Wednesday, March 18, 2009

An Ode to Salim Ali

The Jade vine creeper in the Native Place Garden has a new tenant. A female purplerumped Sunbird is busy building a nest in it. The female sunbirds are pretty dificult to identify compared to the males who have distinctive coloring. the females are all a olive brown above and whitish to yellow lower parts- Even with this picture on opening a birdbook i was puzzled on seeing 5 types of female sunbirds with similar colorings. But inveitibly Salim Ali comes to the rescue.

His discriptions of the sunbirds nests are so thorough
"an oblong pouch of soft grasses, rubbish and cobwebs, draped with pieces of bark, woody refuse and caterpillars' droppings, wit a projecting portico abouve lateral entrance hole. Suspended from the ti of a brnch of a bush or creeper at moderate heights, ofern adjacent to an occupied bunglow"
leaving me in no doubt whatsoever.

Years ago i used to see Salim Ali walking briskly along the seafront at Carter Road,Bandra. I had heard that he was very interesting to speak to. I never got the chance to listen to or walk with him but my experiences with his book 'The Book of Indian Birds' where he shares his rich experiences in such a beautiful manner makes me belive that he is still here guiding us birders.

Astrid Rao


Chandramouli S said...

Wonderful find! Lucky you.

Sunita said...

I love the sunbirds! They are so quick and vibrant like flitting jewels. And I love seeing their specially modified beaks dipping straight into the flower.
It's so coincidental: I was mentioning Salim Ali's name in one of my last posts. His book has been like a birding bible for me.
I wish you had got the opportunity to talk to him, imagine the stories he could have told you !

Bangchik and Kakdah said...

I love the way salim put it .... so complete and detailed ... to capture a nest on snaps is wonderful ... cheers! ... bangchik

Kim said...

Hello from Pennsylvania, USA--I grew up in Bangladesh & Kenya and the birds and fruit and flowers were so bright and gorgeous. Now I content myself with the humble robin, who is the hallmark of spring here. I enjoyed the post where you just sat and watched the blackbirds. They are absolutely fascinating. I used to watch huge flocks of blackbirds undulating and dancing in the air when we lived down by a creek in the Texas countryside, where my husband's family is from. They get a bit of a bad rap in literature but they are extremely interesting to watch.

Thanks for the journey to your garden. It's beautiful.

Muhammad khabbab said...

jade climber or emerald creeper is not commonly available here in pakistan. did you grow it by seeds?

great blog though. keep posting specially flowers.

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africanaussie said...

Hi I just discovered your blog and will definitely be following it. I am all the way over in tropical Australia, but grow many of the same plants as you do. We just had a sunbird build a nest in our backyard - check out my blog. She left though, so sad, not sure if we frightened her away.

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