Jaane kahan gaye woh din!!!

OK! am not crying over some long lost passion – it is just that the last week zoomed past and I hardly remember what happened.

Ugh! senile dementia? naaay I am too young for it.

Early last week we were asked to foster a Shikra chick who is about 4 weeks old and that was the exciting bit for the entire week – Caring for raptors is an entirely different ball game as compared to other birds. Birds of prey are more intelligent and more affectionate and demand more attention. Since we intend to release him once he is big enough we are avoiding any deliberate imprinting – still he recognises me and Swati and prefers Swati. In fact on Saturday he hopped on to Swati’s lap and demanded food by stomping his foot and opening its beak, also while he can easily tear into our fingers with his talons and beak he has not done so…

Work on the new home is in full swing – the door and window frames for the ground floor were made last week – this week we are seeing the brickwork for the walls up till the lintel level being completed.

Weather has changed completely – we just escaped a fairly heavy down pour, while it does cool down the place it also means that the monsoons are likely to be less than expected. Wednesday morning we leave for a week long holiday – We are meeting Kishore’s family at Bedaghat and from there we will proceed to Bandhavgard and then to Kanha. Rains also mean that there will less animals out in the open. However I am hoping that this spell will clear off soon.

Damn! but what else did I do last week?

Swati 1, Swati 2, Swati 3, Swati 4

Arrrrghh!!! Sometimes I feel that I am married to 4 different women!

Watching Flamingos at Sewri Mudflats

Flamingo at Sewri

The plan started from here A BIG thanks to the very helpful and sweet who made it happen.

The original plan was that we will take an early morning local train from Thane to reach Dadar at around 7am and from there Ashwini would take us to Sewri. However one of Swati’s friend somehow got enthused enough to wake up at 5:30 am on a Sunday and wanted to accompany us, plus was willing to drive us to Dadar. This was indeed creditable on his part as this was his very first birding trip and his usual Sunday waking up time is somewhere around late afternoon.

A fast drive and we reach Dadar station a bit early. We made good use of the time drinking cut chai from the roadside thela. From Dadar station Ashwini skillfully drove us to the observation point on the jetty where the first thing I noticed was a fairly muscular man doing push-ups right in the middle!

It took a while for the fact to sink in that the complete place was swarming with Flamingos. At the same time I also noticed what I had been warned about – the light! We were in the west and all the birds were either back lit or short lit. Photographing them was not going to be too rewarding…

However since we did not have time enough to be there in the evening this was the best we could have.

NO! we were not disappointed at all. After a few shots from the jetty Shishir took the initiative and talked to the pehelwan on the boat which was docked there. Soon we trooped on to the deck with our equipment. The birds were very close from that vantage point. Next two hours were spent in haven!

There are several more pictures of the Sand Plover and Curlew Sandpiper which I will upload as soon as I get some more time…. for now take a look at some of the flamingo pictures HERE

BarCampMumbai – lip-smacking good!

Mongoose

Lip-smacking good! a rather odd adjective to describe a technical (un)conference but thats what it was! To divert into vernacular I would describe it as “bum majja aaya”. Since the declared primary objective for us was to meet friends, brain storm and have fun – we did just that. As soon as we reached the IIT campus we met up with Shreyas and Kaustubh right at the gate. From there we managed to find the venue easily, however before actually climbing up to the halls we treated ourselves to hot idlis and coffee and Shreyas opted for coke. Aasim would have love that – Coke for breakfast! however he had opted to stay with his maasi rather than attend the barcamp. Discussions started right away and before the cuppa was finished we had drawn a conclusion “A Geek’s girlfriend is web 2.0” – She has a face, at times a front end with rounded corners but beyond that she is mostly just a nice concept 😉

Soon we were joined by Mohit, followed by Atul, we migrate to the higher levels of the building, located the halls where things were supposed to happen and plonked ourselves on the podium floor. Atul got busy in trying to get the net access up Shreyas hijacked my TP to burn a DVD for his demo. We were shooed off after a while when the first speaker started. Yes I know in the spirit of the barcamp I am supposed to write about the content of the talks but then #1 there are several people who have already done it #2 I was too busy talking to friends outside in the corridors to pay much attention to the talks. In fact true to the spirit of barcamp the conversations outside were very very interesting, ranging from purely technical to purely irrelevant.

Some random tidbits

Met for the first time.
Project Eklavya from IIT-B about which Prof. Dr. D. B. Pathak is a very good concept.
The lunch was very very good – Thanks to whoever fixed the menu.
I did speak about Coppermine (mostly) and Pixelpost.
Network somehow died soon after the sessions started.

Monday morning has caught up with me…

Today marks the duo-decennial anniversary of our marriage. Hard to imagine that about 10 years ago we had sat down and agreed to give it another year to work out…

Red-necked Phalarope in Nagpur!

If you are into birdwatching then pick up your favorite field guide and look up the distribution map for Red-necked Phalarope, then hop over here to see some pictures of the same that I clicked yesterday at Wena Lake, Nagpur.

We also saw some Little Terns nesting – once again this is the first record for Little Terns nesting at Nagpur. Though Nagpur is waaaay inland for these birds I would like to now call them Summer Breeding Migrants

7. A peadiatrician and a forensic expert, how did you become a PHP geek

This entry is for in response to her 7. A peadiatrician and a forensic expert, how did you become a PHP geek?. I have written about it in bits and pieces, most of my friends know about it and my most common remark is “I got bored of being a doctor!” but thats not really correct. Here is it again for her and yes some day Aasim might want to show it to someone….

Continue if still interested….

We will be at BarCamp Mumbai

All three of us are going to be there at BarCamp Mumbai. I may chicken out of my proposed talk “Your pictures on on your website” in favour of enjoying more with all you guys…

P.S. Yes, I know my talk title is the base line for Gallery ;)

Punching Pench

The week was threatening to be one of those usual ones with people, programming and politics etc. However landed up here, Saturday morning on his way to Pench and I after some hesitation decided to tag along for a day. We (myself, Aasim and Kallu) started early afternoon and Swati was game enough to join us in the night. Pench is just 90kms from Nagpur and yet we had never visited the place before this….

I was not expecting to see much wild life but I was pleasantly surprised. The carnivore population of the place is nowhere as high as Kanha but as lovers of all wildlife we never run after the tiger like most of the others visiting the place. In fact I really pity the people who say they did not see anything just because they did not manage to spot a tiger – folks open your eyes please!!!

Rightly guessed we did not see a tiger either but I got some good pictures of Jackals and the Blue Bull (it actually is an antelope), a rare full frame of a Cheetal suckling a fawn. I say rare because the Cheetal mothers usually bolt as soon as they see a vehicle stop, specially while they are feeding… but this girl let me fire at least half a dozen shots before she decided that she had posed enough. We saw vultures both white-back and long-billed am thrilled to say that Pench is supporting a population of at least 60+ Kallu got, according to him, his first decent shots of Yellow Wattled lapwing and I am sure over a period of next two days he will surely spot the tigress….

On the work front – Two new programmers joined in today, last week one of the new girls quit for a weird reason – she wanted to go to Pune give an interview for experience, she was emphatic that she wants to work with SANIsoft for at least an year but she wanted to give this call center interview for experience. I really can’t understand what this with interview experience?

We declined the leave and she choose to quit instead. Today morning she calls up and says she wants to continue – I would be damned… Well, too late, we already have replacements in place.

Lastly, as a remedy to Aasim’s boredom we have employed him as a part time summer trainee at SANIsoft his job entails finish learning logo and ensuring that all the M$ Windows machines are duly up to date. He got smart to the idea and even negotiated a stipend from his mother and a 5 day week.

P.S. Pictures will take some time to be processed – too much work today :(

[Update]
The pench pictures are HERE
[/update]