Tag Archives: babool tree

A walk amidst nature


I throw back my head, and, feeling free as the wind, breathe in the fresh mountain air. Although I am heavy-hearted, my spirits are rising. To walk in nature is always good medicine.

Jean Craighead George, On the Far Side of the Mountain

An early morning walk in a biodiversity park left the heart, mind, body and soul well-nourished. The park, full of nature’s bounty, left us feeling refreshed. While we strolled amidst the Aravalli wilderness, I kept my senses alert for my winged friends …….. yes, the birds!

Plain Tiger butterfly on the bright yellow globules of babool tree

“In every walk with nature, one receives far more than he seeks,” said John Muir.

Muir was absolutely right, nature’s blessings are innumerable! One of them are the pretty feathered beauties. I am sharing here the birds we came across at Gurugram’s Aravalli Biodiversity Park, other then the common ones like the house crow, mynas, black kite, rock pigeons. I was thrilled to see some new species that enriched my bird-sighting list.

‘Trees are poems that the earth writes upon the sky.’ — Kahlil Gibran

Black Redstart (female) | Phoenicurus Ochruros
In India they are found in the high altitude areas of Kashmir, Ladakh, Tibet and the Central Himalayan Range. Two species of these birds, Phoenicurus Phoenicuroides (Western Himalayas) and Phoenicurus Rufiventris (Central and Eastern Himalayas), both come to Delhi from September through March. Redstarts belong to the Chat Family.

Black Redstart Female

House Sparrow | Passer Domesticus
The State bird of Delhi and fast declining in urban setups. Thankfully the positive side of pandemic helped them thrive within the concrete jungle as well. It is a delight to see them in huge numbers in the green patches of the city. In fact it is the most widely disturbed wild bird in the world.

House Sparrow Male

Long-Tailed Shrike | Rufous-Backed Shrike | Lanius Schach Caniceps
Found across Asia with much variations in plumage in subspecies. The genus name, Lanius, is derived from the Latin word for ‘butcher’, after their feeding habits. While their common name ‘shrike’ is derived from an Old English word similar to modern day ‘shriek’, owing to their harsh call. It is rare for songbirds to be predatory, but that’s what our shrike is!

Long Tailed Shrike

Black Drongo | Dicrurus Macrocercus
A familiar sight in India it is also known as “King Crow” because of it’s aggressive behavior towards birds, even large sized, that invades its territory. Smaller birds often nest in the well-guarded vicinity of a nesting Black Drongo. They are also known to be a good mimic.

Black Drongo

Purple Sunbird | Cinnyris Asiaticus
Sunbirds, birds like hummingbirds, honeyeaters, honeycreepers and spiderhunters, are known for ornithophily (pollination of flowering plants by birds). During breeding the male plumage has a metallic bluish to purplish sheen with a tinge of black on the upper & under parts. The wings are of dark brown shade. The eclipse or non-breeding males look similar to the female though they have a central streak of black on yellow underparts.

Purple Sunbird Male (Eclipse plumage)

Common Babbler | Argya Caudata
They are found mainly in India and are different from the Jungle Babbler we see more often. It is a slender with a rather long tail, overall light coloration, a slim bill, streaks on the upper parts (the head, the mantle and the back), dark eyes, and a contrasting whitish throat.

Common Babbler

Jungle Babbler | Argya Striata
This species of babblers is found in the Indian subcontinent. They are a gregarious lot moving around in group of six to ten. It is popularly called “seven sisters or brothers in different regions of the country. According to a folklorist there is a belief among the Lushai-Kuki clan that ‘…..during a solar eclipse, humans could transform into jungle babblers….’

Jungle Babbler

Indian Robin | Copsychus Fulicatus
Found in most of the SAARC countries, the males of the northern subspecies have brown backs whereas the males of the southern subspecies have an all black back. The Latin word fulicatus means ‘dusky’ or ‘black’. The male sings melodiously during the courtship.

Indian Robin Male

Red-Whiskered Bulbul | Pycnonotus Jocosus
Also known as the Crested Bulbul. It’s distinct crest, white underparts and a bright red patch near the eye are key pointers for its identification. Along with the Red Vented Bulbul this species can be easily spotted in the urban gardens.

Red Whiskered Bulbul

White-Cheeked Bulbul | Pycnonotus Leucotis
Also known as the White-Eared Bulbul, this species is very similar in appearance to the Himalayan White-Cheeked Bulbul. They are named for the large white cheek patches that also cover their ‘ears’. In Iran it is sometimes referred to as ‘The Bulbul of Tehran’.

White Cheeked Bulbul

Red-Vented Bulbul | Pycnonotus Cafer
A resident breeder across the Indian subcontinent and around. It is included in the list of the ‘World’s 100 worst invasive alien species’. “……In 19th-century India these birds were frequently kept as cage pets and for fighting, especially in the Carnatic region. …..”

Red Vented Bulbul

Indian Silver Bill | Lonchura Malabarica
Also known as the White-Throated Munia, it’s characteristic triangular stubby silver beak gives it it’s name. It resembles the sparrow though it is much plainer in appearance.

Indian Silverbills
Indian Silverbill

Purple Heron | Ardea Purpurea
A wader that is quite similar in appearance to the grey heron but is slightly smaller, more slender and has a darker reddish-brown plumage. The chief threat the bird faces is drainage and disturbance of its wetland habitats, particularly destruction of the reed beds. The purple heron is one of the species to which the Agreement on the Conservation of African-Eurasian Migratory Waterbirds (AEWA) applies.

Purple Herons

Black-Winged Kite | Elanus Caeruleus
It is also known as the the Black-Shouldered Kite. It is a long-winged raptor predominantly grey or white with black shoulder patches, wing tips and eye stripe. It has an owl-like forward-facing eyes with red irises. They are highly nomadic, moving about in search of prey

Black Shouldered Kite
Healthy food habits of the Red Vented Bulbul

Indian Peafowl | Pavo Cristatus
This beautiful bird is native to the Indian subcontinent. The bird is celebrated in Hindu and Greek mythology and is the National Bird of India. In Buddhist philosophy, the peacock represents wisdom. In Greek mythology the origin of the peacock’s plumage is explained in the tale of Hera and Argus. The main figure of the Yazidi religion, Melek Taus, is depicted as a peacock. A golden peacock is considered by some as a symbol of Ashkenazi Jewish culture, and is the subject of several folktales and songs in Yiddish.

Indian Peacock

Oriental Magpie Robin | Copsychus Saularis
It is the National Bird of Bangladesh and considered an Old World flycatcher. They are particularly well known for their melodious songs.

Oriental Magpie Robin Male

Little Swift | Apus Affinis
Swifts are among the fastest of birds! The scientific name for swift, “Apus” comes from the ancient Greek word ‘apous‘ which means “without feet“. The swifts and its relatives form a group called the Apodidae – an ancient group of birds. They probably separated from all other birds in the Tertiary period (65 million years ago)

Little Swifts

“We often forget that we are nature. Nature is not something separate from us. So when we say that we have lost our connection to nature, we’ve lost our connection to ourselves.” — Andy Goldsworthy

The landscape of Aravalli Biodiversity Park, Gurugram

Birds are indicators of the environment. If they are in trouble, we know we’ll soon be in trouble.

Roger Tory Peterson

You can also read about my walk in Delhi’s Aravalli Biodiversity Park here An early morning date with nature

These biodiversity parks are rich in flora and fauna. I will be sharing a separate post on the rich flora of the Gurugram park.



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The Soul Is Here For It’s Own Joy!
Monika Ohson | TravelerInMe

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