SIDEBAR

The squabble

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Dec 01 2011
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Every summer, hundreds of River Terns nest on a small island in the Bhadra Reservoir at Lakkavalli, Karnataka. Migrating locally from different parts of Karnataka and beyond, these birds congregate here along with other birds like Small Pratincoles (Glareola lactea). Throughout the nesting season, there is activity throughout the day on these islands as birds try to find nesting spots (sometimes by unsettling other nesting birds), hunt for fish or go about raising their young ones. As the monsoons start, the level of water in the reservoir rises slowly and submerges the island. It would remain underwater till next summer.

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Tiger!

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Dec 01 2011
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India’s national animal never ceases to mesmerize. It could be the huge size, the majestic gait, the intense gaze. This tiger was encountered on a summer evening at Kanha National Park. He seemed well-settled and was concentrating on a herd of Chital (Axis axis) in the distance. It seemed as if he were making up his mind and drawing energy for the hunt. Unfortunately, it was very close to the park closing time and the shutterbugs had to hurry out of the park. Next morning, there was a Chital kill there.

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Vine snake on a vine

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Dec 01 2011
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The Green Vine Snake (Ahaetulla nasuta) relies on its colour to camouflage itself from prey and predator. Common at Agumbe, they are often seen waiting patiently for prey to come along. They have been known to feed on other snakes and small birds too. They are mildly venomous to humans. When agitated, however, the snake reveals a lot more colors. It breaks into a checkerboard pattern and opens its mouth wide trying to scare away the intruder. When the threat passes by, they swiftly move through the branches to a more secure location.

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Black and Orange

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Dec 01 2011
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The Black-and-Orange Flycatcher (Ficedula nigrorufa) is a species of flycatcher that is endemic to the Western Ghats, Nilgiris and Palani hills in South India. The bird is typically found in high-elevation plateaus, preferring areas with undergrowth and leaf litter. This female bird was photographed at Eravikulam National Park near Munnar, Kerala. She was very actively looking for food, typically hunting at ground level or slightly above. There would be a burst of activity and then she would suddenly disappear (probably to her nest). And then she would return after a few minutes and start hunting.

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Family time

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Dec 01 2011
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It was a February evening in Banni Grasslands, Greater Rann of Kutch. As the sun began its journey to the other side of the earth, the Indian Fox (Vulpes bengalensis) pups came out of their den and began their antics. They chased each other around for some time, bullied their sibling and ran in and out of the den. Once in a while, they would demand attention from their parent. And get all the attention showered upon them. An unforgettable evening.

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Collared Kingfisher

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Dec 01 2011
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Kingfishers are very easy to recognize in the field. Apart from the huge beak, they are very often strikingly colourful. The various shades of reds, greens, blues, violets, browns and, not to forget, black and white make them a birdwatcher’s delight. Collared Kingfishers (Todiramphus chloris)  is a widespread kingfisher, found across most of Asia. They are found in coastal areas, especially where there are mangrove swamps. This kingfisher was peeking through some foliage at Sunderbans Tiger Reserve, West Bengal, India.

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Sprinting Blackbuck

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Dec 01 2011
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Blackbucks (Antilope cervicapra) are among the fastest terrestrial animals in India, capable of speeds upto 80kmph. The unique coloration of the males, with distinct black and white coats, makes them very easy to identify in the field. Although widespread across most of India, their shrinking habitat makes them a vulnerable species. Rollapadu in Andhra Pradesh has a healthy population of blackbucks, that can be seen in the wonderful grasslands there.

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Feeding

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Nov 30 2011
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Black-crowned Sparrow-larks (Eremopterix nigriceps) are rare residents in Western India, mainly the dry scrub and grassland areas in Rajasthan and Gujarat. Tal Chapar Wildlife Sanctuary (in Churu district, Rajasthan) is one of the places where they breed. It was early April and the juvenile had already fledged, taking short flights over a couple of feet at a time. The most-used defence tactic was lying still in order to avoid being detected. The parents were still showering a lot of attention on the juvenile. The female would come along and feed the juvenile, and herself once in a while. The male […]

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Danger lurks

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Nov 30 2011
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Flowers are a plant’s advertisement to insects. As the insects draw nectar from the flower, the flower deposits some pollen on the insect.  When the insect flies to another flower (on another plant), the pollen is deposited on that flower thereby fertilizing it. As insects (like butterflies, flies and bees) are attracted to a flowering plant, predators like this jumping spider (Telamonia dimidiata) use their natural camouflage to wait in the flower for the opportunity to grab their next meal. Jumping Spiders don’t spin webs to catch their prey. They are, instead, active hunters that also count stealth as one […]

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Face-off (almost)

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Nov 30 2011
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Daroji Bear Sanctuary, near Hampi in Karnataka, is the first bear sanctuary to be established in India. This rocky and dry terrain is home to a good population of Sloth Bears (Melursus ursinus), Indian Leopards, Indian Pangolins and a host of birds and reptiles. They feed on termites, honey bee colonies and fruits. They make a very loud huffing sound when they feed. This Sloth Bear had taken a break from its feast, when the Indian Peafowl (Pavo cristatus) walked into the frame behind the bear.

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