Steve Happ Photography Ramblings and dissertations

July 30, 2017

The Rat Temple

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Deshnok, Rajasthan.

I caught the bus early this morning to Deshnok where the Rat Temple is. The temple is unique in that it is a sanctuary for rats. Locals believe that the Kabas carry the souls of the future charans who inhabit the region.

Rats drink milk
Drinking milk.

The rats get fed milk. They eat better than I do!

Num Num
Eating grains

And lots of grains and ratty food. I could have bought some rat food for ten rupees but I did not want to feed them. One crawled over my foot and I screamed.

On rations
Drinking water

This rat must have been on rations.

Rat sanctum sanctorum
The sanctum sanctorum.

This is where the god lives. If I was a god I would want a better home.

sugar cane drink
Sugar Cane Man

Squeezing sugar cane for a drink. The machine is powered by an old diesel motor that just chugs along.

Man and Oxen
Man and Oxen

A bloke and his oxen. I was going to send him the photo by email but he did not know what email was.

July 29, 2017

Bikaner Cattle Dump

Filed under: Birds — Tags: , — admin @ 9:23 am

Jorbeer Conservation Reserve

My guest house owner, vino, took me to the Bikaner cattle dump this morning to see the vultures. It was a fair way out of town, beyond an abandoned housing estate – the other side of the railway tracks, literally. Some men were there boiling down hooves and stuff for making glue I guess. They were also stripping the hides for leather.

Rosy Starling
Rosy Starling (Pastor roseus)

We saw these birds late in the morning as we were finishing. We had seen a few flocks flying around and I did not know what they were. They were Rosy Starling.

Rosy Starling
Rosy Starling (Pastor roseus)

Here is what they look like in flight.

Red-naped Ibis
Red-naped Ibis (Pseudibis papillosa)

I thought these were Glossy Ibis at first until I saw the red head on them. What is a nape? I have no idea! And they are fake ibis, not real ones, pseudo-ibis. 🙂

Black Kites
Black Kite (Milvus migrans)

There were tons of these around.

Egyptian Vulture
Egyptian Vulture (Neophron percnopterus)

Not very many vultures around. And only one variety. [insert sad face]

Egyptian Vulture
Egyptian Vulture (Neophron percnopterus)

And one in flight.

Common Babbler
Common Babbler (Turdoides caudata)

And of course a Common Babbler with what looks like a very angry ant. He later dropped it.

Changeable Lizard
Changeable Lizard (Calotes versicolor)

I have not seen a Changeable Lizard up a tree before. A lot of people call these chameleons. I am not sure if that is the right term.

Bikaner Bird List

Rosy Starling (Pastor roseus)
Red-naped Ibis (Pseudibis papillosa)
White-browed Wagtail
Black Kite
Cattle Egret
Egyptian Vulture (Neophron percnopterus)
Common Babbler (Turdoides caudata)
Bank Myna
Indian Silverbill
Green Bee-eater
Brahminy Starling (Sturnia pagodarum)
White-cheeked Bulbul
Red-wattled Lapwing
Indian Robin
Lesser Whistling-duck
Little Grebe
Rufous Treepie
Eurasian Collared Dove
Grey Francolin
Chestnut-shouldered Petronia female

July 28, 2017

No Cranes At Khichan

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Khichan Birding, Rajasthan.

25th July 2017. I arrived about mid-day to Khichan and tried to find a cheap hotel but there was only an expensive resort, so I settled for the luxury of air-conditioning and a swimming pool. It was within budget. In the afternoon I went looking for any birds. I was there at the wrong time of year, I knew that.

Rufous-tailed Lark
Rufous-tailed Lark (Ammomanes phoenicura)

I think this might be a Rufous-tailed Lark but there is every possibility that I am wrong. Edit: No, I am right this time. Confirmed by the gurus on the Indian ID group.

immature what ?
Immature Purple Sunbird

I have no idea what this very immature bird is. Maybe an Ashy Prinia? It has me bamboozled. Edit: Immature Purple Sunbird. doh!

Common Babbler
Common Babbler (Turdoides caudata)

These are relatively common but more so in the north in my humble opinion.

Indian Silverbill
Indian Silverbill

This is the only photo I got of this Indian Silverbill. It is not the bes of photos but it does show the bird very well.

Purple Sunbird male
Purple Sunbird (Nectarinia asiatica) male

The Purple Sunbird is so common in the north that it is ridiculous. Everywhere I go, even in the harshest of environments, there they are.

Brown Rock Chat ??
Brown Rock Chat (Cercomela fusca)

Another guess here. Maybe a Brown Rock Chat. Edit: Experts confirm it is one. Two correct ID’s. legend. 🙂

Ashy-crowned Sparrow-lark
Ashy-crowned Sparrow-lark (Eremopterix griseus)

I am fairly confident about this one. Finally.

grasshopper
Poekilocerus pictus

This creepy grasshopper was just sitting there. Doing nothing.
“Poekilocerus pictus is a large brightly colored grasshopper from India. Nymphs of the species are notorious for squirting a jet of liquid up to several inches away when grasped. It is also known as Aak grasshopper” (wiki)

Khichan Bird List

Rufous-tailed Lark (Ammomanes phoenicura)
immature ???
Brown Rock Chat (Cercomela fusca)
Ashy-crowned Sparrow-lark (Eremopterix griseus)
Common Babbler (Turdoides caudata)
Indian Silverbill
Purple Sunbird
Red-wattled Lapwing
House Sparrow
White-cheeked Bulbul
Red-vented Bulbul
Rose-ringed Parakeet
Grey Francolin

July 22, 2017

More Rajasthan Tourism

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A Walk to Jodhpur Fort

Up again early this morning to escape the intense heat. I walked up the hill through the narrow medieval lanes, trying not to hit dead ends.

View of Jodhpur
A view of Jodhpur

I finally hit the road to the top of the hill. The view from there was quite impressive. I do not go much for scenery and stuff like that, but it was pretty awesome.

Jodhpur Fort
The fort from the road

The view of the fort was quite formidable as well. I found the Desert Rock Park and discovered that there are birds in there, so I am going back late this afternoon.

fort passageway
Fort passageway

I paid my entrace fee to the fort and went in. There were lots of historical displays and the fort is kept in pretty good order, so that is good.

Fort walls
Towering walls.

I would hate to have to scale those walls with boiling oil pouring down on me!

Rajasthan Tourist

Filed under: General — Tags: , — admin @ 11:09 am

Jaiselmer Fort

This morning I was up at 6am trying to beat the heat. I wandered down the road looking for a cup of chai, then circled the fort at Jaisalmer, just soaking up the atmosphere. I finally found the gate in and wandered around inside the fort.

fort ramparts
The ramparts.

Everything is built in stone.

View from a fort
View from the fort

This is the town from the fort. It is foggy in the distance. Below is the camp of the road workers.

Narrow lanes
Narrow lanes

The lanes inside are very narrow and wind around all over the place.

Chiaroscuro
Passageway

A gloomy look out through one of the gated passageways.

Below the fort
Outside the fort

The road workers camp from the road circling the fort.

Breaking rocks in the hot sun
Breaking Rocks in the hot sun.

This guy is breaking rocks and making them squarish so they can be used in buildings. Everything here is built in stone.

July 20, 2017

Jaisalmer Birding

Filed under: Birds — Tags: , — admin @ 5:12 pm

Jaisalmer Lake

I am here at the edge of the desert at Jaisalmer in Rajastan. This afternoon I went to the lake to see what was around it. Not much as it happened. Well, just a couple of things.

White-eared Bulbul
White-eared Bulbul (Pycnonotus leucotis)

I just love the deep orange background on this photo. It is not often you get such rich settings.

Purple Sunbird
Purple Sunbird

What is going on with this Purple Sunbird? It looks like it has had an eruption of feathers out of his neck. I am going to consult the local experts.

House Crow
House Crow

This House Crow was just sitting up perfectly so I had to photograph him.

Red-wattled Lapwing
Red-wattled Lapwing

These things can be really really annoying. Circling around screeching and hollering.

Eurasian Spoonbill
Eurasian Spoonbill (Platalea leucorodia)

I think this is the first time photographed in India. Formerly seen in Sri Lanka.

Ashy-crowned Sparrow-lark
Ashy-crowned Sparrow-lark (Eremopterix griseus)

Already seen at Point Calimere but this is a better photograph. Still not satisfactory but.

Eurasian Spoonbill
lizard

Jaiselmer Fort
Jaisalmer Fort

A tourist shot. Not often I do these.

Jaisalmer bird list

Ashy-crowned Sparrow-lark (Eremopterix griseus)
Eurasian Spoonbill (Platalea leucorodia)
Common Myna
House Crow
Laughing Dove
Eurasian Collared Dove
Purple Sunbird (Nectarinia asiatica)
White-eared Bulbul (Pycnonotus leucotis)
Rose-ringed Parakeet (Psittaculla krameri)
Red-wattled Lapwing

July 19, 2017

Jodhpur Birding 2

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Desert Rock Park 2, Jodhpur, Rajasthan

This morning I went back to the Desert Rock Park. It was supposed to open at 7am but the dude did not turn up until 7:15.

Red-vented Bulbul
Red-vented Bulbul

All the birds were showing off their hunting skills. Bringing me their catches and proudly displaying their bug breakfasts.

Common Babbler
Common Babbler (Turdoides caudata)

Rose-ringed Parakeet. male
Rose-ringed Parakeet (Psittaculla krameri) male

Damn. I thought I had an Alexandrine Parakeet and they were still Rose-ringed after all. double doh! So I got nothing.

Grey Francolin
Grey Francolin

Looking at the scenery.

Indian Cormorant
Indian Cormorant (Phalacrocorax fuscicollis)

I think this is the first time I have seen the Indian Cormorant in India.

Little Grebe
Little Grebe (Tachybaptus ruficollis)

The water was amazingly clear and dark. You can see his feet.

Changeable Lizard
Changeable Lizard (Calotes versicolor)

These things really do change their colour to suit the background.

Jodhpur bird list

Indian Cormorant (Phalacrocorax fuscicollis)
Rose-ringed Parakeet (Psittaculla krameri)
Common Tailorbird
White-throated Kingfisher
Grey Francolin

July 18, 2017

Jodhpur, Rajastan Birding

Filed under: Birds — Tags: , — admin @ 4:30 pm

Desert Rock Park, Jodhpur

I stumbled upon the Jao Rodha park this morning when I went up the hill to see the fort at Jodhpur. But I did not have my camera. doh! So I came back this afternoon. It was quite a fruitful afternoon.

Common Babbler
Common Babbler (Turdoides caudata)

There are quite a few walks in the park, and they are marked with colours – yellow, green, blue, and red.

Indian Silverbill
Indian Silverbill (Euodice malabarica)

I was very excited to photograph this very common bird. ha ha.

Alexandrine Parakeet
Rose-ringed Parakets

Little Grebe
Little Grebe (Tachybaptus ruficollis)

We have these in Australia but this is the first time in India. whoopee! Edit: My mistake again. Ours is the Australasian Grebe (Tachybaptus novaehollandiae) and it looks very similar. Maybe the Little Grebe has a much more redder neck. ie. the Indian one is more of a red-neck 🙂

White-eared Bulbul
White-eared Bulbul (Pycnonotus leucotis)

The White-eared Bulbuls aka White-cheeked Bulbuls were very plentiful in the park.

Little Swift
Little Swift (Apus affinis)

These Little Swift were very numerous around the fort and in the afternoon they had an irruption. Very strange.

Jodhpur bird list

Common Babbler (Turdoides caudata)
Rose-ringed Parakeet
Little Grebe (Tachybaptus ruficollis)
Indian Silverbill (Euodice malabarica)
Great Tit (Parus major)
White-eared Bulbul (Pycnonotus leucotis)
red-vented Bulbul
Common Moorhen
Red-wattled Lapwing
Brahminy Starling
Little Swift (Apus affinis)
House Sparrow (Passer domesticus)
Black Kite
Indian Robin
Laughing Dove
Eurasian Collared Dove
Green Bee-eater

July 16, 2017

Pushkar Birds 2

Filed under: Birds — Tags: , — admin @ 9:54 am

Pushkar, Rajasthan, Day 2

16th July 2017. Morning. I went up towards the mountain again this morning. The weather was very cloudy and foggy and there was not much light.

Shikra
Shikra (Accipiter badius)

Yellow-footed Green Pigeon
Yellow-footed Green Pigeon (Treron phoenicopterus)

Grey Francolin
Grey Francolin (Francolinus pondicerianus)

Bay-backed Shrike
Bay-backed Shrike (Lanius vittatus)

Red-rumped Swallow
Red-rumped Swallow (Cecropis daurica)

Large Grey Babbler
Large Grey Babbler (Turdoides malcomi)

Pushkar bird list

Streak-throated Swallow (Petrochelidon fluvicola)
Red-rumped Swallow (Cecropis daurica)
Yellow-footed Green Pigeon (Treron phoenicopterus)
White-bellied Drongo (Dicrurus caerulescens)
Black Drongo
Grey Francolin (Francolinus pondicerianus)
Bay-backed Shrike (Lanius vittatus)
Great Tit (Parus major)
Rose-ringed Parakeet
Rufous Treepie
White-throated Kingfisher
Laughing Dove
Eurasian Collared Dove
Jungle Babbler
Large Grey Babbler
Shikra (Accipiter badius)
Peacock
Indian Robin
Grey-breasted Prinia
Pied Cuckoo
Common Myna
Bank Myna
Brahminy Starling
Purple Sunbird
Oriental Magpie-robin

July 15, 2017

Pushkar Birds

Filed under: Birds — Tags: , — admin @ 4:52 pm

Pushkar, Rajasthan.

I arrived in Pushkar and in the afternoon headed towards the hills behind town. I did not quite get there because I found a bush track along a canal, so I followed that.

Rufous Treepie
Rufous Treepie

There were not that many birds around but the photos came out all right so I will share them with you.

Pied Cuckoo
Pied Cuckoo

Note the bands on the tail.

Laughing Doves
Laughing Dove (Streptopelia senegalense)

Ha! I remembered the scientific name. I have been seeing so many of them lately.

Black-rumped Flameback
Black-rumped Flameback (Dinopium benghalense)

I am going a bit wider with some of my shots lately to get in some of the environment.

Large Grey Babbler
Large Grey Babbler (Turdoides malcomi)

I noticed that the call of the Large Gry Babbler is a lot raspier than the Jungle Babbler.

Bird list for Pushkar

Rufous Treepie
Brahminy Starling
Common Myna
Bank Myna
Purple Sunbird
Large Grey Babbler (Turdoides malcomi)
Laughing Dove
Eurasian Collared Dove (Streptopelia decaocto)
Green Bee-eater
Black-rumped Flameback (Dinopium benghalense)
Chestnut-shouldered Petronia (Petronia xanthocollis) male

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