Friday, August 29, 2008

Black Headed Oriole

Photographs of a Black headed 'Juvenile Oriole'. When fully mature, the bird will have a pink bill and jet black head. The bird is pretty easy to spot in a forest because of its bright yellow colour.
It feeds on insects, berries and nectar. Along with other mild birds, it flies in the company of the pugnacious Black Drongo. Like I had mentioned earlier in the Drongo post, Drongo is like the policeman of the forest and guards all the nests around his nest and provides protection from other marauding species.
Photographed at Narahari Hill .
Sony H-7; 1.7x telephoto; f/8

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Common Sandpiper

This bird is found throughout the subcontinent near rivers, tanks and creeks. Generally, hunts alone and feeds on insects, molluscs, worms etc.
It's the second time I am posting a sandpiper; this photograph shows the bird in much more details. I also love the reflection of the bird on the water surface. Photographed it with the smallest aperture possible with my H-7 to get a good reflection.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Indian Pond Heron

This is the third time I am featuring an Indian Pond heron; mainly because this photograph is better and sharper than the previous ones.
Watching this bird hunt is a great lesson in stealth. The heron stands upright at the waters edge, waiting patiently for any kind of movement and when the time is right, it jabs its beak into the prey like a spear. Sometimes, it wades into the shallows, aided by its long legs, moving forward circumspectly, with neck craned and bill poised with readiness.
Photographed near Sultan battery in Mangalore.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Oriental Garden Lizard

The last time I posted a photograph of a lizard , the long tail was not visible; this one features this adorable reptile in totality.
Though these lizards can change their colours, they can't do it as rapidly as a chaemeleon. This lizard was comfortably sitting atop a lamp post.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Large Pied Wagtail

Like you rightly guessed, this family of birds gets its name 'Wagtail' because of the constant motion of its tail. The bird has a prominent white eyebrow and are generally found in pairs. The female is the one with duller brown colour. The bird has a pleasant singing note and is pretty comfortable with humans. This one came as close as two feet from me.
Photographed this bird near Sultan Battery in Mangalore.
Camera Sony H-7 ; 1.7x telephoto ; f/8

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Ashy Prinia

This sparrow sized bird is generally found in areas with reeds bordering streams and moist grassland. As I was photographing these birds, I realised that they enjoy sitting on a thin reed and swinging about, just like how a kid plays on a swing. The reeds were barely strong enough to carry their weight.
The first photograph was taken in fading light and hence lack details, but posted it to highlight the colour of the bird's posterior.
The bird produces a peculiar 'kit-kit-kit' sound which sounds like electric sparks. The exact way in which it produces this sound is still not fully understood. The bird also builds beautiful nests either of stitched leaves like a tailor bird or of woven fibers, like a weaver bird.
Do let me know your views.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Indian Treepie

This is not a good photograph, but unfortunately was the only one that I could manage to capture of this Indian Treepie. Will try to get a better one in future. Though this bird is generally found in wooded country and scrub jungle, it frequents residential areas, just like this one which perched on a tree next to my house. It is the size of a cuckoo but has a longer tail. It is omnivorous like the crow and is a member of the mixed hunting associations of birds that move about in the forest.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Green Iguana

Iguana's are a family of large lizards with a spiny back, generally found in South America . The photograph is of a green Iguana; these reptiles are green during their younger days and lose colour as they grow older.
The spines on the back grow upto the tail and they use it as a defense mechanism by whipping the tail. The Iguana can make it's tail break off and grow a new one like many other lizards.
The loose skin that you see below the lower jaw is called a 'dewlap', it is similar to the loose skin on many other animals like Cow, Ox( Zebu) or dog (mastiff). It is of different use to different species from cooling, scaring predators to storing fat. For the iguana, it helps in regulating body temperature and also uses it for display during mating.

Indian Palm Squirrel

I was sitting in a park after a tiring session of photography, and from no where, this squirrel came close to me, probably to say a hello. I had posted squirrel's on my blog twice before. Featuring it again, just because I found it cute.
Oh yes; Happy Independence day to all of you! ( It's India's Independence day today)

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Yacare Caiman

As this species of Caimans (caimans are closely related to alligators and found in South America) grow so does their lower jaw; there may be some caimans whose lower jaw may pass right through the upper jaw and protrude on top of the snout.
This species is considered 'not threatened' by IUCN, because they are found in plentiful in few areas, but the fact is, such ranges are diminishing and soon they may be found in too few pockets before IUCN updates its list.
So people better watch out and don't use any crocodile skin items.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Bonnete Macaque

Macaque's are short tailed or tailless monkeys of Africa and Asia with large cheek-pouches. They are the most common species of monkeys found in India. Just a word of caution: In case you find a captive monkey in a circus, zoo or as anyone's pet, please be careful cause about 90% of these captive monkeys carry Hepatitis- B virus. It does not affect the monkey, but humans are susceptible to it and can contract the same through bites, scratches and contact with mucous membrane.
If you see one in the Wild like this, just sit back and enjoy.

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Indian Leopard

Last year, I put up a post on 'mating leopards', in which the face of the majestic beast was not visible. Last month, I managed to fulfill my long standing desire of capturing a close up. And this leopard was in his sweet dream world.
It is the most successful member of the wild cat family, probably because of its agility, tree climbing habits with the added advantage of being a versatile eater. A leopard will eat anything from a small beetle to a large deer and some times even fish and birds.
Inspite of all this, we should not forget that the leopard population is on a decline. Its our duty to keep the alarm bells from ringing.

Thursday, August 7, 2008


In this photograph, a baby elephant is seen hugging its mother very lovingly. The elephant may not have the intelligence of a human but, it sure has the heart and the emotions.
The elephants have a matriarchal society. The female elephant has a gestation period of 18-22 months and a calf suckles its mother for about 3 years. If a mature calf is female it stays with the herd and if it is a male it is chased away.
The elephant featured here is the Asian elephant whose population is about 60,000, which is 1/10th of its African counterpart. About 13,000 of these are domesticated and in zoo's.
Elephants communicate with low frequency sounds, way below human hearing capacity.

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Eye of The Tiger

The first time I saw a tiger in the wild, it was a breathtaking experience for me. He was simply majestic and way bigger than what I expected. So calm, composed and relaxed that it sent a chill down my spine, although I was in the safe confines of a well shielded car.
It had such elegance, poise and an aura of royalty that I wondered if any image I captured could do justice to this magnificent beauty!
Of the scores of snapshots I clicked, these are the ones that I loved the best. All close ups of the majestic face. One of my earlier posts, shows the image of a full sized tiger; this time I got a chance to come much more closer and with the aid of a telephoto lens managed to capture close ups. None of the photographs are a crop. However, the photographs are a bit blurred at the edges; an apparent disadvantage of using a telephoto lens and a large aperture.
I can't help gazing at these photographs and wondering, "How can any person be so ruthless and heartless to even consider hunting this stunning beast down? Will we ever get a chance to see a tiger 10 years hence? And finally, the most important of all is am I doing enough to save him?" These questions keep haunting me all the time ever since I have had the opportunity to encounter a tiger in the wild.
Do let me know you views .

Friday, August 1, 2008

Black Headed Munia

This is the first time that I have clicked a photograph of a bird using flash. The bird was resting under a roof and the sky was overcast. The light was insufficient and hence I had to opt for the flash. Thankfully, the brave bird was not startled by the flash of light and continued perching.
These birds generally prefer wet lands, ill drained areas and become very active especially during paddy cultivation. It's very common in southern India and feeds on seeds and grain.

P.S. : Some sources ( including Wikipedia ) refer to this bird as the 'Tricoloured munia'. But Im following BNHS " Book of Indian birds " by Salim Ali. Scientifically, both of them call it as 'Lonchura malacca'
Any views on this; please comment and let me know if I am on the right track.