Sunday, September 22, 2013

new kid in the garden | lessons of life with Oriental White-eye

Change in weather always bring something new in the life. Season has been changing , giving space to new plants to grow, new flowers to blossom. After bountiful of rain, when water was available in plentiful quantity everywhere, this was the first time that the garden soil needed some artificial recharge. More when you wanted to grow a few new crops. While we were busy with cropping and watering the plants, a generous leakage in watering- hose was strategically placed to optimally utilize the water. Like humans and plants other inhabitants of the garden also need water. Hence a strategic placement of leakage to cater the need of plants and birds at the same time. Bird baths have been empty for a while now, Dengue outbreaks in Delhi have made us learn a few lessons and implement on them too.

Now the garden is not only one shade of green after the abnormally long monsoon season this year. Some younger shoots of lighter green, some sprouting roses with reddish hue and an occasional yellow cosmos. Birds are all there already.

You see any color different from green is also welcome in our Green space, be it red rose or a bird.

Yes, a young Oriental White-eye (Zosterops palpebrosus) or OWE, hopping in the garden under the watchful eyes of its parents. Having fun as a community. These little birds have been in the garden for years now, taking showers from the hose every now and then, photography opportunities were limited back then.

Group of three because the white-eyes are sociable, forming flocks which only separates on the approach of the breeding season. We don't necessarily have spot a OWE chick to know they are here, the flurried activities of the parents gives it away almost every time. The way they keep making very soft chik chik voices around one place and then bring some food in their tiny beak. You know there is some interesting story unfolding.

While the one parent is busy with feeding the kid the other one keeps a close eye on the surrounding. Those familiar with our garden can easily identify the place and the plants.

But the parenting is not only about feeding a kid, it also involves giving them few more lessons of life, connecting with them, playing with them, giving confidence to them so that they can handle the worldly situations by themselves.

When it comes about life lessons, it also involves drinking water and taking a bath into it. See the profusely leaky hose, positioned strategically.

See the water gushing out. But this lesson is not so easy. This parent has to lead by showing example and keeping a close watch on chicks' activities.

Showing position before dip .

Enjoying themselves in the process too.

And now its the little chick's turn to enjoy.

They fluttered wings, got wet, fluttered again to drain off all the water. And then they take the dip again. Quite playfully.

We have seen dozens of them having a shower under the hose many times when we water our plants, taking pictures was not always possible as one of us would be sleeping when it happened.

This time they decided to take a dip in the leaky hose and now we know how to attract them for good photo opportunities.

Hoping to come again with many more such bird stories.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Jacobine cuckoo in my garden this morning...

Pied cuckoo or Jacobin cuckoo is a migratory bird that comes to India from South Africa by April and stays during monsoons. It returns after a breeding period . This bird is a brood parasite and the host in India is Jungle Babbler. Jacobin cuckoo generally lays it's eggs in the nests of a babbler, the eggs are turquoise blue, matching the colour of babbler eggs. Red vented bulbul is another common host and when this Jacobin cuckoo lays eggs in bulbul's nest the colour of the eggs is white. How clever nature has made these birds.

The call is a sweet piu piu song and I was fortunate to spot the bird only after hearing this call. I found a couple perched on the higher branches on my drumstick tree and it was a challenge to photograph them in dense foliage.

This was the first sighting of this bird for me, glad it was in my own garden. No decent pictures but I would still show off :-) So glad to see them here.

See the crest as visible from ground level...

And the head turns...

The white wing patch...

The leaves are helping play hide and seek...

May be the nests of babblers and red vented bulbuls in the garden are the reason these brooding parasites are here. It will be god to watch them here if they keep coming.

Keeping my fingers crossed. They will return if they have spotted a prospective nest around here.