Of more birds, flight and nothing much besides

I couldn’t possibly have rested until I posted some more pictures of some more birds. Since we’re not going to be in this neighbourhood for long, I must carry as many memories of it with me as I can. Will you join me for another walk?Β 

Let’s begin with this bird I saw a couple of days back. I was looking for it the last time, but it kept stubbornly away. It comes to one of the poinsettias outside of my kitchen window. Why I like it is that it has the most lulling, haunting call I’ve heard in recent times. As usual, I don’t know its name.
It was first sitting on this tree outside of our house, and when it saw me aiming with a camera, it stopped the call and flew to a tall, tall silver oak. Look at how beautiful its tail is!
The first bird I saw during the walk was this cutie pie. A munia, I think. It’s a tiny thing with such an interesting eye-ring, one would think it’s been designed to not only bore holes into all that it sees, but also attract all observers to itself.
I first heard about it in a much-revered book for Indian bird-watchers. The Book of Indian Birds by Dr. Salim Ali. I got it for my 14th birthday, I think. We Indians don’t believe in comprehensive study with scientific methods (which include documenting everything), so this book is a welcome source for all birds found in the subcontinent.
This time, I began my walk at around 10:30 am. Birds gather to eat tasty seeds at this time, so was able to see and hear a lot more. I suppose the bottlebrush seeds must be really delicious because this tree had a wide range of birds on it.
I don’t know (again) which birds these are. And this particular one was so far away, I had to crop most of the picture to get to it. It’s included because I adore the way it’s perched!
This one doesn’t need eye make-up. Don’t you think?
Ah. And a sunbird! This is the most common colour here. But there are some more fantastic combinations as well.
Bulbuls are easily spotted. Like babblers, they either don’t feel too shy, or are absolute rascals.
As I walked on, I saw this tree against the light, and thought I saw some predator bird sitting in the ‘J’ on the left of the trunk. I still don’t feel quite sure if it’s a bird, or just a curiously shaped part of the tree.
And here’s a babbler. I never tire of feeling whiney about their eyes. They’re somehow too intense and cruel-looking, But I love their annoying chatter early in the morning and in the afternoon. Perfect things to shake you up.
That particular babbler was sitting on the path gravel of this house. When the geraniums are ready with their seeds, I am sure the nice lady here will have a tough time keeping these babblers away from her plants. Her dog is not half as idiotic as ours. Ours don’t let a single bird rest within our compound.
Months back, I showed you some of the teaks we have in our colony. Their fruits have all dried up now and form a fantastic roof if you want to look up to the sky and see everything — roof and ether.
I hadn’t ever seen this kind of poinsettia before I came to Dehradun. Had you?

“Hinduism cannot be called a philosophy, nor is it a well-defined religion. It is, rather, a large and complex socioreligious organism consisting of innumerable sects, cults, and philosophical systems and involving various rituals, ceremonies, and spiritual disciplines, as well as the worship of countless gods and goddesses. The many facets of this complex and yet persistent and powerful spiritual tradition mirror the geographical, racial, linguistic, and cultural complexities of India’s vast subcontinent. The manifestations of Hinduism range from highly intellectual philosophies involving conceptions of fabulous range and depth, to the naive and childlike practices and rituals of the masses.” – Fritjof Capra, The Tao of Physics.

The dog and human scavengers of offerings made to the ‘deities’ had just left before I could take their picture along with the tree and the idols. It is said that any offering made to god is touched by god, hence it is blasphemous to put it in trash. This could explain the muck lying around and inside so many places of worship. But that doesn’t justify senseless mucking!
Just ahead of the peepal tree above was this woman walking with purpose. She was carrying her baby under the shawl (look at the bulge carefully).
A long time ago, I’d seen a beautiful bird atop one of these litchi trees and wanted to try my luck this time. In spite of the clear calls of birds from the opposite direction (and absolute lull here), I proceeded towards them. But didn’t get anything.
The babble was coming from here. I could walk into this shrubbery, but decided against it. Too much adventure leads to scratches.
Beyond the shrubbery is a house with this climbing plant covering the entire boundary wall. Sparrows get attracted to this plant for reasons I don’t know. It isn’t easy to spot them amongst all the dense orange-and-greenness, but I got lucky.
And if you needed an arrow to point at the sparrow, you wouldn’t have to look too far, for the sparrow is within the arrow (head). What fun!
As I was busy taking pictures of the sparrows, an old gentleman stopped his car and asked me if I was snooping around for military information in this colony. “One has to be a vigilant resident, you see.” He looked decent, so I said, “No, but I could be. What do you know, I could be from across the borders.” He appeared mighty chuffed (or so I thought) and drove off. But not before I spotted these free birds and indicated I was very busy.
A little ahead, I found this very huggable little robin. I wish I could reduce my size to robin-hugging size and hug this one. Don’t you?
Here’s another one — just because I have a soft corner for the chap.
Oh, such misery! I couldn’t take a better picture of this hornbill! Have you seen one? They look like some ancient flying object from sci-fi written by a maniac. Beautiful things.
I tried to catch a squirrel when I was younger and, according to popular belief, horribly unwise. He bit me. I can never forget the excruciating, mincing pain. So, even though my first instinct is to hug a squirrel when I see one, I normally do not wish for a squirrel-hugging-size first.
Just above the mincing-squirrel was this strange bird. It was its call that had attracted me to the tree in the first place. The sound was like a drum-whistle. Sad and wise at once. This is the best picture I could get of it, sadly.
This kite was scaling the skies with its friends a little ahead. I wonder what eye-care they use for such precise vision.
Oh, and here’s a little beauty for you! Aren’t they utterly gorgeous?!
This very, very tiny birdie was sitting on a tree next to the flowers, looking around. Sometimes, some good things do nothing more than just making you smile. Isn’t that enough?
Here comes a series of very beautiful blossoms. What fruit? I do not know.
Oh. I thought I’d prepared more than just two. But these are enough for now. Look at the yellow anthers!
A nice lady’s planted these beauties right outside her house. Long, bright beds of them. Obsessed as I am with my dogs’ peeing fascination, I wonder why the stray dogs don’t ruin her garden. My own house-warmed canines are atrocious with fragile things like plants and birds and flowers!
For some reason, they’re scared of parrots, so they let them be. This one was looking at me from his perch. Scary chap, eh?
This one likes to visit a salon at various times. Just look at the slick gelled look!
But someone else should take the award for being a dude. Let me introduce you to my favourite ornithological slick dude. He’s a dude, even though he perches uncomfortably. And that’s because…
… of his simply wow hairdo! Doesn’t his hair remind you of Italian mobsmen with oomph? Such a wowsie. No?
Oh, but I must sigh. I love papayas. But currently, I’ve been forbidden to eat them. Old wives’ tale, I am sure, but I am listening to it. Apparently expectant mothers should avoid papaya because it has a hot ‘taseer’. 😦 I must feel content with looking at these trees and the vendor cart displays. For now, at least.
The papaya house also has a scattering of mustard plants. People plant mustard to eat the greens in winter, and then let some of them grow to fruition and eventually to seeding, so that birds can come and eat the seeds. What a sight! Sadly, the seeds aren’t quite done yet on this one, so no birds.
But look at these! I wish I knew their names. They look like some insect-eating kind, considering the beaks. They, however, instantly remind me of a mousey, watery-eyed young man with a long nose. Don’t ask me why.
Interesting tail, eh?
I find this strange stance intriguing. Is it alarm? Or threat? I do not know. But I like the way his feathers are all perked up.
They generally look like this, bulbuls do. Happy, happy.
Maybe not happy, but dazed. Could this serious-looking thing be scaring them? Who knows.
Well, at least they have wings to take them away. Or to. Whatever the choice of the moment.

With this, we end another walk. I wish you all the very best today.

Do well. Fly. Or preen.

35 thoughts on “Of more birds, flight and nothing much besides”

    1. Oh but you must eat them, too. If only because your mother’s asking you to! One doesn’t want to aggravate them, now, does one? πŸ˜‰

  1. Oooh, what enchanting pics, Priya! I totally agree that bulbuls are ‘absolute rascals’…I could cuddle that squirrel but after reading about your ‘biting’ experience, I shall keep a safe distance from now on! The flowers are so pretty…Thank you for sharing such splendour.. πŸ™‚

  2. Hi,
    Lovely photos, and very good shots of the birds, not always easy to get a photo of, most are very quick. Well done.
    I love the flowers, they always brighten up a garden. πŸ™‚

    1. I am very happy with how some of the pictures have come out, Mags. Yes, it’s not easy to take pictures of birds — especially with a camera that doesn’t have enough zoom. But one can always try!

      Thank you for your appreciation. That’s what one lives for!

  3. Military secrets? Perhaps you can report the long-tailed bird or perhaps the sharp-eyed hawks? Such a long tail on the little first one! Thank you for another flora and fauna tour. Lovely pictures. PS I’ve never heard that about papaya.

    1. I’d never heard that about papaya either. The day I discovered my pregnancy, on the way back home from the doctor’s, we bought some fruits, including a huge papaya for consumption the next morning. My aunt came to know about the news (of the pregnancy, not the papaya) and called up to congratulate. “Eat everything, except papaya,” she said. When you’re going to be a mother for the first time, you get a little wary of defying old aunts. So, we gave away the papaya. 😦

      Months later, I asked a friend who studies Ayurveda about this. She said that raw papaya is supposed to be bad in the first trimester (and a little more) because of its tendency to heat up the body and hence a propensity to cause a miscarriage. Ripe papayas are cool, but people begin to fear, so they completely avoid it. I’ve survived so many months without it, I can do some more, I guess!

      The residential complex we live in is for retired military personnel. The jibe this gentleman played was just to get to talk to such a charming young lady. I am presuming. πŸ˜‰

  4. As I am lost amongst you musings, your tiny birds, I so thank you. You must have very lovely days out strolling with your eyes so wide open. YOu mentioned you are leaving…are you going somewhere far? Congratulations on your pregnancy!

    1. I do, indeed, Patrice. It is a pleasure to look at these beauties everyday.

      I am travelling 1300 km to now live close to my parents while we await the newborn. It’ll be comfortable, I guess, to have them around during and after the birth. We’re both complete buffoons when it comes to tiny babies, Bhartan and I.

      Thank you for your wishes!

  5. It is so rewarding to be in the mood for cruising tonight, & come across this stunning, beautiful arrangement of photos. Just gorgeous.

    1. It gives me more pleasure than you’ll know to know that these little things brighten up a tiny part of your day, WordsFall. Thank you for letting me know!

  6. I’ve always enjoyed walking around your neighborhood with you. You’re so thoughtful to think of us when you’ve got so much to do with your big move.

    I’m amazed at the variety of birds all in walking distance of your home. Great photos. How long was the walk?

    I’ve never heard the “don’t eat papayas when you’re pregnant” story. Could I have a slice of papaya fresh off the tree?

    1. I don’t know how long I’ll manage to write so often, Rosie, so I want to do all that I can! πŸ˜‰

      The walk was good. Pleasurable. That’s the best thing, right?

      I hadn’t heard about the papaya prohibition either. But there’s always a first time, they say! Of course you can have a slice of papaya fresh off the tree. Provided you have a really, really skilled parer with you with a good knife. πŸ™‚

  7. What a great assortment of birds. I’ve lost the upper decibels of hearing which means I’m missing a lot of birdsong. When I see these photos, I wonder what sounds would be heard amongst this variety of feathered friends.

    1. I am sure you can sense them better than most, Amy. That’s a gift, too, isn’t it?

      The sounds range from melodious to extremely cacophonic. Thankfully, they’re all quite all right if you just let them drift past you.

  8. Priya, thank you for the beautiful walk through your neighborhood. The ground outside my window is covered in snow, so it was a welcome respite to see your photos. And the captions! You like the way a bird perched sideways, the idiotic dogs, the rascals — what apt descriptions that lent much to the photos. Here’s hoping your long awaited papaya will taste extra sweet, when shared with your little one in your arms. πŸ™‚

    1. Thank you for the appreciation, Melissa. It’s a happy thought to know that these efforts bring something good to the readers.

      The papaya… I am waiting for it and the little companion, too. πŸ™‚

  9. will you see birds 1300km away? What a flock of pictures – so happy to know that Dehradun has such a cornucopia. Here are some terms for groups of birds

    A company of parrots
    A murder of crows
    A muster of storks
    A nye of pheasants [on the ground]
    An ostentation of peacocks
    A paddling of ducks [on the water]
    A parliament of owls
    A party of jays
    A peep of chickens
    A pitying of turtledoves
    A raft of ducks
    A rafter of turkeys
    A siege of herons
    A skein of geese [in flight]
    A sord of mallards
    A tidings of magpies
    An unkindness of ravens
    A watch of nightingales
    A descent of woodpeckers
    A dole of doves
    An exaltation of larks
    A gaggle of geese [wild or domesticated]
    A host of sparrows
    A kettle of hawks [riding a thermal]
    A murmuration of starlings

    1. I hope to see many more birds there as well, Aparna. And I could spot at least a dozen in this list you’ve provided that I’d find there. Now I know (I hope) what to call them! Thank you.

  10. Wow Priya, lovely snaps with beautiful birds! πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚ Keep walking and talking snaps. As it’s good for your health and photography too.. πŸ˜‰


    1. I did, and I must thank you for the honour. It’s not only made my day, it is a thought I’ll keep for keeps. πŸ™‚

  11. Oh Priya, what beautiful photos. And oh, Priya – when I first saw this post I bookmarked all sorts of things as I’d looked up what some of the birds are, and one day – when I can find said bookmarks – I shall be back to post another comment! πŸ™‚

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