Saturday, October 3, 2009


Beautiful birds. :)))

Magpie Robin (male)

Beautiful birds. :)))

Purple-rumped Sunbird (male)

Beautiful birds. :)))

Rose-ringed parakeet (male)

Beautiful birds. :)))

Grey Spotted Owlet

Grey Spotted Owlet preening. :)))

Grey Spotted Owlet and Lesser Golden Backed Woodpecker

Beautiful birds. :)))

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Nanmangalam Reserve Forest, Chennai

I recently visited Nanmangalam Reserve Forest in my hometown, Chennai, India. Had heard a lot about this tranquil place in the heart of a metropolitan city, but till now never had a chance to visit it. This is an evergreen scrub forest which is home to many birds, animals, and even some rare plants.

En route to the forest one can see what is left of the Pallikaranai marsh. I do not know why such an important waterbody has been horribly neglected. Since there have been no rains yet, the marsh was dry in almost all places. Once home to a variety of bird species, I could spot almost no birds in the marsh area. But may be they are there somewhere, just waiting for the rains. :)

We reached the forest by 7:00 a.m. I was traveling with my mother and my friend. There is no proper gate or entry to the forest. So we just started walking inside. After 5 minutes, we came to a clearing and stopped for some time. We immediately spotted the Greater Coucal, Indian Treepies, Sunbirds, and Ashy Woodswallows. There inbetween some bushes, there was some disturbance and when we walked closer to investigate, we saw a bird flying away from the bush and landing on the low tree branch. It was the Little Brown Dove or the Laughing Dove. :)))

This sure made us all smile. We started walking some distance and all the way we heard so many bird calls of Crows, Hawks, Sunbirds, Tailorbirds, Common Mynahs, and even Pipits (I think). Then suddenly we spotted the White-eyed Buzzard. What a sight!! This was my first spotting of this bird and so predictably I was very excited. The bird was sitting on a bush that was in our path and so when we moved toward the him/her, he just flew away.

Little time after sighting this bird of prey we spotted the White throated Munias. :)))

We reached the abandoned quarries which is where the water collects after rains. There are lot of thorny plants as well as neem trees and other plants growing from the rock walls of the quarry.

We stopped here for breakfast and some quiet birding. We all simultaneously noticed a pair of Pied Kingfishers and a Water snake in the quarry!!!

Amazing sight. :))) The day was not sunny and it was cool and a pleasant wind was blowing all the time. So we had our breakfast in peace and all the time saw and heard the Red-vented bulbuls and Red-whiskered bulbuls.

The Pied Kingfishers were later joined by the Small Blue Kingfisher on the rock in the water.

Then in the bushes I spotted a pair of Purple-rumped sunbirds. I took a photo of the female Purple-rumped Sunbird.

On the quarry wall, on opposite side, I saw this bird which I have been unable to identify. It looks like a Yellow wagtail, but at first I thought it was a White-browed bulbul.

After some time, we spotted a Frog in the water. :))) By this time, the snake had submerged somewhere in the water. I also took photos of some flowers that were seen in and around the quarry. Here are two of them. :))

Then wow! I spotted the Brain Fever bird, at last. :))) I really don't know why give such a name to a bird though. I forgot to say this before only, but another bird was present in the quarry all the time giving us company and that was the Little Cormorant. :)))

There were a lot of colourful varieties of dragonflies near the water in the quarry. :)) Here are a couple of them. :)))

Afterwards, we walked away from these two quarries towards another two quarries. En route we saw the Ashy Prinia, a small variety of Lizard basking in the sun, and some colourful flowers. :)))

We reached the other quarry, but what a dissappointment. :((( There were people using the place as public toilet and in one place there were a couple of dhobies washing their load of clothes for the week. So we did not spot any birds near these places.

We turned back and started walking toward a hill covered with trees. We thought we should spot the Great Horned Owl. Pariah kite and Shikra were flying above us for some time giving us company. :)))

But after much walking we did not spot any birds. Later, suddenly we saw a huge bird flying away from us from one of the trees/bushes in the hill. Wow! I think this was the Great Horned Owl, but we were not sure because we did not see his/her face. :(( Could not take a photo either.

We turned back from the hill and walked towards the entrance where we had parked our car. We spotted a female Garden Lizard and some white flowers.

We later spotted Blue Tailed Bee Eaters and another small brown bird which I am unable to identify. May be this a variety of Lark or may be a Pipit.

All in all, a wonderful and a memorable trip. :))) Outside the forest where we had parked our car, we had some refreshing sugarcane juice. :)))

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Chembarambakkam Lake - Part II

Chembarambakkam Lake - contd.

Little Grebe was swimming and diving under the water quite frequently. I am always surprised by how long they can stay under water. :)))

This is also Little grebe in non-breeding plumage. :)))

This bold house crow posed nicely before taking a dive into the waters of the lake in search of dead fish maybe. I did see a few dead fish and some chemical effluents in the lake waters. I think they are from the nearby industrial factories which have cropped up near the lake shore.

In the fields, near the lake I took a photo of this beautiful butterfly. This is the Great orange tip:)))

I spotted many Fulvous Whistling Ducks (Dendrocygna bicolor). Loved their plumage. :)))

I am yet to ID these birds. Will add to the blog later. :)))

This is the close up of the water lily. :)))

Saw this amazing red-coloured dragonfly near the water lily. :)))

Cormorant was enjoying the sun. :))) This was taken near the drier part of the lake.

Saw three small fish in a section of shallow, clear water of the lake.

Last, I spotted this Red-wattled lapwing flying overhead and talikng loudly to us all the time.

Afterwards, we left the lake with plenty of good memories.

Chembarambakkam Lake - Part I

I visited Chembarambakkam Lake, a rainfed lake near Chennai, India, this June, 2009. It is the source of the Adyar river. I went with very low expectation of spotting birds as one year previously when I visited the Osudu lake in Pondicherry, India, during summer I was very disappointed in not seeing even one bird. Later I came to know that because of pollution, the lake was not visited by the birds in summer. But Chembarambakkam came as a pleasant surprise as there were quite a few birds to be seen. :) I spotted this Pheasant-tailed jacana (Wader) near the water lilies.

A few minutes later I saw this breeding pair nearby. I was so excited to see them breeding in this lake. :)))

Later, this White-breasted Kingfisher came an perched on the Lily flower. I love this colourful bird and that day in the morning light the bird looked awesome.

On dry land I spotted these Black drongo pair perched on a thorny bush.

Many Eurasian Coots were swimming against the wind. The wind, the ripple effect on the water and the birds altogether made this a memorable trip.

Later, while having lunch we, my mother, my aunt, and I, spotted this Indian Pond heron flying nearby.

This Open billed stork was searching for food near the vegetation. I also unfotunately spotted the plastic bottle nearby. The state government is planning to clean the lake soon. I hope so, for our feathered friends' sake.

I saw Spot-billed duck near the egret. The other bird I am yet to ID.

Open billed storks, egret, cormorant, all in one island. :)))

Will continue the rest of my trip in Chembarambakkam Lake - Part II