Eventide- 26

Sunset sky

These sunset scenes show more of sunset sky than the dipping orange ball.
Sun was playing hide and seek on the cloudy horizon and could get only a glimpse of the golden ball as seen in the last picture.
I had posted pictures of this Sri Lankan sunset earlier. These are different versions from the same series, captured on the same day.

Friends in my garden- 67

White-cheeked Barbet

Waiting on the trellis in my terrace garden

This beautiful, predominantly green bird is a resident of South India.
I am lucky to have them around my house and they regularly visit to have a drink and bath on my terrace. Then, have a meal of Tinospora berries before disappearing into the green foliage of the tall trees nearby.
White-cheeked barbets (Psilopogon viridis) have brown head and characteristic white patterns on its face- white patch of plumage extending from beak to ears, white line above the eyes and white throat.
These are frugivorous birds. It is very rare to see them foraging on the ground.

Having a drink
A tasty meal of Tinospora berries

Landscape- 15

Coastal landscapes

Goa, the tiny state of India is famous for its beaches. The verdant landscape of this coastal region is exquisite and enthralling.
These are pictures of certain coastal landscapes of Goa…. yes, not the famous beaches.
The days were cloudy and rained intermittently. Captured these scenes whenever there was some sunshine.
Enjoy the beauty of these secluded and picturesque coastal landscapes.

Patterns and Shapes in Nature- 10

Dumb cane

Dumb cane (Dieffenbachia amoena) is a very popular house plant due to its easy-growing nature. Have a close look at the patterns on its leaves.
Leaves are yellow near their midvein and turns to dark green toward the edge. This transition is random, even within the same leaf, creating patches and spots of yellow and green along the leaf blade.
Sap of this plant is poisonous and can make people incapable of talking due to swelling of tongue and throat region. Hence the common name ‘dumb cane’. But the variegated leaves make it a good ornamental plant.

Smile of Earth- 24

Roses

Roses have a long and colorful history. According to fossil evidence, they are 35 million years old! These lovely flowers are anytime favorites in gardens. There are more than 150 types of roses that grow as shrubby plants or climbers.
Some interesting facts about roses-
The impressive rose that grows on a wall on the Hildesheim Cathedral in Germany is thought to be the oldest living rose and is 1,000 years old.
Rose water made from the petals is often added to jellies or jams, or is used as flavoring in Indian and Chinese dishes.
The lovely fragrance of roses is a popular floral scent that is used in women’s perfumes.
Various colours of roses are attributed with specific meanings. Besides red roses symbolizing love and romance, pink roses exude grace and elegance. The yellow rose represents friendship and cheer, and white roses signify sympathy.
President Ronald Reagan declared the rose as the national flower of the U.S.

Eventide- 25

Twilight scenes

Today my pictures represent the scenes after sunset, basically the twilight scenes. The pictures were captured from a north-west direction.
These scenes lack the reddish glow that we expect. I am not sure of the reason. May be the thick fog in the Bay area is the reason. Or the direction. These pictures were captured at Berkeley Marina on a foggy day and the sunset itself was also not clearly visible.
You may agree that twilight scenes are not less beautiful!

Friends in my garden- 66

Dragonflies

Scarlet Grenadier- Lathrecista asiatica

I understand that Dragonflies were among the first winged insects to evolve some 300 million years ago. These dragonflies that we see around now have wingspans of only two to five inches and are no comparison to the fossil dragonflies with wingspans up to two feet!
Here are some more interesting facts about dragonflies along with the pictures of these friends from my garden-
Dragonflies don’t sting or bite; they don’t carry diseases or germs. They are colorful and have amazing ways of flying. The flying skills of the dragonflies have inspired scientists and engineers to make flying robots, drones and helicopters.
They need water bodies to complete their life cycle. The larvae are aquatic and stay in water for one or two years! But the adult stage lasts only for a few months.
Dragonflies are natural pest control devices, so to say. A dragonfly can eat hundreds of mosquitoes in a single day. They catch the prey while in flight.
Watching dragonflies, similar to birding, is called ‘oding’ which comes from the order ‘Odonata’ to which they belong.
According to some folklore, seeing swarms of dragonflies signifies impending rain. For some cultures, dragonflies represent good luck and prosperity, especially when it lands on one’s head 🙂

Wandering glider- Pantala flavescens
Fulvous forest skimmer- Neurothemis fulvia
Scarlet marsh hawk (female)- Aethriamanta brevipennis

Landscape- 14

Beachscapes

A pleasant morning scene- Aluthgama beach

Today I will showcase a few beachscapes, each with different atmosphere, at different times of the day.
Finding comfort and relaxation is ultimately where we all want to end up. Very few places are more fun and relaxing than the beach.
Next time when you visit a beach, take a few moments and notice how it feels to have the breeze against your skin. Take a deep breath and then exhale slowly; aah…instant relaxation!
A walk on the beach can be so soothing. The sound of the waves, fresh air, and endless sky make us happy and calm.
These pictures are of some quiet beaches of Sri Lanka; backyard beaches of hotels.

Forenoon…after a rain- Induruwa beach
A cloudy morning- Wattala beach
A quiet evening- Wattala beach

Patterns and Shapes in Nature- 9

Palmately lobed simple leaf

Tapioca leaf

Leaves are the best and often the easiest way to identify a plant. We can see two types of leaves around us; that is, Simple and Compound leaves.
No…no!! No botany lesson 😊 Just for info!
When the leaf blade is all in one piece, though it may be lobed, toothed etc, it is a simple leaf.
Look at these two leaves that are basically simple but highly lobed. These palmately lobed leaves have the lobes spreading radially from a point, like fingers on a hand.
Nature is so beautiful, isn’t it?
Beyond our words!!

Papaya leaf

Smile of Earth- 23

Morning Glory

Ipomoea purpurea– Purple morning glory

Morning glory is the common name for over 1,000 species of flowering plants in the family Convolvulaceae. To make it clear, these twining herbaceous plants belong to the family of Sweet potato.
With slender stems and simple leaves their trumpet-shaped flowers come in colours of pink, purple, blue, magenta, white and streaks of colours. Morning glory flowers start to bloom in the early morning hours and wilt mostly by noon or early afternoon.
Because of their fast growth, attractive flowers and tolerance to soil conditions, morning glories make excellent hedge plants covering fences and walls.
Seeds of morning glory are used as laxative in traditional Chinese medicine. Seeds of some species of morning glory contain toxic compounds that can induce hallucination, when consumed in large quantities. Leaves, flowers and roots are also found to have many health advantages.
In the Language of flowers, morning glory signifies unrequited love and affection.

Ipomoea pes-caprae– Beach morning glory
Ipomoea violacea– Heavenly blue
Ipomoea batatas– Sweet potato