Its been one long, boiling-hot summer in Mumbai this year. The gul mohur is in full blaze and the monsoon winds which would've lashed these petals to the ground, are nowhere in sight. I love these fiery blooms but I'm not happy about the monsoons playing truant.
Neither are the feathered folk who call my garden theirs!
At one corner of the grassy patch which I euphemistically call a lawn, is a rocky area.
Actually almost the entire garden is a big sheet of rock. In some places it is just deeper down in the ground but in vast areas, it is just a few inches below the soil. Since digging out the rock is not practical, I have resorted to converting these spaces into a lawn. It looks very impressive to someone who's visiting but few realise that my 'luxury of having a lawn' is just an eye-wash.
Correction ... I need that grass there to hold on to the last few inches of soil before the next monsoon washes it away!
Some of the rock got exposed ages ago and the elements have carved out a small depression on one. I keep this filled with water and my 'bird-bath' seems to have become popular among the birds. Famous even, I would say, considering the number of migratory birds who stop by every year !
So you can imagine what the scene was like yesterday with the temperature shooting sky-high.
First I had a Bulbul telling some sparrows to wait their turn
while he fluffed his feathers and samg in the bath .
I love the Bulbul's song... there's something so liquid about it! And his perky-looking crest and red cheek mark him out as a real character, dont you think?
Then the Spice Birds showed up and took over the bird-bath.
I rarely get to see them sit still. they're usually flitting in and out of the garden with long grass strips in their beak busy building a nest in my Nursery Tree (don't bother looking it up ... it's just a tree I got when I tried to buy a Bottle Brush tree but ended up as something else. We call it that because all the birds love building nests in it) and trying to fool me into thinking they're not.
"Do you mind! It's my turn now. "
Then a weaver bird decided to join the party and add some colour. A lot of colour, actually! Love that cheery yellow.
I personally think these little guys are amazing. Have you seen their nests? Come on, think of it ... they only have their beak to construct these intricate structures! They'd put any architect to shame.
And, of course, the Mynah! They play a leading role in my garden theatre. They're my official pest-killers, snake-spotters,watch-birds... And they're bossy as hell!
They strut around, keeping an eye on everything that's going on, generally acting as if they're Mr. Boss. So if any other bird is already in the bird-bath when they're walking up, they'd better clear out. Fast!
This Pied Mynah is new to my garden. I've never seen him there before. Maybe he's visiting his cousins or he just found the bird-bath too tempting in summer.
The Babblers always arrive in groups, hopping around among the leaf litter and skraaking and calling to each other. Strangely enough, for all their aggressive volubility, they're very mistrustful and rarely allow anyone to get close enough. The lure of the cool water put an end to that !
Then, every once in a while, the bird-bath is taken over by the non-feathered too. By the looks of it none of the birds stayed long enough to complain!