Saturday, January 22, 2011

The Parambikulam poem

Frogmouths and hornbills I hoped to see
but the forest teaches you
that what will be, will be.

Parambikulam was our destination,
in our MNS Pongal peregrination.
Up in the Western Ghats is the sanctuary,
a hot spot of floral and faunal diversity.
A 450 year old teak called kanimara
A Southern Birdwing, I marveled at. The shola
Do we realize we have this treasure,
Its worth to us, beyond measure?

Lost New Yorkers and Naturalists seasoned,
a doc on sabbatical and a writer of fiction,
researcher retired, the children enlivened,
our MNS "herd', a local attraction!
Roshan amused us with snake lores galore
Rohan wanted idlis and puris, some more
Uttara yelled in the cold shower with "delight"
and Vish thought she was in a big fight!

Then, Selvam guided us to the frogmouth pair,
An endemic to the ghats, in their lair.
What an endearing sight they made
Leaf-like, in order to detection, evade.
That large, strange gape helps them hunt at night,
Below the forest canopy in quiet flight.
This Youtube video shows you the frogmouth, Sri Lanka
As also this post in my favourite blog from Gallicissa.

While Pranav continued his quest for crawlies,
Vijay thought we would have leech difficulties,
But instead, Mini had ticks more than forty!
Which her dad picked out, before they turned warty.
He also removed the dead rat from our loo
While Dhruva was revealing sides to us we never knew!
Meanwhile, Raji & Raji discussed music and dance
with Kamini, in this most unlikely ambience.

Outside the dorm was the Malabar Whistling Thrush
Its plaintive call heard from the brush.
An Asian Fairy Bluebird, and woodpeckers a plenty
Nut Hatch, treepie, barbets and hill mynahs, more than twenty!
And boars sporting mohawks, their snouts a-twitching
And Nilgiri langurs, their black coats, so fetching!
The gaurs and hornbills decided to keep away
though we looked hard, day after day.

Sheila was fascinated with all the scat
Porcupine, bear, boar and cat!
Mr Sivakumar's record shot did not help resolve the debate
was that Wagtail grey or yellow, my mate?
Shantaram and me made bird lists, meticulous
In this way, it was not left ambiguous.
Eighty two bird species in all we sighted
And tree names also were noted.

Memories of those vistas, I will carry with me
friends, family and happy camaraderie
forest, flower, bird, animal and tree
how I wish we could all let them be.
Let me learn to consume wisely
be responsible and not exploit blithely.
Clean air and freshwater free
For our children and grandchildren and all eternity.

Ten bird species I had never seen before -
  • Pompadour green pigeon - what a lovely, musical call!
  • Sri Lanka Frogmouth - I was so looking forward to this, and when I think about them now, it still amazes me. If the guide had not actually told me where to look, I just would not have seen them!
  • Brown capped pygymy woodpecker - there were actually a couple in the trees just outside the dorm, so one morning I had my heart's fill of viewing them zipping from tree to tree.
  • Great black/white-bellied woodpecker - what an amazing, spectacular looking bird!
  • Heart-spotted woodpecker - brought a smile to all of us I remember, as he/she pecked furiously and went round and round the trunk, hanging upside down at some point, but still pecking away.
  • Small minivets - brilliant flashes of colour
  • White-bellied treepie - The white nape and belly, striking when it flew past
  • Velvet-fronted Nuthatch - out in the forest, it kept disappearing around the tree trunk, but I had a good look in the trees outside the dorm as well. When my son first heard the name, he heard it as "natraj", and was amazed that the bird had such an Indian name!!
  • Asian Fairy Bluebird - It posed for us, like some fashion model on the Vogue cover! With the sun falling on it, it was a brilliant view!
  • Chestnut Tailed Starling - there was a tree full of them one evening.
Memorable butterflies
  • Southern birdwing
  • Jezebel
  • Gladeye bushbrown


  1. I deal in prose, not rhyme,
    But found this very fine.

  2. Let me learn to consume wisely
    be responsible and not exploit blithely.
    Clean air and freshwater free
    For our children and grandchildren and all eternity.

    Words we will all do well to remember.

  3. The last photograph at the end of the post is very beautiful.

  4. Nice nice. Some of the lines i felt were enriched by the contrafibularities

  5. Thank you "Anonymous", Raji and Layne Staley. Raji, that list picture was taken by Sekar.

    LS , contrafibularities???!

  6. Great poem, flowergirl!
    I am glad you saw the SL Frogmouth!
    I remember that huge teak tree!

    p.s. On tour right now...

  7. Oh wow, this is too good! Love how you have woven everyone and everything into it! Really enjoyed it.
    P.S. Am also scratching my head at Layne's comment.

  8. Amila, you've been to Parambikulam? How nice!
    Kamini, it was good to have your company, and I have since learnt that Layne is supposedly quoting Blackadder!

  9. Very nice lines! And quite a different trip report. :)

  10. Off topic: Being the community manager of Kerala Tourism, I would like to inform you that your blog is selected to be featured in the Kerala Tourism website. Please check the link:

    Pl let me know if you would you be interested in adding a badge that says “ - Featured Blogger" on your blog home page. Do drop a mail at bindhu(at)travelwithacouple(dot)com so that I can send you the html code for the badge.

    Also check out Ms Kamini's blog (, which has already added the badge.

  11. Thank you Bindhu, that's very nice of you! But I dont have too many Kerala posts...does one need to have a certain number of kerala posts?

  12. I've only seen the Asian Fairy Bluebird in a zoo. It would be wonderful to see one in the wild.

  13. Beautiful poem Flowergirl and that sunset is gorgeous. Thanks for the links too. I loved the Frogmouth video.

  14. Joy, it is a spectacular bird! Yes, much better to see in the wild I agree. Larry, thank you, and I loved that video too!

  15. Now I'm curious - are all your posts in rhyme? Sounds like a great day of birding and more!

  16. No Dave, not all in rhyme
    Only those written when I have the time!

    Quite often I use prosaic prose
    But interesting nevertheless I suppose?

    It was a great weekend, the birding was fun!
    Friends, family, good weather and sun!