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. 

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Orange-headed Thrush

This male orange headed Thrush (Zoothera citrina) was perched on a tree, looking for berries. I saw it and sat on the ground awaiting for a good frame. Fortuitously, the Thrush came on the ground and continued its hunt. Since I was squatting on the ground, it gave me nice eye level photographs. The bird is apparently a good imitator of other bird calls, and during my brief encounter with the bird, I heard quite a variety of chirps and songs coming from the pretty fellow.
Photographed at Dandeli, Karnataka. 

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Vigors's Sunbird

The Vigors's Sunbird ( Aethopyga (siparaja ) vigorsii ) was once classified as the Crimson Sunbird and today the bird has got its due and recognised as a separate sub-species. It is a exclusive western ghats resident and slightly larger than the Crimson Sunbird.
The bird visits our home everyday. When we first came here, we saw that sunbirds loved this particular plant that grew in our garden. Today, we have managed to grow three additional plants and it is a delight to see our place being a watering hole for various sunbirds, including this colourful Vigors. 

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Heart Spotted Woodpecker

I was lucky to spot this Heart spotted Woodpecker ( Hemicircus canente) , since it was well camouflaged in the trees. But once I spent quite some time close to it, it got accustomed to my presence and went about merrily doing its drilling job. If you closely notice the spots, some of them look like little hearts, and probably is a no brainer why it was named so.
The bird is found in Eastern and western ghats, and hill of NE India. In the field the crest was quite prominent and can be used to identify the bird at a glance. The featured bird is a female. Spotted at Ganeshgudi in Karnataka ( pun unintended )

Monday, May 26, 2014

Southern Birdwing

Another giant today, another Western Ghats special- this time a butterfly. There were days, when I suddenly mistook this butterfly for a small bird. The Southern Birdwing ( Troides minos) , is truly and giant among the butterflies. The female of this species, is the largest among the Indian butterflies and can have a wingspan from 14 to 19 Cms. I saw it on constant flight, and in the four days that I watched it, only once for a few seconds, it landed on a Lantana plant and offered me a few seconds of camera time. This was not one of the biggest in the many birdwings that I spotted, but nevertheless, it was a pleasure to see such a giant beauty up-close.
Spotted at Ganeshgudi, Karnataka. 

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Indian Giant Squirrel

From the birds, time to take a detour to a mammal- this time a Squirrel.
Before I encountered this Indian Giant Squirrel ( Ratufa indica), I always believed that it was a very shy creature. Somehow the squirrel, was never bothered with my presence and I managed to get such wonderful captures, that it was a challenge to select the most prettiest of the lot. There was a leaping, sleeping, eating and fighting squirrel and I chose the most calm looking one's. This arboreal mammal, spent most of its time eating- well, that is what I saw it doing most of the time. Munching and munching on lots and lots of berries.

Apparently, there is quite a raging controversy on classification of this species. Taxonomist are unsure, if to keep this squirrel to one species or to divide it into sub species - and anything from two to eight sub species are being proposed. Probably, genetic studies can resolve the dilemma in the future.
Whatever the issue, I had a jolly good time watching and spending time with this adorable chap!

Spotted at Ganeshgudi, Karnataka.

Saturday, May 24, 2014

Malabar Trogon

Although found in Peninsular India and Sri Lanka, the Malabar Trogon  ( Harpactes fasciatus ) is a Western Ghats specialty. One of the most sought after bird for many birders, I had to wait for three days, at one of its favourite perches, before it decided to make an appearance.
The above bird is a male, the female being on the brownish side. The bird is insectivorous and loves feeding winged insects, caught in air. Hoping for a closer view next time around. Photographed at Ganeshgudi.

Friday, May 23, 2014

Malabar Grey Hornbill

Western ghats is a treasure trove of flora and fauna, some of it found only here. In my previous post I had posted one such bird. Today's bird is one such, Western Ghats exclusive, the Malabar Grey Hornbill (Ocyceros griseus). I was relaxing after a heavy lunch, when I saw the Hornbill, munching on its lunch. I saw it break its sting, munched the arthropod, and fed it to its mate, incubating its eggs in a tree. A truly delightful scene. Photographed at Ganeshgudi, in Karnataka. 

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Black- Naped Monarch

When I spotted an azure flying bird, at Ganeshgudi , I was pretty sure it was the Black naped Monarch Flycatcher (Hypothymis azurea )- its azure blue lighting up the sky. The black ring like feature on the neck looked velvety. It was a pleasure watching the bird, carry out sorties from its perch, catching flying insects.
In the first photograph, the flycatcher had just taken a dip, and hence looks all ruffled up. Later on its all dried, groomed and ready for a date. 

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Flame -throated Bulbul

Back after a hiatus of six months and after the series on butterflies, its back to birding. This time, I was delighted to come across this colourful bird - 'Flame-throated Bulbul'  ( Pycnonotus (melanicterus) gularis). The bird is found only in the Western Ghats, and I must say it sings very beautifully. It was pretty easy to identify the bird in the wild, owning to its distinctive red throat. Spotted the bird at Ganeshgudi, in Karnataka. Although not apparent in the photographs, the bird has an ever so slight crest and white tips to the outer tail feathers.

P.S. : Apparently many animals, including a frog (Eleutherodactylus gularis), moth (Paralipsa gularis), fish and some birds (eg. Egretta gularis , Monticola gularis etc ) use the name Gularis. Gula in latin means throat or gullet and gave rise to the word Glutton.