A shrill whistling screeeee! announces the arrival of the King.
Crows bristle, rodents run for cover, and snakes slink away and hide now that someone new has taken over the top spot on the food-chain in my garden.
Behold the Black Kite alias Pariah Kite! Pariah is too ignominous a nickname for the King of my garden but the tag of Black Kite seems to be shared by other birds too so I'll just stick with Pariah Kite.
The Pariah Kite is one of the more commonly seen birds in our city. Seen from far, that is. If you look up at the sky, chances are that you'll see at least a couple of Pariah Kites sailing across Mumbai. Lazy swirls high across the skyscape soon transform into a powerful swoop when they spot something interesting.
They've learnt to adjust to city life and will just as soon scavenge as hunt, I'm told. I find that a bit sad for a bird that is obviously primarily a hunter. But city life can be tough on birds too.
Last year the royal couple looked over my garden and decided it would do to bring up their new heir to the kingdom. They moved into their penthouse suite on top of the tallest coconut tree and set about cleaning up the neighbourhood straight away.
Housekeeping is definitely not their strong point because their nest has to be one of the sloppiest I've ever seen.
But their hunting! I've seen them fly with snakes in their talons and then transfer it to that of their waiting mate. In mid-air!
Of course, the fact that I was standing below them and if they had fumbled in their passing-the-parcel act, a very angry 'parcel' would've landed on me, makes my blood freeze.
But my garden is suddenly more clear of thieving rats and other nasties than it has ever been. For which mercy I would happily crown the Black Kite Emperor of the garden .
Of late, they seem to have become more confident of moving in close even when I am around. Or maybe it's just the irresistible lure of my birdbath. Whatever it may be, it seems like the heavens are a bit closer when they choose to come down to earth.
Doesn't he look majestic? He's got such an imperious look in his eye.
Oh... and I like his trousers too.
A quick scoop of water and it's back to duty. Master of all he surveys and making sure every creature in the vicinity knows it.
Don't miss that wicked beak and huge talons. All the better to rip and rule!