Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Nature Notes/ A Busy Yard!

My little clump of blue salvia is attracting several butterflies. I caught this Peacock Pansy butterfly through the window pane on a hot and sunny afternoon a few days ago.
My potted Maidenhair fern has a rather colourful visitor!

While weeding in the garden I came across this pale frog on a day lily plant. I think I'm seeing more frogs this year. Although I don't know much about frogs, it's always nice to find a new one amid my plants!

Last night's shower must be the reason the damselflies were around this morning. I saw three of them today but they are so tiny that it's difficult to see the actual colours in my photos. 

One of those pretty blues on the blue salvia. This was also photographed today.

And now a collage of the latest finds around my house and yard.. Clockwise...a green spider on the floor of the corridor leading to my kitchen, a green insect on the tender leaf of the Cardboard Palm, a tiny beetle on the wall, and a newly opened zinnia (I don't think I've grown this shade before).

To see more on what's going around in the world of nature, visit Nature Notes at Rambling Woods.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Nature Notes/In My Area

A closer look at the head
They are everywhere! It's caterpillar season!:) But rather than post every hairy scary one that I find, I decided one colourful one is enough for today's post! Aren't the patterns amazing? I found it on the leaf of the Rangoon Creeper/Quisqualis indica.
Rangoon Creeper growing near on the western side of our compound
A short note about this plant...the unique thing about this plant also known as the Chinese Honeysuckle is that the blooms are white when they first appear. Then they turn to a light shade of pink. When this change takes place, dark pink stripes form at the back of the petals. Finally the whole flower turns to a dark shade of pink before withering away. So the vine has all the colours on display.

I caught the setting sun the other day from the terrace. The way the trees lit up on that low hill on the western horizon was something I hadn't captured before. 
The White-breasted water hen

And the water hen, yes the white-breasted one, was kind enough to pose for me. If only the heat had that kind of effect on all the other birds too!!
There's so much happening all the time in the world of nature and I'm so glad to be able to share my observations on Nature Notes. For more posts that you'll surely love to read, visit Michelle at Rambling Woods, the home of Nature Notes.

Purple Sunbird

Not the clearest pictures but I did my bit of crouching-tiger-hidden-dragon moves to get these shots.:) Sunbirds are small passerine birds belonging to the family Nectariniidae. The family is distributed throughout Africa, south Asia, and northern Australia. They feed mainly on nectar but also take insects and spiders when feeding their young. Flower tubes that bar access to nectar are simply punctured at the base near the nectaries. Fruit is part of the diet of some species. Their flight is fast and direct on their short wings. According to Wiki, the sunbirds have counterparts in two very distantly related groups: the hummingbirds of the Americas and the honeyeaters of Australia. The resemblances are due to convergent evolution brought about by a similar nectar-feeding lifestyle. Some sunbird species can take nectar by hovering like a hummingbird but usually perch to feed.

My last WBW post had the female of this species. A rather dull combination if you compare this metallic dark blue, appearing to be almost black from a distance. To see more of our feathered friends, visit the home of World Bird Wednesday.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Nature Notes/Petals & Wings

After a lull, the four o'clock flowers have started blooming again. How fascinating it is to see Mother Nature's patterns on the petals. Every bloom of the same plant with a different signature style!!
I took this photo yesterday as I was watering my potted plants. It landed on a palm leaf but took off before I could get another shot. Certainly not the ones that I usually photograph, this one appeared to be longer than other dragonflies.

The usual ones are about this length. This was also photographed near the same spot a few months ago.

The white-breasted water hen is one bird that I see everyday. Here it is foraging in a puddle created by one of the sudden showers that we have pretty often. 

Visit the home of Nature Notes to see more posts on what's happening in the world of nature. This is a meme that I love to participate in as I'm constantly looking for anything new (to me), unique, and beautiful in my surroundings. And in other bloggers' posts as well.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

A Drongo And A Sunbird

I often tell myself that the wires near our house have taught me more about birds than any book!! The other day I caught the Black Drongo preening and feeding on this perch.

Black drongos are glossy birds with forked tails. Sexes look alike. These birds are said to be highly beneficial to agriculture as they feed on vast quantities of harmful insects. Apart from insects they also feed on smaller birds and occasionally, flower nectar.
I was very happy to be able to photograph this tiny sunbird as it came to feed on my plants. The male was a dark metallic blue. Unfortunately it was too fast for me but this female continued feeding on the penta (below).

Click here to see more of our feathered friends from across the world.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Nature Notes/ Scenes From This Season

Although I had posted about the several caterpillars on my lemon plants, many did not survive or were devoured by other predators. The ones that made it was when I was away on holiday so I didn't see them. This is what I found this morning underneath the leaf of a ficus plant, the beautiful chrysalis of the Common Crow butterfly. I hope this one makes it.

With the rains there's a proliferation of tadpoles and water snails in the large puddles that the rain's created. The other day I saw this toad (?) in one corner of my small garden.

Although the common dragonflies are busy flitting about  our neighbourhood, the striking blue ones can only be seen on the outskirts of the city. Like this blue dragonfly that I had a tough time capturing. Despite not getting a clear shot I'm posting it anyway. You can imagine how that blue brilliance must have looked against the sunlight...something I couldn't quite get in my shot.

A kind of insect that I found in the vicinity. Not sure what this one is.
I'm so thrilled to see the blooms and fruit on my star fruit tree. It hasn't grown into a tree as yet. It's in a large pot but it looks like we'll get to relish at least a bowlful of sweet star fruit!

To see more posts on nature, visit Michelle's Rambling Woods, the home of Nature Notes.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Birds at Wagah


Some kind of nests on the Mexican Oleander tree

These pictures were taken at the Wagah  border, a place in the state of Punjab bordering Pakistan. We had gone to see the lowering of the flags ceremony, a daily military practice that the security forces of India and Pakistan have jointly followed since 1959. While we were there I went around taking pictures of the flowers and the wildlife but I only managed these two bird shots.:( A parrot and a dove (I think).

The Indian side of the border. You can see the Pakistani structure in the background.
This post is for World Bird Wednesday.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Nature Notes/Rock Garden of Chandigarh

My recent holiday with my sister and her three children took us more than two thousand miles away in the northern part of India. It was a truly enjoyable time we had. While we were in the city of Chandigarh we visited the Rock Garden. This garden is unique because it is like an open exhibition hall with sculptures, waterfalls, courtyards, and the way waste products have been used to create a garden.. The objects on display are all made from urban and industrial waste. Some of the material used are auto parts, forks, bicycle handle bars, metal wires, porcelain, broken bangles, and so on. It's a huge area with about five thousand sculptures, pathways, labyrinths, and courtyards. 

There are hundreds of figurines on display. The garden was built by Nek Chand Saini and is a must-see list on a visit to Chandigarh. The amazing story of how the garden came to be can be read here.

Waterfall created by recycling rain water

Sculptures made from glass bangles

There were several pink dragonflies hovering near the water

The Rock Garden attracts 5,000 visitors daily.

Our last view of Chandigarh as we headed to Delhi were the tree-lined avenues and some truly beautiful trees

To see more posts, head over to the home of Nature Notes....Michelle's Rambling Woods.

Common Birds For WBW

These are photos that I got from my recent holiday. A pigeon drinks from the hotel pool in Delhi.
A jungle babbler in Haridwar, in the state of Uttarkhand in northern India.. Early in the morning there was a flock of them perched on this trumpet bush.
The hotel we stayed in had several mud nests with the builders flying in and out of them.

A parrot in the garden of Jallianwala Bagh at Amritsar, Punjab.
Back home I found a stunned starling on my terrace. For weeks I had been trying to get a clear shot of this bird without luck. Checking to see whether it was injured I placed it on these leaves. There was no injury. But just as I finished taking a few shots it flew away! Talk about luck! You can see why this is also known as the Chestnut-tailed starling.

Before I left for my holiday I had noticed a pair of bulbuls in the process of building a nest. But I didn't know that they had chosen my berry tree to do so. I feel blessed! Here's the female on the nest...
...whereas the male keeps a watchful eye perched on a branch of the same tree.

This post is for World Bird Wednesday.