Friday, June 29, 2012

A Tale of Fantail Flycatchers and Peaches

If you have been following this blog regularly, you would be knowing that a pair of Fantail Flycatchers builds its nest in the vicinity of my house every year. This time it was no different. Just about a fortnight ago, a pair started building their nest in the lone peach tree in my backyard which was virtually loaded with peaches, albeit small ones. I'm not sure why it chose a branch which was not hidden at all but one of the reasons could be the dearth of trees for nesting nearby as a majority of the trees in my locality have been uprooted in the last few years, leaving little choice for our feathered friends.

It was simply awesome waking up to the melodious song of the pair everyday and this time I was really hoping to see it rearing its young ones soon as the nesting in the previous years had failed unfortunately. In the meanwhile, the peaches were getting bigger in size rather quickly and the tree literally became an insect paradise, with each and every leaf densely covered with multiple insects of varying sizes. Also since the peaches were becoming ripe, they were dropping from the tree regularly everyday which no doubt perturbed the pair but they had no choice but to continue brooding.

A few terrifying thunderstorms marked the commencement of monsoons a couple of days back and every time the branches swung wildly I wondered whether the little creature and her nest would survive but the bird did well to brave all that nature had to offer. 

However now the peaches had started falling in large numbers every hour, and as I observed the bird and its nest from the bathroom window, it became clear that another failed nesting was on the cards. Peaches were falling literally inches from the nest and a branch full of ripe peaches was hanging right above the nest, at a vertical distance of 10 feet or so. All it would take was one peach to cause serious injury to the bird apart from yet another failed nesting. The photo below shows the state of my backyard and you can well imagine how difficult it would have been for the bird to continue brooding despite all odds.

This morning, as I wondered to myself the reason for the lack of the familiar tune from my backyard, I stepped out and here is what I saw. No doubt my worst fears had indeed come true! A peach had landed right on top of the nest! What a pity!

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

The babbler chick who lost its way

Getting ready to hit the gym ,I heard some feeble sounds presumably being uttered out by the young ones of some bird.Quite intrigued and excited,I rushed outside to find out which bird species it belonged to.Jungle babblers were ransacking the leaves since morning and taking the catch to a branch of the mango tree few yards away.Although the branch was not visible due to the obstruction being caused by the wall,I could make out from the behaviour of the birds and their constant chattering that they were possibly feeding their young ones.After a while of searching for the nest from every possible angle and giving up ultimately,I noticed some movement in the heap of leaves lying in the backyard.Scrutinizing for a while,it became rather evident that it was a small bird that was trying to move forward.It seemed to be a juvenile jungle babbler !! Excited by the find,I placed the chick in a tub as there were crows and other predators nearby and tried feeding it some puffed rice but to no avail.The surprising thing for me was that the bird was seemingly unaware of its young one lying on the ground.It was busy searching the leaves for any prey that could be fed to the other chicks perched on the branch. A few hours later,its mother realized that its chick was missing.As soon as she realized this,she came to the rescue,giving instructions that were quite obviously not possible for me to comprehend.The chick obeyed and ultimately it was led onto the branch.Happy ending indeed ! 

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Blue magpie - A rare sight in the suburbs of Dehradun

While playing cricket in the garden with my brother on a rather cold & chilly morning,I heard an uncommon call coming from the mango tree across the road.On further scrutiny,a bird with a long tail & bright plumage appeared,making shrieking calls.Without a second thought,I quickly ran inside and came out with my camera.Knowing that the bird wouldn't be there for long,I tried to capture it in my camera as it flew out of the woods and perched on one of the cables.As soon as I had taken a pic,it went out of sight after being chased by the crows.A wonderful start to the day indeed !

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

The Asian Koel Visits Our Backyard - Everyday !!

Sunday morning,7 am,chilly breeze,peculiar of the month of October.Standing on the terrace,as I was waiting for the warm rays of the sun,springing from the east like golden arrows to penetrate my insensate skin,I caught a glimpse of a fairly large flecked bird landing on one of the branches of the Mango tree.Excited and enthralled by this discovery,I carefully moved closer ,careful not to make it aware of my presence.After a few seconds of admiration, I quickly realized that it was a sight worth capturing on camera.Out came my DSC H-10.The bird noticed it,trying to hide itself in the canopy.I did not want to let go of this beautiful moment and tried desperately to locate it.There it was but again the bird was quick to make a move.It landed on the fence this time and I made sure that I had captured atleast one shot before it flew away.

After analysing the photo,it was clear that the bird was a female Asian Koel. It has been regularly visiting our backyard since then.

Friday, June 5, 2009

White Eye - Failed Nesting

A few days ago, at about noon time,as I was walking past a Litchi tree in my backyard, I heard some feeble birdy calls which were probably being made by the young ones of some bird.I was elated and started searching the tree for a nest.Suddenly my eyes stuck on a well rounded nest,prettily covered with cobwebs with two chicks in it.The nest seemed to belong to the White-Eye and it was a matter of a few seconds before the bird made its appearance,carrying a moth in its mouth and eagerly waiting to feed its hungry chicks.Realizing that it was time for me to leave, I left the area and decided to visit the nest next day.

But as fate had in store for our feathered friends,the next afternoon when I went to check the nest,it was all but gone. Not even a trace of it was to be found either on the tree or on the ground below.The feeling of euphoria that was present yesterday had vanished. What do you think could have happened to the nest ? Comments awaited...

Monday, June 1, 2009

Miss Bulbul...Where's Your Tail ?

This Red-vented Bulbul had taken birth last year in a nest in the Bougainvillea shrubs in my garden. Although it is not dependent on its parents for food,yet it spends the majority of its time in their company.However,it is only today that I noticed that its tail was missing...Wonder what the reason could be ?

Its Roosting Time !

Its Roosting Time...Dont disturb please !

A Spotted Dove (Streptopelia chinensis) roosting among the fallen leaves at about noon time.These birds are often seen roosting,largly on the roof tops of houses and even on the ground.A nice capture indeed.

The Summer heat is on !

 It's Summer Season in India and its effect is pretty much visible on our winged friends.The dreaded heat is having its trademark effect on the birds,with temperatures soaring sky-high and hot summer winds blowing for the major part of the day ! There seems to be little respite for the little creatures as bird baths are fairly uncommon (or not at all present should I say ! ) in the houses present in the Dun valley and the little bit which I am doing to cool them down is obviously not turning out to be enough. For now,this tap (below) is proving to be a boon for them as it provides just the right amount of water.

Here is an example of a Male purple sunbird with its female counterpart(above),trying to escape the heat and quench their thirst.

                                               Jungle Babbler (Turdoides striata)

For now,I can only hope that the rain gods pour down some rain so that our winged friends could help beat the heat !

Local Migration of Starlings,Rosefinches

This March, many kinds of starlings could be seen hovering in the sky along with Common Rosefinches.Every year,before the Summer season in India (April-August) commences,these birds have been witnessed to undergo local migration,probably from the nearby hills where Dehradun acts as a midway stop.Moving in large congregations,they usually stay for around a month or so,after which they continue their journey to their ultimate destination.

During this time,one could witness the Common Rosefinch (Carpodacus erythrinus) and its female counterpart,both of which are not seen in the Dun valley although they are present in large numbers in the nearby hills of the so called "Queen of Hills", Mussoorie. The birds would spend a fairly large amount of time flittering from one tree to another,but the most preferred ones seemed to be "Bamboo" and "Himalayan Silver Fur" . Surely one of the prettiest birds around...What say ?

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Woody Woodpecker !!

Sitting on the terrace and enjoying the warm rays of the morning sun , almost dozing off , I was brought into action by loud thumping sounds coming from somewhere near me.I went closer to the source and after a bit of keen watching , I noticed a medium sized bird with bright plumage that surely attracted me.It was yellowish green with crimson forehead and nape and a prominent golden nuchal crest which added to its overall beauty.

Referring to the field guide , i found out that it was called "Lesser Yellow-naped Woodpecker" or "Picus Chlorophus Vieillot".And not to forget the fact that it has been 6-7 years since i have been observing birds in and around my neighbourhood and this was the first time that i was seeing one ! It was perched just in front of my eyes , probably at a distance of around 3-4 feet from me , on the "Himalayan pear tree" or "Pyrus Pashia" and was constantly digging the fairly thin but robust branch.An important point here is that the branches of this tree are very hard and thats why the sound that was originating was quite loud.As soon as the beautiful woodpecker saw me , it was perturbed and traumatized and immediately made a rushing flight towards the decidious trees on the other side of the road.

It was a pleasing sight for me , in the midst of the cool breeze and the warm soothing rays of the sun , for you do not get to witness a woodpecker pecking at a branch right in front of your eyes everyday !...Hope you enjoyed it.I will be regularly updating the content of the blog as i continue to roll on with my adventures and hope to witness much more amazing things !