Would they kill the keelback?

Did that curious crowd know, or care, that the snake we were trying to see off to safety was a harmless albeit aggressive Checkered Keelback? Here’s how to tell a Checkered Keelback from its venomous relatives: Round eyes, checkered scale pattern, keeled scales and the oblique stripes behind and beneath the eye I didn’t really plan to make a habit of writing about snakes and the human folly of mistaken identity, but it appears that the subject seeks me out. Remember the young cobra I had written about some time ago? And the harmless rat snake that could easily have … Continue reading Would they kill the keelback?

Encounter: White-cheeked Barbet, the Invisible Chatterbox

The White-cheeked Barbet, earlier known as the Small Green Barbet, just melts into the canopy. But peer into the roof of leaves and you’ll see it devouring fruits and figs I saw this green bird for the first time at Polachira, a wetland near Thiruvananthapuram. My friend Rahul pointed to a bush and said, “White cheeked Barbet”. Where? All I could see were green leaves. Careful scrutiny helped me discern its form. And that was my introduction to Megalaima viridis. In the green canopy, the barbet is tough to spot Look carefully atop fruiting trees, and you can see through its … Continue reading Encounter: White-cheeked Barbet, the Invisible Chatterbox