313113878.1073742178.587058877&type=1

You can see the riotous colours of the summer blossoms, and the many tiny and large wonders that we experienced.

Garima has shared the bird list with me on E-bird. The list is at

http://ebird.org/ebird/view/checklist?subID=S18643924

I’m not sure if this is good enough, or I need to give another link? Let me know, O ye E-bird savvy birders!

Butterflies:

Blues, Various
Cerulean, Common
Cerulean, Dark
Coster, Tawny
Crimson-tip, White
Emigrant, Common
Gull,Common
Jezebel, Common
Orange-tip, White
Pioneer
Rose, Common
Rose. Crimson
Tiger, Blue
Tiger, Dark Blue
Tiger, Plain
Wanderer, Common
Yellow, Common Grass

Others

Ants, Bees, Beetles, Dragonflies, Grasshoppers, and Wasps.

One Rat Snake, scurrying away quickly from me. This Garden Lizard, basking in the sun.

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If my words make you decide to go into the outdoors next weekend…I am really happy!

Ladybug:

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Riotous colours of summer:

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Two kinds of birding…

May 14, 2014

The

Valley School area

is one of the favourite birding destinations in south Bangalore

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On two days, I was privileged to do two different kinds of birding there.

One outing, on 110514, started at dawn:

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On the 11th, we started from Shoppers’ Stop as a group of 9:

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At the MCS, L to R: . Karuna, Janani, Siva, Varun, Aravind, Venkat, Ragini, Janhvi, yours truly, and Ganesh.

As more friends joined us at the Valley, and we met Swethadri and Kamal Hari, the group swelled to 15!

On this outing, we walked the trail, actively looking for birds, such as this

ROSE-RINGED PARAKEET

on the Silver Oak tree:

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a

CRESTED SERPENT EAGLE:

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the

WHITE-RUMPED SHAMA:

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with many birds, we ended with this

HOOPOE

on the path:

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Of course, I like to see the trees and plants around, too. I could not id this tree:

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The beautiful trunk of a

TAMARIND:

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and its tiny flowers:

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the beauty of the

GULMOHAR

under which I sat for a while:

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the petal of its flower:

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Photography was an active pursuit, too. I am not lying, but the photographer is!

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Ganesh is carefully documenting an insect…

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When one of us got a good shot, the others enjoyed it, too:

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There were quite a few butterflies, and I clicked this

DANAID EGGFLY:

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Some of us wound up with brefus at

Udupi Banashree

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(Yashpal, extreme left, has joined us!)

This active seeking out of the birds is one kind of birding, and on this morning, we were very successful in our quest. We wandered over the bamboo thickets and liana areas, and a variety of bird sightings rewarded us.

On the 13th, it was just Rosita,

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her son Mark, who’s an excellent bird-spotter,

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and me. This was in the late afternoon and evening…

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Once we reached the end of the path where the

ABANDONED HOUSE

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(familiar to every birder, I would think, in south Bangalore…I’ll make another blogpost about it. Thanks to Mark, I entered it and looked around for the first time in so many years!)

We just stayed there, not moving very much. The Banyan tree with the last of its figs was a kind of “bird Darshini (eatery)” for birds, so we just watched the birds in, and near, the majestic tree. Later, we walked around the abandoned house.

Mark didn’t even take a minute to see the

SPOTTED OWLET:

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The

JUNGLE BABBLERS

kept us company:

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This

ASHY PRINIA

its cousin, the Plain Prinia, and the Common Tailorbird, hopped through the undergrowth:

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First one

LARGE CUCKOO-SHRIKE

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and then two, delighted us:

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The

INDIAN LABURNUM

was in flower everywhere:

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MISTLETOE

(Loranthus) grew on the nearby tree:

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Looking carefully at the adventitious roots of the Banyan showed me

ANTS

farming the aphids:

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This

ROCK AGAMA

male, coming into his breeding colours, looked askance at me:

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The difference between the two kinds of birding is very marked. One means active walking around, seeking the areas where some birds are likely to be. The other means staying in one place, passively content with whatever birds show themselves. But both are intensely satisfying.

A large group vs. a very small one also makes a big difference to what one sees. In one, the chances of sighting the birds actually increase, if everyone is a careful birder. But a smaller group can be just as good.

With both kind of birding, there is the happiness of learning from others, and being able to share a sighting…sometimes with everyone in the large group

In the “active walking” mode, it’s looking for the birds; in the “passive waiting” mode, it’s about watching the birds that do appear, and soaking in the whole atmosphere.

Morning birding and evening birding, too, have different kinds of light for photography (and sometimes even seeing the birds.)

You can click

here for the visit where 15 of us enjoyed the morning

and

here for the visit with Rosita and Mark

110514 bird list:

Babbler, Jungle
Babbler, Yellow-billed
Barbet, Coppersmith
Barbet, White-cheeked
Bee-eater, Blue-bearded
Bee-eater, Small Green
Bulbul, Red-vented
Bulbul, Red-whiskered
Bulbul, White-browed
Bushchat, Pied
Bushlark, Jerdon’s
Buzzard, Oriental Honey
Coucal, Southern
Crow, House
Crow, Jungle
Cuckoo, Common Hawk (heard)
Cuckoo-shrike, Large
Dove, Laughing
Dove, Spotted
Drongo, Ashy
Drongo, Black
Eagle, Crested Serpent
Egret, Cattle
Egret, Little
Flameback, Black-rumped
Flowerpecker, Pale-billed
Flycatcher, Asian Paradise
Flycatcher, Tickell’s Blue
Flycatcher, White-browed Fantail
Francolin, Grey (heard)
Iora, Common
Junglefowl, Grey (heard)
Kingfisher, White-breasted
Kite, Black
Kite, Brahminy
Koel, Asian
Lapwing, Red-wattled
Leafbird, Golden-fronted
Malkoha, Blue-faced
Minivet, Small
Myna, Common
Myna, Jungle
Oriole, Eurasian Golden
Parakeet, Rose-ringed
Peafowl, Indian (heard)
Pigeon, Blue Rock
Pipit, Paddyfield
Pitta, Indian
Prinia, Ashy
Prinia, Grey-breasted
Quail, un id
Robin, Indian
Robin, Oriental Magpie
Roller, Indian
Shama, White-rumped
Shrike, Long-tailed
Sunbird, Purple-rumped
Swallow, Red-rumped
Tailorbird, Common
Wagtail, White-browed
Warbler, Greenish

130514 bird list:

Babbler, Jungle
Babbler, Yellow-billed
Barbet, Coppersmith
Barbet, White-cheeked
Bee-eater, Blue-bearded
Bee-eater, Small Green
Bulbul, Red-vented
Bulbul, Red-whiskered
Bulbul, White-browed
Bushchat, Pied
Bushlark, Jerdon’s
Buzzard, Oriental Honey
Coucal, Southern
Crow, House
Crow, Jungle
Cuckoo, Common Hawk (heard)
Cuckoo-shrike, Large
Dove, Laughing
Dove, Spotted
Drongo, Ashy
Drongo, Black
Eagle, Short-toed Snake
Egret, Cattle
Egret, Little
Flowerpecker, Pale-billed
Flycatcher, White-browed Fantail
Francolin, Grey (heard)
Junglefowl, Grey (heard)
Kingfisher, White-breasted
Kite, Black
Kite, Brahminy
Koel, Asian
Lapwing, Red-wattled
Leafbird, Golden-fronted
Malkoha, Blue-faced
Myna, Common
Myna, Jungle
Owl, Mottled Wood
Owlet, Spotted
Parakeet, Rose-ringed
Peafowl, Indian (heard)
Pigeon, Blue Rock
Pipit, Paddyfield
Prinia, Ashy
Robin, Indian
Robin, Oriental Magpie
Roller, Indian
Shrike, Long-tailed
Sunbird, Purple-rumped
Swallow, Red-rumped
Tailorbird, Common

The Hoopoe, Valley School, 110514

May 11, 2014

The

HOOPOE

was called the “Common Hoopoe”, but alas, it is no longer that common a bird. However, we are lucky enough to be able to see them once in a while, in the outskirts of Bangalore. This morning, as 15 of us went to see what we could in the Valley School area, this beautiful bird was the last sighting before we left…a fitting finale to a very enjoyable morning.

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The scientific name of the bird(Upupa epops), like the English name is an onomatopoeic form which imitates the cry of the bird.

This colourful bird is found across Afro-Eurasia,, and the Madagascar subspecies of the Hoopoe is sometimes elevated to a full species.

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The call is typically a trisyllabic oop-oop-oop, which gives rise to its English and scientific names, although two and four syllables are also common.

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Most European and north Asian birds migrate to the tropics in winter. The African populations are sedentary year-round.

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The Hoopoe has two basic requirements in its habitat; bare or lightly vegetated ground on which to forage and vertical surfaces with cavities (such as trees, cliffs or even walls, nestboxes, haystacks, and abandoned burrows) in which to nest.

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The diet of the Hoopoe is mostly composed of insects, although small reptiles, frogs and plant matter such as seeds and berries are sometimes taken as well. It is a solitary forager which typically feeds on the ground.

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The diet of the Hoopoe includes many species considered to be pests by humans; for example the pupae of the processionary moth, a damaging forest pest.

Hoopoes are distinctive birds and have made a cultural impact over much of their range. They were considered sacred in Ancient Egypt, so they were “depicted on the walls of tombs and temples”. They achieved a similar standing in Minoan Crete. Theywere seen as a symbol of virtue in Persia. They were thought of as thieves across much of Europe and harbingers of war in Scandinavia. Also, in Estonian tradition the Hoopoes are strongly connected with death and the underworld, their song is seen as a forebode of death for many a people or cattle.The Hoopoe is the king of the birds in the Ancient Greek comedy The Birds by Aristophanes.

…and….The Hoopoe was chosen as the national bird of Israel in May 2008!

When we found that this bird, which has lived amongst humans for so long, was not at all disturbed by our presence, we slowly, and carefully, fanned around it, without disturbing its foraging behaviour. I took this video to show how, sometimes, a group can photograph a bird from fairly close range, without alarming or disturbing it.

We bade goodbye as as it walked along peacefully in the sunshine:

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A little later, off it flew…and we walked on with great satisfaction at having seen, and observed, this bird for a good while!

click here

for my FB album

Email to bngbirds about Valley School, 030514

May 4, 2014

Thomas Job, his friend (and first-time birder) Sushil Nahar, and I went to Valley School, and we were certainly rewarded beyond our expectations!

K B Srinivas had posted about seeing 4 Pittas there last week, but we certainly know the pit(ta)falls of going with any “focus”..the “focus” bird never shows itself! Srinivas himself met us at the School; and we met several other birders, some with binoculars, and some Tripada (tripod-a) and Ekapada (monopod) Murthys, too. It’s always nice to meet other like-minded people. Apart from this, a lot of people living in the Valley School seemed to be walking down the outside trail as well.

I have put up photographs (bad even by my standards…in all that clutter, it was difficult to get the Pittas and the Shama) on my FB album at

https://www.facebook.com/deemopahan/media_set?set=a.10152167690548878.1073742157.587058877&type=3

and here’s my blogpost about the morning, at

http://deponti.livejournal.com/1069626.html

It was certainly surprising that we could see 3 Pittas on the 3rd of May…I thought that they would be gone by now. Is this rather late, or normal for the Pittas to be around till now?

Watching bird behaviour was another bonus of the relaxed birding. The foraging behaviour of the Pittas, and the Puff-throated Babblers,kept us occupied for quite a while. (I must say, the colours of the Pitta kept us riveted, too.) I’m planning to re-name the Cattle Egreat as Earthmover Egret, as these birds follow the earthmovers in exactly the same way, seem not at all scared of the machinery, and jump to feed on the insects turned up.

I saw a Jungle Crow feeding on the Banyan figs; a Peepal tree held us spellbound for quite half an hour as we watched Barbets, Parakeets, White-eyes, an Oriole, and Drongos having a gala time in the huge tree. How I wish we could take our Bangalore politicians to see such sights regularly…they’d probably stop felling trees then, is my optimistic view.

We saw a Shikra mobbing a Honey-buzzard, and as we came out of the gatepost, a Jerdon’s Leafbird in the Acacia gave us a final thrill.

Once again, a salute to Valley School for letting the wilderness be…but it is quite disturbing to see the adjacent areas beingt levelled and “cleaned” out to make way for agriculture (hopefully, not residential layouts.)

It was a very enjoyable morning, and I returned with my batteries recharged for the rest of the week!