Birdwatching at Valley School

The Valley School area, just off Kanakapura Road, is a beautiful spot, retained as a wilderness by the Valley School authorities,and it’s a great way of escaping into the outdoors, even on a weekday morning!

The unexpected trip, with three friends, proved to be a real treat, with the light at its warmest, and all the birds (except of course the evil few…more about that later) actually posing in a calm and composed way for us….

Here are my friends, C and R, clicking away to glory, and the glory was, the grasses lit up by the morning sun:

chandu and ramesh 041208 vs

We were not able to clearly id this WHITE-BROWED FANTAIL initially, but succeeded later:

white-browed bulbul 041108 vs

And of course, the LONG-TAILED SHRIKE was an easy one….one of those cases where the name makes sense….!

long-tailed shrike vs 041108

It was wonderful to watch the SMALL GREEN BEE-EATERS playing around in the sunshine. I just loved this pic of one bee-eater apparently enjoying the humour of another!

ha, ha, that was a good joke bee-eaters vs 041208

For the first time, I actually saw the bee-eaters…er…eating bees (so far, I have always seen them with dragonflies and beetles!)

bee-eater eating bee

The sighting of the GOLD-FRONTED LEAFBIRD was also something wonderful, but you can see, in this photograph, why these birds are called leafbirds! This is not the kind of image you will see in National Geographic or Animal Planet, but this is the way these stupid (or smart) birds hide in the foliage:

041208 chloropsis has really become a

One winter migrant which we are seeing every time we go to the Valley School area is the PIED CUCKOO; this one seems to be having a bad hair day, or rather, a bad crest day!

pied cuckoo

It was, truly, "Cuckoo Day" for us, because this beautiful bird, the COMMON HAWK-CUCKOO (so called as it looks like a hawk or raptor from a distance)… indeed, we did wonder what raptor it was when we first sighted it, and only a little later, I realized that it was the brainfever bird:

common hawk cuckoo 041208

We saw the same bird, a little later, apparently pretending to be a "fantail", but actually sunbathing (you thought only the "birds" in Miami Beach sunbathed? Think again!)…

common hawk-cuckoo

High up a dead branch was this beautiful little PURPLE SUNBIRD:

purple sunbird 041208

And of course we sighted the three resident INDIAN GREY HORNBILLS, Dad,Mom and Junior:

indian grey hornbill VS 041208

The glossy black feathers and the glittering red eye of the male ASIAN KOEL also made a pretty picture…

male koel VS 041208

The butterflies were also out, and we all got identical pictures of this PIONEER:

pioneer

This COMMON TIGER made a lovely sight against the light (and that’s poetry, mind you!)

Danaus chrysippus

Karthik tells me that this tiny little butterfly is the LESSER GRASS BLUE:

tiny butterfly 041208 VS S3

Several "et ceteras" also caught my eye, for example, this beautiful BLUE-TAILED DRAGONFLY:

blue tailed dragonfly

This lovely little GRASSHOPPER:

grasshopper

I didn’t stop to find out if this SNAIL SHELL was still occupied or not…perhaps the snail was also sunbathing!

snail shell VS 041208

A nice little love scene was of these un id MOTHS mating:

041208 moths mating

We found one animal that would predate on all the above…this cat (alas, just the domestic variety, but how sleek and well-fed and totally..feline…it was, as it moved along silently!)

041208 VS domestic cat

A most enjoyable, sudden trip, and one which recompensed me for this weekend, because I was just too tired to wake up this Saturday in time to go anywhere! 

If you are going birdwatching, do wear dull-coloured clothes, and as my "nature Guru" S. Karthikeyan says, "Eyes and ears open, mouth shut!" …and please don’t litter, bring back any packing material (juice,snacks) that you may have taken with you. "Take only memories, and leave only footprints"….

Deepa Mohan
About Deepa Mohan 710 Articles
Deepa Mohan is a freelance writer and avid naturalist.

3 Comments

  1. A lovely treat. My daughter was lucky to study in this school and still loves to go back there to enjoy nature. This should be the model for all schools. Children learn a lot by observing nature.

    Sudha Narasimhachar

  2. REALLY NICE PICS, this is my school actually and glad you guys found it.It really is a beautiful place. Let me know if you ever want a guided tour of the school,will be happy to take you around so you can chronicle it’s nature. Please let me know if you have anymore pics of the school,would like 2 see them.

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