Green Bee Eaters

I first noticed this beautiful bird sitting on the transmission wires passing over the wheat field. Due to green colour, these looked like small parrots. Then we found it in many places in our neighbourhood like over the water bodies and trees.

This bird is called Green Bee Eater with its scientific name as “Merops orientalis” is an exquisite little bird with bright emerald green plumage. The wings are largely green, sometimes tinted with gold or reddish-brown, and have a black trailing edge.

The bird is fairly gregarious and forages either alone or in small groups. From a perch on a fence, low bush, or sometimes even on cattle, the little green bee-eater takes rapid flight after an insect, seizing its prey and returning to the perch, where it strikes the insect to kill it before devouring it. As its name suggests, the little green bee-eater prefers to prey upon bees, but will also take other insects such as fruit flies and grasshoppers.

It exhibits a peculiar behaviour called predator avoidance which is not common in other bird species. If a predator is concentrating its attention on green bee eaters nest, it will not enter the nest until the predator has looked away. This remarkable behaviour demonstrates that the little green bee-eater aware of where the predator is looking, but also suggests it is aware of the predator’s mental state. This awareness, known as ‘theory of mind’, is typically only exhibited by humans and a few other primate species.

Most of the information is taken from Arkive website and I am thankful to them for this. We took many pictures of this exquisite bird.

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Notice the reddish color in the neck of bird in the last picture.

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Black Drongo

Although the onslaught of building activity is devouring the agricultural lands everywhere,Fortunately there is still greenery around the place I live. There are wild shrubs, fields where crops like wheat, rice, maize and cattle fodder grows and the woods in the reserved areas.

There are a number of birds which live here. One of them is black Drongo, jet black bird. It is an expert insect catcher. It is very aggressive towards crows and other marauders like eagles and falcons. Many other gentle birds try to be close to this bird for protection. Here are some pictures. These pictures have been taken by me while on walks and sitting in the balcony of my home from where the open land is visible.

     
  

     

     

Lantana Shrubs

It is the start of month of September. Still it is very hot during the day but mornings have begun to become cooler. Sometimes very strong breeze welcomes you when you are outdoors.

While going out these days in the morning, I noticed multitudes of butterflies. These although are very agile and usually rarely sit still at one place are seen sitting peacefully on the leaves of shrubs.

There are many species of shrubs growing wildly in our area. Names of many of these are not  known to me as will be to others because no one is interested in knowing the names of weeds and shrubs which are of no tangible use to us although nothing exists in nature that is without purpose.

There is one such shrub which grows abundantly here and these days giving different color of flowers. While passing by these shrubs you will be welcomed by strong aromatic smell exuded by these flowers.

Lantana’s aromatic flowers clusters  called umbels are a mix of red, orange, yellow, or blue and white florets . Other colors exist as new varieties are being selected. The flowers typically change color as they mature, resulting in inflorescences that are two- or three-colored.

About 150 species exist worldwide. The leaves contain poisonous chemicals but its ripe berries are eaten by many birds. Thus the plant uses very clever strategy to survive and propagate. Animals don’t eat its leaves and birds spread its seeds far and near helping the plant to proliferate. Thus at many places it becomes invasive irritant.
Its one use is that it is a honey plant.

I took some pictures of flowers of different varieties prevalent here.

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khada Parsi Statue

Original Khada Parsi Statue post was written on May 21, 2011. Then there were plans to restore the one of Mumbai’s heritage. The monument has now been restored to original glory. The monument is 150 years old. It belongs to  Cursetjee Manockjee, a businessman and educationist of Mumbai. The statue is made from cast iron. There are four mermaids at the base of statue which double as fountains also. These have been barricaded to prevent the theft as the pieces of original were taken away. The Times of India published the following picture of restored monument.

Restored Monument
Restored Monument

Free Thoughts by Ranjit Singh

That the Parsis are the architects of developing the Bombay is not a overstatement. This community which is known for honesty and great entrepreneurship was encouraged by British to settle in Bombay from Gujarat. They have made an immense contribution to the city. Besides being the entrepreneurs, the Parsis have been great philanthropists and opened many hospitals, educational institutions and bridges for the populace of Bombay.

Khada PArsi Old Glory

Although still they are a dominant force in the commerce, their population is dwindling which is matter of concern. There are many statues erected by them in the city in the memory of great persons. But some of them due to their location and increasing crowds and scramble for the whatever space is left unoccupied, some of these monuments are in a ruinous condition. For example, the iconic heritage landmark called “Khada Parsi” at Byculla bridge. If we compare…

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