Chinese Pond Heron in Kelambakkam Lake, Chennai

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While birding on the morning of Saturday, 30th March 2013, I saw a Chinese Pond Heron (Ardeola bacchu), in full breeding plumage at Kelambakkam Lake, Chennai, Tamil Nadu. A lone bird was observed feeding on a small bund in the backwaters of the lake.

The Chinese Pond Heron looks almost identical to Indian Pond Heron and difficult to identify in non-breeding plumage. The size difference (Chinese is 8cm larger) is difficult to make out in the field. In … Read More

Water monitor eating Jungle Babbler, Sundarbans

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While walking around at Sajnekhali, Sundarbans, on 12th March, I heard jungle babblers crying the world deaf. I went ahead to find this water monitor swallowing the last parts of a jungle babbler, while the other birds of the flock kept on chattering loudly in alarm, flying overhead and jumping on branches. I don’t know how the seemingly sluggish monitor managed to catch a timid jungle babbler. It could be that the monitor was lying somewhere unnoticed when the poor … Read More

Black Stork, an Uncommon Bird in South India, Nagarahole

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The Black Stork (Ciconia nigra) is an uncommon bird in South India. It is a winter visitor and considered to be rare in the Deccan. It has not been recorded in South India (Ali & Ripley, 2001).

However, over the last few years there have been several sightings in Karnataka. The bird has been seen in north Karnataka in the vicinity of Dandeli. In more recent times, there have been reports of a bird from Bangalore as well … Read More

A Red-wattled Lapwing Nesting on a Roof, Mumbai

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While Red-wattled lapwings are very often seen near human habitation, their nesting is primarily carried out only on the ground. But there have been growing records of their roof-nesting habit (Saxena 1974; Reeves 1975; Tehsin & Lokhandwala 1983; Mundkur 1985; Koshy 1989; Kumar & Sharma 2011). I have been observing this roof-nesting pair for the last 5 years and feel that this is an important case-study to be shared with the rest of the community. At no point, did I … Read More

Domestic Dogs chasing Indian Wild Ass, Little Rann of Kutch

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The Indian Wild Ass or Khur (Equus hemionus khur), is an endangered animal with its last refuge in India’s only wild ass sanctuary. The Khur was formerly widespread in the arid zone of northwestern India and Pakistan, westwards through much of central Asia. However, it is now limited to the Little Rann of Kutch in Gujarat, India. The khur probably went extinct in Baluchistan and the extreme south of Pakistan, on the Indian border, during the 1960s (Corbet … Read More

Brown Palm Civet, Pampadum Shola

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On Dec 15th, 2012, we (Neelakandan Madavana and Navneeth Kishor) visited Pampadum Shola National Park, in Idukki district of Kerala. It was around 6pm and we were returning to camp after a trek. We noticed a movement in a tree trunk, not far from us and on closer observation, noticed this Brown Palm Civet climbing up to rest on a branch. These civets can easily go unnoticed to photographer’s eyes, and indeed, they were thought to be locally extinct in … Read More

Jungle Cat feeding on a Nilgai calf carcass, Velavadar

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We found this carcass of a Nilgai (Boselaphus tragocamelus) fawn in the Velavadar grasslands. We had seen three Indian wolves (Canis lupus pallipes) in the same area earlier. It was likely that they had killed the Nilgai. A couple of Jungle Crows and a Wild Boar had their share of the carcass a while ago, before this Jungle Cat (Felis chaus) came along to have a bite!… Read More

Black-legged Kittiwake, Fourth record for India from Chavakkad, Kerala.

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Black-legged Kittiwake (Rissa tridactyla) is a small sized coastal breeding gull commonly found around north Pacific and north Atlantic oceans in North America and Europe. We were fortunate to observe and photograph two individuals of this species from Chavakkad beach, Kerala, India on January 24th, 2013 during our routine beach birding trip. We (Suhas Kechery and Sandeep Das) located this bird among a flock of Heuglin’s, Brown-headed and Black-head Gulls.

The birds observed were found to be … Read More

Greater Flamingo with sub-adult chick on its back, Dholpur

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This unusual image of a Greater Flamingo chick on the back of its mother (?) was taken by me on 22 January in Dholpur, Rajasthan, at the Hussain Sagar water body. The waterbody derives its name from Hussain Pur, a nearby village, and is fed by rain water. Even though there is anthropogenic disturbance at this site — buffaloes enter the water and people wash their clothes here everyday — a small group of Greater Flamingos have been at the … Read More

Indian Spotted Chevrotain (Mouse Deer), Nagarahole

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The Indian Spotted Chevrotain (Moschiola meminna) is often referred to as the Mouse Deer. However in recent times, Indian Spotted Chevrotain seems to be the preferred usage.

This diminutive animal is nocturnal in habit, making it very difficult to see one in daylight. Occasionally a chevrotain may be seen late in the evening or early in the morning if it ventures out into the open like the one in this image, photographed one foggy morning near the Kabini … Read More

Jackals in Nagarahole

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Although jackals occur widely across India, we know very little about them. These images were photographed on the morning of 11th November, 2012 near the Kabini backwaters in Rajiv Gandhi National Park (Nagarahole Tiger Reserve). We believe that jackals have never been sighted here for past over 15 years, so it’s interesting to know if these jackals have lost their way and have entered the protected forest. Or are there any other reasons for them to been wandering in Nagarahole?… Read More

First Indian record of ‘Sind’ Jerdon’s Babbler from Harike, Punjab

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While birding in Harike Wildlife Sanctuary in Punjab on October 31st and November 1st, 2012, we (three birders — Gunjan Arora, Shashank Dalvi and Saurabh Sawant) came across the Sind Jerdon’s Babbler (Chrysomma altirostre scindicum). This is the first record of this subspecies from India. This record is 370 kms away from the nearest known locality of this bird. It was earlier known only along the main Indus River from very few localities in Pakistan. We found the … Read More

Jackal in Cauvery Wildlife Sanctuary

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On Oct 13, 2012, in the evening, we saw this jackal feeding on termites by the road side in Cauvery Wildlife Sanctuary. The jackal did not seem to be bothered by our presence, though vehicles passing by would scare him. He would hide and come back out to feed when it was safe.

We visit Cauvery Wildlife Sanctuary regularly for our volunteer work. Over time, we have observed some positive changes due to the good work by the DFO, Mr.Vasanth … Read More

Sambar Battle Wild Dogs in Bandipur

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In September 2012, on an evening safari in Bandipur National Park, I witnessed a truly amazing natural history moment, perhaps the finest in all of my wild travels across India. We had planned to check the Kavare Katte, a large water body, before exiting the park. From a distance, we could see that a few sambar standing in the water. As we approached closer, we realized the enormously tense situation that had been playing out. The sambar had entered the … Read More

Rusty Spotted Cat Sighting, Nagarahole

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On November 4th, 2010, a friend and I were on our way through Mysore to a resort near Nagarahole. We were not expecting to see any interesting wildlife on the way, but we were amazed when we suddenly spotted this Rusty Spotted Cat (Prionailurus rubiginosus) near Karapura. We took a record image. These cats are thought to be rare, although new information suggests that they may actually be more common than assumed.

See this other post about a … Read More