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Time for Nature in the neighbourhood...................

Hope you are doing good and strongly coping up with current pandemic situation, which hasn’t been experienced in such a scale. With a more connected world (for humans), we are geared up for a prolonged experience of this situation and more of such impending phenomenon. We, humans, fight at differential scales to cope up.
·         For some it is the fight for mere survival,
·         For some it is the fight for getting together with friends and kin
·         For some it is the fight for free choices of travel and purchase
·         For some it is the fight for their right to leisure
·       And finally, for some it is fight for ‘noone knows what for, everyone is fighting so I am fighting hard too’.

But apart from humans, for every other life on Earth, there is only one fight and that is always the ‘fight for survival’. How do we observe this? Is it only for the researchers and scientists to observe, document and report?

Observation, one process which had been responsible for realizations, learnings, experiences, inventions and discoveries is being slowly and structurally pulled out of our lives..!! Why do we need specialists to do this job for us, while it is the basic skill human beings possess naturally? Isn’t this the motive of elementary school education? to develop observation skill, which is the basis of building up scientific concepts, theories and principles. If we have passed through an elementary education, we can be assumed to possess ‘sharper’ observation skill. That one skill for scientific exploration…..

And after a long needed (or unneeded) introduction, I would like to point it straight to the objective of this blabbering of me. I would like to share my experience with this simple, ancient skill of us – ‘Observation’. After a mild use of this skill on some places near or little far or little ‘too’ far from home, lockdown had been testing time of this developed habit. The neighbourhood had been a respite being a sanctuary for some flora and fauna.  Here are some of my observations…
1.       A day cannot pass without an encounter with crows and one doesn’t need to have a conscious effort to spot them. But there is a need for a conscious effort to understand them. Their scavenging feeding habit, bullying character, active behaviour and being dynamic in adaptation. A detailed observation can lead us to a world of wonders where crows bully dogs, other fellow birds and if lucky witnessing them bullying larger birds like kite. But more interesting are their nest building routine (Yes, a routine, building it all the time irrespective of season and all over the place). They pick everything from twigs, sticks, plastic straws, nylon threads, thin iron rods and some fibrous parts of plants to make it cosy for the eggs and the younger ones. Do observe this act of nest making of Crow and it makes up to be a wonderful time pass admiring on their hard work and adaption to situation while also pinching with the realities of plastics in our surroundings. Also get immersed on their glossy black body with matt grey neck and chest.
          

Nest building House Crow 

A nest ready to accommodate the young ones

2.   Then moving on to smaller birds, the tailor birds and purple rumped sunbirds. The beauty of them and their hyperactive stunts are an awe-inspiring vision. The Common tailor bird with its olive-green wings and tail, looks a bit camouflaged with the vegetation. But they are revealed by their calls, posture with an upright tail and active movements turning and shaking their body. Being insectivorous, it can be seen foraging on plants due to increased availability of insects there. And I observed them to be relatively active on first light, early in the mornings. And this could be because they get their energy after a nights’ rest and their preys are active too. After all, for these little beings it’s the natural cycle that decides their routine, even though they reside on a ‘not so much a natural’ setting. It would be more interesting to explore and observe their nest building (although not very easy). They got their name from their act of ‘tailoring’ their nests by stitching the leaves together.

Clearly distinctive Olive green of the tailor bird
               
But the purple rumped sunbirds can be relatively easily spotted with its dark coloured body top and yellow coloured lower body. They are equally active and often confused to be hummingbirds. They feed on nectar of flowers. I had an opportunity to observe these birds sitting safely on thin branch or sometimes even on the flowers and feeding on nectar upside down. Their curvy beak is an adaptation to this feeding habit. I have also witnessed this bird using its beak to hit on its own image reflected in a mirror. This act of hitting on its image might be a conscious funny play by the bird or an unconscious serious encounter with a fellow bird (which it presumed to be on the other side of mirror)… Poor bird. Not to mention these birds needed flowering plants to be around.

Check the curvy beak of  the Sunbird and their clinging position

3.     Another easily spotted ones near our homes are the playful and active Indian Palm Squirrels. They look mischievous with their posture, run and play. My observation is centered around two of them, who ran, play over a thin wall, steadily climb on walls, walk and run upside down, these guys are a perfect energizer for our minds. More to be understood of them by observation.

     The playful Squirrels          

4.   Another admirer but mostly slow in movement and demanding patient observation are Garden Lizards. They had been at receiving end of torture by most of us in childhood days driven by 'fictional blames' of misbehaving. Poor fellows otherwise have some of spectacular displays of spiny backs and colourful bodies (as seen in below pictures). Their continuous slow-motion dancing and their act of patience waiting for prey insects are interesting to observe. A breeding male are colourful with interesting postures to attract female.        
Patience... patience... patience
Patience... again


5.   Guest visitors of Parakeet and Pied Cuckoo took sanctum and flew away in sometime. And interestingly, Pied cuckoo to the popular belief, had brought rains within two days.
Guest visitors taking a break
More casual observations of Rats, Dogs, Frogs, House Sparrows, Butterflies, Waterhens, Kingfishers, Ashy Prinia, Skinks, lizards, spiders and many more insects indoors and through the window.

Find who…!!?

     
Check out who is feeding on who and where..!!?

Let us take this simple act of observation as a respite to our outcries of boring days. This observation could be our window to our neighbourhood. The real ‘window’ which opens to the horizon and is not the one which has a functionality of being aesthetic remaining closed in fear of mosquitoes or AC cool air being let out.

(Fun fact: Cooling doesn’t go anywhere. Infact, the feeling of coolness is the effect of absence of heat and hence it is always heat being transferred into the cool place to have a balance that is making the room relatively hotter. Source: A fellow friend aspiring to be a scientist cum educationist)

It is interesting and inspiring to find these little beings find a place for themselves in an odd environment where they are the least expected, fighting hard to be as much natural as possible while also adapting. All these just to survive. One can observe and guess the role of humans in inducing these lifeforms from a natural fight into a desperate fight. 

Let us all find strength and optimism from these fellow friends who are our neighbours. Let us continue to explore through observation, recognize the nature around us, represent them in our discourses and get inspired. 

To Observe is freedom..... to live, to be in present and to be oneself.

Comments

  1. Little by little you followed every movement of animals, admiring them by taking beautiful pictures and exploring about them. Great work uncle 👌👌👌

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Glad to know that you liked it.... Let us develop this habit of observing and appreciating the nature closer to us. While we continue to immerse, we can also spread this positiveness to people known to us...!! :)

      Delete
  2. Soundar, it felt so good to read this piece. Nothing you have mentioned is alien to the reader. Yet most of it might have gone unnoticed by the eyes, which fails to see what is right under the nose. Interesting observations, keep adding. 😇

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks... Let us engage, explore, explain, elaborate and 'expand' :)

      Delete
  3. Wow that's some observation skills, Sound. You are becoming quiet a Naturalist. So much information you gave and I could get your characteristic 'satirical' tone in the blog for the unawares. Keep it bro!

    ReplyDelete

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