Tag Archive: Photography


Bangalore… a city that outshines others Indian cities

Is Bangalore just an IT city? For many of us it’s just a city with many job opportunities for everyone. I came to Bangalore with the same perception. But gradually, as time passed, I realised what this city offers to one and all. This city is a mix of cultures and traditions. Bangalore has not lost its charm even after the development of IT sector. People like us, with hectic weekdays, find peace in some of the places that are within the vicinity of Bangalore.

Bird watching and photography is our passion. Many of us are aware about the famous birding spots in Bangalore. It is difficult to find such nice birding areas in other commercial cities. Thus people staying in Bangalore are keen to spend their weekend in the lap of nature. The birding spots found here can be marshy grasslands, mountains, dense forests, lakes etc. So, most of the birds can be spotted here. I leave my home at dawn with the hope of finding birds in their natural habitat. But still it seems to be a very small list of places where I have been and there is much more to see and enjoy. One of my favourite birding area is Hoskote lake. Hoskote is near to where I stay. Hoskote has different habitats for different birds. That is why it is an amazing place for all bird fanatics.

The wet grasslands in Hoskote are suitable for a variety of birds like Munia. Many winter migrants can be seen here. A large variety of Kingfishers are near the lakeside to catch a prey.

Tricoloured Munia (also called Black Headed Munia)

Tricoloured Munia (also called Black Headed Munia)

Common Kingfisher

Common Kingfisher

Jacobin Cuckoo

Jacobin Cuckoo

Marsh Harrier

Marsh Harrier

Indian Silverbill or White-Throated Munia

Indian Silverbill or White-Throated Munia

Siberian Stonechat (female)  It is a Winter Migrant.

Siberian Stonechat (female)
          It is a Winter Migrant.

I have given one of many reasons to love Bangalore. There are many such things that I wish to write. I am still trying to unravel the other side of Bangalore that is picturesque. My upcoming journeys would cover more of Bangalore city and places near to it. Stay tuned!

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Hessarghatta – Birding report

Excellent Water Level.

We are observing winter migrants. Please enjoy the pictures.

Plain Prinia

Plain Prinia

Black Winged Stilt

Black Winged Stilt

Brahminy Kite

Brahminy Kite

Oriental White IBIS

Oriental White IBIS

Spot billed Duck

Spot billed Duck

Myna and Drongos

Myna and Drongos

Jungle Crow

Jungle Crow

Paddyfield Pipit

Paddyfield Pipit

Silverbill

Silverbill

Peregrine Falcon

Peregrine Falcon

Marsh Harrier - Male

Marsh Harrier – Male

Bay backed Shrike

Bay backed Shrike

Blue Tiger

Blue Tiger

Egyptian Vulture

Egyptian Vulture

European Roller

European Roller

European Roller with set of Mynas

European Roller with set of Mynas

Brahminy Kite

Brahminy Kite

European Roller - Welcome to India.

European Roller – Welcome to India.

European Roller - Welcome to India.

European Roller – Welcome to India.

Siberian Stonechat.

Siberian Stonechat.

Siberian Stonechat.

Siberian Stonechat.

Black winged Stilt.

Black winged Stilt.

Edge Wade and June Newman, two birders whom I hold in high esteem and have long wanted to meet, planned on a nice birding outing for me, to Riverlands Bird Sanctuary, on the confluence of the Mississippi and Missouri rivers. There was a beautiful view of the

Clark Bridge

from where we were:

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We stopped at what we would call the backwaters, first:

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We found a lot of

DOUBLE-BREASTED COROMORANTS

and

RING-BILLED GULLS:

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I was very pleased with the zoom on the SX50, because the birds were quite far away.

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We also saw a couple of immature

BALD EAGLES,

fishing:

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I was glad I had the zoom of the SX50:

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GREAT BLUE HERONS

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and

GREAT EGRETS

were everywhere.

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The

AMERICAN PELICANS

were delightful, too.

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A Bald Eagle got in on the act, too:

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and there were a couple of Broad-winged Hawks, a lifer for me. (No pics, they were too high up!)

TURKEY BUZZARDS

floated high above, too.

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We wanted to sight the Red Knot, and other birds that had been reported..but were not lucky, because a Peregrine Falcon flew over, and that disturbed all the birds, and the only shore birds we could see were some Kildeer. Barn Swallows swooped overhead; so we decided to go to the dam.

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Edge has forgotten more about birding than I will ever know.

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I called her a Spider as she went along with two legs of her own, and six extra (scope) ones:

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So, also, with June:

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We shared the coffee I’d brought:

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I’m going to make another post about our visit to the Confluence trail, because that was a nature trail, just the kind I like, with food, information about everything that we were seeing and passing, jokes, and wonderful weather with wonderful company…but we were short on birds. (We did see this bird at the end, against the sun, and I don’t know what it is…we didn’t decide…Brown-headed Cowbird,is my opinion..)

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The photos are on my FB album,

here

My thanks to Edge and June for a wonderful outing!

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Shimoga Birding – Western Ghats

common iora

common iora

Misty at jog falls

Misty at jog falls

Cotton pygmy goose

Cotton pygmy goose

Flame-throated Bulbul

Flame-throated Bulbul

Hill Myna

Hill Myna

Malabar Grey Hornbill

Malabar Grey Hornbill

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Purple rumped Sunbird

Purple rumped Sunbird

Racket tailed Drongo

Racket tailed Drongo

heart-spotted woodpecker

heart-spotted woodpecker

bicolored frog

bicolored frog

Hill Myna

Hill Myna

Asian Paradise Flycatcher - Female

Asian Paradise Flycatcher – Female

Juv. Orange Minivet

Juv. Orange Minivet

The land is calling “Malenadu” (Land of rain). Please enjoy some of the pictures taken near Jog falls (second largest waterfalls) and some of the mystical view of Jog falls itself.

World Environment Day, 050614

Does it move?
Kill it!
Does it sting?
Squash it!
Does it grow?
Cut it down!
Done with it?
Throw it out of your window!
Need to go somewhere?
Take the car!
Have some money?
Consume more!

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Then, have plastic posters printed, saying, “World Environment Day”, with the photos of prominent pols, put it up in a public place, and feel happy that a praiseworthy effort has been taken.

Rosita called and invite me to go with her and Mark to his yoga teacher, Rama’s farmhouse in Bannerghatta, and I immediately said yes.

It was a quick visit, but it was so pleasant and enjoyable. The farmhouse is situated right behind that of Fred and Clare Pais..and I had a wonderful time looking at two feet (and a huge beak) (Loten’s Sunbird)

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The beak amongst the blooms:

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Six feet:

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Six very tiny feet with a very business-like sting:

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Tiny jasmine:

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Two feet that have difficulty, yet go everywhere:

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A place for feet to pass:

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A beautiful place for feet to tread:

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Here are Mark and Rosita, four feet, posing happily for me:

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Other photos from the visit, click on my FB album

here

Great company, the great outdoors…a great pleasure, indeed!

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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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!

The Hoopoe, Valley School, 110514

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

When summer blooms…

The

GULMOHAR

is in full bloom in the heat of summer…to me, the red blooms symbolize Grishma Ritu.

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A tree from Madagascar, which has made itself part of the Indian landscape.

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An incredible fact is that in the wild, this tree is endangered!But it seems to have been introduced all over the world:

“Delonix regia is endemic to the western forests of Madagascar, but has been introduced into tropical and sub-tropical regions worldwide. In the continental United States, it grows in South Florida, Southwest Florida, the Rio Grande Valley of South Texas, ranging from the low deserts of Southern Arizona (to as high as Tucson), and Southern California. It also grows in the Dominican Republic, Cuba, Haiti, Hawaii, Mexico (especially in the Yucatan peninsula), Nicaragua, Puerto Rico, U.S. Virgin Islands, Guam and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, where it is the official tree of the islands. It is much loved in the Caribbean; many Dominican & Puerto Rican paintings feature Flamboyant Trees. It can also be found in The Bahamas. The Poinciana is the national flower of St. Kitts and Nevis. The island of Mauritius has widespread distribution of the Royal Poinciana where it announces the coming of the new year. The Royal Poinciana is regarded as naturalised in many of the locations where it is grown. It is a popular street tree in the suburbs of Brisbane, Australia. The tree is also found in India and Pakistan, where it is referred to as the Gulmohar, or Gul Mohr. In West Bengal (India) and Bangladesh it is called Krishnachura.”

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I remember an avenue on the Maidan in Kolkata being called Red Road because it was an avenue of Gulmohar trees, and approaching aircraft during the British Raj, which used the road as a runway during WW2, seeing a carpet of red…which you can see in my photograph, too!

And here are the other colours of summer flowers on our roads:

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