Butterflies and other bugs – Mallathahalli Lake

This isn’t the season for birding. The winter birds are gone, the monsoons have set in. We are left with the usual suspects – the coots, egrets, lapwings, a few stilts, and some ibises. The Monsoon has also meant a spurt in the Parthenium that takes over the entire path of the Mallathahalli Lake. This usually discourages walkers, and encourages different forms of urban wild to take over. What you usually get is butterflies. Lots of them.
Yesterday, as I made my way for  close to a km through the Parthenium, I ran into at least 5 types of butterflies – Plain tiger, Pioneer, Mottled Emigrant, Common Castor and Common grass yellow. And surprisingly, a tiny spider which turned out to be of the Rhene species.
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Birding – Mallathahalli Lake

News is that I invested in a longer telephoto lens. A used Sigma 150-600mm which I got a pretty good deal for. I decided to take it out for a spin around the Mallathahalli lake. The lake is pretty quiet with very few visitors. This translates to very skittish and shy birds. The lens is heavy, at close to 1.7 Kgs. Combined with the body, it translates to a 2Kg load!

I started off with a butterfly chilling on a leaf. This is a common tiger.

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Some winter visitors – Mallathahalli Lake

After a long time, I stopped by Mallathahalli lake for some birding. It’s a place I was using for running, but that stopped 4 years back as the path had become overgrown. Even though most of the 2.5 Km track is cobblestones, it’s amazing how much Parthenium can grow out of the gaps!

This time I was looking specifically for one kind of bird – the rosy starling. They are winter visitors and found in huge numbers and I was inspired by this photo from zenrainman on his lovely twitter feed.

In case you are wondering where those birds are, that ‘cloud’ near the middle is what you are looking for.

I remember seeing these birds a few times on earlier walks around the lake. So this time, I carried the camera to see what I can get.

The first thing I saw on getting off the car was that the yellow tabebuia tree was in bloom, and amidst those flowers was a flock of rosy starlings. Talk about beginner’s luck!
Rosy starling

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Running for life…

There’s something about quiet. It’s strangely unnerving in the beginning. Coming off a chaotic and increasingly connected world, you tend to feel lost without any anchors when confronted by it. You want to run, find the nearest mooring that you are comfortable with. The nearest friend sharing something, the TV or radio blaring out inanity, sometimes a book you’ve been reading. Anything that can provide a defence against it. To be in quiet is mostly having to confront yourself, your own mind and your own thoughts. Not exactly an easy place for most people craving to be entertained, craving to have their time filled up. After all, what do you do when you have nothing to do? Can you sit silently in one place just watching the world go by, letting your mind drift, not contemplating anything? But it’s the first step that needs to be overcome. Once you are in, once you start getting comfortable with yourself, it’s strangely addictive. You just can’t get enough of it. And you realize it’s not easy finding it either.

It’s been close to 10 months since I started running. Initially it was at a park/ground which gave me a 300m perimeter to run around and while going and coming from there I noticed that the Mallathahalli lake seemed to have a path developed around it – wide enough for a car to pass through. After a few attempts I figured out where the entrances were – gaps in the fence at different points and there began my obsession with running.

Mallahathalli lake with its Coots and other ducks

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