Steve Happ Photography Ramblings and dissertations

September 18, 2017

Gujarat Tourist Photos

Filed under: General — Tags: , — admin @ 4:12 pm

Porbandar to Ahmedabad.

Here are some of my tourist photos from the peninsular of Gujarat back to Ahmedabad. After I left Dwarka, I went to Porbandar which is on the coast of the Arabian Sea.

copperware shop
Copperware shop.

I met this father and son at their copperware shop and they invited me for a cup of chai. I had already just had one so I stopped and had a chat anyway.

Gandhi square
Gandhi square.

There is a Gandhi statue on the other side of the square. Porbandar is where he comes from.

left slab off the temple
Left-hand slab off the temple.

There was a solid swell coming in from the Arabian Sea, but there were no real breaks that could be ridden. I saw a great beach between here and Somnath. The water in this area is really clean and clear and would be great for surfing.

proud grandpa
Proud Grandpa

After I went birding at the lake, I stumbled through the mulga and came out in this small village. I got invited in for a cuppa and met the grandkids.

At the water pump
Ladies at the water pump.

This is where you get your water for the household. A common sight in India.

funeral service
A funeral observance

Not sure what was really going on but it had something to do with a funeral service.

funeral service
Burning the bones

Burning some of the remains of the loved one.

September 13, 2017

Porbandar Birding Afternoon

Filed under: Birds — Tags: , — admin @ 3:59 pm

Porbandar, Gujarat Afternoon.

In the afternoon, I went back to the Porbander Bird Sanctuary. I walked along the shore and saw the same birds I had seen in the morning so I did not bother taking any photos of them.

Red-necked Falcon
Red-necked Falcon (Falco chicquera)

I was very surprised to come across this Red-necked Falcon. Luckily I got a few average shots before he took off.

Indian Thick-knee
Indian Thick-knee (Burhinus indicus)

I surprised this Indian Thick-knee as well. Lucky for me he only flew off a little way so I snuck up behind him thanks to some thorn bushes.

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

You can notice the white on the wings which the Glossy Ibis does not have.

Eurasian Spoonbill
Eurasian Spoonbill (Platalea leucorodia)

Porbandar Bird Sanctuary

Filed under: Birds — Tags: , — admin @ 2:51 pm

Porbandar, Gujarat.

What a morning! I got a tuk-tuk to what I thought was the bird sanctuary but it was just a small lake on the edge. So I trudged up the road to the next lake, going into roads where I thought would lead to the lake. There were heaps of birds around. I just had to find the proper bird sanctuary. It ended up there was no “proper” bird sanctuary. Just a couple of lakes with some thorny bushes around them.

Sand Lark
Sand Lark (Calandrella raytal)

Not sure about this yet. I am waiting for an id from the experts. It is most probably a Sand Lark but I think it might be a little out of range. Yep. Sand Lark.

Brown-headed Gull
Brown-headed Gull (Chroicocephalus brunnicephalus)

It could be a Black-headed Gull but I do not think so.

Pied Avocet
Pied Avocet (Recurvirostra avosetta)

A lot bigger than the Australian cousin Red-necked Avocet.

Lesser Flamingo
Lesser Flamingo (Phoenicopterus minor)

There was only one on the whole lake. Luckily it was close to my side of the lake. The bill is very different to the Greater Flamingo. You notice it straight away.

Yellow Wagtail
Yellow Wagtail (Motacilla flava beema)

I had no idea about this one. Apparently first autumn, race beema.

Northern Shoveler
Northern Shoveler (Anas clypeata)

This is a bit better shot than the last one from Jamnagar.

Black-tailed Godwit
Black-tailed Godwit (Limosa limosa)

Showing this in flight as it is the easiest way to distinguish from the Bar-tailed Godwit. Note the black tail. And check out the wing pattern.

Glossy Ibis
Glossy Ibis

Nice shot of this one in flight.

Porbandar bird list

Sand Lark (Calandrella raytal)
Brown-headed Gull (Chroicocephalus brunnicephalus)
Pied Avocet (Recurvirostra avosetta)
Lesser Flamingo (Phoenicopterus minor)
Yellow Wagtail (Motacilla flava beema)
Red-necked Falcon (Falco chicquera)
Indian Thick-knee (Burhinus indicus)
Northern Shoveler (Anas clypeata)
Lesser Whistling Duck
Indian Spot-billed Duck
Common Redshank (Tringa totanus)
Marsh Sandpiper (Tringa stagnatilis)
Little Stint (Calidris minuta)
Kentish Plover (Charadrius alexandrinus)
Whiskered Tern
Western Reef Egret
Grey Heron
Glossy Ibis
Black-headed Ibis
Red-naped Ibis (Pseudibis papillosa)
Black-tailed Godwit
Black-winged Stilt
Cattle Egret
White-breasted Waterhen
Common Myna
Rosy Starling
Plain Prinia
Red-wattled Lapwing
Common Babbler
Purple Sunbird
White-browed Wagtail
Green Bee-eater
Ashy-crowned Sparrow Lark
Common Tailorbird
White-browed Wagtail
Brahminy Starling
Painted Stork
Wire-tailed Swallow
Eurasian Spoonbill (Platalea leucorodia)

September 11, 2017

Gujarat Tourist

Filed under: General — Tags: , — admin @ 6:05 am

From Ahmedabad to Dwarka.

Here are some photos from my travels in Gujarat so far. I caught the bus from Mount Abu in Rajasthan and stayed at a hostel above the Ranip Bus Terminal in Ahmedabad. I hired a taxi the next morning to go to Thol Bird Sanctuary and on the way back took this photo of this oil rig. I had no idea they had any oil in India. There were a few large factories west of Ahmedabad.

Indian oil well
Gujarat Oil Rig

Next stop was Jamnagar, about 200 kilometers west of Ahmedabad. There is a big lake there with bats roosting and jet skis. And in all this mayhem a pair of Common Coots had started a family.

Common Coot with eggs
Common Coot with eggs

Buses in Gujarat are really slow. It took me hours to get to Dwarka. There are lots of temples here and people come from all over to visit them. I preferred the sights along the promenade.

Arabian Sea
The Arabian Sea.

Low tide at the estuary at Dwarka.

Dwarka Estuary
Dwarka Estuary

All over the place there are wind turbines generating electricity. Good Job.

Gujarat wind turbines
Wind Turbines

And camels on the beach.

camel on the beach
Salty Camel

And to end a great day, a fiery sunset over the Arabian Sea.

fiery sunset
Wild sunset

Dwarka Mud Flats

Filed under: Birds — Tags: , — admin @ 4:49 am

Gujarat Birding

Dwarka is a small town at the very North-west of India. It is at the edge of the Arabian Sea. There is a river that runs out through the town. At low tide, the mud flats of the estuary came alive with waders.

Kentish Plover
Kentish Plover (Charadrius alexandrinus)

I have been wanting to photograph these birds for ages. Finally done it.

Pallid Harrier -  juvenile
Pallid Harrier (Circus macrourus) juvenile

It took me a while to work this one out but the wing tips and facial markings gave it away.

Water birds all sorts
Assorted Water Birds.

Some Indian Cormorants, Black-tailed Godwits and Black-winged Stilts were sharing this bit of a sandbar.

Gull-billed Tern
Gull-billed Tern (Gelochelidon nilotica)

There were quite a flock of these on the mudflats. I expected a few seagulls but there were none about at all. doh! Formerly Sterna nilotica, in the family Laridae, it is now considered to be in its own genus.

House Sparrow eats stick insect
House Sparrow (Passer domesticus)

Very strange behaviour for a House Sparrow munching on a stick insect.

Dwarka bird list

Pallid Harrier (Circus macrourus) juvenile
Kentish Plover (Charadrius alexandrinus)
Black-tailed Godwit (Limosa limosa)
Common Sandpiper (Actitis hypoleucos)
Common Redshank
Black-winged Stilt
Great Egret
Gull-billed Tern (Gelochelidon nilotica))
Painted Stork
Grey Heron
Western Reef Egret
Indian Cormorant
Black-headed Ibis
Green Bee-eater (Merops orientalis)
House Sparrow (Passer domesticus)
Common Myna
House Crow
Grey Francolin
Purple Sunbird
Brahminy Kite
Common Babbler

September 9, 2017

Khijadiya Bird Sanctuary

Filed under: Birds — Tags: , — admin @ 8:54 am

Jamnagar, Gujarat.

Waiting for my tuk-tuk at 6am. He does not turn up until 6.30. I watch the paper sellers fold their newspapers in the dim morning light. We set off up the highway after an early morning chai. I am heading for Khijadiya Bird Sanctuary. When we get there, it is closed. But we go for a walk along the edge anyway.

Western Reef Egret
Western Reef Egret (Egretta gularis)

The Western Reef Egret is a new bird for me. I have seen the Pacific Reef Egret, both morphs, in Australia.

Northern Shoveler
Northern Shoveler (Anas clypeata)

I did not get any good shots of any Northern Shoveler.

Common Redshank
Common Redshank (Tringa totanus)

I had seen the Common Redshank previously at Bundala National Park, Sri Lanka.

Great Crested Grebe
Great Crested Grebe (Podiceps cristatus)

Only seen before at Walka Water Works in Maitland, NSW.

Indian Golden Oriole
Indian Golden Oriole (Oriolus kundoo)

I had seen an immature Indian Golden Oriole the other day at Thol Lake. This one is a male.

Rosy Starling - immature
Rosy Starling (Pasor roseus) immature

These Rosy Starling migrate south about this time.

Nilgai
Nilgai (Boselaphus tragocamelus)

Nilgai (Boselaphus tragocamelus) aka Blue Bull is the largest Asian antelope and is endemic to the Indian subcontinent.

Birds of Jamnagar

Western Reef Egret (Egretta gularis)
Northern Shoveler (Anas clypeata)
Great Crested Grebe (Podiceps cristatus)
Common Redshank (Tringa totanus)
Little Grebe
Rosy Starling (Pasor roseus)
Indian Golden Oriole (Oriolus kundoo)
Black-winged Stilt
Indian Spot-billed Duck
Grey Heron
Purple Heron
Purple Swamphen
Red-naped Ibis
Black-headed Ibis
Lesser Whistling Duck
Little Cormorant
Black-crowned Night-heron
Eurasian Spoonbill
Common Hoopoe
Brahminy Starling
Red-rumped Swallow
Indian Robin
Ashy-crowned Sparrow Lark
Common Coot
Common Babbler
Indian Silverbill
Laughing Dove
Purple Sunbird
Green Bee-eater
Brahminy Kite
White-throated Kingfisher
Black Drongo
White-cheeked Bulbul
Red-vented Bulbul
Cattle Egret

September 8, 2017

Indian Flying Fox

Filed under: Birds — Tags: — admin @ 3:49 pm

Lahkota Lake, Jamnagar, Gujarat.

I arrived in Jamnagar after a 6 hour bus ride from Ahmedabad. After settling into my hotel, I went for a walk down to the lake. I had no idea what to expect but it turned out to be very interesting.

Indian Flying Fox
Indian Flying Fox (Pteropus giganteus)

There were a bunch of Indian Flying Foxes flying around in the day time! Wow. I had never seen this before so I got the camera cranking. It is not every day that you see fruit bats flying around in the day time.

Indian Flying Fox
Indian Flying Fox (Pteropus giganteus)

What was also strange was that the Flying Foxes were dipping into the water. I had no idea why they were doing it. Here is an explanation from Afribats “They are briefly dipping into the water for 2 purposes: To drink by wetting the belly fur, and then licking the water from the pelage, and in dry & hot regions for thermoregulation, i.e. to cool down.”

c7f-3720
Indian Flying Fox (Pteropus giganteus)

Another unusual thing I saw was some Great Cormorants nesting up in a tree right next to the roosting Flying Foxes.

c7f-3664
Great Cormorant (Phalacrocorax carbo)

Great Cormorant
Great Cormorant (Phalacrocorax carbo)

Here is one of them coming back with some nesting material.

Common Coot
Common Coot (Fulica atra)

The Common Coots were nesting as well.

Jamnagar Birds

Great Cormorant (Phalacrocorax carbo)
Common Coot (Fulica atra)
Indian Spot-billed Duck
Rose-ringed Parakeet
Black Drongo
House Crow
Whiskered Tern

Mammals

Indian Flying Fox (Pteropus giganteus)

September 7, 2017

Thol Lake

Filed under: Birds — Tags: , — admin @ 3:15 pm

Wildlife Sanctuary.

Today has been a first for me. I caught a taxi to the bird sanctuary. I usually catch buses or if it is close enough, a tuk-tuk. We had to ask a few people how to get there but eventually made it just after 7am. I left the driver at the parking area and started walking around the lake.

Indian Golden Oriole
Indian Golden Oriole (Oriolus kundoo)

There were quite a few birds around but most of them I had seen before. There was only a couple of new ones. After some time, a few people started showing up. Mostly couples. In parks and wildlife sanctuaries in India all you ever see are youngsters making out. I expect them to start singing and dancing like some bollywood romance.

White-browed Fantail
White-browed Fantail (Rhipidura aureola)

The light was pretty bad amongst the trees so a lot of the photos are not the best. But I make do with what I got.

Indian Paradise-flycatcher
Indian Paradise-flycatcher (Terpsiphone paradisi)

This used to be called the Asian Paradise-flycatcher. This is probably a female because of the short tail feathers.

Glossy Ibis
Glossy Ibis (Plegadis falcinellus)

This Glossy Ibis was in a puddle away from the lake.

Lesser Goldenback
Lesser Goldenback (Dinopium benghalense)

You can tell this is a female because the red crest is only at the back of the head.

Green Bee-eater
Green Bee-eater

This is a great shot of a Green Bee-eater with a dragonfly. I took this shot because a guy asked me how big does the lens go and I took this shot to show him. Thank you mystery man.

Brahminy Starling
Brahminy Starling

There was a bit of everything there today.

Indian Cormorants
Indian Cormorant (Phalacrocorax fuscicollis)

As soon as I saw the white patch on the cheek, I knew what they were. Dead giveaway.

Long-tailed Shrike
Long-tailed Shrike

At first I thought it might be a Bay-backed Shrike. But no, the brown rump extends down the tail.

Greater Coucal
Greater Coucal.

Skulking in the bushes. Seedy character.

Thol Lake Bird List

Indian Golden Oriole (Oriolus (oriolus) kundoo)
White-browed Fantail (Rhipidura aureola)
Indian Paradise-flycatcher (Terpsiphone paradisi)
Lesser Goldenback (Dinopium benghalense)
Red-vented Bulbul
White-cheeked Bulbul
Indian Pond Heron
Lesser Whistling Duck
Little Egret
Intermediate Egret
Glossy Ibis (Plegadis falcinellus)
Black-headed Ibis
Red-naped Ibis
Red-wattled Lapwing
Asian Openbill
Oriental Darter
Common Moorhen
Black-crowned Night-heron
Jungle Babbler
Common Babbler
White-throated Kingfisher
Indian Robin
Little Cormorant
Indian Cormorant (Phalacrocorax fuscicollis)
Eurasian Collared Dove
Ashy Prinia
Black Drongo
Green Bee-eater
Greater Coucal
Rufous Treepie
Common Tailorbird
Rose-ringed Parakeet
Common Myna
Brahminy Starling
Long-tailed Shrike
Indian Silverbill

September 5, 2017

Foggy Lake

Filed under: Birds — Tags: , — admin @ 1:28 pm

Mount Abu – Rajasthan.

It was hard to get out of bed this morning. I took one look outside, had a dingo’s breakfast and went back to bed. I eventually relented and got going at about 7am. But it was still foggy as hell. I was thinking it might lift soonish.

fog on the water
fog over the lake

But it did not. This Black-crowned Night-heron was waiting for a fish in this bush. He stayed still for ages, but no action. You could hardly see him. I did no processing just so you could get an idea of what it was like.

Black-crowned Night-heron
Black-crowned Night-heron

I climbed up this hill a bit, hoping to get above the mist, but no go. So I came back down and took a walk to Honeymoon Point.

Grey Wagtail
Grey Wagtail (Motacilla cinerea)

There were a couple of birds in the murkiness, but not much.

White-throated Kingfisher
White-throated Kingfisher

Mount Abu Bird List

Grey Wagtail (Motacilla cinerea)
Common Myna
Rose-ringed Parakeet
Grey-breasted Prinia (Prinia hodgsonii)
Jungle Babbler (Turdoides striatus)
Red-vented Bulbul
White-throated Kingfisher

September 4, 2017

Snake at the lake

Filed under: Birds — Tags: , — admin @ 3:48 pm

Mount Abu – Nakki Lake.

Starting at the end. The last thing I photographed this afternoon. I was having a cup of chai and sat down by the lake. Some kid was throwing dough into the lake. I looked in, expected to see some lame fish and to my amazement a snake stuck its head out of the rocks just above the water.

snake at the lake
Checkered Keelback (Xenochrophis piscator)

I thought the snake was after the fish, but after some time I realized that it wanted the dough. After a while I saw nearly half a dozen snakes sticking their bodies out of the rocks. Some of the snakes went into the water. Edit: It is the checkered keelback or Asiatic water snake (Xenochrophis piscator). Thanks to Nathan Rusli for the identification.

ready to bite
Checkered Keelback (Xenochrophis piscator)

In this shot of the snake with its mouth open, it appears that the snake has no teeth.

snake close up
Checkered Keelback (Xenochrophis piscator)

Sinewy body of the snake. Very amazing.

Grey Breasted Prinia
Grey Breasted Prinia (Prinia hodgsonii)

Now let us go back to the beginning of this story. This afternoon I set off along the track around Nakki Lake at Mount Abu in Southern Rajasthan. I climbed up to the Toad Rock and saw a few birds but not very many at all. It was very light on.

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

I think this is a Brown Rock Chat. Waiting for expert confirmation. Edit: Thanks to Indian Bird ID facebook group. Confirmed ID.

Common Tailorbird
Common Tailorbird (Orthotomus sutorius)

On the way down I spotted a couple of Common Tailorbirds.

Grey Langur
Grey Langur

Amazing shot of this female.

Happy Families
Happy Families.

Mount Abu Bird List

Brown Rock Chat
Grey Breasted Prinia (Prinia hodgsonii) ????
Common Tailorbird (Orthotomus sutorius)
Red-vented Bulbul
Rose-ringed Parakeet

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