Snakes have always got the wrong end of the stick. So it was with trepidation (for the snake, of course) that I watched the movements of one in my yard. First, it attempted to climb a coconut tree and then hid amid a pile of pipes just a few feet away from the toiling gardener.
Was it a cobra or a rat snake? Who would have cared before killing it? On that note, would you trust a snake?
Vultures are the most misunderstood of birds despite the fact that Hindu mythology associates them with virtue rather than evil. Ramanagara, near Bangalore, has become something of a shrine for vulture-watchers in the last decade that various Gyps species have been driven to the brink by the ill-effects of the veterinary drug Diclofenac. However, signs are not good. Instead of declaring the granite monoliths a protected area, the authorities have allowed private builders to develop property there. What this holds for vultures is uncertain. Our callousness has already led to a huge decline in their numbers. What next?
My review of Nirmal Kulkarni's The Goan Jungle Book appears in this month's issue of Outlook Traveller. When I received the book for review, my first thought would have been "Okay, here's another naturalist having a go at celebrity" if I didn't already know of Kulkarni and his work. Some of you might know that he's a director of Wildernest, the eco-retreat in Goa. This book offers an honest and sincere view of small life like weaver ants and caecilians, told in the manner of a series of blog posts sans editorial fuss or scholarly pretensions. And the best part is that it is self-published.
Trees have a way of inhabiting our imagination unlike any other living creature. In profiling the Red Cassia for The Green Ogre, Sahastrarashmi summoned up the most aesthetically inclined of his muses and let her run riot in his head. What we have is an intimate and tender portrayal of this seasonally blooming avenue tree, illustrated with photographs whose charm even paintings cannot paraphrase.
Look out for more good stuff next week. And do your part, dear reader, by introducing your friends to the pleasures of The Green Ogre.