Nature walking

 7th July 2022

WhatsApp conversation with G3.

She:  need to see you.
Me:  Am at mum's,  come anytime.
She: ok.  Tomorrow morning?
Me:  Sure!  
She: 545am?
Me:  Whaaat?  No no...Finish your walk and come, no hurry.
She:  LOL!  Ok 6am - for you.  Come, lets explore estuary!  Send address, will pick you.
Me:  (Pleading) - 630pl?
She - Che(with her trademark duck)  - ok 615! 

 8th July 2022

She sends a reminder at 545 that she's coming shortly.  I am saying wait, I have to have coffee, wear shoes....

Thank you G3, for hustling me into the walk, which I thoroughly enjoyed, along with the giggles over God Knows what!

A herd of buffaloes crossed by lazily, reminding us of Yama and a fancy dress competition where G3's classmate came as Yama, astride a buffalo, if you please.  (yes she brought along the buffalo's owner too!)

The scrub was full of bird call.  Ashy Prinias loudly called from atop the highest branches and flicked their tails.  White-browed bulbuls gurgled incessantly within the scrub.  A couple of green beeeaters hawked.  A Francolin's call pierced he air.  A drongo swooped as it caught the dragonflies that hovered.  In the distance I heard the call of the Laughing Dove, even as there was a screechy flypast of parakeets.  Now neither of us had binoculars, and we only had cellphones.  So we enjoyed the sounds and sights and wondered if that brown bird was a Jerdon's bush lark and was that a Jacobin's cuckoo?  A group of ladies were binocularing into the bushes - peering at what they hoped was a pair of Ioras - but no luck.

We wandered onto the sand.  The tide was receding and we walked and explored the shells among the plastic waste thrown back by the sea.

I found a clean patch of sand, water and shells!  Photograph-worthy indeed.  It was a lovely cloudy day, with a beautiful breeze blowing across.

Among the bonnet shells, clams, bivalves and tower shells was this unusual one - the shell of an Ark clam, I was told later.

Arca zebra - Rohith opined.  What beautiful colours!  Wiki says this is called Turkey Wing clam, after the colouring which resembles the wings of a turkey.  Hmm really?

The insides of it.  I loved the hinge of the mollusc that still opened and shut.  The shell housed a filter feeding, hermaphrodite shallow water mollusc, now long gone.  Dead.
"Diagnostic features: Shell rectangular, elongate (twice as long as wide), equivalve. Sculpture of about 20 to 30 irregular radial ribs, and fine concentric threads that cross-ribs and interspaces. Byssal gap present opposite to hinge, moderately narrow. Hinge long. Colour: creamy white, streaked with reddish to dark brown wavy bands. Periostracum brown and dense on fresh shells, covering colour pattern almost completely "
Seemed to fit perfectly for this shell.  The only problem with this id is that the mollusc is found of the eastern coast of the Americas.  Hmmm

As we walked through the TS, we argued whether a bush was the idlypoo ixora or not.  The estuary side was all cleared up - but the only water birds we saw in large numbers were little egrets.

A Brown land crab fixed us with a stare - the only one that didn't scurry into its hole.  He must be an outlier, a leader I thought to myself. Large fellow.

We admired the cacti, putting out flowers, the lotus pond with the full lotus lifecycle - bud, bloom, unfertilised seed case and fertilised - all gyaan picked up from G3, our Green Goddess Walking Encyclopaedia!

The mighty baobab was flowering and fruiting.  What an amazing tree it is.  Every time I see it, I wonder at it - the size of its trunk, the magnificence of its branches.  I learnt a new term - Pachycauls - trees with disproportionately stout trunks.

We spoke about the ideals of the Theosophical movement and how they were relevant even today - yeah along with the giggles there were some serious discussions too.  I almost missed the rat snake that slithered into the undergrowth, spotted by G3 - me as usual watching the sky and clouds.  It was a large and magnificent specimen.

And so ended my lovely morning as the coucal flew across our paths and the sunbirds flitted above.  Thanks G3 - appa would have been delighted to hear how he touched your lives, as was I.  He enjoyed taking amma to the TS, even though he was not much into "nature".  


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