Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Nature Notes/Regeneration

 In some of my earlier posts I had lamented about how the empty plot of land near our house has been filled up with tons of soil and that apartments were coming up. But since the builders are probably waiting for some more time, it's been wonderful for the bees, the birds and the butterflies. Regeneration of grasses and other wild plants have been quick and I captured this bit of verdure from my balcony. There are several grasses with seeds and the other day I saw a flock of chestnut-tailed starlings feeding on them.
 There are many butterflies flitting about and the most prominently seen are the Peacock and Gray Pansy butterflies. I'm not too sure which one this is but looks like it's calling it a day at 3.30 pm.
My bachelor buttons are still attracting quite a few pollinators and this albatross butterfly is one of the regulars.
Scaly-breasted Munia (juvenile)
With all the grass seeds in abundance, could the seed-eaters be far behind? It was exciting to see a new bird in our area. My reference book titled Common Birds of the Indian Subcontinent by Ananda Banerjee says that this is the Scaly-breasted Munia/Lonchura punctulata. A small but active bird that feeds mainly on seeds. The adult has a dark stubby bill, brown upper parts and darker brown head. The underparts are white with scaly markings. The juvenile has lighter underparts.
It remains to be seen how long this patch of green will survive. But I'm glad that this period has given solace to so many wonderful creatures, however ephemeral that may be.

To see more posts on nature visit the home of Nature Notes.

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Backyard Birds

The Oriental Magpie-Robin (female)

Spotted Dove
Although there are plenty of birds in our area, these were the most active last week. The pair of doves abandoned their nest on our balcony after a chick fell out of the nest and died. If I had seen it earlier, maybe it'd have been saved. But they left and now are looking for another nesting site. It's such a wonderful feeling to wake up to the cooing of the doves...I hope they are happy with their new nesting place in the vicinity of our house. Meanwhile it's been a joy to photograph them on our berry tree.

To see more posts about what's happening in the world of nature, head over to Michelle's Rambling Woods.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

A Kingfisher & Lizards

Going up on our terrace to water my plants this morning I found this white-breasted kingfisher perched high. I ran downstairs for my camera and got these shots through the glass door. I dared not open the door or I'd have missed this chance. From my crouching point there was no flash of that magnificent blue but this is one of my favourite birds to photograph. Isn't that beak incredible? As soon as I had taken a few shots, it called out in that shrill voice. It's a commonly heard sound in our neighbourhood but that sound usually comes from the highest wires and alas, my camera has its shortcomings.

White-breasted or white-throated kingfisher is a tree kingfisher. According to Wiki, they can often be found well away from water where they feed on a wide range of prey that includes small reptiles, amphibians, crabs, small rodents, and even birds.
An early morning call!

Throughout summer I had photographed the lizards in my garden. I have even posted some of the photos from this collage before. This is a reminder of lizard activity particularly in the months of June and July. The picture below was taken on my Indian blackberry tree.

To see more posts on nature, visit the home of Nature Notes.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Tiny Creatures For Nature Notes

We've had several sudden showers this past week and the temperature has come down.
Amid my portulacas and bachelor buttons, I often see the tiniest of skippers feeding on the blooms.

Here's one of the blues on a Polyscias some time after the rain stopped.
Another skipper feeds on a yellow portulaca.
But yesterday's sunshiny day was much welcome. More chores get done when the clouds are gone. The best was the sight of the crescent moon shining through the leaves of my berry tree.

Visit the home of Nature Notes to see what's happening in the world of nature.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Nature Notes/More From Deepor Beel

The Golden Birdwing
I was back in the vicinity of Deepor Beel on Saturday. The sight of all the fabulous winged creatures that I had seen and photographed on my last visit kept haunting me so I had to go back again!!

The swallowtails were there again but this time their wings never stopped moving!! But I caught the patterns on the lower portion of this Golden Birdwing butterfly.
A dragonfly rests on a large dried leaf

And the carpenter bees are fond of the Rattlepod blooms/Crotalaria retusa. My reference book Common Book Of Indian Wild Flowers by Isaac Kehimkar says that gregarious patches of this shrub are common along river banks and fields. Bruised and dried plants are attractive to milkweed butterflies like Tigers and Crows, as a source of an alkoloid essential for their reproduction. The flowering period is from September to April.

A Common Sailer butterfly on a lantana bush and the wings of this dragonfly shimmers in the afternoon sun.

Two red-vented bulbuls on a bare tree. This tree also seems to be the favourite perch of bee-eaters.

A pleasant surprise to see when the picture loaded that it had the Golden Birdwing butterfly as well as the Common Picture wing dragonfly in one shot.

Around our house.

Spotted Dove nesting on one of the lamps in our balcony
Now that our cooler season will be here, I noticed this Shrike yesterday on the wires next to our house. They are said to move to warmer climes during the winter. Looks like I'll be seeing them around for a longer period of time since it's only September now.

And I was pleasantly surprised to see this Spotted Dove nesting on one of our lamps. This is on a balcony upstairs outside a guest room that isn't used often. I hope I'll be able to take some good shots of the young later.

There's more in store on Nature Notes at Michelle's Rambling Woods.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

An Orange Moth For Nature Notes

For today's Nature Notes I'm posting pictures from my archives. I saw this spectacular moth (looking at the head gear makes me think so) in my parents' backyard. This was taken two years ago and although I've looked at tons of Google images I haven't come across anything similar to this one. I'd be happy if anyone would be able to identify it for me.:)

There's more in store at Michelle's Rambling Woods.

Edited to add: My thanks to Cyren and Brittanie (see comment section) for identifying this spectacular insect. It's a type of Cranefly and not what I thought it was, a moth.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Nature Notes/Dragonflies & Butterflies Of Deepor Beel

The sky reflected in the calm waters of Deepor Beel

For today's post, my husband and I headed to Deepor Beel, the largest water body in our area. It's on the outskirts of our city and it's always a treat to be there and photograph the flora and fauna. If you remember my last Nature Notes post I had gone gaga over a solitary Common Picture Wing dragonfly in my garden. But at Deepor Beel, they were clouds of them flying in the air and on twigs and dead branches. The photo shows the male and female. Females have more of the black spots.

Scarlet Basker/Urothemis signata
Although this spectacular dragonfly is said to be fairly common around low-lying marshy areas, I haven't seen it in our neighbourhood. There were about a dozen of these beauties where I stopped to take tons of photos.
I couldn't resist taking these shots. Wherever I looked, they were there!!!

Another basker!

Trumpet Tail

A moth on a small stem of a wild bush.
Ditch Jewel

Clouds of Common Picture Wing dragonflies (again!) were hovering in the air. I only managed to capture a small "cloud".
Not sure what this one, and the one below, are called.

 A swallowtail butterfly larger than the ones I see in my garden, feeding on the blooms of the lantana. The lantana's blooms attract several butterflies. The plant  is one of the most invasive weeds in our region.
Another pretty dragonfly that I have never seen before.

A pair of bee-eaters
Golden Birdwing Butterfly

The Golden Birdwing is one of the largest and most beautiful Asian swallowtail butterflies. I have seen it a few times in our city's outskirts but had never managed a decent picture. They are very difficult to photograph as they flit from flower to flower, feeding only for split seconds!! I hadn't expected to see find this butterfly here. It was truly a day well spent!

There's more in store here at Michelle's meme Nature Notes....http://ramblingwoods.com/


Sunday, August 26, 2012

Today's Flowers/Desert Rose & Other Blooms

I'm thrilled that this small Desert Rose plant is blooming again. As you can see from one of the images in this collage that it isn't an impressive-looking plant but the cluster of blooms is a joy to see. I've taken the photos in rain and in shine and they seem to be happy whatever the weather.:)

Sunset Bells/Chrysothemis pulchella. The yellow blooms are short-lived but the orange sepals hang on for a while.
Flame Violet/Episcia cupreata from the family of African violets (below). This plant does well in hanging baskets and propagation is easy.

And lastly, the bachelor's buttons/Gomphrena globosa that I'm growing from seed has just started to bloom.I had somehow expected them to be a raging, wild shade of pink but I was surprised to see such a pure white with speckles of tiny yellow in between.

To see more blooms from around the world, check out Today's Flowers.