I wish I could spend every Sunday morning and more, exactly this way! But when I remember the old saying “if wishes were horses, beggars would ride them”, I remain satisfied with my share of such Sundays.
My interest in birds has a childhood connection. I remember my wanderings and explorations around home and school in Mumbai suburbs. The area where we lived was surrounded by wetlands. Banana and Jasmine plantations and paddy fields dotted the landscape.
I would often accompany Mahu – a son of local Warli (Warli is tribe from Thane district in
I vividly remember one afternoon! As we were walking along a narrow irrigation canal, lined with some short, broad leaved plants, Mahu abruptly halted and drew my attention to a particular plant deeper in the bush. Upon moving closer to the plant, I saw a neat leaf cone hanging from one of the branches and inside were two tiny eggs nestled in a straw cup. I stayed riveted to the spot, for, I had never seen anything like that before! Sensing my astonishment Mahu informed that there were many such nests along the canal. He added that “the nests were built by a bird called shimpi” (shimpi is Marathi word for tailor). A few days later he even showed me the bird in action; stitching the edges of the leaf to make a cone. I noticed that the bird used some kind of natural fiber. This was my first close encounter with the fascinating world of birds.
One incident here, I can never forget! Some mornings I would bypass the toilet facility at home and run to a near by stream to answer nature’s call. One morning as I settled on rocky a toilet seat, I heard a melodious whistling from just across the narrow stream. Thinking that there was some one across the stream and that I would be caught in the act, I got up, cleaned and ran back home. Later, when I recounted the incident to my cousin, he broke into feat of laughter. His laughter confused me, on pestering a lot, he told me that no villager ever came to that part of the stream and it was just a bird whistling away. I could not believe him because the whistle sounded like a tune of some popular song. It was years later that I actually saw Malabar whistling Thrush also aptly called ‘idle school boy’ for its carefree whistling song.
These incidents are finely etched into my memory. After I completed schooling, my family moved to
My long time friend Jagdish also joined me on my trips. Together we explored the area around our home town – Ponda (
ecies. One look at their checklists published on internet puts me to shame. In short span of time these people mange to cover more that 50% of our species number. However, there is tremendous apathy and ignorance amongst our people regarding the local environment and wildlife. Industrialization and urbanization are taking its toll, the Goan landscape is changing at alarming rate.