I took this photograph at Nagarahole national park, Karnataka, on 19th Nov 2014 around 6:00 pm. My friends and I were nearing the end of the evening safari when I saw a commotion in the bushes. I got a quick glimpse of a common monitor lizard (Varanus bengalensis). As we passed it by, a mongoose suddenly emerged from the bushes, so we reversed our vehicle to photograph it. Soon we were amazed to see the mongoose viciously attack … Read More
The migratory bird, Baikal Bush-warbler (Locustella davidi), was spotted and photographed by Ranjan Kumar Das, a geography teacher at Tinsukia College, on December 2, 2013. It was seen in the Koliapani grassland of Motapung-Maguri beel near Dibru-Saikhowa national park.
This bird was photographed in Nov 2014 by Porag Jyoti Phukan, a wildlife photographer from Duliajan, Assam.
The Spotted Bush Warbler was previously treated as a species with several subspecies, breeding in eastern Russia and adjacent parts of China, as … Read More
I saw my first Jumping Ant (Harpegnathos saltator) on the outskirts of Bangalore and observed how it moves about. The ant jumped and lived up to its name!
Back in 2004 near Belgaum, as I photographed a jumping ant, it did something very interesting. I was peering through my view finder when suddenly the ant leapt and went out of my frame. The ant had actually jumped and caught a moth mid-air!
I saw it jump, but missed … Read More
During a morning drive around Nagarahole national park, Karnataka, in March 2013, we encountered a pack of 5-6 dholes (Cuon alpinus) close to the forest office. There were a few pups playing around, even climbing a tree. Being highly social, playing is helpful in cementing bonds between pack members, besides being fun! (Adult dholes too will sometimes climb onto sloping tree trunks or termite mounds – Ed). Pack sizes may sometimes swell to over 20, but will usually then split … Read More
We came across a pack of 18 dholes or Asiatic Wild Dog (Cuon alpinus) at Bandipur National Park. The pack was getting ready to attack an elephant herd with two calves. After a few attempts, the dholes moved on. A few minutes later, we heard the call of a gaur and moved forward. In an open area, we saw the dholes attacking a gaur calf while the mother tried to protect it.
As the cries of the calf and the … Read More
On the 18th of October, 2011, we were camping in a trekking shed, on the way to Mukurthi peak in the Nilgiris, Tamil Nadu. The trek involved walking about 3 km through wattle and grassland to reach a stream, followed by another uphill trek. Two of us reached the last hill around 11 AM, and as it was hot, we decided to turn back. The disappointment at not completing the trek turned out to be a blessing in disguise. As … Read More
On Sunday, June 22, 2014 we set out from Karkala, as usual, for a birdwatching and photography trip. We decided to explore Samse village close to Kudremukh town.
The monsoon got delayed this year, but it did rain heavily in the 3rd week of June. We were enjoying a downpour while driving through the dense shola forest of Kudremukh NP. At around 10:35AM we reached the South Canara Border (SK border), on to the left of the road I saw … Read More
Here is an image of an adult Rufous-bellied Hawk Eagle (Lophotriorchis kienerii) sighted in Mysore on 2nd July 2014 near Chamundi Hills. This is a very interesting record for Mysore given that the species is an uncommon raptor restricted to the forested hills of the Western Ghats.
The Rufous-bellied hawk eagle is easily identified by its black upper parts, chestnut under parts and under wing-coverts and white throat and breast. The two sexes are physically alike but the female is … Read More
This image was taken on June 3rd, 2014 at Anamalai Tiger Reserve (ATR) in Tamil Nadu. We were driving from Aliyar in the foothills to Valparai and a group of around 50 tourists were cheering and screaming, we got down to see what was going on. An amazing drama was unfolding in front of us — a herd of elephants (7) were chasing away a pack of dhole (around 20) along the banks of the Aliyar reservoir!
As this road … Read More
Night brings with it a sense of enigma. Darkness, and everything associated, is one such thing. This is more pronounced because of the fear instilled in us during our formative years. The familiar path that we tread with ease during daytime, under the cover of darkness, is full of ‘hurdles’ that often don’t physically exist. This primarily is due to our dependence on our vision. It also prevents us from exploring our environment under the night sky. For most urbanites … Read More
The Himalayan Ibex (Capra sibirica hemalayanus) is regarded as a subspecies of the Siberian Ibex (Capra sibirica). They are found in the western Himalaya in Pakistan and India, usually at elevations of 3800m and higher. An adult ibex weighs about 90 kgs, and stands around 40 inches tall, with huge curved horns. The horns have notches on the front, and grow each year. Their coat is thick and woolly in winter, and shed in early summer. Colour ranges from … Read More
On one of the safari drives in BRT Wildlife Sanctuary, I came across a small rat-like mammal. Though I knew it was the Madras Tree Shrew, I wasn’t really sure since it had rarely been recorded in this area. The ID was later confirmed by experts.
The Madras Tree Shrew (Anathana ellioti), also referred to as the Indian Tree Shrew, is a small mammal belonging to the order Scandentia, and is endemic to peninsular India. It is distributed … Read More
The Pale or Mountain Weasel (Mustela altaica) is a high-altitude carnivore which has a short muzzle, long flattened skull, a slim body and short legs. These weasels eat small mammals, birds, lizards, and occasionally insects and berries.
This species is found in the mountains of Asia, from Russian Central Asia to Korea to northern India.
Here is an image of the Naga Wren-Babbler or Long-tailed Wren-Babbler (Spelaeornis chocolatinus) which I photographed in Nagaland in Jan 2014.
This species is Near Threatened and dwells in montane broadleaf forest with thick undergrowth of Nagaland and North Manipur, in NE India. A very active species, usually foraging close to the ground, but not as exclusively ground-dwelling like the Pnoepyga Wren-Babblers.
Originally described as “Pnoepyga chocolatina” by Godwin-Austen and Walden in Ibis p.252, 1875, from Kedimai, Manipur, … Read More
Birders recently spotted two Lesser White-fronted and four Greater White-fronted Geese in the Little Rann of Kutch (LRK), Gujarat. Both are rarities and seldom seen in the Indian subcontinent. They are long distance migrants.
The Greater White-fronted Goose (Anser albifrons) breeds across the tundra from Nunavut to Siberia, across Russia, and in Greenland. The Greater White-fronted Goose has one of the largest ranges of any geese species in the world.
The Lesser White-fronted Goose (Anser erythropus… Read More