The sacred grove at Oorani is the last stand of Tropical Dry Evergreen Forests — a postage stamp-sized green patch in the middle of insipid featureless coastal plain dotted with coconut plantations. It does not exactly draw your attention. That, however, would be a huge miss.
Cut off from the world, the hours and days were filled with sights and experiences. Birds, inclement weather and elusive mammal sightings made this trip to Pangot memorable. It was digital detox royale!
Trees are an inconvenience. Leaves falling, light being blocked, snakes showing up, tree roots destabilizing the walls, the need to widen the approach road - we have so many excuses to cut down our trees, and none for planting one.
While the glens and vales of the Nilgiris cope with a torrent of tourists, the resident and endemic birds have the hills to themselves. There's no better time to observe them nesting and bringing up their families. Without moving a muscle, just to prove that lazy birding does have its rewards.
Many birders shun Ranganathittu for the artifice of its environs and the easy photographic pickings. But the birds seem at home here, and that matters! Here's a photo-essay from a recent visit when the Eurasian Spoonbills had just started to fledge and the Asian Openbill Storks were nesting
The Blyth’s Reed Warbler makes a long winter journey from the temperate zones of Asia to the Indian subcontinent, and then returns when its northern breeding grounds warm up. This year, at least one of them isn’t going back, thanks to a glass-and-steel high-rise that stood in its way. Who knows how many more have died like this?
Over the weekend I was in Kollam, Kerala and last Thursday I had left a Bangalore battered by rain. On Monday evening it was Kerala’s turn to send us off with thundershowers. And this morning in Bangalore, leaning over the balcony to sniff at the new day, I noticed with delight that winter had arrived.
Crisp and cool with a hint of haze, the wintry morning resounded with the faraway murmur of traffic. The migrants would be here, I thought as I listened for the chek of the Blyth’s Reed Warbler (Acrocephalus dumetorum) and the scolding of the Brown Shrike. None could be heard. As a child I would listen for the warbler in my parents’ garden. The precise, brief chek followed by another note repeated at a casual interval. My November Bird, as I called it, the warbler’s reassuring presence accompanied me through so many winters that I marked time by it. It was an assurance of temporal certainty, the unimpeachable synchronicity of the seasons. The chek-chek in the garden would stay with us until the days lengthened in March, and the juggernaut of final exams thundered past. And suddenly, one day, no warblers. They had heeded the change in season and gone back home. Yesterday morning the warbler, by its absence, occupied my thoughts on my way to work. And so it was surprising, as we headed out for lunch this afternoon, my colleague Nelson pointed to the lobby and cried, “There’s a bird in here!” Sure enough, fluttering about the Ferrari-red lounge chairs was a warbler. Desperately out of place. How had it penetrated the seventh floor of this fortress-like glass-and-steel citadel secured by doors that would part only at the … → Read more →