SPELLBOUND

The location is the temple village of Bateshwar,  Bah, District Agra, Uttar Pradesh, India  as mentioned in the previous blog titled Balls of Sugar.

The River is the Yamuna which flows within a mere 5 kms of the River Chambal at this point which in turn is now home to the Endangered Gharials.

I was spellbound by the beauty of the Landscape and had the pleasure of  watching an Indian Cormorant skim over the River as it competed for Fish with the Fishermen.

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Cormorant in Flight 

Mustard Fields in bloom, Silhouettes of Large trees , a foggy Winter morning and a Cormorant in Flight kept me Spellbound.

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Spellbinding Landscape and the Cormorant

The Sun filters through the Fog and the Flying  Cormorant has a Pelican for company and a new competitor for Fish as well.

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In the Company of a Pelican

The pictures say it all, need I say am Enchanted ?

 

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BALLS OF SUGAR

A few kilometeres from the Enchanting Riverine Sanctuary of the Cursed River Chambal flows the River Yamuna. In sharp contrast this River is revered and thus the temple village of over 108 temples, Bateshwar ( 60 kms from the city of the Taj , Agra) ,Uttar Pradesh  lies on the banks of the Yamuna.

Mountains of White Sugar Balls can be seen decorating all the shops that lead to the Temples which dot the region in large numbers.

These act as Magnets for many a Winged Species, have a look .

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The White Sugar Mountain attracts all

The Indian Honey Bee ( English), MadhuMakhi ( Hindi), Apis cerana indica  (Scientific name) finds nectar in these White Sugar Balls or Ram Ladoos which double up as  offerings in Hindu temples.

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All in Brown

Another species with a striped Abdomen but as engrossed as it’s cousin above donned in Brown.Both belong to the Genus Apis.

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Yellow Stripes is fully Immersed in Sugar balls

The Wasp ( English), Tattaya ( Hindi)Ropalidia marginata (Scientific name) is no close cousin to the Indian Honey Bee but finds common cause in these Balls of Sugar.

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Yellow Jacket

We were are all engrossed, Winged Insects, Bees & Wasps in the Balls of Sugar and the cameraman with them.

Enchanting I would say, do you agree ?

EARTH HOME

The mere mention of the  Ravines of Chambal would send a shiver down the spine of those acquainted with the terrain and the infamous reputation that goes along with it.

Have mentioned the CURSED  CHAMBAL RIVER, in previous posts and would request the readers to check them to familiarize themselves with the region.

During the BIRD FESTIVAL ( do read previous posts, the titles of which are a bit fuzzy) held in the CHAMBAL Riverine Sanctuary in December 2016 we did spot many abodes or burrows of Dacoits who once Ruled this Area.

Have a look at the Chambal Terrain in the picture below.It was very foggy and misty and the picture reflects that to some extent.

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The Mud Ravines of Chambal

While we were being shown the abode of an Infamous Dacoit in the Muddy Ravines, we saw the abode of a feathered friend as well, a Solitary Spotted Owlet ( English), Ullu ( Hindi), Athene brahma ( Scientific name).

Can you spot the Owlet at the doorway of his Home of Earth ?

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Doorway to the “Cave  Home” of an Infamous Dacoit

It has been over a month since I penned my last Post or Blog and am delighted to be Home and at the Desk once again. feel rusted though and the words do not flow so easily, forgive me please.

The Dacoits have long gone, and now buried in the pages of history, but my alert  feathered friend carefully checks out all visitors to his EARTH HOME.

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A Lucky View

Naturally I was riveted by the Owlet and forgot all about the Dacoits .

I was as I say “Enchanted”.

 

 

 

 

FOUR RED HEADS

The Wetlands near Etawah, Uttar Pradesh, India are probably the last Bastion where these extremely Large and Outstanding Red Headed Cranes  are found in large numbers.

A flock or family  of  Sarus Crane ( Scientific Name Grus antigone) seen in flight over the Wetlands in an area irrigated by the Rivers Yamuna and Chambal.

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Goats and Cranes

The Sarus Cranes are the Tallest Flying Birds on Planet Earth and native to the Indian subcontinent.

The Wetlands are gradually being eroded and precious Habitat is being lost to Agricultural lands bearing Sugarcane.( can be seen in the backdrop in the picture below).

Soon this family of Four may not have a Home to return to ??

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Four Sarus Cranes over the Wetlands

As flocks of different species hover in the skies above , I wonder how one would react if you see your home shrinking with every Setting Sun.

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Returning to a shrinking Home

Do read earlier blogs like URBAN FORESTS ( for close ups of this bird) , WETLANDS & STORKS IN FLIGHT as well to be truly Enchanted.

STORKS IN FLIGHT

Wetlands are a remarkable natural  Habitat for Birds and this region near the Chambal River Sanctuary ( location of The Bird Festival)  and in close proximity to the township of  Etawah in Uttar Pradesh, India  is no exception.

The Rural countryside is peppered with tiny lakes and water bodies which lie in the midst of fertile agricultural lands.

The featured image is a silhouette of a Painted Stork seen through the foggy twigs of a Tree at a time when the Sun was about to set over the Wetlands of Etawah.

The brightly headed Rosy Wood Ibis or Painted Stork ( Scientific Name  Mycteria leucocephala  ) in colour.

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Painted Stork

The Wetlands  and Agricultural fields can be viewed in the picture below just as a Woolly Necked Stork  ( Scientific name Ciconia episcopus  flies above .

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The Wetlands

A pair of Indian White Necked Storks or Bishop Storks ( Scientific name Ciconia episcopus )  return home as the Sun Sets and a Misty Fog ,fueled by agricultural Bonfires, descends over the Region.

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A Pair

Both the Storks in the pictures above are fairly large sized Birds and find the Wetlands an Enchanting Habitat in which they co exist with several other species including the Sarus Crane mentioned in preceding blogs.

Unfortunately such Natural Habitats are increasingly threatened by the Expanding Numbers & Greed of Humanity.

 

THREATENED PREDATORS

 

Pictures of the endangered Gharial are from the Chambal River Sanctuary near Agra, Uttar Pradesh, India.

All seems quiet calm and safe on first glance, is it not?

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Serene & Calm Chambal

Yet below the surface lurk deadly predators.

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In Stealth they Prevail

The Gharials  are however health conscious and abhor red meat , fish being their staple diet.

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Fangs on Display

The Signature beak like snout is the Unique distinguishing characteristic of these Gharials, now under threat of being History and hence protected in this Riverine Sanctuary.

BRAHMINY DUCKS

The Ruddy Shelduck or Brahminy Ducks are migratory visitors from the colder North  to the warmer  Indian Subcontinent.

This protected stretch in the Chambal River Sanctuary provides these visitors a safe haven from humanity but are also home to Crocodiles ( do look up an earlier blog titled CROCODILES IN CHAMBAL ) , Gharials and Turtles ( do see the blog TURTLE SMILES ).

Yellow Mustard flowers line the banks of the cursed River Chambal ( an earlier blog titled A RIVER CURSED gives details), now home to many endangered species of Fauna.

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The River Chambal 

Basking in the Winter Sun on the banks of the River Chambal are a pair of Ruddy Shelducks ( Scientific name  Tadorna ferruginea), a Cormorant ( with wings widespread in black)  and a Lapwing.

Unknown to these innocent European visitors are carnivorous Crocodiles which lurk below the seemingly serene River waters.

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Three Species

The Ruddy Shelducks pair for life and the slightly smaller Duck on the left is the Female whereas the Male is on the right in the picture below.

Males are supposed to have a distinctive black collar around neck, which is however not distinguishable in any of the pictures in this post.”Maybe this gentleman has a free mind and thus without a collar.” ( wink)

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Bonding for Life

Am always eager to discover the Enchanting facts about Flora & Fauna especially after I photograph them in the Wild.