A 1000 YEAR OLD PENTHOUSE

The Qutab Minar ( Minar is a tower in Hindi)  is the symbol Of New Delhi and marks the Rise and Fall of dynasties and empires over 11 centuries.

As I was arching my neck and attempting to frame ( photographers will get it)  the magnificent Qutab Minar , the corners of my eyes detect  specks of green on this  gateway to the Iron Pillar ( 2nd Century BC) .

The Qutab Minar
The Qutab Minar seen through the Gateway

On a closer look , the specks of green turn into parakeets adorning the beautiful stone carvings.

The family
The family    of    Parakeets

Am overawed and pleasantly surprised, they are none other than   Alexandrine Parakeets.  Psittacula eupatria.

The red shoulder patch reveals the identity of the largest bird in the family of  Parakeets .

The male is distinctively  identified by its  red nape and black ring around the neck .

This couple had found a gorgeous 1100 year old Penthouse .

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Settling in their Penthouse

An alert female member of the Alexandrine parakeet looks at all from the rooftop perch  of the Penthouse.

Do notice the black ring and red nape are absent. It is also distinctively smaller than the male.

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The distinctive red shoulder patch

I understand from Wikipedia (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alexandrine_parakeet) that this native  Parakeet gets its name from the great Greek Emperor Alexander the Great.

This elderly  and very cross looking   lady member of the family of Alexandrines inhabiting the Qutab Minar complex paces up and down the carved ledge.

She seems to be upset with the incessant  cacophony of squeaking and squawking  created by the youngsters in the family.

on the ledge

Suddenly she turns a full 90 degrees  and peers  right into the eye of the camera.

Who are you talking to ?
Who are you taking pictures of  ?

This plump lady on the contrary loves the camera and poses in front the ancient stone flowers,

It seems to be a foodie, has dipped into the cookie jar too, check out the tell tale remnants around the large red beak.

The distinctive yellow tipped red beaks are a unique characteristic of this beautiful and very talkative Parakeet.

Reading the scriptures
Reading the scriptures Am I

Do watch out for the red patch on the shoulder to identify the Alexandrine Parakeet.

Apparently they were taken from North West India to Europe in 326 BC by the Emperor Alexander.

The Iron or Ashok Pillar standing witness  in the courtyard of the Penthouse also dates back to  the same period  over 2000 years ago.

I loved the history lesson taught by the Alexandrine Parakeets. Did you too?

A DATE WITH THE SUN

A forest is a world of  magical splendour.

Nature can fire your imagination as the forests often Eclipse even the Mighty Sun.

The trees stretch out their arms and  turn themselves  into shades of black .

The lakes, mountains and the golden grasslands transform into shades of black as well.

A cloak of darkness creeps upon this Enchanting Forest.

sun date and lake
                                                   The date palm tree attempts to date the Sun

Within seconds the sun is eclipsed and a halo forms around the Crown of the Palm Tree.

The forest plunges into darkness and all turns BLACK.

The sun eclipsed by the Date palm tree
                                                The sun eclipsed by the Date Palm Tree

Other trees struggle to reach  out to the Sun and numbers seem to be on their side.

sun and palm
                                                             A tussle for the sun ensues

The bigger denser trees seem to be stronger and the tussle seems to be going their way as the others recede.

the halo
                                                                                               The Halo 

The Sun has however chosen  the Palm Tree and balance is gradually  restored.

Enchanted
                                                                        Order is restored 

Notice the glint in the eye of the Palm tree.

The forest will change colour once again.

BLOOD RED RUBIES

Black-Shouldered Kite (Elanus caeruleus) hides amidst a thorny bush near Sajjangarh, Udaipur.

Will leave you and the Kite by yourselves and say nothing.

 Waiting to Ambush
Waiting to Ambush
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All Attention
We come in the crosshair
It hones onto us.
We are dismissed
Looks away. We are dismissed

I was very fortunate to capture these images.

REFLECTING HERONS

Panchtantra   are ancient Indian fables which have animals and birds  as the main characters and goes back to the 3rd Century BC.

You can see these fables inscribed in stone on ancient monuments or painted by artists over the centuries.

From these fables are derived morals or principles to be followed in life.

One such fable is based on The Heron and the Crab. The cornerstone of the story was Greed.

While reflecting on these ancient fables and the lessons they narrate

I  have carefully put together three pictures in this post  of the main character THE HERON.

Little Green / Little Heron/ Mangrove Heron  or Butorides striatus.

Extremely intelligent it is a skilled angler and lays a bait  of small twigs etc to lure in fish.

Have seen this beautiful Heron  only once, though marked   Least Concern by IUCN .

Green heron
Green heron

Purple Heron or Ardea purpurea. Anjun in Hindi .

The largest of the Herons selected it is seen across the country. It’s slender neck and distinctive colouration make it easy to identify.

Am sure you can identify it now in the featured picture though the light was against me.

They are solitary or territorial feeders and prefer water hyacinth beds .

Purple Heron
Purple Heron

Birds in Indian languages have interesting names and reveal intriguing characteristics and myths.

In Hindi the Indian Pond Heron is called Andha  Bagula. Andha means blind.

Indian Pond Heron/ Paddy birds  or Ardeola grayii.

You will see this Heron even in Urban areas around water bodies.

In flight it transforms itself into a beauty as it spreads its  white wings.

Pond Heron
                                                             Indian Pond Heron

Do observe the similarity in the eyes of the three Herons as they reflect on themselves.

Please revert with names and fables on these gorgeous birds photographed across the country.

Most of my articles are teasers with clues and links, please check on Wikipedia/ Google or even better try to spot them in your neighbourhood.

IN THE HEAT OF LOVE

Am sharing some interesting and unusual pictures from the Forests of Rajasthan.

Pictures were taken in June when  temperatures can rise to over 46 C  (115 F)

The Deer and his Doe.

A couple
                                                                     A couple

A family of The Spotted Deer( Axis Axis)  or  Cheetal .

A gentle caress
                                                                     A gentle caress

There is no rutting ( mating) season for the Spotted Deer unlike other Deer.

All Charged Up
All Charged Up

A peacock looks on from behind the tree. For other inmates of the forest it is business as usual.

The romantic forest
                                                      The romantic forest

THE JOY OF A MUD BATH AND A SWIM

India Wild Boar  (Sus scrofa cristatus) .

Pictures were taken in a FOREST  in Northern India inhabited by Tigers.

The  Indian Wild Boar loves having a mud bath and plays with a  Lapwing as well.

Do notice the brilliant camouflage as it blends with the surroundings.

Mud Bath
                                                                       Mud Bath

The  Male Indian Wild Boar can weigh upto 180 kgs ( 400 lbs)

Off for a swim
                                                  Pumba and his shadow

The little white tuskers are unique to the Male  Wild Boar. Related to the domestic pig it lives by itself except during the breeding season.

A few more steps to the pool
                                                       A few more steps to the pool

The Wild Boar  approaches the lake for a swim after the mud bath  as a Waterhen looks on.

Pumba ready to take a plunge
                                                 The Boar  looks bigger on account of the hair.

The main predator of a Wild Boar in Indian Forests is the TIGER ( Panthera Tigris).

The Wild Boar is famous as the favorite food of OBELIX  ( from the comics of ASTERIX)  and the delightful  PUMBA in the movie  Lion King.