Wednesday, November 16, 2011

It is dusk.  As I water the plants, the light fades.  I hear the frightened squeak of a squirrel on a nearby tree.  I look to see why.  It's unusual to hear a squirrel squeak like this at this time of the day.  Is it a snake I wonder, or an early owl?  The squirrel comes racing down the tree and runs past me.  As I watch, I see a head poking down--a weasely sort of head and then an animal comes down the tree, so intent on the chase, it doesn't seem to notice me.  I instinctively turn the hose on it, so that the squirrel can escape.  The animal is startled and runs away.  There is not enough light for me to see any markings clearly.  The general shape is between that of a cat and a giant squirrel. It's probably a toddy cat and rare to see at that time in the day, it being very much a nocturnal creature.  As usual, no photo!
* After some googling, I think what I saw was an Asian Palm civet.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

I love the moonlight!  Tonight is a full moon light and I can't resist the call of the moonlight.  I walk outside, with minimal lights on, so as to savour the moonlight fully.  It is so bright, I would be able to see a snake move, even without my glasses.  There is a faint gauzy mist and oh so pleasantly cool. Dog & I walk for a while.  I come back inside reluctantly.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

We had gone to the island of Langkawi, off the coast of Malaysia, for 5 days last week.  The place where we stayed, was between cliffs and the beach and the hotel tried to maintain the rainforest as much as possible. We took a guided nature walk through the grounds of the resort and saw a lemur, and a group of dusky leaf langurs near the waters edge.  I later spied a monitor lizard, a kind we have here.  We heard and saw a pair of hornbills flying by.  I spied a pair of them later too.
As my camera is just an ordinary digital one, I couldn't zoom in and get too many shots.  Anyway I'll share a few.
A dusky leaf langur can just be spotted

A monitor lizard posing for me on a tree in the sun
Take a look at this link of Langkawi nature, and you can see better photographs of the monkey and one of the lemur and of the birds, some of which we have here in our country, in our state.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

I was outside the house in the morning--around 8 am--when I heard 'Thud, thud thud'. I wondered who was hammering away this early and on a Sunday too. I heard the hammering again and nearer me. I looked up and there was a woodpecker on an old, dead toddy palm tree, knocking away. It reminded me of this song that my mother sang.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

It's been a long, long while since I've been out of blog world.  I haven't felt driven to write and share and, most importantly, as far as this blog is concerned, my camera has been out of action.
I have been walking at dusk most days as always and now, that the monsoon has receded, the stars are visible.  I have been looking at some constellations that I have not seen properly before.  Today, on looking up the night sky for September, I find that one of the constellations is Sagittarius.  I feel so excited at being able to see so many constellations that I haven't really been able to see clearly before.  Normally, although the rain may have stopped, the sky tends to be quite cloudy. So, it's treat to get to see the stars so well.
My camera should be ok in a couple of days.  Then maybe I could upload some pictures.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Today was one of the 10 fine days there are supposed to be, in the otherwise rainy month of 'Karkidam' (the Malayalam month).  It hasn't rained the whole day and all the stars are out.  I went for my evening walk and it was such a pleasure to see the stars after quite a gap.  As I head out for my walk I see Scorpio, sprawled across the Southern sky.  As I walk, the gauzy cloud veil moves aside and the stars get clearer.  An occasional firefly adds it brilliance.  Alas, now  the light pollution is quite high even in our small town.  So, I finish my walk, sorry that I couldn't see the myriad stars in the night sky just a bit better.

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Law of the wild.

Today, around noon, hearing a big commotion outside and much screeching from the birds, I went out to see what was the matter.  Peering up through the foliage, I saw a pair of frantic racket-tailed drongos, screeching and generally carrying on.  I thought they were trying to chase away another pair from invading their space.  But instead what did I see, an owl, or maybe a small kite, I couldn't quite tell, taking away one of their babies (or maybe an egg).  The pair tried their best to get their offspring back.  But I don't think they succeeded.  That's the law of the jungle alas!

Thursday, June 23, 2011

I went for my evening walk and there were a great many fireflies around, winking in the leaves on the trees and the bushes.  Fireflies are in abundance during the monsoon lulls.  Anyway, my lab was around too, following me around leisurely, chasing the occasional frog or lizard.  Just towards the end of my walk, when I slowed down and we were in the same place, I saw this firefly hovering around Lab girl's head and then it sat on the top of her head, winking away!  It looked so cute and I so wished I had a camera with me.  One more of those misses.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Back home

I'm back at home and we have returned to a monsoon in full swing.During our absence, the jungle has been creeping back and seems barely kept at bay.

With the onset of the monsoon, missing are bird sounds. There is not even the sound of a crow. The birds chirp only if there is a sufficiently long gap between rains. Today, I can hear no bird calls. The only sounds are of the cicada/cricket chorus, rising in rhythmic bursts. As for the nights, they are filled with sounds of competing choirs. Frogs (toads too I'm sure) sing out loud, in various pitches from a full baritone to a high soprano chirp, interspersed with the droning of the cricket.  Not silent nights at all!  Well, we are half way across the world--longitudinally--and many miles south--latitudinally--from where we were just last week.  I am glad to be back home, but there is a feeling of nostalgia for the lovely holiday and the scenery left behind. 

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Spring is melding into summer

Our stay here in the US is almost over, our 5 weeks almost up. We leave on Monday 30th, Memorial Day here in the US, which heralds the beginning of summer. It's been wonderful to experience a season I had never experienced before. In the 5 weeks we have been here, I saw the bare, naked, branches, first covered with tiny buds, flowers and then leaves. Now the flowers, on most of the trees around, have gone and they are all dressed in various shades of green. There is even fresh new pale green growth on all the evergreens around. On a clear day, as today is, you look around and the shades of green, with the blue of the clear sky seems iridiscent.
Gone are the daffodils and narcissus and most of the tulips. Now, in the gardens around, I see irises in various shades and colourful flowers on low plants--not too sure what they are. Today I saw flowers on pine trees too (something I have never seen before).
The goslings out on the lake are quite big now and losing their fluffiness. The ducks are around, but there don't seem to be any ducklings. Maybe they're well hidden. There are birds everywhere and on a sunny day, the air is filled with birdsong of such variety. Even on a cold rainy morning, I have heard birds chirping, but it's only when the sun is out that the many voiced chorus can be heard.
I am filled with nostalgia at the thought of leaving. But time moves on and vacations don't last forever.
I hope the next time we visit, we come towards the beginning of fall.

Friday, April 29, 2011

Evening walks in another land

I'm now in the USA and Spring is everywhere. I have been enjoying my evening walks and even the brisk, cold breeze, coupled quite often with the drip, drip, drip of Spring drizzles, hasn't killed my yearning to be outside when dusk falls :-)
I have been enjoying watching Spring burgeon. This is the very first time that I have the chance to watch this season. I have never been in Northern climes at this time and I am thoroughly enjoying what I see. Outside where my son lives there are wild ducks nesting: Canadian geese nest in the reeds at the nearby lake and fly overhead with their haunting cries. I have seen robins--looking, to me, a lot like our mynahs, but with redbreasts. There are other birds I cannot yet identify. We got to see some wild rabbits and my grandson and I saw a dead skunk.
I love how the trees are budding with new life. There are trees with only flowers on them, bushes with bright yellow leaves, daffodils dancing in the breeze, in two colours. There are pink flowers, which I was told were jonquils, and little blue flowers and, what I presume, are tulips in shades of red. The weeping willows look magnificent to me, swaying elegantly to and fro, dressed in lime green. Everywhere the signs of new life are there. I love it all.

Monday, April 4, 2011

The mahogany trees are in bloom and the tiny flowers are everywhere, a carpet spread wide.  At the slightest touch of a breeze, they fall, sounding like water dripping from the leaves.  Their scent is heady and the day and night are filled with the perfume.

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Baby time

It's obviously nesting time.  Yesterday, before I left the school I work at, I saw a number of children, with a teacher, taking turns clambering on  a stool, to peep into a box around the electricity meter.  I asked what was the excitement and I was told that it was the nest of a magpie robin with 3 lil ones in it!  So I went to have a look too.  I'm glad I did, because neither the young teacher, nor any of the 4th grade children there, knew that one should never touch the babies.
Anyway, while everyone was having a look, the poor parents flew around frantically, making little chirping noises.  Then one of the kids noticed that there was feed for the babies in the parents' beak.  So we all quickly cleared out from there, to leave them in peace.  Completely slipped my mind that I could have taken photographs with my camera!!

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Narrow escape

This morning, Lab and I were out in our front yard.  I usually sit out with her while I have coffee. I'd finished my coffee and thought I'd take a walk around her.  I saw her suddenly go into 'watch' freeze and then saw her running towards something.  Without my glasses I couldn't see what it was.  But I ran up to where she was real fast.  I was sure it would be a squirrel.  But what did I see, but our pal here in the picture, a baby woodpecker who'd obviously landed down there and now couldn't take off!  You can see that his eyes are hardly open and his tail is sort of damp!

Luckily our Lab is curious first.  So she'd just got round to smelling the little thing when I reached her.  I somehow grabbed hold of her collar and had to wrestle with her to get her into the house and away from this little one.  After putting her out back with some treats, I ran back with my camera.  I was in time to see Mama sitting there too and urging baby to fly--maybe.  But the minute I tried to open the window screen to take a picture, Mama flew off.  I waited quietly inside to see if Mama would return, but she didn't.  So then I went outside.  I waited around and then felt I just couldn't leave baby there, because it was only a matter of time before either a stray cat or a mongoose caught hold of it.
I went up to him/her talking all the while.  That's when I got to take the picture.   After that I thought I'd gently lift him up using a leaf, so that my scent wouldn't be left on him.  But he tried to peck me!  Finally I got a thin twig, onto which he was able to climb.  As I lifted the twig up, thinking I'd place him on the nearest tree, he flew off.  He landed further off somewhere, where I'm sure Mama would have come and taken him off.
You should have seen him though crying out for his Mama.  He would let out his shrill cry and then look skyward.  I sure hope he and Mama are fine.

Monday, March 14, 2011


Baby mongoose seems to have grown.  I've been hearing mongooses in the undergrowth outside my window.  Today I was able to catch mamma & baby--who has become a lanky youngster now.  How many different types of cries I heard!  At times it seemed like Mama was screaming at her baby, probably for taking risks.!  I also watched as she turned around and murmured at baby--who was loitering around behind her.  I see all this from my windows.  But I have to be very quiet.  Any loud sound and they're off.

Monday, January 31, 2011

Sunday morning I saw a mongoose family--presumably it was a family.  There were two adult mongooses and a baby, just about running around.  It must have been all of about 10 inches long.  They were sunning themselves under the pruned gulmohur tree after which father mongoose moved on in front, baby in the middle and mom bringing up the rear.  The baby was just having fun.  I saw it dragging itself through the warm earth, then running on ahead a bit, and even jumping over mama.  As always, the camera was not anywhere near.  I did try to use my phone camera, but couldn't a good shot.  Was a lovely show!

Monday, January 24, 2011

Two koels

I had been meaning to write about the 2 male koels for quite a while, but just didn't get the time!
One evening, I heard this big screaming battle right outside my kitchen window--very loud koel cries. [Koels are our local cuckoos]. I took a look out and I saw these two male koels on the guava tree outside having a face-off. I ran outside with my camera and tried to come up as close to them as possible. The only sign they gave of being aware of my presence was by keeping quiet. But neither was willing to relinquish his place.  Here is a shot of them and a movie clip too.

If you click here it gives you the koel's cries--what I was able to get.