JLR Initiative, 11 October 2006, Ornithology Society

October 12, 2006

First of all, here is the beauty of Bannerghatta National Park at sundown:

<IMG height=333 alt=”IMG_0014 Sunset at Bannerghatta” src=”http://static.flickr.com/92/267558718_0e957d7cb2.jpg” width=500>

Yesterday JLR decided to launch an “Ornithology Society” as part of their new initiatives, and we were all invited to participate at their property in Bannerghatta.

All of us on the JLRNTP egroup had been notified, and Sandeep Chakrabarty , Amoghavarsha , and I went together to the JLR property in the Bannerghatta National Park. We were pleasantly surprised that 25 people turned up in the middle of the week for the initiative! It was very nice to say hi to both known people and unknown ones...certainly I felt that there was a wealth of wildlifing and birding expertise present...my reaction on seeing many people was an "Oh, wow!" Ms Jija Hari Singh, the MD of Jungle Lodges, Mr Hari Kumar, the ED, were held up for a while at another function, so Sourav Jha, the Manager of JLR, opened the proceedings, and explained that JLR wanted to launch an Ornithological Society, and was involving us to see how we and JLR could mutually benefit; we were to draw up a wishlist which would be discussed, and an action plan formulated. A short video on JLR was then shown, and we all introduced ourselves. Meanwhile, Ms Hari Singh walked in and we re-introduced ourselves to her and the discussions started in earnest. Certainly she seems very action-oriented, and soon had us divided into five discussion groups, to chalk out our suggestions, including three points that we felt JLR could implement in the next six months. When we reconvened, all our points of view (many overlapping) were heard, and she decided on six of the action points, five of which five groups would take up: Camping Activities (to reduce the financial burden on serious wildlifers visiting the JLR properties); training and education  activities; volunteer team gathering;  books,educational Material, as well as  birdwatching material in the form of a welcome package;  and birdwatching trips organization. A very impressive array of wellwishers offered their services. Lunch, and general networking,  followed, and then a short but good presentation by Kalyan on how to take birdwatching and documentation forward in the Internet and digital era. He showcased Shyamal's bird-sighting documentation software, "BirdSpot". Pretty happy with the action plan that had been chalked out, we dispersed, some of us to go, under the expert guidance of Vijay Cavale , on a short birding trip. I couldn't take any photographs indoors during the meeting...and remembered my camera only after  Ms Hari Singh had left! But I did manage to take a few snaps during the birding trail. Here's Sandeep Chakrabarty,  making a point with the conviction that extensive experience of the outdoors has brought to him.  I have (quite literally!) focused, not on him, but on the regulations that  every serious wildlifer follows... <FONT size=2> <IMG height=333 alt="IMG_0005 The committed wildlifer follows the rules" src="http://static.flickr.com/121/267559071_eaf53001a8.jpg" width=500> Here are and Catherine Pittet, along with Rajesh BP ,walking back through the gate. I like this picture because it illustrates three pieces of gadgetry that all wildlifers/birders need now...a pair of binoculars, a camera, and a laptop! <IMG height=333 alt="IMG_0004 Kalyan and Catherine Pittet walking back through the gate" src="http://static.flickr.com/94/267558515_1a3b40125b.jpg" width=500> Here are a few others there yesterday. The gentleman on the left is Mr Sukumar, the manager of JLR Bannerghatta; speaking to him is Rajiv; in the background is Mr Bhojraj, retired Chief Conservator of Forests in the green tee; the lady is Vijaya Rani, who is working in a college and is in charge of wildlife/birding initiatives for the students. In the background, you can see James Williams, who took rapid notes throughout the meeting and summarized points very succinctly indeed-- and took the meeting forward very adroitly! took this photo, because he has carefully made sure that I am only very partially visible (red dupatta) in the background...curses! <IMG height=333 alt="IMG_0002 Sukumar, manager, JLR Bannerghatta, and Rajiv" src="http://static.flickr.com/86/267558233_c3abf1ca11.jpg" width=500> All the notes I have made of the day's events have disappeared, because someone seems to have switched their pad with mine, and I have someone else's jottings with me right now...sigh! No good journalist likes to trust only her memory when reporting something, but....vottodo! Here's a picture that I am titling "The Stag at Eve" (from the first line of a poem by Sir Walter Scott, that goes, "The stag at eve had drunk his fill..." This beautiful animal is not really wild. He had broken his leg and had to have an iron rod implanted. It was obvious that he was in pain when he walked... his antlers look so lovely silhouetted against the darkening sky. Yes, if I knew how to post-process ( has promised to teach me...soon....) I would have been able to better show him in the gathering darkness....but as my Semagic window says, WSY/WYG....what you see is what you get! <IMG height=333 alt="IMG_0021 The stag at eve" src="http://static.flickr.com/90/267558959_709934d754.jpg" width=500> Here's my  pictureof the Red Flower...that's what Rudyard Kipling , in "The Jungle Book", calls fire in the forest. A forest fire can be a very dangerous thing; but this was a deliberately set fire, to burn up trash and some scrub,  and was being carefully tended. Even so, it makes a dramatic picture, with the hot reds and oranges amidst the cool greens.....this picture reminds me of the words of the Bible, that God spoke to Moses in the form of a burning bush! <IMG height=333 alt="IMG_0019 The Red Flower" src="http://static.flickr.com/106/267558924_916913267d.jpg" width=500> Well, as far as the birding trip went....We spotted some COPPERSMITH BARBETS, SMALL GREEN BARBETS, a WHITE-BROWED BULBUL,ASIAN KOELS, PURPLE SUNBIRDS, RED-VENTED BULBULS and a couple of GREENISH LEAF WARBLERS (my first ever sighting of these, and the first time I heard their call, too),  TAILOR BIRDS, ROSE-RINGED PARAKEETS, RED-WATTLED LAPWINGS with their typical call, a POND HERON,  a beautiful COMMON BLUE KINGFISHER, and some PEAFOWL, apart from the Black Kites and the ever present Corvus Splendens....we did hear the hoot of an owl and I heard the rapid ratatatatat of a woodpecker...but when we all concentrated in the fading light on what we thought was an owl, we found it was a twig, after all! This cheered me up no end...if so many seasoned birders can make this mistake, I am at least in august company! I think all of us missed the presence of Karthik who was the common link for many of us......and who has been pushing for these kinds of initiatives, too, since he joined JLR. No...not a single bird photograph...the fading light, the elusive sight...it just wasn't right! (Poetry!) But here is a preying mantis (it PREYS on other small insects) which many people call a prAying mantis because of the way its two front legs look, as if it is in an attitude of prayer! <IMG height=333 alt="IMG_0009 Stick insect" src="http://static.flickr.com/85/267558632_3cf61bf971.jpg" width=500> </lj-cut> Well, that's my account of a day really well-spent, meeting a lot of senior wildlifers, and learning a lot. I hope to be able to contribute a lot more to JLR through the volunteers setup!