Friends in my garden- 69

Black Drongo

Juvenile Black drongo, on a favourite perch on my terrace

A songbird of open areas such as farmland, fields, and urban gardens, black drongo (Dicrurus macrocercus) is a common sight perched on wires, cables or small bare branches that pop out.
This species is identifiable by a white spot at the base of the beak on either side.
It is famous for its aggressive behaviour towards much larger birds such as crows and chase away any birds that invade its territory. Smaller birds often find it safe to nest in the vicinity of well-guarded Black drongo neighbourhood.
Another interesting fact is its ability to mimic, producing a variety of avian calls.
This insectivorous bird is glossy black with long and deeply forked outer tail feathers. Male and female birds are similar in appearance.
Though aggressive to other birds, it was very friendly with me, relaxing on my terrace and even posing for photoshoot 🙂

Adult bird- having a drink
On a clothesline on the terrace, after quenching thirst
A couple in the twlight

Landscape- 17

Backwater landscape

The land of Kerala is located between the Arabian Sea and the Western Ghats. One of the distinctive features of Kerala is its backwaters.
The mesmerising beauty of the backwater landscape must be seen to believe! The palm-fringed network of lagoons, lakes, rivers, and canals that run inland from the coast of Kerala forms the famed backwater landscape of God’s own country.
These pictures give a glimpse of the backwaters of Alapuzha. The lush green landscape, diverse wildlife, and houses and villages that line the backwaters make a journey along these waterways seem like a journey through another world!

Patterns and Shapes in Nature- 12

Star fruit

True to its name, star fruit appears like a star in its cross section. Carambola or star fruits are produced by a medium sized tree, Averrhoa carambola. The tree flourishes in the tropical regions.
The fruit has tart ‘n’ sweet taste and is used in many dishes. Though the fruits have many health benefits, they have mild toxic effects also due to the presence of neurotoxins.
Star fruit is best eaten when it is fully ripe.

Eventide- 27

Sunset in the Village

A few sunset images from my recent trip to my native village…
The countryside is so peaceful during sunset. People relax by the riverside and cattle graze leisurely. The ambience is so unhurried and easy-going that one would wish to spend the whole life there!

The first picture was captured after a brief spell of rain. As the clouds thinned, the evening sky became less colourful, contrary to what we expect. Nonetheless, it was so charming as the sun went down behind the trees. Thoroughly enjoyed the scenes standing on the banks of river Periyar.

Smile of Earth- 26

Water Lilies

Water lilies are freshwater flowering plants. They grow very well in tropical climate and in temperate regions too.
These herbaceous plants are rooted in the muddy bottom of freshwater bodies with floating leaves. Flowers emerge above the water surface. The elegant and starry flowers can instantly enhance the beauty of home gardens!
When we think of water lily, probably we may think of the classic white or pink blooms bursting from a deep green lily pad. But they grow in many colours, including orange, yellow, purple, and blue.
This delicate flower has been associated with several symbolic meanings which include eternity, beauty, purity and divinity. A Native American legend surrounding water lily says that it was once a star that fell in the water from the sky, which then turned into a flower.
Water lilies belong to the family Nymphaeaceae and are closely related to Lotus.

Feathered Friends from Far and Near- 1

House finch

Friends, starting a new series- ‘Feathered friends from far and near‘. Probably a few of the birds that I had already presented in my earlier blogs may be repeated. I will try to give a different photograph, if possible 😊

Today, let us see the House finch (Haemorhous mexicanus). It is a small bird, as big as the sparrow. The bird has a conical seed-eating beak.
This is an adult male bird with rosy-red colour around the face and upper thorax. The plumage has brown streaks on the belly. Wings and tail have dull brown feathers.
The photographs were captured in the State of California.

Friends in my garden- 68

An Assortment of Butterflies

Blue tiger butterfly

Today, let us enjoy the beauty of these butterflies.
The common names of some of these butterflies may be funny. These are delicate critters, and the name ‘tiger’ is a misnomer, as far as common people like us are concerned.
Blue tiger butterflies (Tirumala limniace) are migratory in nature. Here, it is feeding on a Periwinkle flower in my garden.
This Plain tiger butterfly (Danaus chrysippus) is a male, identifiable due to the presence of a white pouch. This pouch is seen on the underside of the hind wings in a black patch.
The Common crow butterflies (Euploea core) have dull brown wings with white spots.
Great eggfly or Common eggfly (Hypolimnas bolina) is seen feeding on sandalwood flowers, behind my house. In males wings are black or dark brown with white marks. Females are colourful.

Plain tiger butterfly
Common crow butterfly
Great eggfly

Landscapes- 16

Lake Tahoe

Lake Tahoe is a large freshwater lake in the Sierra Nevada of the United States. The area surrounding the lake is also referred to as Lake Tahoe, or simply Tahoe.
Lake Tahoe is a major tourist attraction. Winter sports and the beautiful scenery are enjoyed by the tourists. During summer the delightful Emerald Bay is a sight to behold.
These pictures were captured in South Lake Tahoe, on the California side. Scenic views of Emerald Bay and Tahoe beach are seen in these pictures. Fannette Island, located right in the middle of Emerald Bay is seen in the third picture, to the left.

Patterns and Shapes in Nature- 11

A designer jacket!

Look at these pictures. Any wild guess, what do these pictures show?!
Here it is… these are macro pictures of the pattern on a Pomelo rind (skin)- it’s designer jacket!
Pomelo is the giant Citrus fruit, and its scientific name is Citrus maxima, alias Citrus grandis. In my native place it is called Babloos naranga or Kambili naranga.
The rind of the fruit also has several uses. It has essential oils. The dried and pleasant-smelling rind can act as insect repellent and natural deodorant in our shelves and cupboards.

Smile of Earth- 25

A Burst of Stamens!

Bottlebrush- Callistemon sp:

Flowers are generally beautiful due to the presence of colourful petals. People love flowers for their array of colours, textures, shapes and fragrance.
Now, imagine flowers without these showy petals or, with inconspicuous petals. Will we still adore them?
Yes…many flowers have variations in their essential whorls, like stamens, to compensate for the lack of colourful petals and they still look beautiful! In these flowers the stamens are usually very conspicuous, brightly coloured and numerous.
Here you can enjoy the beauty of a few such flowers with a burst of stamens.
These flowers belong to the family Myrtaceae, the family of Guava.

Nilgiri tree- Eucalyptus globulus
Guavasteen – Feijoa sellowiana
Rose apple- Syzygium jambos