Friday, October 15, 2010

Hummingbird Clearwing Moth

Hummingbird Clearwing Moth: Hemaris thysbe, the Hummingbird Clearwing Moth or Common Clearwing (wingspan 38-50 mm), readily visits flowers by day throughout the eastern half of the U.S. and Canada, where it ranges far to the north, even into the Yukon.
It is not difficult to see why many gardeners would mistake an Hemaris thysbe moth for a small hummingbird as it hovers, sipping nectar from flowers through a long feeding tube. The moth hovers briefly, sipping for only a few seconds before darting off to a new flower. Green body "fur" and burgundy wing scales suggest a small ruby throated hummingbird.

You can see the very similar species in India called Hummingbird Hawk Moth. So next time when you are in a garden watch for it!

Photo: Sanjib Bhattacharyya, France
(Our friend Sanjib has contributed this who also writes this up.)

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Monday, July 12, 2010

Butterfly at work!

Photo: Arunangshu Sinha, Kolkata
Location: Kolkata

Black-Hooded Oriole -II

We once published a photo of this Black Hooded Oriole here in this site. This one is one of our favourite birds. You can see them mostly during spring around the rural areas. Locally, we call them 'Halud pakhi' (because of the colour) or 'Istikutum pakhi' (because of the sound it makes).

Photo: Shankar Sinha, Panskura, WB, India
Location: Panskura

Thursday, July 1, 2010

The weird and wonderful beauty of nudibranchs

This blurry image shows the closest (to my knowledge) I've ever come to a Nudibranch ("nude-gilled" marine mollusc), separated only by a glass wall in the Monterey Bay Aquarium a year ago when I accompanied Sanzari's class on a field trip. It was but a small splash of bright color among a mess of other critters in a corner of the rocky tidal shore area of the exhibits (if I remember correctly). It wasn't even specifically identified on the info panel on its enclosure - I only discovered later what it was. And I remembered this image today when I saw this fantastic gallery of Nudibranch portraits at National Geographic. Go check them out. They just might brighten your day too!

Photo: Madhusudan Katti, Fresno, California, USA

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Crow Pheasant

Crow Pheasant (Greater Coucal): we call this 'Coobo pakhi' here in Bengal. This is because they make deep resonant call 'coob coob' in succession!
This bird is of cuckoo family and is very shy. They can't fly much. You find them most of the time walking on the ground looking for insects and other things to eat.

You can find this relatively large bird almost all over India, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Myanmar (Burma), especially in the rural areas of these countries.

Photo: Shankar Sinha, Panskura
Location: Panskura, West Bengal, India

Sunday, June 13, 2010


Who is this sitting on the wire? A swallow! This one is perhaps a Barn Swallow (Hirundo rustica) which is the most widespread species of Swallow in the world.These birds are very rarely found in the Indian plains. However, they are found in plenty in the countrysides of Europe and North America. They like to breed or stay in manmade structures like stables and barns. This fellow swallow was found sitting on an electric wire in 'Uttarey' in Western Sikkim.

Note added: Doro's friend Subhamon recently went to Sikkim with his parents and took this shot over there.

Photo: Subhamon Supantha, Kolkata
Writing: Subhamon Supantha.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Asian Openbill

"The Asian Openbill or Asian Openbill Stork, Anastomus oscitans, is a large wading birdin the stork family Ciconiidae. It is a resident breeder in tropical southern Asia from Indiaand Sri Lanka east to Southeast Asia....."
We call this bird 'Shamukh Khol' or 'shamukh bhanga' possibly because it feeds molluscs ('shamukh' in Bengali and 'khol' is cover). They also catch frogs and insects while moving in and around the wetlands.
Yesterday we went to visit nearby water bodies (lakes you can say) where we found fishermen catching fish by traditional nets and on country boats. And then off the water, we found this pair of birds and a couple of egrets, drongos and some other common birds.

Photo: Abhijit Kar Gupta, Kolkata

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Speckled Rattlesnake

'Speckled rattlesnake (Crotalus Stephensi) I saw last weekend at Pisgah Lava Flow in San Bernardino Co. Isn't she beautiful? She was found sitting coiled up under a sage plant (and then moved into the sun later for this photo)' - writes our friend Emily Taylor.
Yes, this looks beautiful! The venom of this snake is potentially dangerous to humans though that we got to know. They come in various colorations. Look how nicely it blends into its surroundings!
They eat small mammals, birds and lizards. When alarmed, it moves its tail back and forth and that makes a buzzing sound.

Photo: Emily Taylor

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Rhino -the Boss of Jaldapara

Enter the Boss!
The Great One Horned Indian Rhinoceros at the Jaldapara Wildlife Sanctuary (North of West Bengal, India). Many of them of course you can find at Kaziranga National Park in Assam. Doro's friend and uncle had a recent trip at Jaldapara and they had a safari on Elephant back (during which they captured this)!!

Well, this one horned Rhino is the second largest among the all five varieties of them found all over the world. Both the male and female Rhinos have the very special horn! But the young ones don't have one (Is this young?) . And the interesting fact is that the horns are made of the same stuff (keratin) that our finger nails and the cow horns are made of. Rhinos are peaceful grass eating creatures.

Photo: Arunabha Adhikari. Kolkata
Location: Jaldapara Wildlife Sabctuary, North Bengal, India

Sunday, May 23, 2010

American Robin in our backyard

Wait... what???? In case you're wondering what this was doing in my backyard let me just say that I am from Fresno, California. My name is Sanzari Aranyak and I am Doro's 10 year old cousin. The American Robin hangs out in our backyard every winter and my dad took this picture (with my little sister's help) during this year's Great Backyard Bird Count. (I was unable to participate because of school.) If you want to know what else they saw check out my dad's blog.

I like the American Robin because it has a warm breast and a cheery song. Though they are city and town birds they can also be found in the Alaskan wilderness and in mountain forests. To learn more about this bird go to All About Birds the website from Cornell University's Lab of Ornithology which conducts the Great Backyard Bird Count.

Photo: Madhusudan Katti, Fresno, California, USA
Write up: Sanzari Aranyak, Fresno.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Spotted Deer

Spotted Deer in Sunderban. This is also known as 'Chital' deer or Axis deer. They eat mainly grasses and vegetation but sometimes also eat their shed antlers as a source of nutrients! These beautiful deers are generally seen in a group or herd.
'Sunderban', the largest mangrove forest in the world is on the southern most part of Bangladesh and West Bengal over Bay of Bengal.
Our friend captured this through his Nikon D700 Camera on a recent tour there.

More on Sundarban:

Photo: Arunangshu Sinha, Kolkata

Thursday, May 13, 2010


Red Whiskered Bulbuls. The mother and the chick.
This photo is recently captured by our friend at a rural area in West Bengal, India. Red Whiskered Bulbul and the Red Vented Bulbul (search for another entry here) are very common bulbuls found in this part of India.

Wikipedia Entry:

Photo: Shankar Sinha, Panskura
Location: Panskura, East Midnapore, WB, India

Monday, May 10, 2010

Bulbul (Yellow Vented Bulbul)

Bulbul: They are song birds! There are many varieties (around 130) of them. Is this a yellow vented Bulbul? We are not sure.

More info:

Photo: Shankar Sinha, Panskura.
Location: Panskura, WB, India.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010


Wikipedia info:

Photo: Arunangshu Sinha, Kolkata
Location: Alipore Zoo, Kolkata

Painted Stork

Painted Stork - majestic and colourful! Our friend has captured this inside the Zoo in Kolkata. 
These birds are found around shallow water or wetlands, often seen wading through water in search of small fish. Because of the distinct colourful feathers the name 'painted' is added with this kind of stork birds. 

More info:

Photo: Arunangshu Sinha, Kolkata
Location: Alipore Zoo, Kolkata, India

Friday, April 30, 2010

Indian Treepie - I

Indian Treepie or Asian Treepie or Indian Magpie ('Hanri chacha' in Bengali). You can find them almost always on trees looking for fruits or seeds. They are also known take flesh from freshly killed rats or animals. These birds make nest over the trees. They make variety of loud calls.

More on Wikipedia:

Photo: Shankar Sinha, Panskura
Location: Panskura, West Bengal, India.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Red Crab

The beautiful Red beach crab at Sunderban mangrove forest reserve. 'Suderban' is the world's largest mangrove forest over the Bay of Bengal at the south end of West Bengal and Bangladesh.  Most common wildlife in this area consists of the famous Royal Bengal Tiger, Spotted Deer and this Red Beach Crab.
Look at the interesting thing, the eyes of the crab are fixed over the two 'antenna' sticking out. So the eyes can move in many directions freely! 

More on Sunderban:,723778&_dad=portal&_schema=PORTAL&linkId=1214

Photo: Shankar Sinha, Panskura, WB, India

Saturday, April 24, 2010

The crow, the eggs and hatching...

Who owns the Eggs? The Crow or the cuckoo?
(As we know the cuckoos lay eggs in the crows' nest.)

Doesn't matter. It's time for hatching! 
The crow is sitting on the eggs on a tree top nest in the hot sun.

Photo: Abhijit Kar Gupta, Kolkata
Location: Panskura, East Midnapore, WB, India.

Jungle Babbler

The Jungle Babbler -  we call this 'Chhatre pakhi'  in Bengali. These noisy birds usually live in flocks of seven or ten or more. They are seen to continuously chatter, squeak or chirp wherever they are. These birds are very common in India, particularly in Northern India and often found in cities and towns. 
Now it is hot summer! This bird is probably looking for water. 

Wikipedia Entry:

Photo:  Abhijit Kar Gupta, Kolkata
Location: Panskura, East Midnapore, West Bengal, India.

Friday, April 23, 2010

White Throated Kingfisher -I

This pic. of white throated kingfisher (also known as white breasted kingfisher) is sent by our friend. This brilliant blue coloured bird with a chocolate brown head,  white breast and the long heavy bill is common in this part of India. 
They eat fish, tadpoles, lizards, grasshoppers insects etc.

Wikipedia entry:
This kingfisher is a resident over much of its range, although some populations may make short distance movements. It can often be found well away from water where it feeds on a wide range of prey that includes small reptiles, amphibians, crabs, small rodents and even birds. During the breeding season they call loudly in the mornings from prominent perches including the tops of buildings in urban areas or on wires.

Photo:  Shankar Sinha, Panskura
Camera: Canon Power Shot S10 IS
Location: Panskura, West Bengal, India

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Kite ('Sankhachil')

It is perhaps very difficult to take a photo of a Kite or an Eagle because they usually sit high up and fly high! 
This beautiful Brahminy Kite (Haliastur Indus) was spotted by our friend in a rural area in West Bengal. We learned that this is called 'Sankhachil' (a very celebrated name immortalized in poetry and novels in Bengali literature). 
The other common Kite in India is the Black Kite and this one is around the same size of that.
We hardly notice this Brahminy kite in the city areas nowadays.

From Wikipedia:
It is mainly a scavenger, feeding mainly on dead fish and crabs, especially in wetlands and marshlands but occasionally hunts live prey such as hares and bats.
Brahminy Kite is the official mascot of Jakarta. In India it is considered as the contemporary representation of Shree Garuda, the carrier of the Supreme God Krishna.

(More useful information is welcome.) 

Photo: Shankar Sinha, Panskura, West Bengal, India.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Oriental Garden Lizard

The Oriental Garden Lizard (Calotes Versicolor). We call this 'Girgiti' in Bengali. I found this resting for a while over a small plant out there in the hot sun. Can it change color? Perhaps yes but not like Iguanas! 

For more info:

Photo: Abhijit Kar GuptaKolkata.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Pond Heron

Indian Pond Heron is a common bird, found near water bodies. They are most of the times seen alone. They eat fishes, insects in water, leeches, tadpoles etc. 
This one is captured by Doro's friend over the lake  at Salt Lake area in Kolkata.

Wikipedia Entry:

Photo: Subhomon Supantha, Kolkata

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Little Egret

This little Egret was found on a river side in Sundarban (The largest Mangrove forest located on Bay of Bengal on the southern part of West Bengal and Bangaldesh.).  Our friend captured this from a boat while in a recent trip there. 
There are so many different kinds of egrets that we learn now. Earlier we put up here a Cattle egret. Of course most of the time we find cattle egrets are pure white like this little egret.  It is difficult to differentiate from far.
Doro pointed out that a little egret has a black bill (and that is quite pointed) where a cattle egret has a yellow bill (a shorter one). Also a little Egret has black legs with bright yellow feet while the Cattle egret has dark legs and dark feet or possible yellow legs and yellow feet in adult  but possibly never the two contrasting? 

Photo: Arunangshu Sinha, Kolkata

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Cattle Egret

WOW! Looking for fish?
This Pink colored Cattle Egret is captured by our friend at the central park at Salt Lake area in Kolkata.
Cattle Egret is a white heron with a stout yellow bill. In the breeding season they are seen with buff yellow-orange plumes on head, neck and back.
These birds are common in the rural areas near a shallow water body or paddy fields and around the lakes and ponds in the cities. These egrets are large birds. They love to eat fishes, frogs, small mammals and insects living in water.

Photo: Arunabha Adhikari and Subhomon Supantha, Kolkata.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Animal Quiz by DORO (Answers)


1.      Leopard has spots like circles and cheetah has single spots and two lines beside its nose.
2.      Bald Eagle
3.      Golden eagle
4.      Because in ancient English bald meant white.
5.      African Elephants have larger ears.
6.      Blue Whale
7.      Snail
8.      Brachiosaurus
9.      Great black backed gull
10.  Whale shark

Friday, April 2, 2010

Animal Quiz

Animal Quiz/ 
Compiled by DORO (Anuran Kar Gupta).

1.      What are the 2 differences between leopard and cheetah?
2.      Which is the national bird of the United States?
3.      Which is the national bird of Canada?
4.      Why is bald eagle called by this name?
5.      How do you know which one is African Elephant and which one is Asian Elephant?
6.      Which animal lives in the ocean and weighs 30 elephants put together?
7.      Which is the slowest creature in the world?
8.      Which was the biggest dinosaur?
9.      Which is the biggest sea gull?
10.  Which is the biggest fish in the world?

Answer will be given in the next entry.

Stork billed Kingfisher (close up)

Here we present the beautiful Stork billed Kingfisher once again. This comes to our backyard quite often. There is a pond behind our apartment. This kingfisher (and also others) loves to visit this place for catching fishes and all.

Photo: Abhijit Kar Gupta, Kolkata

Monday, March 29, 2010

Red Crabs

The very popular red beach crabs at Sunderban. 'Sunderban' is the largest mangrove forest in the world at the south most part of West Bengal and Bangladesh over the Bay of Bengal.

Photo: Arunangshu Sinha, Salt Lake, Kolkata.

Thursday, March 25, 2010


Can you see a spotted deer over there? This mangrove forest is in Sunderban in the southern part of West Bengal (and Bangladesh) at Bay of Bengal. Our friend took this picture while he was on a boat over a river through the forest area. This deer seems to be quite unaware of the possible presence of the great Royal Bengal Tiger!

Photo: Arunangshu Sinha, Salt Lake, Kolkata.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010


Crocodile: This shot was taken from the moving boat through a river in Sunderban mangrove forest area.

More on Sunderban:

Photo: Arunangshu Sinha, Kolkata

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Black Capped Kingfisher

Our friend Arunangshu captured this beautiful kingfisher in his recent trip to Sunderban mangrove forest. This species of Kingfisher is mostly found in the mangrove forest areas or coastal regions. 
Wikipedia entry:

Photo: Arunangshu Sinha, Salt Lake, Kolkata.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Common Mynah

The common mynah or Indian mynah - we call this 'shalik'. They are found all over the places, in cities and in rural areas. 

Wikipedia entry for details:

Photo: Abhijit Kar Gupta, Kolkata

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Little Bird?

What is this tiny bird? We spotted it on a land of flowers  in a rural area of West Bengal. It was chirping and flying from one place to another quite often.

Friday, February 12, 2010


The goats enjoying their day in a rural field on a sunny morning.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Butterfly on Babool tree

This we captured near Kolaghat railway station on some morning some months back.

Photo: Abhijit Kar Gupta, Kolkata
Location: Kolaghat, East Midnapore (West Bengal, India)

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Monday, February 1, 2010

River Chat (white capped redstart)

The river chat (Himalayan river bird):
The white-capped redstart, or river chat (length  around 19 cm). This is a handsome maroon and black bird with a contrasting white cap.
Scientific name: Chaimarrornis leucocephalus.  

Our friend Arunangshu captured this recently when he took his students for a trek and excursion in Himalyas in Uttaranchal, India.

Photo: Arunangshu Sinha, Kolkata

Saturday, January 30, 2010


The Drongo is sitting over the open field that is being prepared for cultivation. It is waiting for the worms to come out beneath the earth as that is being filled with water. You can see plenty of them in the villages, around the open fields and in the cities they are often found to be sitting on the overhead electric wires.

Photo: Abhijit Kar Gupta, Kolkata
Location: Ruppur, a village around 70 km fromKolkata.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

The Rooster

The rooster, we know him all! The Royal guard is at the side wall of a cowshed :) The wall is made of jute sticks (this is very common in the villages in Bengal). 

Photo: Abhijit Kar GuptaKolkata
Location: Ruppur (a village around 70 km from Kolkata)

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Red Dragonfly

The red Dragonfly: we found this inside the central park of  Salt Lake city in Kolkata. One day Doro and I spent some time there and took some photos of dragonflies and squirrels. The colourful dragonflies are very common in any park or in rural areas in India. We now got to know from Wikipedia that even though they have six legs like any other insects, they can not walk! Dragonflies have multifaceted eyes and two strong and transparent wings. 
For more information:

Photo: Abhijit Kar Gupta, Kolkata
Assistant: Anuran (Doro)
Location: Salt Lake, Kolkata.

Monday, January 25, 2010


A beautiful butterfly sitting on Ixora (Rangan) flower. This photo was taken during the last rainy season. 
We don't know what kind of butterfly is this. Can anybody help?

Photo: Abhijit Kar Gupta, Kolkata
Location: Panskura, WB, India.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Blue throated Barbet -I ('Basanta Bauri' in Bengali)

Blue throated Barbet - locally, we call this colourful bird as  'Basanta Bauri'. This bird loves to eat fruits and insects. It was sucking delicious juice coming out of the date tree through the tube fitted on this on which it is sitting. 
(Earlier entry of this bird here was more colourful. This was taken in the late afternoon in low light.)

Photo: Abhijit Kar Gupta, Kolkata
Location: Ruppur (a village around 70 km from Kolkata)

Saturday, January 23, 2010


Red-vented Bulbul. This song bird is widely seen at our place and almost everywhere in India. Now this  is sitting on a Kadam flower tree next to our apartment.

Wikipedia entry:

Photo: Abhijit Kar Gupta, Kolkata
Location: Kolkata

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Doyel (Oriental Magpie Robin)

The Doyel (this is a male) is sitting over a tube well near a cultivated land of vegetables in our village where we had a recent trip. I think the bird is aiming to eat worms and insects from the field. This long tail bird sings loudly!
Doyel is very familiar bird. We see them in cities and as well as in villages. 
Do you know this is the national bird of Bangladesh?

Photo: Abhijit Kar Gupta, Kolkata
Location: Ruppur (a village around 70 km from Kolkata)

Asian Pied Mynah (Pied Starling)

Asian Pied Mynah or Pied Starling: Scientific name, Gracupica contra. This is a very common bird in our locality. We can see them often on our terrace,  on our gardens, on the roadside, near garbage dumps and so on. You can see them in cities and as well as in the open fields in the rural areas. They are usually found in a small group.
They eat everything (omnivorous); insects, fruits, food grains, nectars, died animals, all sorts of scraps etc. In Bengal we call them 'Gobrey Shalik' or 'Guye Shalik' because of their food habits.
This photo is captured by Doro's friend Ujal (Subhomon).

Photo: Subhomon Supantha (Ujal), Kolkata
Location: Baguihati, Kolkata

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Woodpecker -I

Woodpecker ('Kaththokra' in Bengali). Is that a black rumped flame back woodpecker? This woodpecker is almost camouflaged with the date tree. It came here to suck the delicious juice ('khejurer ros') coming out of the tree. The date trees are specially cut in order to extract juice in winter. The juice is then boiled to make tasty molasses. I think all the birds I found over there liked this juice so much!

Photo: Abhijit Kar Gupta, Kolkata
Location: Ruppur (a village around 70 km from Kolkata)

Monday, January 18, 2010

Black-hooded Oriole-I

This black-hooded Oriole was found sitting on a eucalyptus tree near the terrace of the apartment of our friend in Baguihati (Kolkata). This bird is also known as 'Holud Basanta' in Bengali.

Photo: Subhomon Supantha & Arunbha Adhikari, Kolkata
Location: Baguihati, Kolkata

Black-hooded Oriole

The black-hooded Oriole is sitting over a date tree. It wants to suck the delicious juice coming out of the tree through the pipe. The date trees are cut in a special way to extract juice ('Khejurer ros' in Bengali) in winter to produce lovely tasty molasses. What I found is that all the birds around there loved this juice. They came one by one and sat over there to quench their thirst.
The yellow bird is also known as 'Halde pakhi' or 'Benebou' in Bengal. Locally, people also call it 'Eistikutum' as it makes calls that sound like eis-ti-kutum!

Photo: Abhijit Kar Gupta, Kolkata
Location: Ruppur (a village around 70 km from Kolkata), India.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Honey Bees

The honey bees on a jack fruit tree. WOW! There are a plenty of them.

Photo: Abhijit Kar Gupta, Kolkata
Location: Panskura, East Midnapore, West Bengal, India.