Monday, October 26, 2009

Pallikaranai picture parade

All Photos by Mr Ramanan, in this post! He has been busy, catching all the avian stars of Pallikaranai.

The stilts stood in repose
Striking a haiku-like pose.

But the spot-billed ducks were swimming purposefully
In a line, so disciplinedly.

Spot-billed ducks

The grebes and coots were all a-chatter
Wondering whatever was the matter.

A congregation of Grebes

"Look at me!", chirped this one,
"I'm in breeding plumage, isn't it fun?!"

Little Grebe in breeding plumage

"Huh, so what?", grumbled this comb duck
"So am I, but have had no luck.
No mate have I found
in this blessed pond."

Male comb duck, seen at Bharatpur

"Its not a pond, its a wetland
And you wouldn't understand
The joys of solitude, but I can",

The swallows swooped so swift,
But this grey heron looked miffed.
The roars of the cars on the road nearby
made him cross and ready to fly by.

Purple heron

This coot wasn't crazy
just a trifle lazy,
It stood on the water's edge,
looking at the water so hazy.
With all this sewage and garbage
Its a wonder its able to forage.

Common Coot (Nama kozhi in Tamil)

The purple moorhen bowed and strutted
and to his lady love, clucked and hooted.
With weeds in his bill he chuckled,
And under his courtship, she buckled!

Up and down the jacana goes
walking on his spidery toes,
"When will my tail appear,
oh will it never, that I fear.
Oh blimey, oh banana,
then I will not be a pheasant-tailed jacana!"

Pheasant-tailed jacana

When you do grow your tail, Mr Jacana,
Mr Ramanan will be there with his camera.
Then make sure you strike him a good pose
So I may salute you with poetry, not prose.

Tell all your feathered friends in the marsh
On us, please dont be too harsh.
We've made a mess
that I confess
But we'll try our best
to reverse the process
and make your homes green once again.


Pallikaranai is the marshy wetland, now very much a part of the city of Madras, encroached upon by development, and spoiled by garbage disposal.


  1. I would love to see the Comb Duck, out of that lot. It is now locally extinct in Sri Lanka.

  2. Gosh, that was a quick comment, Amila!

    I've edited the post now. Mr Ramanan pointed out, that the comb duck was at Bharatpur, and not at Pallikaranai! So I've changed that.

    Yes we saw them there. You mean it used o be seen all the way south in SL? I didn't know that? Why has it become extinct then?

  3. I should have strictly mentioned that "it is presumed extinct". It used to be a breeding resident in SL and its last accepted records were in 1961 and 1962. Its demise was due to sports hunting, which is now officially banned.

  4. What lovely pictures and rhymes!
    This should SO be part of a book on birds - maybe a children's book?

  5. the first shot, of the group of stilts, is superb!

  6. Wow, lovely shots and beautiful words~~ :)

  7. Thank you all. It was great fun writing it! i guess the lovely photos set it off.

  8. Gorgeous simple clean photos... love it!

  9. I go with Kamini - a birding book for children should be considered! Enjoyed this post and the pictures!

  10. Fabulous pics and the rhymes make it fun! I third the idea of a book for kids. And this is inspriring me to write in rhyme on some South African animal / bird pics I was going to put up soon :)

  11. Absolutely loved the rhymes! And gorgeous pics to boot!

  12. Beautiful water birds collection.

  13. Thank you all, and yes Andy, the top 4 a remy favourites too, which is why they are up there!

  14. hi

    Lovely pics out here..I come to madras very often..are there birding groups there..would like to go to Pallikarnai some time or to any other birding spot..

  15. Great blog, you have a very personal, original and awseome style! :)

  16. Yes Lakshmi, we are part of the Madras Naturalist Society - there's a link on my blog roll, check it out!

    Pallikaranai is very easy to visit though - its in the heart of the southern parts of the city, well almost!!

    Dominic, I'm flattered, thank you!

  17. Ayyayyo!!!!!!!!!! What poetry!! So lucky am I to witness a poet like thee in full flow!!! Like Kalidasa's mind and the Ganga!!! You should bcome a comedy poet!! =D

  18. Excellent post Ambika! The poetry and photos blended beautifully into your story of the Pallikaranai. My favorite is the Purple Moorhen, strutting and hooting.

  19. Mr Chandusson, now that's a new genre I think, comedy poetry!

    Larry, so glad you liked it!

  20. Happen to look at your post thro' a link. Lovely and colourful post. Very informative too. Although born and brought up in Chennai, I knew of only Vedanthangal as a bird sanctuary. You have brought out the beauty of Pallikaranai. Thanks.

    Peep into my site when u find time.


  21. Fantastic Photos by Mr Ramanan
    Excellent Rhymes by Ambika!!
    I loved it !!

  22. when the stench came ,
    i turned my head away,
    away from the hidden magic of
    Pallikara ra - nai,

    birds lands are dying
    hope Stalin and co. are realizing,

    garbage and encroaching humanity,
    civilization marches into insanity ...

    palli-ka-ranai beg you to be at least history.

  23. Its been a long while since I was here....sorry for this late response.

    Thank you Ms Chitchat, and I'm always happy when somebody new "discovers" Pallikaranai!

    Thanks Venkatesh!

    Anonymous, your verse is a sombre reminder of all that needs to be done yet.

  24. hey , nice blog , like it ,
    won't be nice if i u can clickover to my blog page too ,
    & post some suggestion