October is a busy month in my garden. No, not for me. I just flop around on my verandah or under the cashew trees, moaning about the killing heat in Mumbai. But the little creatures that also call my garden "home" are busier than ever. They are everywhere that I look, doing their own thing and generally making my garden look like it is abuzz with activity. Sooner them than me!
For starters, the dragonflies are all over the place. Zipping and swirling around, sometimes solo but usually in a cloud. I love dragonflies! Seeing them in action makes me an ultra-happy person because they hunt mosquitoes.
Did I mention that all the foliage in my garden seems to attract every single mosquito for miles around?The garden of Eden had a snake to harass the residents, mine has mosquitoes. Which also means that it has some very happy dragonflies.
I love this extremely vibrant Dawn Dropwing dragonfly who put an old orchid bloom spike to good use. He kept perching on it, sticking his bright tail up in the air and fanning his wings open in a display that kept veiling and unveiling his fuchsia-purple body. The poor guy was obelisking to beat the heat!
To read more about this gorgeous dragonfly, check this out.
The damselflies are out too, even in my apartment garden. They're such delicate little wisps that one usually doesn't notice them until they rise up out of some plant that they were perched on. But don't let their size (or lack of it) fool you. They are just as efficient at hunting out mosquitoes, flies and insect pests. I've seen one gobbling up a beetle which looked much too large to fit into the damselfly's tummy!
Then there are the butterflies .... Oh my God! the butterflies! They're everywhere. Flitting, floating, frolicking ... I love this season for the butterflies . My Vinca rosea patch is seeing rush hour throughout the day.
By the way, did you notice the little damselfly watching the Common Wanderer butterfly? That's the same little guy in the second photo. He was almost glued to the spot for hours.
You would think that with a name like Grass Demon this butterfly would be huge and scary. But no, he's really quite small. What really is larger than life is that proboscis of his!
'Huge and scary' should probably go to describe the Giant Redeye butterfly! This butterfly feeding on the Spiderlilies isn't very big, but take a look at its big ruby-red eyes! How beautifully weird is that?
If you're looking for unconventional beauties, here's one for your list. The Buff Striped Keelback is quite a small, thin snake and is absolutely harmless. Every so often I find one zipping across my yard, hoping that no one will notice him. This one was racing across the roasting sunny areas and heading for the cool shade of the heliconias. Hopefully, he was after some garden pests but more probably, he had his eye on the little frogs which like to hang out there too.
He has no idea just how lucky he is to miss being spotted by our resident Pariah Kite!
The Pariah Kites are nesting again on the coconut tree and keep a strict watch on everything that is going on. This one swooped down for a quick sip and dip in the bird-bath. And of course, some crows landed up immediately too. Just to keep an eye on him, you know.
October is also the month when the migratory birds start trooping in. I found this Hoopoe scanning some of the overgrown grass ( a last remnant of the monsoon super-growth). A crow swooped by near him and up went his startled crest. Such fun!
By the way, doesn't he look like the Creator drew some sample scribbles on his back while trying to design the Zebra?
The season is changing. It is still as hot as ever during the day but now there is a cool nip in the air at night and I love the transitions it brings. I love this season for the unusual birds that show up and also for some of the more unusual blooms. Even on the foliage plants, like this Phyllanthus myrtifolius which is widely grown as a hedge or for topiaries. It is not one of my most favourite plants but in October I seriously re-think that opinion. Because that's when it transforms into a blooming beauty!