Steve Happ Photography Ramblings and dissertations

October 16, 2017

Sarovaram Bio Park

Filed under: Birds — Tags: , — admin @ 8:14 am

Calicut – Kerala.

I got out of bed a little sore this morning but soldiered on. After a chai and a couple of deep-fried snacks, I trotted up the road. The problem was that there was a taxi strike on, as well as a bus strike. I had no idea. Luckily a scab rolled by and I got a lift to Sarovaram Bio Park.

White-cheeked Barbet
White-cheeked Barbet (Megalaima viridis)

It took me a while to work out what this was. A bad photo in really terrible light. Record shot only.

Lesser Goldenback
Lesser Goldenback (Dinopium benghalense)

This is the nominate Indian mainland race. There is a race in Sri Lanka with a red back.

Black-hooded Oriole
Black-hooded Oriole (Oriolus xanthornus)

Greater Racket-tailed Drongo
Greater Racket-tailed Drongo (Dicrurus paradiseus)

local guy
A local

I always get asked to take people’s photos. Sometimes it works out and sometimes it gets a little weird. This one turned out pretty good.

Luckily I got back to the hotel because a nice man gave me a lift back on his scooty. Thank you mystery man.

Calicut bird list

White-cheeked Barbet (Megalaima viridis)
Lesser Goldenback (Dinopium benghalense)
Black-hooded Oriole (Oriolus xanthornus)
Greater Racket-tailed Drongo (Dicrurus paradiseus)
Brahminy Kite
Indian Pond Heron
Common Iora
Asian Koel
Greater Coucal

October 14, 2017

Munderi Kadavu Bird Sanctuary

Filed under: Birds — Tags: , — admin @ 9:13 am

Kannur – Kerala.

Another cloudy overcast day. I went down to the street to catch the bus to Munderi Kadavu Bird Sanctuary. It was difficult because the bus names were all in Kerala writing. doh! Luckily a young guy helped me find my bus and I was on my way. I got dropped off at Munderi Motta and caught a tuk-tuk to the bird sanctuary.

Greenish Warbler
Greenish Warbler (Phylloscopus trochiloides)

Here is a photo left over from Madikeri. I shot this from my hotel room after I had processed all my photos.

Eurasian Marsh Harrier  female
Eurasian Marsh Harrier (Circus aeruginosus) female

Lucky I found this harrier otherwise the day would have been a complete dud.

Blue-tailed Bee-eater
Blue-tailed Bee-eater (Merops philippinus)

It took me a while to twig as to what this was. It certainly looked different to the usual run of the mill Green Bee-eaters.

Green Bee-eater
Green Bee-eater (Merops orientalis)

With an actual bee! This is the first time I have seen one with a bee. doh!

Little Cormorant
Little Cormorant

Gull-billed Terns
Gull-billed Terns

In various stages of plumage.

Kannur bird list

Greenish Warbler (Phylloscopus trochiloides)
Blue-tailed Bee-eater (Merops philippinus)
Eurasian Marsh Harrier (Circus aeruginosus)
Lesser Whistling Duck
Brahminy Kite
Grey-headed Swamphen
Plain Prinia
Little Cormorant
Common Kingfisher
Green Bee-eater
Gull-billed Tern
Common Sandpiper

October 12, 2017

Pushpagiri Wildlife Sanctuary

Filed under: Birds — Tags: , — admin @ 7:58 am

Mandalpatti – Madikeri.

I was up this morning before 6am. My jeep safari to Mandalpatti was due for 6:30am but as per usual was fifteen minutes late. Up the hill we went. Then it got bumpier and bumpier. I paid 25 rupees at Mandalpatti and then the goat track got even bumpier. My driver was fantastic in his Indian-made Mahindra four-wheel-drive.

Yellow-browed Bulbul
Yellow-browed Bulbul (Acritillas indica)

We somehow made it to the top of the mountain where the Pushpagiri Wildlife Sanctuary is situated. I paid my 100 rupees foreigner entrance fee and went for a walk. The highlight of the day was this Yellow-browed Bulbul. I thought it was an oriole so I just took a few and it flew off.

Crested Lark
Crested Lark (Galerida cristata)

But firstly I ran into some Crested Larks which were hopping on the rocks.

Blue-capped Rock thrush
Blue-capped Rock thrush ( Monticola cinclorhyncha)

And some more Blue-capped Rock Thrush that I had just seen yesterday. On the way back we passed a jeep towing a huge generator. It was a major task going over the humungous pot-holes, but they got the job done. A cup of chai at the checkpoint at Mandalpatti and back down the hill again.

Western Ghats
Western Ghats

This is pretty much what the country looks like around here.

Coorg bird list

Yellow-browed Bulbul (Acritillas indica)
Crested Lark (Galerida cristata)
Blue-capped Rock thrush ( Monticola cinclorhyncha)

October 11, 2017

Coorg Birding

Filed under: Birds — Tags: , — admin @ 3:36 pm

Madikeri hill top.

I got to Madikeri around lunch time and got a lift to my palatial mansion on the hill. I have a tv room, kitchen and bedroom for $10 a night. Bargain. In the afternoon I went up the hill at the back here. I found one new bird but not much else.

Blue-capped Rock Thrush - Female
Blue-capped Rock thrush ( Monticola cinclorhyncha) Female

Thanks to the good folks at Ask ID’s of Indian Birds facebook group for the identification. Here are some of the suggestions – Nilgiri Thrush, Eurasian wryneck. Black headed cuckoo shrike female, and Blue-capped Rock thrush ( Monticola cinclorhyncha) Female. I had no idea but once I saw the photos on the Oriental Bird Club website I was convinced.

Brown Shrike
Brown Shrike (Lanius cristatus)

I am not sure if I have seen this one in India. I know I have seen it in South-east Asia somewhere. Edit: Only seen in the Philippines.

Long-tailed Shrike
Long-tailed Shrike (Lanius schach)

These things are everywhere.

House Sparrow
House Sparrow (Passer domesticus)

This female House Sparrow had a grasshopper for a late lunch. This is the second time I have seen sparrows chomping on grasshoppers. I never seen it before. doh!

Coorg bird list

Blue-capped Rock thrush ( Monticola cinclorhyncha) Female
Brown Shrike (Lanius cristatus)
Long-tailed Shrike (Lanius schach)
Indian Jungle Crow
House Sparrow (Passer domesticus)

October 9, 2017

Chikmagalur Karnataka

Filed under: Birds — Tags: , — admin @ 3:26 pm

Basavanahali Kere.

I arrived in Chikmagalur around lunch time and had a bit of drama finding my hotel but it got sorted out eventually. After a bit of a rest I went for a walk around town checking out the shops. In the afternoon I went to the lake on the edge of town and walked half-way around it. There was a huge statue of Swami Vivekananda on an island on the lake.

Great Cormorant
Great Cormorant (Phalacrocorax carbo)

The Great Cormorant when breeding has a red spot at base of bill, white cheeks and throat, white plumes covering much of its head, and white thigh patch. Most of these features you can see in this photo. Exhibit A.

LOng-tailed Shrike
Long-tailed Shrike

The wind was blowing his feathers around.

Jungle Myna
Jungle Myna

These guys looked a bit crazy. I like it.

Glossy Ibis
Glossy Ibis

Too bad there were not three or four all lined up.

Black-headed Ibis
Black-headed Ibis

He looks a bit psycho too. Must be something in the water around here. Fluoride?

Black-winged KIte
Black-winged Kite

Hovering. Inviting me to take his photo. So I did. And I like it.

It's art you idiot
Arty photograph

I have no idea how I did this, but I like it and that is all that matters. Or I do not know anything about art but I know what I like.

Chikmagalur bird list

Common Moorhen
Great Cormorant (Phalacrocorax carbo)
Purple Heron
Grey Heron
Little Egret
Indian Pond Heron
Grey-headed Swamphen
Lesser Whistling Duck
Indian Spot-billed Duck
Red-wattled Lapwing
Black-headed Ibis
Glossy Ibis
Black-winged Stilt
Painted Stork
White-throated Kingfisher
Common Kingfisher
Pied Kingfisher
Pied Bushchat
Jungle Myna
Long-tailed Shrike
Black-winged Kite

October 7, 2017

Hampi Birding Five

Filed under: Birds — Tags: , — admin @ 10:46 am

Kamalapura Lake.

This morning I set off to Kamalapura, about 6 kilometers from Hampi, towards Hospet. I was going to catch the bus, but a tuk-tuk came along with someone else in it, so I shared a ride. I got dropped off at the bus stand and walked about a kilometer to the lake. The lake was dead. Nothing in it. No birds, just blue green algae and rubbish.

Black-winged Kite
Black-winged Kite (Elanus caeruleus)

I finally managed to photograph a Black-winged Kite in India. I had been seeing them from buses heaps of times but always had my camera packed away.

Red Avadavat
Red Avadavat (Amandava amandava)

These are very nice looking birds.

Greater Coucal
Greater Coucal

The Greater Coucal is hard to photograph because they are always hiding behind the leaves and get very skittish when you approach.

Checkered Keelback
water snake

This water snake was hanging around in a drain. Edit: Just checked the name. Checkered Keelback (Xenochrophis piscator).

fish
fish

And so was this fish

fresh water crab
crab

and this crab.

Butterfly

butterfly

Hampi bird list

Black-winged Kite (Elanus caeruleus)
Common Coot
White-throated Kingfisher
Purple-rumped Sunbird
Ashy Prinia
Common Myna
Red Avadavat (Amandava amandava)
White-browed Wagtail
Great Cormorant
Greater Coucal
Black-headed Munia (Lonchura malacca)
Pied Bushchat
Yellow-billed Babbler

Hampi Birding Four

Filed under: Birds — Tags: , — admin @ 10:27 am

Mathanga Hill

Back up the hill again this afternoon. Through the Jain temple and ashram and out the back gate to the hill. It was quite a productive afternoon. I now have both the targeted species – Painted Spurfowl and Yellow-throated Bulbul

Painted Spurfowl
Painted Spurfowl (Galloperdix lunulata)

It is not a great photo, but it is a record shot at least.

Jungle Bush Quail male
Jungle Bush Quail (Perdicula asiatica)

I was lucky to get a shot of a Jungle Bush Quail. I had been frightening them out of the grass for days but they just fly out before I can get the camera on them. This one sprinted between bushes and I was just able to get a shot of it.

Yellow-throated Bulbul
Yellow-throated Bulbul (Pycnonotus xanthlaemus)

And at last I have a decent shot of a Yellow-throated Bulbul. You can easily tell where it got its name. derr! So creative, these bird namerers.

Coppersmith Barbet
Coppersmith Barbet (Megalaina haemacephala )

They have been hanging out on the wires near the jain temple road, so this time it is more in focus.

Maybe a versicolor
lizard

It might be a versicolor lizard, ie chameleon or Changeable Lizard.

Indian Palm Squirrel
Indian Palm Squirrel

Chomping on a hot dog. Yum. Where do you get them?

Bug-Eyed Monster
Mystery animal

It might be a frog or something staring out from the promordial slime.

Hampi Bird list

Painted Spurfowl (Galloperdix lunulata)
Jungle Bush Quail (Perdicula asiatica)
Yellow-throated Bulbul (Pycnonotus xanthlaemus)
Rose-ringed Parakeet
Coppersmith Barbet
Brahminy Starling
Common Myna

Hampi Birding Three

Filed under: Birds — Tags: , — admin @ 10:07 am

Hampi North Side

This morning I took off over the other side of the river again. There were not many birds about but I did get to photograph some nice Black-headed Munia.

Black-headed Munia
Black-headed Munia (Lonchura malacca) breeding male

And some juveniles were in the flock as well. Actually there were mostly juveniles with about one or two breeding males.

Black-headed Munia  juvenile
Black-headed Munia (Lonchura malacca) juvenile

I could only pick out the juvenile Black-headed Munias because they were with the breeding male.

Streak-throated Swallow
Streak-throated Swallow (Petrochelidon fluvicola)

I found another heap of Streak-throated Swallow nests under a rock. They were flying into the nests, then coming out and roosting on top of a nearby boulder.

Indian Jungle Crow
Indian Jungle Crow (Corvus culminatus)

I noticed that this crow has the tip of its top bill curving over a bit.

c7f-8998
White-browed Bulbul

I keep seeing these all the time now.

Baya Weaver nest
Baya Weaver nest

There were two trees with Baya Weaver nests scattered around them. The old ones did not have the extension entrance like this one.

Baya Weaver
Baya Weaver (Ploceus philippinus)

This is a breeding male. Yellow on top and the front and sides.

Hampi bird list

Black-headed Munia (Lonchura malacca)
Streak-throated Swallow (Petrochelidon fluvicola)
Baya Weaver (Ploceus philippinus)
Red-vented Bulbul
Indian Pond Heron
Long-tailed Shrike
Asian Koel
White-browed Bulbul
Scaly-breasted Munia

Hampi Birding Two

Filed under: Birds — Tags: , — admin @ 9:48 am

Hampi River Birding.

This afternoon I went across the river to the northern side. I had to catch a boat over. There is no bridge. It was quite a productive afternoon. I expected nothing and was rewarded with a couple of ticks.

Red Avadavat
Red Avadavat (Amandava amandava)

The Red Avadavat breeding male is mostly red with random white spots. Their habitat is grass and low bushes, often near water.

Streaked Weaver
Streaked Weaver (Ploceus manyar)

The Streaked Weaver breeding male has a yellow crown, dark brown side of the head and throat, with a heavily streaked breast and sides.

Pied Bushchat -  female
Pied Bushchat (Saxicola caprata) female

Note the reddish rump on the female.

Streak-throated Swallow nests
Streak-throated Swallow (Petrochelidon fluvicola)

Streak-throated Swallows nesting under a boulder in the middle of the river.

fat lizard
Fat lizard

Hampi bird list

Red Avadavat (Amandava amandava)
Streaked Weaver (Ploceus manyar)
Streak-throated Swallow (Petrochelidon fluvicola)
Pied Bushchat (Saxicola caprata) female
Black Drongo
White-rumped Munia
Grey Heron
Purple-rumped Sunbird

Hampi Birding One

Filed under: Birds — Tags: , — admin @ 9:34 am

Hampi – Karnataka.

I arrived at Hampi from Goa at 6am, had a cup of chai and then went to my room at my guest house for a kip. After a little while, I realised that it was still early morning so I got up and went birding. doh!

Yellow-throated Bulbul
Yellow-throated Bulbul (Pycnonotus xanthlaemus)

The main targets for Hampi were the Yellow-throated Bulbul and the Painted Spurfowl. One down, one to go.

Streak-throated Swallow
Streak-throated Swallow (Petrochelidon fluvicola)

I cannot remember if I have seen these in India before. The wifi is down so I cannot check.

Indian Jungle Crow
Indian Jungle Crow (Corvus culminatus)

I think these were split from the Large-billed Crow. It is very confusing.

Pied Bushchat male
Pied Bushchat (Saxicola caprata) male

I have been seeing females for ages, so now I get to photograph a male. woot!

Coppersmith Barbet
Coppersmith Barbet (Megalaina haemacephala )

Yellow-billed Babbler
Yellow-billed Babbler (Turdoides affinis)

I must be getting south to see these.

yellow stripe lizard
lizard

This one had very good camouflage on the rocks. And two yellow stripes on his back.

Black and Yellow lizard
Black and yellow lizard

Indian Palm Squirrel
Indian Palm Squirrel

This guy looked like he was spoiling for a fight. So I left him alone.

Hampi bird list

Yellow-throated Bulbul (Pycnonotus xanthlaemus)
Streak-throated Swallow (Petrochelidon fluvicola)
Yellow-billed Babbler (Turdoides affinis)
Indian Jungle Crow (Corvus culminatus)
Coppersmith Barbet (Megalaina haemacephala )
White-browed Bulbul
Pied Bushchat (Saxicola caprata)
Brahminy Starling
Common Myna
Laughing Dove
Red-vented Bulbul
House Crow
Large-billed Crow
Scaly-breasted Munia
Green Bee-eater
Feral Pigeon
Purple Sunbird
White-browed Wagtail
Common Tailorbird
Rose-ringed Parakeet
Indian Robin
Indian Silverbill

Others

Indian Palm Squirrel
Bonnet Macaque
Various lizards.
Big millipede

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