All the scary, sad and depressing news around, has got me a little anxious. But, I must try to stay calm and focused.
It is also Mental Health Awareness week, between 10-16 May. Several studies have revealed how effective nature is in helping and supporting our mental health. Without being preachy, I really wish to say this that you are not alone. I also want to say just try connecting with nature, in any way, that’s comfortable, convenient, and safe for you (esp. in the current times) it has always helped me relax my mind and thoughts.
I did not/could not step out today, but spent a few hours sitting in the balcony observing the birds on this tree in front of my building that must be about 400-500 meters away. I hear assorted sounds and calls of birds; somewhere an Asian Koel is practicing her melodious tunes, some other pretty songbirds are singing sweetly hidden away from plain sight. Today, I see parrots (I think they are called rose-ringed parakeets) – the most common visitor here, a pair of spotted doves, some super tiny bird – I’m guessing some kind of sunbird or flowerpecker. I also know there’s a Greater Coucal somewhere around – I keep hearing its deep sound; I have seen it many times before, around here. I don’t see it today when I’m practicing photography skills (ah! well, I’m getting there slowly)
Something small, swift and green lands on one of the branches, partially hiding behind the leaves. I only see green fluff and red beak, and think it’s a parrot, except it’s not. I click and zoom in to find a red fruit/seed in the bird’s beak. It moves giving me better views, I click some more shots. Upon browsing a bit, I learn it is a white-cheeked barbet. I’m seeing it here for the first time. But then I guess I never paid attention and it was always there, who knows.
So I learn that the white-cheeked barbet (called so because of the white cheek stripe under their eyes) is also called small green barbet and that most barbets are frugivorous (off-topic but fun fact – coz that’s how my mind works, skipping from one thing to the next, well….: the word frugivorous isn’t in the Cambridge dictionary yet). In India, the white-cheeked barbets are found in the Southern part of the country and are endemic to the forests of Westen Ghats. The white-cheeked barbets look very similar to brown-headed barbet, which does not have a white stripe and has a distinctive colored ring around its eyes along with some other differences. (When I looked at both their pictures, it was like spot-the-difference activity.)
It was a great time spent and I felt so much better after watching the birds, listening to their sounds, and trying to click them, read and learn more about them. A very relaxing activity, that I hope to continue with – birdwatching from balcony.