White and Blue

An as yet unidentified butterfly feeds on a flower in Kullu, India, its delicate proboscis just barely visible. It probably a member of Lycaenidae, otherwise known as the Blues - so named not because of their rather drab outside but rather the brilliant blue that hides in their folded-up inner wings. The largest family of… Continue reading White and Blue


White-eye Window

An Oriental White-eye peeks out from behind branches in Kullu, India. This bird was an unexpected surprise on our last day there. I was returning from a trek on my own when I noticed movement in a bare tree ahead - and voila.

Tit’s Tub

On our last day of Kullu, I went for a walk on my own. This was not the best decision in some respects. When I came back, half the prickly plants in the Himalayas had decided that my pants would be the best place to hitch a ride on. And I was stuck for half… Continue reading Tit’s Tub


One of the things birders both love and detest in equal measure are splits - i.e., when a bird species is split into two different species. While this may mean an increase in bird lists and 'lifers', this also means a headache in identification. Birds differ significantly from one place to the other and taxonomists… Continue reading Cuckoo?

Star’s Eye View

Stars as seen from the campfire in Kullu, India. My inability to identify any constellation other than Orion's belt has been a source of great frustration for me; my brother, Neel, has had greater success. Nevertheless, being able to see the stars - even if I can't understand them - is a wonderful feeling. In… Continue reading Star’s Eye View

Two Birds Diverged

Misidentification is a problem all birders (and, indeed, any naturalist) will know. Birds - to put not too fine a point - are complicated. The tiniest speck of brown in the venting (i.e. the space under their tails) can mean an entirely different scientific name. Perhaps I'm overexaggerating. But when most sightings of birds last… Continue reading Two Birds Diverged

Plumbeous Pride

Plumbeous Redstarts are the other species of the two I found on the banks of the Tirthan River. While initially they appear to be a dull black, in proper lighting their glistening slate blue coat is revealed. Though I usually found them perched precariously on a rock dangerously close to the rushing river, this one… Continue reading Plumbeous Pride