SIDEBAR

Lynx Spiderlings

8 comments
Nov 02 2011

A walk through the rainforest at night is an experience to cherish. The darkness around you, with the huge trees, creates a certain mystery. Drops of water falling from the canopy add their melody. So do the manifold crickets, frogs and other species that call this their home. A couple of days ago, the night trail at Agumbe held a more silent surprise. We came across a Lynx Spider (Oxyopes sp.) under some leaves. It was sitting on a white “hanging” that was attached to a web. Initially, it seemed that the spider had stumbled upon the prey of another […]

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European Roller

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Oct 20 2011

A break between 2 trips to Ladakh gave me the opportunity to visit Tal Chapar (yet again :)) for a couple of days this July. Being summer, I hardly anticipated any lifers. As we drove into the park, the first thing I noticed was that the rollers were all-blue in color. Mr.S.S.Poonia (Range Forest Officer at Tal Chapar) had kept a surprise handy. European Roller – a bird that I’d missed over the past 2 years. [singlepic id=515 w=500] While the Indian Roller is fairly common, it’s cousin – European Roller (Coracias garrulus) – is a passage migrant; it visits […]

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Goa – Birding on the River Zuari

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Sep 29 2011

River Zuari is the largest river in Goa. It originates in the Western Ghats and flows into the Arabian Sea near Vasco, covering a distance of 34km. We set off one November morning from the harbor at Cortalim looking for birds along this river. Our first encounter was with the Greater Crested Terns resting upon wooden logs in the harbor. They seemed to consider humans as friends here and were not too perturbed by our presence. The other “regulars” here, the White-bellied Sea-eagles were missing in action that day. [singlepic id=501 w=500] An Osprey, however, seemed to take offense at […]

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Butterflies at Agumbe

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May 31 2011

When I visited Agumbe the first time, the rains were incessant and we hardly saw any winged wonders. So, on my second visit last year, it was a surprise when the sun peeked in through the clouds now and then. The place came alive with butterflies fluttering from one flowering plant to the next and birds calling all over the place. The bigger butterflies were the ones grabbing a lot of “flower-space”, be it the incessantly busy Blue Mormons (Papilio polymnestor) and Tailed Jays (Graphium agamemnon) or the elegant Red Helens (Papilio helenus). [singlepic id=487 w=500] [singlepic id=488 w=500] Mr. […]

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A “Sociable” winter

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May 04 2011

Ever since I’d gone to Tal Chapar in August 2009, it was a place that I wished I could go back to more often. Eventually, decided that I would go there in November 2010. The news that Sociable Lapwings were being seen there was double the enticement. So, after an 18-hour multiple-bus journey from Chambal to Chapar, I met the legendary Mr.S.S.Poonia, who’s the Range Officer of the Tal Chapar Wildlife Sanctuary. He’s played a major role in creating a disturbance-free sanctuary for grassland fauna. Not to mention the 10-20 unrecorded bird species that he reports from the place every […]

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Grey Hypocolius

5 comments
May 02 2011

The Grey Hypocolius (or simply the Hypocolius) is a monotypic bird in the family Hypocoliidae; there are no other bird species in its genus and family. It breeds towards West Asia (including Iran, Iraq, Afghanistan, Turkmenistan and Pakistan). The winter range extends from the Persian Gulf to India. Fulay, in the Greater Rann of Kutch, is one of the very few places in India where one can see this beautiful winter migrant. [singlepic id=475 w=500] On Darter Photography’s Wild Wild West tour to Greater Rann of Kutch this February, this bird was high on our list. We reached Fulay, bordering […]

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The juvenile falcon

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Apr 18 2011

One evening, as we entered the Little Rann of Kutch, we glimpsed upon a falcon that hurried away on sighting us. The bird flew at a very low altitude and settled very close by. The slow flight made us wonder if it had prey with it. We drove in that direction. And the bird was there, sitting on the ground. A juvenile Peregrine Falcon. [singlepic id=469 w=500] As we clicked away, it decided to take-off. [singlepic id=467 w=500] [singlepic id=468 w=500] And that’s when we saw it. The seemingly laboured flight of the otherwise graceful falcon was due to an […]

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Snipes in LRK

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Feb 23 2011

Snipes have always been an enigma – waders that are fairly common around Indian wetlands in winter, yet admirably well camouflaged with an ability to stay still when danger lurks. Just like the snipers from the movies. From the time an experienced birder friend pointed his Swarowski to a snipe to reveal its beauty to the innumerable times I’ve flushed them, I’d always wondered what it takes to see snipes before they see me and fly away. DARTER’s recent trip to Little Rann of Kutch provided me my first great views of snipes and some insights into their behavior. On […]

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Other birds at National Chambal Sanctuary

3 comments
Dec 04 2010

The National Chambal Sanctuary is a nature-watching treat. I’ve already written about the Indian Skimmer and the Gharials. [singlepic id=441 w=500] The other rare bird that I was hoping to see was the Black-bellied Tern (Sterna acuticauda). Although I’d seen it flying near a lake on Kanakpura road earlier this year, I’ve wanted to see it sitting and (may be) fishing. Chambal didn’t disappoint on this account too. I got to see at least 6 different individuals during the day-long boat ride. [singlepic id=454 w=500] [singlepic id=443 w=500] [singlepic id=442 w=500] The Black-bellied Tern is a small tern (about the […]

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Gharials and turtles in the Chambal river

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Dec 02 2010

Continuing the National Chambal Sanctuary series (first post on Indian Skimmer) The only specialized small fish-eating crocodilian – the Gharial (Gavialis gangeticus) – is also found in the Chambal river. I saw quite a few of these beautiful (and Critically Endangered) creatures basking on the banks of the river. Some of them had a red band tied to their tails. They were apparently released this year from the Gharial breeding center. [singlepic id=444 w=500] [singlepic id=452 w=500] [singlepic id=453 w=500] One interesting story I heard later about the origin of the name Gharial. Gharial males have a bulbous growth on […]

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