Thursday, 14 March 2013

Nilam's Blessings - A trip to Chikmagalur

Disguised as 'Nilam' the cyclone, a blessing followed us all the way to Muthodi and Chikamagalur. As we stuck our heads out of the car and gazed up at the dark grey clouds that seemed to stretch forever and silently giving up all hopes of any photography whatsoever, we kept going in the torrential rain but as we turned towards Muthodi, we could barely breath, our jaws hung open at the sheer beauty of the forest soaked to the last leaf, adorned with the shimmering pearls of water droplets and nothing else but the sound of the water gushing somewhere underneath to keep us company, made the scene almost like one out of some fantasy movie. The sighting of a chestnut headed bee eater, a lifer, raised our excitement, but after that the birds seemed to have hidden themselves in the comfort of their cosy hideaways and we spotted nothing.
Reaching our destination late afternoon with nothing to do other than watching and listening to the rain from the wet porch as the leech found their way between our toes to make a hearty meal, we wondered if this is how we had to spend the next four days. But then each time the rains subsided the jewels began to shine.

The rain subsided, the chaos took over and we did not have to look far.
One of the many jewels from Muthodi,the Ruby throated Bulbuls seemed to be everywhere,as they danced around without a care.
A bane to some but a boon to many, the Nilam that wrecked havoc, brought out the food in plenty.
We stood there with unbelieving eyes,
The reds and yellows, a pleasant surprise,
From the curtains of rains they were freed,
They came in flocks, they came to feed.
Circumstances made us shift to Chikmagalur. Unsure of what to expect we reached at 9pm in pitch darkness and an eerie silence. The place was new and every hanging root of bamboo managed to create a shape that made sure we would not forget it in a long while. The darkness held us in awe and the silence made us aware of our own breathing. Losing network often was not too helpful in finding the place as we had to backtrack to call again and again. We were again blessed as a good samartian saw our plight and rode ahead of us till our rooms were in sight.
The next morning however we saw everything in a whole new light, no sunshine, but such a grand show by so many birds. The rains had ensured that the insects were in plenty at low levels. The party had begun, the birds having fun. A word from the wise, always look for the blessing in disguise.
The tapestry draped over the canopy,
The blues and the greens flowing gracefully,
Grand laces and satins incomparable to this grand beauty,
He took off, a flash of brown ,
streaking across the canopy's gown,
With immense grace, he set his pace...
Slipping and sliding, cautiously I stepped out, the mud on the road making a rich creamy paste. I was not sure whether to look for birds or save myself from the numerous leech who jumped onto me as if I was a King's platter. He sat there bemused with an almost smiling look, as if I was out there to entertain him. Stand still you silly girl, then you may possibly get a shot of me. I did as he said and finally got a shot of this bird. The blue capped rock thrush.
Glossy black blue feathers and a streaming tail,
mimicking calls and flight so agile, that we managed to just get a glimpse of the tail feathers disappearing through the thickets each time. But the tasty insects were too much to resist,
from flying back and forth for a few moments, he did desist
We got our shots and he took off
impressing us without fail.
There is something about the Scarlet Minivet Female that always amazes me. She is just that, a perfect female, so docile and charming and her eyes seemed to be lined with kajal so exquisitely, that any male even with all his flaming red feathers cannot but fall for this princess.
And then the male, chest held high, face flushed with pride, reds on blacks sat and posed. It had stopped raining but now it was raining minivets. They were everywhere, zipping across, so much to do, so little time, have to get busy before the next rain.
It was so fascinating to watch this little guy, so calm, content and peaceful in his own world, foraging the slushy mud with a quiet calmness,unperturbed by the lenses pointed towards him as he went about his business. We went on to make doubly sure that we do not move a muscle as this guy wandered close had his fill and went his way. Being alone does not mean being lonely and that is the lesson I learnt from this content Little Ringed Plover as the evening sun bathed him in its golden light.
The spot Billed ducks making their flight
As the fading light
made way to another beautiful night
Flying tandem, yellow, blue and green splashing across the sky
A roost to reach before the stars shone high
It would not be long before darkness descended on the blue waters blanketing it in the cool breeze as heads would curl up in the cosy warmth of the feathers and tired eyes welcoming the long awaited rest.
The last 2 images came from a subsequent trip to Chikamagalur as we chanced upon a water body that was a haven to this and a lot more birds, most of which continue to roost in my hard disk and I am hoping a breeding program does not crop up there. If it does a lot more pictures will be added to this blog very soon.
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Photographs and work by Tharangini is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.

Friday, 8 March 2013

The Ruins Call...

A trip to hampi had long been in the to do list, waiting and fermenting. The dream was to photograph Hampi during the rains, the heat being replaced by the cooling showers, the dust making way for the lush greens. But as monsoon came and went barely making an impact even in the rain blessed areas, and drought looming large both with the absence of leaves from work and absence of the rains I could feel my dreams floating away with the monsoon clouds.
After a couple of cancelled attempts we decided to hang on to the last straw available in the form of a long weekend early October and headed towards Hampi. Fortune does favour the brave, the patient and I guess in this case 'the desperate' with sudden rains following us all the way to Hampi from Bangalore.
A frozen moment,
a moment to be proud,
I was not sure I would be able to do it,
As they flew around in patterns crazy,
while I awaited in anticipated frenzy,
But the moment did happen,
In a shutter's click the tern was frozen..
a moment that makes me glad to be for now in the photography world,
whatever the future may hold....
The sprinkling of the raindrops on the sunshine's yellow,
The gentle petals and a mood so mellow,
the calm and peace,
Of the gentle breeze,
Makes me want to traverse those roads again,
watch the sunflowers shine,
Feel the wind on my face,
Those are the days...
The days I travel...
are forever the best....
Blessed by the sudden rains, the dry hot Hampi was almost unrecognizable as the new lives and greens
sprouted with happiness, drinking in, quenching the thirst and feeling the weather soak in through every pore.
Food was in abundance and so were the smiles, life moved at a leisurely pace, a drenched Hampi and magic
all over the place.
In the realm of two in one, a slightly mysterious image for my friends, just for fun.
They took off at the same time, one was a predator and the other a very brave one.
Let me know dear friends can you decipher this image.
And then the wings flashed open and one flew after another,
of talons, wide spread wings and all the feather,
the chase , the craze and the mad escape,
A crazy game they played,
Into the Eagle owl's territory,
The dove had strayed...
A flash of Red zipping around,
Picking twigs and bits from the ground.
As he sat and glanced behind,
His confident gaze and absolute non-chalance
did create a deep impact on our minds.
And then as we waited with bated breath, would they grace us with their presence today? Never having had the
opportunity to witness such a spectacle before, anything would have been a blessing. But then as this majestic
persona walked on to the stage, emerging from the greens like a black pearl with all the grace, we almost clapped
our hands and shouted with glee, but we chose to celebrate with every single cam clicking away at a non stop
speed. And then came another, one came with his brother, there were cubs with their mother... all in all it was an
evening to remember...
& then there were two.....
The stage was set,
and the entrance she made was the best,
with her cubs in tow,
as she surveyed the rocks below.
Safe it did seem to her,
though the wait seemed to go on forever,
Slowly, gently with the grace of a queen,
She climbed down the rocks and ruins,
The entrance was made,
Dear queen take a bow,
An amazing lady with her cubs in tow.
Each in his own world, busy, minding their own business, a silent communication they shared, together and yet
apart. As they wandered in so they wandered out, a routine almost as clockwork as can be, but so endearingly
charming as they came for their daily dose of something appetising.
it is still indeed an incredible feeling that just gushes through you as the bears march in one after another and I
do not know if it was our luck or a regular scene as we were graced with the presence on not just one or two,
but eight of them that just ambled in. After making Gbs and Gbs of shots and deleting an equal amount, I am
trying to share just a few special shots..
All in all it is just another brick in the wall,
The stones maketh way for a tiny fur-ball,
Gazing out and beyond with unblinking eyes,
The silent spectator, as the day flies.
The dusk brings out the lives,
But as the day dawns, this fur-ball,
blends in to just another brick in the wall.
The wall that may have protected the empires centuries ago, feeds the Hoopoe
now. It goes about its duties tirelessly as we continue to gaze upon what was
once inside of those walls and what is now on the outside. Do we ever glance
upon the wall itself as it stands there silently watching the generations and
generations of both mankind, birds and animals that have gone by. A tribute to
the silent wall, the source of life to so many and the protector of life of the empires
that have stood there. Hoopoe feeding at a heritage site in Hampi. Next time you
are there feel the rocks with your hands. Feel the vibration, trust me...
they do speak to you... all you have to do is listen.
The voice echoed all around and glancing back we noticed this one calling out in the most melancholy way
probably searching for his mate amongst the ruins. the rocks did not answer back and he kept on his efforts
tirelessly perched high on the ruins. Here is hoping his plaintive calls were well received.
The tail of the stones piled one above the other and yet she stands taller.
The look in her eye made me wonder, was it sadness or the look of a mother,
contemplating the strangers around her.
Creative Commons License
Photographs and work by Tharangini is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.