the bird delight

Mussorie is a delight for humans for the cool weather and pleasant walk in the mountain. But it is also a perfect playground for many birds. More so the way from Doon valley to Mussorie provide enchanted encounters of birds, butterflies and many more interesting small survivors. The heavy traffic and changing weather is creating problem for the hill station and its musical residents. Post a rainy night, I decided a trek to the Mussorie to explore bird which on vehicle gets too difficult and annoying.

From Rajpur road, a famous shop Hathi tea stall marks the identifying location if the trek. If one cannot figure out old route to Mussorie from Dehradun ask people about this shop! Its right next to the Christian Retreat and Study Center in Rajpur. the trek opposite to that will take you to Jharipaani and trek to Mussorie . The old toll of British India time is present ahead of which is  heritage route to Mussorie.

walking up the trail we encountered many birds and yes lots of lantana bushes. The prominent bids on the trek were Rufous sibia, Egyptian vulture,streaked laughing thrush, purple sunbird, crimson sunbird, oriental white eye. Further up on the trek as we reach Barlogunj, we encountered great barbet, Bar-tailed Treecreeper,Blue-throated Barbet,Chestnut-bellied Rock-Thrush,Russet Sparrow,Green-backed Tit,Black-lored Tit,Thick-billed Flowerpecker .


Barlowganj is a small settlement which is mid-way to Mussorie. The famous location is Jharipani of this area where people can trek from the main town itself. Some nice place to stay and walk around if your are looking for peaceful environment. One could see the real birds as well as painted ones in the town and flowering of rhododendron can be witnessed in this small settlement. Bus travelling to this route is not very frequent.

The trek  was exactly how many kilometers we could never tell. Rain, running after birds, exploring trees and talks amongst the exploration of route might have added to 4-5 km extra to the total trek. We concluded that we might have walked some 12-13 km from Rajpur road to Mussorie in 7 hours. But all the bird sighting and beautiful landscape view made it a memorable and worthwhile trek.


Will explore another route in the hills, till then happy birding!


the camouflaging one

the scaly thrush as observed in first week of march in Dehradun. A peculiar “khrrr khrr” sound drew me to investigate and found the bird sitting on the leaf litter. since it was first shower of winter, observing the camouflaged bird in brown and green leaves was difficult. the observation was made in slightly drizzling afternoon.

To convert multiple kml file (googleearth layer) to shapefile with QGIS.


If you have multiple point, polygon in kml format we can use QGIS to convert all as shapefile in single step.

  1. Following is example of kml point files, b1, b2, b3, b4, b5, b6kml-points
  2. Open Qgis Toolbox
  3. Goto  Geoalgorithms>Vector>General Tools> Save selected feature. Right click on it and select execute as batch processpicture1


  1. In the window of Batch processing , select your KML (google earth layer) from file system. The + sign is to increase the number of rows if you have many kml files.picture2

5.In the selection window,  give the output file name and location for shapefile that need to be created.picture3

6.In the autofill settings, preferably select fill with parameter value if you want to save the content of kml file.picture4

7.By default , keep yes in load in QGIS.

8.Once all the kml has been loaded in Input layer, click on run. Close window when batch process complete come.

9.Result will be displayed as followspicture5

Birds in backward

The winter rain invites the birds to enjoy the garden, when all us humans sit comfortably in our bed. This is my first sighting of red billed blue magpie robin in the campus and what a sighting! the blue whistling thrush was hopping in the garden , and both the birds were enjoying their lunch time in dehradun drizzle.

glimpses of periyar tiger reserve

The beautiful Periyar Tiger reserve is located in Kerala. The nearest airport is Kochi which itself is a beautiful place to be in. A short visit to this tiger reserve, yet so many memories for me to carry forward. Although Periyar is famous for elephants but the giants eluded me. Saw them in one of the resort who were catering to the joyride for tourists. Although lucky me got to see wild dog, sambar, gaur, wild boar. The major sightings were of tourists though :p

Wildlife Week- Some question to ponder

As the wildlife week is being celebrated starting from the birth anniversary of our Father of Nation to the entire week, thought few questions to ransack our brain regarding wildlife and environment would not be a bad idea. Check this and figure out how much you know about wildlife!

Benog Wildlife sanctuary in Mussorie is also called

  1. Mountain Quail sanctuary
  2. Himalayan Griffon sanctuary
  3. Musk deer sanctuary
  4. All

Uttarakhand has how many tiger reserve

  1. 1
  2. 2
  3. 3
  4. 4

This animal cannot be identified by its pattern

  1. Tiger
  2. Leopard
  3. Asiatic Lion
  4. Honey badger

In India, the two wild ass species are found in which habitat

  1. Desert
  2. Gangetic plain
  3. Evergreen Forest
  4. Mangrove

Which is not true for Himalayan Monal?

  1. National bird of Nepal
  2. State bird of Uttarakhand
  3. State bird of Himachal Pradesh
  4. State bird of Sikkim

Which of the following tree is native to India?

  1. Wattle
  2. Eucalyptus
  3. Jamun
  4. None

Dhak/ Palaash is a common tree of central India and is also called

  1. Flame of Forest
  2. Fire of Forest
  3. Red curtain of forest
  4. Sindhur tree

The Nainadevi Himalayan Bird Conservation Reserve is recently notified protected area in

  1. Nainital
  2. Pithoragarh
  3. Dehradun
  4. Uttarkashi

Which of the following is not in category of Natural heritage site of India?

  1. Sunderbans National Park
  2. Kaziranga National Park
  3. Keoladeo National Park
  4. Corbett Tiger Reserve

It is a Biosphere Reserve as well as a Tiger Reserve and got the tigers reintroduced in 2009.

  1. Sariska
  2. Panna
  3. Kawal
  4. Nilgiri

Which is not correctly matched?

  1. Sundarlal Hora – Fish
  2. Salim Ali- Birds
  3. Romulus Whittaker- Butterflies
  4. Kenneth Anderson- Hunter turned Naturalist

2015 South India floods resulted from

  1. North-East Monsoon
  2. South-West Monsoon
  3. Both
  4. None

Which animal is not depicted on the State Emblem of India

  1. Elephant
  2. Horse
  3. Lion
  4. Cow

Nicobar Islands is a part of which of the four Biodiversity Hotspots of India

  1. Himalaya
  2. Indo-Burma
  3. Sundalands
  4. Western Ghats

Plants are carnivorous too

  1. True
  2. False

Which is not one of the three R’s of Recycling are

  1. Reduce
  2. Reuse
  3. Recycle
  4. Run

Hope you enjoy solving it .

Good or bad caterpillar

I used to observe many Red Pierrot butterfly around a shrub by 8-10 am everyday. On close observation of the plant I realized that the margin of leaves were changing color. I realized that the beautiful butterfly must have laid eggs on the plant. The host plant for red pierrot is Crassulaceae family (remember CAM mechanism? the model family). I sat next to the plant to take certain photos  of different stages of butterfly for my blog. The gardener of our institute joined me to much of my inexpressible dismay that these people hang with plants so much so they might have observed butterfly also. Yet they were concerned that if it is diseased plant then uprooting it would save its disease spread to rest of the garden plant. I showed them the butterfly and asked do they find it beautiful. “Yes”. Then I showed them some four pupae of the same and eggs. They were amazed that so many butterfly would come out from this “detanned”plant. Happily they started exploring and discussed amongst themselves that even if the plant leaves are being eaten by so many caterpillar (as they themselves explored many more eggs and caterpillar on the same plant), they would not uproot it till all the  caterpillar, pupa,eggs are grown out.DSCN9570 DSCN9569



Well I guess a bit of interacting with the gardeners and helping them to understand butterfly world, would help us in future. I see less greenery and even less butterflies in urban landscape. If we want to enjoy the antics of butterfly in future, investing knowledge in our gardens will help immensely.