In fact, what we did was, two separate visits to Turahalli, in the morning and the evening. In the morning, the visit was cut short as I learnt of a friend's bereavement and had to come back, and in the evening, we locked the keys inside the car and had a real comedy of about an hour, in which Anush took a ride with a passing scooterist to the nearby village, to try and buy a hacksaw blade to try and pry open the car door.... and Sharad and I hunted around for likely sticks that would do the trick! (Yes, you could call us hunter-gatherers at this point.) Sharad did find a stick that finally opened the car door (all you people who think that locking the car door is very safe, beware!) but in these two short intervals, here's what we saw.
I notice that in my field trip reports I always seem to write about the mammals and birds first and then come to the flowers, butterflies and other stuff, as if they were somehow less important....well, this time I am going to reverse the order.
Let's start with this wildflower that shines in a million tiny sunbursts, all over the slopes, rocks and fields...one normally says one caught an image on the fly, but here it's a fly in the image!
Turhalli has a little hillock, planted at the base with a large stand of acacias; here's the fallen fruit pod from one...
Sharad informed me that the way to distinguish between this type of acacia and eucalyptus trees is to look at the leaves; the acacia has veins running parallel to the outline of the leaf, and the eucalyptus has the usual cross-veins, spreading from the central one.
I liked this apartment complex of wasps' nest...was it made by a single wasp, or several? Must ASK (Ask S Karthikeyan)!
This spongy MUSHROOM made a nice picture, I thought of asakiyume, who would have known if it was edible, or I could feed it to someone I don't like...
I saw this butterfly on one of the acacia leaf piles:
This one, which seems as if it has donned military fatigues, was what I got as I left for the trip!
The COMMON TIGER, of course, was common...
Well, then, we started with this beautiful MOTTLED WOOD OWL, fast asleep in a roost in one of the trees, and only visible from one particular spot...
A large BANYAN tree and a PEEPUL tree at the beginning of the trail had so many birds, we hardly moved for a while! We saw several CHESTNUT-TAILED STARLINGS feasting on the figs..
A RUFOUS TREEPIE sat in the shade and clutter, daring us to get good shots (it didn't know that I am equally satisfied with bad shots!)
A BLACK DRONGO sat with shining feathers, in the sunshine...
Sharad was very keen on ..er...spotting the INDIAN SPOTTED EAGLE, and sure enough, one showed up, soaring high above:
We also saw a BOOTED EAGLE, probably looking down at us looking up at it:
Two dead palm trees were also an apartment complex of nests; we saw SMALL GREEN BARBETS and ROSE-RINGED PARAKEETS flying in and out. Here's one athletic parakeet with both its tail and head peeping out of a nest on the palm trunk!
Of course, as usual, the INDIAN ROBIN went around lifting its tail in its perky way, and we could glimpse the red vent:
At several places, we saw JERDON'S BUSHLARKS (Sharad tells me it was earlier called the RED-WINGED BUSHLARK, which seems a more logical name)...here's one lovely bird, sitting on top of a concrete light post, enjoying the breeze in its feathers!
The area around the hillock is (alas) being developed as residential sites, and is being levelled and marked...and yet,there were PEAFOWL hopping about between the granite posts that marked the housing sites. The male flew into the bushes before we could photograph him, but the female remained on her perch long enough in the evening light:
Just before Sharad realized that the keys were inside the car, and later, when it was not possible to take a shot, we saw the EURASIAN EAGLE OWL on the rocks at the hillock. Never fear, one day I will post a photograph of it!
But meanwhile, we watched several LITTLE GREEN BEE-EATERS hawking in the air, and though we saw a solitary CHESTNUT-HEADED BEE-EATER, we did not get a photograph before it disappeared in the mango orchard. However, we watched the bee-eaters for a while, and I saw this one regurgitating a bee that it had swallowed earlier, and another one quickly picked it up in its beak and swallowing it!I have never seen this before, and it was very interesting.
On another distant peepul tree sat this beautiful little SPOTTED OWLET, but it was very alert and just the fact of our getting out of the car was enough to send it flying off on silent wings.
A great time was had by all, and since Sharad is about to become a father at any moment, we are also hoping for a sighting of the stork!