Friday, October 26, 2012


It was a grey, damp evening. But, I had no reason to complain. The friendly neighborhood Shaheen Falcon was visiting again and kept me occupied for more than an hour. 

Ten minutes to midnight, I was preparing to sleep when I saw a mix of brown and white fluttering at the edge of the balcony railing. I assumed it was a bat, but the sound of the wings didn't seem like that of a bat's. The fluttering stopped in a few seconds and the mysterious visitor settled down. It was very dark outside, the moon wasn't out in full force yet, and the silhouette hinted at a little bird. I couldn't risk turning the light on, any quick movement could scare the bird. I ran away to fetch my camera and out of desperation, used the on-body flash to take a few record shots first. 

The camera revealed a very pretty little bird with rich brown-black markings on the wings and dark scales on the inner parts of the body and around the legs. Going by the size, shape, posture and the beak, I deduced that it could be a female/juvenile of a Robin/Thrush/Flycatcher, most probably in migration.

The bird was restless initially. It hopped around a couple of times, with its tail slightly up, making a faint krrrk-krrrkk call. It was a little skittish too, courtesy some noisy street dogs far below in the neighboring street. I was hoping that it would find a nice, cozy place and stay the night. And it did, like this ->

I watched it for 40 odd minutes and while the bird dozed away (I am guessing it did) I scouted for images and illustrations to try and put a name to the face. I sent images of the bird to friends and hit the sack. It was only the next morning when I was able to finally ID the bird, it was a female Blue-capped Rock Thrush (Monticola cinclorhynchus). The excessive markings on the wings and darker scales could be a result of long flights in the migratory season. When I checked in the morning, as expected, the bird had left.

Divya, Sridhar, Karthik and Shyamal - Thank you for your help!

Until next time, when Cinderella hopefully visits me again :-)