Wednesday, 1 March 2017

Wild Bird Wednesday 240 - White-throated Kingfisher.

As you may have noticed, sometimes get become more than a little amused at the way birds are given their common names.  After all, these names are there to help us sort and understand the world.  However, we end up with larks that are not larks, magpies that arenot magpies and all other manner of strange names.

But this weeks seems even more strange - The White-throated Kingfisher does have a white throat, but it's best field marks are the white patches in its wings and the wonderful teal blue of its back.  Of course, neither of these are mentioned in the common name!  Go figure!

Despite its rather exotic looks the White-throated Kingfisher (Halcyon smyrnensis) is reasonably common in India, and I got some really good views of this species.

I'm pretty sure that this bird falls into the broad category of 'cracking birds'!

As with almost all of my Indian bird shots these were taken at the Sultanpur National Park.

To join in with WBW just click on the blue button below.  SM

Tuesday, 28 February 2017

Out and About / On the Streets

These pictures were all taken in Delhi - some in the newer, more planned sections of the city, and others in the more 'organic' sections elsewhere.  I'll let you try to work out which are which!

 There is a mildly insane energy at street level in this city - with noise, movement and colour in all directions.  What I was trying to do here was to balance the chaotic nature of the 'flow' that occurs around you as you walk along, with the moments of stillness that caught my eye.  You find yourself stranded in the middle of a road junction, with traffic moving in all directions, while behind you a man checks a belt in a mirror and a lady tries on shoes.  Remarkable place.

You can find more shots from around the world at Our World Tuesday.

Friday, 24 February 2017

Some Indian Mammals

Much as it may seem like I spend all my time watching birds, that's not actually the case.  I don't mind watching a mammal or two if they show up.

The first mammals I saw in India were Palm Squirrels - and I think these are Five-Striped Palm Squirrels.  To be honest these little rodents are pretty common, and the chirping of 'squirrel stress' followed us almost everywhere.  They are undoubtably rather good value!

I do like the shot of the Palm Squirrel in the window - but I do wish it had put its tail on show!

The next mammal was a real surprise - it's a Small Indian Mongoose (well, probably!).  This fast moving animal was hunting around the footings of a temple complex in the Lodi Gardens in Delhi.  I was in tourist, rather than naturalist mode, photographically so I only managed a rather distant shot - the version below is a heavy crop.  I rather like that face!

The Nilgai or Blue Bull is largest Asian Antelope and is endemic to the Indian subcontinent.  I saw this male - and some females that I could not photograph - in the Sultanpur National Park.  In the pictures below you can see some Painted Storks in the trees and a Pintail in the water as well as the Blue Bull.

 I'll be linking this post to Saturday Critters - where you can find more animals from around the world.

Wednesday, 22 February 2017

Wild Bird Wednesday 239 - Painted Stork

When I was in India I managed to organise a trip to Sultanpur National Park, which is about 60 km from central Delhi.  60 km may not sound far, but I think it's reasonable to multiply distances by 2 in India to get a feel for how long it will take!

The Sultanpur National Park is only about 1.5 square km in size, but 250 species of bird have been recorded there.  While the area is a natural wetland, water is now pumped into the park to help maintain the water levels.  Given how close it is to Delhi, it's a remarkable place.

The Painted Stork (Mycteria leucocephala) is Asia's most abundant stork - although it is considered to be risk because its population is falling.  Hunting, wetland drainage and pollution are all thought to play a role in this birds decline.

The Painted Stork is in the same broad group of storks as the Wood Stork and it feeds by swishing its open beak backwards and forwards though the water.

Many of the birds in these pictures are juvenile birds, lacking the bright plumage and beak.  The slight haze in the images is a combination of early morning mist and (sadly) air pollution.

As ever, to link up with WBW click on the blue button below.