Good morning, universe

I think everyone is born a morning person. We just uneasily grow out of it. There is a certain fluidity to our productive capabilities that crumbles into uncomfortable silos as the day progresses. There is some charm to it too. Cities look cleaner. People smell nicer.  More importantly, birds show up in the largest possible numbers. The dawn has me awake and... Continue Reading →

Please do not disturb: Coppersmith Barbets

Coppersmith Barbets don't look like they belong in metropolitan cities. One might assume they reside in secret fruit gardens. Watched over by wood elves and courted by cellists with sunflower stems instead of strings. A year ago I had an unforgettable experience with one in my city. I noticed an emerald bum jutting out, rather comically, of a hole in a tree stump. A Coppersmith Barbet was playing peekaboo with the midday... Continue Reading →

Untainted love: Painted Storks

71% of you tastes like the salt in me too. When I first spotted Painted Storks, they were way up in the sky, like militant inkblots on a mission. As they were descending, unstitched from the horizon, I could see their impressive down-curved beaks. They found an open marsh below, about half a kilometer away,... Continue Reading →

Birds and roses: October rain

I haven't had a satisfying day of birding in a long time. Two weekends ago, the rains came uninterrupted and washed my chances away. And then all through the week the sun was out, bright and proud. Last Friday night saw the city shrouded in gloom again. I drove about 50 kilometers away from the city... Continue Reading →

We are all made of sawdust: Nilgiri Tahrs

Nilgiri Tahrs (or Ibexes) are goat antelopes exclusively reside along a 400 kilometer in-between the Nilgiri Hills and the Ashambu Hills. Found at elevations of 1000 to 2500m above sea level, they are cautious, tough as nails and dashingly-handsome. The last time I saw them was early this year in Valparai. It was unexpected since it was late in... Continue Reading →

Freedom in speech: Rufuous Treepies

There are several Rufous Treepies in Chennai. During winter, many of them visit the guava tree in my neighbor's backyard. They sound like singers with speech impediments. But people just don't seem to notice them. I struggled with a severe stammering problem for about two decades. I could barely speak a few words without a prolonged stutter. Unlike the treepie,  I drew attention to... Continue Reading →

What would Bruce Lee do about waterbirds?

I haven't connected with waterbirds like I have with the rest. Flamingos have been the only true exception. And that's because they look like long-legged milkshakes. I can only assume it has to do with the presence of waterbirds in large numbers in and around my city. Even before I had started birding, I used to see them in familiar areas -... Continue Reading →

It must have fallen from the sky

Out of the canvas, into the blue, even a stillborn moon-fed child lifts a finger, as a rule, to tickle acrylic skies and awaken light, to take on crepuscular clouds in a pillow fight As a birder, poetry found me before love did. My second trip to the Vedanthangal Bird Sanctuary was a memorable one. I had written about... Continue Reading →

Snakes and bladderworts: Nobody wins

Snakes have a nasty reputation because of widespread ignorance about the nature of equilibrium in the wild. And our impact on the environment. They aren't superficially considered cute like baby seals or magnificent like tigers either.  The truth is that they are beautiful and peace-loving creatures who want nothing to do with us. We don't leave them in peace... Continue Reading →

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