Wednesday, July 9, 2014

SUMMER VISITORS





Till the middle of the month, the mornings in Delhi had remained unusually cool for the month of April. It had been heavenly to have early morning tea outside in the back courtyard of our house. We are blessed in having a few trees around our house. In between the silk cotton tree (semul) and drum stick tree, you can easily spot at least 15 species of birds on your lucky day. Thus, we have usual birds like sparrow, myna, brahminy myna, dove, blue rock pigeon, wood pigeons, rosy pastors, wabblers, sun bird, robins, bulbul, crow, kite, parakeet, sun bird, etc.




The wood pigeons had come and gone away, stopping only for a few days for face presentation; the flock of noisy rosy pastors was in the process of leaving;  white-cheek bulbul, kingfishers, and grey hornbills were also making occasional appearance; every morning tree pie is trying to imitate other birds; barbets, large and small, were heard more often than seen with their continuous, monotonous ‘thuk…thuk…’. We do not have roosters around us, but koel has assumed its function with its shrill call rising in crescendo and then suddenly going quiet. Unfailingly, it gives its call at 4 am, and sometimes at 3! Where was it all throughout the winter? Soon we shall witness crow chasing away a female koel from its nest, but many a koel would succeed in throwing away eggs in the crow nest and laying their own.




Gone winters, the trees have become mad house of activities with birds of all color and hues, shapes and sizes. The mornings occupy them with their frantic search for food and building material. All through the winter, they had gone on sabbatical, and now they have made their appearance to reclaim their rightful place among trees and bushes. The insects, which had remained conspicuous with their absence, have suddenly become visible almost in sacrificial mood, allowing us to witness hide and seek with birds, who dart down from some invisible spot in the tree to hunt them and insects or moths scurrying in the grass or fallen leaves for their lives.

The mornings are no more pleasant any longer, mosquitoes are perhaps envious of seeing us enjoying our morning tea, and won’t let a single second pass without their sting hitting us at some unreachable spot of the body, but the call of the birds is still fascinating making us endure all the oppression of heat and mosquito bite.