Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Spotted an Indian Golden Oriole today

I was taking out my scooter from inside, getting ready for a little errand. Suddenly I heard a screeching call of a bird from the neighbourhood neem tree.

I can recognize calls from Tailorbirds, Sunbirds, Red-whiskered Bulbuls, Pigeons, Doves, Indian Gray Hornbill, White-cheeked barbet, Common Myna, Magpie Robin, Black Kites, Rose-ringed Parakeets, Common Crow-pheasant, Koel, House sparrows (now unseen in our locality of Lakshmipuram) and of course the House Crow.
Many of them, I have added in the database here.

That screeching call was unfamiliar to me. I noticed a distinct bright yellow bird on a branch, some distance away, the yellow of its plumage glowing in the fresh early morning sunshine.

I ran in with great speed to grab the camera, the Panasonic FZ8 with 12x zoom. I had seen this bird for a very short while yesterday on the same tree but by the time I ran in and came out with the camera, it had disappeared. A proper glimpse of it, except its colour, was not possible to have.

Today, I did not want to miss. Luckily for me, it hopped from branch to branch, well in my range of vision and then flew over to the other tree where I could still see, thanks also to the winter season when that tree was bereft of leaves.

The sight of this bright yellow bird was striking. I was ecstatic. It was slightly larger than a Barbet and I thought it was another belonging to the same group. I shot a few and chose the best ones to share here.

(Showing off the black and yellow plumage and also the distinctive mark around the eye)

After finishing the errand, I referred the book gifted to me two years back, by a kind friend from Dave's Garden. It is none other than "The Book of Indian Birds, by Salim Ali", a book I had always wanted to buy, but that was a most unexpected gift from the kind lady whom I have known only on the website, from half way round the earth (the USA)! She had e-paid for the book and ordered it to be sent to me. It was as if she had read my mind telepathically!

To confirm that it was indeed an Golden Oriole, I tele-called up my good friend and ever-helpful expert K.B.Sadananda, an experienced Botanist and an enthusiastic Bird-watcher, much renown in those circles, describing how this bird looks and what the book said. He gave me some information about my sighting while confirming (from the tip of his tongue!) what I had just seen was an Indian Golden Oriole (Oriolus oriolus)- with distinctive and extended black markings around its eye separating it from the Oriole from the European or African parts. In these, he said, the black markings does not stretch beyond the eye.

He told that it was an uncommon visitor not easily sighted in the urban landscapes and that in all probability, HE (that bird, was a male) was a 'winter-visitor', a winter migratory bird from the Himalayan region (December is winter time here). It flies southwards during the winter time and flies back when summer begins here. As such, I consider myself lucky to have spotted it in our locality.

Whether it be a bird or a plant, or anything concerning the environment people look up to Sadananda and he seldom disappoints anyone. When Sadananda speaks, people listen. Such is the authority and knowledge he commands, what with his kindness!

Here he is speaking (at leisure) to an organic farmer recently at a small vegetable market.

In this picture Sadananda is speaking at an awareness camp.

The Oriole flew away leaving its imprint in my mind with its colour and identity. Only if we look around or have an open ear, we come across newer things.


Capt. Anup Murthy said...

Dinu, during my visit in November, I saw the bird every afternoon in front of our K'nagar house. He's a regular there. I tried to take some pictures from the small cam I have but did not get good shots. It is a spectacular bird indeed and I am so happy to see your equally spectacular photos of the bird. Thanks also for the info on Mr. Sadananda.

YOSEE said...

Wow ! Lovely captures, Glad that exotic birds still feel free to visit our concrete jungles ! This yellow bird used to visit our ( Mys) garden once upon a time, but had mercurial movements and would disappear very soon.Hope they visit you often !

Kamini said...

What a lovely bird, and how lucky that you were able to see it so clearly and take those beautiful pictures! Thanks for sharing this. Mr. Sadananda is an inspiring person.