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The complete Indian National Anthem

Though not greatly impressed by the self-conscious “I am a star singing” rendition of the singers…it’s still a very beautiful poem, and very rarely does one hear all the stanzas sung (just like many other national anthems, I suspect!)

The translation is very good, too.

Now, if we could translated the emotion of pride that we feel into less corruption, lesser litter, less unkindness towards our fellow citizens(and less apathetic acceptance of all these)….that would make for a better India.

Ramanagara – Official Vulture Sanctuary

This is the first time I have noticed black eagle around Ramnagaram. Indian Vultures were 10 in count. Egyptian Vultures were 3 in count. 2 short toed Snake Eagle.

I can see a board calling it Ramanagara as “Vulture Sanctuary”

Enjoy some of the shots. Do drop comments.

Egyptian Vulture in flight.

Egyptian Vulture in flight.

Indian Vulture

Indian Vulture

Short toed Snake Eagle

Short toed Snake Eagle

Black Eagle and Brahminy Kite acrobat

Black Eagle and Brahminy Kite acrobat

Black Eagle

Black Eagle

Black Eagle

Black Eagle

Tailed Green Jay

Tailed Green Jay

Tailed Green Jay

Tailed Green Jay

Indian Vulture and Black Kite

Indian Vulture and Black Kite

Indian Vulture and Black Kite

Indian Vulture and Black Kite

Frog Identification Workshop

Hosted by Eco-Edu


The course has been scheduled for August 9th and 10th, 2014.

We will meet the participants at the turning towards the farm on Kanakapura Main Road at 5 PM on the 9th of August and proceed to the farm. The workshop will come to a close at 9 AM on the 10th of August 2014.


Ravagodlu, on Kanakapura Road.

The course will be held within the premises of a private farm and its surroundings. The Suvarnamukhi River, which takes birth in Bannerghatta National Park, flows close to the farm. It is also surrounded by agricultural fields and forms an ideal habitat to explore for frogs. We will not be venturing into the forest.

Route map:

click here

Resource Persons:

The workshop will be led by Seshadri K S, a doctoral student at the National University of Singapore. Seshadri has been captivated by the sheer beauty and complexity of nature. His fascination of nature grew when he started out as a bird watcher. Since then, he has spent much of his time being in “the field” and observing nature. He has studied several ecological systems ranging from dragonflies to epiphytes in the tall forest canopies in the Western Ghats biodiversity hotspot of India. In the recent past, his focus has been on amphibians and has been studying ecology, behavior and means to conserve frogs. For his doctoral thesis, he is working on the ecology and behavior of bamboo nesting frogs in South Asia.

Other naturalists who will assist on this workshop are

T. S. Sreenivasa

Ulhas Anand

Karthik Kumar

Vidisha Kulkarni

This overnight workshop is designed to introduce the wonderful world of frogs, herpetology as a hobby and to help you identify frogs that you are likely to see around the city. The course will delve deep into finer aspects, while helping you develop a wonderful hobby.

This course is well-suited to beginners, while adding value even if you are a little more familiar with the outdoors.

If you are into wildlife photography, this course will increase your confidence in frog identification and help you add a better perspective to your skills. You will be guided in identifying frogs by sight and sound and learn about the ways they interact with the environment. You will also be introduced to basic scientific techniques that can prove to be invaluable for a more serious involvement.

The course, though being very informative in content, will have a relaxed atmosphere to encourage interactions in the form of questions and discussions.

You will be provided with enough directions to easily reach the rendezvous point.

Wholesome vegetarian food will be provided and will include dinner and breakfast, as also tea and biscuits through the workshop to keep your chin up!

You will also be provided a book suited for taking down field notes and a pen. Sleeping arrangements will be in shared dormitory rooms on ground mattresses.


The cost for the Overnight Frog Identification Workshop, including food and stay, will be Rs. 1,200. Only 20 participants will be allowed for this workshop. Participation will be confirmed only against payment on a first-come-first-serve basis. On the spot registrations are not welcome due to the logistics involved for this workshop.



For any further queries, contact:


Dr. Mamlakatoi Haidarova +91-984-577-9838 (

Ragihalli Birding – Bannerghatta

A delight to see Jungle Nightjar (though not able to manage the shot of this lovely guy) and Plum-headed Parakeet. Enjoy some of the pictures taken.

Ashy Prinia

Ashy Prinia

Flameback Woodpecker

Flameback Woodpecker

Golden Fronted Leafbird

Golden Fronted Leafbird

Laughing Dove

Laughing Dove

Male Plum Headed Parakeet

Male Plum Headed Parakeet

Plum-headed Parakeet - 2 females and 1 male

Plum-headed Parakeet – 2 females and 1 male

Red Vented Bulbul

Red Vented Bulbul

Pair of Spotted Owlet

Pair of Spotted Owlet

White throated Kingfisher

White throated Kingfisher

Zitting Cisticola

Zitting Cisticola

Shimoga Birding – Western Ghats

common iora

common iora

Misty at jog falls

Misty at jog falls

Cotton pygmy goose

Cotton pygmy goose

Flame-throated Bulbul

Flame-throated Bulbul

Hill Myna

Hill Myna

Malabar Grey Hornbill

Malabar Grey Hornbill


Purple rumped Sunbird

Purple rumped Sunbird

Racket tailed Drongo

Racket tailed Drongo

heart-spotted woodpecker

heart-spotted woodpecker

bicolored frog

bicolored frog

Hill Myna

Hill Myna

Asian Paradise Flycatcher - Female

Asian Paradise Flycatcher – Female

Juv. Orange Minivet

Juv. Orange Minivet

The land is calling “Malenadu” (Land of rain). Please enjoy some of the pictures taken near Jog falls (second largest waterfalls) and some of the mystical view of Jog falls itself.

World Environment Day, 050614

Does it move?
Kill it!
Does it sting?
Squash it!
Does it grow?
Cut it down!
Done with it?
Throw it out of your window!
Need to go somewhere?
Take the car!
Have some money?
Consume more!


Then, have plastic posters printed, saying, “World Environment Day”, with the photos of prominent pols, put it up in a public place, and feel happy that a praiseworthy effort has been taken.

Rosita called and invite me to go with her and Mark to his yoga teacher, Rama’s farmhouse in Bannerghatta, and I immediately said yes.

It was a quick visit, but it was so pleasant and enjoyable. The farmhouse is situated right behind that of Fred and Clare Pais..and I had a wonderful time looking at two feet (and a huge beak) (Loten’s Sunbird)



The beak amongst the blooms:


Six feet:


Six very tiny feet with a very business-like sting:


Tiny jasmine:


Two feet that have difficulty, yet go everywhere:


A place for feet to pass:


A beautiful place for feet to tread:


Here are Mark and Rosita, four feet, posing happily for me:


Other photos from the visit, click on my FB album


Great company, the great outdoors…a great pleasure, indeed!

When I returned from Delhi by the Karnataka Exp (train no. 12628) on the 30th of May, 2014, I left behind the cordless headset that I use for my laptop, packed in a brown cardboard box, probably between the bedsheets on my berth (Bogey H-1, Coupe “G”, Berth21, A/C 1st Class). I realized this only when I was unpacking at home, and after wasting a little time trying to locate a number where I could file a report, I went back to the City Railway Station.


Mr Manjunath, the Addl Station Manager, was quite helpful, and directed me to the office of the Junior Engineer (Maintenance), on Platform 4 of the station. There, Mr Ramesh was also quite helpful, but told me that the contractors (two or three sets of them) who came to pick up the bedsheets would be the first people on the train. He called in a junior, who said that nothing had been reported found. I told him that the headset would not be useful for anyone else, and that I was willing to give a reward for it if found.

He then told me that it would be correct procedure for me to file a complaint at the Railway Police Station, situated on Platform 5. I went there, and wasted my time for 45 minutes with a very slow constable, Mr Venakta Murthy, who was tersely directed by the Sub-Inspector to ask me to write a complaint in the approved format in duplicate, get it signed by me, and enter the details on his file. Insterspersed wtih efforts to provide a security escort for Mr Yediyurappa who was travelling to Shimoga, the simple writing of the complaint took a lot of time, and it was made very clear to me that nothing would come of it.

I posted about my problem on FaceBook, and was given this link:,7,275,398

and I called the Public Relations Officer’s no (no response). The other numbers also went without being answered. I then called the office of the Divisional Rly Manager and his secretary gave me the no. of My Jois, Complaints Officer, 8861309473. He was kind enough to call me back just now, and told me that he would make enquiries tomorrow and get back to me.

There seems, alas, to be no system of Lost Property or Lost-and-Found for the Railways. I feel that given the fact that passenger would be losing many items, such a system should be instituted at the earliest.

However, I am still hopeful that I might see my cordless headset again, and hope that Mr Jois has good news for me tomorrow!

Email to the bngbirds egroup:

I suppose by now everyone who went for the first Sunday outing to Hebbal would have come back, digested breakfast and settled down to the rest of the day…meanwhile, Garima, Jahnvi,Niket, Pradnya, and I went to Valley School to see what the morning would yield.


Summer colours on the ground:


In the trees:


It turned to be a very enjoyable morning..and Valley School always shows us something unexpected. This seemed to be a morning of children! We saw a Jungle Babbler mother literally “spreading her wings” over her baby, as she also preened her baby.


We saw many juvenile Small Green Bee-eaters. whose plumage lacked the bright sheen of the adults, or the distinctive tail. Coppersmith Barbet “children”, too, were everywhere; the crimson patch on their foreheads not developed yet.


White-browed Bulbuls


and Red-whiskered Bulbuls, too, seemed to be flying about with their young ones. We watched several Flamebacks.


Birders at the Banyan tree near the sheds:


Spotted Owlet in the Banyan tree:


Young White-cheeked Barbets:


The children were not only of the bird species. A few showers have had a magical effect on the landscape in the Valley School area; greenery is bursting forth everywhere, as fresh shoots push their way up through the wet. fecund soil.


A couple of caterpillars reminded me that babies come in all shapes and sizes. I will be asking for id’s for these; but their beauty by any other name would remain as beautiful.

Here’s one, on a blade of grass:


Here’s another, on the Calatropis (Milkweed) plant:


I was also fortunate enough to meet Thomas Job and Ajit Ampalakkad…


the latter immediately showed me the Indian Lavender plant,


and proceeded through the morning, to edify me on matters botanical.

Hog-Plum tree:


I renewed my acquaintance with several trees and plants, and “shook hands” with a few more.

Loranthus (epiphyte), aka Mistletoe:


There was, indeed, one seed, round and a light mauve in colour, dispersed around one area; that we could not source the parent tree of,or id.


Grasshopper with a spider sitting on its head:


Plain Tiger:


Common Gull:


Young saplings of Flame of the Forest (Butea monosperma) seem to be coming up in large numbers. This made me dream of the day when, festooned in flame-coloured blooms, these young trees will attract a lot of birds (though Ajit tells me that only one or two species pollinate the tree!). To dream of a Nature Future is lovely, especially when all the land nearby is getting flattened….perhaps for “Prakriti View Layout”s, or perhaps, as Niket said, a temple is going to come up. The green saplings give hope in an atmosphere of pessimism!

I watched several “ant rivers” pouring along the path as their nests must have got submerged…they were busy carrying larvae along. I watched, fascinated, as two Ant-mimicking Spiders fought each other fiercely; the contest ended abruptly, and they went their separate ways.


A Solitary Hunter Wasp flew along…where would she make her nest and stun her prey,storing it in the nest and laying her eggs on it, so that the newly-hatched children would have fresh food to eat? We just prevented ourselves from walking into a web with a very tiny spider in it…the home was ready, the next step was procreation!

I enjoyed watching the camouflage of the Malkohas, and even of a Jumping Spider that just melted into the tree-trunk with exactly similar markings.



I did try to catch some of it on my camera…but for the most part, I just watched, and enjoyed myself hugely.

What is the need to build a temple? The whole place, with all our fellow-citizens on this planet, seems to be a temple of Nature to me. I go there, I feel peace in my heart and mind, and come away energized…to me, all of the beautiful wilderness is a temple, and God (I am an agnostic, I don’t know if there is a God or a Goddess..or not) seems to reside in every leaf, every feather, every piece of stone.

We also met several other birders there, and it’s nice to say hello to like-minded people even if one does not exchange names. Two boys from Valley School asked us, on our way out, what we’d seen…and I was happy to see these two youngsters on their way to absorb the various wonders that Nature has in store for them. A magical place, the Valley School area…long may it last!

I’ve put up my SMS (Shamelessly Mediocre Shots) on my FB album at

You can see the riotous colours of the summer blossoms, and the many tiny and large wonders that we experienced.

Garima has shared the bird list with me on E-bird. The list is at

I’m not sure if this is good enough, or I need to give another link? Let me know, O ye E-bird savvy birders!


Blues, Various
Cerulean, Common
Cerulean, Dark
Coster, Tawny
Crimson-tip, White
Emigrant, Common
Jezebel, Common
Orange-tip, White
Rose, Common
Rose. Crimson
Tiger, Blue
Tiger, Dark Blue
Tiger, Plain
Wanderer, Common
Yellow, Common Grass


Ants, Bees, Beetles, Dragonflies, Grasshoppers, and Wasps.

One Rat Snake, scurrying away quickly from me. This Garden Lizard, basking in the sun.


If my words make you decide to go into the outdoors next weekend…I am really happy!



Riotous colours of summer:


As we went around the grassland landscape during the Volunteer Training Program, Kiran spotted this large Scorpion, and I took a short video of it as we slowly passed in our vehicle. The creature was on the banked slope of the hill, and it was both rainy and late evening.

I am not sure if this is the Emperor Scorpion, which is the largest of scorpions, but not the longest. The emperor scorpion (Pandinus imperator) has a dark body ranging from dark blue/green through brown to black. The large pincers are blackish-red and have a granular texture. The front part of the body, or prosoma, is made up of four sections, each with a pair of legs. Behind the fourth pair of legs are comb-like structures known as pectines – these are longer in males and can be used by man to distinguish the sexes. The tail, known as the metasoma, is long and curves back over the body. It ends in the large receptacle.

Well…it certainly was a sight to see, in the misty, rainy dusk on the grasslands of Kudremukh!

You can click


for the photos of the first day from the VTP, which was held at the Bhagavathi Nature Camp, about 20 km from Kalasa, Karnataka.


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