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Thursday, April 24, 2008

Tickell's Blue Flycatcher

Monday was Adu's birthday. He cooled off in Jungle Lodges and Resorts' Bannerughatta property overnight on Sunday and we joined him on Monday.

The searing heat beat down on us relentlesslly squashing our enthusiasm thoroughly. Sweating profusely we set out almost as soon as we arrived to see if there were any birds insane enough to venture out into the mid-morning sun.

The bag was a Tickell's Blue Flycatcher and a solitary White Cheeked Barbet besides the ubiquitous Tickell's Flowerpecker.

The Tickell's Blue Flycatcher, wearing of ever seeing the last of us, decided he might as well sing to us and serenaded us with beautiful, fluting notes. He was soon joined by another male and both proceeded to breakfast on the summer insects. They flitted up and down at ground level baring a lovely golden brown color under their wings and then disappeared into a clump of bamboo. We gave up and went around the bamboo only to find that one of them had emerged on the other side.

The flowerpecker treated us with disdain preferring to turn his back on us while he leapt from limb to limb refusing to remain still for even one moment.

A dull "thok, thok, thok" sound alerted us to a white cheeked barbet that was busy drilling into a tree near our tent. He spotted us before we spotted him and watched us with as much interest as we watched him. Just as we got that little bit closer for a good photograph, he took off and didn't return until we had returned hot and thirsty from our stalking of the flycatcher.

Somewhere in the bushes surrounding the camp, a bulbul coyly sang in carrying notes. We didn't find him though we heard him all the time we were there.

Adu inveigled us out for a walk around the camp after lunch and we dragged ourselves off on his trail. A small quick movement on the ground caught our attention and we found ourselves staring at a young lizard. The bright colours and its posture told us we might be looking at an agama but I could be wrong. Please post a comment if you know what this lizard could be.

UPDATE: For those of you interested, Karthik was kind enough to identify the lizard for me. It turns out to be a Snake Skink (Riiopa punctata).

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Kingfisher in the canal

It's been a while since I wrote last. But this morning, an unusual sight (for me anyway) resulted in this post. Nope, sorry, I don't have a picture of this unusual sight.

On the road linking Sarjapur to the Hosur Road, an open sewage canal runs alongside. Several Brahmini kites and paraiah (black) kites populate this place and share space along with mynahs and crows.

A flash sighting of a bird ducking into one of the holes lining the canal caught my attention. It had to be a bird but what kind? The white wing markings caught the sun as the bird ducked out, hovered for a second as though evicted by the landlord and returned into the hole again. That's when I caught sight of the iridiscent blue on the wing. It was a whitebreasted kingfisher.

I wasn't quite sure even at that point. Traffic roared by. Unseeing throngs passed, hurrying off to their work places or waited to catch their buses, trucks hooted and honked, autorickshaws bawled as their tiny engines strove to catch up with the rest of the world speeding by. I was lucky to be at the traffic light. Just as the lights turned green, the kingfisher sped out of the hole in the wall and alighted on the fence in patient repose. A beautiful sight and one missed by many, I'm sure.

I wished I had my camera with me.

On the Bangalore Birds forum, several people have been debating the adaptation of birds to the urban landscape. They were talking about parakeets but here was another adaptor that was using what was immediately available, the drain hole that empties rain water into the sewage canal.