Navratri Colours of Nature

Happy Dasara / Dussehra and may good win over all the evil in this world.

(Received on Whatsapp)

Leading upto Dasara is Navratri, where people worship different forms of Goddess Durga over 9 nights (hence “Nav ratri”). At the start of Navratri, everyone looks out for the colour that signifies each day of the 9 days.

Continue reading

Purple pursuits

World Migratory Bird Day is celebrated twice a year, on the second weekend of May and October, to raise awareness of migratory birds and the need for international cooperation to conserve them. So today, 9th October, is the day. Migratory birds are a clear example of how the world is so closely connected and how everyone plays a role in conserving our ecosystems. Something happening in the harsh cold of Europe can affect us here in India, through the passage of these resilient creatures. We currently haven’t encountered any of the migratory birds in our limited urban space in Kandivali East, but realise that our local resident birds are very important too, and we must ensure that we do not destroy their habitats.

When you think purple, which birds come to mind? Having lived near a lake in Bangalore, the Purple Heron and Purple Swamphen are the ones I immediately used to think of. These days, it’s the Purple-rumped Sunbird (Leptocoma zeyonica), found only in the Indian sub-continent, and a resident of our park.

Distribution of purple-rumped sunbird
(Source: Wikipedia)

Tiny at just about 10 cm, and very light, weighing about 10 grams, the sunbirds are delight to watch – if you can keep track of them.

Purple-rumped Sunbird
The male is very colourful, appearing in different shades as the sun shines on it – purple above the tail (which is how it gets its name), maroon, red, brown, green, blue, black, yellow, white.
Continue reading

Birds in our backyard

One of my earlier posts was about some of the purple and pink flowers currently seen in our Whispering Palms Complex. Where there are trees and flowers, there will be birds and other living creatures!

Over the last few weeks we’ve been trying to catch some afternoon sun between the rains, and in the process, we’ve become more aware of the presence of the birds in the campus. The silence during lockdown has made the bird sounds more audible and we try to search them out in the direction of their calls. Many of the birds have their favourite trees and branches, so these days, we look out for them at the same spots, and usually they’re somewhere around there. [Now we know how the guides on jungle safaris know exactly where to stop to show you certain animals.]

Some of the birds sit still for extended periods of time, and even if they fly off, they return to the same place. Like the Coppersmith Barbet that allowed me to go all the way back home to pick up my camera.

Coppersmith barbet
Coppersmith barbet
Continue reading

Birds spotted in Europe (Part 1)

Where there is food and water, there will be animal life. This is particularly true for birds for whom there are no boundaries… the sky is their limit!

On our recent 15-day trip to Europe, specifically The Netherlands, Denmark, Sweden and Norway, we spotted many birds, a few that we see in our backyards and neighbourhoods in India, but many that I hadn’t seen before. Whenever possible, I tried to capture them on my camera.

Our first stop was the tulip gardens of Keukenhof, The Netherlands. With the millions of flowers, I guess our attention was on them and not on the birds that were possibly around. At one point many were looking way up high to check out a distinctive knocking sound. It was a woodpecker hammering away, scarcely visible among the trees. Before I could focus, it had flown away. We didn’t see a woodpecker again on our trip. Continue reading

December scenes at Puttenahalli Lake

Ever since my family moved from Bangalore, it goes without saying that a trip to Bangalore would include several visits to our dear Puttenahalli Lake. My boys love the idea, not because of the lake, but because it gets them to Brigade Millennium where they always look forward to meeting up with old friends. Though reasonably well updated on the happenings at the lake (I need to be, to manage the PNLIT website, blog, facebook page, twitter account and other online activity), there is nothing like being there and seeing the trees, flowers, birds and lake for myself. And a reasonably good camera helps to keep the memories till the next visit! Continue reading

Birds in Dubai

With the vast expanse of sand and sparse greenery one would think that there wouldn’t be much for birds in Dubai. However, Ber trees, Yellow trumpet bushes and Bougainvillea seem to be adequate to attract several species of birds, many of which are uncommon in our city homes.

Red-vented Bulbul
Red-vented Bulbul (Location: Mirdif)

White-eared Bulbul
White-eared Bulbul (Location: Mirdif)

House Sparrow
House Sparrow, female (Location: Mirdif)

House Sparrow, male (Location: Mirdif)
House Sparrow, male (Location: Mirdif)

Common Myna
Common Myna (Location: Mirdif)

Eurasian collared Dove
Eurasian Collared Dove (Location: Mirdif)

Laughing Dove
Laughing Dove (Location: Dubai Marina)

Blue Rock Pigeon (Location: Mirdif)
Blue Rock Pigeon (Location: Mirdif)

White-throated Munia (Location: Dubai Marina)
White-throated Munia (Location: Dubai Marina)

Purple Sunbird, female (Location: Mirdif)
Purple Sunbird, female (Location: Mirdif)

Purple Sunbird, male (Location: Mirdif)
Purple Sunbird, male (Location: Mirdif)

Pictures taken in Dubai, October 2014

Flamingo Festival 2013

The enchanting sight of infinite pink spots on the marshy Sewri mudflats is enough justification for a ride into this dusty, smoky industrial part of south Mumbai. Located along the Arabian Sea, on the eastern coast of the island city, the Sewri (pronounced Shivdi) Jetty is where the Mumbai Port Trust, Tata Electricals, Bhabha Atomic Research Centre and the refineries of ONGC, BPCL and HP are located. Dominated by mangroves, it is also the place where 15,000-17,000 migratory flamingos spend a few months every year (generally October-March).

Infinite pink spots with the backdrop of oil refineries

Continue reading