Thursday, April 29, 2010

I exercise outside--late evening, looking up at the stars. I inhale the scent of flowers, over-ripe jackfruit and the fresh scent of a rain washed evening.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Was walking in the front area of our house in the morning with Elsa our lab. The ground was still damp from yesterday's thunderstorm. I had finally got someone to come and take the cut gulmohar tree, but the debris was everywhere. Elsa was rooting around in the debris at one side. As I looked around I noticed, luckily at the side away from the dog, a mongoose crossing. Suddenly it saw me and stopped and then probably got the scent of the dog too. As I watched, she didn't run away immediately, but slowed and looked behind her. I wondered what she was looking at, when I saw this tiny little mongoose pup coming out of the undergrowth. Only after that, did she go into the base of my palms, with her baby. But a little later, I saw her come out and sit up on her haunches, looking almost like a meerkat, like this picture I've linked to and keeping the position for a bit. I promptly called Elsa away and into the house, to leave her in peace.
This is the first time I have seen a mongoose sit up like that and also not just run away immediately on seeing a human. It was a treat.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

I cut my gulmohar tree because it had gotten old and besides the constant shedding of the tiny leaves got into the roof tiles, collected water and had damaged the roof more than once. It really was too close to the house. I decided I would remove it and plant a divi-divi instead; leave the base--which I love--and put the divi-divi near it. It was an old tall tree and had very few leaves at the moment--just a few peeping out. I couldn't bear to watch while they cut it though and on Sunday--before they cut the last raised branch, I looked at it standing there forlornly, with it's few leaves--and I cried, almost like for a beloved pet!

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Bird calls

Here are two videos. The first one is of the magpie robin's cry alone. I hadn't seen one around for a while. But there he was after the first few summer showers. Wanted to show what the magpie robin's call is, because in the second video, he's having a hard time making himself heard over the racket-tailed drongo's loud and varied warbles.

In the second video, you can also hear the cawing of a crow and unfortunately the sound of a vehicle horn (very common in India alas).

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Summer showers

It was unusually hot in our part of the world through March and exceptionally dry--no rain through Feb & March.  The lack of showers and the heat had most of the birds in hiding during a large part of the day and got the many of the creatures desperate for water and some cool shade. 
My maid saw a toddy cat moving away from the house at midday, probably because the top of the house--under the roof tiles, where it lives normally--had got too hot. I saw monitor lizards running around madly at noon looking for a bit of cool shade and a small mongoose actually venture into our backyard post our lunch, when everything was quiet, for a drink of water from under the outside water tap, although it could probably scent my Lab pup somewhere in the vicinity.  Luckily she was asleep in the shade inside and so the mongoose had it's sip of water in peace.  The undergrowth, which is usually green, at least in the shade, throughout the year, was just brown & more brown.So these poor ground creatures were having a hard time.
Then came the welcome rains--evening showers and what a difference!  The day after the first shower, I saw a woodpecker and a magpie robin singing away and as my maid says, all the plant world was smiling:-)
Now, after regular thundershowers most afternoons, all the lilies are in bloom and the undergrowth has suddenly turned green.  I even saw a kingfisher, sitting high on a tree, enjoying the cool, damp air.
I'll post a video later of a duet between the magpie robin and a racket-tail drongo.