Saturday, July 19, 2014

Jungle Babbler

The jungle babbler ( Turdoides striata ) is a widespread Indian resident. They mostly hunt or forage in groups and create such a racket that you really have to work hard not to spot them. The bird very closely resembles the slightly paler Yellow billed babbler, found in south India. The birds are Omnivorous and on this particular day I spotted them hunting caterpillars. Later in the evening, I also spotted a babbler chasing away a pied crested cuckoo, apparently the cuckoo has a history of parasatising the babblers nest !  

Friday, July 18, 2014

Spotted Dove

A wide spread resident on India, this Spotted Dove ( Stigmatopelia chinensis ) is a regular bird in our garden. I mostly see it foraging on the ground by continuously pecking food and I have seen it eat seeds and small worms. The birds chequered neck is quite prominent and allows one to easily distinguish it from other doves. 

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Rufous Treepie

A juvenile Rufous Treepie (Dendrocitta vagabunda) landed on a tree, besides which I was trying my hand at video shooting some birds. It was quite a delightful moment, because the bird is otherwise quite shy and quite difficult to photograph. Unlike this Juvenile, which has a brown hood, adults have a slaty grey hood. The bird is an Omnivore and will eat almost anything from fruits, insects, centipedes to eggs , and young fledglings of other birds and young ones of rodents.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Southern Coucal

When the rains stop for a while and the sun shines through the clouds, both the birds and their photographers get busy. The birds, dry and clean their feathers and photographers like me, use this lovely moment to get some nice moments. Like this Southern Coucal ( Centropus (sinensis) parroti ), which is generally a very shy birds and is quite alert to human presence. But when the sun shines through, all is forgotten and drying their feathers becomes a priority. It was quite a delight watching the bird and photographing it in various 'yogic' postures as it dried itself.  

Monday, July 14, 2014

Grey Breasted Prinia

This Grey breasted Prinia/ Franklin's Prinia (Prinia hodgsonii) can be heard in our home nearly every day. Its only occasionally do I get to see it- It mostly whistles from bushy trees or high up from the tree top. So yesterday, when the incessant rains abated a bit, I ventured out of the house with my gear and lo behold it was a delight to see this lovely Prinia, in the open for a change.  This bird, closely resembles the Ashy prinia sometimes. I generally use the orange-buff underparts of the Ashy prinia to quickly differentiate the two. 

Monday, July 7, 2014

Rose Ringed Parakeet

We make it a practice not to completely harvest our fruits and vegetables, a large portion is left for our backyard wildlife. The rose ringed parakeets (Psittacula krameri) are one such beneficiaries of this practice. They visit us every monsoon and the last year they were attracted to our corn,  This year they have taken a liking for the overgrown drumsticks. Rapid fliers and shrill voiced, they add some more green to the already lush green landscape. 

Saturday, July 5, 2014

Purple-rumped Sunbird

One wild plant in our garden , sustains four species of sunbirds. In my previous posts I had featured two of them, the Vigours's and the Lotens sunbirds. Today its the turn of the Purple-rumped Sunbird ( Leptocoma zeylonica). The fourth one Purple sunbird, is an occasional visitor and I hope he gives us an visit soon. Unlike the previously featured sunbirds, I have not seen the purple-rumped sunbird, hover on flowers for nectar, it prefers the less energy consuming method of perching and sipping on nectar. The bird featured above is the male, the female has greyish-white throat, yellow breast , olive rump , whitish flanks and brown wing panel.

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Loten's Sunbird

It was raining today ( what a relief!) after 12 days of sunshine. As a nature photographer, the tendency for me is to sit back and enjoy the rains. For a change today, I decided to brave the rains and went about photographing sunbirds. Despite the overcast sky, the light was just about enough to get a bit of action. The birds did not disappoint, they braved the heavy showers as they went about drinking nectar from their favourite plants. Today I feature the Lotens Sunbird (Cimmyris lotenia ), a resident of Southern India, the bird has a lovely metallic luster. It rarely hovers to drink, preferring to perch on a branch and drink nectar- today though it seemed to be in a good mood. 

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Vigors's Sunbird -Female

A few weeks ago, I had done a post on a male Vigors's Sunbird . Today, it's the turn of the less flamboyant but equally graceful female Vigors's Sunbird ( Aethopyga (siparaja) vigorsii ). These sunbirds, visit our garden everyday and it is a great pleasure to see an increase in their number in recent days. This is just my observation, but I feel that the female hovers much lesser than the male and prefers to have its dose of nectar quietly perched. The male, on the other hand, as most male birds are is quite showy and enjoys giving quite a display as it hovers to feed on the flowers. 

Saturday, June 14, 2014

Indian Blackbird.

Sing a Song of Sixpence
A pocket full of Rye
Four and twenty Blackbirds
Baked in a pie ...

If you remember this nursery rhyme, but have forgotten how a Blackbird looked like, then here is an Indian Blackbird (Turdus simillimus nigropileus ) for you. I was at Lonavala and watching birds eat the fruit from a love apple tree. Somewhere in the corner of my eye I noticed a bird that looked like a Myna and ignored it. Later, when I rigged my camera and had a closer look at the bird, I was in for a pleasant surprise. It was not a Myna !!  It was a Blackbird !! It was the first time I ever saw a blackbird and this one belongs to the nigropileus race. All have distinct eye-ring and patch of orange skin, near the eye. They also have orange legs and feet ( not visible in the photographs). The above is a male, the female being much more browner. 

Friday, June 13, 2014

Black Throated Munia

I was watching a flock of Black- headed Munia's playing in water, when somewhere in the group I noticed a Munia, that had a different colour. When I trained my camera on the the bird, I was surprised to see a Black- throated Munia ( Lonchura kelaarti ) quietly perched awaiting its turn for a bath. It was a first timer for me and I was quite delighted to see this lovely bird. The bird has quite a restricted range and is found within peninsular India and Sri Lanka. The Indian species is specifically called Lonchura kelaarti jerdoni and an interesting fact about this name is that, the binomial name was given in honour of the Zoologist Edward Frederick Kelaart, by the ornithologist Thomas Jerdon.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Malabar Whistling Thrush

When I first heard the whistle of a Malabar Thrush a few years ago ( Myophonus horsfieldii ) ,I though it was a human being, in a very good mood, whistling in the forest. It was only later, when someone told me about the above bird did I realise my faux pas. This time, when I saw the bird sing, I remembered my mistake and curiously enough, when I mentioned a fellow birder about the bird, she admitted to me that even she though it was a 'jolly good fellow' in the forest. As the name suggests, the bird is mostly found in western India and parts of central India. A very shy bird, but enlivens the forest with its dulcet voice. 

Monday, June 9, 2014

Lesser Yellow Naped Woodpecker

It was evening tea time and half way through my cuppa, a Lesser Yellow Naped Woodpecker ( Picus chlorophus) landed on a nearby branch. I nearly sprayed out the tea from my mouth, as I could hardly believe my fortune. This bird is the sub species P.c. chlorigaster, and has white spotting on underparts, rather than barrings which P. chlorophus has. Spotted the bird at Ganeshgudi in Karnataka. 

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Vigors's Sunbird

Today is my wife's birthday and a special bird for my extra special girl. The Vigors's Sunbird ( Aethopyga (siparaja vigorsii ) is a daily visitor to our garden. Infact, there seems to be a regular stream of this Sunbird, that keep coming in at regular intervals during the mornings and evenings. One of Aarina's ( the birthday girl mentioned above) way, to brighten up her day, is to just look at this hovering bird. It is full of colours, sprighty, and has a dulcet voice. What more can one ask from a visitor? 

Saturday, June 7, 2014

Brown Cheeked Fulvetta

The Brown-Cheeked Fulvetta ( Alcippe poioicephala ) is a very nondescript bird when it comes to appearance. However, it has got a remarkably melodious voice and whistle. This was the first Fulvetta, I ever saw and the first one on my blog. I was unable to identify the bird in the field, since the brown cheeked Fulvetta, is quite different from it other cousins. Fulvetta's were once in the Babbler family and this one was called the Quaker Babbler.
Sighted at Ganeshgudi, Karnataka. 

Friday, June 6, 2014

Puff Throated Babbler

Another Babbler today and another bird that enjoys long baths. The Puff Throated Babbler ( Pellorneum ruficeps) is found around the foothills of India's mountain ranges. The bird had a very pleasant whistling sound ( atleast to me) unlike other noisy babblers that I have encountered.
This delightful little bird was spotted at Ganeshgudi in Karnataka. 

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Dark Fronted Babbler

This bird is a Western Ghats speciality and another example of how unique India's western Ghats are.  The Dark Fronted Babbler ( Rhopocichla atriceps ) may have a very dull brown plumage, but it has strikingly yellow eyes. Being noisy birds, they are quite easy to locate, but their brisk movements make them a challenge to photograph. I had quietly perched myself near the Babblers favourite bath spot. It was fun to watch them take bath,  followed by a drying routine and then dunking back into the water for a second session of spa. The bird used such force to shake itself dry, that water sprayed on me, nearly ten meters away !!  Photographed at Ganeshgudi, Karnataka. 

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Emerald Dove

My wife, Aarina and I were watching birds, when out of nowhere two Emerald Doves (Chalcophaps indica) landed in front of us. Aari, was wonder-struck by the grace and the colour of the doves, and  I for a moment wondered if I was even on earth. That's the magic these birds create. The white colour on its head looks like, chalk marks and on a female the white markings are not as extensive as on a male. The bird is quite a fast flier and I was unsuccessful in photographing one in flight. Now that is one challenge for some other day. 

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Little Spiderhunter

On a casual glance, this Little Spiderhunter (Arachnothera longirostra ) looked like a female sunbird- but somehow the beak seemed a little longer. Like the name suggests, the bird does eat spiders and other insects, but I have come to believe that it prefers nectar to spiders, especially of the wild bananas. The bird is quite tiny but has a loud call and many a times, this call is what drew my attention to the bird. Quite a challenging bird to photograph. 

Monday, June 2, 2014

Rufous Woodpecker

Being a shy bird many of the Rufous woodpecker photographs that I had clicked, were on high-up trees that hardly covered a few pixels on my camera frame. So one fine day, when I saw this Rufous Woodpecker ( Micropternus brachyurus) come down to drink water,  I was delighted to see it so closely. The above bird is a male, since it has small scarlet flash on ear-coverts, the female lack them. Photographed at Ganeshgudi in karnataka. 

Sunday, June 1, 2014

White-bellied Blue Flycatcher

An exclusive resident of the western Ghats, the White-bellied Blue Flycatcher ( Cyornis pallipes ) has a striking blue colour. The upper two photograph, are of the female, the lower two the colourful male. The female has a bright red patch on the breast, and probably the brightest among the female flycatchers. Like the name suggests and like other flycatchers the bird chiefly eats insects. Although compared to other flycatcher this is much laid back bird. Quite a delightful bird to photograph. 

Saturday, May 31, 2014

White-rumped Shama

Shama was on of the thirty Guards of the Biblical King David- the bird for most of the time that I saw, was just like a guard, alert and ready for action. The first photograph, was one of the rare one off relaxing White-rumped Shama ( Copsychus malabaricus ), just after a bath. The bird, behaves and looks much like a larger magpie-robin, with rust coloured underside, instead of white. The bird is a lovely singer and quite shy, it took a lot of time for it to get used to my presence.  Photographed at Ganeshgudi in Karnataka 

Friday, May 30, 2014

Yellow-browed Bulbul

In the first photograph, a flame throated Bulbul shares perch with a Yellow-browed Bulbul ( Acritillas indica), today's bird of the blog. The bird, shares its residence with the flame throated Bulbul as both are residents of the Western Ghats. Based on subtle colour variations, three sub-species of this bulbul are recognised. At Dandeli, we spotted many little groups of the Yellow-browed Bulbul and were delighted to see a nice healthy population of the bird.