Sunday, 14 March 2021

Kabini - The Tiger haven of South

A adult female tiger. Mother of 3 grown up cubs

 

Kabini wildlife photography trip


This destination has been a long pending one for me. Finally when it was about to get materialized last March, corona decided to play the spoil sport. So had to wait for one more year to make this trip.

Finally it did happen in the last weekend of February and it was worth the wait! We used to often hear that tiger sighting in the forests of South India is extremely rare. But luck was on our side as we had tiger sighting in all the 3 jungle safaris we did.

Osprey (வராலடிப்பான்) with a fish for its dinner!

On the afternoon of the first day, we took to the boat ride in the backwaters and it was just a visual treat! The backwaters has a very rich diversity of birds and mammals.

Spending more time in the boat will definitely give opportunity for some very good action shots of the birds! Well taking a photo with a mildly rocking boat might be a bit difficult, but you will get there with practice!

Here are some of the bird photos to start with.

Great Cormorant (பெரிய நீர்க்காகம்) waiting for the right prey!


Indian Darter (நெடுங்கிளாத்தி / பாம்புத் தாரா) chasing another one


Painted Stork - மஞ்சள் மூக்கு நாரை


Wooly-necked Stork - செங்கால் நாரை


Red-naped Ibis - கரிய அரிவாள் மூக்கன்

Apart from the birds, there were some mammals as well. A family of otters were playing in the water and every now and then would peep out curiously to see if the new visitors are a threat or not.


Otter - நீர்நாய்


At the far western shores were a herd of elephants and a lone tusker, which is probably one of the biggest in the country!

The tusker!

The entire second day and third morning we took the safari into the jungle. We were hoping to get a glimpse of the black panther, but were treated with tigers in all the safari. I think I will have to wait for the panther. Surprisingly we did not get to see any leopards as well!

Female adult tiger leading the way for her grown up cubs

But it is not just the tigers or leopards. Sometime this tends to get a bit overrated! The jungle is full of life with other animals as well. We need to ensure that we take in and observe all of them and not just get stuck with the tigers.

Here are a few more photos from the safari!


The place was full of peacocks!

A stag perfectly camouflaged in its habitat

A watchful female gaur



Sambar stag - See it to believe its size


Sambar with its fawn

Langur

The curious Indian roller - பனங்காடை




Grey junglefowl - காட்டுக்கோழி

Apart from the jungle safari, the JLR resort where we stayed itself had a very good variety of birds. But one need to spend time if good photographs are to be taken. With the limited time that I spent within the resort, I was able to take photos of some birds.


Lesser flameback woodpecker - பொன்முதுகு மரம்கொத்தி


Greater coucal - செண்பகம் / செம்போத்து


Asian brown flycatcher - பழுப்பு ஈ பிடிப்பான்


I would recommend everyone to come into the wild with an open mind and no expectations and just enjoy the wild and the nature!
Some more photos from the boat ride, safari and the resort. Enjoy!

Streak-throated Woodpecker - செதில் வயிற்று மரம்கொத்தி


Great Egret - பெரிய கொக்கு


Purple Heron - செந்நாரை


Oriental magpie robin - கருப்பு வெள்ளைக் குருவி


Hope you enjoyed the virtual tour. Yet another addition to my never ending list of places to be visited again for its sheer wilderness!

Sunset over the kabini backwaters


Sunday, 15 November 2020

Backyard Birds

Good Morning!


Happy to meet you all again with a follow up of my Balcony Birds blog. Since I posted this back in April, there have been a few new visitors in your backyard, so wanted to share those with you.

If you have not visited my earlier post on what is going on in my backyard, you can either visit the Balcony Photography blog or check the video I made on my backyard - Welcome to the backyard!


I have been making some frequent walks within my apartments to spend more time observing the birds and other creatures and the place has never failed to amaze me with the kind of diversity it has! Here are some of my new friends, since we met before.

Here is the Golden Oriole, which just gave a glimpse before taking off. I am still scouting for one more sighting since that instance, yet to get more lucky.

Golder Oriole - மாங்குயில்

I have seen this tiny cinereous tit a few times, but due to its active nature and size, had not got a good photograph!

Cinereous tit - பட்டாணிக் குருவி

The Indian silverbill also known as White-throated munia is another sparrow like bird that likes to feed predominantly on grains.

Indian Silverbill / White-throated munia - வெண்தொண்டைச் சில்லை



Off late the Brahminy Kites too have joined the black kites here.

Brahminy Kite - செம்பருந்து / கருடன்


A few of my friends have told me that the Indian roller visits the apartments regularly in the morning. This is quite possible, but did not get a chance to spot it until recently.


Indian Roller - பனங்காடை

Another active bird that is seen wide spread throughout the country.

White-browed or Large pied wagtail - கருப்பு வெள்ளை வாலாட்டி

Recently, I also saw a flock of Chestnut-tailed starlings. These belong to the mynah family. Looks like these are going to be a bit regular, despite the aggression shown by its bigger cousin.

Chestnut-tailed starling - சாம்பல்தலை நாகணவாய்



Chestnut-tailed starling (சாம்பல்தலை நாகணவாய்) displaying its acrobatic skills

A sweet surprise when I saw this bunch of Indian white-eyes. Small yellowish birds that are mostly seen in groups and always active. Their bright colour is always a treat to watch!

Indian White-eye - வெள்ளைக் கண்ணி



Oriental White-eye - வெள்ளைக் கண்ணி


The real sweet surprise however was when the Asian Paradise flycatcher started coming. I am still longing to get a glimpse of the male, but this one was definitely a pleasant suprise.

Asian Paradise flycatcher - அரசவால் ஈப்பிடிப்பான்

Asian Paradise flycatcher - அரசவால் ஈப்பிடிப்பான்


It is just the birds, but the butterflies as well, which makes the place quite colourful and lively!

Gram blue


Common Mormon

This is a very tiny fellow as you can see how it compares with the blade of grass. But nevertheless a very colourful one!

Red Pierrot

Dark blue tiger


Common lime
Yet another small but active butterfly

Zebra Blue


And it is not just the butterflies, there are these predators too that come out during the season


Giant wood spider. Never fails to justify the name. Quite a big fellow!

Giant wood spider


The signature spider leaves it signature wherever it goes!

Signature Spider


Hope you enjoyed the virtual tour of my backyard. I would be interested to know about your backyard as well!

Pigeon against the setting sun



Sunday, 19 July 2020

Hampi - A treasure trove

Sunrise

Hampi - A treasure trove

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Hampi is known to everyone as a UNESCO heritage site with its extraordinary architecture. Some of the temples and structure go back a millennium, weathering the onslaught of  various invasions, treasure hunters and weather.

There is art in every stone and it could take a lifetime, for anyone who is interested in architecture, to see and enjoy those magnificent creations of man.

The Chariot


Along with that Hampi also has a natural side to it, with a rich diversity of flora and fauna. This is not a very highly known aspect of Hampi, and just as in many other places, this is area which I am quite interested in.

The ruins are not home only to those brilliant architectures, some others also call it a home. Like this little wise guy hiding in the wedges.

Spotted Owlet


I visited the place twice - once in 2016 and then again in 2017 - both times thanks to Birdwingers for organizing the trip and initiating me to Hampi, especially to its natural side. We were hosted by a local multifaceted gentleman, who is a naturalist, conservationist and also an avid bird lover.


Rufous tailed lark


Watching and photographing the birds started right from during the journey from Hosepet railway station (the nearest railway station) to Hampi. Once we are out of the hustle and bustle of the town, there are quite a lot of birding opportunities all along the way.

Most of the route was through the banks of a canal which is a tributary from the Tungabadra. The place itself provided excellent opportunities for those interested in birds and other natural beauties.

Monitor lizard warming itself in the morning sun


Indian Eagle Owl


White Ibis or Black headed Ibis


Once we reached our host's place, which is somewhere slightly outside the Hampi heritage town, we were presented with amazing opportunities for birding. Since it was still not mid-day and the birds were still quite active. So we decided to take advantage of this opportunity.

Indian Silverbill


Brahminy starling

The place adjacent to the Daroji sanctuary proved to be a very good place to see a variety of birds and animals. We just had to sit hidden and watch these beautiful friends walk by us!

Elegant ramp walker Painted Spurfowl

The most elegant and colourful pair are here! Mr and Mrs Peafowl!

Peacock

Peahen




The curious Mongoose



We can find some of the very long distance migrants as well. Here are 2 such real long distance fliers!

A pair of Bar-headed geese - These guys migrate from as far as Mongolia

Black-winged Godwit - Can fly 11,000 KM non-stop

Common Hoopoe


We also tried to get some species that are not too common in other places, especially the Yellow-throated bulbul, which is endemic to Hampi and the surrounding habitat.


Plain prinia

Red munia or Strawberry finch


This tiny beauty is an endemic bird. Always active and has a sweet song. Considering the habitat, this fellow is a bit hard to find, but the efforts are worth it, for sure.

The local fellow - Yellow-throated bulbul

We came to know of a place where we can find the Painted Sandgrouse. Though it was already evening and the sunlight was getting low in the rolling hills kind of place, we did manage to find them. These birds are mostly in pairs and we did find them so in this case.

Painted Sandgrouse

The Daroji sloth bear sanctuary is another must see place. Apart from the Big Baloo, there are quite a few other wildlife there. There are reports of even leopard spotting, but we had not been lucky enough to see one during our visit.

Honey in the sap of the tree?


The cautious look


The Leap

Evening was spent in the farm of our host. The habitat was quite rich with the food needed by some of the birds.

Always thought that Koels were black. But when the evening sun showed different colours!

Koel - Male

Ashy crowned sparrow lark - The adult male feeding the chick

Large grey babbler having a cautious look

White-breasted water hen going about its business

Even the night fall had something beautiful in store for us. Both the times we were there, we had the chances to witness some spectacular views and skies. And it is not just the humans who enjoy such splendid sunsets, even our closest relatives do!

Money enjoying the sunset


Why would be not enjoy such a wonderful scene!

A very colourful sunset and one of the most photographed place in Hampi


When God decides to show us something really spectacular, just enjoy without thinking too much. Not sure what the phenomenon here is, but these 2 were one most spectacular twilight sky we ever witnessed!

Twilight sky with some deep colours

Hope you enjoyed the natural world of Hampi. Next time when you visit there, make sure you visit this natural side of this amazing place!

Nature in its full glory!


Click here for more photos from Hampi