Tuesday, June 15, 2010

The most amazing LEAF

Someone dedicated the song and the video clip to someone call Chikoo but i borrow this and dedicate this to myself.
i have just had the most beautiful retreat and my heart is singing this plus all the songs related to nature like Parbatoon ke paidon par sham ka savera hai...
i guess that was the best i could've done for the moment when my heart ached for sounds and sights of pristine nature looking all washed and clean of the pollutants when in Kerala the God's own country is having it's monsoons.
Thekkady was where i lost myself to the mist-laden tea gardens, undulating hills and grasslands and had lots of serene moments occasionally broken by the gurgling of streams and waterfalls.And yet more to this symphony were these unusual sounds of birds.
Thekkady in the Idukki district of Kerala is nurtured by river Periyar and has thick forests fit enough to be a sanctuary.Hence it is not surprising that The Peyirar Tiger Reserve Sanctuary is located here and we were fortunate enough to lodge in what has come to be known as Jungle lodges and resorts JLR and this one being inside the Tiger Reserve Sanctuary was the best option we could finally afford.
The tigers though were last spotted by tourists in 2008 someone said as they are too psyched with the sounds and sights of the more ferocious of the animal kingdom us humans to come near the fringes of the forest.However i had my share of wild ,watching from a safe distance a maternal herd of elephants and their two babies frolicking in the monsoon by the banks of  the man- made lake Periyar.Spotted a few wild boars too and few varieties of birds the calls of which sounded like words spoken in a birdy tune.
Some sounded like, sea sick,sea sick and other like, did- he -do- it...didn't- he- do- it.
There was a call like tree-tree-tree-tree and a distinct four -noted call resembling, orange-pecko but my husband said it sounded more like bo-ko-ta-ko.
We tried hastily to follow the direction of the sounds and spot the bird imagining the uniqueness just by the sounds because back home we get to hear only the cawing of the crow and sometimes the kooing of the Koel.
Certain sounds so musical like a short plaintive 'phiu' while others like a shrill 'tee-tee-tee' still others like the oft- repeated 'chip chip chip chip'. These sounds unheard in the city made us wander under the lush foliage trying desperately to spot the birds as they crooned to the soft drizzle of the monsoon.
While getting wet in the rain was fun, it was the occasional sounds of Chikee-chikee which helped us spot a small blue Kingfisher. Coming back through the woods we were also fortunate to spot few very small birds the names of which we know not but were astounded by their beauty, elegance and swiftness.
A lot of these sounds are now etched into my memory as i hushed my husband to silence while we followed the notes.
ve two- ve two
whri-ri-ri,whri-ri- ri
whew-whew (like whistle)
As i wonder how these creatures must look like while they TALKED in these pleasant tunes i promised myself a good set of binoculars next time i visit another jungle resort which is going to be soon.
But the birds eluded us as while we nurtured more suspense.As to how do they look like? Are these sounds of large birds or small birds? For by their calls they all felt beautiful and very elegant.
We did spot the Darter though which locally is known as the snake bird, perched up on the chopped trees dotting the Periyar lake.Also in the lake itself the Cormorant and on the trees a beautiful small bird called the  Drongo.The glistening black metallic body made it look iridiscent.

                                                           Darter  (Anhinga melanogaster)          

                                                    Great Cormorant ( Phalacrocorax carbo)                               
                                                      Common Kingfisher (Alcedo atthis)

                                          Racket-Tailed Drongo ( Dicrurus paradiseus)

As if this was not enough i saw a most fascinating insect i have ever seen in my 45 years of  existence and i don't know as yet what it is, so i prefer to call it The Leaf .
i know many bugs like the ladybird are so pretty to look at but this one sort of hypnotised me.It had crawled inside the lodge and was maybe injured because while i watched fascinated and bewitched, i saw it move with a limp and since i was scared of touching the fragile thing i asked one of the JLR guards to lift it carefully and rest it in a safe place, which he did and then i ran skipping and hopping to my room upstairs to get my cybershot.Wishing and praying all this while that it should not fly away. Panting and gasping for breath when i returned, it was still there and off i went with my cybershot.The result may not be as good as my blogdost Karthik http://www.wildwanderer.com/journal/ but it is not bad either. So here is my most amazing creature a marvel of nature. What else but NATURE which has given it the most brilliant camouflage.


Quite unable to contain my excitement as this was a hurraah moment for me, i was having goose pimples at the sheer thrill of being the lucky one because i know by my trails now that many a times such beauties are too difficult to spot. i will know it's name shortly and maybe was pseudo cool about this treasure that came my way accidently when the fact is that i am on cloud nine as if i have struck a goldmine.Never can i imagine getting a close look at something so brilliant.Camouflage at it's best and all i can say at the moment is that nature was too kind with me in unfolding it's secrets to me yet again.

The Mystery Of Nature
by Theodore Tilton

Dated: 16.06.2010 thanks to the timely help by my blogdost Karthik again i now know the real name of THE LEAF. i am again so thrilled that even in my naiveity i called a GREEN LEAF KATYDID something so close.
Feel an enormous sense of admiration for the internet which gave me a source not only to prove my friend knowledgeable but also see the real splendour of the beautiful leaf mimic THE GREEN LEAF KATYDID.
At the moment i have not only gratitude but much admiration for this dost who not only took time out from his busy schedule to read my blog but educate me more by guiding me to the correct species of bird i had spotted.More brownie points for him as he familiarised me with THE LEAF.So all i can say to him through my blog is this,"Dear Karthik may your tribe increase!"

And before i happily call it the quits i would like to hear that song of yesteryears,the one i hummed as i went trekking into those woods so lovely.This song has words that fire all your senses in a way, when you try to see or hear...Surmaiyee ujaala...Champayee andhera...Thahre thahre paani...Geet thartharaate...Roshni ka jhurmut...Makhmali andhera...
i attempt to translate these although i feel it can't be perfectly translated only felt.But nevetheless...Kohl- laced light...golden darkness (like the colour of Champa flowers)...Still still waters...Songs shiver...Curtained light...Velvety darkness...

Image courtesy: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Darter


  1. Lovely post Shivani, I have to visit Thekkady forest some day. I need some peace and quiet and this looks like a perfect place. Thankyou for educating us with your well researched pictures,video clippings and songs.

  2. @Preeti thank you for reading and yes this place is perfect if you really want beautiful lush greenery and natural sounds.:)

  3. Outright superb. Nature lover that you are with all those audio rendering through words. You are a damn good photographer too. Those are gr8 macro shots taken in natural light. Keep up the good work of sharing nature through your posts. God bless the likes of you in abundance.

  4. A very nice post and an excellent gallery. Also like the new design of your blog a lot.

  5. @Tandarin thank you for all your appreciation meanwhile i enjoy ur posts.i just got lucky with those shots of Katydid and much thanks that you liked it.
    God bless u too for being so kind and from what i gather from ur posts a real good person too.:)

  6. @Anirban Thank u and glad that u liked my new template.However i find yours impressive :)

  7. Wow Shivani ! Beautifully done. The song is so apt with the post. I have been to Kerala and all I could admire there was the food. I saw birds and to me a bird is a bird is a bird.Your posts have made me enjoy all these beautiful creations.A world completely unknown to me. The lodge in the middle of the natural music is so tempting. Thanks for a wonderful narrative.

  8. @Le embrouille blogueur Thank you for enjoying this with me in a new perspective.
    Actually earlier when Ma and Pa would admire these we felt not much but now i too seem to be enjoying these as they had.We change and this time when i went to Kerala more than the Malabar cuisine and Karimeen Polichatu i was a glutton for these.
    And i came back pampered and well fed...and this time no indigestive gases and burps leaving a sorry taste of earlier gorged food...only just plain good feeling of simple well being.
    Maybe now you shall also stop! wait and notice :)...tastes change... who knows soon u'll be more hungry for these.:)

  9. You are right. I will probably. The last time I was in Kerala was over a decade ago. I was Young and Restless.Your post makes me want to just escape. Silence is extremely desired. Especially with a two year old at home... :)

  10. @Le embrouille blogueur...oh a two year old and a job and home can leave you wanting nothing less than an escape.Have patience and in time you should be able to get that.
    i remember those days and i was restless too...actually i still am...now more restless for tranquility and peace.
    If i could i don't mind being one with the tribes now who lead a simple and well harmonised life in the lap of nature and unlike me are contended i feel.Thanks for letting me know how you feel...just remember many a times we do what we got to do...things eventually fall in place.
    My experience tells me that.:)

  11. Well said ... thanks for the encouraging words and for relating to what our life is right now.

  12. @Le embrouille blogueur...ur affirmation forced me to see what i said and i realised there was a typo in my message...the word should be contented i know u would excuse me for the error.hahaha!
    Yeah and stay put and keep weaving magic like u do :)

  13. mast blog post !
    the bechara leaf insect ( green leaf catydid as i learnt .... look i remember !!!!) looked startled in the first photo as you clicked it .
    as u excitedly flashed blinding light into his little cute eyes for all of us to enjoy..... the poor thing must be dying out of fear.
    but later he must be really happy that u didn't harm him( or kill him...the worst u could do !).
    a really gr8 post !

  14. @Anonymous...Anni ...no beta no flash was needed for this shot.Probably the poor beautiful creature was in pain already.
    Glad that u enjoyed the post Green Warrior!!
    Much thanks!!