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.

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.

MAST & TREE

The Keshava Temple dedicated to Lord Vishnu at Somnathpura, Karnataka, India dates to the year 1100 AD .( earlier posts like WATER IS LIFE & ROLLER PILLARS will provide more details on this spectacular temple)

An Enormous Tree provides a wonderful backdrop to the Signature Mast which stands tall near the main entrance to the Keshava Temple.

These Masts are Unique to all temples in Southern India.

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Mast & Tree

This 100 year old  Mast resembling the Ashoka Pillars is nearly as tall as this Enormous Tree but the vast area the Tree covers, as can be seen in the picture below, leaves you breathless.

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The Tree

This Red Letter Box adorns this Lovely Tree.

You can the walls of the main temple in the background.

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Post a Letter to the Gods

Enchanting is it not what we miss when we visit Historical sites ?

WETLANDS

These Wetlands  are home to the Sarus Cranes and the embattled Ruling Family of Uttar Pradesh as well. ( but we are not discussing politics here are we ?) . Yet (and maybe it is a prophesy of the times to come )  the camera captures The Setting Sun in the region near Etawah, Uttar Pradesh, India.

The Bird Festival ( do read up an earlier post by the same title) held in the Chambal River Sanctuary  ( previous blogs such as CROCODILES IN THE CHAMBAL would be interesting to read)  and a desire to watch the Sarus Cranes in their largest natural habitat helped me capture some images of the Setting Sun in these Wetlands.

You can see some Birders and their Vehicles  lined up in the picture below as well.

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The Setting Sun in the Wetlands

As the Sun Sets, a mist descends on the Wetlands and the Enchanting Sarus Cranes ( Scientific name Grus antigone ) know it is time to head home.

I recall with some nostalgia that one of my very  first blogs ( titled URBAN FORESTS and posted in July 2015 )  was on  the Sarus Cranes, which   I had seen Nesting  in a wetland near New Delhi. These wetlands near Delhi are now unfortunately and gradually being replaced by Skyscrapers.

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Bon Voyage

As Night looms large the landscape dramatically changes colour as well.

The tiny birds like the Warblers and Larks turn Invisible in the midst of the Reeds and other Flora as darkness envelopes the landscape.

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Night Looms Large over the Wetlands

It was a spectacular show of nearly 80 ( eighty) Sarus Cranes that evening and I hope their Habitat is protected so the graceful and beautiful  Sarus Cranes do not fade with the Setting Sun.

 

PALATIAL GATES & TREES

“Celebrating 2017” ( an earlier post)  by seeing the Lush Green Trees that surround all the Gates that lead to  The Mysore Palace in Karanataka, India.

The Jumbo Gate  ( do have a peek into the previous post by this title) is  set in a World of Green . Seen from within the Palace grounds during The Dusshera Celebrations held in October 2016.

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 The Jumbo Gate set in Green Surroundings

The Angel Gates giving a glimpse of the Main Palace Building are guarded by two Coconut Trees.

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Palace Gate & Coconut Trees

Lord Krishna, the cowherd ,Crowns the Ticketing Gate through which the Gopurams ( large doorways)  of the Temples within the Palace Grounds can be seen in the picture below.

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The Cow Herd is Surrounded by Trees

Lord Krishna plays the Flute while standing atop the head of a Multi-headed Serpent.

I can only see a World of Green through the palatial Krishna Gate which was reserved for High ranking Officials during the Dusshera Festival while mere mortals like us battled their way in. ( the featured image shows the  minor gate through which mere mortals enter during the festival)

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All is Green through the Krishna Gate

Ancient Trees tell of a glorious  past  as they survive the turmoils of history under the protection of the King within the Palace Grounds in Mysore.

JUMBO GATE

“CELEBRATING 2017” was my previous blog in which I had given a glimpse of the much celebrated Jumbos and the Mysore Palace in Karnataka, India.

I continue the Jumbo celebrations of Mysore on this 3rd day of January 2017.

“Be Enchanted”.

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Elephant Gate of the Mysore Palace

As I drew up closer to the Elephant Gate I glimpsed, through the Palatial Gates,  that the much celebrated Jumbos were being carted home on Trucks.( have a look at the featured image).

The Orange flowers in the foreground are Marigolds ,about which you can read in a previous blog titled AUSPICIOUS MARIGOLDS.

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Jumbos seen through The Elephant Gate

The entire Mysore Palace is covered in Lights ( and the Elephant  Gates is no exception)  for the Jumbo Celebrations of Dusshera held annually .

Wonderful Trophies of Elephants in Stone on either side of The Elephant Gate, have a look at one keeping me an Eyeful.

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Eyeing the Camera Man ?

Remain on board as we continue from where we left the threads of THE THREE RIVERS in “2016″.