Common swift bird

The swifts are a family, Apodidae, of highly aerial birds. They are superficially similar to swallows, but are not closely related to any of the passerine species. Swifts are placed in the order Apodiformes, which they share with hummingbirds. The treeswifts are closely related to the true swifts, but form a separate family, the Hemiprocnidae.

Resemblances between swifts and swallows are due to convergent evolution, reflecting similar life styles based on catching insects in flight.

The family name, Apodidae, is derived from the Greek ἄπους (ápous), meaning “footless”, a reference to the small, weak legs of these most aerial of birds.

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The tradition of depicting swifts without feet continued into the Middle Ages, as seen in the heraldic martlet.

Some species of swifts are among the fastest animals on the planet, with some of the fastest measured flight speeds of any bird.

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Indian palm squirrel

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The palm squirrel is about the size of a large chipmunk, with a bushy tail slightly shorter than its body. The back is a grizzled, gray-brown color with three conspicuous white stripes which run from head to tail. The two outer stripes run from the forelegs to the hind legs only. It has a creamy-white belly and a tail covered with interspersed, long, black and white hair. The ears are small and triangular. Juvenile squirrels have significantly lighter coloration, which gets progressively darker as they age. Albinism is rare, but exists in this species.

Red dragon fly

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The red-veined darter or nomad (Sympetrum fonscolombii) is a dragonfly of the genus Sympetrum. It is a common species in southern Europe and from the 1990s onwards has increasingly been found in northwest Europe, including Britain and Ireland. Its name is sometimes spelt fonscolombei instead of fonscolombii but Askew (2004) gives the latter as the correct spelling. There is genetic and behavioural evidence that S. fonscolombii is not closely related to the other members of the Sympetrum genus and will at some time in the future be removed from this genus.
                   These darters are also found in some regions of india.Also there are more species of darters found in southern india

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Heart of indian agriculture

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Paddy fields
             

India is one of the world’s largest producers of white rice and brown rice, accounting for 20% of all world rice production. Rice is India’s pre-eminent crop, and is the staple food of the people of the eastern and southern parts of the country. Production increased from 53.6 million tons in FY 1980 to 74.6 million tons in year 1990, a 39 percent increase over the decade. By year 1992, rice production had reached 181.9 kg, second in the world only to China with its 182 kg.Since 1950 the increase has been more than 350 percent. Most of this increase was the result of an increase in yields; the number of hectares increased only 0 percent during this period. Yields increased from 1,336 kilograms per hectare in FY 1980 to 1,751 kilograms per hectare in FY 1990. The per-hectare yield increased more than 262 percent between 1950 and 1992.

The country’s rice production had declined to 89.14 million tonnes in 2009-10 crop year (July–June) from record 99.18 million tonnes in the previous year due to severe drought that affected almost half of the country.India could achieve a record rice production of 100 million tonnes in 2010-11 crop year on the back of better monsoon this year. The India’s rice production reached to a record high of 104.32 million tonnes in 2011-2012 crop year(July–June.

Rice is one of the chief grains of India. Moreover, this country has the biggest area under rice cultivation, as it is one of the principal food crops. It is in fact the dominant crop of the country. India is one of the leading producers of this crop. Rice is the basic food crop and being a tropical plant, it flourishes comfortably in hot and humid climate. Rice is mainly grown in rain fed areas that receive heavy annual rainfall. That is why it is fundamentally a kharif crop in India. It demands temperature of around 25 degree Celsius and above and rainfall of more than 100 cm. Rice is also grown through irrigation in those areas that receives comparatively less rainfall. Rice is the staple food of eastern and southern parts of India. In 2009-10, total rice production in India amounted to 89.13 million tonnes, which was much less than production of previous year, 99.18 million tonnes.

Rice can be cultivated by different methods based on the type of region. But in India, the traditional methods are still in use for harvesting rice. The fields are initially ploughed and then fertiliser is applied which typically consists of cow dung and then the field is smoothed. The seeds are transplanted by hand and then through proper irrigation, the seeds are cultivated. Rice grows on a variety of soils like silts, loams and gravels. It can also tolerate alkaline as well as acid soils. However, clayey loam is well suited to the raising of this crop. Actually the clayey soil can be easily converted into mud in which rice seedlings can be transplanted easily. Proper care has to be taken as this crop thrives if the soil remains wet and is under water during its growing years. Rice fields should be level and should have low mud walls for retaining water. In the plain areas, excess rainwater is allowed to inundate the rice fields and flow slowly. Rice raised in the well watered lowland areas is known as lowland or wet rice. In the hilly areas, slopes are cut into terraces for the cultivation of rice. Thus, the rice grown in the hilly areas is known as dry or upland rice. Interestingly, per hectare yield of upland rice is comparatively less than that of the wet rice.

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Western ghats of india

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The Western Ghats are a mountain range that runs almost parallel to the western coast of the Indian peninsula, located entirely in India. It is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and is one of the eight “hottest hotspots” of biological diversity in the world It is sometimes called the Great Escarpment of India. The range runs north to south along the western edge of the Deccan Plateau, and separates the plateau from a narrow coastal plain, called Konkan, along the Arabian Sea. A total of thirty nine properties including national parks, wildlife sanctuaries and reserve forests were designated as world heritage sites – twenty in Kerala, ten in Karnataka, five in Tamil Nadu and four in Maharashtra.

The range starts near the border of Gujarat and Maharashtra, south of the Tapti river, and runs approximately 1,600 km (990 mi) through the states of Maharashtra, Goa, Karnataka, Kerala and Tamil Nadu ending at Kanyakumari, at the southern tip of India. These hills cover 160,000 km2 (62,000 sq mi) and form the catchment area for complex riverine drainage systems that drain almost 40% of India. The Western Ghats block southwest monsoon winds from reaching the Deccan Plateau.The average elevation is around 1,200 m (3,900 ft).

The area is one of the world’s ten “Hottest biodiversity hotspots” and has over 7,400 species of flowering plants, 139 mammal species, 508 bird species, 179 amphibian species and 288 freshwater fish species; it is likely that many undiscovered species live in the Western Ghats. At least 325 globally threatened species occur in the Western Ghats.
Western Ghats is one of the 33 recognised ecologically sensitive zones in the World. India has four such sensitive zones. They are the Western Ghats, the Eastern Himalayas, the Himalayan Range between Kashmir and Uttar Pradesh and the Andaman Islands. The Andamans along with the
islands of Malaysia are an important sensitive zone. The significance of the Western Ghats is that along with its rich biodiversity, it also supports a rich environment-dependant civilisation of several thousand years.

Historically the Western Ghats were well-covered in dense forests that provided wild foods and natural habitats for native tribal people. Its inaccessibility made it difficult for people from the plains to cultivate the land and build settlements. After the arrival of the British in the area, large swathes of territory were cleared for agricultural plantations and timber. The forest in the Western Ghats has been severely fragmented due to human activities, especially clear felling for tea, coffee, and teak plantations during 1860 to 1950. Species that are rare, endemic and habitat specialists are more adversely affected and tend to be lost faster than other species. Complex and species rich habitats like the tropical rainforest are much more adversely affected than other habitats.

The area is ecologically sensitive to development and was declared an ecological hotspot in 1988 through the efforts of ecologist Norman Myers. Though this area covers barely five percent of India’s land, 27% of all species of higher plants in India (4,000 of 15,000 species) are found here. Almost 1,800 of these are endemic to the region. The range is home to at least 84 amphibian species, 16 bird species, seven mammals, and 1,600 flowering plants which are not found elsewhere in the world.

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Mountains

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A mountain is a large landform that stretches above the surrounding land in a limited area, usually in the form of a peak. A mountain is generally steeper than a hill. Mountains are formed through tectonic forces or volcanism. These forces can locally raise the surface of the earth. Mountains erode slowly through the action of rivers, weather conditions, and glaciers. A few mountains are isolated summits, but most occur in huge mountain ranges.

High elevations on mountains produce colder climates than at sea level. These colder climates strongly affect the ecosystem of mountains: different elevations have different plants and animals. Because of the less hospitable terrain and climate, mountains tend to be used less for agriculture and more for resource extraction and recreation, such as mountain climbing.

The highest mountain on Earth is Mount Everest in the Himalayas of Asia, whose summit is 8,850 m (29,035 ft) above mean sea level. The highest known mountain on any planet in the Solar System is Olympus Mons on Mars at 21,171 m (69,459 ft).

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Nature’s costly gift

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Golden waters

Actually Ocean waters do hold gold – nearly 20 million tons of it. However, if you were hoping make your fortune mining the sea, consider this: Gold in the ocean is so dilute that its concentration is on the order of parts per trillion. Each liter of seawater contains, on average, about 13 billionths of a gram of gold.

There is also (undissolved) gold in/on the seafloor. The ocean, however, is deep, meaning that gold deposits are a mile or two under water. And once you reach the ocean floor, you’ll find that gold deposits are also encased in rock that must be mined through. Not easy.

Currently, there really isn’t a cost-effective way to mine or extract gold from the ocean to make a profit. But, if we could extract all of that gold, there’s enough of it that each person on Earth could have nine pounds of the precious metal.
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