Jacobin Cuckoo

Call it Jacobin Cuckoo or Pied Cuckoo or Pied Crested Cuckoo, it is a summer visitor to Indian subcontinent. It comes here all the way from Africa. The bird is called harbinger of rains because timing of its coming here is just few weeks prior to the arrival of monsoon in India. Monsoons bring a relief from the sweltering heat in the Indian states. Parched earth is rejuvenated with torrents of water from rains. Thus this bird is a welcome sign here. It is aptly called Rain Bird also.

It is generally confused with Papiha which in reality is brain fever bird. One can spit this bird in this area. I have taken many pictures of it.

Savanna nightjar (Caprimulgus affinis)

Savanna Nightjar (Caprimulgus affinis) is an Bird which is found in South East India. While on a spotting mission in our area, I was moving about in Ghaggar River in Panchkula. It was in the June month, scorching heat and dry. Bed of the river is almost dry- full of sand and pebbles.

I was just descending a raised bank through the pebbles when three of them flew just from my feet. They are master of camouflage. You will not be able to spot them sitting in the scrub and pebbles until you are looking elsewhere and it suddenly flies from before your feet. But it does not fly very high and sits at other nearby place.

It is a rarity in my area and I hope I was the first to spot them.kkk

I returned to the area many days after that to check whether they are staying here and found them there.

Photo by Ranjit Singh
Photo: Ranjit Singh

Place of Rivers in Humanity

A River not only create conditions for settlement of the people on its banks, it sustains the people living near it. It provides them with all the things of human requirements. Water for washing, irrigation, fish. It had been held in great esteem by many civilizations. Rivers are revered because they nourished the life. Many saints and great men loved to live on its banks.

Rivers are held in great esteem in Sikh religion. The region where the religion flourished is aptly called the land of five Rivers.

First Guru Nanak is said to have experienced enlightenment after a dip in holy river. Legend is that when he emerged out of river Kali Bein which merges into the confluence of Beas and Satluj rivers at a place called Harike in Punjab after three days, he was glowing and a completely transformed. He recited the “mool mantra” .

It seems that Guru Gobind ji, the tenth and last Guru had a great affinity for rivers. His Life revolved along the different riverbanks of India.
He was born in Patna and spent his early days on Ganga river.
Then he came to Anandpur sahib which has Satluj river close by. And during wars with hill royalties he stayed in Paonta sahib on the Yamuna river and wrote prolifically.
And then finally he moved to Maharashtra where he stayed on the banks of godavari river.

Alas , due to the unlimited greed of some people, these rivers are being contaminated by discharging the effluents from factories, city sewage and sand mining.

Some Birds of Prey

There are so much diversity in the birds. They differ in size, color, feeding habits. Many birds have adapted themselves to live in different climates and habitats. Such birds are found almost in all corners of the globe. But there are certain birds which are specific to specific habitats.

One category of the birds is called birds of prey or raptors. They hunt the smaller birds for their food. They have keen eyesight, strong talons and beaks. They can take smaller birds in flight, sitting . Some specialise in catching fish and snakes , lizards and squirrels. Some even survive on the rotten flesh of carcasses.

Some examples of the raptors are falcons, eagles, buzzards, kites , ospreys, owls.

During my outings for wild life photography in my area, I have come across some raptors. Their pictures are given below

Shikra: 

 

Oriental Honey Buzzard 

 

Shaheen Falcon 

 

Steppe Eagle

 

Bonelli’s Eagle 

The list is not exhaustive. I will add more raptors in another post.

Please give it a favorable response

Parakeets

It is the winter season here in North India. The place where I live is adjoining the hills of Himachal Pradesh. During severe winters, many birds from these hill areas come down to adjoining plains which are relatively warmer.

There is a forest near my residence. These days lots of Alexandrine Parakeets and Rose Ringed Parakeets are present in this forest. Their flocks fly from one tree to another searching for the cavities in the tree branches for making nests.

Ultima Thule : Floating Snowman

NASA space craft “The New Horizons” flew past it and beamed it’s clear photo back. Ultima Thule is said to be the oldest and farthest celestial body discovered via a telescope in 2014. The picture taken by telescope was a blurry one showing the body as one oblong shaped. But new picture taken by spacecraft is very clear. It shows that Thule is made up of two ice lobes gravitating towards one another making it look like a Snowman. Picture has been taken from a distance of 27000 kilometres with a resolution of 140 metres per pixel. Thule is 4 billion miles from Sun.