The mild morning in the gods’ own abode called for tea. Pleasure is when the flight lands, and I am grounded on roads. Over a sip of chai as I passed by paddy fields, the sun peeped into the earth cutting through the banana plantation. On my way to Eldhose Birding camp a couple of hours away, the blue sky, evergreen Kerala and those who cycled on the roads, kept me entertained.
Jungles, demand silence and communication is very limited. The sense of vision and hearing, or rather listening, play a significant role. Over a quick handshake and refreshments, I began toddling through the forests of Thattekad. The canopies were thickly crafted with shades of green and touches of brown. I am humbled by the enormity of nature and its associates, for it makes me feel like a speck of dust in the cosmos. The fresh oxygen that enters the nostril is welcoming, anytime.
I was warned of leeches as I entered the thicker patches and I heard, ’They are here.’
I was okay so, ‘who is there?’
My eyes performed a kathakali and my feet fiddled with leeches. And yes, yes I saw those eyes in complete stillness. There were two Sri Lankan Frogmouths!
Camouflaged, secretive and shy birds! The Sri Lankan Frogmouth is a smaller frogmouth that is found in Sri Lanka and the Western Ghats of India. Their breeding plumage resembles that of dried leaves and hence most times one may just pass by, missing a chance to watch them. Also, these nocturnal birds are hard to find during the day unless they make a guest appearance. When triggered they slightly move their head upward.
I uttered in my mind,’ I never knew such birds existed.’
And yes the leech bites were worth it!
- Species name Sri Lankan Frogmouth- Batrachostomus moniliger
- Place of shoot – Thattekad, Kerala
- Season- November 2014