Thursday, 5 March 2009

Masakali Masakali

The title is the name of a pigeon and the bird I am talking about is a koel.

Birdwatching had happened only in Mysore so far. And it has been good lately too. 51 species of birds last Sunday (01-03-2009) at Karanji lake. No photos of any of those. Yet.

It was a new experience today when I saw a koel (Eudynamys scolopaceus) in the bathroom of the mens' hostel

LSC team comprising of Gow and myself heroically ensured that the koel flew away safely into the ISEC campus. You suppose it could be spying for the leopard. If it has been you'll know it when I blog about a leopard in the bathroom tomorrow :)


Meanderings and Reflections said...

What do bird watchers think when they see birds? How does mind translate the species for you? Do you connect anything in life with the experience of sighting a new specie/ watching a bird in action. Why does it fascinate you?

Anonymous said...

We recommend bird watching of a different kind to relax yourself. Of course you could watch a bird and not be worried about what the birdbrain would think.

In any case, we thought it would be nice to let one of the nice people around know that we are back on air.

Team FFA

vikramhegde said...

@ Meanderings and reflections
I am only an amateur birdwatcher. I don't know how other birdwatchers' minds work but this is how I find out. First have an idea of where you are in terms of region (Deccan, Nilgiris, West Coast, Himalayas...) surroundings (lake, jungle, scrub forest...) so you have a vague idea of what birds to expect.
Spotting birds is also quite an art and comes with practice but generally being calm and quiet helps a lot as does knowing where to look for birds.
Once you have seen it, most good guides like Salim Ali's Book of Indian Birds or Birds of the Indian Subcontinent are very useful. They contain several plates of illustrations and tables for identifying. But as you gain experience you learn to tell the difference just like you tell an Alsatian apart from a Pomeranian. The differences aren't always so stark but they're there. You also learn to spot the subtle differences between two very different species. Which is why the books are no match for having an experienced birdwatcher with you.

About connecting some happening in life... The best analogy i can derive is going to a new town. You've probably heard of it, and have a vague idea of what it might be like. But when you actually see the bird for the first time, it's quite something. If you're with an expert, it may happen that he spots and identifies a bird you've never heard of. Personally, that never enthuses me. However, in comparison with visiting a new town, spotting a new bird has the added advantage of being unexpected most of the times.
A bird in action is also makes a very interesting watch. That is like watching a variety show. Here is some being with an extraordinary talent which wouldn't land a lakh-plus-a-month job but makes it unique and interesting all the same.
I haven't been able to answer the question of why it fascinates me. One reasonable but inaccurate answer is that the birds we see are a miniscule example of the great diversity which the living world has come up with, of which we are also a part. Thanks for your thought provoking comment, keep visiting.

@ team FFA
I wish you a happy second innings. May circumstances keep you tied to the issues you are currently discussing. You could even perhaps even cover the general elections like Rohit J. May events give you enough other things to write about to keep all of you away from SBA and committee elections.

Meanderings and Reflections said...

"One reasonable but inaccurate answer is that the birds we see are a miniscule example of the great diversity which the living world has come up with, of which we are also a part."

This sure is a well answered one! If you are very much interested in diversity, do all the other organisms also interest you in the same proportion? Initially bird watching seemed a very slow and boring aspect for me but off late, birds, their calls and identifying them has captured my attention. I did not know how this process happened in me and thus made me put forth the question I had asked you. I am happy that you ventured to answer the question. Another curiosity? Do only birds that have not been sighted for a long period arouse the birdwatchers' interest? Do you evince an interest in the activities of our local favourite 'the crow?'

vikramhegde said...

You have asked a very pertinent question about whether all organisms interest me the same. I think it works in phases or cycles. When I was young all I could appreciate was the large fauna, then there was an insects phase, at the zoo youth club it was back to the large fauna along with birds, then snakes for a while, and plants (especially those with medicinal value), trees, and vegetables for a while. These are not mutually exclusive and I have been interested in several of these at the same time. By interested I mean informally pursuing its study by reading books and actively making attempts to try and observe these in their natural habitat. Sometimes it was easy sometimes I didn't get much opportunity to observe the beings themselves. But birds are very visible, attractive, interesting and easy to observe for city dwellers like us and possibly they're the class which have held my interest for the longest period of time.

My sister in the 8th standard, who maintains lists of all birds she's seen at each birdwatching location diligently notes down every common crow sighting as she does with other birds. But admittedly there is none of the "anna, look look" which might happen with some other birds. Though I don't get excited every time I spot a crow, I often see them do amazing things which catch my interest. The variety among the crows also is interesting. I've even seen a completely white crow.

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