Posts Tagged ‘road’

The Rock Eagle Owls of NICE Road, Bangalore, Karnataka, 260414

April 27, 2014

I’ve always been drawn to owls, and the


also called the Indian Eagle Owl, has been one of my favourites; I’ve sighted it at Bannerghatta, Turahalli, and at various other locations.


For the past few years, we’ve been watching some of these majestic birds making their home on the rocky outcrops of the highway built by Nandi Infrastructure Corridor Enterprises (NICE), around Bangalore.


As we were returning from our trip to Sakleshpur, where we did a bird census for a coffee estate (a very satisfying assignment, more about it later!) we decided we would detour on to this toll road and try our luck with the owls. And we were rewarded for our efforts!


The Rock Eagle Owls were earlier treated as a subspecies of the Eurasian Eagle-Owl (Bubo bubo) but are now considered as separate.


The wiki says, “They are seen in scrub and light to medium forests but are especially seen near rocky places within the mainland of the Indian Subcontinent south of the Himalayas and below 5000 feet elevation.


“Humid evergreen forest and extremely arid areas are avoided. Bush-covered rocky hillocks and ravines, and steep banks of rivers and streams are favourite haunts.


Here’s a view of the habitat…can you see one of the Owls here?


I zoomed in further:


and some more, to show the excellent camouflage when the bird’s head is turned away, and those amazing eyes are not visible:


Here, one eye is visible:


“The nesting season is November to April. The eggs number three to four and are creamy white, broad roundish ovals with a smooth texture. They are laid on bare soil in a natural recess in an earth bank, on the ledge of a cliff, or under the shelter of a bush on level ground. The nest site is reused each year. The eggs hatch after about 33 days and the chicks are dependent on their parents for nearly six months.”

They were quite enjoying the breeze, closing their eyes and letting their feathers ruffle:


Nowhere is the usefulness of a good zoom illustrated more in the ability to “approach” these birds while keeping one’s distance. Here are the lesser and higher zoom images:



“It spends the day under the shelter of a bush or rocky projection, or in a large mango or similar thickly foliaged tree near villages.”


Their diet seems to be very varied: “Their diet through much of the year consists of rodents, but birds seem to be mainly taken towards winter. Prey species of birds include partridges, doves, Indian Roller,the Shikra and the Spotted Owlet. Birds the size of a peacock are sometimes attacked; Bats were also preyed on, and mammals the size of a Black-naped hare may be taken.” As if to bear this out, we saw several Peafowl on the fence nearby, and squirrels scampering around the area.

Alas, all is not well in the world of the Owls. The Wiki notes:” Like many other large owls, these are considered birds of ill omen. Their deep haunting calls if delivered from atop a house are considered to forebode the death of an occupant. A number of rituals involving the capture and killing of these birds have been recorded. Salim Ali notes a wide range of superstitions related to them but notes two as being particularly widespread. One is that if the bird is starved for a few days and beaten, it would speak like a human, predicting the future of the tormentor or bringing them wealth while the other involves the killing of the bird to find a lucky bone that moved against the current like a snake when dropped into a stream. Belief in these superstitions has led to the persecution of the species in many areas by tribal hunters. The capture of these birds is illegal under Indian law but an underground market continues to drive poaching.”

It is sad that superstition seems to rule the life prospects of these beautiful birds…and another matter of concern with the owls shown here is the rampant construction going on in the area where the Owls are.

But as of now, the birds seem to be holding their own. I do hope the Rock Eagle Owls of the NICE Road remain, sentinels of our urban wildlife, for a long time to come!

Here’s a video of two of the birds, and the rocky habitat:

Should you go to the NICE Road to sight these birds, please keep your distance from them, and use a good pair of binoculars or good zoom lenses to observe and document them. They are under enough threat from urban development, let us not add to the difficulties of their survival! Also, remember that you are on a highway, so keep the car moving slowly. If you stop the car and get out…be quick, and be careful..remember that on the highway, you yourself are at risk!

Mysore, and the highway back to Bangalore, 010214

February 6, 2014


is my FB album of snaps in Mysore, and the highway to Bangalore.



June 23, 2012

This post contains Sol

4  sunset memphis 180612

and that is all.

3  sunset memphis 180612

Filling the West with light

2  sunset memphis 180612

It’s a delightful sight.

1  sunset memphis 180612

The fire increases

7  sunset memphis 180612

Then slowly decreases.

6  sunset memphis 180612

Yes, it’s only the sun…

5  sunset memphis 180612

And now the day is done!

180612 sunset

The Parsi Tower of Silence, BIAL Road

November 18, 2011

On my way to and from the Bangalore International Airport, one building often catches my eye:

twr silnce sign bhavita 1911111

I have long known the custom of the Parsi community to dispose of their dead by exposing the bodies to the elements and to the sun. I vaguely remember being shown a “Tower of Silence” in Mumbai, many decades ago.

I googled for “Tower of Silence”, and got this link about

Dakhma, transliterated as “Tower of Silence”

I was not sure if the Tower of Silence in Bangalore is being used now…but a little digging produced

this link to an article in the Hindu

…which seems to say that it was, at least, nearly three years ago. Today? I do not know.

Instead of being in a remote area, it is now right alongside a major highway; and in any case, vultures, the main birds who would feed on carrion, are so depleted in this area that there is just a tiny population about a dozen birds or less, in Ramnagara, even though the article says the lack of vultures is not an issue.

As I seem to see this place only whizzing past on the way to the airport or to Nandi Hills, I asked my friend Bhavita Toliya to click a few photographs, and though she didn’t venture into the place, she sent me this beautiful photo of the winged-disk design:


1940 seems, (71 years ago), not all that distant a date in history when this place was constructed; and it serves as a reminder of how rapid the change in our city has been.

There is also an inscription in Gujrati, of which I can read only the first two words, “Sri Jahangir”….

prsi twr inscription bhavita 191111

I do wonder what the rest of the plaque says.

Update: Bhavita sent me the translation of the parts of the plaque that were legible: ” Ban Me Dad R Ahoor Mazda” ( title). 1st Line – Sri Bangalore dokasmane lagti aa sthal jameena je ashrey 15 October … ” the rest, she says, is unclear.

To see another interesting article about the Parsis,

click here

For an article from Citizen Matters.

Bhavita was told that another place has been acquired, and this will probably be “developed” into an apartment complex.

And so, perhaps, another landmark of our city will disappear….

The Glow Worms were at Nanda Park again..

April 1, 2009

We went, after Karthik’s alert, to see the glow-worms again this year:

Here’s my post about it last year

Where do they come from? Where do they go?
Why are they so tiny? Why do they glow?
Why do just some of them have wings?
What, exactly, is “bioluminicence”?
Is it a word that even makes sense?
Have you wondered about all these things?

If so..



A Heritage Walk Down Avenue Road

February 23, 2009

For more pics, look at


One sample:

How much should I worry? How much should I ignore?

February 5, 2009

Yesterday we went to an excellent theatre evening…but driving a distance less than 15 kms. took us nearly and hour and a half…both ways…..and I was really ashamed to be sitting in a car, burning petrol at idling, and being part of the problem instead of at least trying to be part of the solution.

But the reality is that Chowdiah is terribly poorly connected by buses, and we were going for a relaxed evening of leisure, and that is not, in my book, equal to travelling on crowded buses and walking in your glad rags for ages to reach the venue, and then reach the bus terminus after the show.

So I compromised, and I am not feeling very good about it now.

Should I not have gone at all? I would have missed some really superb acting (it was Ismat Apa Ke Nam, by Naseeruddin Shah, Ratna Pathak Shah and Heeba Shah)….we have lived a life where we have earned our money by honest means, so why is it that the only way we can have a nice evening is to do something that my conscience bothers me about?

Oh well…would like to share this feat of engineering with you all….

The dexterity with which the leaves of the ants’ nest have been sewn/pasted together is incredible, isn’t it!

But such ants’ nests are not great news for the trees on which they appear,because often, the ants have aphids, as well, which suck the living sap out of the tree and its twigs.

Valparai Visit

January 15, 2009

Though we took an overnight train, the visit really started with the sunrise after we got out of the train and were speeding towards Valparai from Coimbatore after a quick breakfast at Annapoorna….

The chill dawn, the pilgrims on their way (most pilgrims would finish their pilgrimage by January 14th, when the sun begins its “uttarAyanam” or northward path, and the festival of Sankranti or Pongal, the harvest festival, happens), and the little lighted shrine in the gloaming, made me feel peaceful…

read on IF you have leisure

Water..and colours…

January 14, 2009

I am putting up the pictures from the Valparai trip, and am overwhelmed by the amount of sightings we seem to have had!

But meanwhile…

The sunlight lies
In a narrow band, across the road.
The water pots speak of the need to conserve
A precious resource.
But in the middle of want, there is plenty..
Plenty of colour in our pots
To hold the colourless water
That will bring colour to our life.
The road winds on…
Hopefully, to a better future….

Why I am participating in the “Namma Raste,Namma Ooru” walk on November 9th

November 2, 2008

With regard to the tree-felling and road-widening that is happening now…..we are against *indiscriminate* use of this facility, that’s all. The point is, that cutting down trees is irreversible, so what we are saying is, involve the citizens in this decision-making process, and let us cut down trees ONLY when there is no other solution.

The High Court of Karnataka has given a decision that the BBMP authorities must include the citizens’ forum, Hasiru Usiru, in its deliberations and only take decisions on tree-felling and road-widening that complies with the Town and Rural Planning Act. Right now, this is not being done. So we are fighting a legal battle here.

The other point is that widening the roads is actually adding to the problem, by allowing more vehicles to drive through the roads. And at the rate of 1500 vehicles being registered every day, the widened road will become choked up in no time. (This has already happened at several places.)

Other cities have addressed this problem without getting rid of their green cover, so we also would like to look at similar solutions.

We can learn from both the successes of other cities…and some spectacular failures, such as the 16-lane roads in Los Angeles which are still choked with traffic, and the Elevated railway in Boston which had to be broken down and re-constructed underground after the neighbourhoods degraded, the crime rates soared, and pollution hit all-time highs.

Replantation is not a simple issue. In the first place, saplings cannot, in the short term, take care of oxygen and carbon di oxide, support plant and animal life, and bring down the ambient temperature the way a fully-grown tree can.

Also, these saplings are planted far away from the sites where the trees are cut, so they cannot be beneficial to the microclimate of central Bangalore.

Neither does there seem any guarantee that these saplings will grow to the majestic proportions of the trees that are being felled. 20 to 40 years may not seem much…but a few of the trees that have been felled are a 100 years old!

Bangalore comes with beautiful avenues and boulevards that have been planted in the past by wise administrators. We may not have added a single such boulevard to our urban landscape, but surely we should at least protect, not what we had, but at the very least, what remains now, after several years of losing our green cover steadily, during which the inner city temperatures have risen by 3 to 4 degrees Celsius.

All these are the reasons why we are asking to be included in the BBMP decision-making process, and want to give alternative solutions where possible.

We are also concerned about the livelihoods of the vendors and small businessmen; they have as much right to be a part of Bangalore as the motorists, and they are not the people who can come to the BBMP and voice their concerns. Removing our rich street life can only impoverish our city and rob it of its vibrant character.

Wider roads are also being built without any provision for footpaths, making it very difficult for pedestrians, cyclists, the elderly, children, and disabled people. These people, too, have as much rights as the motorists of Bangalore.

The short-sighted siting of the new airport, and the desperate hurry to cut through the city to gain access to it, seems to be killing our city.

Let’s not squander, thoughtlessly, the treasures that we have, and repent it later.