Asian Koel:

Asian Koel birds photographed in natural Habitat. Koel (Eudynamys scolopaceus) is a member of the cuckoo order of birds, the Cuculiformes. The name koel is echoic in origin with several language variants. The bird is a widely used symbol in Indian poetry.

Asian Koel male & female

The word “Koel” is derived from the Hindi word which is onomatopoeic in origin. The Sanskrit root is “Kokila” and the words in various Indian languages are similar. It is traditionally held in high regard for its song and held in reverence with the Manusmriti, an ancient decree protecting them from harm. The Vedas, Sanskrit literature dated to about 2000 BC referred to it as Anya-Vapa which meant “that was raised by others”. This has been interpreted as the earliest knowledge of brood parasitism. Being familiar birds with loud calls, references to them are common in folklore, myth and poetry. It has been chosen as the state bird by the southern Indian state of Puducherry or Pondicherry.

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The male of the nominate race is glossy bluish-black, with a pale greenish grey bill, the iris is crimson, and it has grey legs and feet. The female of the nominate race is brownish on the crown and has rufous streaks on the head. The back, rump and wing coverts are dark brown with white and buff spots. The underparts are whitish, but are heavily striped. The other subspecies differ in coloration and size. The upper plumage of young birds is more like that of the male and they have a black beak. They are very vocal during the breeding season (March to August in South Asia), with a range of different calls. The familiar song of the male is a repeated koo-Ooo. The female makes a shrill kik-kik-kik… call. Calls vary across populations.

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The less known egg fruit:

During my recent trip to Thekkady came across some rare and less known fruits. Here is one of them, the less known egg fruit.

Thekkady has one of the largest wildlife sanctuary in India is a dream destination. The Country’s sole Tiger reserve, Periyar, with its bountiful treasures of tropical flora and fauna is the ultimate reservoir of many an endangered species and a rich tribal culture. Thekkady is situated in Idukki district of Kerala, India.

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The fruits are yellowish to orange with somewhat meaty pulp resembling a cooked egg yolk. EGG FRUIT (Pautaria campechiana), belonging to the family sapotaceae, is a large, symmetrical, bushy, much branched, evergreen tree. The taste of the fruit is unique, rich, sweet and highly nutritive with about 2000 IU/100g of carotene, a precursor of vitamin A.

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After photographing had one bite, tastes exactly as that of boiled egg ;-)., Taken at Thekkady woods,Idukki,Kerala,India.

 

Antlers & Horns of Deer:

The terms horns and antlers are often used interchangeably, but in reality, they refer to quite different structures. Antlers are a pair of bony, branched structures that protrude from the frontals of the skull of animals and are shed annually; horns are also paired and protrude from the frontal, but they are permanent, unbranched, and made up of a bony core and a keratinized sheath.

Antlers are one of the most easily recognized characteristics of the family Cervidae. They are present only in males (with the exception of caribou) and are capable of growing astoundingly large.Caribou and reindeer use their antlers to clear away snow so they can eat the vegetation underneath. This is one possible reason that females of this species evolved antlers. Another possible reason is for female competition during winter foraging.

Males use their full-grown antlers during the breeding season in social interactions in competition for females. In winter, pituitary antler-growth hormone stimulation decreases as day length shortens, and androgen secretion lessens. As a result, the pedicel loses calcium, weakening the point of connection between it and the antler, and eventually the antlers are shed. Males then are without antlers for a few months in late winter until the cycle begins again. Curiously, some cervids have large canine teeth, which are used in sexual displays and fighting. Often species with large canines have small antlers or are missing antlers altogether.

As antlers near the end of the growing process, spongy bone in their outer edges is replaced by compact bone, while their centers become filled with coarse, spongy, lamellar bone and marrow spaces. The velvet dies and is removed in part by the animals rubbing and thrashing their antlers against vegetation. The antlers also are stained during this action, giving them the brown, polished, wooden look.

HORNS:

Horns occur in males of all species of Bovidae, and females often bear them too. Horns are composed of a bony core covered with a sheath of keratin. Unlike antlers, horns are never branched, but they do vary from species to species in shape and size.

 

Amateur and part time fishing:

No High-tech gadgets, no fishing boat, net and not even any fishermen folks around him to help. All by himself, this part time and amateur fisherman barely with a towel wrapped around his waist has amazed me with his skills. All that he had was a local hand made steel rod connected to a fishing hook and weight by a long nylon rope of about 100 ft in length. At first sight I didn’t realize what he was up to while I was shooting blue sky, waves, fishing boats & sea at East Coast road Beach at Chennai TN, India. I have seen people with professional fishing kits at lakes, rivers and ponds but he was an eye opener for me as I didn’t know before that fishes can be caught at sea shore even, where tides and waves are so strong and fishes do ever exist at this close range for fishing.

I went nearby followed his actions closely to find his amazing talent and clicked those moments in a series of images and he was too willing to pose for me and explained the process too!!

Here is the success story of a man with no family, wandering around in a fishermen hamlet, catches fish in an unique way for living and proves the point that there is always an opportunity in Life only if we see it properly!

Waiting patiently after throwing the weight & hook as far as he could into the see.

Dragging the catch

Bait in hook used is the stuff inside these shells after braking with stone.

Dragging the catch

Prize catch close up

Winding up for next try

Camera, light, colors & fun:-

Light is the basis of all photography. Without light, we are all left in the dark.

Light is one of a photographer’s most important considerations. In fact, any photograph captures the effect of light on objects, whether taken in natural light or the warm glow of incandescent light. A photographer who understands how the eye and lens perceive the color spectrum can make full use of light in photography.

Here is a series of images taken by me, solely for fun and learning to play with light & colors.

(All my images are my own, copyrighted and cannot be used in Blogs, websites are in any other media in any form.)

 

No light no life:

In India, all festivals begin with lighting a lamp.

‘Festival of Lights’ or Diwali is a festival which has the potential of unifying entireIndiabecause of the charisma and splendor surrounding this festival. Diwali has been given the traditional name of ‘festival of lights’ because of the hundreds and thousands of small oil lamps or diyas lighted by many households. The burning of these lamps considered to be the lighted pathway of a person’s expression of happiness and also a manner of paying obeisance to God, the Supreme power for attainment of health, prosperity, knowledge, financial security and peace in one’s life.

No matter what the legend but the festival of lights or Diwali is celebrated with much enthusiasm and zeal in all over the country by people of all religions.

Here I begin my journey with a few light/lamp images from my archive to make it auspicious.

 

Light & fireworks – Diwali Festival

The festival of light in India had just gone. Traditionally, Diwali was celebrated by lighting earthen lamps signifying the triumph of good over evil by dispelling darkness with light, exchanging sweets and wishes followed by Lakshmi Puja.

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Diwali, the Festival of Lights, is celebrated with fervor and gaiety. The festival is celebrated by young and old, rich and poor, throughout the country to dispel darkness and light up their lives. The festival symbolizes unity in diversity as every state celebrates it in its own special way.

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The festival of Diwali is truly a “Festival of Lights”, as it not only involves lighting of Lamps but, it brings the light of happiness, togetherness, spiritual enlightment and prosperity for everyone.

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With the sounds of crackers killing all bad-omens, the lighted lamps-lighting the lives of people, the prayers and pujas creating an atmosphere full of goodness and purity, the festival of Diwali indeed fills the atmosphere with an aura of goodness and a heaven like atmosphere.

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Indians celebrate with family gatherings, glittering clay lamps, festive fireworks, strings of electric lights, bonfires, flowers, sharing of sweets, and worship to Lakshmi. Some believe that Lakshmi wanders the Earth looking for homes where she will be welcomed. People open their doors and windows and light lamps to invite Lakshmi in.

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A night of anticipation & excitement, to me, this year Diwali was more of real photographic experience than the previous years. Gone are those days, I don’t enjoy Diwali any more but I watch youngsters to whom Diwali means only crackers and nothing else. The enforcement of new rules to curb child labour, smoke & noise pollution awareness, the extreme stress and fear in animals and the ever rising cost of fire crackers means wasteful expenditure and lastly global issues compels Indians to go green during such festivals.

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Here are some of my images of traditional light, firing of flowerpots & rockets captured on the night of Diwali from my house and neighborhood. Truly a photographers delight to snap such images of light & fireworks and I immensely enjoyed the festival the way I wanted.