Rann of Kutch: Day 4 – Super speciality birding!

The critially endangered Sociable Plover - Vanellus gregarius

The critically endangered Sociable Plover - Vanellus gregarius

24th Jan, 2010: A day of “Super specialty birding” is what I would call the day! Swati and Aasim opted to stay back due to yesterday’s tiring drive. So I went along with Mr Jugal Tiwari to a thorn forest near Banni grassland searching for the first target species of the day. “White-naped Tit” – This species underwent a rapid population decline in the recent past. Its small, severely fragmented population continues to decline, although at a reduced rate, as a result of the loss, degradation and fragmentation of its tropical thorn-scrub habitat. It therefore qualifies as Vulnerable. Continue reading, has 14 more photos

Rann of Kutch: Day 3 – Bonanza continues…

Crab-plover - Dromas ardeola

Crab-plover - Dromas ardeola

23rd Jan, 2010: Started the day with an excyrsion to the Naliya Grasslands. The trip started off well with spotting of a Male Pallid Harrier soaking up the heat of the early morning sun. As soon as we had enough of the Harrier we spotted another beautiful lifer Black Francolin. Continue reading, There are 24 more photos

Rann of Kutch: Day 2 – A day of plenty!

Grey Hypocolius- Hypocolius ampelinus (male)

Grey Hypocolius- Hypocolius ampelinus (male)

22nd Jan, 2010:  The night was an uneasy one for Swati, she sweated out her fever, but that had the advantage – she was feeling much better in the morning.

We were up at 6:00 and out at 6:30 as planned. It was pretty cold in the Banni Grasslands. The first target species for the day was Grey Hypocolius Hypocolius ampelinus. A very interesting bird that migrates all the way from Middle East to Kutch, Gujrat to spend the winter.  We had to walk about a kilometer into someone’s field to get to the spot. Our guide fro the day Mohammad, Yes – that was his name and he insisted it was just that, told us that just as the sun rises the Hypocolius will also rise to the top branches. We stood there for a while, except for White cheeked bulbuls nothing showed up. Continue reading, there are 26 more photos

Rann of Kutch: Day 1 – Arrival

Steppe Eagle in Banni Grasslands

Steppe Eagle, Aquila nipalensis

This time I kept a daily journal of our trip and I am reproducing it here as it was written without any changes…

21st Jan, 2010: We started from home at 7:50am, a wee bit late by my estimate but Swati was cool with it so I did not say anything. Flight was on time, Security people did not question too much about the Camera gear we were carrying.

We had a 3-hour layover at Mumbai, while on the customary “browse the bookstore” round I found a new book by Richard Bach “Hypnotizing Maria” – more on that book perhaps in a separate post later. The flight to Bhuj was delayed by an hour. As we came into land at Bhuj, Aasim remarked, “Looks like we are landing in middle of no where!” We got out of the aircraft to the thundering sound of fighter jets on low flying sorties. The Indian Air Force shares the Bhuj airport. Continue reading

Bird list from Kutch visit, 21st Jan 2010 to 28th Jan 2010

Am sure I have missed some larks and warblers which I just didn’t care to note and a few waders which I could not identify. The thing I am most thrilled about is having 37 lifers

  1. Grey Francolin Francolinus pondicerianus
  2. Black Francolin Francolinus francolinus – Lifer
  3. Yellow-legged Buttonquail Turnix tanki
  4. Indian Peafowl Pavo cristatus
  5. Lesser Whistling-duck Dendrocygna javanica
  6. Gadwall Anas strepera
  7. Spot-billed Duck Anas poecilorhyncha
  8. Common Teal Anas crecca
  9. Garganey Anas querquedula
  10. Northern Pintail Anas acuta
  11. Northern Shoveler Anas clypeata
  12. Yellow-crowned Woodpecker  Dendrocopus mahrattensis
  13. Common Hoopoe Upupa epops
  14. Indian Roller Coracias benghalensis
  15. Common Kingfisher Alcedo atthis Read the complete list of 160

Eurasian Wryneck – A woodpecker which is unlike any…

A woodpecker unlike any other - Eurasian Wryneck

Eurasian Wryneck

Eurasian Wrynecks are somewhat uncommon in Nagpur. They are winter visitors to India and till very recently I did not know that they are actually woodpeckers because they are unlike any other woodpeckers. Continue reading to find out more and a video of why they are called Wrynecks

My first photo of 2010

Banzai!!! - Explored

Banzai!! A Black-winged kite launches for an attack

I just realized that this was the first photo that I took in 2010. We were on our regular morning walk and the roads were pretty much deserted. This particular fellow we have been tracking since it was a juvenile just out of the nest. Usually raptors are very camera shy but this individual I would like to think knows us and likes to pose ;-)

This photo also made it to Flickr explore on 6th Jan 2010

Plain Tiger (Danaus chrysippus)

Plain Tiger (Danaus chrysippus)

Plain Tiger (Danaus chrysippus)

The Plain Tiger (Danaus chrysippus) or outside Asia, African Monarch, is a common butterfly which is widespread in Asia and Africa. It belongs to the Danainae (“Milkweed butterflies”) subfamily of the brush-footed butterfly family, Nymphalidae.

It is believed to be one of the first butterflies to be used in art. A 3500 year old Egyptian fresco in Luxor features the oldest illustration of this species.

The Plain Tiger can be considered the archetypical danaine of India. Accordingly, this species has been studied with in greater detail than other members of its subfamily occurring in India.

See an earlier post on Striped Tiger (Danaus genutia)

Ref: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Danaus_chrysippus

20th Photo on Flickr Explore

The 20 on Explore

The 20 on Explore

Woke up to find I have the 20th entry into Flickr explore

1. Eye of the tiger!!, 2. The woodpecker and the squirrel, 3. Indian Pitta, 4. Red-crested Pochard – male, 5. Barn Swallow, 6. Common picturewing – Rhyothemis variegata, 7. Tickell’s Blue Flycatcher, 8. Cleared for landing!!,

9. I know that smell!!, 10. Damsels in love ;-) , 11. Yellow on yellow! One-spot Grass Yellow Butterfly (Eurema andersonii), 12. Magenta dragonfly – Aurora themis(?), 13. Striped Tiger (Danaus genutia) II, 14. Striped Tiger (Danaus genutia), 15. Common Leopard (Phalanta phalantha), 16. Blue grass dartlet damselfly,

17. Ummm… This size will fit her!, 18. Green on green – Merops orientalis, 19. Cuddle party!, 20. Tigress with cubs at Pench National Park

Half of what 2009 was….

  1. June 22nd 2009 revived the journal/blog.
  2. June 30th 2009 Contributed to two small Open source projects – JQuery Autocorrect and WordPress DateTitle.
  3. July 2nd 2009 Sangita was here. Met her after a gap of 10 years.
  4. July 7th 2009 Saw more FOSS contribution from SANIsoft – this time 3 more jQuery plugins.
  5. July 19th 2009 Wrote a post on Single Light portraits – this post is currently the most read post on this blog.
  6. July 21st 2009 On the eve of a total solar eclipse in India I recalled my experience of 1980 of seen a total solar eclipse.
  7. August 9th 2009 We initiated Nagpur PHP Meetups with a aim of getting Nagpur on the PHP map of the world, no where there yet!.
  8. September 19th 2009 I turned 43 and was wished by more people than ever before.
  9. October 7th 2009 One of my pictures made it to #1 on Flickr explore and I wrote some tips on how I got there.
  10. November 17th 2009 Rescued a Russell’s Viper on the even of Aasim’s Birthday
  11. December 1st 2009 Attended foss.in/2009 did not write about it but tweeted a lot during the event
  12. December 18th 2009 Released a WordPress plugin to import Flickr comments into posts

Well the year had a lot more than the above 12 points but that is mostly too personal to write right now – someday if all the characters permit it will make one hell of a story!!