The Butterfly Park Chandigarh

Introduction

The Butterfly Park Chandigarh was inaugurated on 21st March 2012 and is located in Sector-26 (View location on map). The park is spread over an area of 7 acres. The park is full of vegetation and consists of a large variety of trees and shrubs. The park is designed in a way such as to create a good habitat for Butterflies.

The Entrance Gate - Butterfly Park Chandigarh
The Entrance Gate
Save Butterflies - Butterfly Park Chandigarh
Save Butterflies
The Visitor Center - Butterfly Park Chandigarh
The Visitor Center

At the entrance is a small visitor center where there are multiple informative boards depicting the introduction & behavior of butterflies including the complete life cycle of a butterfly from egg to an adult. Also there are two boards listing the Butterflies which can be seen in this park along with their host plants for easy identification.

Nature Trail

A Nature Trail is provided in the entire park which the visitors can follow for exploring the entire park. The surface of the trail is covered with moisture rich silt/earth to ensure adequate availability of moisture for the butterflies. The entire nature trail is lined with beautiful flowering plants on both sides which provide food for the butterflies.

The Nature Trail - Butterfly Park Chandigarh
The Nature Trail
The Nature Trail - Butterfly Park Chandigarh
The Nature Trail
The Nature Trail - Butterfly Park Chandigarh
The Nature Trail
The Nature Trail - Butterfly Park Chandigarh
The Nature Trail

Host & Nectar Plants

The life cycle of a Butterfly consists of four stages – egg, larva, pupa and adult. Each stage of the butterfly requires a specific plant known as the Host Plant. In this park there is a wide variety of host plants like – Ashoka, Palm, Mango, Citrus etc. which help in breeding of the butterflies. Each host plant has an identification board in front of it for the visitors which also provides the butterfly species which can be found on the same.

Butterflies mainly feed on nectar from flowers. To ensure availability of food for the butterflies a wide variety of nectar plants like – Marigold, Petunia, Dahlia etc. have been planted in the park. The nectar plants have been planted on both sides of the nature trail and the host plants are planted in the area beyond the nectar plants.

Host Plant #1 - Butterfly Park Chandigarh
Host Plant #1
Host Plant #2 - Butterfly Park Chandigarh
Host Plant #2
Host & Nectar Plants - Butterfly Park Chandigarh
Host & Nectar Plants
Host & Nectar Plants - Butterfly Park Chandigarh
Host & Nectar Plants

The Lotus Pond

There is a beautiful pond in the middle of the Butterfly Park which is filled with beautiful Lotus plants & flowers and is a host to many water birds.

The Lotus Pond - Butterfly Park Chandigarh
The Lotus Pond
The Lotus Pond - Butterfly Park Chandigarh
The Lotus Pond
The Lotus - Butterfly Park Chandigarh
The Lotus
Lotus Plants - Butterfly Park Chandigarh
Lotus Plants

Butterfly Habitat

There are certain areas in the park which are left undisturbed and wild. This is to ensure wilderness in the Butterfly Habitat as the habitat should have least disturbance. To the first look these habitat areas look as if these are ill-maintained and not properly managed, but actually the Butterflies prefer wild growth and this is a very important part of there life style. So, these areas are left as natural as it can be without any human interference. These areas are also marked as silence zones so as not to disturb their habitat.

Butterfly Habitat - Butterfly Park Chandigarh
Butterfly Habitat
Butterfly Habitat - Butterfly Park Chandigarh
Butterfly Habitat
Butterfly Habitat - Butterfly Park Chandigarh
Butterfly Habitat

Butterfly Conservatory

There is a small conservatory created in the park which contains a small Butterfly Habitat. The main objective of this conservatory is to increase the probability of butterfly sightings for the visitors. The entire conservatory is enclosed by transparent glasses so that the visitors can view the landscaping and butterflies from outside.

Butterfly Conservatory - Butterfly Park Chandigarh
Butterfly Conservatory
Butterfly Conservatory - Butterfly Park Chandigarh
Butterfly Conservatory

Information Boards

One of the most important things in this park are the many informative boards that are placed throughout the park for educating the visitors. You can find the complete life cycle of the butterflies, there habitat descriptions, information on there life styles etc. on these boards. All the different areas of the park are properly labeled and explained in detail for enhancing the knowledge of the visitors. You can also find boards containing the different butterflies that you can observer in this park and also complete details on the State Bird, State Tree, State Animal and State Flower of Chandigarh.

Message of A Butterfly - Butterfly Park Chandigarh
Message of A Butterfly
The Welcome Board - Butterfly Park Chandigarh
The Welcome Board
The State Flower - Butterfly Park Chandigarh
The State Flower

Butterflies

As per the information provided the habitat has been created to support rearing of approximate 35 different species of Butterflies. March to August are the best months for Butterfly observation and Butterflies of different varieties can be seen on the host and nectar plants. Photographing butterflies is a very challenging job as you require a lot of time and patience. Of the approximate 3-4 hours I spent in the park in August I could spot approximate 10-12 different species of them and photograph around 5-7 of them…:-)

Butterflies of Chandigarh - Butterfly Park Chandigarh
Butterflies of Chandigarh
Butterflies - Butterfly Park Chandigarh
Butterflies
Butterflies - Butterfly Park Chandigarh
Butterflies
Butterflies - Butterfly Park Chandigarh
Butterflies
Butterflies - Butterfly Park Chandigarh
Butterflies

Conclusion

To begin with it is not a garden or a park, it is a pure Butterfly Habitat. To me it is one of the most beautiful, calm and serene places that you can find in Chandigarh, but can be boring for people who do not enjoy nature. The park is as close to natural wilderness as possible. This park has been created for the sole purpose of educating people about Butterflies and there Habitat. It is the perfect place for people who want to study about Butterflies and of course nature photographers like me who want to photograph them. Please note the park is only open to visitors from 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM.

Park Timings - Butterfly Park Chandigarh
Park Timings

 

Note ::

Most of the above scientific information has been taken from the different informative display boards in the Butterfly Park.

 

 

The Japanese Garden Chandigarh – 2

…..continued from “The Japanese Garden – 1”

The Meditation Hut

There is a beautiful Meditation Hut built in Phase-1 of the Japanese Garden. In Japan this hut is referred to as “Meiso Koya” meaning Mediation Hut. Meiso is made up of three characters :

me – the eyes.
i – the 6 elements of the world.
so – the mind or our thoughts.

So, Meiso is the natural position of our eyes and thoughts fitting precisely with the 6 elements of the world and is practiced as sitting still, sitting immovable, in meditation.

The Meditation Hut - Japanese Garden Chandigarh
The Meditation Hut
Lush Green Surroundings - Japanese Garden Chandigarh
Lush Green Surroundings

The Meditation Hut is surrounded by beautiful green landscape.

Japanese Paintings

The connectivity between Phase-1 and Phase-2 is through an underground tunnel below the main road. This tunnel is decorated with beautiful Japanese Paintings on both sides.

Japanese Painting #1 - Japanese Garden Chandigarh
Japanese Painting #1
Japanese Painting #2 - Japanese Garden Chandigarh
Japanese Painting #2
Japanese Painting #3 - Japanese Garden Chandigarh
Japanese Painting #3
Japanese Painting #4 - Japanese Garden Chandigarh
Japanese Painting #4
Japanese Painting #5 - Japanese Garden Chandigarh
Japanese Painting #5
Japanese Painting #6 - Japanese Garden Chandigarh
Japanese Painting #6

The Stone Sculptures

There are huge stone sculptures placed at prominent locations in both phases of the Japanese Garden.

The Stone Sculpture - Japanese Garden Chandigarh
The Stone Sculpture (Phase – 2)
The Giant Tortoise - Japanese Garden Chandigarh
The Giant Tortoise

“According to traditional Japanese beliefs, the tortoise is a haven for immortals, and symbolizes longevity, good luck, and support. It is the symbol of Kumpira, the god of seafaring people.”

(Source :: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cultural_depictions_of_turtles#Japan)

The Folded Hands Statue - Japanese Garden Chandigarh
The Folded Hands Statue
The Stone Pagoda - Japanese Garden Chandigarh
The Stone Pagoda
The Stone Sculpture (Phase - 2) - Japanese Garden Chandigarh
The Stone Sculpture (Phase – 2)
"Selfie" Point - Japanese Garden Chandigarh
“Selfie” Point…..
The Stone Sculpture (Phase - 1) - Japanese Garden Chandigarh
The Stone Sculpture (Phase – 1)
The Meditation Sculpture - Japanese Garden Chandigarh
The Meditation Sculpture

Buddha Statues

There are two Buddha Statues in The Japanese Garden. The “Meditation Buddha” is placed near the meditation hut under a huge Peepal tree (Ficus_religiosa).

The Meditation Buddha - Japanese Garden Chandigarh
The Meditation Buddha

The second statue is placed near the Japanese Rock Garden in Phase-1 and is surrounded by a special arrangement of standing rocks.

Buddha Statue in Rock Garden - Japanese Garden Chandigarh
Buddha Statue in Rock Garden
Buddha Statue in Rock Garden - Japanese Garden Chandigarh
Buddha Statue in Rock Garden

The Fish Sculpture

The Shachihoko - Japanese Garden Chandigarh
The Shachihoko

Placed near the Japanese Pagoda in Phase-1 is a small fish sculpture that is known as “Shachihoko” in Japanese mythology.

According to wikipedia, “A shachihoko or shachi is an animal in Japanese folklore with the head of a tiger and the body of a carp. It was believed that this animal could cause the rain to fall, and as such, temples and castles were often adorned with roof ornaments crafted in the form of a shachihoko, in order to protect them from fire.”

Other Attractions

Apart from the above mentioned attractions there are some Resting Huts, Sitting Benches and some Swings and Slides designed with a Japanese touch which are also worth mentioning.

The Dragon Slide - Japanese Garden Chandigarh
The Dragon Slide
The Monkey Bench - Japanese Garden Chandigarh
The Monkey Bench
The Sitting Bench - Japanese Garden Chandigarh
The Sitting Bench

Japanese Garden Chandigarh

Japanese Hut - Japanese Garden Chandigarh
Japanese Hut
Entrance Gate (Phase - 2) - Japanese Garden Chandigarh
Entrance Gate (Phase – 2)
The Dragon Swing - Japanese Garden Chandigarh
The Dragon Swing
Japanese Hut - Japanese Garden Chandigarh
Japanese Hut

Japanese Garden Chandigarh

With this I end my photo blog on The Japanese Garden……

References

 

The Japanese Garden Chandigarh – 1

Introduction

The Japanese Garden is located in Sector – 31 in Chandigarh (View location on map). It is spread over an area of approximately 13 acres. The Japanese Garden consists of two phases. The Phase-1 was inaugurated on 7th November 2014 and the Phase-2 of the park was opened to public on 4th June 2016. Both the phases of the park are connected by an underground tunnel decorated by beautiful Japanese paintings on both sides. The garden is designed using Japanese architecture and each of the elements in the garden is given a unique Japanese touch.

The Garden Board - Japanese Garden Chandigarh
The Garden Board
The Garden Entrance - Japanese Garden Chandigarh
The Garden Entrance

As you enter the gate you are welcomed by ‘Komainu (Lion Dog) Sculpture’. The lion dog representation is a cross between a lion and a dog and is meant to ward of evil spirits. These are generally placed in pairs on the entrance gates to Japanese shrines.

The Guardian Lion Dog - Japanese Garden Chandigarh
The Guardian Lion Dog (Komainu)
Lion Dog with a Cub - Japanese Garden Chandigarh
Lion Dog with a Cub

Once you enter the garden you get to see a beautiful green landscape. The garden consists of multiple water bodies with beautiful arc bridges. The stone pathways between the green grass are decorated with beautiful Japanese lamps on both sides. The garden consists of different trees planted at prominent locations adding to the beauty of the garden.

The Arc Bridge (Phase-1) - Japanese Garden Chandigarh
The Arc Bridge (Phase-1)
Beautiful Green Landscape - Japanese Garden Chandigarh
Beautiful Green Landscape
Walking Path with Stone Lamps - Japanese Garden Chandigarh
Walking Path with Stone Lamps
The Arc Bridge (Phase - 2) - Japanese Garden Chandigarh
The Arc Bridge (Phase – 2)
Stone Sculpture with Entrance Gate (Phase - 2) - Japanese Garden Chandigarh
Stone Sculpture with Entrance Gate (Phase – 2)
Beautiful Green Landscape - Japanese Garden Chandigarh
Beautiful Green Landscape
The Walking Path - Japanese Garden Chandigarh
The Walking Path

Main Attractions

The Pagoda Tower

One of the most prominent attractions of the Japanese Garden is the Pagoda Tower. Pagoda is a tiered tower with multiple roofs and are generally used to house sacred relics. The pagodas in Japan are referred to as “to” and generally contain odd number of stories as odd numbers are strongly favored by Buddhism and are considered lucky.

The Pagoda in the Japanese Garden is a five storied structure which is located in the middle of a water body. Two small bridges on both sides connect the Pagoda to the park. The Pagoda contains a small room which contains some ancient Japanese relics.

The Pagoda Tower - Japanese Garden  Chandigarh
The Pagoda Tower
The Pagoda Tower - Japanese Garden Chandigarh
The Pagoda Tower
The Pagoda Tower - Japanese Garden Chandigarh
The Pagoda Tower
The Pagoda Tower - Japanese Garden Chandigarh
The Pagoda Tower
The Metal Finial - Japanese Garden Chandigarh
The Metal Finial

Pagodas generally have a decorated “finial” at the top of the structure. Finial is generally made of metal and is also referred to as the “demon-arrester”.

The Japanese Rock Garden

The Japanese Rock Garden or “Karesansui” is also known as the zen garden. It consists of miniature landscape created using an arrangement of rocks. The rock garden uses gravel or patterns on the floor to represent ripples of water. According to wikipedia “They were intended to imitate the intimate essence of nature, not its actual appearance, and to serve as an aid to meditation about the true meaning of life.”

There are two Japanese rock gardens in each of the two phases of Japanese Garden.

Japanese Rock Garden (Phase - 1) - Japanese Garden Chandigarh
Japanese Rock Garden (Phase – 1)
Japanese Rock Garden (Phase - 2) - Japanese Garden Chandigarh
Japanese Rock Garden (Phase – 2)
The Traditional Japanese Gate (torii) - Japanese Garden Chandigarh
The Traditional Japanese Gate (torii)

The entrance gate to the rock garden in Phase-1 is a traditional gate known as “Torii”. The “torii” is a traditional Japanese gate generally found at the entrance of shrines. The purpose of “torii” is to mark an entrance to a sacred space. Here the gate is surrounded by two lion dogs (Komainu Pair).

According to wikipedia, “Meant to ward off evil spirits, modern komainu statues are almost identical, but one has the mouth open, the other closed. This is a very common characteristic in religious statue pairs at both temples and shrines. This pattern is however Buddhist in origin and has a symbolic meaning. The open mouth is pronouncing the first letter of the Sanskrit alphabet, which is pronounced “a”, while the closed one is uttering the last letter, which is pronounced “um”, to represent the beginning and the end of all things. Together they form the sound “Aum”, a syllable sacred in several religions like Hinduism, Buddhism and Jainism.”

The entire rock garden is created with a beautiful arrangement of rocks and Japanese lamps.

The Buddha Statue (Phase - 1) - Japanese Garden Chandigarh
The Buddha Statue (Phase – 1)
Rock Arrangements (Phase - 2) - Japanese Garden Chandigarh
Rock Arrangements (Phase – 2)

The Stone Lanterns

Japanese Stone Lantern (dai-doro) - Japanese Garden Chandigarh
Japanese Stone Lantern (dai-doro)
Japanese Stone Lantern (dai-doro) - Japanese Garden Chandigarh
Japanese Stone Lantern (dai-doro)

The Japanese stone lanterns are referred to as “dai-doro”. The entire Japanese garden is beautifully decorated with different forms of stone lanterns.

According to wikipedia “In its complete and original form, a dai-doro represents the five elements of Buddhist cosmology. The piece touching the ground represents chi, the earth; the next section represents sui, or water; ka or fire, is represented by the section encasing the lantern’s light or flame, while fū (air) and kū (void or spirit) are represented by the last two sections, top-most and pointing towards the sky. The segments express the idea that after death our physical bodies will go back to their original, elemental form.”

The Yin-Yang Symbol

The Yin Yang Sculpture (Phase - 1) - Japanese Garden Chandigarh
The Yin Yang Sculpture (Phase – 1)
The Yin Yang Sculpture (Phase - 2) - Japanese Garden  Chandigarh
The Yin Yang Sculpture (Phase – 2)

Yin and Yang is a symbol which describes how opposite forces are actually interconnected and interdependent in the natural world, and how they give rise to each other as they interrelate to one another.

According to wikipedia, “Yin is the black side with the white dot in it, and yang is the white side with the black dot in it.”

“In Buddhist philosophy, Water and Rocks symbolize yin and yang respectively. Rocks and water are the two important physical elements in a garden. Rocks and water symbolize the basis of nature, all that gives life. Rocks are the body of the world—the hills and valleys. The water is the world’s spirit, providing oxygen, breath, the liquid clouds, blood running through the veins. The rocks symbolize all that is active, the work, the forces of work. The water symbolizes all that is contemplated—all that compliments work, thought, freedom, silence, and reflection— in other words, serenity.”

(Source :: Symbolism of Chinese Garden )

There are two Yin-Yang sculptures in each of the two Rock Gardens in Phase-1 and Phase-2 of the Japanese Garden.

This blog is really getting longer and still there are many other attractions to write about. So, I am ending this part here and will list the other major attractions in the next part of the blog.

The Japanese Garden – 2

References

The Bakarpur Pond – 2

Bird Photography

…..continued from Part-1

I spent around 2-2.5 hours at the Bakarpur Pond photographing and observing the birds and also catching attention from curious villagers crossing the road. Some even reaching out to me with questions like,

Are you from the press?

What will you do with the photographs?

What are you photographing?

And some observant ones coming forward with interesting facts like,

You should come in winters, there are plenty of bird at that time.

Early morning is the best time for observing.

Overall I really enjoyed the time spent at the pond. On a sad front, GMADA is constructing an Aerocity Housing Project around the pond due to the newly opened International Airport nearby. They are also acquiring some area of the pond for the project. I am not sure for how long will the birds continue to arrive at this place.

The birds that I photographed in my first visit to the Bakarpur Pond are :

  • Wood Sandpiper
  • Large Egret
  • Spot Billed Duck
  • Black Winged Stilt
  • Paddy Field Pipit
  • Yellow Bittern
  • Red Wattled Lapwing

Some additional photographs from my visit to the pond :

Bakarpur Pond - Bird Photography
A pair of Spot Billed Ducks
Bakarpur Pond - Bird Photography
The Large Egret

Black Winged Stilt in Various Moods…..

Bakarpur Pond - Bird Photography

Bakarpur Pond - Bird Photography

Bakarpur Pond - Bird Photography

Bakarpur Pond - Bird Photography

Bakarpur Pond - Bird Photography
Bird vs Humans 🙁
Bakarpur Pond - Bird Photography
The Common Moorhen
Bakarpur Pond - Bird Photography
Duck Walk – Spot Billed Ducks
Bakarpur Pond - Bird Photography
Spot Billed Duck
Bakarpur Pond - Bird Photography
Egret in Flight
Bakarpur Pond - Bird Photography
Spot Billed Ducks in Flight
Bakarpur Pond - Bird Photography
The Common Moorhen
Bakarpur Pond - Bird Photography
Red Wattled Lapwing

With this I end the blog on my first visit to Bakarpur Pond. I enjoyed the time spent at the pond observing and photographing birds. Planning to go there soon for another round. Will share details whenever I get time for the next trip……

 

The Bakarpur Pond – 1

Bird Photography

Bakarpur is a small village in Distt. Mohali, Punjab. It is located on the new Zirakpur – Kharar byepass road. I had heard a lot about Bakarpur pond and seen a lot of photographs of the various Birds found in this pond, in many Bird Photography groups on Facebook, but never really got the chance to visit the same.

According to WikipediaBakarpur village is located at a distance of 8 kilometers from Mohali, about 3 kilometers from Chattbir Zoo and about 6 kilometers from Zirakpur. The village has a large size village pond which contains water for most of the period of the year. In winter this pond attracts a large number of migrant birds. Migratory birds visiting this pond include Cormorant, Purple Heron, Grey Heron, Painted Stork and many local other water birds and Sparrow.”

I visited Bakarpur Pond for the first time on the evening of 5th April 2016. The pond is small with highway on one side and the main Bakarpur Village on the other side. As the migratory season had already ended so I was not able to observe all the birds which are generally found in this place. Still I saw a lot of birds which I had not seen earlier. The following is a collection of photographs from my first visit to the pond. The photography gear that I own and use is listed in the “About Me” page.

Bakarpur Pond - Bird Photography
The Shy One – Wood Sandpiper
Bakarpur Pond - Bird Photography
The Large Egret
Bakarpur Pond - Bird Photography
Spot Billed Duck
Bakarpur Pond - Bird Photography
The Perfect Pose – Large Egret
Bakarpur Pond - Bird Photography
Black Winged Stilt

Bakarpur Pond - Bird Photography

Bakarpur Pond - Bird Photography
Egret with A Group of Stilts

Bakarpur Pond - Bird Photography

Bakarpur Pond - Bird Photography
Nesting Material Collection – Large Egret
Bakarpur Pond - Bird Photography
A Group of Stilts
Bakarpur Pond - Bird Photography
The Large Egret
Bakarpur Pond - Bird Photography
The Large Egret

Bakarpur Pond - Bird Photography

Bakarpur Pond - Bird Photography
Paddy Field Pipit
Bakarpur Pond - Bird Photography
The Yellow Bittern
Bakarpur Pond - Bird Photography
Paddy Field Pipit
Bakarpur Pond - Bird Photography
The Yellow Bittern
Bakarpur Pond - Bird Photography
Spot Billed Ducks in Flight

Bakarpur Pond - Bird Photography

With this I end first part of this blog. Will share more photographs and other facts in the next part of this blog.

The Bakarpur Pond – 2

My Birding Diary – 3

A Further Journey

This is the third part of my Birding Blog. As part of this blog I am just trying to document all the different species of birds that I have managed to photograph in these years. The photography gear that I currently own is a Canon Digital Rebel XSI (450D) DLSR with 50mm, 18-55mm and 55-250mm lenses. Also I have a Sony DSC WX-200 digital camera.

In this part I am listing the birds that I managed to photograph in various parks located in Chandigarh and nearby areas.

This blog in in continuation to my earlier Birding Diary blogs (Part-1 & Part-2).

Wood Sandpiper (Tringa Glareola)

Location : Bakarpur Pond, Mohali, Punjab (India)

This was my first visit to the Bakarpur Pond. It is quite popular with Bird lovers as a lot of migratory birds arrive at this small pond every year. The first of the birds listed in this blog is the Wood Sandpiper, a small bird with a long beak. It is generally found in wetlands feeding insects on the wet mud.

Wood Sandpiper - Birding Diary - 3
Wood Sandpiper (5th April 2016)

Paddyfield Pipit (Anthus Rufulus)

Location : Bakarpur Pond, Mohali, Punjab (India)

When I first saw this bird I thought it to be a house sparrow as the markings on the back were quite similar. But on close observation this bird was a little large in size and was quite fast on the ground. Also sits on the ground with the ‘head held high…..’

Paddyfield Pipit - Birding Diary - 3
Paddyfield Pipit (5th April 2016)

Common Pochard (Aythya Ferina)

Location : Sukhna Lake, Chandigarh (India)

The Common Pochard is among many birds that migrates to Sukhna Lake every year for nesting & breeding.

Common Pochard - Birding Diary - 3
Common Pochard (5th February 2012)

Spot Billed Duck (Anas Poecilorhyncha)

Location : Chatt Village, Mohali, Punjab (India)

A beautiful duck with a prominent yellow tip on the beak. This pair was found floating in the natural lake inside Chattbir Zoo.

Spot Billed Duck - Birding Diary - 3
Spot Billed Duck (18th January 2015)

Oriental White Eye (Zosterops Palpebrosus)

Location : Dyarag Village, Solan, Himachal Pradesh (India)

I saw the photograph of this bird in many Facebook posts but never managed to see this myself. In April 2016 I visited a small village near Solan for some family function and fortunately saw a small green bird with a prominent white eye ring feeding nectar of flowers on a citrus-fruit tree. The bird is very fast and I barely managed to click a few photographs before it flew away.

Oriental White Eye - Birding Diary - 3
Oriental White Eye (23rd April 2016)
Oriental White Eye - Birding Diary - 3
Oriental White Eye sucking Nectar (23rd April 2016)

Little Owl (Athene Noctua)

Location : Butterfly Park, Chandigarh (India)

A bird that relaxes in the day. This one was caught napping in the Butterfly Park in the afternoon of 23rd December 2012…..:-)

Little Owl - Birding Diary - 3
Little Owl (23rd December 2012)

Lesser Golden Backed Woodpecker (Dinopium Benghalense)

Location : Butterfly Park, Chandigarh (India)

A small colorful bird often found knocking tree barks for food……

Golden Backed Woodpecker - Birding Diary - 3
Golden Backed Woodpecker (23rd December 2012)

Yellow Bittern (Ixobrychus sinensis)

Location : Butterfly Park, Chandigarh (India)

Yellow Bittern - Birding Diary - 3
Yellow Bittern (23rd December 2012)

Indian Grey Hornbill (Ocyceros Birostris)

Location : Mohali, Punjab (India)

The state bird of Chandigarh, The Indian Grey Hornbill can be easily spotted in the parks & outskirts of the city. The bird is easily recognized by the black horn over the beak. This photograph was taken in Nature Park, Mohali.

Indian Grey Hornbill - Birding Diary - 3
Indian Grey Hornbill (13th March 2014)

Common Moorhen (Gallinula Chloropus)

Location : Bakarpur Pond, Mohali, Punjab (India)

This bird is also known as the “Swamp Chicken” and is often found in small marshes & wetlands.

Common Moorhen - Birding Diary - 3
Common Moorhen (23rd April 2016)

With this I end the third part of my birding blog. Will be back with some more interesting birds in the next part.

NOTE ::

  1. All the common names and scientific names of birds have been referenced from the book “The Book of Indian Birds” by Salim Ali, Thirteenth Edition 2012.
  2. I am not an expert in Birds, just a beginner in bird watching so the above names / description may not be accurate. These have been written as per my best understanding and have not been verified by any expert in the field.

My Birding Diary – 2                                                      to be continued…..

The Canon Photo Walk

Chattbir Zoo (2015)

Canon India conducted its first ever Photo Walk in Chandigarh on 18th January 2015. The Canon Photo Walk was mentored by Shivang Mehta who is an official trainer with Canon and is also the Canon India Brand Ambassador. The theme for the Photo Walk was “Wildlife Photography” and the place chosen for the walk was “Chattbir Zoo”.

The time fixed for the walk was 9:00 AM. There is a huge fog cover in Chandigarh in January and 18th of January was no exception. The fog was so dense in the morning that I skipped the initial entrance of the zoo as the road was not visible  and had to take an alternate longer route to reach the same. Anyways on reaching I was joined by other participants and our mentor Shivang. On entering the zoo we had a small introduction session and then Shivang explained the initials of Wildlife Photography and some specific tips for photographing wild animals in the zoo environment.

Shivang has a lot of experience in photographing tigers in the wild, so we first headed to the tiger enclosure where we luckily found 2-3 white tigers in a playful mood. Though the visibility was not good due to fog but we did manage to shoot some interesting photographs of these tigers.

Tiger Portraits

Tiger Portrait - Canon Photo Walk

Tiger Portrait - Canon Photo Walk

Tiger Portrait - Canon Photo Walk

Tiger Portrait - Canon Photo Walk

Tigers In Action

Tigers in Action - Canon Photo Walk

Tigers in Action - Canon Photo Walk

Tigers in Action - Canon Photo Walk

After photographing the tigers we moved to a small natural lake that is part of the zoo and is home to many migratory and local birds.

Spot Billed Duck - Canon Photo Walk

The Tiger Dentist - Canon Photo Walk

Spot Billed Duck - Canon Photo Walk

Along the way we had many interesting discussions on the Camera models, lenses to use for wildlife and many other photography topics which helped us gain a thorough understanding of this area of photography.

In the end we spent some time in the ducks enclosure and managed to click some beautiful photographs as the lighting had improved by this time and the fog cover had reduced.

The Perfect Landing - Canon Photo Walk

Ducks in the Lake - Canon Photo Walk

Ducks in the Lake - Canon Photo Walk

The Perfect Landing - Canon Photo Walk

We ended the walk with a group photo, distribution of participation certificates and discussion on the way ahead for Wildlife Photography.

The Photowalk Group - Canon Photo Walk
The Photowalk Group

The fog did play a major spoilsport but I managed to learn many important aspects of photographing in the wild. I clicked around 200+ photographs but only managed to get around 20-25 good photographs as major of these were not up to the mark due to poor lighting. I had earlier visited Chattbir Zoo around 3-4 times but never managed to get good photographs.

In the end a special thanks to Shivang Mehta for sharing his wide photography experience with us. Attending this Photo Walk by Canon was a huge learning experience for me and will help me in my future encounters with wildlife…..:-)

The Indian Moon Moth

On 23rd April 2016 I traveled to the newly opened Sherpa Eco Resort at Village Dyarag near Solan (Himachal Pradesh) to attend a family function. The resort is located in the middle of dense Oak & Deodar forest which turns out to be a great habitat for beautiful insects, birds & animals.

After spending around 2 hours at the resort we suddenly noticed a large moth sitting near one of the doors. The moth had a wingspan of around 5-6 inches and had beautiful green and pink colors. There were two green leaf-like beautiful antennas in the front. I immediately clicked a few photographs of the moth. As it was day time so the moth was just resting and was not concerned with the happenings around. I had never seen such a beautiful creature earlier. After 4-5 hours I had to leave the venue to return back to Chandigarh.  The moth was still in the same place resting.

The Indian Moon Moth
The Indian Moon Moth

The next day I processed the photographs and uploaded one of the photographs of the moth to the “Natural Biodiversity” Facebook group. This photograph received many likes & comments as it was not seen earlier by many of the members. It was identified as the “Indian Moon Moth“. I read a few articles on the net and also checked out some more pictures of this moth taken around the world.

Close Up of the Leaf Like Antenna - The Indian Moon Moth
Close Up of the Leaf Like Antenna

One week later on 4th May 2016 I received a mail with the subject “REQUEST FROM THE ‘HINDUSTAN TIMES’ CHANDIGARH“. I immediately opened the mail and was thrilled to see that Mr. Vikram Jit Singh, Wildlife correspondent with Hindustan Times and the author of the weekly ‘Wildbuzz’ column wanted to publish my photograph of the moth in the next edition. As required I shared the additional details like the place, date and time of the photograph. And now the only wait was for the coming Sunday, to grab the copy of Hindustan Times and check the article on the moon moth.

Finally after a long wait 🙂 it was Sunday 8th May 2016. I checked the Wildbuzz section and there it was, my photograph of the “Indian Moon Moth” and a very nicely written article by Mr. Vikram Jit Singh under the title “Wings of Paradise“.

Hindustan Times Clipping - The Indian Moon Moth
Hindustan Times Clipping (8th May 2016)

Quoting from the article,

“If one is lucky enough to catch a glimpse of a moon moth fluttering into the night, it would be akin to being visited by an apparition or a mermaid surfing the air waves.”

I think I was lucky to be at the right place at the right time.

Mr. Vikram Jit Singh took the guidance of Dr. Roger Kendrick, who is based in Hong Kong and is an authority on Asian Moths. According to Dr. Kendrick the name of the moth is Actias Selene (family Saturniidae), i.e. Indian Moon Moth.

As per Dr. Kendrick,

“The individual in the photo appears to be a male: the body (abdominal part) is not ‘fat’ with eggs, and the antennae (the green leaf-like structures) appear plumose. Adult Saturniidae (all members of the ‘Emperor Moth’ family) have no functional haustellum (tongue or proboscis), so they can’t feed in the adult stage of the life cycle. Consequently, the adult phase is brief, limited by the amount of fat reserves accumulated by the larva. So maybe a week for the adult, though often less. Please note that for moth species in other families, life expectancy for the adult phase of the life cycle may well be longer (adults of some species of Erebidae moths will over-winter in the adult phase, so could live for five to six months as an adult). “

This was a big achievement for me as it was the first time my clicked photograph was published in a leading newspaper. I would like to thank Mr. Vikram Jit Singh for giving me this recognition.

Scan of Wildbuzz Print Version - The Indian Moon Moth
Scan of Wildbuzz Print Version (8th May 2016)

The Scott Kelby Photowalk

The Scott Kelby Photowalk was held on October 3rd 2015 in Chandigarh. This is a worldwide event where group leaders organize a photo walk in all major cities. The 2015 walk in Chandigarh was led by Sabin Prodan who belongs to Romania and was in Chandigarh for one of his professional assignments. I found the event interesting and registered for the walk. The meeting place was fixed as Sector 22 market. I had read a lot about street photography, but this would be my first hands on experience with the same.

On the day of the walk I was the first one to reach the venue. Sabin was already there and was waiting for the participants. After some waiting we were joined by some other participants. We had a small introduction and then we proceeded to the inner Sector 22 market for start of the walk. I decided to use my 50mm canon lens for the walk as it is the best lens used for Street Photography.

Sabin is a very nice person and we had some interesting conversations along the walk while clicking different subjects. We spent around two to two and a half hours in the market clicking photographs of vendors, hawkers, rickshaw pullers and other happenings in and around the market. We then proceeded to Sector 17 and spent another 2 hours clicking the photographs. We were to end the walk at Sukhna Lake but as all the participants (excluding Sabin as he is a marathon runner and never gets exhausted …..:-)) were exhausted so we decided to end the walk at Sector-17.

Sabin clicks all his photographs in black & white so inspired from him I also tried my hands on B&W photography  for the first time.

The first photograph that I am posting here is of Sabin our walk leader. This was clicked by me at Sector-17 fountain.

Sabin Prodan - Scott Kelby Photowalk
Sabin – The Walk Leader

Following are the best photos taken by me during the Scott Kelby PhotoWalk.

Bulb Holder - Scott Kelby Photowalk
The Bulb Holder
Thirst Quencher - Scott Kelby Photowalk
Thirst Quencher
Untitled - Scott Kelby Photowalk
Untitled
The Shy Lady - Scott Kelby Photowalk
The Shy Lady
Balloon Seller - Scott Kelby Photowalk
Balloon Seller
Rickshaw Puller - Scott Kelby Photowalk
Rickshaw Puller #1
Autorickshaw - Scott Kelby Photowalk
The Autorickshaw
Rickshaw Puller - Scott Kelby Photowalk
Rickshaw Puller #2
Rickshaw Puller - Scott Kelby Photowalk
Rickshaw Puller #3
Rickshaw Puller - Scott Kelby Photowalk
Rickshaw Puller #4
Rickshaw Puller - Scott Kelby Photowalk
Rickshaw Puller #5
The Street - Scott Kelby Photowalk
The Street
Kids - Scott Kelby Photowalk
Kids in the Auto
Naughty Kid - Scott Kelby Photowalk
The Naughty Kid
Innocent Kid - Scott Kelby Photowalk
The Innocent Kid
The Shy Kid - Scott Kelby Photowalk
The Shy Kid

My photograph of “The Salesman” was selected as the “Best Photo of the Walk” by the walk leader and this photograph was entered into the worldwide Scott Kelby PhotoWalk Contest.

The Salesman - Scott Kelby Photowalk
The Salesman

And this photograph managed to receive a rating of 2.2/5 in the final contest.

Final Ranking - Scott Kelby Photowalk

This photo walk was a great learning experience for me. I tried Street Photography for the first time, I used my Canon 50 mm for the first time and I tried Black ‘n’ White for the first time.

In the end a very special thanks to Sabin Prodan for this walk, a good friend and a very nice person. I really enjoyed the time spent at the walk………

My Birding Diary – 2

The Journey Continues

This is the second part of my Birding Blog. As part of this blog I am just trying to document all the different species of birds that I have managed to photograph in these years. The photography gear that I currently own is a Canon Digital Rebel XSI (450D) DLSR with 50mm, 18-55mm and 55-250mm lenses. Also I have a Sony DSC WX-200 digital camera.

In continuation to Part-1 of this blog I am listing some additional birds that I have managed to photograph in and around Chandigarh in the last 2-3 years. I have not visited any special places for photographing these birds. I found these birds in certain places that I visited as part of my other routines and managed to click as and when I had my camera along. Some of the photos displayed here are not up-to the mark as they were taken without proper camera equipment and were generally taken on the go.

During my stay in Chandigarh from last two years some of the birds mentioned here are seen on regular basis but some of these I have just seen once or twice.

Wire Tailed Swallow (Hirundo Smithii)

Location : Zirakpur, Punjab (India)

One morning when I woke up and went outside I saw a beautiful bird with a long tail flying near my balcony. And then it sat on the cable wire. I immediately grabbed my digicam and clicked the following photograph. I could click only 1 photograph and then it flew away. I have never seen this bird again near my house.

Swallow - Birding Diary - 2
Swallow (7th May 2015)

Black Kite (Milvus Migrans)

Location : Chatt Village, Zirakpur, Punjab (India)

The Black Kite or Cheel as it is commonly known is generally seen flying high in the sky and found sitting on electric poles, mobile towers etc. It makes a very typical whistling sound. This photograph was clicked at Chatt Village near the Chattbir Zoo.

Kite - Birding Diary - 2
Kite (23rd December 2015)

White Necked Stork (Ciconia Episcopus)

Location : Zirakpur, Punjab (India)

The place where I stay is close to the open fields where farmers sow wheat and rice every year. Last year in June when the fields were watered for sowing of rice I noticed a pair of two black ‘n’ white birds with long legs in the fields. I had only seen similar birds in the zoo earlier.

They were very far off so I could only click the following photos with my 55-250mm lens. They stayed there for around 2-3 hours and then flew away. The rice sowing season is coming again and I am expecting to see them again this year…:-)

Stork - Birding Diary - 2
Stork (1st June 2015)
Stork - Birding Diary - 2
Stork (1st June 2015)

White Breasted Kingfisher (Halcyon Smyrnensis)

Location : Patiala, Punjab (India)

The Kingfisher is often found sitting on tree branches. It is a very brightly colored bird and is easily recognizable.

Kingfisher - Birding Diary - 2
Kingfisher (18th August 2015)

Greater Coucal (Centropus Sinensis)

Location : Chatt Village, Zirakpur, Punjab (India)

A crow like bird but with brown wings and scary red eyes. It is often found in thick vegetation and makes very loud sounds.

Coucal - Birding Diary - 2
Coucal (6th June 2015)

Location : Patiala, Punjab (India)

Coucal - Birding Diary - 2
Coucal (18th August 2013)

Red Wattled Lapwing (Vanellus Indicus)

Location : Cactus Garden, Panchkula, Haryana (India)

I saw this bird for the first time on my visit to Cactus Garden Panchkula in 2012. They were huge in number and were seen sitting on one leg in between the displayed cactus.

Once I shifted to Zirakpur, now this bird has a permanent nesting in the open marshy land behind the building. This bird makes a very loud call and is generally seen scaring away dogs & other predator birds if they manage to come near there nesting area.

Lapwing - Birding Diary - 2
Lapwing (23rd December 2012)

Rose Ringed Parakeet (Psittacula Krameri)

Location : Sukhna Lake, Chandigarh, Punjab (India)

Another bird from the parrot family generally found flying in groups or sitting on tree branches.

Parakeet - Birding Diary - 2
Parakeet (13th July 2014)

Location : Jalandhar, Punjab (India)

Parakeet - Birding Diary - 2
Parakeet (9th August 2013)

Shikra (Accipiter Badius)

Location : Patiala, Punjab (India)

Shikra - Birding Diary - 2
Shikra (17th August 2013)

Spotted Munia (Lonchura Punctulata)

Location : Zirakpur, Punjab (India)

I found a group of 5-7 small rust colored birds on the railing of my neighbor’s house in mid of 2014. I had never seen this bird earlier. I took my digicam and took a few shots of this bird. They were regular visitors to this place for quite some time and were searching for a suitable nesting place.

Munia - Birding Diary - 2
Munia (24th July 2014)

After approximate two months they managed to successfully built their nest behind the AC exhaust.

Munia's Nest - Birding Diary - 2
Munia’s Nest (22nd September 2014)

Indian Treepie (Dendrocitta Vagabunda)

Location : Zirakpur, Punjab (India)

Ending this part of the blog with the Indian/Rufous Treepie. A beautiful bird with a long tail. Also known as “Tiger’s Dentist” as the bird is known to pick meat stuck in the tiger’s teeth. The following photograph is the Treepie sitting on the wall of my balcony in Zirakpur.

Treepie - Birding Diary - 2
Treepie (12th August 2014)

With this I am ending part 2 of my Birding Diary. Will be back soon with the next part.

NOTE ::

  1. All the common names and scientific names of birds have been referenced from the book “The Book of Indian Birds” by Salim Ali, Thirteenth Edition 2012.
  2. I am not an expert in Birds, just a beginner in bird watching so the above names / description may not be accurate. These have been written as per my best understanding and have not been verified by any expert in the field.

My Birding Diary – 1                                                   My Birding Diary – 3