21 Sep Vigors’s Sunbird
Made a visit to Amboli, in the last week of July, when what looked like the monsoon was at its peak. It was literally pouring cats and dogs. I had heard about the heavy rains that Amboli receives during the monsoon, but it was beyond what I had envisioned :)
Pouring, pouring and relentless pouring. Even when there was a slight reprieve, the place would very quickly get covered in thick mist. And just as the mist started to clear, the rain began. With the weather like this, the general expectation of mine was to probably get to see some reptiles and amphibians, as and when the rain let in.
This was one individual that I got to see, a beautiful Olive Forest Snake…
and this one – the Amboli Toad ( also known as the Tiger Toad )
These toads were everywhere. Mating pairs could be seen all around. Also the place was reverberating with the loud vocalizations of those unfortunate males, that seemed to have missed out :)
But one thing that wasn’t on my agenda was birds. Didn’t expect an opportunity to do any decent bird photography in this kind of a climate. However, wildlife, as unpredictable as it is, had an agenda of its own :)
One such rainy afternoon, the pouring let in a bit and the mist had engulfed the place. We were sitting outside, in the porch, at Hemant Ogale’s Whistling woods, relishing hot cups of tea, when we saw this little colorful bird, pop out from nowhere and try to get to the banana flower, to feed on its nectar.
It was the Vigors’s sunbird, a beautiful little bird, with fire red breast, a purple splash on its crown and lovely crimson-brown overalls on its back. This bird is endemic to the Western Ghats, mostly seen in pockets, in the northern section of the Western Ghats. Hemant mentioned that, it was a regular visitor to his place.., awesome ! :-)
This was a male and it seemed quite amused by its reflection in the mirror, on the window of a vehicle, that was parked in Hemant’s place. May be assuming that the reflection was another competitive male, I don’t know, but there seems to be this common behavior among a lot of other birds, more so with those little birds I guess. I have seen White-cheeked Barbets do this, bang against their reflection on window mirrors. Other than the competition theory, I am not sure what the real reason could be.
There was quite a bit of mist cover, but was lucky to have been able to capture a few images of this beautiful bird.
Just as the rain started coming down, the sunbird would disappear, to take some cover, I assume, and would return as soon as there was some respite from the downpour. It returned a couple of times, after which, it disappeared for good. May be it too got fed up of the relentless hammering of the rain gods!
So, apart from the Olive Forest Snake, the Vigors’s sunbird ended up being the highlight of the trip for me, something that I didn’t think would happen, especially this time of the year. But, all is well that ends well :-)