Mar 25, 2013

Fight over water!!!

Birds are living beings too and they have a more difficult life to lead, a life so unknown, a life so unexpected, a day lived is an achievement (just because you would have survived an predator attack, you would have gained so much food so as not to starve...), a day of happiness, joy and sorrows, a constant threat from predators, competition for food, water and shelter, yet, they are happy contented souls always active and and their vocals never tire, always on alert and always on lookout for opportunities, its after all the saga of "survival of the fittest".

As you start observing them over a period of time, nature has its own surprises for you in the meanest of the ways that would turn around the beliefs you had till then or rather thought you saw till then, they never seize to surprise you every day, every moment that goes on to prove that study of their behavior is never enough...never!

Last year, when I was in Ganeshgudi (yes, my favorite birding location in Western Ghats near the town of Dandeli) at the JLR Old Magazine House camp, I was witness to something very interesting, an interesting behavior of the birds, a tiff for the bathtub of water, not a very aggressive one but still an entertaining one!

The White-rumped Shama and the Red-whiskered Bulbul
At the camp, tubs filled with water are kept at strategic locations for the birds to drink/bathe etc... and this has been done from over 8 years and many of the resident bird species are used to the tubs and do visit regularly in any season of the year. The list of birds that come to these tubs are endless...

As I busy in many of these visiting the various tubs a White-rumped Shama came over to a tub already occupied by a Red-whiskered Bulbul ready for its shower. The Shama and the Bulbul faced each other quite menacingly and looked as if the Shama wanted the Bulbul to vacate the tub immediately. Its raised its long tail and menacingly stared at the Bulbul who by now was in the water.I was anticipating some sort of action here, probably a small tiff between the two but what happened but truly surprising. The Bulbul, without a care in the world dipped in the water, rolled over and splashed in it happily leaving the Shama red-faced in disgust. The Bulbul repeated this couple of times as if insulting the Shama and the look on the face of the Shama was more or less conveying this message. Later, after being satisfied, the Bulbul flew away and the Shama got its chance to get wet!!!

The series of pictures below would convey the action more than my words! Enjoy :)

The Face-Off

Shama: Vacate the tub else...

Shama: else... enjoy your bath... :)

further humiliation...

finally, its mine...

Mar 6, 2013

Butterflies Part V

Related posts here.

Some more of the gorgeous butterflies that we see regularly but hardly aware of. For a common person, all the butterflies look alike and are the same!

This is a small attempt to educate and encourage people more towards "buttering" (slang word for butterfly watching).

Plain Tiger butterfly
Danaus chrysippus, known as the Plain Tiger or African Monarch, is a common butterfly which is widespread in Asia and Africa. It is a medium-sized with a wingspan of about 7–8 cm, non-edible butterfly, which is mimicked by multiple species. The range of the Plain Tiger extends from Africa and southern Europe, eastwards via Sri Lanka, India, and Myanmar to China, Java and Sulawesi. It is a very common species.

Common Grass Yellow butterfly
The Large Grass Yellow or Common Grass Yellow (Eurema hecabe) is a small pierid butterfly species found in Asia or Africa. They are found flying close to the ground and are found in open grass and scrub habitats. It is simply known as "the grass yellow" in parts of its range.

Great Eggfly butterfly
The Great Eggfly (Hypolimnas bolina) is a species of nymphalid butterfly. It is a black-bodied butterfly with a wingspan of about 70–85 mm. It is found in Madagascar in the west, through to South and Southeast Asia, South Pacific islands, and occurs in parts of Australia, Japan, and New Zealand. It is a fairly common butterfly found in lightly wooded country, deciduous forests, thick and moist scrub and the greener parts of human habitation.

Peacock Pansy butterfly

The Peacock Pansy (Junonia almana) is a species of nymphalid butterfly found in South Asia. It exists in two distinct adult forms, which differ chiefly in the patterns on the underside of the wings. The adult butterfly has a wingspan of 54–62 mm. It is found in India and South East Asia, and eastwards to China and Japan.

Wait for more fascinating ones :)
I refer and Wikipedia for information about the butterflies.

Mar 3, 2013

Wild moments - from Goa!

Sure to say you would have enjoyed the earlier posts from the wild Goa excursion. If you have missed, check out these posts from the link here.

The Pyjama Frog and the Snake:
On one of our trails, Ramesh Zarmekar pointed out to something very interesting and exciting for all of us, a carpet of macro flowers perfect for Parimala and Gireesh to get involved with their macro lenses. Deepa was behind every living form and I, from the last was the opportunistic person looking, strolling and taking in the fresh air after a nice steady downpour.

Sooner, Ramesh called us to show the big battle on, a pretty long, slender Green Vine Snake had caught hold of an Frog (I would call it the Pyjama Frog because of complete white under belly) and by the time we reached, the Frog was a dead duck and the snake was finding a place to relax and swallow its breakfast, a heavy one to say.

It was amazing to see how the snake with the frog in its mouth was moving inside the bush without any support upwards vertically, amazed to see and know the weight it could carry (it could be easily said, the frog weighed much more than the slender built snake).

It was to an extent not happy to see 5-6 curious people surrounding the bush peeping to witness the moments and photographing them and so probably it decided to move from the bottom to the top that was visibly out of our eyesight reach and between thick foliage. Soon, our excitement calmed down and we were only witness to the happenings as the snake slowly made its way up with its breakfast.

As it reached the top, we left the place to leave the predator in peace to have its prey without further disturbances.

The Assassin Bug:
Some moths are nocturnal and prefer to spend the day time roosting on walls and this is taken as an advantage by their predators who are in search of food. The moth below was roosting happily as any other day and probably never realized it would well be its final day as this 'assassin bug' came over chasing a cockroach but instead found this resting moth as its prey for the day, the lucky cockroach survived and the moth was not to be so lucky.

Our Guru-G, Karthikeyan explained how these assassin bugs sting their prey to make them immobile and then suck out the entire mass from within the prey and rightly so they are named as 'assassins'.

What wonders, nature have in store for us, we just need to open up our eyes and observe!