Posts Tagged ‘flickr’

Post-lockdown birding…

October 15, 2020

I have been silent on this forum for some time…during the two lockdowns, I was very happy indeed with the birds that came to our terrace pots to bathe and bully each other.
Snce the lockout lifted, I have only been on local outings with just 3 or 4 friends, and since many of us are worried about stepping out, the usual Bngbirds  group walks are not possible right now. For the same reason, I was a bit hesitant about writing, in case people felt that I was being foolhardy in going out But whatever precautions and protocols I have been following seem to have worked;so far, in a Covid situation, I am (thankfully) NOvid, in spite of being in the so-called high-risk category. (MAWTH… which is not “death” in Hindi, but Mask And Thoroughly  Washing Hands….are my primary protocols.) Touch wood, nazar uthaaro, and all the rest of the stuff. .I don’t want to write the next note from a Covid ward!
I must say that the period after the lifting of the second lockdown has been nothing short of magical. We had a limited summer this year, with the  premonsoon showers startinting in by  April. and a plentiful monsoon setting in….so plentiful, in fact, that many places are suffering from floods. We do donate all we can, but we can only imagine the difficulties people there must be undergoing.

In the Bangalore surroundings, the monsoon has meant a lush growth everywhere. Even in traditionally dry places like Maidahanalli or Sira, where I only used to see thorny scrub and dry,hard mud, it’s beautiful to see a lot of greenery, and plenty of water bodies, from rain-created ponds to brimming lakes. 
One of the wonderful places I often visited was the T K Falls area…another excellent birding area which has been shut down by the Karnataka Forest Department. The running stream of the Suvarnamukhi (which means, She who has a Golden Face…isn’t that poetry? I could write a separate piece on the names of streams and rivers in Karnataka!), descending in a small cascade, was a great place for flycatchers and babblers, with the occasional raptor making an appearance to whet our appetites.
We often saw the resident Short-toed Snake Eagle and the White-eyed Buzzard, apart from the more usual Honey Buzzards and Shikras. Peafowl, with the males flaunting their million-eyed tails, were everywhere. The Common Babblers were really common in this area! 
Nor was the place lacking for other life forms.All kinds of interesting and medicinal plants were thriving and blooming in the water-rich atmosphere. Butterflies flitted around us as we walked; we found a variety of amazing insects, dragonflies, spiders and damselflies…the amazing rock formations in the area, through which the rivulets tinkled on their way…and last but not least, the majestic trees and also the young growth of the plantations, were of great delight to us.
 The rainclouds scudding across, and when the rains stopped for a while, the freshly-washed blue sky with fleecy clouds floating along…looking up was not only a matter of looking at the birds! The cool weather, with an actual nip in the pre-dawn air, was perfect for being out in the Bannerghatta area.
Of late, we started making longer outings, a few times to Maidanahalli, to Sira, and finally, we decided on a weekend trip to Daroji…all of them were magical. For the Daroji trip, we made detailed arrangements with the help of Sri Pompayya Malemath, a friend of long standing, who both hosted and guided us. The Painted Sandgrouse, the Painted Spurfowl, the Indian Eagle Owl and the Yellow-throated Bulbul were lifers for some of my friends…and I was equally amazed to find medicinal plants such as the Punarnava (Boehravia diffusa) and Brahmi (Bacopa monnieri) in the slushy ground just outside the Sri Lakshmi Narasimha temple. At Sira, I found butterflies such as the Painted Lady, and the Joker, not commonly seen here…this while enjoying the sight of the Egyptian Vultures and the huge “apartment complex” of the Streak-throated Swallows. At Daroji, a bird which had us discussing a lot was a beauty which we finally decided, was an Eastern Orphean Warbler. 
Migrants have begun to appear…Grey and Yellow Wagtails, migrant flycatchers, warblers (which, for some reason, are silent skulkers when I try to watch them!)…I am hoping that the plentiful-water situation might bring more ducks to our surroundings this year. The Bar-headed Geese will fly over the Himalaya, as will the tiny terns and stonechats…and I do hope that soon it will be safe for all of us, not only the venturesome few, to go out and enjoy the birds and all the rest of the living beings that make our city, state and country a wonderful place to live in.
Hey, you didn’t mention the food, I hear some of you say. Initially,yes, we were very careful, bringing along our own food and sharing,but now, we do have food at local darshinis where the food is freshly prepared and the chai is freshly boiled (and about 8 spoons of sugar added to every tiny cuppa!) I have made so many friends who run these eateries…Saraswathi in Ragihalli, Krishnaveni in Bhootanahalli, Annapoorna at Gauribidanur… because of my trips. 
Already a long post….well, I will not be able to give eBird lists for so many outings, or links to so many albums…please do look at our morning visit to the Mathanga Hills, and the Sri Lakshmi Narasimha temple at
https://www.flickr.com/photos/86494503@N00/albums/72157716321893388

I caption all my photos before uploading them online, but the new FB is deleting all the captions, and though I have written to them several times about it, it doesn’t look as if anything is going to be done about it! Hence I am giving the link to only my Flickr album. Who knows…now that Yahoo groups are being shut down, will Flickr be next (even though it’s been taken over by Smugmug and is now a paid service)? 
Cheers, and looking forward to meeting you soon, in a world where the virus has been tamed if not eradicated,
Deepa.

Birding, now….

April 2, 2020

Gone are the days of birding travel.
The virus has made all my plans unravel.
From planning to see the Myzornis,
My birding world has shrunk to this:
How can I catch the Tailorbird,
Which whips in and out, and is only heard
Upon the terrace that I keep looking at? Why
Should these birds be so wary and shy?
Such a fleeting glimpse of the yellow White-eye…
What makes it so keen to zip and fly?
Why can’t it wait and pose for me
And let me take a photo…or three?
I have forgotten the forests, the deer and leopards
And even the various, colourful birds.
Mountain streams and riverside breeze,
Coastal stickiness and Himalayan freeze.
Life for me is the Barbet in the Bangalore sun.
Sighting a Koel is quite a lot of fun.
It’s the terrace that exerts a recurring pull,
For a sight of the Sunbird or the Bulbul.
Overhead, the v-shaped tails of the Black Kite.
The fluttering Pigeons, blue, grey and white.
I can’t even hear the Crows, of late,
Or see their throats of dull grey slate.
Birding is also memories: I go to my Flickr
And wish my broadband speed was quicker.
I visit, once again, birds all over the world:
Fieldfares, Bluebirds, Toucans, with their feathers unfurled.
I close my laptop and arise from my sofa,
And dream of the day when again I will go far
Looking for my beloved, favourite birds,
Which will then be real, not just photos and words!

grey-headed kingfisher

Grey-headed Kingfisher from Tanzania.

Life with K2

March 3, 2020

Peanut “brittle” is traditionally made at home in small little balls, and we call them “kadalai mittAi” (peanut sweet). K2, after he comes home from school and has his snack and milk (and finishes any leftover lunch), comes and sits up close to me on the sofa and we read a few books together. I call this “cuddly mittAi” time. When his elfin, naughty face looks at me and his eyes twinkle, he is indeed a “mittAi” and the sweetness of my love for him overwhelms me.

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Just caught K2 in time…he was putting liquid soap on to his toothbrush because the paste was over. In few years I might do that myself if he uses swear words!

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K2: When it comes to Lego, Deepamma, your grammar is very poor.
Me: Oh… Why?
K2: You keep calling them “pieces”. But when I have built them together… they are “structures” !
Me, chastened and humbled: I suppose you mean my “vocabulary” is poor, but I get the idea… Early morning Lego 101 for me!

Here he is, photo taken 16 Mar ’19…just about a year ago.

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Visit to FES for Grow-Trees, Kallimapalli, Karnataka, 230618

June 28, 2018

I got a call from my friend Srinvasa Shenoy, aka Srini, asking whether I would be interested in a visit to a site where afforestation is being done, near the Karnataka/Andhra Pradesh border, in a small village called Kollimapalli.

Since I am always interested in this kind of work, I asked a few friends too, and we set off. After a productive morning of birding at

Bhairasagara lake

which delayed us quite a bit, we drove to

Bagepalli

where we met Avinash Chowdary of

Foundation for Ecological Security (FES)

Srini tries to offset the carbon footprints of his clients in the travel company he runs, by donating to

Grow Trees

and wanted to see the planting efforts on the FES site. FES is the local partner of Grow Trees for planting trees as a part of its efforts in ecological restoration in co-ordination with local rural communities.

We found the tiny hamlet of Kollimapalli nestled in a rocky, scrubby landscape:

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Blue skies greeted us as we entered the tiny village and walked up the forest path.

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The local people whom we met said that what was earlier a barren, arid area was now quite green with the establishment of the scrub jungle, with planted trees growing well.

However”The objective,” says Srini, “is not about planting trees only – rather, it is a broader perspective of ecological restoration through water conservation, planning, planting trees (local and at the right place), educating the communities, providing expertise and then working along with them and the local government. It is all about providing a sustainable solution at the local level.”

Here we are (at the end of the site visit) :

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It is critical that the rules and practices resolved by the local panchayat are followed, for the success of the project, as they allow everyone to participate in the effort.

FES follows a system of CRPs (Community Resource Persons). CRPs are not employed full time – but devote about half of their time for a fixed payment. The CRPs monitor, report, and co-ordinate with local people. Each CRP is responsible for 4-5 villages. They have 350 villages under their project.
They have corporate sponsors like Grow-trees, Say Trees, HUF (Hindustan Unilever), Axis Bank etc.. – who fund them under their CSR budgets. The Community Resource Persons we met were

Grazing is allowed in certain areas, and others are ‘prohibited’ zones for grazing, to allow for vegetative regeneration. Here is a river of cattle flowing down one of the paths in the permitted area.

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The impact of all these efforts is felt when the local stakeholders accept the results; the results are synergetically more than just the number of trees planted to prevent erosion.

Efforts also include building of bunds/tanks at strategic locations to provide for water throughout the year, and providing for ‘cattle ponds’ at strategic locations. Here is Srini, talking to Avinash and the CRPs, at one such cattle pond, which had been dug before the monsoon.

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Without co-operation from the local community, merely planting trees (even if the trees are monitored) is of no point whatsoever and is doomed for failure. It was, therefore, heartening to see the good equation that has been developed with the villagers; we were welcomed, we enjoyed seeing the children of the village playing.

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After the visit, the hospitable people gave us some delicious buttermilk to slake our thirst!

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We found that FES had planted Neem, Jamun,Indian Gooseberry, and other species of trees suited to the rocky, rain-starved environment. On our walk around the area, here are several beautiful creatures which we spotted, proving that the place is, indeed, a haven for all kinds of wildlife.

Lynx Spider

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Small Salmon Arab

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Robberfly

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Sirkeer Malkoha

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Oriental Garden Lizard male

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Oriental Garden Lizard female

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Catunaregam spinosa, or Mountain Pomegranate:

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Givotia rottleriformis, or the White Catamaran tree (Butti Mara in Kannada)

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As we walked back, a flight of Painted Storks overhead delighted us.

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In spite of the challenges, Grow Trees and FES seem to be making an impact with their work with the twin goals of afforestation and conservation.

Bird lists:

For Bhairasagara, click

here

For Kollimapalli, click

here

For Gulur Lake, which we visited on our way home, click

here

Gulakmale and Thotti Kallu (T K) Falls, 280517

May 29, 2017

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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.

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The mist was everywhere.

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

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Having spotted some Baya Weavers,

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We moved to Gulakmale kere,

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

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

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

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

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The sky slowly cleared

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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:

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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

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Tarenna asiatica, Asiatic Tarenna:

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Chinese lanter tree

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Hibiscus lobatus (very tiny)

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Grewia damine

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Cadaba fruticosa – Indian Cadaba

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I found a very good website to identify wildflowers,

here

There were plenty of birds, like the

Ashy Prinia on the Marsh Glory

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Cinereous Tit

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Coppersmith Barbets

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Purple-rumped Sunbird

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Southern Coucal

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Many butterflies delighted us.

Crimson Tip

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White Orange-tip

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Blue Tiger

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Plain Tiger on Stachytarpeta

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Common Crow

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

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

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

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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

Kolkata, Jorhat, Kaziranga, 07-130517

May 19, 2017

We visited Kolkata

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had an evening admiring the Victoria Memorial,

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enjoying puchka

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jhaal mudi

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and visited the family who brought me up.

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We visited Pradeep and Sulakshana Barthakur at their home in Jorhat, where they run a centre for children. (Pokamura, 7km from Jorhat)

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The location is

here

Their home is a veritable garden of Eden which they share with all kinds of beings:

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Bronzeback Tree Snake

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Blue-throated Barbet

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We went to Kaziranga National Park, staying at Wild Grass resort.

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Hog Deer

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Red Jungle Fowl

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Elephants

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Rhinos

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Swamp Deer (bArAsinghA)

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Here’s K1’s beautiful depiction of the elephant safari,

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where we saw so much of wildlife.

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The Flickr albums are:

Blr-Kol and visit

Kol, Science City and Gariahat Mod

Kolkata-Jorhat

Jorhat, 100517

Wild Grass, Kaziranga, 11,120517

Jorhat, 130517 morning

Jorhat-Guwahati-Bangalore, 130517

It was a memorable trip and I enjoyed it very much, through my own experience and that of my family.

Happenings in my apartment building..

September 17, 2007

I have posted a few photographs of the Independence Day and Ganesha Chaturthi celebrations to a Flickr account, at

http://www.flickr.com/photos/8286729@N05/

Some of the children’s fancy dresses were SO nice! Some of the gods and goddesses really didn’t behave themselves yesterday; some of them refused to sing, some of them started late and then wouldn’t leave, but with children…however they do it, it’s fun!

Medium = Large

April 26, 2007

Can anyone (especially the many folks I know at Yahoo) tell me why, on Flickr, the Medium size of a picture is the same pixel size as the Large? And why have two “sizes” at all, when they are the same? (They used not to be, earlier. The Large size was inconvenient for LJ as it would often overrun page width.)

Problems with posting pictures…

September 16, 2006

….

Flickr, where I used to post my pictures before posting them on LJ, used to tell me things like “you have posted 2% of your month’s quota” or stuff like that. Now, suddenly, it says I have posted 200 photos and now the older ones will be hidden until and unless I upgrade to a paid account. I have tried deleting the older pictures but that doesn’t seem to work, it says I must delete my newest uploads ( I don’t know why!).

If I delete a pic that I have posted on LJ I will get a blank display on LJ, as I have experienced.

sainath suggested that since I am using Picasa on my laptop, I upload to Picasa web albums. But I spent all morning trying unsuccessfully to upload; I dont’ know enough to understand why I am unable to (I was uploading only 4 pics!)…

I want to know, if I have my pics on my hard disk, is there a way I can directly post them to LJ?

Can I open a new account with Flickr and use that (or will it log my IP address and refuse)?

Oh, the difficulties that come with ignorance….I have some pics I took of the examples of bad design on the Jayadeva flyover vis-a-vis bus stops, and I am not able to post the pics….

If someone could help, I would be very grateful!