Friday, December 31, 2010

Skywatch Friday

For today's Skywatch I'm posting pictures sent to me by my friend, Smita. All these pictures were taken in the mountainous region of Arunachal Pradesh (on the way to the town of Tawang). With the fog and the clouds you can barely see the mountain top here. With altitude ranging from 10,000 to 13,000" the views are spectacular!
One often comes across herds of yak. This solitary yak is silhouetted against a cloudy sky!
Only in the mountains you'll come across a sight like this! So beautiful and so peaceful.

My thanks to the Skywatch team for hosting this hugely popular meme. For the best skyshots around the world, go to

Thursday, December 30, 2010

The Common Grass Yellow

The Common Grass Yellow butterfly/Eurema hecabe simulata feeding on the penta and the mums in my yard. This is a medium-sized butterfly that flies close to the ground. Its wingspan is about 40mm. It belongs to the family Pieridae.

This year I couldn't take very many shots of butterflies so it's a pleasure to be able to click any kind that stops by for a sip of nectar! Here is an Irish blessing that I found online...words that I would wish for all my blog friends and visitors...always!

May the wings of the butterfly kiss the sun
And find your shoulder to light on,
To bring you luck, happiness and riches
Today, tomorrow and beyond.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Red-vented Bulbul

Some time ago I had posted pictures (in my other blog) of bulbuls perched on a clump of sunflower plants. Here's one of the shots again with the barely noticeable birds...this was taken in July in Delhi. Ginny of Let Your Light Shine asked me whether I could post clearer pictures some other time. Well, I was lucky! The other day I spotted the red-vented bulbul on my neighbour's terrace. These aren't the best shots but so much better than the ones I had taken in Delhi on my cell phone.

The red-vented bulbul/Pycnonotus cafer is a member of the passerine birds. It is resident breeder in tropical southern Asia, from Pakistan to south-west China. It has been introduced and has established itself in the wild in many Pacific islands including Fiji, Somoa, Tonga, and Hawaii.It has also established itself in parts of Dubai,the United Arab Emirates, and New Zealand.

The size of the bulbul is about 20-22 cms. The crest and the crimson patch at the root of its tail gives the bird a distinctive appearance. This is a bird of dry scrub, open forest, plains, and cultivated lands. Bulbuls feed on berries, nectar, insects, and occasionally geckos. In the Pacific islands and in New Zealand they are considered pests because they damage crops. They are also known to disperse the seeds of invasive plants such as lantana camara and miconia calvescens.
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Saturday, December 25, 2010

Weekend Reflections

I am joining Weekend Reflections hosted by James @
This meme runs Friday at 11am EST through 11pm Sunday.

A scene from summer. From a journey back home during the rainy season when the rice fields were green and the flooding caused by the rains reflected a brooding sky. The green interspersed with the reflected blue/white of the sky was as far as the eye could see. Looking back, I'm glad I captured this image from a (slow) moving car. When you cross the city's outskirts in summer, this is the scene that you see...rice fields and dragonflies in their hundreds!!
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Friday, December 24, 2010

Christmas Eve Skywatch Friday

Although we don't get to see this kind of scene around here, the neighbouring state of Arunachal Pradesh in the foothills of the Himalayas has these spectacular sights. This was taken by my friend, Smita Agarwal, in October this year on her way to Tawang The snow-capped mountains speak of distance and the wire speaks of human habitation,
To see more Skywatch photos from around the world, please click here.

I wish all my blogger friends and visitors A Merry Christmas and a wonderful year ahead! 
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Thursday, December 23, 2010

The Oriental Magpie-Robin

 A bird that is commonly seen around our gardens and neighbourhoods is this one---the oriental magpie-robin/Copsychus saularis.. It's a small bird, a little bigger than a sparrow. The male as you can see from the picture is darker. Both male and female have a white-fringed tail.

 The female is more of grey than black. I love to hear the melodious call of these birds. They feed on the insects in my garden and I often see them on the ground foraging amidst the fallen leaves. Although these birds have attempted to build their nest on one of my trees, the crows never let them. But I'm glad to see them everyday seeking food, if not shelter, in my garden. All the photos in this post have been taken on my mango tree and its surroundings.
The magpie-robin is the national bird of Bangladesh where it is known as the Doyel. It is a widely used symbol there, appearing on currency notes and a landmark in the city of Dhaka is known as Doyel Chatwar meaning Doyel Square.
In order to see birds it is necessary to become part of the silence.~ Robert Lynd

Tuesday, December 21, 2010


Although I get to see a few chrysalids around my small garden every year, not every butterfly can come into the world. There are predators lurking amidst the leaves. I started this blog with the birth of the Common Crow butterfly.These jewels look most striking when they're new and green. You can see how the colour changes as the days go by. After waiting eagerly for the final emergence, you can imagine my disappointment at the sight of the little opening on the chrysalis.

It must've been this spider lurking around here to suck the life out of an unborn butterfly.
And talking about spiders, looks like it's a spider eat spider world.
And here's a damselfly feasting voraciously on the remnants of what looks like a fly!

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Friday, December 17, 2010

Skywatch Friday

Welcome to Skywatch Friday where bloggers from across the world post photos of sky shots. This scene was taken in Delhi from my cousin's balcony on the sixth floor. I thought the outline of the bell hung from the balcony roof overlooking the bustle of south Delhi and the pale blue sky would make a blogworthy capture.:)

My thanks to the Skywatch team. To see more skyscapes click here:-
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Thursday, December 16, 2010


We see a lot of skippers around here but most of them are either grey or brown. Skipper butterflies are named so because of their quick, darting flight habits. They belong to the family Hesperiidae. Skippers are found all across the world and there are about 3500 different kinds.

This one was on a potato plant in my sister's garden. Checking my favourite bug website (, I found out that it's called the Fulvous pied flat. I love that mix of brown, cream, and mustard on its wings. And I rarely get to photograph them with the wings spread out like that. What a treat it was to be able to get a shot like this!:)
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Tuesday, December 14, 2010

The Common Indian Tree Frog

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The other day as I went to open the front door in the morning, guess who was at my doorstep? This little tree frog that I had seen a few times before was looking a little lost and didn't know which way to go!;) I helped it out with a little stick (on which it climbed) and then I placed it next to my Monstera plant. It quickly grasped a new leaf and stayed like that for several minutes giving me the opportunity to take several shots.

The Common Indian tree frog/Polypedates maculatus is mostly brownish, yellowish, greyish, or whitish with darker spots and markings. They are about 7 to 8 centimetres in body length. Their call is a sudden short and rapid series of rattling rats-tats. It is widespread throughout Bhutan, India, Nepal, and Srilanka as well as western and southern Bangladesh. Its range might also extend to China and Myanmar.

They have dry roosts that they may use regularly. They wipe themselves with skin secretions consisting of mucus and lipids that help in reducing moisture loss. When temperatures are higher, they secrete from the skin, pant and adopt lighter colours. (Source: Wikipedia).

Here are some facts about frogs that I found online:-

Frogs shed their skin several times a year. They also eat their skin.

A group of frogs is called an army and a group of toads is called a knot!

In Brazil, the world's only fruit eating frog leaps with its mouth wide open at ripe fruit hanging on trees.

The world's biggest frog is the Goliath frog/Conraua goliath. They can grow to nearly a foot in length.


Thursday, December 9, 2010


Now that it's winter, it's a common sight to see a skink or two basking in the morning sun. I saw this one the other day in a neglected part of my back yard. There's only some kind of growth here so it must've been happy with the sunlight.

Skink is a small ground-dwelling lizard easily recognized by its glossy scales. It has enlarged symmetrical shields on the head, a broad flat tongue, and movable eyelids. The small limbs and elongated body gives it the appearance of snakes. Skink is striped, cross-barred, or spotted and lacks the ability to change colour but the male skinks acquire red or orange hues during the breeding season. These skinks are the most common lizards of the world with over six hundred species. About half the species of the skinks lay eggs, and the rest of them bear living young. These reptiles are generally insectivorous.

Had it not been for the limbs,this one could have been easily mistaken for a snake. I get startled sometimes, but one look at the limbs and I breathe a sigh of relief! Now I'll be on the lookout for another kind, the striped one. You might be interested in reading about the Writhing Skink here.

Thank you for stopping by today.

Laughter is the sun that drives winter from the human face.~ Victor Hugo

Monday, December 6, 2010

Pretty Little Moth

I came across this moth in the early hours one morning two years ago in my parents' yard. It was only recently that I found out what it's called. I checked out my favourite bug site It's a zygaenid moth called Pidorus gemina. This was the one and only time that I came across a moth with a colouration of this kind.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

A Lizard And A Frog

Common garden lizard
Lizards are seen throughout the year but now that the temperature has come down  they like to bask in the sun. And every time I go out to the back yard or the front yard, I see a few of them in various stages of basking-in-the-sun.  Here's one I saw the other day on a stack of to-be-reused-old window frames.
You can see from the picture that there's a bit of old skin left on this lizard's neck. Unlike snakes, lizards shed their skin in patches. Before lizards shed their skin they tend to look dull and white patches appear on their bodies. Lizards eat the skin that comes off and the nutrients in it are beneficial for them.                                                                                                                                            

And here's a backyard resident, so called  because that's where I often see it. I'm happy with the butterflies, bees, and dragonflies, but it's nice to see some more variety around my yard.