Steve Happ Photography Ramblings and dissertations

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

September 3, 2017

Fateh Sagar Lake 2

Filed under: Birds — Tags: , — admin @ 12:57 pm

Udaipur Birding 3

This afternoon I went back to Fateh Sagar Lake for another look. I was hoping to get some decent photos of a River Tern and/or a Common Polchard. But no such luck. There was a Common Polchard way out in the middle of the lake but it was too far away for anything decent. doh!

Common Sandpiper
Common Sandpiper (Actitis hypoleucos)

I only went about half way around the lake because there were heaps of hoons in motorbikes being idiots around the lake. They spoilt the whole ambience of the place. Maybe I have something to show for my wasted afternoon. I am awaiting identification on a wader. It may be a new bird. Let’s hoping. Edit: No it is nothing new. 🙁

Shikra
Shikra (Accipter badius)

On the way back I spotted a Shikra on a street light. There was a cop car parked underneath it but that did not worry me. I just ejected my bicycle and ran over the road and started taking photos. I get lots of stares. The people had no idea what I was doing. They would rather gawk at a foreigner than nature.

Udaipur Birds

Common Sandpiper (Actitis hypoleucos)
Indian Spot-billed Duck
Common Polchard
River Tern
Little Cormorant
Cattle Egret
Shikra (Accipter badius)

Saijan Niwas Gardens

Filed under: Birds — Tags: , — admin @ 5:59 am

Udaipur Birding

This morning I got on the rented bike and walked up the hill then flew back down again to Saijan Niwas Gardens, which is a very large forested area right in the middle of Udaipur. There were lots of people there, getting their morning exercise.

Indian Grey Hornbill
Indian Grey Hornbill (Ocyceros birostris)

I had seen an Indian Grey Hornbill on the outskirts of the garden yesterday so I was keen to find one this morning. And soon enough there one was on a big tree near a fountain lake.

Untitled
Indian Grey Hornbill (Ocyceros birostris) in flight

Luckily I got a few shots off before he took off. This one is a fair bit out of focus, but it is still OK.

Wire-tailed Swallow
Wire-tailed Swallow (Hirundo smithii)

I just kept wandering around the tracks, following people. There are lots of Wire-tailed Swallows around Udaipur.

Jungle babbler
Jungle babbler (Turdoides striata)

Quite a few Jungle Babblers making a racket in the bushes. Some lady was feeding them and there were more than twenty gathered around.

Indian Flying Fox
Indian Flying Fox (Pteropus giganteus)

“The Indian Flying Fox, also known as the Greater Indian Fruit Bat, is a species of flying fox in the family Pteropodidae. It is nocturnal and feeds mainly on ripe fruits, such as mangoes and bananas, and nectar.” (Wikipedia)

Giant African Snail
Giant African Snail (Lissachatina fulica)

“The Giant African Snail, Achatina fulica, a native of East Africa, is the largest land snail in the world. It is among the 100 most invasive species in the world.Growing to a length of 19cm, it can weigh as much as 750gm. It thrives in moist conditions and is active in Kerala throughout the year, except in the short year end of winter.” (Aljazeera).

Udaipur Birds

Indian Grey Hornbill (Ocyceros birostris)
Rose-ringed Parakeet
Jungle babbler (Turdoides striata)
Little Cormorant
Red-vented Bulbul
Cattle Egret
Red-wattled Lapwing
Wire-tailed Swallow (Hirundo smithii)
Asian Koel
Indian Pond Heron
White-throated Kingfisher
Oriental Magpie-robin
Greater Coucal
Spotted Dove
Purple Sunbird

September 2, 2017

Fateh Sagar Boat Ride

Filed under: General — Tags: , — admin @ 3:45 am

Udaipur, Rajasthan.

Yesterday I got a bike and went for a ride around Fateh Sagar Lake – the smaller one in Udaipur. On the way I found the boat ride wharf so I was in there like a shot. The dude was gonna charge me 400 rupees but I said that was too expensive so he said he would give me the Indian price – 200 rupees. So I took it.

Between the lakes.
Between the lakes.

I waited for a while until we got some more customers then piled onto the boat and set off on the lake.

cattle on the bridge
Bull holding up bridge traffic

deckhand
Deckhand.

There were some people from Mumbai on the boat but I did not ask them what they were doing here with Mumbai flooding and all that. doh!

kids on the boat
Kids

The kids were translating for their mum, who would ask some questions and then get stumped for English.

Fateh Sagar Lake
The lake.

It was a pretty lame boat ride. I felt a bit ripped off. We only circled around the lake a bit and came back after about fifteen minutes. lame. But anyway, a boat ride is a boat ride. win – win.

September 1, 2017

Udaipur Birding

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

Fateh Sagar Lake

This morning in Udaipur I rented a bike for the day and rode around the Fateh Sagar Lake. It was a mammoth ride, for me, and I am knackered tonight. So I will not write much. I will just let the photos speak for themselves.

Common Pochard
Common Pochard (Aythya ferina) – male

River Tern
River Tern (Sterna aurantia)

Asian Openbill
Asian Openbill juvenile

Bank Myna
Bank Myna (Acridotheres ginginianus)

Purple Sunbird  -  male eclipse
Purple Sunbird (Cinnyris asiaticus) male eclipse

Grey Francolin
Grey Francolin

Laughing Dove
Laughing Dove (Streptopelia senegalensis)

Wire-tailed Swallow
Wire-tailed Swallow (Hirundo smithii)

Indian Spot-billed Duck
Indian Spot-billed Duck (Anas poecilorhyncha)

White-browed Wagtail
White-browed Wagtail

Ashy Prinia
Ashy Prinia (Prinia socialis)

Mongoose.
Indian grey mongoose (Herpestes edwardsii)

Also called Common Mongoose.

Udaipur Birds

Common Pochard (Aythya ferina)
River Tern (Sterna aurantia)
Asian Openbill
Cattle Egret
Black-crowned Night-heron
Black-headed Ibis
Red-naped Ibis (Pseudibis papillosa)
Wire-tailed Swallow (Hirundo smithii)
Purple Swamphen
Bank Myna (Acridotheres ginginianus)
Common Myna
Ashy Prinia
Purple Sunbird (Cinnyris asiaticus)
Grey Francolin
Laughing Dove (Streptopelia senegalensis)
Spotted Dove
Indian Spot-billed Duck (Anas poecilorhyncha)
Grey Heron
White-browed Wagtail
Red-wattled Lapwing
little Cormorant

July 30, 2017

The Rat Temple

Filed under: General — Tags: , — admin @ 8:02 am

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

Filed under: Birds — Tags: , — admin @ 2:37 pm

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

Filed under: General — Tags: , — admin @ 12:21 pm

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!

Older Posts »

Powered by WordPress