Red Billed Leiothrix

I first saw this beautiful bird in Gangtok, and barely managed some shots before it disappeared into bushes.

Red-billed Leiothrix or Pekin Robin, Gangtok

Googled to find the name.
Cute little Red-billed Leiothrix, Gangtok

Saw it again in Sattaal this June 🙂

Red Billed Leiothrix FB

It was a warm day…

Red Billed Leiothrix FB


Red Billed Leiothrix FB

All I had to do was wait near a pool of water…
Red Billed Leiothrix FB
And this time I could see it was not just a dark green bird with a bright red bill…

Red Billed Leiothrix FB


Red Billed Leiothrix FB



White Cheeked Barbet in Goa

July is not the time for looking for birds in Goa, but I was there for the #zestupyourlife event so decided to stay back till 29th – not really expecting to see too many birds.

And what did we find!!  🙂

White Cheeked Barbet was one of the 20+ species we shot from our hotel balcony… all while sipping tea and enjoying the light drizzle.

This tree attracted all the birds.

Hotel Balcony

The drizzle and the lack of sun which made the weather so awesome, also meant the light was very poor.

1White Cheeked Barbet, common myna
I thought Barbets ate only fruit.
1White Cheeked Barbet with bee
If I had not seen it going there, I would have never known it sat right there – at a distance, but clear enough amongst the leaves.
1white cheeked barbet
Feeding a juvenile?

1White cheeked Barbets
Many more and better White Cheeked Barbet photographs in another post.
1white cheeked barbet


Related Posts:

A Coppersmith Barbet on a tree outside Anna Hazare’s home in Ralegaon Siddhi.

When a Brown Headed Barbet visited a friend 🙂


So how was the Tata Zest test driving experience? 

Although I was more curious about and interested in the Diesel automatic version, I think this version would require some getting used to.

Will continue later!

Wed, 30th July 2014

Back home after a looong weekend in Goa… experiencing the Tata Zest, and capturing colourful birds (although this is off season for bird photography in Goa)…

But let me continue where I left.

So what do I think of Tata Zest?

My review maybe influenced by the fact that I drive only when there is no other way to reach somewhere.

Here is what I would look for while buying a car,

1. Mileage, and the general cost of running it.

There is the diesel version.

2. Comfort and a feeling of space.

Loved the comfortable, spacious seats and leg room. Missed the place to keep water bottles, coffee mugs.  The boot seemed spacious enough.

There are three Driving Modes for driving in the city, on the highway or in ‘Sports Mode’.

Steering wheel with integrated controls – ac, music. Nice.

3. Safety.

The car has Dual SRS Air bags – a huge plus for me. The car also has speed sensing door lock – another plus.

Speed-sensitive power steering – it seems the steering would not feel as light at higher speeds. I know of a friend who was troubled by Power Steering when she first used it, so I suppose this could make the car safer to drive.

Another feature which I wish all cars had is – Ultrasonic rear park sensors with display on touchscreen.

Touchscreen! More about it, in a moment.

4. AMT (Automated manual transmission) is available in the diesel version – so clutch-free driving!!

Though this could take some getting used to, I feel AMT should be welcomed by many users, even more so by those who drive only to reach somewhere, and those who dread  the Indian traffic – provided it is priced competitively – Bloggers I spoke to seemed to think it should cost between 5-7 lakhs.

5. Gizmos 🙂

Entertainment features

Bluetooth, voice recognition, text-to-speech and phone-enabled navigation

The car will read out your SMS out to you and also tune the fm channel for you! We are told, this car has been trained to understand Indian accents (unlike my Samsung Galaxy SII)

8 speakers – if you like music while driving (I think everybody does)  Harman infotainment system.



The way the Zest had been introduced reminded me of this much loved Tata Zeta ad 🙂

And finally – here’s what just writing this review has done for me, made me want to take out my car and go for a drive 😀


Related Posts:

I did it 🙂

Driving on a rainy day 🙂

In Goa… experiencing the Tata Zest.

Blogadda invited 50 bloggers to Goa, to experience the Tata Zest while being ‘pampered’ at The Zuri.

I almost didn’t come because I had no idea how much fun this could be 🙂  Glad I did!


Please take a look at how we were welcomed at The Zuri by the Blogadda team 😉


Sharon of The Key Bunch and I shared our gorgeous room with this lovely view.


Our room in Goa

I spent some time in the balcony admiring this noisy little creature.

Goa, 70 300

Sharon was more impressed with this and requested I capture this for her.


In the evening some of us strolled to the beach…

Goa 1

And then we came back and attended a ‘masterclass’ where the team that designed and engineered the Tata Zest spoke to us about what went into creating this car.

I realised there were quite definitely a much larger number of women in the hall, so looks like finally women in India are being seen as car buyers and owners 🙂

And what else did Miss Malini – the anchor think would delight women bloggers 🙂

See for yourself.


While all the information was impressive, here is what I found the most interesting.

Entertainment features

Everybody seemed super excited to test drive the car the next morning –  as someone who drives only when and because there is no other way to reach somewhere without driving, I was very curious about AMT in the diesel  version.

So how was the experience? In the next post!

Great Egret, Cattle Egret and Little Egret

Here is an attempt to identify some of these beautiful Herons I have shot.

Cattle Egret

In Basai Wetlands, Gurgaon

Cattle Egret2

Easily found around fields and wetlands – often riding on the backs of buffaloes, this is so commonly seen that I never, until now, thought of capturing an image, but watch this space for Cattle Egret on Buffalo shots 🙂

Egret catches the dragonfly

Yellow legs, yellow beak.
Egret eyeing a dragonfly, Cattle Egret, Basai Wetlands, Indian HomemakerAlmost finished swallowing a dragonfly.

Cattle Egret, Basai Wetlands, Indian Homemaker

Great Egret looks similar but has long, black legs, and yellow beak.

Keoladeo National Park, Bharatpur

Great Egret, Bharatpur, Indian Homemaker

The Great Egret is also larger.

Egret, Great Egret, Bharatpur, Indian Homemaker, IHM

Little Egret has black beak and black legs with yellow feet (not seen in the picture, so I hope this one near Bharatpur is Little Egret – what else can it possibly be – all white with a black bill and black legs?
Another ‘must capture’ in my list.

In Basai Wetlands.

Little Egret, Basai Wetlands, Indian Homemaker

The Great Egret’s yellow beak and black feet are reversed in the Little Egret.

Black beak, Yellow Feet.

Little Egret, Basai Wetlands, Indian Homemaker


Related Posts:

Egrets all the way ….

Cattle Egret

As we drove back from Bathinda on a foggy February morning…