Text and photos by Sandeep Somasekharan
A bad day of birding need not be a bad day with nature, not when you have a lush green paddy field to adore
Another routine morning trip to see if I could catch some birds on the wing took me to a remote corner of Mandya, along a paddy field. Skies were clear from the rain that had cleansed everything the night before, and a September sun jovially smiled upon us. But birding luck didn’t. All we got to see were a few egrets and black headed ibis, and a few weavers.
Sneaking up on them, I lost my footing and fell amidst the paddy. As I hauled up my overweight frame from the (thankfully dry) paddy field floor, something tiny caught my eye. This orange insect clung to a paddy leaf, the tip of which held a glowing crown — a tiny drop of water. It held onto the leaf, as if guarding the drop from being stolen, its eyes fixed on it.
Intrigued, I looked around for more and was rewarded by scores of other insects. No two were alike. A tiny white moth sat on another blade, wings spread as if in penance.
Another orange moth sat on a straight blade, looking down, possibly pondering over life’s intricacies.
As if to test its resolve, Providence let a gust of wind blow another blade across, giving an illusion to the moth that it is on the crossroads of life. Yet, it preferred to stick to its blade.
More careful inspection showed many other life forms. A pied paddy skimmer dragonfly, a robberfly, a ground skimmer dragonfly, and some other teeny rock stars I couldn’t identify. As I spent time observing and clicking them, this tiny ladybug materialized in a sea of green.
My day was made. Birds or no birds.