Friday, August 30, 2013

Black headed or Black hooded Oriole

We have frequent Golden Oriole sightings on our tamarind tree. But one day I was pleasantly surprised to see  a small flock of Black headed Oriole making merry. Camera was nearby and I did not waste anytime getting as close to them as I could.

 The red striking eye, beautifully contrasts with the yellow yolk like colour. I did not see them eating any tamarinds, but they were just there whiling away time. The birds are so striking and beautiful that, you can look at them and just be left mesmerized.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Besra Sparrowhawk

I have frequently watched this Besra Sparrowhawk, perched on some distant tree and munching on either a small bird, reptile or frog. One morning I was quite fortunate to spot the sparrowhawk, on a tree, right besides my favourite lounging spot. I slowly crawled myself out of my chair and sneaked back into my room to get my camera gear. I then came back in a similar stealthy fashion and got some quality time with this beauty.

The bird was hiding and waiting for a prey, possibly a lizard for quite a long time, the moment it spotted it prey it swooped down and flew off with it. Hardly any time to check out on its food.

May be next time I will have photographs of its meal too.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

White Breasted Kingfisher

This White breasted Kingfisher, is a resident bird in our backyard. We have named him Beaky. This year beaky managed to find a partner for himself and we have two Kingfishers in our yard now, and its hard to quickly tell them apart. 

They already seem to have built a nest in our well and now we are looking forward for upcoming junior Beaky's

For a longtime I wrongly assumed that kingfishers only ate fish- they eat a lot of other delicacies too. I have spotted Beaky with worms, frogs, small lizards and some other unidentifiable creatures that did not look like fish in any way.

During his bachelor days Beaky used to follow me when I went about photographing birds in our yard. One day I heard Beaky, give a very different kind of cry. On looking around I spotted a dog, and realised Beaky was warning me about the presence of an intruder.

The bird is also called white throated kingfisher or Smyrna Kingfisher and is a tree kingfisher of the family Halcyonidae

All Photographs clicked on Canon 7D - 100-400mm lens with wide open aperture. 

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Jungle Bush Quail - Female

I was driving along a narrow road, leading to Mahad. I saw a flock of birds that looked like quails. I slowed down my car and gently stopped it. From my previous experience I have noticed that birds don't run as long as I was inside the car. But not these Jungle Bush Quails- the moment I stopped the car, the birds just scooted off into nearby bushes. I slowly got off the car and headed in that direction, the birds kept a large distance from me. The only brave heart was this female, and resulted in the only photograph that I could click.

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Chocolate Pansy

This Chocolate Pansy, featured today belongs to the same family as the Bushbrown's featured below- Nymphalidae. I spotted this butterfly, while walking among a patch of overgrown weeds in our backyard.
Tracking of mates in both butterflies and moths occurs by the release of sex pheromones by the females from glands located on their abdomen. The antennae of the males have sensory papillae, which guide the males to their mates. These pheromones are a cocktail of chemicals and in some butterflies a pheromone released by the males make the female more receptive and ready to mate.

Saturday, August 3, 2013

Common Bushbrown Butterfly - The Butterfly Dowry

On an early morning stroll yesterday, I spotted two butterflies courting about a bush! Drab brown in colour, many may conveniently ignore them, over their more colourful cousins. A closer look at them though reveals the beautiful patterns they carry. The 1st light brown, I believe is the female and the lower light brown the male.
Male butterflies give a 'dowry' to the female before they mate!! The dowry is sodium and essential minerals, which are 'presented' with the sperms to the female during courtship. These minerals are necessary for the eggs to hatch and in some cases for fertilisation to be successful. The males get these minerals from puddles of animal urine or droppings. Hence if you spot a butterfly on dung or urine puddle, it is accumulating its dowry. The importance of these minerals is such that the females choose males with larger sodium loads or bigger dowry.

Friday, August 2, 2013

Common Baron

Common Baron butterfly. One of the common butterflies in the Indian subcontinent; a few of them seem to have taken a liking for our backyard. We separate our kitchen waste, which is composted for trees. This one was spotted sitting on an orange peel in the kitchen garbage pile. It supposedly likes the rotting fruit more than flower nectar, probably addicted to the fermenting alcohol found in such fruits.
It was so engrossed in its eating that, it was completely ignorant of my presence. I have to now look around for its caterpillar and pupae; will feature it in future posts if I find one.

Thursday, August 1, 2013

White Rumped Munia

We are halfway into the monsoon season. The country side is lush green and the wildlife looks hale and hearty. I was taking a stroll in our backyard, when I came across six Munias, foraging among some wildly grown Balsam plants, feeding on grass seeds. A small section of our backyard is left unweeded and provides a good hunting ground for these Munia's
The bird is a cousin of the waxbill's and certain finches.
It's my practice to carry my Camera with 400mm lens, while walking in our backyard. I never know what interesting life form will pop-up right before my eyes. In this case, the light condition were less than ambient. I went down on my haunches, and used my knees as camera support. It was quite difficult to stay still in such a awkward position for long, but I managed to stay down long enough to get a few lovely snaps.