Sighting of Caspian Plover, Koonthankulam, Tirunelveli, Tamil Nadu

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The Caspian Plover (Charadrius asiaticus) is an attractive wader that belongs to the family Charadriidae. The bird is similar in size to the Greater and Lesser Sand Plovers, but slimmer and longer-legged. The breeding male (as seen in the photograph) has a chestnut breast bordered with a black band below.

The first sighting of this beautiful vagrant this season was reported by Suresh Elamon and Bal Pandy, the “ birdman” of Koonthankulam on 25th January 2013. To see … Read More

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

Pelican Poaching in Kanva Dam, Channapatna, Karnataka

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Kishan SB, Deepak Jois, Amith Kumar, Aravind S and I had gone to Kanva Dam, (which is behind Kengal temple on the Mysore-Bangalore highway near Channapatna) on the afternoon of 18th Feb 2013. There was a lot of water in the dam. We could see Painted Storks, River Terns, Whiskered Terns, Spot-billed Ducks, Black-winged stilts and Black-tailed Godwits in the water.

There were a flock of five Grey or Spot-billed Pelicans (Pelecanus philippensis). As we were watching them … Read More

Poisoning Egrets for a Village Booze Party

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I recently witnessed a grotesque ritual in my village, Rettanai, near Chennai, Tamil Nadu. We grow paddy at our farm there, and the flooded fields form a nice breeding ground for frogs and crabs which attract egrets. One evening, three young men came to our farm and asked permission to cross our farm to go to the neighboring field. They were carrying an assorted collection of stuff in their hands, and out of curiosity I asked them what they intended … Read More

Elephant Taunting – A Despicable Spectator Sport in Coimbatore Forests

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Editor’s note: This report exposes a serious problem that needs urgent resolution. CI requests journalists to highlight this issue so that the authorities put strong measures in place to stop it. We request all conservationists and conservation NGOs in Coimbatore to join hands to help the Forest Department in solving this problem urgently.

Coimbatore, often referred to as the Manchester of South India, harbours hundreds of factories and multinational companies, which need land and other resources. Despite this, the … Read More

Chalazodes Bubble Nest Frog

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The Chalazodes Bubble Nest frog (Roaorchestes chalazodes) is one of India’s critically endangered frog. The species, originally described by Günther in 1876 based on a single specimen that is now located in the British Museum of Natural History, was lost to science for about 136 years. It was thought to be extinct until recently, when it was rediscovered in the remote forests of Kalakad Mundanthurai Tiger Reserve, Tamil Nadu by Dr. Ganesan R, Seshadri.K.S and Dr. Biju S.D. … Read More

Growing City, Displaced Flamingos

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Kelambakkam is a brackish backwater lagoon situated near Chennai. The backwaters are heaven for waders, gulls, terns, pelicans, painted storks and cormorants. Greater flamingos have been spotted here regularly. During migration season, a lot of waders such as (Eurasian curlew, whimbrel, lesser and greater sand plovers, terns (little/gull billed/Caspian/whiskered), gulls, redshanks, greenshanks, stints, black winged stilts, pied avocets etc., are seen here. Kelambakkam is around 30 kms from Chennai city, and was pretty much undisturbed – until recently. Industrial and … Read More

Bridging the Gap

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In the Anamalais, highways and the resulting fragmented canopies, are a huge threat to lion-tailed macaques. The highways department has been widening and improving the quality of roads to cater to the growing tourist population. There has been a sharp increase in the number fairly silent cars that speed through such roads. Macaques have also been emboldened by tourists feeding them, and thus hang out by the roadside. All this has led to a growing number of roadkills to this … Read More

Changing Landscapes

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Chennai is surrounded by a number of waterbodies. Kelambakkam backwaters, near Kovalam beach is home to a variety of birds that stop over on long migratory journeys. Some are local migrants like Painted Storks. Visitors from abroad include Flamingos, Western Reef Egrets and many species of Terns.

Storks like many birds wade in the shallows of the water bodies for catching fish and crabs, but the landscape around these water bodies is changing. With the city growing fast, an array … Read More

Survival

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In July 2012, I was witness to a story of survival in the wild, and how, despite the best attempts of humans, nature has its way. I was in Valparai and we got news that an elephant herd that we were tracking had given birth to a calf. The mother was a young elephant and an older one was observed always staying by her side. A few days later, while I was at Bangalore, I heard the startling news that … Read More

Bird Poachers Caught Red-handed at Kelambakkam Lake, Chennai

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I took this image of two poachers trapping waders (mainly little stints) flying low over Kelambakkam lake near Chennai and getting trapped in mesh nets. I was birding along the lake accompanied by Vaithiyanathan, also a birdwatcher and photographer. Both of us are members of the Photographic Society of Madras (PSM).

When we reached the lake, I saw two people crouched on one of the small islands in the backwaters. I took a test shot with my camera to check … Read More

Mudumalai Masinagudi Road Teeming With Vehicles

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This road teems not just with crossing wild animals, but also vehicle traffic. In an attempt to catch a glimpse of the wild, vehicles often stop, blocking the road for other vehicles. Sometimes people go to the extent of annoying animals, like elephants, to get pictures and videos of “mock charges”, attacks and so on. I have personally observed an elephant calf get separated from its mother, unable to cross the road. The mother had to charge and drive vehicles … Read More

Bird Ringing Camp – Point Calimere, Tamil Nadu, Nov 6 to 11 and Dec 14 to 19, 2012

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Note – Dates are spread across 2 batches. Please see details below.

One of its kind, the Bird Migration Study Centre is a brainchild of Dr Balachandran, Deputy Director, BNHS. The first ever bird migration project in India was started in 1950s by the Bombay Natural History Society (BNHS). Since then BNHS has ringed over 3,00,000 birds. This camp will be a stepping stone for serious amateurs, birders and wildlife enthusiasts. Dr Balachandran will be leading the group. This tour … Read More

Melanistic and Common Leopard Pair

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On August 15, 2010, we were in the Nilgiris, in search of a leopard that had killed a porcupine the previous day. It was raining heavily in the morning, but stopped around 3 PM. As the rain stopped, we noticed something black on top of a hill and we cautiously approached it. We climbed about 500 feet of the hill, but the animal had vanished by the time we reached the top. We waited for sometime and a common leopard … Read More

Bonnet Macaque With Liquor Bottle

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We saw this scene en route to Valparai in Tamil Nadu. This Bonnet Macaque had caught hold of a bottle of White Mischief Vodka, and was trying to open it. We don’t know if the sun was playing tricks, but the bottle did seem to have some liquid remaining. We hope the monkey failed in his endeavor. Tourists often visit hill stations such as Valparai with the aim of having a ‘good time’. Valparai is a hotbed of bio-diversity and … Read More