Posts Tagged ‘birds’

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.


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,


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


and White-eyes


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.


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.


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


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.


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


Common Gull


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


Dark Blue Tiger


White Orange-tip


Shield Bug


Gram Blue on Grewia sp.


Golden Eggs of Coreidae bug:


Bagworm Moth pupa on spiderweb


Moth caterpillars with egg:


Beautiful berries


? tiny flower


Bauhinia purpurea


Allmania nodiflora


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.


(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!)


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,


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


I have put up photos on my FB album

here </a.

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


Cheers, Deepa.


April 16, 2013

When the ground is covered with snow,
Where do the birds go?
When the earth is soaked with rain,
Where do the birds go for grain?
When the sun bakes the fields with its heat,
When the cracked earth burns our feet..
When the very air is hot and dry,
Where do the birds go…and why?
When the dusk deepens into twilight,
When the darkness rules the night…
When no chink of light can show,
Where do the birds go?
We treat many people like the birds:
When they’re with us, we have kind words.
But when with us, they are not,
We do not give them a thought.
Where do the people go?
Where do the birds go?

Housing in Nature

December 6, 2012

The latest article in my Nature feature column in Citizen Matters:

click here

The last two days on the Serengeti….looong post with LOTS of pics….

August 16, 2007

It’s been really hectic, but I have finally found the time…it’s going to be a long post,compressing two days at the Serengeti, with lots of photos (there will be one lot more with pics from Lake Manyara, with the TREE-CLIMBING LIONS)

Here’s a sunrise over the Serengeti plains…

sunrise on the Serengeti

anushsh has made this his screensaver….so this is dedicated to him!

Our safari started on a high note, with this sighting of a CHEETAH, which had just killed a gazelle and was dragging it to a good place for the feast….

Cheetah with gazelle kill

(Remember, I said that none of my cheetah shots are close-up or good!)

Another “typical” shot that I got was the Masai, walking for miles in the vast landscape, amongst the eternal grasses of the Serengeti…

Masai in the NCA savannah

lots of pictures under the cut; you must have a lot of interest in wildlife, and lots of time..othwrwise, skip!

Birds in Kilimanjaro Airport….

August 6, 2007

On the 23rd morning, we landed at Kilimanjaro (no, we couldn’t see the peak from the flight because of heavy clouds) and realized that the flight on which the rest of the family (who had just finished visiting the Pyramids in Egypt) would not come in until 2 pm. So we spent our time clicking happily…some of the common birds in the area were known to us, and others proved delectably new, and our guide, Huruma, was much amused!

Let’s start with one of the most common birds in Tanzania…

Superb Starling..most common bird in Tanzania

That’s the Superb Starling, and though we didn’t get tired of it by the end of our visit, as Huruma predicted, we certainly saw these birds in their thousands, all over the place! But that didn’t detract one bit from their fantastically colourful, iridiscent plumage…. it shone like a satin neck-of-the-peacock…

Iridiscent plumage of superb starling

here are some more familiar and unfamiliar birds

AMAZING..INCREDIBLE…I’m running out of exclamation words

July 27, 2007

It’s been a phenonmenal time here in Tanzania…first at the Ngorongoro Crater, and then in the Serengeti since yesterday. We started with a superb time birding in Kilimanjaro airport while we were waiting for KM’s brothers to fly in…and then as we drove into the Ngorongoro Conservation area, we started with a night sighting of a leopard so close by…and except for the rhino, I think we have sighted all the animals,birds, reptiles and other stuff one could think of…and then some….

Two things which are fantastic…the total lack of plastic in the wilderness, and the immense discipline of the wildlife trips, which means that the animals are not afraid, and do not melt away immediately (though of course some do)…we have got some phenomenal shots and videos…the highlight being a pride of lions, including two cubs, walking down the road amongst the safari vehicles, another of two Thomson’s gazelle fighting in dead earnest, four types of vultures feasting on a carcass, two lionesses circling around a kill which they cannot eat because a band of baboons are trying to chase them off, a couple of ostriches doing a mating dance…with a couple of cheetahs as audience, the incredible line of migrating wildebeest stretching kilometers across the Serengeti plain….some of these are very far away, though….and the really colourful, splendiferous birds…the crocodiles and the hippos, the baboons and the vervet monkeys, the hyenas and the different kinds of jackals….

We have had hardly any sleep, because the power went down at night almost every day, and we had to recharge the camera batteries, and download the photos and videos….when we could.

At Kirawira camp, where we are now, the internet connection costs 10 USD for 15 minutes, so my next post is only going to be when I reach Dar es Salaam after the trip….

All my friends, I can do a lovely presentation on the Ngorogoro Crater, the Serengeti, and Lake Manyara (which we are going to day after tomorrow)…when I return…

Oh, Tanzania….words are just NOT adequate, will have to say it with the pictures. How happy I am that I took up photography!

Some more creatures at Bandipur…

May 30, 2007

And now, ladies’n’genmun, we come to some of the more unusual creatures that reside in our forests…..I must say, this time we seemed to have all of them coming over to the road to meet us!

Saying hello is the Monitor Lizard , which might remind us, sadly, of ladies’ handbags:

Monitor Lizard

The wiki says they are very intelligent and some species can count, isn’t that amazing?

Next we come to the Pond Terrapin. At least, that’s what this chap is supposed to be, but we found him on the road! I joked that he had probably left for a short walk to the nearest water body,the previous day….

Pond terrapin

At first, he was shy, but soon his head came peeping out:

Pond Terrapin peeping out

Doesn’t he look for all the world as if he is grinning happily?

Amazing, I googled for “pond terrapin” but the only reference I got to an Indian Pond Terrapin was an image on INW! So perhaps I have the id wrong..someone please correct me if so.

For other forest residents, click here


May 28, 2007

We have many kinds of love in our culture, and Vaathsalyam is the love of a parent (particularly the mother) for the child.

Bandipur has always seemed to show me scenes of this vatsalyam more than any other wildlife sanctuary…

When we drove in to Tusker Trails, there was a snafu about our rooms, and while it was getting sorted out, the rain started pelting down too. We roamed around the property with our cameras, and I loved the sight of this mother cat with four identical kittens, one of whom she is licking over while the other suckles:

Cat mother and kittens Tusker Trails Bandipur u

Later, as we were on safari, we had the good fortune to have this mother and child cross our path:

Elephant mother and child

They both stopped at a fairly dry waterhole and the mother started vacuumming up the mud to throw on herself, while the calf suckled:

Elephant Mother and Calf Suckling

Some More Mothers-And-Their-Young photos here


March 30, 2007

Hmm…first of all, I got to spend some time on the Net yesterday and had posted about my visiting our fair rajdhani, Delhi…I had to use the “date out of order” option….oh, the entries had got mixed and I had to rectify them…

And here’s what I posted today:

Karnataka State Tourism Discouragement Corporation…

Oh well….

I have been taking some pictures but finally, KM has ALSO decided to post to INW methinks…with the result that the camera was set to CR2 (the raw format for Canon) and the CF card, of course, got quickly full! Will download the pictures, and post a few of the decent ones (birding trips to both Okhla Bird Park and Sultanpur Bird Sanctuary)…and the campus where we stayed, the Anand Farm in Gudgaon, was a beautiful place with a wealth of birds. KM has taken the CF card today…tomorrow will be my turn!

Attended a Delhi wedding which, luckily, was not as glitzy as some weddings in that city can be…

Still wondering if the trip to Delhi was worth it…until I visited the home of someone I know, and found that their 13-year-old daughter writes beautifully. I tried opening a Live Journal account for her but the broadband connection in her home was down. She does nice anime sketching, too…a very creative child, I hope to introduce her in my LJ, at least, soon…..

Something I have been putting off…

March 22, 2007

Another sad ending… a few days ago, I came back from a trip and eagerly went to look at the coconut palm….and found no eggs in the nest or female kite, either…and over a period of time, I realize that the eggs have probably been predated (by crows?) and the female kite has abandoned the nest….