Love at second sight: Indian Eagle Owls

About two summers ago, I was in Gudalur during a trip to the Nilgiri Hills - with a few friends. Barely five minutes after reaching the spot, we spotted a pair of Indian Eagle Owls. It was my first sighting. They flew past us, and into a section of the forest. And it all happened so... Continue Reading →

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A single shade of grey: Francolins

Grey Francolins are regular sights for birders during morning hours in the drier parts of the Indian subcontinent. They look like domestic hens dressed in sensible brown suits. As well-camouflaged as they are, Francolins are paranoid to the point of comic relief. We have made genial clowns out of each other. During my morning walks in scrub forests, I... Continue Reading →

To believe is to see: The Indian Eagle Owl

Until recently the Indian Eagle Owl was identified as a subspecies of the Eurasian Eagle Owl. She’s a femme fatale; as fierce as she is beautiful. She can be found in rocky regions and open scrub forests that are close to riverbanks or running streams. Her shapely and scowling face looks carved out of the... Continue Reading →

The lizard or the panther?

I used to obsess over spotting wild cats in their natural habits. Leopards, tigers or jungle cats, it didn’t matter. I would feel like a fortunate son of the earth as long as it had whiskers. While I gave up the search in favour of bird-watching, the felidae family members continued to haunt me. Even now, when I explore the... Continue Reading →

He’s a family guy: Great Indian Hornbill

It’s been 72 hours since I spotted Great Indian Hornbills in Valparai for the third time. A few things have changed in my life since then. It's as though someone turned my life’s volume knob way down. The bedroom walls are starting to whisper back. Last night, we watched each other peel in strange places. It was... Continue Reading →

Birdwatching in Chennai: A day in the lake of…

Sholinganallur is the nearest birding spot from where I live. It is home to many residential and migratory birds. But I haven’t been there much. I visit places like Vedanthangal, Kanchipuram or Pulicat, which are further away, during weekends. It isn’t easy to wake up at 3:30 AM and leave for a 2-hour drive with bad roads and poor... Continue Reading →

Get the duck out of here: Rohith Vemula

India is talking about Rohith Vemula’s suicide. Many are calling it a murder. People want heads to roll. They want to taste the winds of change on their fat tongues. After all, the right to protest is crucial to societal advancement. Even Pythagorean cups must spill over, if need be. But I don’t understand why Rohith is seen as a martyr. He killed himself, unable to cope... Continue Reading →

Gentle art of making enemies: Mynahs and Owlets

I saw two common mynahs chase a sleeping owlet out of her nesting hole on an upright snag. And then the mynahs started quarreling with each other. The owlet came back after they had flown away, fighting in mid-air as they descended upon a nearby tree. She didn’t seem pleased. That look of indignation on her... Continue Reading →

Toy stories: Pompadour Green Pigeons and friends

The Pompadour Green Pigeon looks like a toy to me. I bet that every night - woodland creatures dip them in buckets filled with green paint. By dawn, they are free to roam in the hills. They fly around, ornamenting the trees with their madly-purple shoulders. And giving neck-cramps to birders. My neck will snap if I ever go to the rain forests of Papua and spot the Western Crowned... Continue Reading →

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