January 2020

I travelled to Hyderabad, India on 12th and returned from Bengaluru on 23rd. We were teaching a workshop on bat taxonomy, ecology and conservation to about 50 participants from South Asia as part of our UKIERI grant with Srini from Osmania University. I was accompanied by Matt Zeale and Lia Gilmour from Bristol.

Osmania workshop

Adi

workshop

Great food (aubergine and crunchy okra curries with dahl and rotis), and setting off for fieldwork with the harp traps.

curries

fieldwork travel

Cynopterus sphinx, caught during fieldwork during the course.

Cynopterus sphinx

We also caught Lyroderma lyra (below), Hipposideros speoris and Pipistrellus tenuis.

Lyroderma lyra

We caught bats at Golconda Fort in Hyderabad.

Golconda Fort

Golconda Fort

Rousettus leschenaultii roosted here.

Rousettus leschenaultii

Rousettus leschenaultii

Rousettus leschenaultii

The roost of Hipposideros lankadiva has returned since the bats were smoked out several years ago. They did not exit during the light show at the fort however.

Hipposideros lankadiva

Hipposideros lankadiva

Hipposideros lankadiva

Hipposideros lankadiva

There was also a roost of Taphozous nudiventris with scattered Lyroderma lyra in the Fort.

Taphozous nudiventris

Taphozous nudiventris

Taphozous nudiventris

Lyroderma lyra

Rhinopoma hardwickii roosted singly in crevices.

Rhinopoma hardwickii

Rhinopoma hardwickii

Three-striped palm squirrel at Golconda.

three-striped palm squirrel

House swifts nested in the fort.

. house swift

Spotted owlet

spotted owlet

Ring-necked parakeet

ring-necked parakeet

Birds around the campus included green bee-eater

green bee-eater

black-rumped flameback

black-rumped flameback

black drongo

black drongo

jungle babbler

jungle babbler

Indian peafowl

peacock

spotted dove

spotted dove

golden oriole

golden oriole

and black kite.

black kite

Several raptors flew overhead, including Oriental honey buzzard, marsh harrier and this dark-phase booted eagle.

booted eagle

A spotted owlet perched on the telegraph wires as we returned from fieldwork.

spotted owlet

Butterflies included common jezebel, common crow, and a butterfly whose eyespot may have saved its life by detracting a predator.

common jezebel

common crow

eyespot

After the workshop we headed south to Karnataka, and travelled towards Hampi on 18th. Photos of dried chillies and the road trip team. A bandicoot rat ran past out hotel in Hosapete.

Karnataka border

chillies

road trip team

Some of the darker side of India - pollution from a power factory, cows in a pile of plastic and rubbish with a dead dog.

power plant

cows in plastic

rubbish pile

road to Hampi

At Hampi on 19th we first visited Anantashayana temple, and saw Hipposideros speoris, Pipistrellus ceylonicus and P. tenuis, the latter two roosting in cracks.

Anantshayana Temple

The temple is remarkable and has some interesting and sensual sculptures.

Hosapete temple

sculpture

Hipposideros speoris roosted in the Underground Shiva Temple at Hampi.

Hipposideros speoris

Hipposideros speoris

The gecko species named after Adi (Cnemaspis adii) was here too.

Cnemaspis adii

The Srinis also described the Hampi rock gecko Hemidactylus siva from here.

agama

Blanford's rock agama Psammophilus blanfordanus was also present.

Rock agama

We visited another temple with a small roost of Scotophilus heathii.

Scotophilus heathii

Scotophilus heathii

We watched the Hanuman langurs. The taxonomy of these langurs is complex and much debated. I understand those at Hampi are Semnopithecus hypoleucos achates if the map here is correct.

Hanuman langur

Tail carriage has been used as a way of separating the langur species. This ancient depiction of Hanuman doesn't seem to resemble any of them!

Hanuman

langur

Hanuman langur

Hanuman langur

Hanuman langur

Hanuman langur

Hanuman langur

Hanuman langur

There are bonnet macaques at Hampi too. One macaque groomed a langur.

Bonnet macaque

Bonnet macaque

Bonnet macaque

Bonnet macaque grooming a langur

At the Vijaya Vitthala Temple we saw Rhinopoma hardwickii and Hipposideros speoris.

Rhinopoma hardwickii

Rhinopoma hardwickii

Hipposideros speoris

Hampi birds included laughing dove, Indian robin and common myna.

laughing dove

Indian robin

common myna

Some of the sculptures at the temples are remarkable.

sculpture, Hampi

sculpture

sculpture, Hampi

sculpture, Hampi

sculptures

The Vijaya Vitthala Temple.

Vitthala Temple

Vitthala Temple

Entering a temple door at Vijaya Vitthala Temple.

entering the temple

Some Hampi landscapes. Shiva Linga (the male aspect of the universe), the Yoga-Narasimha monolith avatar of Vishnu and a view over the Tungabhadra River.

Shiva linga

Hampi

Hampi

Stepped square water tank.

water tank

The Virupaksha Temple.

Virupaksha Temple

On 20th we drove a long way to Kolar. We passed through the biodiversity hotspot at Sandur.

Sandur

Wind energy is becoming big in India, and turbine blades are transported on rather small vehicles.

wind turbines

turbine blade

In the evening we briefly visited a roost of the Indian endemic Hipposideros durgadasi which echolocates using calls around 170 kHz. Quite a lot of bats circled around a roost entrance.

21 Jan: an early start to drive to a grassland area occupied by blackbuck. Much grassland has been lost in India. We had decent views of adult males (which leave piles of droppings in latrines), groups of subadult males, and females.

grassland

blacbuck latrine

blackbuck

blackbuck

blackbuck

blackbuck

blackbuck

blackbuck

Birds included shikra, bay-backed shrike and Indian courser.

shikra

bay-backed shrike

Indian courser

We then visited a derelict building with 2 individuals of Hipposideros galeritus roosting in it.

Hipposideros galeritus

Hipposideros galeritus

Hipposideros galeritus

Hipposideros galeritus

We watched a large-billed crow in the village, and there were turtles on the nearby ponds. A bonnet macaque fed near the new temple.

large-billed crow

turtle

bonnet macaque

We then visited the only known roost site of the Critically Endangered Kolar leaf-nosed bat Hipposideros hypophyllus and met with local people trying to conserve it, and they fed us the local and delicious food. Srini borrowed a Royal Enfield. We recorded bats emerging from the roost (call frequency around 110 kHz), though didn't capture any. We watched the sunset from the top of hill where the bats roost.

Rufford poster

Kolar food

Srini

kolar roost

Kolar roost

Harpreet and Lia bat detecting

at Kolar roost

Bhargavi

Kolar sunset

Kolar sunset

Our final day in the field (22nd) was at the Pteropus medius roost at Kolar Railway Station. We watched birds at close range while they fed on a fig tree: white-cheeked barbet, coppersmith barbet, chestnut-tailed starling and Asian koel.

Kolar railway station

white-cheeked barbet

white-cheeked barbet

coppersmith barbet

coppersmith barbet

chestnut-tailed starling

Asian koel

Asian koel

Male purple sunbird here too, and a female from Osmania campus.

purple sunbird

Purple sunbird

Black kites flew overhead.

black kite

Another spotted owlet

spotted owlet

And of course the Indian flying foxes, Pteropus medius.

Pteropus medius

Pteropus medius

Pteropus medius

Pteropus medius

Pteropus medius

Pteropus medius

Pteropus medius

Pteropus medius

Some people photographs

guide to galeritus roost

woman in door

street photography

street photography

street photography

street photography

street photography

street photography

street photography

street photography

street photography

street photography

dog on scooter

kids

Overall. the trip was a great success and attracted quite a lot of publicity in India.

press

press

press

Bird list:

Little cormorant

Little grebe

Intermediate egret

Cattle egret

Grey heron

Indian pond heron

Asian openbill

Black ibis (Hampi)

Spot-billed duck

Oriental honey buzzard (OU)

Black-shouldered kite

Brahminy kite

Black kite

Shikra

Booted eagle - dark and light morphs

Tawny eagle (near Kolar)

Marsh harrier

Grey francolin

Indian peafowl

Black-winged stilt

Indian courser

Red-wattled lapwing

River tern

Laughing dove

Spotted dove

Plum-headed parakeet

Rose-ringed (ring-necked) parakeet

Asian koel

Greater coucal

Spotted owlet

Asian palm swift

House (little) swift

Indian roller

White-throated kingfisher

Green bee-eater

White-cheeked barbet

Coppersmith barbet

Hoopoe

Black-rumped flameback

Golden oriole

Black-hooded oriole (OU)

Oriental skylark

Ashy woodswallow (near Kolar)

Dusky crag marin (Hampi)

Barn swallow

Wire-tailed swallow (Hampi)

Black drongo

Bay-backed shrike (Kolar grassland)

Chestnut-tailed starling

Brahminy starling (Hampi)

Common mynah

Jungle mynah (Kolar)

Rufous treepie (OU)

House crow

Large-billed crow

Red-vented bulbul

White-browed bulbul (Hampi)

Jungle babbler

Large grey babbler (Kolar grasslands)

Asian brown flycatcher (Hampi)

Verditer flycatcher (OU)

Tickell's blue flycatcher (OU)

Ashy prinia (OU)

Plain prinia (Hampi)

Chiffchaff (OU, though calls different from UK birds)

Oriental magpie robin

Indian robin

Pied bush chat (Hampi)

Blue rock thrush (Hampi)

White-browed wagtail

Purple sunbird

Thick-billed flowerpecker (Hampi)

Pale-billed flowerpecker (Hampi)

Red avadavat (Hampi)

House sparrow (Kolar)

The New Year started in Cornwall, with a walk west of St Ives on 1st. There were several harbour porpoises and great northern divers offshore. It's fantastic to see these from the bedroom window too. On 3rd we visited Newlyn harbour, and had great views of a juvenile Iceland gull and about 3 great northern divers. A pair of eiders here too.

Newlyn

Newlyn

Iceland gull

Iceland gull

Iceland gull

Iceland gull

great northern diver

great northern diver

great northern diver

great northern diver

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