Commitments to keep

While the world seems to be crashing around in bomb blasts I have been trying to keep up my trivial, mundane and not too boring commitments – Adding about 5 pictures daily to, If you are still interested add as a friend.

NagpurBirds, a site dedicated to showcasing the avian life of the oft overlooked city of Nagpur went live on 16th July 2005 at 7:30am.

Nagpur, centrally located city of the country has three major water bodies right at the edge of the city with surrounding forest land making it a perfect habitat for a wide variety of land as well as waterbirds. The site features a double verified list of 309 species of birds which have been recorded in the city (that is within 30 minutes driving distance from the center of the city).

The list on includes some surprises. Hitherto unrecorded birds in the region like the European Roller, Cinnamon Bittern, Little Tern along with several other endangered species have been spotted and captured on camera.

The NagpurBirds website has a fairly extensive and feature rich photo gallery of birds found in Nagpur. Currently the site has 123 photographs for 115 birds out of the total 309 birds listed. It is our modest aim to increase number of photographs to reach 1000 in next six months and the number of birds species photographed to 150.

Photographers/bird lovers who have taken photographs of birds in Nagpur are encouraged to submit their photographs to the site. The contribution of the photographers will be acknowledged on the website.

The list of 309 birds in download-able (pdf) format in two versions, a short version with common names and long version with common names and Zoological names of the birds is available on the site.

An easy to use bird trip recording (and viewing) module is a special feature that the site offers. The data gleaned from this module will give further insights about the avian population of Nagpur city

A RSS feed with information on latest uploads and latest bird trips is available to those who want to keep abreast with the site happenings –

The website code is written in PHP and based on the popular Coppermine Picture Gallery. The code will soon be made freely available under GPL for people who want to make similar websites for birds, animals, insects etc.

I request you to please forward this mail to other relevant groups and bird lovers. Comments/Critiques most welcome.

Thanks and happy birding


This is what I have been busy with recently – finally it is live, now to live up to the claims 🙂 Though getting 1000 pictures in by 31st Dec will not be a problem, getting the species number upto 150 might be…


Swati’s latest T’Shirt says

I am not a bitch
I am THE Bitch

Yeah! it is pink colored

Damsels in love

Damsel flies mating

Had initially considered putting this post behind a LJ-cut but that according to some would be a very cruel joke 😉

Anyways… I caught these yesterday morning on our Sunday morning bird walk and like it so often happens with me – The camera had the wrong lens – The EXIF on the picture is
Exposure Time: 1/100 sec
FNumber: f 8
Flash: Flash, Auto-Mode, Return light detected
Focal length: 400 mm

Can anyone ID these?

Retire at 7??

I was just about to retire from LJ when I read Life cycle of bloggers and then in succession how I might be in the trap of 7 combined with how to beat a writers block

So what am I doing – I am writing to beat my writers block and how I am not going to get embroiled in the trap of 7 by retiring from Live Journal

Damn! all these articles should come with a age rating, because by the time you reach my age you have long realised that there is no 10 but what is inside you and when things are to be done there is only one way – Put your head down start and finish it – also comes the enlightenment that the purpose in life is not to get things done BUT to do things which make you happy, I will further shorten that last statement and say that the purpose of life is to be happy – All your other actions follow from this peculiar tenet.

Wait! this is not so original as it may sound, some one very very great had almost the same thought and went ahead to find enlightenment beneath a tree! Is the net with its far reaching branches and roots the modern day equivalent of that tree by any chance?

Ha! what a thought… …

Hmmm, Like I said, old age, which I define as anything nearer to 40 years, does somethings to you – I already am feeling the urge to stop writing and doing something better like taking out my camera and clicking some pictures

Does a LiveJournal entry of about 280 words qualify as having beaten the writers block?

In the immortal words from the classic, “frankly…I dont give a damn.”

A whole new meaning!!!!

I can show you the world
Shining, shimmering, splendid
Tell me, princess, now when did
You last let your heart decide?

I can open your eyes
Take you wonder by wonder
Over, sideways and under

On a magic carpet ride

A whole new world
A new fantastic point of view
No one to tell us no
Or where to go
Or say we’re only dreaming

A whole new world
A dazzling place I never knew
But when I’m way up here
It’s crystal clear
That now I’m in a whole new world with you
Now I’m in a whole new world with you

Unbelievable sights
Indescribable feeling
Soaring, tumbling, freewheeling
Through an endless diamond sky

A whole new world
Don’t you dare close your eyes
A hundred thousand things to see
Hold your breath – it gets better
I’m like a shooting star
I’ve come so far

I can’t go back to where I used to be

A whole new world
Every turn a surprise
With new horizons to pursue
Every moment red-letter
I’ll chase them anywhere
There’s time to spare
Let me share this whole new world with you

A whole new world
That’s where we’ll be
A thrilling chase
A wondrous place
For you and me

Some things are sometimes perhaps best left unanalysed – this used to be just a fairy tale romance song – till someone sent this emphasized version and drew attention to this and several other innuendos in Disney movies – Yes, the discussion context was indeed once again DaVinci Code and allied topics

Flash news!

Scaly-breasted munia

Sometime last week I acquired SB800 Speed light but it was only yesterday that I could take it out for a real field test and I am pleased with the results – the flash can indeed reach the distances given by the Guide Numbers. This shot of Scaly-breasted Munia was one of the pictures taken yesterday. The sky was heavily overcast and there was a slight drizzle. Without the flash all I would have got would be dark shapes!!

Anyway no more excuses like “I indeed wanted the bird to be back-lit” or “Dude, thats rim lighting – the bird is not meant to be visible” 😉 However rim lighting still remains my favorite for most of my models and perhaps thats got something to do with my models

I also tried to get this lens, yes has the same one, but both the pieces which the dealer got would not play with my TC20e II (no autofocus – menus jumping etc) – anyone with more info on how to mate the two properly would be welcome. For now I have given up on trying to get a longer focal length – correctly mentioned that it is time Nikon had a decent offering in the 500mm f4 range like Canon does.

Talking about not playing well, yesterday I changed my LJ style from the old S1 to an S2 -to my surprise most S2 styles get messed up if you have a picture in your post which is taller than the text of your post – may be just like the lens + tele-convertor I am missing something with the styles as well.

The new bride

Velvet mites

Known variously as Velvet Mite, Rani Keeda, Rain Mite, Beerboti and Bir Bahuti. These insects are related to mites, yes the same mites which you can find on dogs! Scientific name – Trombidium grandissimum. They emerge from the ground just after first rains and are found almost through out the central Indian plains…

As children we use to go to the grave yard to collect them and make them race, keep in glass jars – we knew that they are used in traditional medicine and felt very yuck!! who would want to eat them.

It turns out that amongst it purported medicinal property is some similarity with Viagra… in fact the name Bir Bahuti – literally meaning “the new bride” is an allusion to that very myth.

This myth will probably be the cause of its ultimate destruction – over the years a huge international market has emerged for it and they are collected not few at a time but by kilograms!! They are then dried in sun and shipped to Varanasi where there are Bir Bahuti oil extraction factories.

These specimen were collected by Aasim from a location where I suspect that a population of them is thriving unknown to these collectors – I just hope it remains that way.