Posts Tagged ‘himalayas’

Feathers between Dehra Dun and Dhanaulti, Uttarakhand, 291011

November 16, 2011

Firstly, I must mention that going by all the signboards in this small town, we were visiting….U.K., which is the way the state, Uttara Khand (northern area) is referred to. Well….

This is dedicated to my dear friend


unfailingly helpful in my stumbling, forgetful path of birding….


is the wiki about the town of Dhanaulti…but the following photographs were all taken on the drive to, and from, Dhanaulti and Dehra Dun.

One of the most common birds was the


hmlyn blbl L dhnlti 303 291011

another was the


gt brbt L dhnlti 303 291011



often showed itself, and fittingly, I took a silhouette shot!

L blk blbl 291011 dhnlti 30D

Not so common, the


did not give me any good view of the more colourful male:

chstn bld  rck thrush male bad L dhnlti 303 291011

But I got a nice one of the female:

chnstnt bld rk thrush  feml L dhnlti 303 291011

I also managed one of the


(that is also found in Bangalore!)

blk lrd tit L dhnlti 303 291011

At Buranskhand, we saw a lot of these little


ylw frntd gnfinch L dhnlti 303 291011

Everywhere, there were


strkd Lgng thrsh  L dhnlti 303 291011

But never in the light!

At one point, we saw some exquisite


lng tled mnvet L dhnlti 303 291011

and at several places, I saw the


L dhnlti 303 291011 rfs sibia

However, the raptors were what took our breath away, as they soared high over the slopes. Here are a couple of shots of the


hmln grfn L dhnlti 303 291011

hmlyngrfn L dhnlti 303 291011

I got just one shot of the

STEPPE EAGLE winging its way over the crags:

stp egl slp L dhnlti 303 291011



swooped close once or twice when we were not ready…but then, it was high up again, gaining height within a matter of seconds!

lmrgir up L dhnlti 303 291011

lmrgr closer L dhnlti 303 291011

But my favourite was that great beauty of the sub-Himalayan crags, the


mtn hw egl  up L dhnlti 303 291011

I’ll say bye for now with one more shot of this majestic bird:

mtn hw egl side L dhnlti 303 291011

The Crimson Sunbird, Dehra Dun (Ivy Lodge) 281011

November 2, 2011

Apparently, the


is very common in the area where I had been with my group of women birders over last week.

But for me, it was a beautiful new bird, and rather than the fleeting fraction-of-a-second glimpses of other birds that I got (most unsatisfactory) during the trip, I was able to watch these birds for quite a while, over two mornings’ worth of observation.

Here’s my first shot of one, sitting at the edge of a Tent Web:

L web sunbd 281011 dradn

Here are two shots of the beauties, sipping nectar from the flowers in the garden of Ivy Lodge, the gracious and beautiful home of the Grewals, where we stayed:

L 3 crmsn snbd 281011 dradn

L 2crmsn snbd 281011 dradn

Here, you can see the crimson that gives the bird its name:

L crmsn snbd 281011 neck

I like this kind of relaxed, let-the-birds-be-seen birding rather than the intense, go-peering-into-the-undergrowth, crick-your-neck-looking-up-into-the-foliage, and strain-your-eyes-looking-into-scopes-and-binoculars-into-the-far-distance kind of birding….These often yield only fleeting glimpses of black silhouettes and vague shapes, which I have to repeatedly ask expert birders the id of, and which (because I’ve not seen or observed them properly) remain only ill-recollected names to me, tick marks on my birding list…..I realize that I will never be even CLOSE to an expert birder, because I can never have a “tick list” of birds (the only time I do it is during the Bird Race, and I don’t like it much!)

I am posting some of the birds I shot, on my Facebook album…

click here

to see them, I will be adding to them over the next few days.

Border Roads Organization

February 27, 2005

Throughout our travels in the Darjeeling/Gangtok/Kalimpong areas we were on roads built and maintained by the Border Roads Organization. This is probably an army or a partially-army organization..clearly, the discipline was visible everywhere. Most of the roads were in good condition, and where the condition was bad, because of landslips, it was easy to see how much effort goes into keeping up the roads in such adverse climactic conditions….earth movers and bulldozers were hard at work even as we made our way through.

The BRO also has put up various signboards everywhere, reminding users of the roads to whom they are indebted for the roads they travel over. The only thing they do not tell users of the roads is…how and where to contact them to thank them for their efforts!

Some of the signs are also funny pieces of rhyming verse…”after whisky, driving is risky”….”you want to last, then why go so fast?”…we amused ourselves by making up others, like, “don’t fall asleep and take an involuntary leap”!

If only we had such efficient organization in charge of our roads here at Bangalore! The flyover supposed to be finished by April 2003 is l;yet languishing,and todays’ papers carry the news item that the contracto, UP State Bridge Coropration,is not even thinking of finishing the work contracted for….crores have been poured into the construction (or lack of it) so far….and we continue to suffer….by the time the flyover is finished, traffic volumes would have long since overtaken the planning and the bad traffic conditions will continue….

I wish we could shoot corrupt officials…at least I wish we could Identify them and publish their photographs in the paper!

Sikkim and the Himalayas

February 25, 2005

The Himalayas…any Indian who has not seen this awesome sight MUST try to see it sometime….every time it awes and humbles one completely. How can one be petty after seeing the sight of the beautiful, majestic peaks?

I also find that any place which has only recently (comparitively speaking) become a part of India is much cleaner and more disciplined than the rest of the country…Goa and Sikkim are what I base this observation on. Sikkim is so lovely….waterfalls everywhere, greenery, people who are genuinely friendly…..we had a fabulous trip.

Another factor is the presence of the Army everywhere in the hill areas…the roads are maintained by them, and perhaps they contribute to the feeling of overall discipline…the work being done on the landslide sites shows how much of effort goes into maintaining the hill roads in motorable condition. I am very impressed.

In Kolkata today….enjoying nostalgia, as I visit scenes from the past…amazing, the buildings which were ramshackle and ready to break down 30 years ago, are there in the same condition today! However, orbital roads are excellent, as is the Metro. My spouse would like to live here, he says!

Resolving to travel as much in India as possible as long as both of us are in good health!

Trip to the NorthEast

February 16, 2005

Looking forward very much to the trip to Kolkata, scene of my childhood, and then Darjeeling and Gangtok…will write in my impressions of how things have changed in the last 28 years since I traversed that path last!

Summer has set in in Bangalore…the jacaranda and the tabebuia trees are in full bloom and the roads (or what passes for them) are carpets of purple and yellow….

The flyover near our home is to be inaugurated (well, part of it, actually) this evening…more traffic jams while corrupt ministers come and try to take credit for what has been delayed beyond a year….