Posts Tagged ‘kanakapura road’

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

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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.

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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;

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Neoscona Spider with her egg-case

dragonflies, visiting us from Africa,

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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.

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Ichneumon (Parasitoid) Wasp.

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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,

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

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(why it’s called a Fantail Flycatcher)

a preening Spotted Dove,

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with Ashy Prinias singing,

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and a Brahminy Skink (the only reptile we saw)

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a White-browed Bulbul

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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!

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Occasionally,when they can be seen better…

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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.

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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.

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Zebra Blue

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Bush Brown

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Common Lime

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Pointed Ciliate Blue

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Common Pierrot

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Common Silverline

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Danaid Eggfly female

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Common Line Blue on Tephrosia purpurea

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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!

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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!

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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:

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

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Robber Fly

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Stag Beetle

We noticed some beautiful plants and wildflowers

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Cassia mimoisedes

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Pseudarthria viscida

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Cyanotis sp.

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Indigofera nammularifolia:

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(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!

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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

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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.

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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,

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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

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and White-eyes

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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.

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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.

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

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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.

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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

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Common Gull

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

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Dark Blue Tiger

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White Orange-tip

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Shield Bug

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Gram Blue on Grewia sp.

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Golden Eggs of Coreidae bug:

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Bagworm Moth pupa on spiderweb

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Moth caterpillars with egg:

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Beautiful berries

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? tiny flower

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Bauhinia purpurea

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Allmania nodiflora

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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.

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(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!)

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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,

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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).

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Cheers, Deepa.

The Valley area, 050217: Email to bngbirds egroup

February 7, 2017

Hi everyone,

As I begin to write this, my mind wanders in several directions. One, the wonderful writing of “ixedoc”, Dr Arunachalam Kumar, each of whose vignettes I look forward to reading.

Another: the increasing difficulty of going birding or “naturing” in terms of the hassle it is to drive back home.

Yet another: The increasing difficulty of access to our wildlife areas.

But I will not digress (the digress being the female of the diger) and will write about one area, off Kanakapura Road, where the wilderness of the Bannerghatta scrub jungle awaits us,and where access is relatively easy.

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The Valley, as the area where the Valley School is situated, is a place where the forest leads the nature lover into both open grassland and shaded woods.And recently, bird sightings there have been of the unusual variety. My friend Chandu sighted an Ultramarine Flycatcher when he took the children of Aarohi School there for the HSBC Bird Race (in the space of two visits, we were able to sight a Racket-tailed Drongo, and on Sunday (5th Feb 2017) we were able to sight a Brown Wood Owl (Yogesh Badri’s photo of it is

here

…he quickly followed the bird as it flew, and got the shot)

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Tickell’s Blue Flycatcher

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Verditer Flycatcher

All these “unusuals” lead to a lot of interest in a birding destination….but the true value of a birding “hotspot” lies,for avid birders, not only in the unusual, but also the usual.(MBK made this very valid point when spoke on the occasion of the 2016 Bird Race.)

What would one see,if one went, say, in the middle of summer? Would we be looking at the butterflies instead, or would we still see enough birds to hold our interest, and make an enjoyable morning of our outing? We may be more used to the burbling call of the Joker-cheek-patch Red-whiskered Bulbul, or the trill of the Small Green Bee-eaters, but they are no less beautiful than the rarely-sighted birds. Watching a Tailorbird bringing in nesting
material, or enjoying the way a Brahminy Kite soars and dips along the wind currents is as appealing as the sudden and unexpected thrill of a “rare” sighting…and on the days when the latter does not happen, the “usual” is what keeps us going back for more (the English word, not the Hindi one, though “mor” is also a bird frequently found at the Valley).

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Selfie.

As the winter mornings warm up, the thought of the long trudge back through the path where there are only the two banyan trees to give shade until we come back to the School main gate…

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may be daunting,but it’s the “usual gang of suspects” that take us through to the bamboo thicket and beyond.

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Seed pod.

Here’s a happy White-cheeked Barbet, secure in its nest, smiling at us!

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Valley School and Vaderhalli Kere, 021214

December 2, 2014

Email to bngbirds:

Highlight of my morning!

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A quick decision made Amith

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Gayatri

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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.

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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,

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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

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Babbler, Yellow-billed

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

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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

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Kite, Brahminy

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

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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

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

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Pioneer

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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.

A morning with children! Valley School, 010614

June 1, 2014

Email to the bngbirds egroup:

I suppose by now everyone who went for the first Sunday outing to Hebbal would have come back, digested breakfast and settled down to the rest of the day…meanwhile, Garima, Jahnvi,Niket, Pradnya, and I went to Valley School to see what the morning would yield.

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Summer colours on the ground:

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In the trees:

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It turned to be a very enjoyable morning..and Valley School always shows us something unexpected. This seemed to be a morning of children! We saw a Jungle Babbler mother literally “spreading her wings” over her baby, as she also preened her baby.

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We saw many juvenile Small Green Bee-eaters. whose plumage lacked the bright sheen of the adults, or the distinctive tail. Coppersmith Barbet “children”, too, were everywhere; the crimson patch on their foreheads not developed yet.

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White-browed Bulbuls

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and Red-whiskered Bulbuls, too, seemed to be flying about with their young ones. We watched several Flamebacks.

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Birders at the Banyan tree near the sheds:

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Spotted Owlet in the Banyan tree:

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Young White-cheeked Barbets:

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The children were not only of the bird species. A few showers have had a magical effect on the landscape in the Valley School area; greenery is bursting forth everywhere, as fresh shoots push their way up through the wet. fecund soil.

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A couple of caterpillars reminded me that babies come in all shapes and sizes. I will be asking for id’s for these; but their beauty by any other name would remain as beautiful.

Here’s one, on a blade of grass:

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Here’s another, on the Calatropis (Milkweed) plant:

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I was also fortunate enough to meet Thomas Job and Ajit Ampalakkad…

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the latter immediately showed me the Indian Lavender plant,

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and proceeded through the morning, to edify me on matters botanical.

Hog-Plum tree:

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I renewed my acquaintance with several trees and plants, and “shook hands” with a few more.

Loranthus (epiphyte), aka Mistletoe:

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There was, indeed, one seed, round and a light mauve in colour, dispersed around one area; that we could not source the parent tree of,or id.

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Grasshopper with a spider sitting on its head:

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Plain Tiger:

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Common Gull:

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Young saplings of Flame of the Forest (Butea monosperma) seem to be coming up in large numbers. This made me dream of the day when, festooned in flame-coloured blooms, these young trees will attract a lot of birds (though Ajit tells me that only one or two species pollinate the tree!). To dream of a Nature Future is lovely, especially when all the land nearby is getting flattened….perhaps for “Prakriti View Layout”s, or perhaps, as Niket said, a temple is going to come up. The green saplings give hope in an atmosphere of pessimism!

I watched several “ant rivers” pouring along the path as their nests must have got submerged…they were busy carrying larvae along. I watched, fascinated, as two Ant-mimicking Spiders fought each other fiercely; the contest ended abruptly, and they went their separate ways.

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A Solitary Hunter Wasp flew along…where would she make her nest and stun her prey,storing it in the nest and laying her eggs on it, so that the newly-hatched children would have fresh food to eat? We just prevented ourselves from walking into a web with a very tiny spider in it…the home was ready, the next step was procreation!

I enjoyed watching the camouflage of the Malkohas, and even of a Jumping Spider that just melted into the tree-trunk with exactly similar markings.

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I did try to catch some of it on my camera…but for the most part, I just watched, and enjoyed myself hugely.

What is the need to build a temple? The whole place, with all our fellow-citizens on this planet, seems to be a temple of Nature to me. I go there, I feel peace in my heart and mind, and come away energized…to me, all of the beautiful wilderness is a temple, and God (I am an agnostic, I don’t know if there is a God or a Goddess..or not) seems to reside in every leaf, every feather, every piece of stone.

We also met several other birders there, and it’s nice to say hello to like-minded people even if one does not exchange names. Two boys from Valley School asked us, on our way out, what we’d seen…and I was happy to see these two youngsters on their way to absorb the various wonders that Nature has in store for them. A magical place, the Valley School area…long may it last!

I’ve put up my SMS (Shamelessly Mediocre Shots) on my FB album at

https://www.facebook.com/deemopahan/media_set?set=a.10152224313113878.1073742178.587058877&type=1

You can see the riotous colours of the summer blossoms, and the many tiny and large wonders that we experienced.

Garima has shared the bird list with me on E-bird. The list is at

http://ebird.org/ebird/view/checklist?subID=S18643924

I’m not sure if this is good enough, or I need to give another link? Let me know, O ye E-bird savvy birders!

Butterflies:

Blues, Various
Cerulean, Common
Cerulean, Dark
Coster, Tawny
Crimson-tip, White
Emigrant, Common
Gull,Common
Jezebel, Common
Orange-tip, White
Pioneer
Rose, Common
Rose. Crimson
Tiger, Blue
Tiger, Dark Blue
Tiger, Plain
Wanderer, Common
Yellow, Common Grass

Others

Ants, Bees, Beetles, Dragonflies, Grasshoppers, and Wasps.

One Rat Snake, scurrying away quickly from me. This Garden Lizard, basking in the sun.

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If my words make you decide to go into the outdoors next weekend…I am really happy!

Ladybug:

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Riotous colours of summer:

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The abandoned house, Valley School area, 130514

May 14, 2014

In several years of visiting the Valley School area, I’ve passed this abandoned house so many times…but it was only yesterday, when we did “waiting” birding instead of “walking” birding, and when Mark went into the house to explore, that I also decided to walk around and in it.

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I do not know for whom this house was built. It seems a roomy, spacious house. The rooms seem to be of gracious proportions. The arches outside the house look lovely:

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In fact, with the date palms they give a slightly Islamic look:

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Were these sheds, next to the huge banyan tree, meant as outhouses? They also lie abandoned:

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I googled for information, but there is nothing about it. the best guess I can make is that this was built, like the earlier (and now demolished) Art Village, on property that belonged to the Karnataka Forest Department, and was therefore abandoned.

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The windows gape open, with a ghostly look.

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And yet, after all these years, the house looks quite inviting:

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But the only residents there today are the various insects and rodents, and the nests of the swifts in the eaves of the roof. Oh, abandoned house…what is your history? With what hopes and aspirations were you built, and with what frustrations and sorrow were you left, with the construction nearing completion, to deteriorate on your own….with such good quality of construction that today, many years later, many of the panes of glass in your windows are unbroken, and the whole aspect is not that of a ruin? What a mystery!

Two kinds of birding…

May 14, 2014

The

Valley School area

is one of the favourite birding destinations in south Bangalore

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On two days, I was privileged to do two different kinds of birding there.

One outing, on 110514, started at dawn:

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On the 11th, we started from Shoppers’ Stop as a group of 9:

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At the MCS, L to R: . Karuna, Janani, Siva, Varun, Aravind, Venkat, Ragini, Janhvi, yours truly, and Ganesh.

As more friends joined us at the Valley, and we met Swethadri and Kamal Hari, the group swelled to 15!

On this outing, we walked the trail, actively looking for birds, such as this

ROSE-RINGED PARAKEET

on the Silver Oak tree:

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a

CRESTED SERPENT EAGLE:

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the

WHITE-RUMPED SHAMA:

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with many birds, we ended with this

HOOPOE

on the path:

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Of course, I like to see the trees and plants around, too. I could not id this tree:

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The beautiful trunk of a

TAMARIND:

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and its tiny flowers:

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the beauty of the

GULMOHAR

under which I sat for a while:

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the petal of its flower:

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Photography was an active pursuit, too. I am not lying, but the photographer is!

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Ganesh is carefully documenting an insect…

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When one of us got a good shot, the others enjoyed it, too:

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There were quite a few butterflies, and I clicked this

DANAID EGGFLY:

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Some of us wound up with brefus at

Udupi Banashree

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(Yashpal, extreme left, has joined us!)

This active seeking out of the birds is one kind of birding, and on this morning, we were very successful in our quest. We wandered over the bamboo thickets and liana areas, and a variety of bird sightings rewarded us.

On the 13th, it was just Rosita,

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her son Mark, who’s an excellent bird-spotter,

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and me. This was in the late afternoon and evening…

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Once we reached the end of the path where the

ABANDONED HOUSE

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(familiar to every birder, I would think, in south Bangalore…I’ll make another blogpost about it. Thanks to Mark, I entered it and looked around for the first time in so many years!)

We just stayed there, not moving very much. The Banyan tree with the last of its figs was a kind of “bird Darshini (eatery)” for birds, so we just watched the birds in, and near, the majestic tree. Later, we walked around the abandoned house.

Mark didn’t even take a minute to see the

SPOTTED OWLET:

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The

JUNGLE BABBLERS

kept us company:

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This

ASHY PRINIA

its cousin, the Plain Prinia, and the Common Tailorbird, hopped through the undergrowth:

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First one

LARGE CUCKOO-SHRIKE

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and then two, delighted us:

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The

INDIAN LABURNUM

was in flower everywhere:

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MISTLETOE

(Loranthus) grew on the nearby tree:

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Looking carefully at the adventitious roots of the Banyan showed me

ANTS

farming the aphids:

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This

ROCK AGAMA

male, coming into his breeding colours, looked askance at me:

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The difference between the two kinds of birding is very marked. One means active walking around, seeking the areas where some birds are likely to be. The other means staying in one place, passively content with whatever birds show themselves. But both are intensely satisfying.

A large group vs. a very small one also makes a big difference to what one sees. In one, the chances of sighting the birds actually increase, if everyone is a careful birder. But a smaller group can be just as good.

With both kind of birding, there is the happiness of learning from others, and being able to share a sighting…sometimes with everyone in the large group

In the “active walking” mode, it’s looking for the birds; in the “passive waiting” mode, it’s about watching the birds that do appear, and soaking in the whole atmosphere.

Morning birding and evening birding, too, have different kinds of light for photography (and sometimes even seeing the birds.)

You can click

here for the visit where 15 of us enjoyed the morning

and

here for the visit with Rosita and Mark

110514 bird list:

Babbler, Jungle
Babbler, Yellow-billed
Barbet, Coppersmith
Barbet, White-cheeked
Bee-eater, Blue-bearded
Bee-eater, Small Green
Bulbul, Red-vented
Bulbul, Red-whiskered
Bulbul, White-browed
Bushchat, Pied
Bushlark, Jerdon’s
Buzzard, Oriental Honey
Coucal, Southern
Crow, House
Crow, Jungle
Cuckoo, Common Hawk (heard)
Cuckoo-shrike, Large
Dove, Laughing
Dove, Spotted
Drongo, Ashy
Drongo, Black
Eagle, Crested Serpent
Egret, Cattle
Egret, Little
Flameback, Black-rumped
Flowerpecker, Pale-billed
Flycatcher, Asian Paradise
Flycatcher, Tickell’s Blue
Flycatcher, White-browed Fantail
Francolin, Grey (heard)
Iora, Common
Junglefowl, Grey (heard)
Kingfisher, White-breasted
Kite, Black
Kite, Brahminy
Koel, Asian
Lapwing, Red-wattled
Leafbird, Golden-fronted
Malkoha, Blue-faced
Minivet, Small
Myna, Common
Myna, Jungle
Oriole, Eurasian Golden
Parakeet, Rose-ringed
Peafowl, Indian (heard)
Pigeon, Blue Rock
Pipit, Paddyfield
Pitta, Indian
Prinia, Ashy
Prinia, Grey-breasted
Quail, un id
Robin, Indian
Robin, Oriental Magpie
Roller, Indian
Shama, White-rumped
Shrike, Long-tailed
Sunbird, Purple-rumped
Swallow, Red-rumped
Tailorbird, Common
Wagtail, White-browed
Warbler, Greenish

130514 bird list:

Babbler, Jungle
Babbler, Yellow-billed
Barbet, Coppersmith
Barbet, White-cheeked
Bee-eater, Blue-bearded
Bee-eater, Small Green
Bulbul, Red-vented
Bulbul, Red-whiskered
Bulbul, White-browed
Bushchat, Pied
Bushlark, Jerdon’s
Buzzard, Oriental Honey
Coucal, Southern
Crow, House
Crow, Jungle
Cuckoo, Common Hawk (heard)
Cuckoo-shrike, Large
Dove, Laughing
Dove, Spotted
Drongo, Ashy
Drongo, Black
Eagle, Short-toed Snake
Egret, Cattle
Egret, Little
Flowerpecker, Pale-billed
Flycatcher, White-browed Fantail
Francolin, Grey (heard)
Junglefowl, Grey (heard)
Kingfisher, White-breasted
Kite, Black
Kite, Brahminy
Koel, Asian
Lapwing, Red-wattled
Leafbird, Golden-fronted
Malkoha, Blue-faced
Myna, Common
Myna, Jungle
Owl, Mottled Wood
Owlet, Spotted
Parakeet, Rose-ringed
Peafowl, Indian (heard)
Pigeon, Blue Rock
Pipit, Paddyfield
Prinia, Ashy
Robin, Indian
Robin, Oriental Magpie
Roller, Indian
Shrike, Long-tailed
Sunbird, Purple-rumped
Swallow, Red-rumped
Tailorbird, Common

The Hoopoe, Valley School, 110514

May 11, 2014

The

HOOPOE

was called the “Common Hoopoe”, but alas, it is no longer that common a bird. However, we are lucky enough to be able to see them once in a while, in the outskirts of Bangalore. This morning, as 15 of us went to see what we could in the Valley School area, this beautiful bird was the last sighting before we left…a fitting finale to a very enjoyable morning.

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The scientific name of the bird(Upupa epops), like the English name is an onomatopoeic form which imitates the cry of the bird.

This colourful bird is found across Afro-Eurasia,, and the Madagascar subspecies of the Hoopoe is sometimes elevated to a full species.

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The call is typically a trisyllabic oop-oop-oop, which gives rise to its English and scientific names, although two and four syllables are also common.

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Most European and north Asian birds migrate to the tropics in winter. The African populations are sedentary year-round.

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The Hoopoe has two basic requirements in its habitat; bare or lightly vegetated ground on which to forage and vertical surfaces with cavities (such as trees, cliffs or even walls, nestboxes, haystacks, and abandoned burrows) in which to nest.

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The diet of the Hoopoe is mostly composed of insects, although small reptiles, frogs and plant matter such as seeds and berries are sometimes taken as well. It is a solitary forager which typically feeds on the ground.

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The diet of the Hoopoe includes many species considered to be pests by humans; for example the pupae of the processionary moth, a damaging forest pest.

Hoopoes are distinctive birds and have made a cultural impact over much of their range. They were considered sacred in Ancient Egypt, so they were “depicted on the walls of tombs and temples”. They achieved a similar standing in Minoan Crete. Theywere seen as a symbol of virtue in Persia. They were thought of as thieves across much of Europe and harbingers of war in Scandinavia. Also, in Estonian tradition the Hoopoes are strongly connected with death and the underworld, their song is seen as a forebode of death for many a people or cattle.The Hoopoe is the king of the birds in the Ancient Greek comedy The Birds by Aristophanes.

…and….The Hoopoe was chosen as the national bird of Israel in May 2008!

When we found that this bird, which has lived amongst humans for so long, was not at all disturbed by our presence, we slowly, and carefully, fanned around it, without disturbing its foraging behaviour. I took this video to show how, sometimes, a group can photograph a bird from fairly close range, without alarming or disturbing it.

We bade goodbye as as it walked along peacefully in the sunshine:

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A little later, off it flew…and we walked on with great satisfaction at having seen, and observed, this bird for a good while!

click here

for my FB album

Email to bngbirds about Valley School, 030514

May 4, 2014

Thomas Job, his friend (and first-time birder) Sushil Nahar, and I went to Valley School, and we were certainly rewarded beyond our expectations!

K B Srinivas had posted about seeing 4 Pittas there last week, but we certainly know the pit(ta)falls of going with any “focus”..the “focus” bird never shows itself! Srinivas himself met us at the School; and we met several other birders, some with binoculars, and some Tripada (tripod-a) and Ekapada (monopod) Murthys, too. It’s always nice to meet other like-minded people. Apart from this, a lot of people living in the Valley School seemed to be walking down the outside trail as well.

I have put up photographs (bad even by my standards…in all that clutter, it was difficult to get the Pittas and the Shama) on my FB album at

https://www.facebook.com/deemopahan/media_set?set=a.10152167690548878.1073742157.587058877&type=3

and here’s my blogpost about the morning, at

http://deponti.livejournal.com/1069626.html

It was certainly surprising that we could see 3 Pittas on the 3rd of May…I thought that they would be gone by now. Is this rather late, or normal for the Pittas to be around till now?

Watching bird behaviour was another bonus of the relaxed birding. The foraging behaviour of the Pittas, and the Puff-throated Babblers,kept us occupied for quite a while. (I must say, the colours of the Pitta kept us riveted, too.) I’m planning to re-name the Cattle Egreat as Earthmover Egret, as these birds follow the earthmovers in exactly the same way, seem not at all scared of the machinery, and jump to feed on the insects turned up.

I saw a Jungle Crow feeding on the Banyan figs; a Peepal tree held us spellbound for quite half an hour as we watched Barbets, Parakeets, White-eyes, an Oriole, and Drongos having a gala time in the huge tree. How I wish we could take our Bangalore politicians to see such sights regularly…they’d probably stop felling trees then, is my optimistic view.

We saw a Shikra mobbing a Honey-buzzard, and as we came out of the gatepost, a Jerdon’s Leafbird in the Acacia gave us a final thrill.

Once again, a salute to Valley School for letting the wilderness be…but it is quite disturbing to see the adjacent areas beingt levelled and “cleaned” out to make way for agriculture (hopefully, not residential layouts.)

It was a very enjoyable morning, and I returned with my batteries recharged for the rest of the week!

Wonderful morning at Valley School, 030514

May 4, 2014

Thomas Job and his friend Sushil Nahar, who was coming on a birding trail for the first time, picked me up, and off we went, to Valley School.

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Several of us walked down the trail together:

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Even at the height of summer, birding is an enjoyable actitivy in the early morning!

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The path led through this beautiful

BANYAN TREE:

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Here’s the tree from a distance:

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Another banyan tree which we usually go past:

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A peaceful scene of cattle grazing under its shade:

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The

GULMOHAR

is in full bloom everywhere:

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Falling around on the plants, the petals look so beautiful:

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I loved the sight of this

OLEANDER

everywhere:

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In the ruined Art Village, I found this pottery figure, representing Ganesha on one side and Nandi on the other:

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The birds included:

CATTLE EGRET:

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BLACK-RUMPED FLAMEBACK:

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INDIAN PITTA (we saw three of them!)

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WHITE-RUMPED SHAMA (which the mobile phone of one birder had turned to Shame)

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There were butterflies, too, like this

COMMON CERULEAN:

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We enjoyed the morning, and the brefus at Udupi Banashree, very much indeed!

click here

for my FB album.

The bird list:

Babbler, Jungle
Babbler,Tawny-bellied
Babbler, Puff-throated
Babbler, Yellow-billed
Barbet, Coppersmith
Barbet,White-cheeked
Bee-eater, Small Green
Bulbul, Red-vented
Bulbul, Red-whiskered
Bushchat, Pied
Coucal, Southern
Crow, House
Crow, Jungle
Cuckooshrike, Black-headed
Egret, Little
Flameback, Black-rumped
Flowerpecker, Pale-billed
Flycatcher, Asian Paradise (heard)
Flycatcher, Tickell’s Blue
Flycatcher, White-throated Fantail
Francolin, Grey (heard)
Heron, Indian Pond
Honey-buzzard, Oriental
Junglefowl, Grey (heard)
Kingfisher, White-throated
Kite, Black
Kite, Brahminy
Koel, Asian
Lapwing, Red-wattled
Leafbird, Jerdon’s
Malkoha, Blue-faced
Malkoha, Sirkeer
Minivet, Small
Myna, Common
Myna, Jungle
Parakeet, Rose-ringed
Peafowl, Indian (heard)
Pigeon, Blue Rock
Pitta, Indian
Prinia, Ashy
Prinia, Grey-breasted
Robin, Indian
Robin, Oriental Magpie
Shama, White-rumped
Shikra
Sunbird, Purple-rumped
Swallow,Red-rumped
Swift, Little
Tailorbird, Common
Tit, Great (Cinerous)
White-eye, Oriental

Don’t you agree, this is a dream list, especially for the first week of May?