Posts Tagged ‘villages’

Ragihalli with Pramiti School, 190218

February 19, 2018

I took 16 children from

Pramiti School


Adavi Field Station

AFS. Adavi Field Station, Onte Maren Doddi, Ragihalli (Post), Anekal(Taluk), Bengaluru, Karnataka 560083

Here’s the view of the beautiful rock formations of Bannerghatta National Park from the road:


Anand and Mahesh were very helpful. The farmer, Shivananja, showed us around his land, talking about how they use cowdung as manure since it is plentifully available (leaf litter is not specifically composted here).

Here is Sushma, discussing composting with Shivananja, Anand and Mahesh, with little Varsha, who had a slight fever and did not go to school, listening:




and Tarun


kept meticulous notes. We were also shown around, and we really did go around the mulberry bush!



We saw how the silkworms feed on the mulberry leaves


Mulberries when ripe are very sweet to eat, but it was not yet the season for them.


Shivananja showed us one local variety of mulberry, not favoured now as the leaves are smaller and the foliage less dense.


Here’s one worm, growing fat (the worms eat voraciously, growing many times in size, before pupating)


Here is the pupa of the silkworm; the pupae are boiled alive to extract the silk.


The farmers sell the live pupae, which are plucked from the palm-frond frames, directly. The boiling and reeling are done later. Here is a video I took long ago, of the stinking silk waste being picked up by Brahminy Kites:

The children settled down for the packed lunch that had been brought:


The stuffed parathas were tasty.


We returned back to the waiting van


You can see the rest of the album


The highlights, for me, were spotting an old friend, Ashwath (second from left)


a Black Eagle


and a sports-car-bus:


The Indian Silverbill, 011113

November 2, 2013

When you’ve been fasting, you tend to break your fast…and overdo it! I’d not seen anything of Indian birds for a longish time now, and when we went to


to help my friend Shangon celebrate the life of her husband, who passed away in 2005, I just walked around the school building while the speeches were going on.

Just behind the toilets,a barbed wire fence separated the High School property from a field of millet; and there, I was delighted to find a group of



alternately foraging on the ground,


and sitting on the fence, or the telephone wires.



So I just clicked away happily!


The Indian Silverbill or White-throated Munia (Lonchura malabarica), the Wiki says, is a small passerine (sparrow-like) bird, which forages in flocks in in grassland and scrub habitats….and in several villages!


They are

Estrildid finches which means they are included in the genus “Lonchura”, and are called weaver-finches.


They are found in flocks of as many as 60 birds.


They feed on the ground or on low shrubs and grass stalks. They constantly utter a low cheeping or chirping contact call as they forage. They visit water and drink with a rapid sip and swallow action.

It feeds mainly on seeds, but also takes insects and has been known to visit nectar bearing flowers, such as those of Erythrina trees

The breeding season is spread out and varies with region. They nest in winter in southern India and after summer in northern India. They nest, an untidy ball of grasses with an opening on the side, is placed in low shrubs, often on thorny Acacia and are known to make use of the old nests of Baya Weaver sometimes even visiting those that are occupied by the weaver birds. They will sometimes build their nest below the platform nests of vultures or storks!

Here the beak structure, suited to the cracking and eating of seeds, can be clearly seen:


The clutch varies from 4 to 8 white eggs and these are incubated by both parents for about 11 days. Helpers may be involved in breeding as more than a pair are sometimes seen at a nest.
It’s a pity I couldn’t see any nests nearby!

I even took this ideo showing one bird foraging:

The Indian Silverbill brought me back to Indian birding, and what a delightful start it was!


3rd Sunday Outing of Bird Watchers’ Field Club, Kasavanakunte, 201111

November 21, 2011

It was a very enjoyable ramble over the slopes and through the scrub jungle (rather prickly at times, and on two occasions, very muddy as we waded through muddy streams). The location was Kasavanakunte, in the Bannerghatta forest area:

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and we did manage to see, and observe, a fair number of very interesting things.

We saw…

the road to the forest area

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Birds like the


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and a fat


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insects like the


a village pond in which the village lads were having fun

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a machan in a huge tamarind-banyan tree combination

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We had young Lambani lads from the village to guide us through the forest

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And we observed everything quite keenly!

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Some friends came back home with me and we toasted our outings in freshly-made lemonade!

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The rest of the pics are on my Facebook album

click here

to see them, and if you want to see more of the village boys-in-the-well,

click here

The Rainbow Goat Insurance

November 3, 2011

On the slopes at the outskirts of Dehra Dun, we wandered along, looking for the sub-Himalayan birds that had been seen in such plenty in March of this year. While the others continued their search….they climbed down a steep slope that I had no intention of negotiating, with two cameras and a pair of bincoculars….my attention was riveted by a colourful vision that climbed up that same steep slope, and came up on to the road….

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Soon, the shepherd came up with the other goats, too:

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I could not contain my curiosity about the rainbow goat, and asked the shepherd about it. “It is to prevent theft,” he explained. But, I asked him, would not branding help? “No, ji,” he said. “These are woolly goats,and I cannot brand them so that the brand will show, and if I colour just some hair, a thief can just snip it off…so when I put all these colours on various parts of the goat’s hair, it’s a better way of preventing anyone from stealing the valuable animal, unless they want to practically shear the entire animal, and then it will stand our like a sore thumb anyway.”

So colour as an insurance against theft, in a rural setting…an interesting concept!

A snap of the fingers….

March 23, 2009

I watched a song on an old Tamizh movie, where (of course) the hero snaps his fingers at the heroine….

And yesterday, I was teaching my young friend how to do a “gun” with one’s fingers. (You have to keep your left index finger and thumb at right angles, pointing at the target; hook your right index finer on to that angle at the thumb; and then click your middle finger and thumb…this is assuming you are right-handed.)

Snapping one’s fingers…could be a way of keeping time, and rhythm. As one enjoys music, sometimes, the clicking of one’s fingers is quite automatic!

Often, though, it’s an imperative, imperious gesture…the click of the fingers with which a customer in a restaurant summons a waiter (though it is considered rather rude now)…the way someone on the road gets the attention of a total stranger…

Sometimes you don’t want to call someone by name, and click your fingers at them, hoping they will hear that and respond, and you don’t have to use the name in a public space….

And of course, there is the disdainful, scornful snap of the fingers…”I don’t care a snap of the fingers for someone” is quite a literal statement! Or one just says, “I don’t care *this* for him!” and snaps one’s fingers.

In many societies, it is polite to click one’s fingers before one’s mouth as one yawns, not just put them in front of the yawning mouth. Someone once told me that this drives away evil spirits which might enter through the open mouth..perhaps insects too?

It is quite a feat for a child to be able to produce a proper “clicking” noise from its soft little fingers…I remember wanting to do so for quite a long time before being able to! Now, of course, I can click my fingers on both hands…

And I remember that lovely word game which needed the participants to name various designated things….it would begin, I remember, with all of us keeping time by clicking our fingers, and reciting,

If you please
Name some
Names of….”

And this would be followed by what had to be named (Eg, Flowers, or countries….) and keeping to time, each player would have to think of the next name, or be “out”!

Does the snap of the finger also breakthe sound barrier, the way the lash of a whip does? Why don’t wet fingers snap well? Why does only the middle finger produce a proper sound?

And that brings me to the other use I know for clicking one’s fingers…that’s when I think, “Eureka! That’s the answer!” and I click my fingers spontaneously, it’s the equivalent of the bulb lighting up over my head! Or, when I am trying hard to remember something and I suddenly succeed…CLICK go my fingers immediately!

Alas, to my questions above, I can’t do the “eureka” click!

Here’s a Lambani tribesman in Bannerghatta, whom we met on Saturday. He is now settled in the Bannerghatta area, in a small settlement of about 18 houses, but the Forest Department is asking them all to vacate the forest area…. he was busy building a wooden structure, and I was impressed with his skills…and the dignity in his face….


March 20, 2009

As we were returning from Bannerghatta, my NTP friend Ramesh called me up and asked me if I would like to go to Ragihalli on Sunday morning…would I not! However, the Saturday gang could not make it, and so it was only Anush,Neelu and I who accompanied Ramesh to both Ragihalli sheet rock, and the Ragihalli village pond, not to mention piping-hot idlis at the Ragihalli centre-of-the-village eatery….!

Two of my favourite images from the trip are…this beautiful little PURPLE-RUMPED SUNBIRD landing to sip nectar from the SILK-COTTON flower:

and the RUFOUS TREEPIE in its habitat on the sheet rock of Ragihalli:

lots more under the cut

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

The …Building A House Sparrow

November 21, 2008

On the way back home from our Ragihalli trip, we stopped at what I call the Ragihalli Restaurant (no, you won’t find it unless I take you…the proprietrix wiped out her children’s homework being done (in chalk) on the table when we ordered “chai” for all of us!)

(Here’s a sample of the children’s schoolwork elsewhere on the walls)

(That’s how homework is done, 20 km from the IT giants of the world….!)

and we noticed this little male HOUSE SPARROW:

He was on the basket that contained broken pieces of cement and granite, and it was obvious he was busy building up his nest! So we watched him….

He had a small piece of hay in his mouth at first:

The rest of the House(building) Sparrow Saga

April 21, 2008

Here’s Kalyan’s post .

Two previous posts on the same topic, are :




And click here for one of his beautiful pictures of a leopard:

Wild and free

(pic: Kalyan Varma)

This is yet another example of our conflict with the animals we share our living spaces with….a conflict in which there are no winners, only losers.

I can certainly imagine how the parents of the little girl, and the people of her village, would feel; other villages would also feel endangered. For them, judging this as an “accident” would probably be deeply angering and would add to their sense of frustration that the government is doing nothing to protect them.

But in the process of trying to catch the actual animal, how many leopards are they going to send into captivity, ? What about releasing the little leopard which is obviously not the one being sought in this instance,perhaps after fitting a transponder, as Kalyan suggests?

One of our friends in Kolkata, where I grew up, was one of the few in West Bengal who started using tranquillisers instead of bullets when summoned to kill man-eating tigers in West Bengal. I have seen both animals that are newly-captured, and animals that have been in captivity for a length of time. The former are so obviously in shock and traumatised, half-crazy with fear, struggling to get free; the latter, their spirits broken, are docile shadows of what they are in the wild.

I fully understand the view of one birder in a city I visited in St Louis, who said he would never step into a zoo and see a captive animal…but real life doesn’t have black-and-white situations, there are so many shades of grey, and in every tinge it is the poor villagers, AND the poor animals, who suffer, and we in the city read apathetically about the latest news item, click our tongues, and turn the page…

Berry Enjoyable Day….

July 17, 2007

“Berry” enjoyable Sunday….

berry on the road near ranganathittu

We went to Mysore this Sunday, not on a picnic, but to try some processes out at a factory near the city. The whole thing took several hours, but it was a successful experiment, and we returned home to Bangalore at 5 a.m on Monday morning!

for an account and lots and LOTS of pics, click on this