Night Lights

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It is the full moon, and the clouds glide past overhead, buoyed by winter breeze. Continue reading “Night Lights”

Curlews of Stone

great thickknee

Great thick-knees are distinctly odd birds – a combination of a shoebill stork, a sandpiper, an ostrich, a bustard, with a hint of a brief, scandalous dalliance with a chessboard around the eyes. They move stiffly and slowly through the days, breaking out into short runs if hurried, moving deliberately, as if trying to hold all the different pieces of themself together.

The IUCN lists them as near-threatened due to the rapid disappearance of their riverside habitat. This one appeared on the bank like a ghost, landing silently, staring at us carefully for moments as we drifted away across the river.

The Little King


So yesterday I gave a TED talk. But that isn’t what I’m talking about now. Wait till Sunday.

What I’m going to talk about now is something completely unrelated: kingfishers.

It’s probably pretty obvious by now I freaking love them. Big ones. Ones that don’t fit the standard definition (or color range). Heck, even watching them is enough for me.

So when a flash of blue appeared in front of us in an isolated islet in Ranganathittu Bird Sanctuary, I was… a little bit disbelieving. Especially considering the white-throated kingfisher that had just made an appearance literally fifteen meters away. This was… too good to be true.

But it was true. True enough that the lighting was so bad + my hands shaking so much from the excitement only one photograph actually turned out semidecent, with its head actually facing us. One word: gem. Seriously, is it even legal for birds to be that beautiful?

No. No is the answer. And considering how it manages to be so pretty while simultaneously being so awesome (fish. RIVERS. BEAKS.), I think it’s pretty deserving of the title ‘king’. (Though queen would have worked too. Ah well.)

Tit’s Tub


On our last day of Kullu, I went for a walk on my own.

This was not the best decision in some respects. When I came back, half the prickly plants in the Himalayas had decided that my pants would be the best place to hitch a ride on. And I was stuck for half an hour picking them off.

In other respects, however… well. There were Verditer Flycatchers. Plumbeous Redstarts. The chance to watch the world come alive with bird song.

And one very cute bathing Coal Tit.

The route I followed was along the course of a small stream, and it was in the stream I spotted the Tit. The stream dipped down at a section to form a microcosm of a waterfall; where the water fell, the Tit was bathing.

I really have no words to describe what it looked like, and how freakin’ cute it was, so I’ll let this video speak for itself.