Thursday, 14 May 2020

Agumbe - A world of its own

Cobra - after being rescued

The Amazing Agumbe

It has been quite sometime (Apr, 2016) since I had visited this amazing place - Agumbe. Thanks to Birdwing Travel and Photography, who had arranged this trip, specifically for the macro life of Agumbe.

Back to the most recent (if 4 years in recent!) trip. This was specifically for the wild nature of this wonderful place. The naturalists, at KCRE where we stayed, had extraordinary knowledge of what could be found where within the forest.

Green vine snake

Keep in mind that this place has some of the highest population of the Spectacled Cobra and King Cobra. The naturalists are mostly involved in the conservation and rescue activities of snakes apart from educating people about the co-existence.

But is not just the snakes, but the various small creatures that add to the real beauty of this place.  Most of these cannot be found in the urban setup. Here are some of such beauties. I do not have the names of most of these magical creatures, so pardon for not mentioning the names.

The skittering frog

Grass hopper playing peek-a-boo

Some creatures might look like they are from some other planet, but no! They are all very much part of our eco-system,

A colourful locust?

Beetle with a whiplash!

Paper wasp in its nest

Lantern fly

During night the forest literally comes live with so many nocturnal creatures, that will definitely make one feel as if we in some other world!

A bunch of bugs

A "Love"ly pair

You can also witness the predators and preys very closely

Tree frog

Cat snake

A praying mantis feasting on a hapless chocolate pansy butterfly. After all, these fellows too like chocolates!

Praying mantis preying on Chocolate pansy

Spider with a perfect symmetry

The limited time we had in the place definitely was not enough to enjoy this wonderful place. But, that is what is keeping us interested and wanting to return to such a place, right!

Ornate flying snake

Saturday, 25 April 2020

Balcony Photography

The farm as viewed from my balcony

Photography from Balcony

While the lock down is still effective, there is no way of going out with the camera for bird photography or any kind of photography.

However, I would say I am blessed in a way to have a balcony that gives me quite some opportunities for helping me keep engaged with what I love to do! Having a farm right in front of the balcony also helps this to a great extent.

There are a few common visitors that turn up every day without fail. Their acrobatics are quite a treat to watch.

Black kite soaring from a ground perch

Sometimes they do get quite close, either out of curiosity or to warn a potential threat!

Black kite up close!

Not all of these predators are acrobats. Some play their waiting game, sitting composed and tracking a prey, while being very aware of their surroundings as well.

Shikra on a high perch and alert

Not all of them are extroverts. There are quite a few shy ones as well.

Southern Coucal doing a balancing act

Also the carefree romantic pairs.

Pair of Common rock pigeon doing a sync flying

I have my personal alarms as well. A couple of them makes sure they wake me up in the morning. This one with its sweet singing.

Red whiskered Bulbul

And the shrill one, which is not so subtle with its wake up call. It is amazing how the smaller ones have such a shrill voice. Be it birds or humans!

Ashy Prinia

The energetic one that tries to show off its beauty!

This one is really interested about flowers

Yet another lively fellow, caught while she was taking off from its borough in the tree.

Rose ringed parakeet - Female

Well most of these guys live in pair. But these ones are the most "distinguished" of them.

Pied Bushchat - Male

Pied Bushchat - Female

Hey! What makes you think its only the birds that makes the place lively? We are there too - colourful, lively and living our life to fullest!

Spotless Grass Yellow

Lemon Pansy


And not all of them are colourful and fun loving. There are some predators amongst them as well!

They praying mantis on the lookout for a prey

Back to the birds. There were a few surprise visitors to the apartments. Though these were not from the Balcony, these were also within the apartment complex. So had the opportunity see them as well, without actually having to leave home.

Black Drongo - Can protect its territory aggressively even from much larger birds

Blyth's Reed warbler
This one was quite a surprise. The jungle myna. I know there are small pockets of forests nearby, but really did not expect this guy to be around!

Jungle myna

When it rains things become even more beautiful!

Purple rumped sunbird - preening while sheltering from rain

One of the very occasions when the barbet decided to come to the tree that was right outside the balcony.

White cheeked barbet completely drenched in rain

Its not just the birds that look beautiful while raining. The natural phenomenon makes everything beautiful!

Lightning lighting up the night sky

Even the moon looks to be a in a trance!

Moon draping the clouds

Hope you too find something interesting to do while being at home. Stay safe!

A evening panorama

Sunday, 23 February 2020

Birding at Goa

Brahminy Kite on alert

Birding at Goa

What is the first thing that comes to our mind while mentioning Goa? Beaches, Old European buildings, a multi-cultured crowd enjoying the beaches etc.? Well yes, I too had the same impression about Goa, as I have not been there before. But, there is another side to this wonderful place that is not much seen or shown in quite a few place.

Villages typical to a South Indian hill station reminiscence of a small "Malabar" village! One with nature - flora and fauna, reduced foot prints of the gadgets that one might use in the city and completely with nature.

Egret in flight

It was to one such place that Birdwing had arranged for a bird watching trip. While the common birds are always there, the plan was to get a sighting of some of the species which are either endemic to the place or not so common in other places.

The bird watching started right in the resort we were staying. Being in close proximity to a sanctuary helped us quite a bit.

Crimson backed sunbird, Little spider hunter, Vernal hanging parrot, Tickell's blue flycacher, Racket tailed drongo were a few of the beauties we found in the resort itself.

Crimson backed sunbird
Oriental magpie robin having a bath

Orange headed thrush

Vernal hanging parrot
Little spider hunter testing the waters

We had a fantastic naturalist from Goa, who helped in spotting some of such birds. Best among them is the Oriental dwarf kingfisher. One of the most difficult to spot in its natural habitat, much less photograph it, but thanks to our naturalist, we were able to do both!

The little jewel - Oriental dwarf kingfisher

The tiny fellow prefers to sit in a densely covered trees near streams or other water bodies. Adding to the shade and clutter is the tiny size of the bird which may its almost impossible to spot for anyone who is not trained or accustomed to the natural world!

One more such bird in the Blue-eared kingfisher, which can be easily mistaken for a Common kingfisher. But this one is slightly different the Common. See if you can make it out!

Blue-eared kingfisher

Common kingfisher

The Bhagwan Mahaveer sanctuary and Mollem (pronounced as Molle) were in close proximity and provided a rick fauna. Spending some time in the sanctuary and the adjoining small villages can really bring out a variety of birds.

Crested serpent eagle

Mountain imperial pigeon

Asian brown flycatcher

Bronzy drongo

We also made a trip to the Zuari river, which is about a 90 minute drive from the place where stayed. With the mangroves and the island that it creates, this place provides wonderful opportunity for some waders and other birds that predominantly depends on water bodies and the food it offers.

White-bellied sea eagle

Western reef egret

Common sandpiper

Striated heron

The mangroves are also home to some of the other awesome creatures. In one particular place we say the Fruit bat / Flying fox by the hundreds. The low tide also brings out some unique creatures like the Mud skipper - an amphibious fish that lives in burrows in marshy mud. Of course, not to mention the more deadly predators as well!

Mud skipper

Flying fox or Fruit bat


By the end of 3 days that I stayed there, Goa had impressed me in a totally different way, from what I have heard and seen in movies. The place where we had stayed also provided wonderful opportunities for bird watching and photography.

Definitely would want to visit the place just for seeing the natural wonders of this less explored part of Goa.

Purple sunbird in quest for nectar