Tuesday, July 27, 2010

A Slithering Visitor

We were returning from school and stopped by our compound wall to look at snails (as usual), trying to see if all of them were still around, when we spotted what we first took to be a rope, and only later realised was a snake! Both of us looked on, fascinated by the slithering creature which wove its way in and out of the holes in the wall, looking for God alone knows what! I realised that I had left my camera at home, and rushed up to bring it, wondering if it would still be around when I returned! It seemed to be a patient creature, for it was still around, and I did manage to get a couple of snaps, though not too good ones..... but at least now I have evidence that I have actually seen a snake in my yard!!!

It seems to be pure luck that I managed to get the entire snake in the frame for the very first pic.... Can you see its head and its tail?? and how it has managed to get in and out of the holes??


Here's a closer look at its head...... along with a lizard too... which hogs the limelight here....


But these were all the pics I could manage before it seemed to realize that it was being watched, and slithered into the undergrowth!  We barely had time to notice the greenish yellow underside before it disappeared, forget taking a pic! Neither of us had the guts to go looking for it again!!!

Friday, July 23, 2010

SkyWatch Friday - Sunlight


I took this pic when we were returning from Morachi Chincholi... I think we were somewhere on the expressway.... and I remember wishing for dark clouds and some rain, but all we could see was the sun!

For more skies around the world, go to SkyWatch Friday


Sunday, July 18, 2010

An Oleander Hawk Moth - Ever heard of it???

Waiting for the school bus is usually boring, but in the rains, we have really begun looking forward to it, and even get ready early, just to see what we can see! Over the last few years, we have really developed a fascination for snails, so much so that samhith spots them wherever we go! But then, the monsoon brings us so many surprises, and there was another one for us a few days back.......

As we stepped out into our compound, we noticed this moth on the sewer cover - definitely a place we avoid... But this one was so interesting, we went to take a closer look......and many many pictures too....




It took me a while to identify this one, but Wikipedia informs me that this one is an "Oleander Hawk Moth", a migratory moth found in Asia and Africa, which flies off to Europe during the summer! And its caterpillar feeds solely on the leaves of the Oleander tree (the 'Arali' in tamil), which are highly toxic, but interestingly, these caterpillars are immune to its toxicity! Imagine seeing such an interesting insect in our backyard!

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Camouflage!



We noticed this insect just because it jumped as Samhith was trying to pick up a stone! Otherwise we wouldn't even have known it was there! Any idea about which insect it is?


Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Trysts with Swifts

My tryst with Swifts seemed to continue, even on our trip to Morachi Chincholi......

My regular readers will remember that the first time I saw swifts in large numbers was when I had been to Omkareshwar - We had then seen swifts nests in the rocks lining the river Narmada......

I got  a closer look at the house-swift's nest on my trip to Binsar, where we were lucky to see a mother swift in her nest with her swiftlets.....

And now, on our trip to Morachi Chincholi, we stopped by a river to dip our feet in the cool water, and what do I see, but a group of swifts flying hither and thither, and under a bridge, a cluster of their nests!! What a sight! I was happy to show off my knowledge, and we began clicking photos.... Of course, we couldn't get any closer thanks to the water, and this is the best I could do!




Hoping that my tryst with swifts continues in the future too... and not just with swifts, but with other birds too!!

Monday, July 5, 2010

About Weavers and Munias,Lapwings and Robins.... Other birds at Morachi Chincholi

While peacocks did grab the eyeballs on our trip to Morachi Chincholi, there were plenty of other birds around as well. A tree near us was full of birds we thought were sparrows - till a yellow pair joined the lot! I tried to grab a pic, and only when I took a closer look did I realise that the other small birds werent sparrows at all, but some other small birds.....


A look at the bird book made me think that the yellow one was a Baya Weaver, but I had no clue to the others. Finally I decided to ask for expert opinion, and asked a friend, who pointed out that there wasn't just  a male baya weaver in the pic, but also a female (which I hadn't noticed), and that the other small birds were Indian Silverbills, also called White-throated Munias. Thanks so much, Adesh, for the identification!
How many of you noticed the female weaver bird to the left of the group?

It wasn't really surprising to see these birds, considering what we saw in an old, disused well on the farm -


So many weaver bird nests in one place!  I don't know enough about these birds to tell you if these nests are old or being used, but they did look old, and there weren't any birds around..... so I guess these are abandoned ones....

Here's one up close....


How beautifully made, isn't it??

We also saw a couple of Lapwings on the fields, vying with the peacocks for our attention.....

Here's one


It looks like a Yellow Wattled Lapwing, from the pic in the bird book. But can anyone confirm this?

Here are a pair of robins - most probably Indian Robins.... There were so many of these around, but these were the only decent ones I could manage....




Here is another bird - no idea what it is....I feel the pic isnt good enough for a positive id... any ideas, though???
Update: This bird is a Ashy Prinia, also called Ashy Wren Warbler. Thanks Parag, for the identification!


Not bad, wouldn't you say, for amateur birdwatchers who hadn't even planned to do any birdwatching? 

Drenched!!

While we sit inside the house in relative comfort, while it pours cats and dogs outside, look at this kingfisher sitting patiently in the pouring rain, apparently oblivious to the cold, even though it appears to be huddled up...



It sat still for almost half an hour, and then suddenly swooped down, caught something in its beak, and sped off towards a tree....I was left with mixed emotions - I had been feeling rather sorry for the poor bird having to sit in the rain and cold, but now I was left wondering if that was what the bird had intended - to wait patiently till its prey came along... Does it enjoy the rain or is it just a matter of necessity? I have no idea, and am not likely to find out either... What do you think?

Sunday, July 4, 2010

A performance by the Parakeets.....

Do you remember going to the circus and seeing birds performing feats? They gave the gymnasts and athletes a run for their money, didn't they? Yesterday morning, a group of parakeets put up a show right outside my window... Take a look at their antics....





























Did you enjoy the performance? Waiting to hear your comments................

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