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?
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.