Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Lalbagh - Rose Ringed Parakeets

I usually go to Lalbagh early in the morning, around 6:30 am.
It is possible to see a lot of Parakeets there. Their characteristic calls usually give them away, I've seen them in gregarious groups; often high up on the trees that circle the lake. If one walks around the lake, particularly near the chickoo trees, it's possible to see and photograph them.
In flight, they are rather fast and Im not skilled enough to capture them then.
The parakeets in Lalbagh, that I've seen, are all Rose Ringed Parakeets. They have a pink and black ring around their necks. This ring is only visible in the male birds and not in the female.
Finding their nests, makes it easy to photograph them. This little bird, surprised me by suddenly popping its head out while I was trying in vain to capture a Thickbilled Flower Pecker.

Rose Ringed Parakeet - Female possibly juvenile
This bird was being mobbed by a bunch of sly Mynas that had their nest higher up in the same tree. The bird would try to come out of its hole, and the Mynas would fly at it, making it go back in again.
Walking near the chickoo trees, which were fruiting, I was able to see this magnificent male bird.
The rose and black ring is clearly visible and it was very busy with its chickoo to notice me.

Adult Male - Rose Ringed Parakeet

Near the Glass house building, I saw this bird and had no clue as to what it was, until I got home and checked Dr. Salim Ali's book.

Koel - Female

Near by was this fearless little squirrel that simply refused to move, no matter how close I went to its tree.
On my way out, passed by another parakeet nest (different from the first). The female had just landed on the tree, she put her head into the hollow and then simply refused to take it out. I waited for around 5 min before leaving her.

The Alexanderine Parakeets have a red patch on their shoulder. The males of that species also have the rose ring. The red patch there fore, is the only way to distinguish them.

Female - Note the absence of the Rose coloured Ring

All in all, it was a successful outing. The Thickbilled flower peckers ( small brown birds that sit up high on the trees ) valiantly eluded being caught by my camera. Another such bird was the Ashy Wren Warbler that hopped from tree to tree, in and out of bushes and when in one place, it would jump about, not sitting still for a single minute. After 15 min, and several fuzzy pictures later, I gave up.

Wednesday, May 2, 2007

LalBagh - Water Birds II

Just before the onset of the monsoons, the Rose colored starlings ( formerly know as Rosy Pastors) who are migrants from Europe, come to India for the winter. Often seen with them are Grey Headed Mynas.

Usually I get to see these birds from the comfort of my balcony. This year though, they had not made an appearance yet, so I hoped to see them in the Lalbagh Gardens.

It was actually perfect weather, light clouds and a cool gentle breeze, around 6:20am. I hoped to see some activity. We walked to the lake at first, as is our usual route - we go around the lake from the main gate till the west gate, have breakfast at the Kamat Hotel and make our way back from west gate to main gate.

The lake yielded its usual bounty. A spirited pair of White Breasted Kingfishers chased each other about. There was the usual sprinkling of pond herons and the occasional egret.

Then, we saw a pair of Purple Moor Hen, and looked like one of them was collecting nesting material. They were also making a fair amount of noise, rather a grating hooting sound. Checked my book - I refer to Dr. Salim Ali's Book of Indian Birds.
The arrival of the S.W. Monsoon marks the beginning of the breeding season. The male holds water reeds in his bill (he breaks them off first) and bows to the female as a part of the courtship display.

Also Spotted a lone White breasted waterhen, for the first time, saw it on land and it obligingly came rather close.

I have once spotted a Purple Heron at the lalbagh lake and even have a picture of it mocking me from behind a clump of bushes, safe in the knowledge that I cant get a good shot.
Hoping for another tantalising glimpse, instead was rewarded with a cooperative Grey Heron instead.

The grey heron is a lighter coloured bird but about the same size as the purple heron. Patiently it posed, turning first this way, then the other way.

Accidentally got some exceedingly bad shots of a group of adult night heron lurking in the shadows while taking pictures of a tree. Consultations with Dr. Salim Ali via his excellent book - 'The Book of Indian Birds' revealed that the bird I had considered to be a juvenile Pond Heron is actually a juvenile Night Heron. I had put a photograph of it in my previous posting but wrongly identified it as a Juvenile Pond Heron.

Black and White - The little cormorant and the little egret (note the yellow feet)

Bird Sightings

  1. Purple MoorHen (2)
  2. White Breasted Waterhen (1)
  3. Indian Moor Hen
  4. White Breasted Kingfisher (2)
  5. Pond Herons
  6. Grey Heron (1)
  7. Night Heron Juveniles
  8. Little Egret (1)
  9. Little Coromorants
  10. Large Cormorant (1)
Notable Sightings - will be featured in my next blog

  1. Rose Ringed Parakeets - several
  2. Ashy Wren Warbler (1)
  3. ThickBilled Flowerpeckers - Many thanks to Mrs. Ranjini Kamath for help in identification.
  4. Small Green Barbet
  5. Brahmini Kite
Blog Widget by LinkWithin