Blog

Red and Black Bug

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Brachytes bicolor Westwood

I am here after a long gap with a ‘friend from my garden’.

I spotted it (Brachytes bicolor Westwood) on my Asparagus plant stem. This is a creeper and has small thorns; the plant grows wild.

There was a colony of these pretty bugs on Asparagus stems, at the base slightly above the ground. Clicked a few shots of the bugs that were moving away from the colony. Within a month’s time they started disappearing. Waiting for the next season to meet them¬† ūüôā

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Side view
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This is an adult
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A nymph of the bug

I understand that the species is mostly reported from India 

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Cute Little Butterflies

This is about three cute little butterflies in my garden.

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Red Pierrot

Let me start with the Red Pierrot (Talicada nyseus). Striking colours while perching; may be 2-3 cm of wingspan. While taking wings the brown colour is visible with orange markings. Kalanchoe plants are the hosts for the larvae and invariably the plant is eaten up!

The other two butterflies, Common Grass Yellow (Eurema hecabe) and Small Grass Yellow (Eurema brigitta), look similar except the markings on the wings. While in flight, black border of the wings are visible. They also have a wingspan of 2- 3.5 cm.

These cuties fly close to the ground level.

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Common Grass Yellow
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Small Grass Yellow

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Oriental Magpie-Robin

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Oriental magpie robin

The oriental magpie-robin (Copsychus saularis) is a small song bird and one of my regular visitors. These black and white birds forage on the ground or perch conspicuously with the long tail that is held upright.

Here I am presenting a series of pictures clicked on my terrace. This handsome male bird was friendly and never perturbed by my presence.

After the bath he sang beautifully; might have been calling his mate. Female birds are similar with diluted black colour or grey and white coloured plumage.

I will present the pictures of the female another time.

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A refreshing bath

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Giant Redeye

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Giant redeye butterfly

Its a butterfly; a resident of my garden.

Giant redeye butterflies (Gangara thyrsis) are dark chocolate brown in colour, with yellowish and reddish patches on the forewings. This is not very much visible in resting position.

The larvae look funny at certain stage, with cottony, thread-like outgrowths. If disturbed they may shed these waxy threads. They are voracious eaters of palm fronds and destroys my ornamental palm plants in no time!

Caterpillar pastes together the edges of the palm leaves to make a pupa (chrysalis) and this is a sort of waterproof chamber.

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Caterpillar
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Pupa (Chrysalis)
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After emerging from pupa… just flew on to the next plant

Eventide- 6

Glory at Golden Gate!

These are the sunset scenes at Golden Gate Bridge, San Francisco.

Generally it is difficult to get a clear view as Golden gate bridge is always covered in fog. The shots are taken from Berkeley Marina. Third picture shows Golden Gate Bridge.

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Carpenter Bee

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Carpenter bee

Carpenter bees are plenty when my Moringa tree (Moringa olefera) flowers and also when Golden shower tree (Cassia fistula) weighs down with flowers near my home.

The common name “Carpenter bee” derives from their nesting behavior; nearly all species burrow into soft plant material such as dead wood or bamboo. Nests can be also ¬†found on wooden parts of buildings.

Xylocopa pubescens is a species of large carpenter bee commonly found in India and it needs warm climate.

Carpenter bees can be distinguished from Bumble bees with the absence of yellow hairy bands on the abdomen.

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Foraging for pollen and nectar on Moringa flowers

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Female carpenter bees

 

 

Grass Demon

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Grass demon butterfly

Another misnomer for a cute little butterfly. This black and white beauty is a regular visitor of my garden. The wing colouration, I think, helps it sit undetected in the dappled light on bushes.

The Grass Demon (Udaspes folus) is a small butterfly found in India that belongs to the Skippers, or Hesperiidae family. It is regarded as an occasional pest of ginger and turmeric.

Being a bold one, my presence did not disturb it at all and went on with feeding nectar from Periwinkle flowers. This gave me ample opportunity ¬†to click a few shots of it’s feeding stages.

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Probosis stretched
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Feeding

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Ashy Prinia

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Ashy prinia

Ashy prinia (Prinia socialis) is a small song bird with shrill, repetitive song.  Pairs of these used to frequent my garden. Agile and chirpy, they forage among the foliage for insects.

Ashy prinia is a very common bird in farmlands and urban gardens. I have seen them fighting for space with sunbirds in my garden.

I was lucky to have them build nests in my garden. Nests were built on low shrubs and ferns. They are round and cup shaped, made of plant materials and soft cottony hairs of seeds and cobweb. The eggs are dark reddish brown

It was a pleasure to see the parent birds training their fledglings to fly!

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A nest in my garden
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A nest among ferns
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Singing Ashy prinia

Colourful Moths

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Wasp moth

Presenting two moths today. Moths are generally dull in appearance but here are two exceptions.

Wasp moth (Amata passalis)  is very colourful with orange and black bands on the abdomen and orangish spots on the wings. The pictures were clicked on my terrace. This moth is reported to be seen in S. India and Sri Lanka.

Another brightly coloured moth, found in the same geographical region is commonly known as Footman moth (Nepita conferta). The antennae of this species are highly branched and has a feathery appearance.

I located him on my backyard tree, relaxing and allowed me to take many pictures.

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Another view of wasp moth
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Footman moth
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Footman moth- another image

Purple-rumped Sunbird

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Purple-rumped sunbird (male)

These cute little birdies are my companions in the garden; twittering and feeding on the nectar of Hibiscus flowers, flowers of Moringa tree and others.

The purple-rumped sunbird (Leptocoma zeylonica) is endemic to the Indian Subcontinent. They feed mainly on nectar but sometimes take insects, particularly when feeding young. These sunbirds build a hanging nest with cobwebs, lichens and plant materials.

Males are brightly coloured but females are olive grey above and yellow to buff below. I see them always in pairs and the couple has built a nest on a tree next to my home. They are very agile and keep moving all the while!

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The female bird
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Collecting material for the nest
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The nest