Sunday, September 21, 2014

the Barbets and the Woodpeckers

Nature never ceases to amaze me and the dual between the woodpeckers and the barbets that I witnessed at the Seethanadhi nature camp was one of those moments that I would not forget soon; the Davids taking on the Goliaths.

While we were busy trying to locate the calling Trogon, familiar sounding of metallic ‘chiank’, ‘chiank’ made me turn around and it took me hardly a second to figure out where the sound was coming from. On the opposite bank of the camp, landed a pair of White-bellied Woodpeckers (Dryocopus javensis) on a bare stump and furiously drumming away sounding like a machine gun. These are the largest woodpeckers found south of the Himalayas and are predominantly black with a white belly and a red crown.

(the male and the female White-bellied Woodpeckers)

While they were happily gunning away to glory at the bare stump with the loud sounds resonating over the entire scape, entered a couple of Malabar Barbets (Megalaima malabarica) who perched right on the adjacent tree to where the woodpeckers were drumming hard.

(drumming together...)

The next few minutes witnessed an intense duel launched by the Barbets with each of the pairs taking turns to take a jibe at the woodpeckers, who amusingly were trying to avoid them and were seen moving around the tree holding on to their dear life.

(the Malabar Barbet harassing the Woopie... you can see another Barbet on the left...)

The Barbets, probably 1/3rd the size of the woodpeckers never gave a moment of relaxation to the woodpeckers and kept on heckling them, while all the while calling aloud and circling around the woodpeckers and swooping down on them in an attempt to chase them away. Finally getting heckled, the woodpeckers flew away and the Barbets were still calling away loud and clear.

(the Barbet almost hits on to the Woopie... the Woopie moves around for cover)

All this lasted for about 15 good minutes and all the while, I could not figure out why were the Barbets behind the woodpeckers as neither did I see any holes or cavities on the bare stump and that left me with lot of unanswered questions. Another reason I suspect would be their nesting cavities being probably on adjacent trees closer to the bare stump… probably!

(the Woodpecker flies away after constant nagging from the Barbets)

Some incidents never ceases to just need to have an eye to see it!

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Team Blog-o-holics

Team Blog-o-holics entry part 3, week 1

Read the earlier post from Sudam here...

Alighting from the train after a long arduous journey, weary eyed and rustic body rattled by the journey, Jennifer struggled with her trolley baggage, funky hand bag, Ipod plugged in and the messy wires all over and with a camera dangling around her neck entangled with her scarf, her eyes looked around for a stranger she had just chatted with over the last 30 hours, Shekar.

What she missed noticing was the numerous roving eyes that were ogling at her… the cart vendors, the cleaners, the coolie’s and the numerous passengers on the platform, all looking at the young girl funkily dressed and struggling with her baggage. It then stuck her mind that she was in Mumbai, the city of dreams for thousands who land up there, some to get successful and some lost in the fast paced city unable to cope with its speed.

Just as she started moving rearranging herself…, ‘thud’ she went on the ground getting knocked over by a heavy object. The deafening sounds from the moving trains, noises from the chaotic rush on the platform and the intensity of the fall made her head swivel like a windmill and she stayed so for a few seconds before getting back to her senses. I’m sorry, I’m so sorry… she heard as she tried to get up but failed, till an arm holding her tightly helped her getting up; she somehow felt very comfortable in that strong hold of the person. She turned around angrily to give a mouthful to the person who knocked her down, but instead stammered and stuttered seeing a fair, tall, handsome hunk with lovely curls and an odd over sized specs looking sheepishly at her apologizing for his mistake.

Glancing at her watch (that she so lovingly had picked from over a hundred choices at the flea market in Cochin) that had cracked, Jennifer annoyingly asked the bespectacled guy the time. 9am was the reply from the tall lanky hunk still apologizing for his mistake. Oh gosh! My appointment is at 12 to meet Tara ma’am at the editor’s office and I’m still here and where is Shekar sir…! I’m lost and she went on without a break sobbing softly. Can I help…? Her non stop rants were interrupted from the guy now standing next to her, as tall as the Qutub Minar. Her reaction was interrupted with the ring on the guy’s phone and as she looked on menacingly, he answered the call turning around and Jennifer’s eyes lit up when she heard him mentioning the name of the editorial and Tara’s name where she was also headed.

Anger turned into laughter when she smilingly told him ‘two strangers, one destination and no time’. Ah! He said, so you’re headed to meet Tara ma’am… great! Well, I’m sorry and I’m Cyrus from Delhi and I was in a hurry because I was getting late being here for the first time and meanwhile knocked you over with a slight grin on his face. Jennifer nodded back with a wry smile somewhat smitten by the stranger Cyrus who just knocked her over.

Soon, a middle-aged bald person walked up to them and over hearing their conversations figured out the girl must be Jennifer as she had given him some pointers to identify her and introduced himself as Shekar. Exchanging pleasantaries and introducing Cyrus to Shekar, the trio headed out of the station and meanwhile Shekar got to know both of them were headed towards Tara’s office. Shekar did not reveal to them that Tara was his wife but instead offered them a lift up to Tara’s editorial office giving them a reason that he had to pick his daughter Roohie from school that was close by to where they were headed.

Befoe parting, Shekar offered them to show around Mumbai, the city of dreams, for the next two days incidently being Saturday and Sunday and also offered them assistance in staying at a place closer to where he lived. He added that his wife and daughter would love their company and they should not refuse. Jennifer was more than happy as that would give her camera a chance to capture the life in Mumbai and surrounding places and she readily agreed. Cyrus agreed with a stern face not knowing what to say.

After Shekar dropped them and left, Jennifer started walking ahead with Cyrus next to him in animatic conversations with someone over the phone and going a little ahead she turned around not to see Cyrus behind! Frantically, she looked around for Cyrus but to no avail and she moved ahead in despair as it was already getting late to reach Tara’s office.

Moving ahead a few steps, Jennifer had an eerie feeling of someone closely following her…, she turned around thinking it could be Cyrus but found none. She thought it could just be her mindset after reading the ‘Hooded man’ short story earlier in the train written by Shekar.

Nodding her head in agreement and turning on the music on her ipod, she moved ahead binding her tresses with a band from the bag and flaunting her tattoo on her hand in style… but soon the eerie feeling was back and this time more intense then earlier. She stopped in her tracks and she could now hear her heart pounding aloud and her breath becoming heavy. Sweat drops started appearing on her forehead as her hand shivered and the eerie feeling becoming more intense by the passing second.

Her heart almost skipped beats and she started sweating profusely when a firm hand landed on her shoulders and Jennifer nervously turned around shivering in anxiety to see…
‘The Hooded Man’!!!

Read the next post by Nipath here...

“Me and my team are participating in ‘Game Of Blogs’ at #CelebrateBlogging with us.”

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Agumbe Recap (final part)

Read the earlier posts from Agumbe here...

Snakes, Frogs, Insects, Bugs, Beetles, Spiders were there everywhere... literally! Once the sun goes down, all you can hear are the croaks but finding the specimen out is a task and after all the search you see a handsome little fella croaking away to glory concealing himself under a leaf in the middle of a shrub or a plant.

And behind the same croaks you find the silent slithers looking out for a meal and aren't they beautiful! There is a lot of wrong notion about snakes and one is that all of them are venomous. Nope! There are only a handful of venomous snakes found in India whose bites are lethal.

The most commonly found are the Rat snakes or the Checkered Keelbacks whose bites are not lethal for humans.

Please get over the notion and start appreciating their beauty. They have a role to play in the ecosystem and they do it diligently, we just have to let them be what they are and where they are!

(a beautiful Vine snake on the lookout for a meal...)

(I thinks Yellow Bush Frog... will update the Id soon...)

(In between... we gorged on the simple yet delicious homely food!)

(incredibly beautiful Green Vine Snake)

(the man and his passion...)

(A vociferous croaking frog...)

(the Malabar Pit Viper... one of the venomous snakes)

(in the order of ascending height... Ashwini, Gowri, Prashanth and YT at KERC camp)
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