Sunday, September 29, 2013

Velvet-Fronted Nuthatch

Spotted this Velvet-Fronted Nuthatch ( Sitta frontalis Swainson), when my wife and I were bird-watching at Coorg, during our holiday. The gaping hole in the tree had fascinated me, and I kept watching it for some time. Lo behold a while later the bird appeared from behind the tree, walking like a "spider-man" .

The Nuthatch scuttles jerkily up and down the trees and branches, with amazing agility, hunting for spiders, grubs and insects, holed up in the crevices of tree trunks. 

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Black-Winged Stilt

Long thin legs and its slender bill, give this wader its graceful walk. I had gone to a flooded salt pan at Vasai last year, to photograph Flamingos; there I saw this solitary Stilit. Doing what it does best- probing into the muddy bottom for worms or molluscs (probably field snails). The bird is a weak flier and looks pretty cumbersome in flight, with its neck extended and the red legs training beyond the tail. 
These photographs were my attempt to get both the bird and its reflection in sharp focus.

Monday, September 23, 2013

Rose Ringed Parakeet

Ma had grown eight corn plants in her small vegetable plot. The corn were growing well and were a few days away from harvest. One day she found a few of the cobs neatly peeled and all the corn gone. She wondered who the thieves were; the usual suspects were the squirrels. The next day, a few more corn cobs were cleaned neatly and the saga continued for a few more days. She then handed over the investigation of the corn robbers to me. The thieves turned out to be so pretty, that I did not have the heart to chase them off. The day I clicked these photographs, they were feeding on the last corn of ma's garden.

Rose ringed Parakeet; why you eat my corn ?? ( The above photograph is the Female Parakeet- the ring is missing in the ladies)

An innocent bystander, this one visits our home in Mangalore everyday. 

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Jungle Babblers

These noisy pair of Jungle Babblers, seem to be forever quarreling with each other. But sometimes sounds too can be deceptive. Despite how it sounds, I always see this pair, quite in 'Love'.  

I mostly spot them foraging in groups of 5-7 birds. Its only after their foraging did they decide to spend some personal moments.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Baya Weaver

 A male Baya weaver above, stares at me. I spotted his nest on a branch over hanging a well. As the name suggests, the male weaver bird, builds an elaborate 3 room nest, by weaving reeds and branches. A nest is then inspected by a female weaver bird ( photographed below) and if it likes the work, mates with the male and lays its eggs in the nest.

The male weaver then starts constructing another nest, for other females. He barely takes part in any upbringing of the fledglings, which is handled by the single mother.

A male above, proudly guarding his incomplete nest. Lots of work still remains.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Green Bee eater

This Green Bee-eater, is the resident bird of our yard. It is a pleasure watching him catch insects mid air.

This is a full colour photograph, but the background and the foreground elements were such that they were in shades of grey, giving this image a unique look.

All the photographs were taken during different dates between February and April of this year.

Recently he found a mate and they started digging, probably to start building a nest ( It took me some time to realise that). The hole in the photograph was made by me, some days ago, when I used some soil for potting. They have now borrowed in that hole made it bigger and are clearing the soil around it. 

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Little Egret

One of the most common water birds that you can find in India. It is actually a small Heron and I spotted it patiently fishing in a pond near our house. The first photograph reminds me of a model doing a cat-walk in the ramp and the second photograph, a gracefully posing fashion model.
The bird is similar to the little bigger median egret and I use the yellow toes and feet of the little egret to distinguish it from the median egret, which has all black feet.

All the patience and grace pays off, with a fresh catch.

Friday, September 13, 2013

Small Minivet

Once in a while, we have a new visitor to our garden. They visit for a few minutes and may not be seen for weeks afterwards. This Small minivet, falls in this category. It is a shy bird and despite all my patience this is the closest that I could get without a camouflage and a hideout.
This is also the bird, that my wife missed seeing and ended up giving me envious looks after I showed her this photograph. 

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

White cheeked Barbet

Spotted this white cheeked Barbet, in our backyard, snacking on these berries. It was quite a delight to see the bird, choosing the juiciest of the berries by pre-tasting them, before plucking it.
I have seen these birds, making hole in soft trunked trees to make their nests. This Barbet, along with its partner is a frequent visitor to our backyard. 

Monday, September 9, 2013

Pied Kingfisher

I was sitting and watching this Pied kingfisher, perched on a wire, passing across a stream. The pied kingfisher was suppose to hover on top of the prey and hunt for it, not perch upon a wire. Seemed like humans had made its life a wee bit easy. 

 It made a number of hunting sorties from this perched position, and returned empty beaked !

It was probably at the 5th of 6th attempt that it successfully emerged with its catch. Congrats! 

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Black Tailed Godwit.

This was a chance sighting at Vasai, nearly a year ago. I got the word that Flamingos had arrived at a field in Vasai (East). I packed up my gear and went in hoping for some good close up photographs. Rather than Flamingos, ( which eventually arrived later) I was surprised to find a big group of Black Tailed Godwits. These near threatened species are migratory birds in India.

I got down into some marshy water, leveled my tripod and started clicking. The birds were quite far, even to the reach of my 400mm lens. But as they foraged on field snails, they kept coming closer and closer to me, oblivious to my presence.

A noisy, truck which had some festival revelers, playing loud blaring music finally scared them off. I wonder, what is the point of having loud music during festivities, its only noise and noise- blaring jarring noise.  The name Godwit, comes from two words God and wit.wit mean 'knows'. So just like the name, the answer to my question probably is 'Godwit'

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Black Shouldered Kite

While on road, I instinctively look at birds on wires. Most of the time they turn out to be common birds like, crows, sparrows, and pigeons.  But once in a while, I come across not so commonly sighted bird, like this specialist rodent hunter- The black Shouldered Kite. Found all the way from Australia, Eurasia to Africa, it is quite a wide spread bird.
I was lucky enough to see a hunting sortie of this bird too. It hovered mid air for a considerable period of time , and probably when it felt the time was right, it swooped down on the prey. I could not witness what happened next. The bird came up and went on its merry way- leaving me wondering if it ended up with a prey or not.
Spotted on Mumbai-Nashik highway.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Indian Golden Oriole

These golden Orioles are the flying egg yolks  of our backyard. They standout and are a eye-turner in our garden.The species was once considered to be a subspecies of the Eurasian Golden Oriole, but has been elevated to a full species. Adult males can be told apart from the Eurasian Golden Oriole by the black of the eye stripe extending behind the eye.
These pair of Orioles, frequent a drumstick tree and are quite shy, even after seeing me everyday. 

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Stork Billed Kingfisher

Whenever we have a chance my wife and I used to visit a small brook close to our house. This brook was a hunting spot for atleast three species of Kingfishers. But last month when we visited the place, it was sad to see the brook being bunded and diverted- this has made the fish disappear and we did not spot any kingfishers too.

We spotted this bird, perched on the wire for more than half an hour apparently doing nothing. Then in a moments notice, it suddenly dived and came out with this catch. It did not swallow the catch, but rater flew away with it. This bird actually belongs to the tree kingfisher family, and catching fish is not its forte. It prefers reptiles and small mammals.

A beautiful bird to watch and my wife and I had a lovely time just watching this miracle of nature do its everyday work.