Posts Tagged ‘spiders’

Ravugodlu, 4th Sunday Bngbirds outing, 250819

August 29, 2019

Email to the Bngbirds egroup:



Since it was cloudy with a possibility of rain, I was quite heartened that 30 of us decided to join for the 4th Sunday Bngbirds outing. We were all quite punctual at the meeting point near the small Anjaneya shrine,


and the two majestic Banyan trees; and a few Indian Grey Hornbills flying past, and the loud cheep-cheep of a Tailorbird started us off on the path.

Ravugodlu is one of the last semi-scrub forest patches


that groups can be taken to, without having to go to various Forest Department offices to submit applications in triplicate, for permission (only to be told that you should have done this a week ago!) We enjoyed the scenery and the bluffs on the side of which lies the Ragihalli area. It was delightful to children like Saanvi and Aanvi (er, not related to each other…they just happen to have similar names!) join in, binoculars and note-books in hand.

A few Green Bee-eaters, and the ubiquitous Black and Brahminy Kites were in the air; the rains had ensured that the pond along the path was also full. Several yellow birds…Ioras and Oriental White-eyes


…brought flashes of brightness to the cloudy atmosphere.

The group rather quickly straggled along the path and I was never sure whether all of us saw all the birds or not! The first sighting of a Shikra, and a Short-toed Snake Eagle, upped our raptor count; we looked it up in the bird book,


to be sure.

At the pond, we found a solitary White-browed Wagtail, and a small blue jewel of a kingfisher flew about, trying to get breakfast.


As we reached the part of the path which widens out into a flat area, with the hill slopes and rocks surrounding us, the sunshine finally broke through the clouds and promptly pushed up the temperature! Little Swifts and Palm Swifts swooped around overhead, as did Red-rumped Swallows. We were delighted to see large flocks of Rose-ringed Parakeets flying around into the mango orchard area, as they looked for nesting sites and foraged. These may be very common birds even in the urban setting; but their bright green plumage and red beaks add a lovely dash of colour to any birding outing!


At the open area, those of us who reached first, brought out our snacks, and I am afraid, though not repentant, that I pigged out on a lot of stuff ( eg Mamta’s superb dhokla and the soy sticks from Haldiram.) Fruits, almonds, many crisp snacks from the recent Janmashtami festival…all were despatched with gusto!


Though I expected at least half the group to catch up, many people had already left, so only a few people joined up with us. We looked up to see another raptor, and with my usual question mark hovering over my head, I was able to confirm it only later as a Bonelli’s Eagle.


As we walked back, we looked at several other living creatures…the beauty of the crimson seed pods of the Indian Redwing;


blooming wildflowers such as the Node Flower,

IMG_0087 Allmania nodiflora, Node Flower Allmania

Indian Cadaba,

IMG_0083  Cadaba fruticosa, Indian Cadaba

Coat Button, the Devil’s Coach Whip, Vishnukranti, Cyanotis; the children had great fun touching the Touch-me-not leaves! I was able to show people near me the seed pods of the Indrajao or Pala Indigo,

Several reptiles like the Garden Lizard


and the Rock Agama


kept us occupied. Spiders of all kinds…Lynx, Funnel Web, Orb Weavers, Social Spiders…truly wove a web of fascination for us. A little Dung Beetle added some metallic colour.


We didn’t see too many butterflies, but a Crimson Rose, some Common Mormons, a Common Lime, Emigrants, Jezebels,a Common Baron


and Grass Yellows which looked like little flitting blossoms in the grass and reeds, added their beauty to the scene. A grasshopper was beautifully camouflaged in the reeds.


As we returned to our cars, we were suddenly treated to a magnificient finale to the outing…a Black Eagle


swept past quite low, and had us walking off in its wake, hoping to have a better sight of it.

After this unexpected bonus, I am sorry to say that all the erudite scientific and nature discussions gave way to “Where shall we stop for breakfast?” and the Davangere Benne Dose eatery was the unanimous choice.




A few of us enjoyed the crisp dose-s with the dollops of potato and butter,



and with our tummies, minds,hearts (and possibly camera memory cards!) full, we dispersed back to our separate lives and weekend commitments.

Here is most of our group before the start of the walk:


The eBird list is at

(62 species…not a bad haul for a monsoon morning!)

I have put up my photos on a FB album at

For the non-FB friends, the Flickr album is at


A few of us went to the Bhutanahalli pond to observe the Baya Weaver nesting activity:



Even here, there were several handsome six-footers to captivate us:

Jewel Bug

IMG_0160 Sweet Potato Weevil
Sweet Potato Weevil

Blister Beetle

IMG_0165 Tussock Moth Cat early instar
Tussock Moth caterpillar

Every outing is full of the wonders of the natural world!


Nature Feature, Feb. ’19: Hayath and the world of many legs

February 8, 2019

For a while now, the world of insects and spiders has begun to be revealed to everyone, through the medium of photography. As the micro-sized creatures are captured through macro photography, stunningly weird-looking creatures appear on social media feeds, making us feel that these, surely, are beings from a different planet!

No, these creatures are not “out of this world” at all. It’s just that their tiny size prevents us from seeing them in detail. Another reason why we know little about them is that they are often so well camouflaged, as leaves, bark, or other natural phenomena, that we overlook them completely.

Hayath Mohammed is one young man who, even as a child, was drawn to these smaller living beings. “I would walk around in the garden and find enough to interest me and keep me occupied,” he says. He invested in a camera to be able to document what he saw.

His parents have been supportive of his interest in these many-footed creatures, he adds. Indeed, he says, “My mother likes to go birding with me, and since she has also observed the various kinds of spiders and insects, she’s very understanding about my fascination for them”.

An Antlion, one of the creatures Hayath showed me

He joined several fora for various insects, and soon learned to distinguish bugs from beetles, hoppers from weevils, and wasps from flies. “I tend to only think of their scientific names, not their common ones, as the common names tend to be generic,” he remarks. “When I talked about a Signature Spider, for example, I would quickly be asked which kind I meant, so I quickly learnt the specific scientific names.”

During the course of our short walk together in Doresanipalya, he did bring out quite a lot of these names for the spiders. Arachnura, Argiope, Cyclosa, the names rolled off his tongue,but didn’t quite roll into my ear as easily!

On the photography front, too, Hayath says, it’s been a big ride. “I got started with a Sony point and shoot gifted by my uncle.” he says. “I used that for a while before moving to a Sony H2.”Since then,” he adds, “I’ve moved to a Canon DSLR system and then, recently, to the micro four thirds Olympus system. My current macro equipment costs around Rs 50,000 in total.” Certainly, if it should be counted as a hobby, it’s quite an expensive one!

But more than a hobby, it’s a matter of a passionate pursuit for Hayath. “Macro photography can be extremely satisfying as a genre, ” he remaks. One need not spend so much, he adds. According to him, there are several low budget options to get started:

1. Clip on lenses for smart phones
2. Reversing short focal length lenses on an existing DSLR
3. Using a Raynox DCR 250 clip-on diopter for telephoto lenses and bridge cameras.

But sooner or later, one does wind up investing larger amounts of money to get the perfect image! “Proper use of light plays an important role in making good images, as with any other genre of photography,” he is quick to point out. He uses a Rs.5 thermocole Hi board as a light diffuser with his expensive flash equipment! So the combination of expensive equipment and cheap “jugaad” works well for him.

Here is Hayath, looking around at the trees, the leaves (on, around, and under them!) with his equipment, for the various creatures that he finds so interesting, and photographs so well.


Here is his incredibly beautiful image of a Cicada:

Photo: Hayath Mohammed

Let’s wish Hayath every success on the path he has set himself, of documenting the small creatures of the urban jungles….. creatures that most of us never get to see at the level of detail he achieves.

Nature at a bus stop, St.Louis, 120814

August 13, 2014

Here’s the patch of “weeds” at the bus stop where we wait, to send KTB off to school, and get her back again in the evening.

<a href=”; title=”DSC07834 by mohandep, on Flickr”><img src=”; width=”640″ height=”360″ alt=”DSC07834″></a>

You wouldn’t think that would be full of interest, would you? But you’d be wrong!

First off, the grass with its seeds looked so lovely:

<a href=”; title=”DSC07835 by mohandep, on Flickr”><img src=”; width=”640″ height=”360″ alt=”DSC07835″></a>

I saw these beautifully-forming seed-pods:

<a href=”; title=”DSC07839 by mohandep, on Flickr”><img src=”; width=”640″ height=”360″ alt=”DSC07839″></a>

Another plant gave me the gift of these burrs, to disperse its seeds far and wide:

<a href=”; title=”DSC07840 by mohandep, on Flickr”><img src=”; width=”640″ height=”408″ alt=”DSC07840″></a>

Then I realized that there was a flowering Convolvulus vine, too, so I went near one flower to photograph a bee.

<a href=”; title=”DSC07846 by mohandep, on Flickr”><img src=”; width=”640″ height=”360″ alt=”DSC07846″></a>

I then realized that the flower had another occupant, apart from the bee….

<a href=”; title=”DSC07847 by mohandep, on Flickr”><img src=”; width=”640″ height=”439″ alt=”DSC07847″></a>

There was a spider sitting there, as well as the bee!

<a href=”; title=”DSC07848 by mohandep, on Flickr”><img src=”; width=”640″ height=”446″ alt=”DSC07848″></a>

<lj-cut text=”some more…”>

Out she came, for me to photograph:

<a href=”; title=”DSC07852 by mohandep, on Flickr”><img src=”; width=”640″ height=”410″ alt=”DSC07852″></a>

<a href=”; title=”DSC07850 by mohandep, on Flickr”><img src=”; width=”640″ height=”433″ alt=”DSC07850″></a>

I did wonder if the bee and the spider would attack each other, but no, peaceful co-existence was the order of the day:

<a href=”; title=”DSC07854 by mohandep, on Flickr”><img src=”; width=”640″ height=”434″ alt=”DSC07854″></a>

<a href=”; title=”DSC07855 by mohandep, on Flickr”><img src=”; width=”640″ height=”415″ alt=”DSC07855″></a>


The bees took their turn with the pollen:

<a href=”; title=”DSC07858 by mohandep, on Flickr”><img src=”; width=”640″ height=”409″ alt=”DSC07858″></a>

I spent two hours at that bus-stop, and never got bored for a single minute! I had my fill of Nature and wildlife, just sitting in an empty lot and waiting for a bus!

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.


Summer colours on the ground:


In the trees:


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.


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.


White-browed Bulbuls


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


Birders at the Banyan tree near the sheds:


Spotted Owlet in the Banyan tree:


Young White-cheeked Barbets:


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.


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:


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


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


the latter immediately showed me the Indian Lavender plant,


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

Hog-Plum tree:


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

Loranthus (epiphyte), aka Mistletoe:


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.


Grasshopper with a spider sitting on its head:


Plain Tiger:


Common Gull:


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.


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.



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

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

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!


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


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

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


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



Riotous colours of summer:


Hosakote kere, Karnataka, 230213

February 23, 2014


Kamal pinged me past 10pm yesterday…and off we went,early this morning, to Hosakote Kere, with Vasuki, and having picked up Binu on the way, too.


At the MCS (Mandatory Chai Stop).

We stopped at the bund of Hosakote Kere, with the sun still low in the eastern horizon, silhouetting the swallows…





sub-adult seemed to have wings of black…and silver…



There were already other photographers at the kere:


And we joined them:





The marshy area of the kere was aglow with green algae:


I followed some PLAIN PRINIAS through the bushes:



Several WOOD SANDPIPERS waded around:


It seemed as if this GREATER CORMORANT was lifting its wings in benison:


PHEASANT-TAILED JACANAS strutted their paisley shapes about:



a vee-formation of Cormorants went past:


At full zoom, my camera caught these two SILVERBILLS on a little pot!


A GREY-BELLLIED CUCKOO delighted us very briefly:


A GLOSSY IBIS sat in the reeds


All of a sudden, a huge flock of ducks appeared in the sky, wheeled around, and came to settle in the waters of the kere. We watched, spellbound:





Two SPOT-BILLED PELICANS landed, and floated lightly about:


BLACK-WINGED STILTS were in plenty:


It was a stunning sight when at some mysterious signal they all took off:


There were many LITTLE GREBES:


A great sighting today by Kamal was of the


in the reeds of the lake. Alas, he could not get a shot.

There were many fishermen on the kere, in plastic coracles (though I saw the traditional bamboo ones on the bank, too.)



The trishool of the Gangamma temple was decorated:


The temple is the Om of the Goddess!


You can see Shiva sitting with Parvati, with Ganga on his head:


Everywhere, TENT SPIDERS had spun a mist:


We took a breakfast break, and went to Sri Krishna Upahar on the main highway:


On the bund, a borewell was being dug, and rice and freshly-caught fish were ready for cooking:



Babbler, Jungle
Bee-eater, Small Green
Bulbul, Red-vented
Bushchat, Pied
Bushlark, Jerdon’s
Coot, Common
Cormorant, Great
Coucal, Greater
Crow, House
Crow, Jungle
Cuckoo, Grey-bellied
Dove, Laughing
Dove, Spotted
Drongo, Black
Duck, Spot-billed
Egret, Cattle
Egret, Great
Egret, Intermediate
Egret, Little
Flowerpecker, Pale-billed
Francolin, Grey
Grebe, LIttle
Harrier, Eurasian Marsh
Heron, Grey
Heron, Indian Pond
Heron, Purple
Ibis, Glossy
Jacana, Pheasant-tailed
Kite, Black
Kite, Black-winged
Kite, Bramhiny
Koel, Asian
Lapwing, Red-wattled
Lark, Ashy-crowned Sparrow
Moorhen, Common
Moorhen, Purple
Myna, Common
Myna, Jungle
Oriole, Eurasian Golden
Parakeet, Rose-ringed
Pelican, Spot-billed
Pigeon, Blue Rock
Pipit, Paddyfield
Prinia, Ashy
Prinia, Plain
Robin, Indian
Roller, Indian
Sandpiper, Green
Sandpiper, Wood
Silverbill, Indian
Sparrow, House
Stilt, Black-winged
Sunbird, Purple
Sunbird, Purple-rumped
Swallow, Barn
Swallow, Red-rumped
Swallow, Wire-tailed
Swift, Asian Palm
Tailorbird, Common
Wagtail, White-browed
Wagtail, Yellow
Warbler, Blyth’s Reed
Warbler, Booted
Warbler, Clamorous Reed
Warbler, Great Reed

Sorry, didn’t keep track of butterfies today. Was somehow tired and a little sleepy, off my form!

Photos on my FB album,

click here

I took two short videos; one, of a shimmering black line of Swallows, and a white line of Egrets:

Another of a flight of ducks, swirling over the lake, not landing but wheeling around:

Let me close with a pic of this bAginA (offering) that someone had made. A baagina usually contains a packet of arshina (turmeric), kumkum, black bangles, black beads (used in the mangalsutra), a comb, a small mirror, baLe bicchoLe, coconut, blouse piece, dhaanya (cereal), rice, toor dal, green dal, wheat or rava and jaggery cut in a cube form. The baagina is offered in a traditional mora (winnow painted with turmeric).


Ragihalli, 021113

November 3, 2013

What could be a better medicine for severe jet-lag and symptoms of serious withdrawal from one’s grandchilden (who, as the miles slip away behind the aircraft, progressively become the best-behaved, most ideal children of all time)? A visit to my favourite haunt!


Rajesh had posted on the birding e-group, asking if anyone would go to the Bannerghatta area. Well, of course I would! I was joined by Amitabha, Kiran and Zainab, too..



the latter were coming for their first birding/natiure trail. The only bird in their lives now is the Stork, which will be arriving early next year.

It was a cloudy and dull morning,




and initially, all birds were Grey ‘Silhouette Birds, I had to keep showing Zainab and Kiran what the birds looked like, in the bird book. But we persisted, and not only did we see a respectable number of species,








we also enjoyed the beauty of the Bannerghatta forest,


the weak sunshine,


a hot breakfast in the iddli shop in Ragihalli,and the sight of innumerable waterlilies,


and a few white lotuses, blooming in Ragihalli Kola (Pond).



Some living things grew fast after the rain…


The highlight, for me at least, was a big group of Lesser Whistling Duck babies, huddling along, trying to keep right behind their parents, in Ragihalli Kola.





There were several butterflies,





some interesting spiders



and other insects.



and we delighted in the various wildflowers, too.












It was a deeply satisfying morning, and I returned home with peace in my heart, on the festival of lights.

The villagers of Ragihalli told us that the elephant movement was not at a high, but we were warned by the Forest Department people at the Ragihalli watch tower. But the Forest Dept staff keep harassing photographers, even when we are on the main road, and this does not make sense to me. On the whole, they adopt a very confrontational, hectoring tone. When I talked to them, they were a little more polite. Perhaps they come across a lot of tourists who make nuisances of themselves.

The Ragihalli sheet rock area was surprisingly free of broken bottles and picnic litter, and this was a big improvement. However, litter surrounds Ragihalli village.
Our plastic trash is poisoning our environment at an alarming pace.

I have put up some photos (I’ve also written in a narrative) on my Facebook album at

The bird list:

Babbler, Jungle
Babbler, Yellow-billed
Barbet, White-cheeked
Bee-eater, Small Green
Bulbul Red-vented
Bulbul, Red-whiskered
Bulbul, White-browed
Bushchat Pied
Bushlark jerdon’s,
Buzzard, Oriental Honey
Coucal, Greater
Crow, House
Crow, Jungle
Dove, Laughing
Dove, Spotted
Drongo Ashy
Drongo, Black
Duck, Lesser Whistling
Duck, Spot-billed
Egret, Cattle
Egret, Little
Flowerpecker, Pale-billed
Francolin grey (heard)
Grebe, Little
Heron, Indian-pond
Hoopoe, Common
Kestrel, Common
Kingfisher, White-breasted
Kite, Black
Koel, Asian
Lapwing Red-wattled
Martin, Asian House
Munia, Scaly-breasted
Myna, Common
Myna, Jungle
Parakeet, Rose-ringed
Pigeon, Blue Rock
Pipit, Paddyfield
Prinia, Ashy
Prinia Plain
Robin, Indian
Silverbill, Indian
Starling, Rosy
Sunbird, Purple-rumped
Swallow, Barn
Swallow, Red-rumped
Swallow, Wire-tailed
Swift, House
Treepie, Rufous
Wagtail, White-browed
Warbler, Greenish-leaf


Blues, Various
Castor, Common
Eggfly, Danaid
Emigrant, Common
Jezebel, Common
Leopard, Common
Lime, Common
Rose, Common
Tiger, Common
Yellow, Three-spot Grass
Yellow, Spotless Grass

Various Dragonflies, Damselflies, and Spiders, too.


Funnel-web Spiders

October 12, 2013

A glance at a bush can sometimes take one world-wide.



I looked at the wide-flung webs on the various bushes, and thought back to all the similar spiders I’ve seen in India, too.


is one of my posts about Indian Funnel-web Spiders (we also call them Wolf Spiders).


I decided to read up a little about them, and found out that they are of the family Agelenidae, and there could be more than 1,200 species in 68 genera, worldwide. They seem to occur in every continent except the Poles.


These spiders’ social structure is sufficiently evolved, the Wiki says, to include “communal web-building and sharing; cooperative prey capture and communal rearing of young. Spiders have not, however, taken the final step into the eusociality of the social Hymenoptera (ants, bees and wasps) because there are no workers or soldiers (no castes) and all females are reproductive.”


I’ve seen this kind of social behaviours in Social Spiders, and documented it in my posts


But did not know that Funnel-web Spiders, too, exhibit the same kind of one-for-all-and-all-for-one behaviour.


Another amazing fact that I learnt was that these spiders are incredibly fast; “with speeds clocked at 1.73 ft/s (0.53 m/s), the Giant house spider held the Guinness Book of World Records for top spider speed until 1987,” says the Wiki!


A creature that does, indeed, have a www….World-Wide Web, occurring everywhere…and which is so interesting….that’s the Funnel-web Spider, for you!

“Season of mists and mellow fruitfulness…”

October 2, 2013


When the flowering is done..
When the seeding’s begun
When the spiders abandon
Their webs…it’s autumn
However, here they call
It by another name…fall.
Which is why, with each hour
There are less seeds on this flower…
Soon the fields will be bare..
And they’ll yield to winter’s share.

4th Sunday outing of Bird Watchers’ Field Club: 231212, Muthanallur Lake, Sarjapura area

December 24, 2012

Hi, everyone

After a very long gap, I was able to go for the 4th Sunday outing to the Sarjapura area,thanks to Suneel’s very kindly offering to pick up my friend Ravi Srinivasan (from Chennai) and myself.

However, co-ordinating with multiple members and multiple meeting points caused a lot of delay and instead of depending on the correct directions that Shishir had given, we made the mistake of asking the locals, and this delayed us even further! When we finally reached Muthanallur kere, we were never able to meet up with the main group, and we wandered around the lake bed and the banks on our own. The mist also played its part…

231212 bwfc 4th sun srjpura mist

After a pathetic monsoon this year, it’s a blessing to be able to visit any kere with water in it, and Muthanallur kere was very picturesque and scenic (with not too much of litter, either). We were able to observe many of the waterfowl, whether resident (like Brahminy Kites or Pied Kingfishers) or migrant. While we felt sad that we could walk so much on the lake bed, it certainly allowed us to get just that little bit closer to the waterfowl.

However, the presence of the bodies of three dead Brahminy Kites at various places on the lake bed, and that of many dead fish along the banks (uneaten by any predator), made us wonder about the quality of the water. There was a lot of algae in the lake, which, at places, gave it a bright emerald colour. However, since there were live fish, too, and some Checkered Keelbacks, we felt the water might be OK.

Several raptors soared on the thermals and being “rocky on raptors”, I was hard put to id them. The Red-necked Falcon delighted us with an appearance, as did several other birds of prey. However, it seemed to be Brahminy Kites which have adopted the lake; we saw many juveniles soaring and hunting.

As usual, there were not too many small waders, but there was a good number of Painted Storks and Openbills. Two Pied Kingfishers hovered, dived, and then dried themselves on the mud banks. We managed to sight, and observe, the


for a while…

231212 bwfc 4th sun srjpura wstrn rf egret

Ravi and Suneel decided to go to Decathlon, and I took a ride with the Managoli family, Vaibhav and Deepu. Of course we got lost again, and finally decided to eat brunch at Sarjapura before making our way home, watching Kestrels and some of the warblers on the way. Moral of the story: never try to use the words “early return” on a birding trip!

I do not know who else was there, but our group consisted of:


and I.

Bird List (let me know if I have left out any)

Babbler, Jungle
Barbet, Coppersmith
Barbet, White-cheeked
Bee-eater, Small Green
Bulbul, REd-vented
Bulbul, Red-whiskered
Bulbul, White-browed
Bushchat, Pied
Bushlark, Indian
Coot, Common
Cormorant, Great
Cormorant, Little
Coucal, Greater
Crow, House
Crow, Large-billed
Cuckoo, Common Hawk
Cuckooshrike, Large
Dove, Laughing
Dove, Spotted
Drongo, Ashy
Drongo, Black
Drongo, White-bellied
Eagle, Indian Spotted (I think)
Eagle, Short-toed Snake
Eagle, Tawny
Egret, Cattle
Egret, Great
Egret, Intermediate
Egret, Little
Egret, Western Reef
Falcon, Red-necked
Flowerpecker, Pale-billed
Flycatcher, White-browed Fantail
Flycatcher, Asian Paradise
Heron, Black-crowned Night
Heron, Grey
Heron, Indian Pond
Heron, Purple
Honey-Buzzard, Oriental
Ibis, Black
Kestrel, Common
Kingfisher, Pied
Kingfisher, Small Blue
Kingfisher, Whitethroated
Kite, Common
Kite, Brahminy
Koel, Asian
Lapwing, Red-wattled
Leafbird, Golden-fronted
Martin, Dusky Crag
Minivet, Small
Munia, White-rumped
Mynah, Common
Mynah, Jungle
Openbill, Asian
Oriole, Eurasian Golden
Parakeet, Rose-ringed
Pigeon, Blue Rock
Pipit, Paddyfield
Plover, Little Ringed
Prinia, Ashy
Prinia, Plain
Redshank, Spotted
Robin, Indian
Robin, Oriental Magpie
Roller, Indian
Sandpiper, Common
Sandpiper, Green
Stork, Painted
Sunbird, Purple-rumped
Swallow, Barn
Swallow, Red-rumped
Swallow, Wire-tailed
Swift, Asian palm
Tailorbird, Common
Treepie, Rufous
Wagtail, Grey
Warbler, Greenish Leaf
Warbler, Booted
Warbler, Blyth’s Reed
Wagtail, Pied
White-eye, Oriental

Butterflies were there in plenty, too.

Blues, various
Castor, Common
Emigrant, Common
Emigrant, Mottled
Gull, Common
Jezebel. Common
Leopard, Common
Rose, Common
Rose, Crimson
Tiger, Plain
Wanderer, Common
Yellow, Three-spot Grass

We also saw many Dragonflies and Damselflies; and I thought of Ajay as I watched some Weaver ants for a while, as I rested in the shade of the Eucalyptus trees, through which the wind soughed as it rippled the surface of the lake. The fine Cirrus clouds overhead promised only sunshine….and we came back feeling much hotter than when we set out!

I am sending some photographs to the experts I know, for id…so the list may get amended. Sorry, folks, I make LOTS of mistakes!

I have put up photos from my Mary’s Lamb camera (Sony HX200) on an FB album, at

Please, if I have made wrong id’s, feel free to correct them!

Cheers, and with heartfelt good wishes for the festive (and holiday!) season ahead…


Housing in Nature

December 6, 2012

The latest article in my Nature feature column in Citizen Matters:

click here