Another rare visitor to our country..GKVK, Bangalore, 02,03,04,050316

March 10, 2016

I had one rare visitor…my friend Abhijit Menon-Sen (AMS) who is building a home in Lweshal, in Uttaranchal, in the lap of the Himalaya.

The day before he arrived, I also got the news of another rare visitor, this time, one that’s usually not found in our country….the

Swinhoe’s or Brown-rumped Minivet


that’s usually found in the Far East…in Cambodia, China, Hong Kong, Laos, Myanmar, Thailand, and Vietnam. It was quite a thrill to birders in Bangalore that this bird, along with the not-common

Ashy Minivet ,



had been found in the campus of Gandhi Krishi Vigyan Kendra (GKVK, also known as the University of Agricultural Sciences, or UAS.)

As Ramit Singal is also working on the Great Backyard Bird Count at the campus, he called us over, and with my friend Thomas Job, off we went to see the bird. We had to park the cars outside and walk a bit. IMG_0889 IMG_0687 We met other interested birdersthere, too, and while AMS contentedly worked his way through the sightings of "plains birds", which he said were quite exciting for him, we came to the place where the two Minivets had arrived, as part of a flock of Small Minivets. The latter had flown away, leaving the two stars of the day to flit around in the clutter of two bare trees. These Minivets are predominantly white and black, unlike other Minivets in India, which come in a range of oranges and reds. As they flew about in the clutter of twigs and branches, it was easy to follow them with the binoculars, but not so easy to get a good shot of them! Since this was a very exciting and rare bird, I proceeded to go on three successive days to the campus, and made sure that several of my friends were able to see this visitor, too. IMG_0947 Here, wearing blue tees, are Ashwin and Bhanu, who are students at GKVK and first sighted and identified the bird. IMG_0953 Other interesting sightings were of the Indian Pitta IMG_0680 and large numbers of Orioles: The Eurasian Golden Oriole, the Black-naped Oriole and the Black-hooded Oriole, all sitting on the same tree, made a rewarding sight! A Shikra, Blue-faced Malkoha, Black-headed Cuckoo-shrikes...the list of birds was quite a delight in itself! Here are two pics of the Black-naped Oriole: IMG_0894 IMG_0899 I also enjoyed looking at the various trees and the plants on campus, and found a lot of interesting ones, such as this Cochlospermum vitifolium IMG_1023 or this tree called the Buddha's Coconut: IMG_0745 IMG_0744 Sterculium urens: IMG_1034 and the tart, fleshy fruit of the Japanese Persimmon: IMG_1015 Of course, we never forgot about food, and had a great breakfast each day at the UAS Canteen, the main one or the "assistant" one: IMG_0759 IMG_0879 IMG_0966 IMG_0965 IMG_0967 IMG_1041

Let me close with another shot of the Swinhoe’s Minivet: