Posts Tagged ‘egroup’

Email to bngbirds egroup, about the Eaglenest WLS trip

December 4, 2013

On a tour organized by Geetanjali Dhar’s IT Nature Club, ten of us visited Nameri (a morning’s birding) and Eaglenest Wild Life Sanctuary (WLS) at Lama and Bompu Camps.

Though several experienced birders asked us why we were going at the end of November, the birding exceeded all our expectations. On the very first day, I saw two Buguns, and a couple of days later, we got to see seven of the birds, so I cannot but feel that these birds are thriving in the areas around Eaglenest, if a bunch of amateurs like us could see so many!

Other highlights were the Fire-tailed Myzornis, the Chestnut-headed Tesia, the Red-headed Trogon and a female Ward’s Trogon…I think it was only the Tragopan (on the list of some of the “focus” birders) that eluded us. I don’t think any of us have ever had such a list of lifers before this!

Our guides were excellent. Binanda, who is a regular guide with Geetanjali, made sure that all of us (or at least, as many as possible) saw each bird, even though most of the birds of Eaglenest are in-the-clutter skulkers, and small-sized, too, sometimes. Khandu, the guide at Lama Camp, has incredible spotting skills. We were equally lucky to have Lobsang Tsering as a guide. He was at Bompu Camp, training the staff there…a six-month project after which he will move on. On the day we were driving back to Lama Camp, he took us to a place where he said he would find the Fire-tailed Myzornis….found it…and all of us were able to have a look at it (alas, no chance of observing any behaviour…we were thrilled at our sighting!). The bazooka-bearers, of course, had several field days with their photographs, but the rest of us (some of us did not even carry cameras, only binoculars) were extremely pleased at the sightings, and we know that the DSLR photos will be shared….so that saves us the bother of lugging around heavy cameras, and looking for ways to charge them overnight!

One of my personal favourites was watching a Wallcreeper bathing and disporting itself in the waters of the Kameng river, and I also took videos of a far-away Forktail, and a Trogon, on the opposite bank of the river, both of which we watched for a while. The Beautiful Nuthatch and the Beautiful Sibia are truly beautiful…but how can this adjective be applied only to a few of the birds? All of them are stunningly beautiful! I also mistook the Black-faced Warbler for the Yellow-bellied Fantail, and was corrected by Binanda.

Two major “dips” for me at Nameri were the Wreathed and Rufous-necked Hornbills, which I had seen in plenty just past the Eco-camp walking towards the Jia Bharolli river on my last visit. We also arrived at Pakke far too late to do any birding, and the awful roads mandated a very early departure, in order to catch flights at Guwahati later in the day.

For the most part, this time, I was content to just see the incredibly beautiful birds that Subbu and Mohanram treated us to in 2008 ( the time from whichn I date my “Eaglenest Itch”!) by word and image. I did not miss my DSLR or the 300mm lens. Since the others’ bazooka shots will also be up shortly, I am very happy to say that I used the two best cameras in the world, that Nature has provided me with…..and enjoyed the birds, the many butterflies, the beautiful wildflowers, and the superb, awe-inspiring scenery.

For photos of the Fire-tailed Myzornis:

In similar fashion, you can see photographs of all of the long list below…and I hope it will inspire you to visit Eaglenest WLS, a paradise on earth that the Bugun tribe cares for.

I have put up the only four videos I took, all on the last day of birding, at

My SMS (Shamelessly Mediocre Shots) are on my FB album at

Cheers, Deepa.


Binanda, Khandu and Lobsang, guides. (Our Sumo driver Noren, was also very good!)

Albin and Manjula
Balaji and Deepa
Dr Anil and Dr Koushik (Kanpur)
Nandita (Baroda) and Shobna (Delhi)
Kshama and yours truly (the rest of uf from Bangalore)

The bird list was prepared by Deepa Jayaraman…with inputs from everyone. I have (I think) corrected some id’s (eg she’d listed the Lesser Yellownape as Woodpecker, Lesser Yellownape.) If there are any mistakes, I take the responsibility.

1. Accentor, Maroon-backed

2. Adjutant, Lesser

3. Adjutant, Greater

4. Babbler, Golden

5. Babbler, Rufous-capped

6. Babbler, Slender-billed Scimitar

7. Babbler, Streak Throated Scimitar

8. Babbler, Streaked Wren

9. Barbet, Blue-throated

10. Barbet, Golden-throated

11. Barbet, Great

12. Barbet, Lineated

13. Barwing, Hoary -throated

14. Barwing, Rusty Fronted

15. Bee-Eater, Chestnut Headed

16. Bee-Eater, Green

17. Blackbird, Grey-winged

18. Blackbird, White-collared

19. Bluetail, Himalayan (aka. Robin , Orange Flanked Bush)

20. Bulbul, Black-crested

21. Bulbul, Mountain

22. Bulbul, Red-vented

23. Bulbul, Striated

24. Bullfinch, Grey-headed

25. Buzzard, Upland

26. Cormorant

27. Crow, House

28. Crow, Thick-billed

29. Cuckoo , Grey-bellied

30. Cuckoo-Shrike , Black-winged

31. Darter

32. Dipper, Brown

33. Drongo, Black

34. Drongo, Bronzed

35. Drongo, Greater Racket-tailed

36. Duck, Tufted

37. Eagle , Mountain Hawk

38. Eagle, Black

39. Egret, Cattle

40. Egret, Little

41. Fantail , Yellow-bellied

42. Fantail, White-throated

43. Finch, Crimson-browed

44. Finch, Gold-naped

45. Finch, Scarlet

46. Flameback, un id

47. Flowerpecker, Fire Breasted

48. Flycatcher, Grey Headed Canary

49. Flycatcher, Red-breasted (Heard)

50. Flycatcher, Rufous-gorgeted

51. Flycatcher, Ultramarine

52. Flycatcher, White-gorgeted

53. Forktail, Little

54. Forktail, Spotted

55. Fulvetta, Brown-throated

56. Fulvetta, Golden-breasted

57. Fulvetta, Yellow-throated

58. Grebe, Greater Crested

59. Greenfinch, Black-headed

60. Greenfinch, Yellow-breasted

61. Hornbill, Great

62. Hornbill, Rufous-necked (seen flying over Bompu Camp)

63. Ibisbill

64. Iora, Common

65. Kingfisher, Pied

66. KingFisher, Small Blue

67. KingFisher, White-throated

68. Kite, Black

69. Lapwing, River

70. Laughing Thrush, Bhutan

71. Laughing Thrush, Greysided

72. Laughing Thrush, Spotted

73. Laughingthrush, Streaked

74. Laughingthrush, Striated

75. Leafbird, Golden-fronted

76. LeafBird, Orange-bellied

77. Liocichla, Bugun

78. Magpie, Yellow-billed Blue

79. Malkhoa, Green-billed

80. Malkoha, Sirkeer

81. Minivet, Grey-chinned

82. Minivet, Scarlet

83. Minla, Red-tailed

84. Muniya, Scaly-breasted

85. Myna, Common

86. Myna, Hill

87. Myzornis, Fire-tailed

88. Niltava, Large

89. Niltava, Small

90. Nuthatch, Beautiful

91. Nuthatch, White-tailed

92. Openbill, Asian

93. Oriole, Black-hooded

94. Owlet, Asian Barred

95. Parakeet, Red-breasted

96. Parrot, Vernal Hanging

97. Parrotbill, Greater Rufous-headed

98. Parrotbill, Grey-headed

99. Parrotbill, Lesser Rufous-headed

100. Partridge, un id

101. Pigeon, Blue Rock

102. Pigeon, Yellow-footed Green

103. Pigeon, Speckled Wood

104. Pigeon, Wedge-tailed

105. Pippit, Olive-backed

106. Plover, Little Ringed

107. Pochard, Ferruginous

108. Pond Heron, Indian

109. Prinia, Black-throated

110. Redstart, Blue-fronted

111. Redstart, Plumbeous Water

112. Redstart, White-browed water

113. Robin, Orange-flanked Bush

114. Robin, White-browed Bush

115. Rock Thrush, Blue

116. Roller, Indian

117. Rosefinch, Dark-breasted

118. RubyThroat, Siberian

119. RubyThroat, White Tailed

120. Shelduck, Ruddy

121. Shikra

122. Shrike, Grey-backed

123. Shrike, Long-tailed

124. Shrike-Babbler, White-browed

125. Sibia, Beautiful

126. Sibia, Long-tailed

127. Siva, Bar-throated (aka Minla, Chestnut-tailed)

128. Siva, Blue Winged (aka Minla, Blue-winged)

129. Pipit, un id

130. Sparrow, Eurasian Tree

131. Sparrow, House

132. Starling, Asian Pied

133. Starling, Chestnut-tailed

134. Stonechat, Common

135. Stork, Black

136. Sunbird, Black-throated

137. Sunbird, Green-tailed

138. Sunbird, un id

139. Sunbird, Mrs Gould’s

140. Tailorbird, Common

141. Tesia, Chestnut-headed

142. Tesia, Slaty-breasted (heard)

143. Thrush, Chestnut-bellied Rock

144. Thrush, Plain-backed

145. Tit, Black-throated

146. Tit, Green-backed

147. Tit, Sultan

148. Tit, Yellow-cheeked

149. Treecreeper, Brown-thorated

150. Treepie, Collared

151. Treepie, Grey

152. Trogon, Red-headed

153. Trogon, Ward’s

154. Wagtail , White

155. Wagtail, White-browed

156. Wallcreeper

157. Warbler, Ashy-throated

158. Warbler, Black-faced

159. Warbler, Blyth’s Leaf

160. Warbler, Dusky

161. Warbler, Golden-spectacled

162. Warbler, Greenish

163. Warbler, Grey-cheeked

164. Whistling-Duck, Lesser

165. WoodPecker, Brown Capped Pygmy

166. Woodpecker, Rufous-bellied

167. Woodswallow, Ashy

168. Yellownape, Lesser

169. Yuhina, Rufous-vented

170. Yuhina, Stripe-throated

171. Yuhina, Whiskered

172. Yuhina, White-naped

Thanks to Amith Kumar for adding some of tbe birds missing in the original list. That, too, as he, Gowri, Kannan and PK prepare to leave for Thattekkad tomorrow!

The difference between constructive guidance and harsh (and public) criticism

November 13, 2013

Two people posted photos of very common birds on the birding egroup, and asked for ids.

One expert replied:

“I am shocked and stupefied that people do not even put-in minimal effort to thumb through those wonderful bird fieldguides to ID some of our most common birds themselves. Also, we should not forget that there is help at hand to learn birds though the Sunday outings, that happen almost every Sunday in the city. This ID PLEASE habit amounts to degeneration of time-honoured birdwatching. I am fine with some of those really difficult ones, but an ID PLEASE for a male Purple-rumped Sunbird!!!???

“My apologies for being rude. This is nothing personal, just an observation.”


Another expert added:

” I find the dependence on images and photos to identify animals appalling and believe it has gone overboard.

I always wonder what happened to the wonderful skill of watching a bird noting its behavior or making a sketch of it;leafing through the books; reading descriptions and comparing the sketch with the illustration; then arriving at a suspected id; going back again and seeing the bird and confirming it.

“It used to be a long iterative process but was fun. Still is fun. Just that now cameras have replaced the field notes and telephotos replaced binoculars and birdwatchers ready to help have replaced the field guides!

“This is true not just with birds but with other animals like frogs and snakes too. Are we hardwired to simply do pattern matching?”


I do agree that a budding birder should try other methods of id’ing birds and not simply post photos asking for help.

The expert has mentioned, too, that it’s just an observation by him, and he does not mean it personally.

However, by including two emails in the thread, it has, indeed, become a pointed reference to two particular people, and this has gone out to the whole group of many hundred birders, which, I feel, will make them feel singled out.

And sometimes…our assumptions are wrong. One of the people who posted the photo of a common bird, the Pied Bushchat, asking for id, emailed me. He is an amateur photographer who has got interested, by sheer chance, in birdwatching. He says he did use a field guide to identify the other birds in his online album, but just could not identify this bird, and so posted to the egroup.

The point is that a beginner does not really know if the bird is common or not. I do remember writing about how, when I started birding, I not only needed help with the id, but also needed a bird-book opener to open the book at the right place! So it can, and did, happen that even after consulting a field guide (he may not have had a good one, I don’t know) he could not arrive at the id.

Making examples of people like him on the egroup, and criticising his action publicly, will result in several people becoming very reluctant to ask for help…as I said, beginners do not know if the bird is a common one or not. I saw my first Ashy Prinia in….Corbett! Kalyan then explained to me, privately, that it’s common in Karnataka, too.

Getting people to use field trips and field guides as tools to know more about birds is something that you experts most certainly must do. But it would be better not to couch it in such harshly critical words as “degeneration”, and not holding them up in public on a very large egroup. In this instance, the gentleman did consult a field guide, and it was his inexperience which prevented him from getting the id.

So… the point that I am making is that we all make mistakes as we begin, and constructive criticism, with a word to the person privately, would be far more fruitful than public criticism. Private guidance from experts has, indeed, helped me when I was beginning.

I haven’t had any contact with the other person, who posted pics of another common bird, the Purple-rumped Sunbird…but I remember thinking that in the photos, the bird really looked as if it had a reddish head (it must have been the colour balance, I suppose!) so I wonder if he had a doubt as to what bird it was, and so posted the photos? I’d like to give him the benefit of the doubt, and not assume that he was too lazy to look up the id of the bird.

Sorry, but when i got this rather sad email from one gentleman, saying, “This mail from the experts reduces my interest as a beginner”, I thought I’d put across my point of view.

“What’s the price of your cycle?”

October 25, 2011

Here’s a very witty piece written by one of the members of my ccyling egroup, on the theme of “What do you say when people ask you the price of your cycle?”


Once again,

we have cyclists who are particular, insecured, serious and cautious about their cycles and their image.

Its India folks, take it lightly, even if your cycle is 2+ laks, a guy with LUNA moped is considered rich and more suitable for marriage alliance than a guy with cycle.

In case I am asked this question by the lady who is planning to wed her daughter to me she would be shocked that someone really really duped me and sold me a junk for any amount more than 3K. I mean can a road bike carry milk, coconuts, family, handle Indian roads, and more so why do we not prefer putting on full clothes while cycling?

In case a police personnel asks me that question and I tell the real price, he will end up noting the address of the guy who sold it to me, and ask me to file a FIR for being cheated.

In case a girl asks me that question and I tell her the cost trying to impress her she would just update her list of the greatest fools she has met on planet earth. Girls all over the world somehow have this impression about themselves that they are more beautiful, wanted and evolved for planet earth. I am not complaining, actually I enjoy this point of view.

In case its a guy still facing economical challenges, and he tells you do you have so much money to buy a cycle, dont feel insecured about your cycle, he is just asking whether you have so much money that you allow yourself to be looted. He will obviously start thinking about ways to sell you something else, like a bottle of water, for 11k. You see its not his fault really.

Try telling it to the office guys for one, your boss with a wife two daughters one dog, home and car loan would definitely stop your promotion in favour of those who are in greater need of it.

In case you want to tease you college frends definitely do not miss the opportunity, you will go up in their list of guys of whom they must be jealous of, ofcourse they would first try telling you what a fool you were and share their prudence on finance and savings. Just tell them the long ride that you had been that weekend when he was buying vegetables and cleaning his car, that will somehow drive home the point.

In case you have met with an accident, like me several times, never tell it to your doctor, I dont know how exactly, but it does effect your bills in some ways.

Definitely aviod telling it to your house owner in case you are on rent, I guess you know what I mean.

Try seeing the world with naked eyes, its beautiful, you have already taken the first step getting down off your car and being a cyclist, the windows are gone, the seat belts are off, the wind is directly hitting on your face, just embrace the world in its true bare meaning – be a cyclist.


We have to undress on some egroups now…

March 17, 2009

From one of the nature-centric egroups that I belong to:

“I do not yet have a professional grade Camera. Please bare with the quality.”

So, members have to take off their clothes very carefully….what if our quality does not measure up?

A friend in Bellary

January 24, 2009

Moderating the JLRNTP egroup has benefited me in many ways; I have met a lot of interesting people. One of these is Santosh Martin, who live in Bellary. I had heard of Santosh’s work in researching and documenting the Great Indian Bustard in Bellary District, but when I visited him, I found that he was much more versatile than that!

More about Santosh Martin

A sense of humour….

May 14, 2008

I had sent out a test mail on one of the egroups that I moderate and asked for responses from everyone. Those who responded (alas, 32 out of a possible 97!) said, “Hi” or,
“I am getting the mail on this id”

Except mamtanaidu who responded with, “I am not getting mail on this id!” and followed it up with an evil smiley.

I enjoy every interaction with that crazy young woman!

What other kind is there?

August 13, 2007

From an invitation to a wildlife-related event on an egroup that I belong to:

During each event, we want every participant to get a liberal dose of pure and fresh oxygen.

Where does one go for impure and stale oxygen?

Er…and it’s important to note that this event is in Mumbai…! Perhaps it will be administered to us in little bottles…