Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Birds, butterflies and nature at Microsoft Campus, Hyderabad

Read Part 2 to this series here.

The Microsoft Campus in Hyderabad is extremely hospitable and teeming with life. Whilst humans may either write endless amounts of code or keep occupied likewise, other forms of life thrive in the open greenery of the campus.

Areas specifically such as the Building 1 or Building 2 parking with their dense trees provide for a great habitat for innumerable birds. The hill in between Building 2 to Building 3 is also a rich habitat. Last but not least, many common water birds also frequent the small lake in the campus.

I must thank the Security officers on campus giving me permission to take pictures of these winged beauties. This effort was a culmination of four to five visits to campus on weekends.

Some of my captures (by no means an exhaustive list of birds in campus) are below-

For a more exhaustive set of pics, view them here
Camera: Sony DSC HX 300 (not a DSLR, but super-zoom point n shoot)

White-browed wagtail

This fellow was camping on the cricket ground in B1. Along with its mate, they were chirping and enjoying the morning sunshine in the dewy grass.

Wild flowers
A beautiful Purple Sunbird

This beautiful and extremely active bird had made his home (along with many others) in a tree on a hill in between Building 2 and Building 3. Persistently active, with a sharp beak, its attention was focused on the colorful wild flowers in this tree.

Red-Vented Bulbul
One of the most beautiful and melodious birds, hearing it sing is a joy to behold. These are common in our campus near the tennis court and B1 parking.

Green Bee-Eater
Living up to its name and doing precisely that – eating a bee.

These bright birds are found across the campus, I was fortunate enough to watch this one swoop down on a bee and enjoy its meal.

Another Green bee-eater

This little fellow was hovering in the grass around B2 parking near the tennis court.


Purple Rumped Sunbird - Female
Stretching itself as she looks down upon me with arrogance (this has a curved and sharp beak like other sun birds which hasn’t come out from this angle). She was spotted on the same hill between B2 and B3.

Purple Rumped Sunbird - Male
This bright bird, much sharper in color than its female species was hovering in a branch near the small swamp-like lake just outside B3 football ground.

A solitary bright red fruit, surprisingly not yet spotted by one of our flying species

Indian Silverbill (or White-throated Munia)
 These tiny little birds were moving about in packs near the swampy lake outside B3 football ground. They flew in groups moving and making a fair amount of noise. One had to literally stay still for a fair amount of time to allow any of them to accidentally come close to you.


Pale-billed Flowerpecker
Doesn't that fruit in this fellow's mouth look much larger than its mouth itself? Still, unsurprisingly the fruit vanished and was swallowed pretty swiftly.

Wild yellow flowers with bee
Many bees hover tirelessly around these wild flowers throughout the day; on occasion they become the meal of other creatures like Green Bee-Eaters.

The campus lake provides a rich habitat for water birds and others who come there for food and water. It is also teeming with fish which are hunted by these birds in packs. Amongst the birds not captured on camera, I saw a couple of playful River Terns constantly fly over the surface of the water at great speed as they looked for small fish on the surface which they could snap up, a Pied Kingfisher struggling with its catch and many others.

A wild blue flower growing near the lake

A fish gazing at me almost beseechingly as it fed off on the leaves at the water surface. 
These fishes were big enough to probably not be meddled with by one of the smaller birds.

Another fish

A grey heron reflecting at the far end of the lake. This bird was spotted at exactly the same spot on two consecutive days.

A pond heron (if looks could kill…)

A cormorant hanging itself out to dry
This very peculiar bird is commonly found at many water bodies. It is identified easily by its trait to hang itself out to dry in the sun after a good swim. Rather intelligent, one must say!

A pair of cormorants staring haughtily right at me!

A peacock!
Plenty of these on campus, couldn't get a closeup shot.

A beautiful butterfly - Tiger Longwing butterfly?

And another one - The Common Mormon Butterfly

And another one - The Common Jezebel butterfly

Shedding season
This is from a tree right outside Building 2.

Species of birds spotted (surely there are many more)-
  • White-browed Wagtail
  • Green bee eater
  • Magpie robin
  • Pond Herons 
  • Grey Heron
  • Egret
  • Cormorants (little and big)
  • Common Kingfisher
  • Pied Kingfisher
  • Red wattled lapwing
  • River Tern
  • Common Myna
  • Jungle Crow
  • Spotted Dove
  • Sparrow Lark
  • Red vented Bulbul
  • Indian Robin
  • White-throated Munia (Indian Silverbill)
  • Little Sunbird
  • Purple Sunbird
  • Purple-Rumped Sunbird
  • Pale billed Flowerpecker
  • Peacocks (in large numbers)
  • Black Winged Kite 
  • Painted Stork (recent addition - read part 2 for the same)

View a larger collection of pics in case your appetite is unsatisfied - here.