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Bubo- My autobiography.

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Hello, I am Bubo. I am two years old.I have been called by many names, but I simply loved it, when I was christened Indian Eagle Owl.A good dose of patriotism courses through my veins too. You see!!!
         A countless lore, myths and superstitions surround my family and me. We are perhaps the only birds that have captured the imagination of the humans throughout the centuries. Probably for all the wrong reasons, I wonder!! Either we send a creepy shudder through the spine or make people open their eyes wide in wonder and marvel at our beauty and elegance.
We live in a very beautiful rocky ravine. Our residence is made of many stone boulders on which we can lazily perch. A leisurely gurgling stream runs through our ravine and creates a mystic ambience. Gently sloping hills and a thick green forest complete my enchanting habitat. Many of our relatives live in grasslands, semi arid deserts and some even have learnt to live near human habitation. I prefer to laze out during the day and hu…

White-naped tit. A pride of Kutch!!

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       White-naped Tit (Parus nuchalis) is a rare catch one would envisage to sight on the trip to Kutch.  As for as I was concerned, it was a 'do or die' situation. This was one of the rarities, without which I was not willing to go back. Fortunately, we were based in the village of Motivirani, adjoining the town of Nakhatrana in Kutch. Many sightings in Gujarat have come from this specific area. This is because, this bird is a dweller of a very singular and typical habitat. The typical terrain is a dense, scrub like vegetation and consists primarily of small, thorny trees. Main species are, Acacia catechu and Acacia nilotica, that shed their leaves seasonally. These trees typically do not exceed 10 metres in height. 

      Endemic to the India subcontinent,the White-naped Tit occurs in two distinct and small populations. One in the northwest areas of Gujarat and Rajasthan and other in the eastern ghats in the  Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh and Tamilnadu  states. Even in the stron…

Greater Hoopoe Lark- A dream come true!!

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Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—I took the one less traveled by,And that has made all the difference.
                                                                       - Robert Frost

Greater Hoopoe Lark(Alaemon alaudipes) is one of the most coveted species for any serious birder. It is the phantom of the desert and can prove to be a very tough customer to even sight. Leading birders have had to make multiple visits to bag this beauty. This bird is found in extreme desert environments, and is capable of surviving in temperatures of up to 50 degrees Celsius. The Greater Hoopoe Lark is well adapted for its preferred desert conditions, and does not need to drink water to survive. During periods of intense heat, this species takes shelter in the burrows in the desert floor, in order to remain cool and prevent water loss. The population of the Greater Hoopoe Lark is of foursubspecies, each of which differs slightly in size and colour, andAlaemon alaudipes doriae is what is found in …

The Jewel of the Western Ghats - Oriental Dwarf Kingfisher

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I wait!! I wait with a bated breath!!

I sit like a monk, in absolute silence, ensconced in a dream world. The sound of rain surrounds me with a harmonic drumming. Pearly droplets bounce off my skin, as sparkly and effervescent as champagne bubbles. Silver trickles of water fall and run down on the shiny leaves, before lazily cascading down to mother earth. A heavenly earthen aroma fills the air, permeating deep into my senses. A surging stream gurgles joyously over the rocks before plunging into a small gorge. The lush green of the evergreen trees completes the fairy tale ambiance. The scenario is picture perfect for my long awaited rendezvous with one of the Almighty's most breathtaking creations!!! 
As I pray for the heavenly out pour to show some mercy, the rain god relents and chords of soft light filters through the barely perceivable gaps in the dense canopy. A red and orange missile whizzes through the still air and drops anchor on a branch in front of me. For an infinitesima…

Call of the Crested Bunting

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Every birder has a wish list or a "must-see in a lifetime" list. 
Crested bunting is one bird which has caught my fancy and remained high on my list. This beautiful bird has it's famous abode at Sinhgad Fort, which is around 30 kms from Pune. It is imperative that you go to Sinhgad on a weekday, as it is a very scenic destination and hence is crowded during the weekends.



I don’t get good sleep whenever I know I will be birding the next morning. 
I’m simply too excited. With the plans in place and all gears packed, I left my place at 5 30 AM. As we sped past a sleeping Pune city, Khadakvasla dam with it’s breathtaking and scenic beauty, beckoned us. As we drove through the meandering path along this huge water body, I just couldn't help but fill myself with breaths of pure and pristine air. Soon we could see the azure hills in front of us with the tops capped with soaring clouds. As Pune had received a fair bit of monsoon rains, the entire surrounding was densely carpete…

Mayureshwar Wildlife Sanctuary Pune

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I know not where the white road runs, nor what the blue hills are;
But a man can have the sun for a friend, and for his guide a star;
And there's no end of voyaging when once the voice is heard,
For the rivers call, and the roads call, and oh! the Call of the Bird!

                                                                              G.L.Gould

Yes, this very call of the birds made me decide to venture into a scrub land habitat in Pune. My birding friends came up with a suggestion to visit  Mayureshwar Wildlife Sanctuary, a little known avian paradise about 70 Kms east of Pune on the Solapur Highway. 

Little did I know that this deciduous forest, interspersed with grasslands, would unveil a world of 'dream come true' with its varied biodiversity. For many years this was a barren land devoid of any vegetation. Systematic plantations were then undertaken by the forest department. Many trees and various types of grasses were sown. It has now metamorphosed into an excelle…