Saturday, May 30, 2015

Black kite (ভুবন চিল) - Milvus migrans

Bengali Name : Bhubon chil (ভুবন চিল), Badami chil (বাদামি চিল).
Common Name : Black kite, Fork-tailed Kite.
Binomial/Scientific Name : Milvus migrans
Family : Accipitridae



It is difficult to identify the Black kite birds (specially when comes to the case of juveniles). That's why my article may have some wrongly identified Black kites as well. But I have tried my best to avoid such errors.





বাংলাদেশে দুই ধরনের চিল দেখা যায়, তার মধ্যে ভুবন চিল খুব বেশি দেখা যায় (অন্যটির নাম শঙ্খ চিল)। সংখায় বেশি হবার কারণে কিনা জানিনা, এই পাখিটি কিন্তু ভীষণ দলবদ্ধ। মাঝারি আকারের এই শিকারী পাখিকে ডানা মেলে আকাশে উড়ে বেড়াতে দেখা যায়। সব সময় সুযোগের অপেক্ষায় থাকে আর উড়ন্ত অবস্থা থেকেই ছোঁ মেরে শিকার করে অভ্যস্থ। আকাশে উড়ার সময় তীক্ষ্ণ স্বরে ডাকে। একটা সময় এই পাখির সংখ্যা এত বেশি ছিল যে ধারণা করা যায়নি এর সংখ্যা কখনো কমতে পারে। কিন্তু এখন দিন দিন এমন ভাবে কমতে শুরু করেছে যে বাংলাদেশে এর অবস্থা কিছুটা নাজুকই বলা যায়। মূলত ক্ষেতে কীটনাশক, জাল বিছানো, বা মাছের খামের মাছ চুরি করতে না দেয়ার জন্য পাতা ফাদে পরেই এদের সংখ্যা কমে যাচ্ছে (আর সাথে জলাশয় ভরাট হয়ে এদের বিচরণের জায়গা কমে যাবার কারণ তো আছেই)।





Most commonly seen kite from Bangladesh is the Black kite. This medium sized raptor is widely available at anywhere from our country Bangladesh, and a residential bird here. We use to call this bird as Bhuban chil (ভুবন চিল), Badami chil (বাদামী চিল), etc. They are widely found from anywhere of the world, except the American continents. Binomial name of the bird is Milvus migrans and belongs to the family Accipitridae.





Black kite (ভুবন চিল) is a medium sized raptor that is seen patrolling the air for the foods. They often perch on the high branches of the trees. They are known for the gregarious nature and seen in a large group (sometimes more than thousands). During my observation at the Keranganj (কেরানীগঞ্জ) I have seen two groups at two different areas where it was probably around 200-300 Black kites in each groups. Most of those raptors were patrolling over the sky, and only few were standing on the ground. It was unbelievable!





This medium sized raptors are reddish brown in color with having lot of light brown colored spot. Both male and female are similar but the females are slightly larger than the males. Under side of the tails of Black kite (ভুবন চিল) are having a stripe of white and black. The tails are slightly forked during the flight where as the Brahmini kites are having short and round shaped tails. This feature helps slightly to identify the juveniles from the species (as they are confusing at that stage). Another distinct thing is the finger like feathers (having space between the feathers) at the wings during the flight.





The adult Black kites (ভুবন চিল) are having brown to greyish head, feet are yellow, and the claws are black (may be it is different for the juveniles! cause few of my birds are having grey feet in this article). For the matures, the beak of the bird is black and having yellowish waxy base. While patrolling over the sky they produce a high pitched shrilling sound which can be heard from a far distance.


Notice the yellow feet and beak, its an adult kite.



These birds prefer to live near the river, canal, or wetlands. It helps them to find fishes from there easily along with fresh water. Apart from the fishes, they often prey on the frogs, lizards, dead or wounded other birds, etc. They make their nest on the trees above 8-15 meter height. They mainly make the nest by using the soft but thick materials along with human droppings like polythene, plastics, etc. As these birds are gregarious, it is often found the nests in close proximity with another. March to the May is their breeding season and the clutch gets 2-4 eggs.


A Black kite is taking care of the tail.



Being a raptor, and remaining at the top of its food-chain, this bird hardly has any predator. This is probably a reason to have an abundant amount Black kites in this world (nearly 6 million). But these days their count is decreasing. In Bangladesh people use to kill this bird as they often looks for the fish from the fisheries. Also sometimes placing the nets over the fields (to protect from birds) often catch these raptors. That's why in our country they are having in a threat despite of having a large number.


It is eating a fish from its claw.



Although the Black kites (ভুবন চিল) are a residential bird in Bangladesh, but they are also migratory at other region. They use to visit the warm place during their winter. In Bangladesh few of such migratory raptors visit during that time too.











A group of Black kites.



Not sure what it is doing on the ground.



A nest of the Black kite.






This is a very common position of a Black kite.



























Photos of this article were taken from Bangladesh (বাংলাদেশ) as per the following date and location:
1) 25 October 2014: Mirpur Botanical Garden (মিরপুর বোটানিক্যাল গার্ডেন),
2) 16 December 2014: Keraniganj, Dhaka (কেরানীগঞ্জ, ঢাকা),
3) 06 March 2015: Uttara sector 18, Dhaka (উত্তরা সেক্টর ১৮, ঢাকা),
4) 17,20,26 March 2015: Romna park, Dhaka (রমনা পার্ক, ঢাকা).


This article has written by Lonely Traveler,
for the blog http://icwow.blogspot.com/

শেষ বিকেলের পাখী, আমি যাযাবর...



Monday, May 25, 2015

Mahogany flower (মেহগনি ফুল) - Swietenia macrophylla

Bengali Name : Mehogoni ful (মেহগনি ফুল).
Common Name : Big-leaf Mahogany, Honduras Mahogany.
Botanical Name : Swietenia macrophylla
Family : Meliaceae (mahogany family)






মেহগনি বাংলাদেশের আদি গাছ না হলেও এখন এমন ভাবে এই দেশে মানিয়ে নিয়েছে যে বিদেশী গাছ বলে মনেই হয় না। শীতের পরে পাতা ঝরিয়ে ফেলে, আর বসন্তের শেষের দিকে গাছে নিয়ে আসে ছোট ছোট অনেক ফুল, যা সহজে চোখ পরে না। না পরার কারণ ফুলের রং, ফেকাশে সবুজ রঙ। এই গাছের এত কদর এর সুন্দর কাঠের জন্য। মেহগনি ফলের বিচি পাখা যুক্ত হয়, বীজের ভারকেন্দ্রকে ভর করে বীজটি হেলিকপ্টারের মতন বাতাসে ভেসে বেশ খানিকটা দুরে যেতে পারে। ছোট বেলায় এই বীজ কুড়িয়ে নিয়ে আসতাম আর বিল্ডিং এর ছাদ থেকে ছেড়ে দিতাম। দেখতাম কেমন করে উচু থেকে হাওয়ায় ভর করে ঘুরতে ঘুরতে নিচে নাম বীজগুলো।





Mahogany is probably the commercially most planted plant in Bangladesh for the timber. Most of the streets and the yards are packed with these trees. Their presence is abundantly in such a huge amount that these days it is hard to believe that the plant is actually imported from outside. Yes, it is native to the West Indies and South American region where the plant grows naturally.





This plant is commonly known as Big-leaf mahogany, Honduras mahogany, Brazilian mahogany, etc. Keeping the similarity with the common name, the local name here in Bangladesh is Mehogoni (মেহগনি). It spread throughout the world by the British colonist during the colonization period. Binomial name of the plant is Swietenia macrophylla and it belongs to the plant family Meliaceae.





Mahogany (মেহগনি) is a tall (45-60 meter) growing plant that grows like a pillar. It is a deciduous plant having a very long life (up to 350 years). The tree grows based on the single straight trunk and very rarely branched. Leafs are large and evenly pinnate. The leafs are green, dark green in color. But new leafs are reddish in color and looks very beautiful. The leafs also turn into reddish before falling. In Bangladesh this plant doesn't require that much of cares, in fact I have never seen anyone to taking care of this plant.





On the tree the flowers are not showy. Because of the size and color of the flower. Mahogany (মেহগনি) flowers are very small and blooms as a cluster. Blooming season is the End of March to the beginning of the April. The color of the flowers are pale green (that's why they are hard to notice) and also the tree uses to be with thick leafs during blooming season. Ground under the tree uses to get covered with numerous small flowers (specially after the rain). Flowers are not scented.





Flower is star shaped. It has 5 petals and the green petals are bended to the inner side. Center of the flower is having a crown like thing that is brownish (or should I say Mahogany color). Despite of having numerous flowers, very few of those turn into a fruit. Shape of the fruits are like a small papaya. Outer shell of the fruit is very hard and they automatically burst out when fully ripped.





Mahogany fruits contain numerous seeds inside. Each of the seeds are having a thin, light feather like blade with that. The center of the mass of the fruit is near the seed. That's why the seed can rotate around the center of the mass like a helicopter's blade. And that helps the seeds to travel a respectable amount of distance.





As I have mentioned before that the Mahogany (মেহগনি) is the most commercially planted tree (not only in Bangladesh but also in the whole world). The tree provides one of the world's finest but cheap (in term's of price despite of the quality) timber which is the raw material for the various furniture. The color of the timber is reddish, but these days the color is known as Mahogany color.





Apart from the timber uses, the plant provides few other benefits. The seeds are very bitter in taste and helpful against the diabetics (soaking the seed into water and then drink). Extracted oil from the seed is useful against the insects.





























The reddish leafs before withering.



New leafs. Cute and colorful!






I have taken the photos for this article from Bangladesh (বাংলাদেশ). It was April 2014 and the places were Gulshan (গুলশান) and Banani (বনানী) of Dhaka city. This plant is vastly available throughout the country. In fact it is one of the most predominant planted plants from Bangladesh.


This article has written by Lonely Traveler,
for the blog http://icwow.blogspot.com/



Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Nepal: Patan Durbar Square

Monday, 19 August 2013





Patan Durbar Square is a world heritage site that is located at the Lalitpur, a major metropolitan city that is adjacent to the Kathmandu. Nepal has three Durbar Square, and this one is one of those three. From my understanding, the Durbar square means the royal complex that comprises with a court yard, lot of temples and shrines, and many more edifices.





The Mallya kings of Lalitpur are considered the founder of this Patan Durbar Square but the exact history behind this totally unclear even in these days. Most of the edifices from the around are probably from the 16th century and constructed during the reign of King Siddhinarasimha Mallya and his son Srinivasa sukriti. Later during the massive earthquake of 25 April 2015 had taken a toll by causing a severe damage on this heritage site (killed near about 9000 people from whole Nepal till this date).





I had a chance to visit place during one Monday. It was during the rainy season and the sky was cloudy with a chilling wind. It was afternoon when we have reached there (30 minutes of drive from our house). There were lot of local tourists out there that time and the place was jam packed. Most of the people were Nepali, and only few tourists.


People use to sit here during the afternoon like this way!



It requires an entry fee for the foreigners here. But we didn't find anyone near the ticket box that time. We have walked around the streets of the premise. There were a lot of temples around. Also the residential buildings from that place were having some sort of similar architecture of the temples. We have entered few of those buildings (residential) and they do not mind if anybody sneaks inside. They are used to with it.





As the place was too much crowded, we have decided to walk at the outside of this premise. We have gone slightly far from the main tourist attraction. The buildings were very old there and were giving a feelings like the 'Old Dhaka of Bangladesh'. It started getting darker quickly since it was a rainy day. And also it started drizzling and we had to run for a shed quickly.





There are several rooftop restaurants available beside the area. You can enter any of those and have your lunch or dinner or any mild snacks. Those restaurants will help you to observe the Durbar square from a bird's eye view. I forgot the name of restaurant that we have used (probably Third Eye or something like that). It was raining when we have ordered our meal. The place was looking mysterious under the dark cloud with the rains. We have enjoyed Buff-meat Sadekho, Nepali version of Pizza, and few other things during that sitting.


Nepali version of a Pizza!



I forgot to mention, at the end of the day we have found a group people were dancing with the music. They were wearing colorful masks and dresses. From one of my local friends I came to know that was some kind of Yatra (a kind of festival). Probably that was a reason behind the overwhelming crowd. For your information, the people from Patan are renowned for their arts, crafts, and festivals.





How to Go to Patan Durbar Square:

This place is very easy to access if you feel generous on that day. It should take around 250-350 Nepali rupees from the Thamel, the ultimate gathering point for the tourists at Nepal. It will be a 25-30 minutes of drive from that place.


Alternately, you can use the public transports as well. Those are cheap but slightly crowded. From Thamel you can have a short 10-15 minutes of walking to come to the Ratna Park [GPS coordinate (27°42'25.04"N, 85°18'55.12"E)]. There you'll find a lot of public transports which will drop you at the Patan. The fare could be 10 to 15 Nepali rupees.


Local people from Nepal are very much friendly and cooperative with the tourists. You can ask them for your direction without any hesitation. And you have your GPS coordinate for the destination on your device as well, it is (27°40'24.39"N, 85°19'30.93"E).





Entry fee for Patan Durbar Square:

I am not sure about the exact amount, but the entry fee for the Nepali people is free. For the SAARC people it is 100 Nepali rupee, and for the other country tourists it is 1000 or 1200 Nepali rupee.


May be the statue of the Pashupati (पशुपति), In Nepal it is a form of the Lord Shiva, the great Hindu God.



Best time to visit Patan Durbar Square:

This is from my personal observation, any place from Nepal is crowded at Saturday as it is the weekend. And Durbar Square like places which are near to the city get crowded at the afternoon. So I think it will be better if you can visit the place during the noon at a working day. You should find the area having less crowd.





What to do at Patan Durbar Square:

There are lot of things to do here. You can explore the Museum, temples, and road side old buildings. There are several souvenir shops nearby which are selling lot of handicrafts. I have liked the puppets (or Muppet) hanging on the shops. But didn't by any! And of course you should spend few moments at the rooftop restaurants nearby.





Where to stay in Kathmandu:

Tourism is one of the main incomes of Nepal in recent days. That's why there are plenty of hotels and resorts all over the country. Here is a list of hotels near Kathmandu for you. It is always better to reserve your room before traveling anywhere.





Look at the sky back there. It is the rainy season.





















Night time view of the Patan Durbar Square from a rooftop restaurant nearby.



Patan Durbar Square,
City: Lalitpur,
Country: Nepal,
GPS coordinate: (27°40'24.39"N, 85°19'30.93"E),
List of hotels near Kathmandu


This article has written by Lonely Traveler,
for the blog http://icwow.blogspot.com/