Birds of my backyard – Part II

The rains have brought in a bevy of beauties to the backyard. I spotted a few newbies in the bunch and some strange behaviors too. Although the pictures this time are better, they are no way world class. But I am quite satisfied with the peacock picture you will see here. There is something about that picture I can’t quite put a finger on that is making it a cut above the rest. To think that I took it in a hurry.

Plus, I am also not promising totally new ones as opposed to the earlier post but the ones here are certainly better pictured. Or so I think. Read and leave a comment so I know you visited!

Black-hooded Oriole

Black-hooded Orioles are very common in our backyard in Kerala. Their stark yellow coat, black hood and pink beaks are ubiquitous as they hop from tree to tree looking for insects and fruits.

Black hooded golden oriole
Black-hooded Oriole
Black hooded golden oriole
Black-hooded Oriole

White-cheeked barbet a.k.a Spot the Bird in the Picture

Honestly, this bird has got to be a lifer (the term used to denote in birders tongue that I am seeing this one for the first time). Though these resident birds are not rare to come by, they are supremely well camouflaged making them difficult to spot. As you can see, let your eyes get used to the picture until you figure out the bird in the picture.

White-cheeked barbet
White-cheeked barbet
White-cheeked barbet
White-cheeked barbet

Common Birds – Myna & Jungle Babbler

These are resident birds of every household in Kerala. If you have a house with a big enough front-yard, these birds will be constant company on your lazy afternoons and rainy evenings. Rain drenched, their beauty is accentuated as you can see here.

A jungle warbler
A Jungle Babbler
A common myna
A common myna

Green Damselfly

No that’s not what this damselfly is called, I just made it up (although it is quite possible it is what this one is called). I take my excuse in the fact that classification of damselflies (in western ghats) is still at a nascent stage.

A dragon fly
A dragon fly

Jungle Owlet

This one seems to have mistaken the clouded, gray day to be the onset of the dusk. He was out around noon, when on a drab, rainy day. Also I think this guy / gal is a juvenile.

Jungle Owlet
Jungle Owlet

Rufous Woodpecker

Another common resident with a ‘shaggy crest’ and ‘short black bill’ as noted by Carol & Timm Inskipp in their ‘Birds of the Indian Subcontinent.’

Rufous Woodpecker
Rufous Woodpecker

Yellow-billed Babbler

I saw a Yellow-billed babbler feeding on a chick. The chick was making quite a racket but it got me thinking whether it could be the chick of the Yellow-billed babbler at all. Because for one, the chick seemed to be bigger than the adult babbler itself. Any thoughts? Have I got the bird wrong and witnessed a strange behavior?

Yellow-billed Babbler
Yellow-billed Babbler
Yellow-billed Babbler feeding
Yellow-billed Babbler feeding

Mystery birds

I couldn’t fathom what these birds are. One looks like a sunbird and the other I have absolutely no clue of. Care to clarify? Leave a comment and let me know. I will be grateful to you, expert birder.

Mystery bird - sunbird?
Mystery bird – sunbird?
Mystery bird - no clue
Mystery bird – no clue

Peacock

Peacock is a persistent company in the backyard, so are their calls. This one knew he was the center of my camera’s attention and skittered away soon. But I managed this shot. You like? Leave a comment.

The skittering peacock
The skittering peacock

What does your backyard have? Leave a comment and let me know.

 

Birds of my backyard – Part I

Not until I was given the basics of birding at a naturalist program I attended recently, did I start spotting various birds in my backyard. So far it was only the odd Bulbul or the Koel but now, to my astonishment, I can hear and distinguish between calls. Not that I can recognize the birds by listening to them but I can tell one call from the other and I have developed a keen ear for different calls. That’s a beginning, I suppose.

Since then, I have invested in a bird book and used it extensively to ID the birds (some of them are in this post too). I am supposed to invest in a binocular but prohibitive costs of a decent pair of binoculars will mean that I will have to wait until that happens. Meanwhile, take a look at these birds and follow on until at least you read the Rufus treepie story. Again, apologies for the not-so-great pictures.

Red-whiskered Bulbul

Extremely common in urban spaces, these raucous birds love fruits. I have found them gorging on ripe, splattered mangoes and papayas in the backyard every so often.

Red-whishkered Bulbul
Red-whishkered Bulbul
Red-whiskered Bulbul
Red-whiskered Bulbul

Peafowl

Peafowls are dime a dozen near my house in Kerala (Ottapalam, near Palghat) to the extent that they are considered pests by farmers. I am also assuming that the abundance of reptiles are sustaining them nice and well.

Peafowl
Peafowl

Sunbird

A visitor to my mango tree, Sunbirds are swift and agile making them difficult to photograph.

Sunbird
Sunbird

Brahminy Kite

Another commoner even in the urban landscape, these kites feed on reptiles. The overgrown plot next door houses a couple of their families and they seem to be proliferating.

Brahminy Kite
Brahminy Kite

Indian Grey Hornbill

There is a recent curious phenomenon of these guys being spotted everywhere  across India. These were spotted in Ottapalam, Kerala – the backyard of my house.

Indian Grey Hornbill
Indian Grey Hornbill
Indian Grey Hornbill
Indian Grey Hornbill

Oriental Magpie Robin

Another common species that are extremely jittery.

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Oriental Magpie Robin
Oriental Magpie Robin

Green Bee-eater

These are pretty and come right out of their hiding as soon as the rains stop to feast on the insects.

Green Bee-eater
Green Bee-eater
Green Bee-eater
Green Bee-eater

Black-hooded Oriole 

Another beautiful, yet noisy bird.

Black-hooded Oriole
Black-hooded Oriole

Asian Koel

Sometimes, this guy makes such a ruckus that it’s hard to get his ring out of my head long after he’s gone.

Asian Koel
Asian Koel

Rufous Treepie

This couple was spotted in my backyard in Kerala. They were making quite a racket that I decided to probe. I found out that their juvenile was just on the ground, probably practicing to fly. The parents were keeping a watch and would try to scare away cats and other predators when they passed along. As the day progressed, it became clear that their effort would become Herculean in protecting their baby.

I spotted a huge snake (rat snake, I presume) trying to find the baby for a meal. The parents, however, put up a brave fight chasing the snake for a long time with their catcalls. Did the snake succeed? I am not sure but I did not see the juvenile after that and the cackles of the adults subsided as well.

Rufous Treepie
Rufous Treepie
Rufous Treepie Juvenile
Rufous Treepie Juvenile
Rufous Treepie Couple
Rufous Treepie Couple

Like what you see? Or don’t? Why not let me know? Leave a comment.