Saturday, May 30, 2009
Wednesday, May 27, 2009
Surely, it should be a concern that continued disposal of cattle carcasses may be affecting entire communities of birds and other wildlife on the farmstead!
(Photograph information: large-billed crow - Etah district, Jan 8, 2009; Egyptian Vulture - Barabanki district, Nov 23, 2008; crows and dogs - Rae Bareli district, Nov 29, 2008)
Sunday, May 24, 2009
On the top is a structure in Hardoi district that locals claim was used by travellers to rest. Today, farmland has hemmed it in - a bubble of the past resisting today.
In the middle is a property marker in Lucknow district - used by land-lords to indicate the borders of their lands. Intricacy of markers reveals the owner's stature. This one is beside a lovely pond full of reeds and bird life. There will be more features on markers on this blog.
And finally, some tomb-stones in Rae Bareli district, the crumbling old with the already-ageing new, reminding one of the onion that Uttar Pradesh is - layers upon layers of time.
Unfortunately, spare little is being done to preserve, highlight, or restore these classics.
Friday, May 22, 2009
Mynas are neat birds – with lots of panache, attitude, and smarts. Not to mention hairdo!! This is a brief introduction to some of the styles you can see in the Myna world. The Pied Starling above has the touch-o'-white look; just a dash of old age on the side-burns.
(Photographs taken in Sultanpur, Etah, Etawah and Farrukhabad districts between Dec 2008 and Apr 2009)
Thursday, May 21, 2009
Wednesday, May 20, 2009
Tuesday, May 19, 2009
Ok - I lied when I said that entries will revolve around ONE picture! A "murder" of crows, a "skein" of geese, and I propose a "blur" of Black-breasted Weaver Birds! These weaver birds are less famous than their close cousin Baya Weaver, which is the more commonly discussed species. The Black-breasted Weavers in Uttar Pradesh congregate in very impressive flocks in summer following the growing-up of the young birds of the year. In Jaunpur I "met" one such flock - easily 2000 strong - by being literally blocked by them as they crossed over the road. Farmers tilling the soil had little effect on the flock that was on a feeding frenzy. They are mostly seed-eaters, but it was impossible not to think "Hitchcock" when the flock took off at one point and flew at me! I suspect that the reedbeds formed along the increasing irrigation canal network is helping this species. (Photographs date: Apr 29, 2009)
Monday, May 18, 2009
Butea monosperma or the Flame-of-the-forest is difficult to miss in early summer - bright clusters of flowers cover the canopy giving the tree its common name. The flowers are visited by a variety of insects, birds and some mammals. Here, a Rose-ringed Parakeet (a common resident species) digs into the keel-shaped lower petals of the flower to lick up the nectar. But the parakeet needs to work for the reward - the stamen pops out and smacks pollen on the forehead of the bird. As the bird visits different flowers and trees, it pollinates the flowers. A surprisingly large number of Butea trees still persist in the state - this photograph is from Farrukhabad district. Since the landscape is flat and largely agricultural, flowering trees stand out like beacons, and the floor below them gets carpeted with falling petals. A dash of orange (bottom photo) lighting up the usual earth colours! (Photographs date: Apr 4, 2009)