Karthik had told me that he would be free this weekend, so I tried to organize an outing; the weather was not very predictable, so he said that rather than Manchinabele, which was much further away, we should go to Lalbagh, where if it rained, we could do some id’ing of hot idlis and coffee at any nearby Darshini…
We were a round (well, none of us are ROUND, really, but…) dozen…Karthik the NTP Guruji, and the NTP members were, in alphabetical order, Adarsh,Anjali,Geeta,Pallavi,Prasanna,Vittal, and me; and then there were, also in alphabetical order, Vittal’s son Adu (it should be Jayaditya, but I want to put him first!),Vittal’s friend and potential NTP-taker Girish, Nisarg, whom I have met at various birding and wildlife locations, and Pallavi’s husband Preetam, who just took Sudhir Shivaram ’s course on photography, and was there to try out all the newly-learned stuff….
Here are a few views of the group:
You can see what an earnest lot of knowledge-seekers we were. Karthik had only to point to something (in this case, it was a bug that he put on Pallavi's hand) and we all huddled together to get a better look:
Here are Geeta and with Karthik:
And here are a few more of 'em:
Pallavi is carrying the JLR backpack which all NTP members get. What a nice ad for JLR! :) I must use it, too....
Here are some of the birds that we saw, with a nice little action drama thrown in:
We started with the Ficus mysorensis trees near the Siddapura gate, where all varieties of birds were feasting on the yellow figs. Here's a WHITE-CHEEKED BARBET:
I loved the picture these SPOTTED DOVES made, sitting on an "arc of light"!
This time we spent a lot of time with the MOTTLED WOOD OWL. First we saw the owl half-hidden amongst the foliage of the usual Sycamore fig tree:
But then, a walker alerted us that the CROWS were mobbing some owls in the juniper trees, so we rushed to see two more of them. One was a baby. Even with the bad light of a rainy morning, and shooting against the light, one can see the down of the juvenile bird:
The crows were really making life miserable for the birds....
And one flew off, and of course I only got the back half of it on my camera (I must take out a copyright on Back-Half-of-Birds shots!)
But you can see the beauty of its fanned tail feathers, so I am shamelessly including the photo here!
We saw a couple of POND HERONS on the Ilex Paraguensis tree:
And near the Glass House, I was finally able to get a flight shot of the female ASIAN KOEL (so there, Vittal !!
A couple of GOLDEN ORIOLES, in all their mask-eyed beauty:
A GREY HERON in the lily leaves on the lake:
And on the way home, one group of us saw this pair of PURPLE MOORHENS, with a few CROWS menacing them.
As we watched, took this shot of the crow mobbing the poor moorhen , and it went off, showing its white tail feathers in a true act of surrender!
Here are some of the flowers that we saw, which Karthik has made easy for us (with Anush's help!) at his website
The Queen's Flower, which says that Summer has officially arrived in Bangalore:
Karthik showed us this tree (I have never noticed it before), the Carya arborea, which had beautiful flowers:
And I too wanted to document some flowers; here's the CHAMPA (SAMPIGE):
That's a variety of Magnolia, but here's what we do call the MAGNOLIA:
And then there was this flower from the Tipuana Tipu, also called "The Pride of Bolivia" (funny that a South American tree should bear the name of Tipu !
And here's a white un id flower pic by :
The Ilex paraguensis tree, under which we stopped for a lesson on various kinds of insects and spiders, had these very tiny flowers:
And I could not help marvelling at the texture of the bark of this tree,called the Callistris cupressoid:
Nor could I pass the purple beauty of the JACARANDA:
The nature lesson, as I said, proceeded under the Ilex tree; Karthik showed us, in the bark, these small GECKO EGGS:
and later he showed us this MOTH (Madhusmita! Id HELP!)
Some of the clusters of eggs had broken as the insects flew to their new life:
Karthik also showed us the wing-shaped seed-pods on the Pride of Bolivia tree:
winged seed pods on Papillionacae tree
We had a wonderful time and broke up as many of us had to rush home. What the people who came with me did not realize was that my car would break down completely, and we would have to push it into a side road before being able to come home. I don't think they expected a "push-paka vimana"!
We met again in the evening, and on Sunday evening too, to watch some wildlife films being screened at Suchitra Film Society Banashankari, and we were waiting for "Wild Dog Diaries" to start, Karthik showed us this TOAD in the garden area.
On Sunday evening, some of us watched "The Queen of Trees", an excellent DVD ( a short intro <a href=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KMNPZPYCCw4"> here </a>, and then went to Potluck Cafe for dinner; we missed Karthik, who had to get home!
A lovely weekend, spent with a lot of friends...what could be nicer?