Friday, 11 July 2014

Once upon a time

The humble sparrow, how many of us have grown up to their stories from our grandparents while watching these little birds busily fly around in the neighbourhood. I guess a lot of us may have seen them vanish right before our eyes and before we realised it was too late they were gone from our cities. Depressing as it may sound we no longer can tell the same stories and poems of the humble sparrow to our little ones, they no longer know what they are. Here is a hope among hope that someday all this will change and we can once again wake up to the cheerful chirps of this humble bird.

A young male on a tiny twig surveying his territory however small or big. "They remember us once in a year, when the world's sparrow day is near. Apart from that where do they go, is there any action they do and follow? " In some urban areas the population has fallen by 99%.

Despite being one of the closest bird to mankind, what is it that has caused this drastic decline. Sparrows are known to eat over 800 different types of food. So there is no scarcity of that in the urban world. But the rising glass Facades are undoubtedly encroaching in the habitats of these tiny birds.

Another Male, handsome and alert, looking for a female to flirt? Though Sparrows are said to be monogamous, infidelity is not uncommon or so it has been discovered.

And there she is looking pretty and neat. Looking forward to meet her man as soon as she can.

Oh look "Have no fear my dear, for your man is here" Sparrows are known to aggressively protect their nest from other sparrows.

But before that a nice little dust bath to make himself presentable..


Together now and feeding in peace, making a sweet pair and completely at ease. Hoping to come together and increase their dwindling brood as every responsible sparrow pair should? ( sorry If am sounding like a sparrow granny - purely for rhyming purpose)Sparrows have 2-3 broods each year. Female lays 3 to 5 eggs. Incubation period lasts 12 to 15 days. Both parents take care of the eggs and chicks.

A cute little one looking for a sip of water on a hot summer day. The summer this year has taken its toll on all species. The young ones are ready to leave nest in 2 weeks after hatching. But this is the time they are most vulnerable. Not fully experienced in the ways of life, they are easy prey to cats and other predators.

The nectar of life for the young one. Little does she know that there are still people around who care for their well being and survival. This was in Hampi where Mr.Pompayya Malemath ensures that the tap drips just enough to quench the thirst of all the hopefuls who converge for their daily fill.

The need to stay clean and a thorough preen. some places still provide a safe haven for these little birds. If only we can increase the area of this haven.

Sisters at rest in Ladakh. Sparrows have a lifespan of about 4-5 years and these pictures have been clicked in various locations. I've always felt they were a lucky charm for me and try and click at least 1 pic of a sparrow in each trip, if I can sight them. This is just a small tribute to my favourite birds that I miss around me.

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Photographs and work by Tharangini is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.

Monday, 27 January 2014

Macaques - Emotions unlimited.

Macaques - Naughty, gleeful, full of mischief. Notorious to the core yet adorable beyond compare with emotions to match, always providing unlimited entertainment to watch. The joy and wonder in the young ones face or the sadness and pain the mother displays, the anger and the aggression of the dominant male with varieties of behaviour that never run stale .
Here is an attempt to capture some of the many behaviours, expressions and emotions. It is a compilation of the shots that have been captured over a period of time and here is hoping it captures your imaginations too.

A goofy smile stretching a mile, toothless mouth and wonderstruck eyes, the ears seem to wake up to the surprise. Every single element an unique source of constant amusement, this young one surely knows to enjoy to its heart's content.
To hang out with, to share a few words, to converse, to gossip, to rave and rant with, to tear you hair out with, to eavesdrop with, to shed our tears with, to share your joys with, to laugh, to shout, to work, to play with, to travel with , to do nothing with, to look at the stars together or gaze at the pouring rain, the walk in the beach, having fun at a bad movie, to call in the middle of the night or to wake you up on a dull day.... how is any of this possible without a friend by the side....
And so went on the interaction with a Moooooommyyyyyyyyyy helppppppppp
he is chewing on my finger
to don't bother me kids... go play elsewhere,
My funky hairdo did not impress her,
All I want to do is sulk and stare.
I wish I could state what else went on in their minds,
But well aware if I do so I'll be tagged in their kinds.
This really amusing interaction and watching these kids at play, the kind that keeps you smiling the whole day -
There are times when a well timed growl is necessary,
whatever the reason maybe.
Let it out,
if needed shout,
But once you are done,
Relax and once again learn to have fun..
Most importantly please do ensure,
others are not a victim of your stress cure.
Everyone has one of those days.
Growl, but remember again to smile away..
Best place in the world to be,
Mother's arm,
gentle yet firm and incomparably warm,
In her arms,
I know no fear,
as she holds me near.
I am without a care in the world,
Not when I am in her fold.
This is for me,
Best place in the world to be.
The hands came together in a silent prayer to save our environment from further brutalities. Let's get together and be kind to the world we live in. After all it is the only one we have. Let's get together and pray - and implement a safe environment for one and all.
Through the arms of his mother,
He looked out in wonder,
It was his window to the world,
A little scared, a little bold,
With shining eyes,
Trying to analyse,
From the arms of his mother,
A world full of wonder.
The young one in a wembrace,huddled on to his mother as her strong arms crossed over him protectively allowing him to take a sneak pek of the world around that he would soon explore. Till then he would be in the close vicinity of the most powerful security in the world for him, in the arms of his mother.
Her Fingers bleeding, leaving a stain on her young ones tiny head, yet her grip firm enough to provide all the support despite her pain as the young one slept blissfully unaware in the most comfortable bed known to him. His mother's arms. A slight grimace once in a while was all that indicated her pain as she held steady with the barest of the movement lest she disturbed her dearest ones deep slumber. Who else can the bleeding finger belong to but a mother...
So what if I was naughty, that's what kids are meant to be,
Sitting on the lone branch on this tree,
Oh cant you see,
I long to be free.
Care to be friends with me?
A little tale of a tail,
to impress without fail,
A Monkey's best friend,
and so has been the trend,
none to play with and yet never alone,
A tail to hang around till the day is done.
The setting sun shot his flames up into the sky setting the macaque on fire as he glowed in full glory surrendering to the power of the fiery ball of fire the provider of all essentials and life on earth. The heat was immense and yet the beauty of every single being set alight that evening could not be ignored.
Brothers and what more need I say, never still for a minute even after repeated request to sit still. While one found his brother's ears to be a tasty morsel, the other chewed on his mother's tail and tried rock climbing using it as a support. It was with incredible difficulty that 2 pairs of curious eyes peered into the camera for a split second before they were off to drive their mother crazy again.
Happiness is everywhere, you just have to look for it...the completely engrossed young one amusing itself with every single nook and crack in the bark of the tree, knowing so well how to find the innocent joy hidden there while the mother clearly displays her undisguised boredom.
As we lose the curiosity in life, we also tend to take a lot of things for granted. But just look around, there is a lot of happiness to be found.

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Photographs and work by Tharangini is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.

Wednesday, 12 June 2013

Masinagudi - Where Harmony is a way of life

Masinagudi a quaint town receiving more than its fair share of tourists, some for the nature and some just for fun. Some responsible about nature and a few sadly with no knowledge about the importance and need for preserving this beautiful place. At a comfortable distance from Bangalore en route to Ooty, this place is sheer magic.
The summers however can be very warm but evenings pleasant. Winters feel like winters and the rains paint the town green.
This place, as beautiful as it may be also faces a huge battering in the form of rash motorists who ignore every rule as they speed to keep their date with their destinations.As a result he number of road kills are also high in this place, despite rules and closing of Forest check post gates.

The animals and birds however continue to keep their peace, taking their leisurely strolls on the roads or sometimes hurriedly scampering across, they have learnt to adapt, even if we have not, to live, to sustain and beautify their domain.

Simple things in life , a few bonds, friendships and togetherness, looking together not eye to eye, but in the same direction, someone to walk a few steps together with you in life, simple things in life speaks volumes.
   And so went on the interaction with a 'Mommmmmmy Helllpppppppp he is chewing on my finger' to 'don't bother me kids ... go play elsewhere,
My funky hairdo did not impress her,
All I want to do is sulk and stare.'
I wish I could state what else went on in their minds,
But well aware if I do so I'll be tagged in their kinds.
Kids at play in Masinagudi.
The little ones were fooling around, the older ones deep in gossip and preening each other. But this guy sat alone and sulking, oh those in between years.
So what if he was naughty, that's what kids are meant to be,
Sitting on a lone branch on this tree.
He sulked and grumbled.
There was no one to see,
Naughty is what kids are meant to be.
   An upside down world, but not to me,
The view from here is great to see,
The trees the barks the air fresh and free,
This my friend is the way to be.
Lead your life the way you see fit,
What others may think will not help you one bit.
This may be the prophecy to follow,
If only the others around me allow.
A piece of experimental processing to give the shining blue and brown bundle of feathers with the shiniest beak and the sharpest eyes, the respect it deserves.Standing patiently till an unsuspecting prey swims by and even as we start praying for the prey to make a quick entry, a swift splash, the drama is over even before it has begun. Back to the waiting again.
Patience is indeed a huge virtue and who else to teach it better then a bundle of bright blue and brown feathers.
   A long wait,
Unblinking eyes scan the road ahead,
It does not show any fear,
Just a stare,
A gaze probably for someone very dear.
We have been taught as kids to look before we cross the road and now the animals and birds seem to be instinctively learning this. Walking over the freshly tarred roads diverging through the forests, the brilliant greens striking up the most exotic contrast with subtle hints of browns and greens painting the background.
With an elegant step, she turned her graceful neck, a pause, a stance, she slowed and posed, her wide pretty eyes hinting a trace of anxiety and yet abundance of confidence. Her sisters crossed in a hurry, but she had her grace and charm and she did not hesitate to blow our minds away with it. The lady, the winner, born to model and not one to hesitate in stealing the show.

  A common bird, the Great tit, but this bird has managed to give me the nightmares. Strange as it may sound every single pic I've ever clicked of this little one has always managed to be stirred, shaken and blurred. Else it was on the dark side of the light or one tiny leaf or twig would always strategically came over the head. It was after an incredible penance that I managed to get this little 'common bird'.
Something about this little guy captured my heart, maybe the way he kept to himself, so silent and sure, confidently darting around and making quick meals of unsuspecting insects. A blink of an eye and he was gone, a blink of an eye and there he was again. Kind of reminded me of the strong silent types in the form of the Asian Brown Flycatcher. A personality to behold   

 Another commoner, male Brahminy Starling posing in the wet greens of an early morning dew, awaiting the arrival of its flock to gather around to start foraging again.
    The tiny yellow grey fellow sitting on a branch,
hiding his head in the shadows,
avoiding the sunlight's glance.

A glint in the eye caught just by chance
before he took off again to do the fanciful flycatcher's dance.
Gracefully darting around,
catching every insect he found,
before the tiny yellow grey fellow again settled on the branch.
The Grey Headed Canary Flycatcher.
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Photographs and work by Tharangini is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.

Tuesday, 16 April 2013

BR Hills Magic

A place so beautiful and so generous. She has always bestowed us with something so incredibly beautiful each time. She is the BR hills. Be it an abundance of bird sightings or Mammals running across, be it the gorgeous forest, draped in green and painted with reds, yellows and orange in between with the sweet gentle perfume of the many fragrant flowers and leaves seductively luring her many admirers again and again into her arms as the magical calls of the various birds flows like music into our ears.
At night she drapes herself in a diamond studded attire with the stars shooting across the sky and the gentle breeze caressing the souls of those who seek peace in her. Many salutations to one of the most beautiful forests I've visited.

An alert blue jewel, a call so teasing that you could fall in love with the caller, a glimpse so fleeting, that you cannot but thirst for more, a handsome stance, it was luck perchance that he happened to hop on a perch so fantastic, tail held up, ready to jump back into the shrubs he had appeared from, and yet graceful enough to favour the desperate eyes that had far longed to view him at such close proximity. Forever in love - Malabar Whistling thrush (Male) in BR Hills.
Paint me gold, Paint me bold,
The Blue rock thrush female, to the rays of the sun she told,
Her best step forward, her head turned to pose,
No longer drab, not even close.
The rays of the sun most obligingly
showered her with his golden rays so lovingly.
She sat she basked,
who is the prettier one, she asked...
The Blue rock thrush female sitting on the bark,
As the golden sun painted her pretty frock....
Many misses and just one hit as the Blue tailed Bee eaters happily splashed into the water. Were they fishing for insects or just cooling themselves off I do not know, but my temperature rose with their each successful dive and my each unsuccessful shot. Any more attempts and I would have felt like diving in after them. But this one shot gave the much needed respite. But then it also left me wondering about the number of times while we are behind the cam that we fail to truly enjoy the beauty of nature and carry the stress of getting the perfect shot all the time. A resolution for 2013 - it is ok to get bad shots as long as I do not lose out on the beauty of the moment unfolding in front of me at that very second.
A head from a branch, thoughtful and silent, not sure what thoughts floated around, the eyes refused to be a mirror to those thoughts, just left us guessing, the head from the tree, what did want to tell us....
I wish I could say more, but words do not seem to flow, it has been an overwhelming 2 days and no prizes for guessing the star of the show. The Indian Pitta so tiny and pretty, with its mere presence had us enraptured totally. Waited so long for a single glance, but this sighting was more than just perchance.
On a Stealth mode, the goal lay above as he crept up the tree, totally engrossed in his own destination to notice what a beautiful picture he painted with his violet blue colors against the greens of the forest.
The orange headed ground Thrush was a very valuable sighting for moments before the Indian Pitta arrived and after that it was but another bird. It is indeed strange as how we value and devalue birds so rapidly, depending on the arrival of the other birds. On the dry days even a Pied bush-chat or a Magpie Robin can be the king. Yet this one was kind and content, cooperative, quietly feeding in its own domain. I wonder if they are aware of the change in their status each moment....
Drowned in brown, the leaf seemed to move, hopping around all over the ground and then a pose, as he stood on the stone, the puff throated babbler did not seem so shy any more. He took just a minute to survey the scene, plenty of food available and he looked keen. Off he went drowned in brown. The leaf seemed to move all around..
The shy male Grey jungle fowl always made me wonder as to why the females seemed bolder pecking away at the tips of the grass, while the male shied away hiding his colorful crest behind the thickets. Got this guy outside in the open after a lot of patient waiting, giving up even breathing the fresh morning air of the forests in BR Hills, just to give him enough time to feel safe and comfortable in our presence. Though I do feel I could have still done better, but I guess with guys ... you just need to give them space and let them come to you... :)
The Pretty Girl was on her own, enjoying the quiet peace of the rising sun warming her back as she chewed on the juicy greens, it was but a morning snack.Her beauty glowed for all to see, she was as content as one can be. The pretty girl stood her ground as her grace and beauty shown all around.
They dashed across the road forcing us to stop suddenly and just as we thought they would disappear into the bushes, they sat down to give us a long and a hard stare almost as if contemplating if we would make a tasty meal. Their contemplation gave us the few precious moments to click before they decided against unhealthy food in the form of humans and went their way. their parents had sure brought them up well. The other guy sat a little further away and could not fit into the screen.
These are but a few images from what the heavenly forest had to offer us. There are more to come even as I wish to catch a glimpse of her in various seasons as they change her attire as per their speciality along with which the behaviour of each of her inmates vary.
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Photographs and work by Tharangini is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.