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.