Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Nature Notes/Garden Wildlife

I love to photograph every little creature that I see around me. The photos from the collage were taken last summer. The ones below were taken last week. I hope you enjoy going through them.

A gem of a find! Looks like a chrysalis of a tiny butterfly. Not much by way of words today. I'm going on a holiday...leaving in a short while. I'll be visiting/commenting only after I get back after a week. Have a great week, everyone!

To see more participants' posts, head over to Michelle's Nature Notes.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Eagles At The Zoo

The photo of this eagle was taken at our local zoo cum botanical garden. I had forgotten to check the name of the bird so I can't say for sure what kind of eagle this one this.

This huge Flame trees/Delonix regia at the zoo had several eagles either perched, flying off or landing.
To see more of our feathered friends visit the home of World Bird Wednesday.
Enjoy and Participate!

Saturday, April 14, 2012

A Nocturnal Visitor

I was happy to see this little frog find a resting/stalking place on my monstera. This was taken in the first week of April just before the rains came. The next evening the little one found a cosy spot amid the jungle of potted fern.

But now that the rains are here, evenings are never quiet. The incessant croaking of frogs can be heard  outside. Rain and frog-song. The blooming of fragrant flowers. The cycle of seasons all over again. All's right with the world! 

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Indian Marsh Mongoose& Other Creatures

I have often mentioned the marshy plot of land near our house. With its thick growth of aquatic plants,it's home to some animals and feeding ground to many. In summer, swarms of dragonflies hover above the colacasia that grows to more than a little over six feet. Then the bee-eaters come and feast on them. It's a joy to watch so many of these winged creatures. With all the insects and the worms that must be available thoughout the year, the regular birds that we see in the vicinity are the sparrows, shrikes, Indian myna, Asian pied starlings, the omnipresent crows, spotted doves, chestnut-tailed starlings, tree kingfisher, tailor birds,egrets who feed in winter, Oriental magpie robins, and the white-breasted water hen. At night you hear the constant croaking of frogs and the sight of the fireflies look like we're looking down at a suspended sky filled with hundreds of shining stars!

Aquatic plant with clusters of white blooms often visited by butterflies
As I type this, the noise of the earth-mover machine drowns almost every sound. More than half of the wetland has been filled up with tons of soil and now the levelling of the soil is being done. A small area has been left untouched so far. But I don't think it's going to remain that way for long. Yesterday I saw this mongoose from my son's bedroom window. Seeing a mongoose in its habitat reaffirmed the fact that the wetland creatures were at their most vulnerable. All the years we have lived here, we knew this area was home to the water or marsh mongoose but they are so fast we never really see them still. In fact I have never been able to get a decent photograph of them. It's only because there isn't much area left for them to run or hide that I can see them from my house across the road. 

Looking up online about the Indian marsh mongoose/Herpestes palustris, here's what I found. That they live near large but shallow water bodies that are fully or partially covered by a thick growth of aquatic plants. They live in burrows mainly along the slopes of the water bodies. They are diurnal and follow a particular route for foraging. They feed on fish and aquatic snails. Before sunset they return to their burrows. The mating season is March and there are generally two or three cubs in a litter. Below is a look at some other lives within the vicinity of this wetland.

Flocks of sparrows feed on insects (although I only got three of them here). Looks like afternoons are their favourite time of the day to feed here.

A typical summer sight would be bee-eaters catching their prey......

...and dragons and damsels embellishing most leaves or stems with Mother Nature's colours. I'll have to wait and see how much of change 'development' will bring to my nature notes. The effects of the death of a wetland will surely be evident in the coming years.

I'm linking up to Michelle's Nature Notes.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Birds (caught) In The Rain


 I nearly tripped on the stairs as I ran for the camera at the sight of this bee-eater, the first one this year. It was raining and the wind had just died down. Certainly not a bird watching day. Suddenly a flash of blue and green descended on the wires and sat there for several minutes. On days that do not rain we usually see these pretty birds dive down for the bees, wasps, and dragonflies. Before eating their prey, bee-eaters remove the stinger by repeatedly rubbing and hitting the insect on a hard surface. These birds only catch prey on the wing and ignore flying insects once they land. Throughout the summer months it's a joy to watch these delightful birds.

Another rainy day...I'd assumed that sparrows seek shelter from the rain by sitting under the eaves of our house. But no. A few sparrows preferred to stay put on my berry tree with the rain pouring steadily. Can you spot the two on the extreme left (top)?

To see more of our feathered friends, please visit World Bird Wednesday.

                                         Enjoy and Participate!

Thursday, April 5, 2012

The Look Of The Season

As I was passing through one particular area in our city, I saw a cattle egret in its breeding colours. 
And Mr. Lizard, resplendent in orange, nearly knocked himself out on the window pane. No doubt he must have been startled to see a look-alike but he moved on. Then he scurried up this bush, looking less orange, less striking, but still good-looking!
There are a lot of mating pairs I see as I walk around my yard. Here's a pair of Handmaiden moths/Amata cyssea. I looked up online and found out that these are day flying members of the Arctiidae or Tiger moth family. They mimic wasps in their body and coloration. Even for a predator who does not get deterred by wasps, the occasional bright body colours usually advertise a bad taste, so Handmaidens flourish.

Handmaiden moths

And the pair of red-vented bulbuls are a joy to watch. All these pictures were taken from my balcony. The pair was on my neighbour's coconut tree.

Red-vented bulbuls

A pair of Spotted Doves
The Spotted doves usually come to the terrace where they like to forage amid my potted plants. Must be rich in insects, my potted area. I'm happy to say that they are letting me go closer, and they don't fly off at the slightest movement from me.
Preen away....

I came across this long-legged insect on a jasmine leaf. Those legs were something! As luck would have it a few days later this is what I discovered....a mating pair on the hydrangea leaf.
A lot is happening around me in the world of nature. The last picture shows a tiny moth resting on a zinnia petal.

I hope all my blog friends have a wonderful weekend! 
                                         Happy Easter!

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Pollinators On My Berry Tree

Now that my Indian Blackberry/Syzygium cumini tree is blooming, I'm keeping track of all the pollinators that come to the blossoms. Here's a skipper. There's a bee in the photo below.

The Common Crow butterfly came to feed yesterday, rather late in the afternoon.

A Peacock Pansy butterfly and a hoverfly (maybe) in the background.

I couldn't get a better picture of a Grass Yellow butterfly busy feeding.

Among all the pollinators, the bees are the largest in number. Some are larger  than the one in this picture.

I'm linking up to Nature Notes.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

A Wagtail & Other Birds

The photo of this white wagtail was taken a few months ago when the weather was cooler. We had stopped at a wayside eatery with a pond and some construction work going on. It was the first time I saw a wagtail.

The other day as I was photographing the insects on my berry tree, this face came into view. The Brown Shrike sat on the wires next to the tree oblivious of me or my camera. I'm glad I got a good view of its curved beak (below).

Another bird that I see on a daily basis foraging on my yard is the white-breasted water hen. These birds usually forage in pairs and are very vocal particularly at dawn and at sundown. It's mainly black and white but the rump is chestnut brown.

To see more birds, head over to