Thursday, February 01, 2007


Winter is the season of decline and decay. The year ends, the days die earlier everyday. Trees shed their leaves, leaving little but bare bones, the grass dries leaving fuel for fires and seed to prick your skin while walking among them. The cold weather drives the cold-blooded creatures underground, the insects and snakes are few and sluggardly, basking, collecting the suns energy before they melt again into the tall grass I must tramp through.

And yet, here, it is the season of recovery. While we wait, for the year must turn around and the days get warmer longer. The flowers remind us of summer and spring although the temperature speaks otherwise.

The migrants that come year after year keep us company in our waiting in their exile from their homes tell a story of their own. IISc has lost many bird species over the years. Due to habitat loss and the changing congealing concrete matrix in which this green space sits. As the favoured spaces disappear so do the birds they attracted, the marshes cost us many a species and the shrinking open space of the airfield and dump some more. Yet some return, some after long hiatuses, their absences deeply felt.

I saw a Hoopoe here last year for the first time in 6 years and it returned again this year to afford me a go at an image. And a Brown shrike which was a first on the campus for me. Both birds were listed as locally extinct. A few regular sightings and we can return them to our lists of those that have returned. With a little luck and a little foresight the returns can be prodigal.

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