Category Archives: Bird Watching

Waterholes and Bird Watching

Waterholes and Bird Watching

This is a reproduction and with climate change taking considerable impact within  five (5) years it is worth reproducing, lest I miss the connections.
The waterhole is no more filled up with soil by developers of new kind and a vehicle that parked on the filled up earth got stuck this Saturday and they could not move it out.
I did come home by stroke of luck bit earlier (it was getting dark anyway) and with the help of two three wheeler drivers and more importantly a crowbar we manged to pull it up.
The vehicle was a brand new automatic (not a 4 wheeler by the way, and driver was a granddad who did not any idea what he was doing).
Yes, I sometimes become a good Samaritan.
The granddad was asking me to push which I did not till I got the problem pictured out and with a likely solution to go with it.
My wife who tried to help ended up with a mild asthmatic attack.
The lesson to learn is “do not help a guy/girl” who in the first instance made a wrong judgment in parking on a private piece of land without asking permission from the owner.
Waterholes and bird watching do not go hand in hand. I believe people frequent waterholes when they are fed with watching birds. But, the connection I have made with waterholes and bird watching is of a different kind.
There was unduly high activity of birds and bees (really there were no bees) in the neighbourhood, for me to venture into investigating this simple phenomenon was spontaneous. The reason of this high activity was the perennial (but infrequent) rain we experienced over the past year or so. There was no scarcity of water except at times when the Water Board decides to divert our water to Kandy Municipality and forgets to turn our pipeline on (to cater to the commercial needs disregarding our needs who live outside the municipality).
The birds that visited our neighbourhood included were Greater Coucal, Common Coucal (Crow Pheasant) and the Red-vented Bul Bul and the increase in number of crows (from two to four to be precise in two seasons).
The reason and the only reason the abundance of rain and water. The birds want survive without the unusually high insect activity and snail population (especially the Common Coucal) which was well supported by the rain. The butterflies and their numbers increased proportionately in the dry periods in between the rainy spells.
Why is this unusual congregation of wild life in our neighbourhood?
To my mind there are two reasons.
We happen to live on their migratory pathway is one reason.
The other was the little waterhole and the water purification unit that stand in front of our house. Birds frequent this place because of the abundance of water certainly, not for food.  I of course do not believe in feeding them because the constant threat for birds from domestic cats. It was on the other night we managed to rescue a King Fisher from a domestic cat. He had one piercing wound on the head and another through the wings and there was bleeding. I did not know how to manage an injured bird. Got my daughter to read something on first aid and advise me until I attended to TLC (tender loving care). Luckily we had a visitor who was a bird watcher and we decided to keep him till morning expecting its demise. Come morning he was still living and quickly handed over the bird to the Veterinary Hospital for necessary care. Quickly had a chat with the Professor (who unlike medical doctors visit the hospital even on Sundays and Poya days) and she assured me that the bird would be released in a few days.
An unusual happening on Saturday was worth a little film (discovery). I was amazed to see a crow chasing an eagle three times as big as itself. The cunning eagle was using the air current to float and the crow behind vigorously chasing behind the eagle was a fascinating site worth a documentary. The eagle floated himself above the clouds and the crow gave up probably with exhaustion and lack of oxygen in the higher stratum.
In a minute about six to ten crows gathered around the sky and signaled the impending danger to the mother bird and the event ended up peacefully.
The young Coucal
Perhaps he may have to wait for the next season for a mate. Crow population has not matured enough to support two young ones.
25th of July 2006
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Bird Watching, Global Warming and Unusual Findings.

Bird Watching, Global Warming and Unusual Findings.

This year was unusual for me.
Our industrial action taught me how to be proactive and make best use of the extra time I had for intellectual studies not related to my paid academic activity.
Boredom would kill me if I do not use my creative thinking for some useful earthly activity.
Bird watching was one of those earthly activity I was engaged in.
I know many of us use that for mundane topics, politics or gossips.
With my connection with Maha Brahma now I know that gods do not gossip.
That does not mean that they are not interested in human activity or earthly activity.
They do because they have a lot of free time.
I have good news to break.
There was a lonely cuckoo without a mate.
I complained to Maha and he seems to have answered my call and the cuckoo has found a mate.
Thank you Maha for your kindly gesture.
You have done a another miracle this time.
The Indian Golden Oriole (Sivuru Hora) who migrates from Northern Part of Asia did not go home this time. They are supposed to breeds Uzbekistan, E Turkmenistan but I bet my bottom dollar that they did stay here and probably started breeding here for some unknown reason. I will keep a closer look at this pair and if I see more of them come February, it is most likely they are now breeding here.
We hare having something special for them in my neighborhood.
certainly it is not me. If we did not have the industrial action I would have failed to observe this phenomena.
It was more fun bird watching than listening to out treasury secretary who was very god at evading rather than finding a binding solutions.
They love problems without solution so that they can prolong our agony and  stay on course happily ever after of IMF target figures.
I had another observation.
I think birds hate very warm weather and there is total inactivity (no singing at all) when the temperature is above 95 degrees Fahrenheit. This has something to do with their myoglobin physiology which nobody seems to have done any worthwhile research.
Moment there is little rain (not downpour) there is hive of activity.
They love the mulberry tree and the butterfly larvae.
Rain pattern was the most bizarre this year.
Heavy showers followed by equally dry weather that if i do not water plants wilt away.
Some of the Angle plants never grew shoots in spite of my close attention.
Flowering was erratic and the oldest pineapple plant had a flower. That was also  after I uprooted it with the weed which had invaded its rooting system with its stem rotting and I put it to final resting in a dustbin, “so to speak” thinking it might die.
Then of course the commissioning of the Coal Power Unit make us 100% electricity for year 2012.
I will not go into it now but wait for another year with my critical assessment of the effect of Coal Power on this tiny island and its non-human (avian to be precise) beings.
They are not earthly wise but confused and did not know which way to fly with warm air overhead with coal power burning 24 hours a day.
1. The pattern of air currents have changed.
2. Temperature has changed.
3. The rain pattern has changed.
4. The flowering pattern has changed.
5. Flowering of water plants changed.
6. Behavior of the angle plant was not normal.
7. Fish did not die (I was doubly protecting them this time).
Almost everything changed except my observations.
7. Above all the Indian Oriole did not go home.
Yes miracle is happening in this country. Even the birds who come here get confused not due to alcohol of course.
All the sign of miracles are heralding.
Watch for my own Earth Summit.
That will certainly will happen if I see young Orioles bred here in this country.
One has to wait for a few months only, if they do not (they will not now that the winter is coming) go back and die on their way, they will certainly will breed here.
Who said miracles cannot happen in this country.
If not in the human world it will happen in the non-human world which is fast disappearing, for good with IMF development strategy.