Posts Tagged ‘bannerghatta’

Valley Outing, 021017

October 10, 2017

Gandhiji said India lives in her villages, but today, on the anniversary of his birth, we decided that she also lives in the variety of life forms that she has!

Aishwary, Ajit, Kumar, Padma, Prem, Ramaswamy, Venkatesh and I

IMG_1440

tarried a little on our way to the Valley as the mist hung heavy in the air. However, by the time we signed in the register at the gate and walked along the path, the weather had cleared up a little.

Whether or not we sighted any moving creature…the sheer burst of greenery had us mesmerized! Everywhere was a clean, washed green, with diamonds sparkling wherever we looked. Raindrops stood on everything…blades of grass, tiny insects and butterflies, and on the wildflowers too.

IMG_1467

I always feel that one of the best times to go for a nature walk is when the rain is about to stop. The insects and butterflies come out to make the most of the sun, and the birds come out to make the most of the insects…a lot of action happens at every level, on the ground, in the air…on a small and large scale. This was what happened this morning.

Spiders lay in wait for unwary flies or butterflies;

IMG_1448
Neoscona Spider with her egg-case

dragonflies, visiting us from Africa,

IMG_1461

Globe Skimmer aka Wandering Glider….this has migrated from Africa. It takes four generations to complete the migratory cycle.

Pantala flavescens

zipped along in the air, looking for food.

IMG_1445
Ichneumon (Parasitoid) Wasp.

IMG_1494

Ladybird.

Birds breakfasted on whatever they could find, on the trees, under the leaves, and in the air.

An unusual visitor for the Valley was an Oriental Darter flying overhead, which “opened our account.” A greedy Red-whiskered Barbet,

IMG_1472

A Black Drongo mobbing a White-cheeked Barbet, several Green Bee-eaters,a dancing Fantail Flycatcher

IMG_1489

(why it’s called a Fantail Flycatcher)

a preening Spotted Dove,

IMG_1482

with Ashy Prinias singing,

IMG_1468

and a Brahminy Skink (the only reptile we saw)

IMG_1455

a White-browed Bulbul

IMG_1480

made us wait in the area before the first banyan tree for a while; but then we went further down the path. With so much to observe and enjoy, from different kinds of spiders and their webs, dragonflies, plants of all kinds, a couple of Blue-faced Malkohas(giving Prem his first sighting of these skulky birds),

How we usually see Malkohas!

IMG_1607

Occasionally,when they can be seen better…

IMG_1610

by the time we reached the abandoned house, it was past 9am! Well-rewarded, we stopped to share our snacks, and then went further to the bamboo thicket.

For the first time in many years, I saw the stream of the Valley in good force, with a lot of water gushing over the stones and along the gully in the bamboo thicket.

IMG_1637

The song of the Tickell’s Blue Flycatcher and a brief hello from the White-rumped Shama filled in the audio part of our outing.

By now, the butterflies were out, too, making the most of the weak sunshine to recharge themselves, or mud-puddling along the path.

IMG_1509
Zebra Blue

IMG_1511

Bush Brown

IMG_1549

Common Lime

IMG_1530

Pointed Ciliate Blue

IMG_1538

Common Pierrot

IMG_1630

Common Silverline

IMG_1564

Danaid Eggfly female

IMG_1564

Common Line Blue on Tephrosia purpurea

IMG_1587

The Common Crows were out in full force, and we managed to catch sight of one Double-branded one as well. Emigrant numbers were lower than in the past weeks, but a Dark Blue Tiger appeared too. It was easy to show our friends why a butterly was called the Pale Grass Blue when it had its wings open to the sunlight!

IMG_1625

Common Hedge Blues also flashed their bright upper wings for us instead of sitting folded up as usual. Aishwary was a great help in singing the Blues!

IMG_1617

IMG_1490

Aishwary (left) helping out.

I saw the unusual sight of a Chocolate and a Lemon Pansy executing a pas de deux as they mud puddled together. Some of the butterflies were fresh and colourful specimens, some were tattered, dull survivors of battles with predators.

Other insects:

IMG_1645

Ichneumon (parasitoid) wasp. Look at that ovipositor! I wouldn’t like that wasp positing any ova on (or in) me!

IMG_1555

Robber Fly

IMG_1650

Stag Beetle

We noticed some beautiful plants and wildflowers

IMG_1555

Cassia mimoisedes

IMG_1515

Pseudarthria viscida

IMG_1540

Cyanotis sp.

IMG_1559

Indigofera nammularifolia:

IMG_1648

(what a long name for a very tiny flower)

We returned to our regular lives, much refreshed and energized by the sights and sound, the touch of different kinds of leaves, the taste of ripe Passion fruit, and the aroma of several flowers. Truly, a treat for the senses!

Beginning my morning chores, reminiscing about the wonderful outing, and already looking forward to what the next weekend may bring!

IMG_1449

The eBird list, compiled by Ajit, is

here

Butterflies:
Blue, Common Hedge
Blue, Pale Grass
Blue, Pointed Ciliate
Blue, Zebra
Bush Brown
Castor, Common
Cerulean, Common
Crow, Common
Crow, Double-branded
Eggfly, Danaid
Emigrant, Common
Gull, Common
Jezebel, Common
Lime, Common
Orange-tip, Plain
Orange-tip, White
Orange-tip, Yellow
Pansy, Chocolate
Pansy, Lemon
Pansy, Yellow
Pierrot, Common
Pioneer
Psyche
Rose, Common
Rose, Crimson
Silverline, Common
Skipper, Indian
Tiger, Dark Blue
Tiger, Plain
Tiger, Striped
Wanderer, Common
Yellow, Common Grass
Yellow, Spotless Grass
Yellow, Three-spot Grass

I’ve put up the photos of the birds, butterflies, insects, plants, a single reptile and us mammals,
here

Advertisements

The tinies of Turahalli, 120817

August 15, 2017

As my friend Janhvi was going to do a trek to Turahalli State Forest as part of her Corporate Social Initiative (CSI), a few of us decided to join in.

True to the lacklustre response from her company, the usual number of people (two!) turned up….and we promptly hijacked the trek into a nature outing.

Here we are, at brefus before beginning the walk:

Akash, Janhvi, Anand, Subbu, Shoba, Padma and Ramaswamy

IMG_7058

We started our walk from a point not known to regular visitors….and the lesser-travelled path proved to be extremely productive.

Several tiny flowers caught our eye.

Andrographis serpyllifolia:

IMG_7071/deepa.mohan

Commelina sp:

IMG_7073/deepa.mohan

Ground Orchid, Habenaria roxburghii:

IMG_7079/deepa.mohan

The “Argyreia cuneata” name of this flower won’t stick in my mind, but its common name, “Mahalungi” will, for the wrong reasons!

IMG_7084/deepa.mohan

We were lucky to find this Ceropagia candelarbrum:

IMG_7108/deepa.mohan

Tiny flowers of the Dodonea viscosa:

IMG_7146/deepa.mohan

Some of us took a break to look up things:

IMG_7147/deepa.mohan

Unknown:

IMG_7089/deepa.mohan

We were also enchanted by some of the six-footers we saw. Sometimes the insects and flowers were together.

Blister beetle (on Clerodendron flowers):

IMG_7083

Ants on Leucas species:

IMG_7088/deepa.mohan

Sarcostemma acidum:

IMG_7130/deepa.mohan

Crinium, or the Spider Lily:

IMG_7194/deepa.mohan

Stachytarpeta, the Devil’s Coach Whip:’

IMG_7156/deepa.mohan

Such small beauties:

IMG_7161/deepa.mohan

Gulaganji, or Abrus precatorius:

IMG_7163/deepa.mohan

The tiny flower of the Bastard Sandal:

IMG_7104/deepa.mohan

This Puffball mushroom had broken, showing beautifully-speckled spores:

IMG_7091/deepa.mohan

A tiny fly on the Sarcostemma plant:

IMG_7133/deepa.mohan

A Common Wanderer female:

IMG_7167/deepa.mohan

A Bagworm Moth pupa:

IMG_7095/deepa.mohan

A Hoverfly (that huge part of the head are just its two compound eyes!)

IMG_7147/deepa.mohan

A Plain Tiger caterpillar:

IMG_7111/deepa.mohan

A Geometer moth:

IMG_7116/deepa.mohan

A Peninsular Rock Agama coming into breeding colours:

IMG_7140/deepa.mohan

We did go over a few rocks:

IMG_7152/deepa.mohan

Eggs on the Bastard Sandal:

IMG_7123/deepa.mohan

A Shield or Stink Bug:

IMG_7153/deepa.mohan

Even the Giant Wood Spider was smaller than usual!

IMG_7155/deepa.mohan

The insects got tinier:

IMG_7110/deepa.mohan

Of course, one of the highlights of the morning was sighting not one, but two

Atlas Moths

IMG_7203/deepa.mohan

Very satisfied with all that we’d seen, we went home…looking forward to the next outing!

The Atlas Moth, 120817

August 15, 2017

IMG_7203

We have a huge variety of moths in the world, but one of the most spectacular is the

The [Atlas Moth](https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Attacus_atlas), which is found in the tropical and subtropical forests of Southeast Asia, and is common across the Malay archipelago.

The Atlas moth was held to be the largest moth in the world, before the

[Hercules Moth](https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Coscinocera_hercules) relegated it to second place. However, it still remains one of the most spectacular moths one can see!

We were very lucky to see two of these moths on a nature walk at Turahalli State Forest, on 120817.

These Saturniid moths have wingspans reaching over 25 cm (9.8 in). Females are appreciably larger and heavier than the males.

Atlas moths are said to be named after either the Titan of Greek mythology, or their map-like wing patterns. In Hong Kong the Cantonese name translates as “snake’s head moth”, referring to the apical extension of the forewing, which bears a more than passing resemblance to a snake’s head.

Here are the beautiful, feathery antennae of the moth:

IMG_7205

In India, Atlas moths are cultivated for their silk in a non-commercial capacity; unlike that produced by the related silkworm moth (Bombyx mori), Atlas moth silk is secreted as broken strands. This brown, wool-like silk is thought to have greater durability and is known as “fagara”.

Females are sexually passive, releasing powerful pheromones which males detect and home in on with the help of chemoreceptors located on their large feathery antennae. Males may thus be attracted from several kilometres downwind! The females do not wander far from their chrysalis.

After mating, the female lays about spherical eggs,

I was equally struck by the beauty of the moth’s thorax.

IMG_7210

Another amazing fact…the adult moth has no mouth parts, and cannot eat! Adult Atlas m only live for a few days…finding mates and reproducing within that time. Dusty-green caterpillars hatch after about two weeks. Theyfeed voraciously on the foliage of certain citrus and other evergreen trees.The caterpillars are adorned with fleshy spines along their backs which are covered in a waxy white substance. After reaching a length of about 115 millimetres (4.5 in), the caterpillars pupate within a papery cocoon interwoven into desiccated leaves. The adult moths emerge after about four weeks.

Here’s the moth whith its wings folded:

IMG_7245

We were extremely lucky to see not one, but two moths in the wild…it’s an experience that will stay with us for a lifetime!

IMG_7207

Two Malkohas and an unknown Owl: Valley School area, 300717

August 1, 2017

The fifth Sunday of the month, when it occurs, is an occasion when the “bngbirds” umbrella birding group of Bangalore does not have an organized bird walk; it’s time for most of us to earn back some brownie points, or at least get out of the doghouse, by attending to home,families, and other social commitments.

But alas, alas, several of us don’t heed the call to redemption. When Sangita S Mani, who works for Kanha Taj Safaris, told me that she’s in town, and that though she’s been working in Madhya Pradesh for about 12 years now, she’s not birded in Bangalore…it was too good a chance to pass up! Aravind, Padma, Ramaswamy, Srini and I bore her off to the Valley School area.

IMG_0057

I never go to any destination with any particular bird or other sighting in mind. In general, I am content to see what comes my way. However, Sangita particularly wanted to see the Blue-faced Malkoha, and we hoped that this would not be the one day when the bird decided to skulk successfully in the foliage!

We started out with loud calls from the peafowl (though we never saw one of these birds throughout the morning), and carried on along the path,

IMG_0085//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js

sighting White-cheeked and Coppersmith Barbets, and a beautiful Black-shouldered Kite perched on a bare tree. Several birds like the Ashy Prinia, a quick-fleeing Spotted Owlet, Small Minivets

IMG_0110

and White-eyes

IMG_0108

brought us just past the last banyan tree before the abandoned building. Though our names had been the first on the school register, by this time, several others had preceded us with their cameras and binoculars, and two of them were looking into an Acacia tree just beyond the stone seat in the field. “Sirkeer Malkoha,” said one of them, and yes, there the bird was…I was seeing it at the Valley after a long gap, and for some of my friends, it was a lifer, too.

IMG_0105

Just a little later, as we walked along looking up at the swifts and swallows swooping above us, the Blue-faced Malkoha also granted Sangita’s wish.

IMG_0114

Meanwhile, we’d also sighted three flycatchers: a Tickell’s Blue singing its heart out,

IMG_0079

a dancing White-browed Fantail, and a Paradise Flycatcher with an almost-full tail, swishing itself rufously about, to our cries of “There it is…no, it’s moved…it went there…there it is now…oh, it’s gone!”

A White-naped Woodpecker was an uncommon sighting, as it worked its way along the bark of a bare tree.

IMG_0089

My friends had a great experience of a mixed hunting party, quite large, all foraging in the area near the wall, and were very happy with their observation of how the different birds fed together. In many Hindu cultures, we have the concept of the “samaaraadhana” where people belonging to all castes and communities have a meal together, and this was the birding equivalent!

The plants and six-footers caught our attention too.

Crimson Rose

IMG_0122

Common Gull

IMG_0130

Psyche….it wanders about like the spirit (in Greek) it’s named after.

IMG_0137

Dark Blue Tiger

IMG_0158

White Orange-tip

IMG_0185

Shield Bug

IMG_0179

Gram Blue on Grewia sp.

IMG_0238

Golden Eggs of Coreidae bug:

IMG_0064

Bagworm Moth pupa on spiderweb

IMG_0065

Moth caterpillars with egg:

IMG_0210

Beautiful berries

IMG_0243

? tiny flower

IMG_0200

Bauhinia purpurea

IMG_0052

Allmania nodiflora

IMG_0125

We walked into the bamboo thicket and heard another Tickell’s Blue singing; several babblers gave voice in the bushes on the way there. Raptors never fail to arrive when they can be seen for the shortest time, and a Short-toed Snake Eagle shot past the small gap between the bamboo leaves.

We decide to take a calorie break, and ate some pongal with roasted appalam. Some of us were scheduled to attend formal lunches, and I hoped to avoid the usual “brefus stop” on the way home.

IMG_0114

(But of course, I wanted a bit of caffeine on the way home and when we stopped at Vidyarthi Grand, the coffee somehow developed into a proper breakfast! I am certainly not fast…on either expertise with the natural world, or with avoiding food!)

IMG_0248

We were very like the seamen of old being led on by the Lorelei, as we walked towards where we felt the call of the White-rumped Shama was coming from. As we did so, Srini sighted an owl sitting high up on a tree; it flew away almost immediately, but we feel it was not the Brown Wood Owl, but rather, a Mottled Wood Owl (I’ve seen one often in the area behind the abandoned house, which is now walled off.)

The Shama treated us to a couple of sightings in the misty morning,

IMG_0150

and full of its beautiful song,

we turned back towards the main gate, and so off towards what the Sunday held for each of us. Our hearts, binoculars, memory cards were all filled with images of the morning.

The eBird list, compiled by Aravind, is

here

I have put up photos on my FB album

here </a.

(as usual, documenting the morning, not focusing on any one living creature).

IMG_0117

Cheers, Deepa.

3rd Sunday outing, Turhalli, 180617

June 21, 2017

It was still rather cloudy and overcast as several of us met at Vajrahalli Gate, on our way to the Turahalli Forest Trail, where a few more nature lovers from the nearby areas also joined us.

IMG_4941

It was heartening to see that several children had joined the walk too! Keerthana had brought her friends Anvitha, Krishna, and Sahana; Subrahamanya C N and his wife Neha had brought their son Shreyamsh along. Many of the children kept meticulous notes in their notebooks.

IMG_5002

Ulhas introduced himself and talked a bit about the Turahalli forest, its earlier range and present confines. Prasad, too, joined us, and shared his knowledge with us.

As we slowly walked up the trail, Deepak decided that rather than go uphill, we would take the path skirting the base of the hill.

Ulhas and Deepak (centre left, and right)

IMG_4948

The usual gang of suspects, as we like to call the birds that one expects at a birding spot, turned up one by one…White-cheeked and Coppersmith Barbets, the Green Bee-eaters flying around as they hawked insects in the air, those who were more experienced pointed out the birds to those who were coming on an outing, or seeing the birds, for the first time.

IMG_4983

Nor were birds the only creatures of interest. Several of us were interested in the plants and trees that we passed; Ajit, Subbu and I looked at the tiny, beautiful flowers of what Arun Kumar N later told us, was the Byttneria herbacea, or Herbal Byttneria.

IMG_5009

IMG_5011

Some species of Clerodendrum,

IMG_5014

little blue Evolvulus flowers at our feet,

IMG_6483

Spider lilies

IMG_5020

the children (and some of us adults too!) having fun watching the Touch-Me-Not (Mimosa pudica) close up its leaves when we touched it….all these added to the walk. On the trees, the summer flowers were slowly giving way to the monsoon greenery, but here and there, the Jacaranda still held on to its purple blooms. Tiny wild jasmine flowers starred the path and added the magic of scent to the sights and sounds.

The sounds, too, were plenty. Ashy Prinias and Tailorbirds “marked attendance”. The sight of a peacock with a full “tail of a thousand eyes”, in the branches of a Peepal tree,

IMG_4986

IMG_4987

held us riveted at the beginning, and we kept hearing them throughout. The songs of Oriental Magpie Robins floated liquidly through the air, and we heard the harsher call of the Shikras even before sighting one.

IMG_4967

All around us, the butterflies dotted the air as they flitted about, and a fair amount of the walk was spent observing these winged beauties.

Crimson Tip

IMG_5046

Common Gull

IMG_5005

Zebra Blue

IMG_5036

Cotton Stainer Bugs

IMG_5053

Spider, Turahalli, 180617 Plexippus paykulli, Salticidae spider

IMG_5065

Finding some caterpillars,

IMG_5001

a large Cicada, and other insects, also kept our interest from flagging.

This Yellow Pansy was caught in a spiderweb, and the eternal dilemma…should we intervene or not? solved itself as the butterfly suddenly freed itself and fluttered away.

IMG_4998

The heavy, moisture-bearing clouds slowly gave way to the fleecy cotton-puffs (insert scientific names like Nimbus and Cumulus here!) that heralded bluer skies and bright patches of sunshine. Several walkers and cyclists shared our path.

Subbu and Nandini, who live in Turahalli Forest View, informed me that the Indian Rock Eagle Owl can still be seen regularly in this patch. We were not able to see too many raptors, though, probably because of the cloudy weather; we were content to see Brahmin and Black Kites, and an Oriental Honey Buzzard.

It is one of the marks of an interesting walk that even after many of us returned to our starting point, we were still observing and enjoying ourselves, and rather reluctantly pulled ourselves away

IMG_5094

to go off to a late breakfast at Adayar Ananda Bhavan (A2B)!

IMG_5095

IMG_5096

IMG_5097

Birds:

The eBird list, compiled by J N Prasad, is

here

Birders (as far as I can remember)

Adnan Raja,Ajit Ampalakkad, Amit C Javgal, Anil Bhatta,Anirudh
Bhatta, Anvitha, JN Chandrashekar,Deepa Mohan,Deepak Jois, Harish
Chandra, Janhvi Vyas, Lata, Keerthana ,Krishna,Lata, Nandini, Neha,
Padma Ramaswamy, Prashanth M Badrinath, Raji Hari, GS Ramaswamy, Rupa
Rao, Sahana, Sarrah , little Shreyamsh, Reshamwala,Sathyan, TS
Srinivasa, Sriram Prabhakar, Subramaniam Kumar, Subrahmanya C N,
Tamanna, Tara Jayarao from Hyderabad,Tarachand Wanvari. Uday
Kumar,Ulhas Anand, Vijay Krishnan. If I’ve left out anyone…put it
down to my famous memory (or lack of it) and forgive me!

Butterflies:

Baronet
Blues, Various
Blue, Tiny Grass
Blue, Zebra
Brown, Common Evening
Castor, Common
Cerulean, Common
Coster, Tawny
Crimson Tip
Crow, Common
Cupid, Plains
Emigrant, Common
Emigrant, Mottled
Gull, Common
Jezebel, Common
Leopard, Common
Mormon, Common
Orange Tip, White
Orange Tip, Yellow
Pansy, Lemon
Pansy, Yellow
Pioneer
Rose, Common
Rose, Crimson
Tiger,Dark Blue
Yellow, Common Grass
Yellow, Three-spot Grass

I have put up my photos on an FB album

here

Let me leave you with my “shadow selfie”…

IMG_5003

The beauty of the Baya Weavers: Shani Temple pond and Gulakmale lake, 030617

June 3, 2017

Email to the bngbirds egroup:

Hi everyone,

When Janhvi asked me if I would like to go along for the birdwatching outing of TCS, I gladly accepted…only to find that a grand total of two people comprised the group going with her! Since I’d met both Abhilash and Sushree before (and actually remembered doing so!) we set off, at the very reasonable hour of nearly 8am. Since we were going to observe the Baya Weavers nesting, we were not constrained to leave early.

Stopping for chai at Bannerghatta Circle,

IMG_4261

we drove through the Bannerghatta-Kaggalipura Road under blue skies and feathery, fair-weather clouds. The forest looked fresh and green, washed clean of the summer dust by the rains.

We stopped at the Shani Temple pond, just past the Bhutanahalli Reserve Forest.

IMG_4271

IMG_4277

Though Google maps doesn’t even show a pond here, it’s a great place to bird in winter.

IMG_4266

and Baya Weavers nest in the Ficus tree next to the temple. There were nests in several stages of construction,

IMG_4264

and we spent a contented time watching the bright yellow males and the duller-feathered females, flying around between the reeds and the tree.

IMG_4268

Mating flies on Janhvi’s car.

IMG_4281

Since Prasanna was also coming to meet us at Gulakmale, we proceeded there, and once we took the right-hand turn to wards the lake, we took the right turn again, before Patil Parimala Industries, and met up near a temple which had several

hero stones .

IMG_4286

IMG_4287

Prasanna had been there since 6.30am, and reported large numbers of Bayas on the maize fields, and nesting on the trees. But apart from seeing them, we also went up the path to the bank of the lake,

IMG_4289

where we spotted several waterfowl: Asian Openbills, Little Grebes, Grey and Purple Herons, Great and Little Cormorants…and several Black and Brahminy Kites soaring overhead.

The muddy bank was also a butterfly paradise, and for some time, we completely forgot the birds as we watched several butterflies (see list below) nectaring, mud-puddling, and basking in the sunshine. It was lovely to see the Blues with their wings open. How I wish I could live by drawing energy from the sun, nectar from tiny flowers, and nutrition directly from the soil! Oh well, I suppose it can’t be great to be snapped up by a passing bird! Most of the butterflies were obviously just-emerged, and with bright colours. The flow of the migrating Emigrants (at this time, aptly named!) continued across the road.

Common Crows

IMG_4292

Dark Blue Tiger

IMG_4294

Striped Tiger

IMG_4298

Tawny Coster

IMG_4326

I looked at several plants, including this Indian Sarasaparilla.

IMG_4327

We met up with two more people from TCS after a lot of to-ing and fro-ing as they struggled to find us in an unfamiliar place, While waiting for them at the Ashok Aarna residentiall layout, two Indian Grey Hornbills delighted us as they floated in and out.

IMG_4313

We then proceeded to the road alongside Gulakmale lake, where, on two date palms, we watched several more weavers, going about the business of building their homes, hoping that the ladies would approve. We walked down off the road, where we found White-rumped Munias,

IMG_4320

White-browed Bulbuls, and Tawny-bellied Babblers.

Between the Dharwad pedas I brought and the delicious alphonso mangoes that Janhvi brought from the organic farm she volunteers at, we had a fairly nice breakfast, and returned home well satisfied with our morning. A sighting of the common mongoose crossing the road set the seal on our happiness.

Birds:

The eBird list for the Shani Temple pond is

here

and for Gulakmale, is

here here

Looking forward to a nice Sunday as well,

Cheers, Deepa.

Gulakmale and Thotti Kallu (T K) Falls, 280517

May 29, 2017

IMG_3985

Sivakumar Mallya, Sudha Iyengar, Janhvi Vyas, Aadya Umesh, Suma Seshadri, Kavitha Umesh, Jayashree Govindarajan, Rishov Biswas, Ramaswamy G S, Padma Ramaswamy, and I, went to visit Gulakmale kere (lake) and T K Falls.

Because of the heavy rain,we started in cool, cloudy and misty weather. Here is the Champakadhama temple at Bannerghatta…an old temple that appears to be lost in the mists of time.

IMG_3990

The mist was everywhere.

IMG_4022

We first stopped at the small pond near the path to the Bhavani temple:

IMG_4011

Having spotted some Baya Weavers,

IMG_4024

We moved to Gulakmale kere,

IMG_4035

where we watched a colony of these birds on a date palm.

IMG_4073

IMG_4077

Aadya faithfully documented all that she saw, and as usual, sketched, too. Here’s her sketch of the Baya Weavers’ nest:

IMG_4083

Even as they built their dwellings, a White-rumped Munia arrived to try and occupy them.

IMG_4099

Nature, as a teacher, gave me a geometry lesson.

IMG_4046

The sky slowly cleared

IMG_4095

We then went to T K Falls, where the water had been released due to heavy rain over the Suvarnamukhi river, resulting in a beautiful cascade:

IMG_4103

I took a video of the scene a little further downstream where we crossed to the Muniswara temple area:

Wildflowers were everywhere.

Cleome monophylla, Spindle Pod

IMG_4115

Tarenna asiatica, Asiatic Tarenna:

IMG_4134

Chinese lanter tree

IMG_4041

Hibiscus lobatus (very tiny)

IMG_4062

Grewia damine

IMG_4175

Cadaba fruticosa – Indian Cadaba

IMG_4164

I found a very good website to identify wildflowers,

here

There were plenty of birds, like the

Ashy Prinia on the Marsh Glory

IMG_4028

Cinereous Tit

IMG_4101

Coppersmith Barbets

IMG_4089

Purple-rumped Sunbird

IMG_4135

Southern Coucal

IMG_4110
Many butterflies delighted us.

Crimson Tip

IMG_4156

White Orange-tip

IMG_4159

Blue Tiger

IMG_4054

Plain Tiger on Stachytarpeta

IMG_4056

Common Crow

IMG_4058

Here are three pathologists, one senior banker and one Jobless Person:

IMG_4189

On the way back this beautiful Brahma bull (even though a little emaciated) looked majestic.

IMG_4192

Here we all are, about to tuck into brefus at Udupi Banashree on Bannerghatta Road

IMG_4208

Gulakmale bird list:

here

T K Falls

here

Butterfly list

Blues, various
Cerulean, Common
Crimson Tip
Crow, Common
Cupid, Plains
Emigrant, Common
Emigrant, Mottled
Gull, Common
Jezebel, Common
Leopard, Common
Orange-tip, White
Pansy, Lemon
Rose, Common
Rose, Crimson
Tiger, Blue
Tiger, Plain
Tiger, Striped
Yellow, Common Grass
Yellow, Spotless
Yellow, Three-Spot Grass

FB album

here

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.

IMG_1465

The place is green and lovely now:

IMG_1511

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.

IMG_1467

IMG_1531

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….

IMG_1460

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

IMG_1524

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!)

IMG_1506

Resin of Shorea roxburghii

IMG_1505

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

IMG_1507

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

IMG_1557

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,

IMG_1481

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!

IMG_1486

Common Picture-wing, a dragonfly.

IMG_1493

IMG_1494

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

IMG_1503

Funnel web spider waiting for prey

IMG_1558

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!

IMG_1527

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.

IMG_1569

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!

IMG_6304

A quick decision made Amith

IMG_6308

Gayatri

IMG_6306

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.

IMG_6324

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,

IMG_6348

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

IMG_6311

Babbler, Yellow-billed

IMG_6293

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

IMG_6353

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

IMG_6322

Kite, Brahminy

IMG_6344

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

IMG_6303

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

IMG_6317

IMG_6314

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

IMG_6327

Pioneer

IMG_6328

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.