Small Owls

I’m preparing a slide show for an upcoming talk on the Birds of India, and one of the most charming ones is Athene brama, the Spotted Owlet:

Tiny little birds (hence the diminutive “owlet”), they are nonetheless mobbed mercilessly if they don’t choose their daytime hiding place carefully. At the Okhla Bird Sanctuary where I snapped the above image, they roost in a giant banyan tree at the western end of a large weir, close by a house. They’re almost always there, but the trouble with finding Spotted Owlets isn’t knowing where they hang out: it’s spotting them! [...]

Okhla Bird Sanctuary, continued

OK, for my third visit to OBS in three weeks (Feb 15, Feb 21, and now March 1), I have a few better photos to post. I ran home last week, partly to see the family, and partly (as far as this blog is concerned, anyway) to grab my spotting scope and digiscope setup. My DSLR is great for nearby birds, but get any distance away, as waterfowl and wading birds usually are, and it has very little chance of taking a good picture. But with the digiscope, I can get pretty darn close to the birds, optically speaking, and [...]

Okhla Bird Sanctuary

The Okhla Bird Sanctuary feels like my refuge away from home. I’ve been going there since my very first trip to India, back in February 2005. I usually join up with the local birding group, delhibirds, which helps me enormously with ID problems.

I hadn’t been to the site since February 2007, and on my most recent trip to the sanctuary, I discovered that things had changed quite a bit in a year. There is now a gate along the southern entrance, with posted entry fees: a whopping 350 rupees for foreigners, plus 50 rupees for cars. This puts the [...]

Indian Chat

On my recent business trip to India, I went to a place I’ve always wanted to go, but never found time on my previous trips: the ruined fort at Tughluqabad (spellings differ wildly), in the southern part of the city. This fort, built in the fourteenth century, is a reminder of the long history of Delhi, which has seen the rise and fall of at least seven cities in and around the capital of India. The nearby Qutub Minar, the world’s tallest brick minaret, is a remnant of an even earlier bygone Delhi city.

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Rheas of the world

When I was about 13, a friend of mine came up with a nickname for me that I was determined to nip in the bud: The Rambler. Seems I was given to a bit of the motormouth, and he teased me mercilessly about it.

To those of you who know me now, I leave the task of judging whether I have successfully completed my course of treatment for logorrhea. I have not, however, succeeded in shaking this recent round of a different kind of -rhea, which puts me in a very foul mood as I await the results of lab [...]