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Friday, April 29, 2011

A Furry Friend

The most eagerly awaited day of a working week is Friday. This holds true for our office too. This is also the day, when we take a break from the computer and desk job routine, for an hour of yoga. Deviating from the Avian theme, by featuring a health conscious mammal, who visits balcony at home.

This furry friend, a squirrel,  is seen practicing yoga asanas here. Revealed here, is the secret behind strength and agility, that enables our furry friend to scale vertical walls and catwalk on tightropes.  Watch closely.

Ready - Steady- Go

Stretching to warm up those muscles
Can you touch your nose......with your toes
Try this... Paschimottanasana
Exercising with instruments

Relaxing after strenuous workout session
Whew ... those asanas were something... Hope you enjoyed this break.. Will return to our Feathered friends now.. watch out for future breaks.. keep fit

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Birding in National Parks - Part 1 Sultanpur Bird Sanctuary

Lake at Sultanpur Bird Sanctuary

The year 2011 started on a good birding note. The second Sunday of the year, saw us heading towards Sultanpur Bird Sanctuary in Harayana. Our family planned to visit the bird sanctuary to see the migratory bird that nested there during winter season. While researching the routes to reach Sultanpur, we were surprised to find out that it was about 35 kilometers from our home by road. Traveling through Najafgarh and other villages on Delhi Rawta border was estimated to take us around an hour to reach the place.

Black Winged Stilt

Sunday, 9th January dawned as a cold, foggy and rainy day. Chances of viewing birds, migratory or resident, seemed too bleak. However, our heart was set on visiting the place and we drove off towards Harayana, after breakfast. Weather gods were benevolent after the early morning drizzle; soon the sky cleared up and though it was not a sunny day, the rain had stopped.  
Cattle egrets

The outing looked promising in spite of the late start. However, the modern day traffic gods played truant as usual. Delhi traffic showed its true colours after 5-6 kilometers from home. Our car had to crawl  for an hour, through dense traffic, which started from main Najafgarh road up to Khaira village crossing. Thankfully, traffic and noisy human habitats ended beyond this point. We enjoyed rest of the drive through fields and fruit orchards along the Delhi- Harayana border.

Teals, Lapwings, Moorhens

Common coot

On the way we found street side vendors selling fresh guavas and bought 4-5 kilos of the delicious green fruit. We reached Sultanpur around lunch time, and after a quick snacking on guavas and sandwiches, entered the bird sanctuary to explore. Watch towers along the lake gave an excellent view of the lake and its surrounding. Lots of migratory birds were flying around the water body.

Great egret
Grey heron
Storks, herons, moorhens, teals and ducks were enjoying the cosy afternoon sun. Painted stork families were nesting and were noisiest of all. Peacock, kingfishers, parrots were some of the more common birds that we saw at Sultanpur. The Sultanpur lake had been replenished by the abundant rains last year, hence many species of  birds were visible this year.  We stayed for short while, pledging to return later for lengthier exploratory visit.

Pond Heron
Quotes displayed near Sultanpur national Park Gates

Everyone wants to understand painting. Why is there no attempt to understand the song of the birds?.
(Quote by - Pablo Picasso)
A bird does not sing because it has an answer. It sings because it has a song.
(Chinese proverb)

Painted Stork in Flight

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Birding around Mukteshwar

Mukteshwar is a quite hill township in Kumaon region of Uttarakhand. The small town is perhaps better known for the man-eating tigress that terrorized people in the neighboring villages in late 1920s and was killed by Jim Corbett in 1929. No tiger has visited Mukteshwar in recent years, however leopards are seen occasionally  around IVRI forest reserve near the town. Jackals, mountain goats and various species of birds can be spotted around fruit orchards and forests of the area.
Black and Orange flycatcher
Mukteshwar is now a popular tourist destination in summer, known for the panoramic views of the Nandadevi and Trishul mountain range of the Himalayas. This part of Uttarakhand is also famous for fruit orchards of plums, apricots, apples, peaches and sweet lime. Known as the "fruit basket", Mukteshwar orchards send supplies all over India. Frequent visits to Mukteshwar for work in the last 1-2 years, have given me a chance  to photograph the beautiful species of birds of the Himalayan ecosystem. Sharing pictures of a few of them that I could capture this spring season.
Barn Swallow - It makes a new mud nest in the project site office every year.
Balck Throated Tit - A tiny bird, hunts for insects in bark of apple and plum trees on site.

Could be a Blue whistling thrush or a Eurasian blackbird. Can be seen checking steel reinforcements here :)
Grey caped pygmy woodpecker

Grey headed Canary Flycatcher

Verditer Flycatcher can be spotted easily in these parts

Black Lored Tit looks more like a stylish bulbul but can be easily distinguished by black streak across lores

Hoping to capture images of other birds when I visit Mukteshwar next. More feathered friends coming soon.   :D