Found It Sunday

img_1123The results of the first Find It Friday are out. While no one managed to identify it correctly (which is understandable, seeing as this was taken in India) Arya Mansourzadeh managed to narrow it down to type of bird: owl. Aloysius Eng was even more confident and got it down to species of owl, identifying it as a Collared Scops, but he was wrong. Sorry! Alfred YW spotted the owl, but while remaining within the category of nocturnal birds, identified it as a nightjar. Cynthia found both the birds, but her identification guesses were wrong. As for the second bird, only Alfred YW and Cynthia seemed to have found it at all, so congratulations to them!

So, what was it? The bird circled in the photo above that’s closer to the bottom is a Spotted Owlet. Here’s a close-up of it.

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I spotted this literally next to Ranthambore National Park, Rajasthan. It was the second species of owl I had seen– ever! But to be honest, even I couldn’t spot in the picture above when I was reviewing them later.

As for the second bird, I wasn’t even aware of its existence till I reviewed the picture! So I’m not completely sure of its identity, if you’ll forgive me. However, I believe it to be a Plum-Headed Parakeet or a Rose-Ringed Parakeet. The latter is more likely but as I have no better photographs of it have a Plum-Headed instead.

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Most people dismiss nature and biodiversity as non-existent just because they can’t see it. But as the four people who spotted the birds proved above, that doesn’t mean it isn’t there.

The Golden Rule

Now, the golden rule of life is that to make something cute, you make it fluffy. You only need to look at a panda and the crowd of people surrounding it to prove that. (Pandas are a debatable topic with me. I’ll address that later.) Other examples include but are not limited to kittens (Internet, why you so obsessed with them?!), bunnies, and teddy bears.

Basically, fluffy baby=cute. So when I heard that the Spotted Wood Owls at Pasir Ris Park (a bird I’d been wanting to see for ages!) had had a chick, I was determined to get there. This meant driving a whole 40 km there and back, which is a LOT in Singaporean terms.

As soon as I got there, I was greeted by a group of photographers clustered around a Coppersmith Barbet, an absolutely stunningly beautiful bird that I’ll talk about in more detail in a later post. Repeated interrogation (the silver rule is never distract a birder from his/her object) revealed that to find the owls, I would have to walk further inside and look for the second group of photographers. Which I did.

However, I also found a grown man telling a tree, “Baby.”

Seriously. He was repeating, over and over, “Baby, baby, baby!” and making clucking sounds with his tongue. However, examination of his viewfinder showed that he was not addressing the tree, or the leaves, or the grass, or even the other photographers, but instead the Spotted Wood Owl chick, who I had nearly walked right past– because it was right over my head.

I’m not going to say anything more. Here’s the picture.

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Pose for the picture!

Wait a moment. I am. (Going to say something more, that is. Thank you if you had the decency not to laugh at that frankly terrible joke.)

The chick was behaving like a baby, and in the manner of all babies, it was restless. It stretched its wings a few times (no good pictures unfortunately!), looked up and down and here and there and right at me, too, as the above picture demonstrates, leaned up and down, and basically did everything except sleep like a normal owl. And then there was its coat of fluff.

In other words, it was adorable.

I should like to interrupt this broadcast, though, to say a few words on respecting nature. The photographer I mentioned earlier, the one who was “baby”ing the owl: well, he was doing that so the owl looked at him and he had a good picture to post on Facebook. Yay. Except it’s not. By doing that, any possibility of rest for the already restless baby disappeared. For the sensitive hearing of owls, I’m sure it was like having a bulldozer blaring in their ears. Please don’t do that. Stay quiet. Be respectful. Take a few pictures and go. Let them rest. They need it.

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Somewhere in the sky…