Sunday, August 13, 2017

Birds, Mammals, and Landscapes from the scenic village of Hanle in Ladakh, India

Hanle, Ladakh, India
In continuation to my post on the black-necked Cranes of Hanle, Ladakh, India, I am sharing some more bird pictures, and landscapes from the scenic village of Hanle in Ladakh.

Hanle is well-known for the Hanle Monastery, (dating back to the 17th Century), and the Indian Astronomical Observatory, which happens to be the 3rd highest optical telescope in the world, situated at an altitude of 4,500 meters. The observatory is controlled by the Indian Institute of Astrophysics, Bengaluru.These pictures are courtesy Soma Jha.
Eurasian cuckoo-Hanle
Ruddy Shelduck-Hanle

Saker Falcon-Hanle
Great Rosefinch

Tibetan Gazelle-Hanle
Upland Buzzard-Hanle

Hanle monastery, Ladakh
Hanle valley

Indian Astronomical Observatory at Hanle
Near Hanle

On the way to Hanle in Ladakh

Sunday, July 30, 2017

Pangong Tso Lake Ladakh

Pangong Tso Lake Ladakh
Pangong Tso Lake in Ladakh is a mesmerizing lake. Located at an altitude of 4,350 m, it takes around 5 hours to reach Pangong Tso by road from Leh.

I travelled to Ladakh a long time back when was father was posted in Leh, and I remember how beautiful it was!

I am sharing some pictures of this beautiful lake from Soma's album.

Pangong Tso Lake Ladakh
Pangong Tso Lake Ladakh

Pangong Tso Lake 
Pangong Tso Ladakh

Pangong Tso Lake Ladakh
Pangong Tso Lake 

Stone sculptures along Pangong Tso lake

More from Ladakh:

Saturday, July 22, 2017

Black-necked Cranes of Hanle, Ladakh, India

Black-necked Cranes, Hanle, Ladakh, India
Hanle is a beautiful and scenic village in Ladakh, India. It is well-known for the Hanle Monastery (dating back to the 17th Century).

It is around 254 km from Leh, and takes around 7 hours by road.

Soma was in Hanle in June with a group of bird watchers. I was very affected by a particular incident that Soma narrated, I am sharing it here, the pictures are courtesy Soma Jha:

“On 16th June we arrived in Hanle and went for a spot of birding in the evening. While driving to Hanle we had seen two nesting Black-necked Cranes and now we saw the third one in Hanle. It's a very hopeful scene that promises the propagation of the species especially for a vulnerable bird like this crane.

The next morning when we were passing by this site, we slowed down the car and lo and behold ! we found a furry head and then a second one, peeping over a mound. As we were quite a distance away we really had to make sure with our binocs and 50x zoom cameras. Then the four sentimental fools welcomed the new lives with much laughter and relief, even congratulating the parents who were much vigilant, one of them always staying close to the babies.

We did not visit them on the 18th but on the 19th late morning, we wanted to see how they were doing. On reaching the spot we perceived an ominous emptiness at the site. The two cranes were feeding far off in the fields. We still hoped the chicks had perhaps been hidden somewhere but no such luck. One of cranes gave out this haunting, plaintive call. It bent its neck down and scanned the ground which to me, looked like it was searching, not for food but her babies perhaps.

True this is an everyday occurrence in nature but when you see it happen, the sadness is that much more. The Red Fox could have got them or the Upland Buzzard or the Saker Falcon or even the Pallas's Cat. They have to feed and also nourish their young. We thought about the other two cranes and wondered if their chicks will get a chance to become adults.

Are there any effective means to save and protect them during this vulnerable stage of their lives ?”

Nesting Crane
Black-necked Cranes with chicks, Hanle

Black-necked Crane with chicks
Black-necked Crane in Hanle, Ladakh

Crane habitat, Hanle, Ladakh

About the black-necked cranes- These cranes breed on the Tibetan Plateau and in parts of India and Bhutan. There is deep regard for this bird in Buddhism and it is considered as the state bird in the Jammu and Kashmir state of India. Every year about 100 birds come to India, most of them to Ladakh.. They lay eggs around May and June. They are legally protected in China, India, and Bhutan, but because of loss of habitat, modifications in habitat, their survival is becoming increasingly difficult.

You may also want to read the following post contributed by Soma Jha:Merganser, Bar-headed Goose,and Ruddy Shelduck Chicks pictures from Ladhak, India

Sunday, July 2, 2017

Merganser, Bar-headed Goose,and Ruddy Shelduck Chicks pictures from Ladhak, India

Merganser with chicks, Ladakh
I am sharing some very cute bird pictures (mother and chicks) from Ladakh.

Soma Jha who was in Ladhak recently, clicked these pictures. This was on their drive along Pangong Tso from Lukung to Merak villages. Mirak is in the east of Leh.

These pictures are of the common Merganser carrying chicks on her back, Bar-headed Geese with chicks, and Ruddy Shelduck with chicks .

In the picture below, the one on the right, the mother merganser suddenly decides, 'enough is enough - no more rides' and lets the chicks scatter all around when she rose and flapped her wings:)

You must check out the very brief video of the chicks...there is one chick that is so to get a free ride. Hilarious! Nice capture by Soma Jha.

I will share some more interesting pictures from Ladakh in my next post.

Merganser with chicks

Ruddy Shelduck with chicks
Ruddy Shelduck chicks

Bar-headed Geese with chicks, Ladakh

You may be interested in the following posts from Ladakh, India, contributed by Soma Jha:

Sunday, June 11, 2017

Kuldiha Wildlife Sanctuary, Odisha, India

Kuldiha Wildlife Sanctuary
For nature lovers and bird watchers, Kuldiha is the perfect getaway.

Located in Balasore in Odisha, Kuldiha Wildlife Sanctuary is around 170 km from Kolkata. The nearest rail head Balasore, is at a distance of 30 km from Kuldiha. You may opt to go by train or road.

Kuldiha Wildlife sanctuary is home to a variety of birds. One of the best seasons to travel is summer. Kuldiha has a good population of elephants as well, and is a part of the Mayurbhanj Elephant Reserve.

I am sharing pictures from Kuldiha taken by my cousin, Soma Jha, who was in Kuldiha recently.

Barking deer, Kuldiha
Peninsula rock agama,Kuldiha

Indian Pitta-Kuldiha
Emerald Dove, Kuldiha

Orange-breasted Green Pigeon-Kuldiha
Malabar Trogon-Kuldiha

Vernal Hanging Parrot-Kuldiha

Sunday, May 21, 2017

Places to see in Agartala in Tripura, India

Ujjayanta Palace, the Tripura State Museum

Our last day at Tripura was spent  visiting a few places in Agartala. As such there is not much to see in Agartala.

I found it a bit overcrowded. After spending four lovely days in the sylvan surroundings in the other districts of Tripura, Agartala was quite a contrast.

Some of the places you may want to visit while in Agartala are:

1. The Tripura State Museum (very well maintained) the royal palace (Ujjayanta Palace) has been converted into a museum. A portion of the palace is with the present day royalty and they live there.

2. The Agartala station architecture is beautiful, it is a must see.

3. Malancha, Rabindranath Tagore during his visits to Agartala lived in a house called Malancha. We were not allowed to take the road in front of the house, we were told that it was a private road and visitors were not allowed. We managed to catch a glimpse of the house from a distance.

4.Flag down ceremony that happens in the Tripura-Bangladesh border at around 4pm. It is a short ceremony of ½ hr and is worth a visit if you have time.

5.Gedu Miar Masjid , this  beautiful mosque has an interesting history. It was build by Gedu who was a Mahut turned motor mechanic. His contract to build the Agartala airport made him rich and he built this beautiful mosque using imported marbles.

6. Shankar Hotel, for food connoisseurs, especially if you are fond of fish, this hotel is a must visit. It is a very small basic eating place, but the food is excellent. They have a lot of options for vegetarians and non-vegetarians (the cuisine is Bengali). For fish lovers, the Hilsa fish in their menu is worth a try!

I am a vegetarian, so this feedback comes from my cousin who absolutely gorged on the Hilsa fish!

7. Heritage Park, we could not see the heritage park since it was closed when we went. Not really sure what it has but i understand that it is worth a visit.

This brings me to the end of my Tripura travelogue. You may want to check out the following from my Tripura travel diary.

  • Ancient temples in Udaipur, Tripura,India
  • Chobimura & Pilak in Tripura 
  • Sepahijala Wildlife Santuary, Boxanagar, and Neermahal, Tripura
  • Jampui hills in North Tripura is the highest hill range in the state
  • Unakoti in Tripura, India, is known for its amazing Rock-cut faces dating back to the 11th century

  • Here are some pictures from our last day, and 5 at Tripura. We did Agartala city on our last day.

    Agartala rail station
    Tribal statues in front of the rail station
    Entry to Agartala museum
    Ujjayanta palace museum-erstwhile royal palace
    Entrance to the museum
    Ujjayanta Palace-portion where present members of ex-royalty live
    Agartala-Dhaka-Kolkata bus passing through border
    BSF Forces getting ready for the daily flag down ceremonyal at the Bangladesh border
    Bangladesh side
    Flagdown at Agartala border
    Gedu mia's Mosque-Agartala
    Gedu mia's Mosque-Agartala
    Malancha-where Rabindranath Tagore would stay during his visit to Agartala
    Hilsa fish at Shankar hotel
    Entrance to the heritage park