Thursday, July 31, 2008

Great Cormorant

In one of my previous posts, I had posted a pictue of Little cormorant; this one is a bigger cousin of the same and called Great Cormorant. The photographed bird is a Juvenile; once they grow up they acquire the glossy black colour and a yellow gular pouch. The black plumage is acquired after the age of 4 years. Like its little cousin, this bird too fishes by diving and swimming under water chasing fish. During courting, they engage in a cute little dance and is a great pleasure to watch.

As and when I get the opportunity I will post the photograph of a adult Cormorant.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Little Cormorant

The Cormorant is a glistening black bird with a longish stiff tail. Generally found around inland and brackish water, living on fish. The 3rd and the 4th photograph show the bird attracting the fish by splashing water. Once it spots a fish, it then chases it and captures it under water, being an expert diver and submarine swimmer. The bird stays underwater for at least 10 -15 secs. When satiated, the bird perches itself on a rock or tree and dries its wings by opening them to the sun ( 1st photograph).
Please comment on the photographs.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Grey Heron

This Lanky bird has been featured previously on my blog, but this time I got a closer picture of it. The bird is solitary in nature and found near rivers and marshes. It wades through water somewhat circumspectly or even waits quietly for a fish or frog to come within striking range.
As shown in the second photograph, during flight, the bird has its neck folded back and head drawn towards the shoulder.
Scientific name Ardea Cinera

Friday, July 25, 2008

Common Emigrant Butterfly

This will be my last post for the butterfly week series. Hereafter, I am not sure if I will continue with the birds or start with the animals. Butterflies will always keep popping up now and then, they are too beautiful to let go.
The Photograph is of a common Emigrant Butterfly, scientifically called ' Catopsilia crocale '. It is another commonly found butterfly in India and called Emigrant because of its strong migratory habits.
I have been asked by many, as to what is the difference between a moth and a butterfly. Some would say, butterflies are more colourful than moths or the moths are the less attractive cousins of the butterflies. But, there are many moths which are very attractive and many seemingly dull looking butterflies.
The major differences are : Butterflies are diurnals - daytime fliers, whereas great majority of moths are nocturnal fliers. While resting a butterfly's wings are usually held together upwards towards the back of the body, whereas the moths will fold their wings flat across their body; the hind wing tucked beneath the forewing. The fore and hind wings of a moth are coupled together with special bristles on the hindwing; butterflies lack this. Butterflies have slender antennae clubbed at the ends, moths lack this clubbing capability and may have feathered antannae.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Common Castor Butterfly

In one of the earlier post's, I made a mention that the lemon butterfly got its name because of its love for the citrus plant; now any idea why is this one called 'Common Castor'?
Yes, its because the larvae of this butterfly feed exclusively on Castor leaves. The butterfly closely resembles the 'Angled Castor', with the difference that the former has lighter lines.
Scientifically called ' Ariadne merione '; the wavy brown lines on top appear as broad bands below the underside. It is very graceful and loves to glide through air, a photographer's delight maybe.
What do you have to say ? Please comment.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Common Tiger Butterfly

The Common tiger Butterfly, also known as the 'Striped tiger' is one of the most common that you find in India. The butterfly closely resembles the more famous Monarch Butterfly.
To protect themselves from predators, these butterflies have a leathery feel and fake death. Since these butterflies are unpleasant to smell or eat, predators let go off them while these beauties recover quickly and fly away.
Just like the butterfly in the previous post, this one too has toxins acquired from plants on which they feed during the larval stage.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Crimson Rose

This butterfly belongs to the 'Swallowtail' genus and is endemic to India especially the Western Ghats.
Scientifically called "Atrophaneura hector"; the red colour of its wings is a warning to its predators about its toxicity. The butterfly acquires these poisons when it feeds on Aristolochia plants, chiefly aristolochic acid during its larval stage. This butterfly is also found in large numbers in gardens which have Lantana Plants.
One can judge the age of butterfly by the wearing of its wings. Like the one in the above photograph is in its middle ages. The second photograph shows the butterfly in its typical basking position.

Any new facts about any posts are welcome. Do post your comments.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Lemon Butterfly

Lemon Butterfly also called the 'Lime butterfly' because they generally favour citrus plants like the Lime.
This species is evenly distributed all around the world; in India, it is found in the plains right up to about 7000 feet above sea level in the Himalayas.
During a hot day, this butterfly seems motionless on a damp patch, except for the flutter of its wings.
It starts its day early in the morning as a slow flier, but as the day proceeds and gets warmer, its flight becomes faster; and finally during the hottest part of the day, it searches for a damp patch on the ground.
The above photographs were taken when they were basking on the damp ground.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Blue Tiger Butterfly

This is a common butterfly in India and is generally found in south and south East Asia and even Australia. The ones found in southern India migrate during monsoons.
Since it is among the slow flying butterflies, it provides good opportunity for some well composed photographs.
Do not forget to comment.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Median Egret

The previous post featured a Little Egret; the one in this post is a slightly larger cousin of the same bird, aptly called the 'Median Egret'. It is difficult to distinguish between the two birds except for their size. If you notice, in the previous post of the little Egret, it has partly black and yellow coloured feet while the median Egret has an all black feet (not visible in this photograph).
During the breeding season, filamentous plumes appear on the back as well as on the breast of the bird. It is commonly found in swamps , estuaries and other water bodies which is also a habitat to fish and frogs.

I have been posting birds for many weeks now, inorder to break the monotony, I have decided to feature 'butterflies' for the next week. Will call it my 'butterfly week' so as to maintain a balance between all species of creatures on this blog. Also planning a big animal week after that (elephants, tigers etc).
Awaiting all your comments.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Little Egret

For the second time 'little egret' is featured on my blog; for two reasons. One being, I managed to photograph the egret in midflight. Its generally difficult to freeze a bird midair, especially with a compact camera. The lighting has to be adequate and requires quick focusing.
The other reason is visible in the second photograph which was particularly posted to highlight our apathy towards our beautiful environment. The beauty of this bird is severely marred by the garbage around it; mostly plastics. Just think, if a photograph can be scarred with one plastic bag, what about nature and the hundreds of items we dump into it!
Both the photographs here feature the same bird; doesn't the absence of garbage give so much more serenity to the first photograph? Today, if the lakes are not being reclaimed, then they are being polluted with garbag; very few are left untouched. It's time we help ourselves keep our nation clean and green.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Spot Billed Pelican

sony H-7; f/4.5; 1/125 sec

f/4.5; 1/320 sec

f/4.5; 1/250

This bird is found in many water tracts of India, the large blue-black spots on the upper beak is a key to identify this species. When not fishing or sleeping they spend time preening themselves. They fish in a group. In the 2nd photograph, there were actually three pelicans; but only two are visible. They form a semicircle, drive the fish towards the shallow waters and then scoop the fish out with their pouch which acts like a net. The bag is actually the pelican's elastic skin which overhangs the entire length of the lower bill.
These birds prefer tall trees for nesting and may lay upto 3 white eggs at a time.
Photographed at Bangalore ( unable to recall the name given to the lake. )
Awaiting your comments.

Monday, July 7, 2008

White Breasted Waterhen

I was sitting and following this White Breasted Waterhen with my camera and the shy bird busy hunting came close to me unaware of my presence, which gave me a opportunity to get a close up of the bird.
The bird is generally found in marshes which have overgrown rushes, this quiet bird becomes noisy and active in monsoons. As low lying areas get waterlogged the bird finds new avenues to hunt for food and when food is plentiful its time for it to breed and lays 6-7 pinkish white eggs.
The bird feeds on insects, molluscs, grain and shoots of paddy and marsh plants.
Photographed at Lalbagh lake in Bangalore

Friday, July 4, 2008

Purple Moorhen

So far I have been Pretty irregular with my blog posts and I have decided to change this now. For the next 2 months at least I will be regularly posting at a frequency of 3-4 posts per week.
This hen sized clumsy bird has a purplish body with red legs and toes. I photographed this bird at Lalbagh lake in Bangalore.
A Purple Moorhen spends a lot of time within a vegetation consisting of marshy reeds and overgrown rushes and could be hard to spot; the first indication of this bird will be its bobbing head within the vegetation. During courtship the male holds water weeds in its beak and bows to the female with loud chuckles. The bird feeds on vegetable matter, shoots, insects and mollusks.
Found all over the subcontinent.
sony h-7; f/4.5 , 1/250 sec, ISO-80

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Black Crowned Night Herons

f/4.5 , 1/80 sec, ISO80, 1.7x telephoto, WB cloudy

f/4.5 , 1/125 sec, ISO80, 1.7x telephoto, WB cloudy
f/4.5 , 1/640 sec, ISO80, 1.7x telephoto, WB cloudy

As I mentioned in the previous post, my vigilance at the nesting tree of these Night herons paid off and I managed to photograph these birds.
The first photograph is of a juvenile Night heron, and looks somewhat like the Indian pond Heron. The birds spend the daytime resting on trees, which are very leafy and far from water and at dusk fly out to their accustomed feeding ground to hunt for crabs, fish , frogs and other aquatic insects.
You can click on the photograph to open it with actual size.
Do give your comments.