deponti (deponti) wrote,
deponti
deponti

Post-lockdown birding...

Email from me to Bngbirds:

I have been silent on this forum for some time...during the two lockdowns, I was very happy indeed with the birds that came to our terrace pots to bathe and bully each other.

Snce the lockout lifted, I have only been on local outings with just 3 or 4 friends, and since many of us are worried about stepping out, the usual Bngbirds group walks are not possible right now. For the same reason, I was a bit hesitant about writing, in case people felt that I was being foolhardy in going out But whatever precautions and protocols I have been following seem to have worked;so far, in a Covid situation, I am (thankfully) NOvid, in spite of being in the so-called high-risk category. (MAWTH... which is not "death" in Hindi, but Mask And Thoroughly Washing Hands....are my primary protocols.) Touch wood, nazar uthaaro, and all the rest of the stuff. .I don't want to write the next note from a Covid ward!

I must say that the period after the lifting of the second lockdown has been nothing short of magical. We had a limited summer this year, with the premonsoon showers startinting in by April. and a plentiful monsoon setting in....so plentiful, in fact, that many places are suffering from floods. We do donate all we can, but we can only imagine the difficulties people there must be undergoing.

In the Bangalore surroundings, the monsoon has meant a lush growth everywhere. Even in traditionally dry places like Maidahanalli or Sira, where I only used to see thorny scrub and dry,hard mud, it's beautiful to see a lot of greenery, and plenty of water bodies, from rain-created ponds to brimming lakes.

One of the wonderful places I often visited was the T K Falls area...another excellent birding area which has been shut down by the Karnataka Forest Department. The running stream of the Suvarnamukhi (which means, She who has a Golden Face...isn't that poetry? I could write a separate piece on the names of streams and rivers in Karnataka!), descending in a small cascade, was a great place for flycatchers and babblers, with the occasional raptor making an appearance to whet our appetites.

We often saw the resident Short-toed Snake Eagle and the White-eyed Buzzard, apart from the more usual Honey Buzzards and Shikras. Peafowl, with the males flaunting their million-eyed tails, were everywhere. The Common Babblers were really common in this area!

Nor was the place lacking for other life forms.All kinds of interesting and medicinal plants were thriving and blooming in the water-rich atmosphere. Butterflies flitted around us as we walked; we found a variety of amazing insects, dragonflies, spiders and damselflies...the amazing rock formations in the area, through which the rivulets tinkled on their way...and last but not least, the majestic trees and also the young growth of the plantations, were of great delight to us.

The rainclouds scudding across, and when the rains stopped for a while, the freshly-washed blue sky with fleecy clouds floating along...looking up was not only a matter of looking at the birds! The cool weather, with an actual nip in the pre-dawn air, was perfect for being out in the Bannerghatta area.

Of late, we started making longer outings, a few times to Maidanahalli, to Sira, and finally, we decided on a weekend trip to Daroji...all of them were magical. For the Daroji trip, we made detailed arrangements with the help of Sri Pompayya Malemath, a friend of long standing, who both hosted and guided us. The Painted Sandgrouse, the Painted Spurfowl, the Indian Eagle Owl and the Yellow-throated Bulbul were lifers for some of my friends...and I was equally amazed to find medicinal plants such as the Punarnava (Boehravia diffusa) and Brahmi (Bacopa monnieri) in the slushy ground just outside the Sri Lakshmi Narasimha temple. At Sira, I found butterflies such as the Painted Lady, and the Joker, not commonly seen here...this while enjoying the sight of the Egyptian Vultures and the huge "apartment complex" of the Streak-throated Swallows. At Daroji, a bird which had us discussing a lot was a beauty which we finally decided, was an Eastern Orphean Warbler.

Migrants have begun to appear...Grey and Yellow Wagtails, migrant flycatchers, warblers (which, for some reason, are silent skulkers when I try to watch them!)...I am hoping that the plentiful-water situation might bring more ducks to our surroundings this year. The Bar-headed Geese will fly over the Himalaya, as will the tiny terns and stonechats...and I do hope that soon it will be safe for all of us, not only the venturesome few, to go out and enjoy the birds and all the rest of the living beings that make our city, state and country a wonderful place to live in.

Hey, you didn't mention the food, I hear some of you say. Initially,yes, we were very careful, bringing along our own food and sharing,but now, we do have food at local darshinis where the food is freshly prepared and the chai is freshly boiled (and about 8 spoons of sugar added to every tiny cuppa!) I have made so many friends who run these eateries...Saraswathi in Ragihalli, Krishnaveni in Bhootanahalli, Annapoorna at Gauribidanur... because of my trips.

Already a long post....well, I will not be able to give eBird lists for so many outings, or links to so many albums...please do look at our morning visit to the Mathanga Hills, and the Sri Lakshmi Narasimha temple at

https://www.flickr.com/photos/86494503@N00/albums/72157716321893388

I caption all my photos before uploading them online, but the new FB is deleting all the captions, and though I have written to them several times about it, it doesn't look as if anything is going to be done about it! Hence I am giving the link to only my Flickr album. Who knows...now that Yahoo groups are being shut down, will Flickr be next (even though it's been taken over by Smugmug and is now a paid service)?

Cheers, and looking forward to meeting you soon, in a world where the virus has been tamed if not eradicated,

Deepa.
Tags: birding, descriptions, email, flickr, nature, photography, wildlife
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