Wonders from the Wetlands-4

A flock of lesser flamingos fly overhead, making their way to the holding ponds at Seawoods, Navi Mumbai. To witness these birds fly right over your head, maintaining such coordination and precision has been one of my favorite moments ever.

Right from their approach to the subsequent fly past, these birds generate a wild buzzing sound possibly due to the flapping of wings in such large numbers. A sound so wild and terrifying that it mimicked that of a Luftwaffe Squadron heading towards war. And coupled with the beautiful spectacle of the plane blue sky being painted by hundreds of figures in vibrant red and pink colors- one was surely in for a sensory overload. I was so overwhelmed by the first sighting that it left my mouth hanging and ears buzzing for a while and was able to make a few pictures only when the next batch came in.

This surely is nature at its finest and a memory of a lifetime!

Sparrow Spotting

A male sparrow perches on the branch of a tree with a blade of glass in its beak before heading back to its nest during sunset.

I love the fact that we are able to spot sparrows much more often like we would in the past. There was a brief period when these little ones had become sparse in sight, maybe be due to the change in radio waves and pollution levels in the air. Though they can be mischievous at times, stealing fruits and vegetables being grow in the garden, I am more than happy to see them grow in numbers along with other flora and fauna in the region.

Marble’s Siesta

This is Marble. He is one of the many new fauna who have made their presence known after the lock down. As the land turned calm and quiet, many flora and fauna have got a much need break from the hustles of life to recover and rejuvenate.

Marble like to have his siesta in our garden, right under the shade of the coconut tree with the damp and soft soil serving as his bed. Marble does mind the intrusion by irresponsible humans who decide to jaywalk during a lock down. But he still keeps to his spot till the sun sets behind the hills. And if someone decides to disturb his peace and say hello, he maintains the social distancing norms up till 7 feet after which he takes off to another of his lairs.

Marble is a good and responsible cat. Be like Marble!

Myna at Sundown

A Myna perches on top a tree, a mandatory pit-stop before it heads for its nest at sundown.

Shooting subjects from a confined location is a challenge. Given the rather less geographical canvas to scan through and move about, one must look hard to spot a subject. And with the thick foliage around, it is often after a good game of hide and seek before a little one like this spares a moment, to get snapped before taking off to another location.

One positive effect of the lockdown is the dramatic increase in the number of birds. Though often hard to spot, they let their presence and numbers be known through amplified chirping and calls they make, something rather rare during a normal day.

Land crab crosses a stream

A Land Crab makes its way across a stream at the hills in Kharghar, Navi Mumbai.

Though the rains seem to be making a late entrance this year, the hills and its residents have started preparing for the monsoon in full swing. These crabs who spend the previous seasons underground have now surfaced in large numbers, dotting the semi moist streams and muddy trails of the region.

A flock for Lesser and Greater Flamingos gather during noon at the holding ponds at Seawoods, Navi Mumbai.

It had been a while since I last visited the site. And given the immense heat and we witnessed this summer, I didn’t expect any birds in the region. But my joy had no bounds when I saw these magnificent beings come down from the skies in large numbers, electrifying the whole area with their sounds and vibrant colors during this time of the day when I would love to stay indoors.

Standing Tall

A black kite perches on the heights of a building before making it’s way back to its nest during a rather chilly evening in Mumbai.

As imposing as they can get, these birds of prey hold a special place in my heart. They may look intimidating for most but a few experiences with them and one will realize that they are just as fun, silly, mysterious and amazing like any other creature in the animal kingdom. They too have their sets of victories, failures, challenges and finally that one thing that really binds us all together – the ultimate cycle of life and death.
To witness such a majestic being in a fragile state would be a rather heartbreaking sight. But the final moments it flies through its last days, with wounds and holes over its once majestic body, with the same pride and honor that it always carried along is one sight to witness and remember.

On the Powl

Husband Kittu makes a move with a rather animated yawn after I busted his ‘yet again unsuccessful’ stalking attempt on me at the parking lot as I headed back home.

Cats are amazing creatures. They always have this wild predator instinct running through them no matter they are feral or pet. Thus they are very likely to survive and hunt for themselves even if they are off human supplies and intervention. To make the matter more interesting, regardless the type of feline, they all seem to share similar hunting and stalking techniques that they use to procure their prey (with varying degrees of success). Each move they make with robotic precision is just as thrilling as it gets.
To be honest, the small dudes pack more punch and walk around with much greater attitude than the big cats. And being able to cuddle one without the ‘immediate’ threat of being mauled by is just amazing!