Pink Grasshopper

There is a river near my home. It is a seasonal River and has a large dry bed which is full of pebbles and sand. Many birds which lay their eggs in the nest made on the soil. I generally go for a walk and to take pictures there. Today while I was walking along the pebbles, I noticed a pink coloured pebble.

Something else Was there. It was a pink Grasshopper which is very rare. Usually the Grasshoppers are green coloured to match with the grass background for camouflage which gives them safety against predators.

But this one was of Pink Colour. It was also trying to use camouflage by sitting in the pebbles especially pink ones. It is an unusual and little-understood genetic mutation caused by a recessive gene similar to that which affects albino animals. This mutation results in one of two things happening or even a combination of the two; a reduce or even absence of the normal pigment and/or the excessive production of other pigments, in this case red which results in pink morphs. Such a morph is exposed to predators and rarely achieve the adulthood.

Advertisements

Elements necessary for humans

At present there are 118 elements listed in the periodic table. Some of these elements are commonly found on the earth in the form of ores. Some are radioactive and have very short half lives. Many such elements have been synthesized in the laboratory and live for a very short time.

Human body like other things existing is made of compounds which are made from the elements. Out of these 118 only some elements are connected with the human body.

Although elements as such don’t make up the body it is the combined form that is molecules constitute the human body. But elemental composition is as follows by mass.

Oxygen: 65%

Carbon: 18%

Hydrogen: 10%

Nitrogen: 3%

Other elements: 4%

Other elements include Calcium, Potassium, Phosphorus, Sulphur, Sodium, Chlorine, Magnesium, Boron, Chromium, Cobalt, Copper,  Fluorine, Iodine, Iron, Manganese, Molybdenum, Selenium, Silicon, Tin, Vanadium and Zinc.

Although these elements are used in very minor amount, they are crucial to some body processes.

Elements can be divided into different groups according to the functions they perform.

Building Blocks

The main building blocks of the body are proteins which are synthesized from amino acids. For these elements used are Hydrogen, Carbon, Nitrogen, Oxygen, Phosphorus and Sulphur. DNA also contains these elements except Sulphur. DNA is the genetic code.

Enzymes

Enzymes are chemicals which are catalysts for carrying out chemical reactions like breakdown of sugars and other macro molecules. Such enzymes use some elements like Magnesium, Manganese, Copper, Zinc, Selenium and Molybdenum. Enzymes play role in respiration, digestion, metabolism and immune system.

Nerves and Control

Brain sends messages to different parts of the body and this is a two way communication. Electrical signals are carried through electrolytic solutions like brines. Sodium, Potassium and Calcium ions this play the role of transmitting the signals. Similarly Chloride ions regulate the water in and out of cells. Iodine is used to make hormones which regulate metabolism.

Bones and Teeth

Bones make the template on which our body is hoisted. Strong bones and teeth are essential for the healthy body.  Bones and Teeth are made of Calcium and phosphate. Phosphate contains Phosphorus and Oxygen. Manganese element makes more stronger and resistance to breaking.

Blood

Blood is the lifeline of the body. Blood carries oxygen to the cells and removes the carbon-dioxide gas which is the byproduct of combustion reaction. Oxygen is carried by blood due to the presence of iron which binds the Oxygen. Other elements which are constituents of blood are Carbon, Oxygen, Iron and Cobalt. Cobalt is essential to make red blood cells.

Respiration and Energy

Respiration is inhalation of Oxygen. Adinosine Triphosphate (ATP) is formed during respiration which is the compound used by body as energy. Main elements involved here are Carbon, Nitrogen, Phosphorus and Oxygen.

Source: c&en magazine of American Chemical Society (ACS)

Bays Weaver

Birds make nests not to live in but lay eggs and start the next generation. Nests are of wide sizes and shapes, ordinary but practical and ornate type. But the nest of Baya Weaver bird is a work of great craftsmanship. It is made exclusively by male bird in the height of summers in India.

Finished Nest has two doors but there is a catch. When the nest reaches the stage when the vertical door is to start, male bird invites the female who inspects the work. If she likes it and agrees to move in for making a pair for eggs and chicks and next generation. If she reject it, the male is dejected and dismantles the entire work. It then begins to weave another nest.

It is said that Baya Weaver makes more than 500 trips to bring the grass stalks for nest building. The nests are made on the trees like acacia and other thorny trees which makes the entry of predators difficult. They are generally on the trees which are near the water bodies.

Some pictures

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