Whistling Wonders

I will never stop being excited about the Western Ghats. There, even being woken up in the morning is a thrilling experience, because the bird doing the waking up is the Malabar Whistling Thrush, a bird you will see - or, more likely than not, hear - nowhere else in the world. The Ghats have… Continue reading Whistling Wonders


Birding the Chaff

Put it simply, I do not know European birds. Which is why I saw this one and sighed. Its vagueish eyebrow indicated its membership of that hated family: leaf warblers. A brief history - I have seen several in the Himalayas, probably some in the Western Ghats, and a total of nil have been identified.… Continue reading Birding the Chaff

Contemplative Cormorants

Two Little Cormorants sit on what appears to be a submerged light pole in a reservoir in a Coorg coffee plantation. Coffee offers much more support for biodiversity than its more homogenous counterpart, tea, largely due to its requirement of shade trees and sometimes mixing with other crops, such as pepper. Unfortunately, those self-same trees… Continue reading Contemplative Cormorants

The Internet and Nature: How I Got Here

So, on Thursday I gave a TED talk. It was about this blog. And it was about birds. And it was about... well, it was about a lot of things. Mostly it was about the Internet, and nature, and what happens, has happened, and will happen, between them - for better or worse. And I… Continue reading The Internet and Nature: How I Got Here


The delight with which I pounced on my camera and lens after having restricted use of both for two days (because Barcelona isn't exactly known for a place where you can leave stuff lying around and expect to see it there a minute later) was almost Gollum-esque in its intensity. Despite the fact we were… Continue reading Superbird

Purple Rising

A Purple Heron (Ardea purpurea) perches on a tree at a reservoir in Bangalore, Karnataka, watched over by apartment buildings. Despite there being no rivers in the city, lakes are plentiful in what is now supposed to be known as Bengaluru. Most were constructed through dams in the sixteenth century, but now are homes for… Continue reading Purple Rising


There are two species of mongoose regularly seen on the Maasai Mara. The more common is the banded mongoose, but the dwarf mongoose - a small African carnivore found in groups of 15 or less - is also spotted, though less frequently. I expected to leave Kenya with that added to my list of 'what… Continue reading Dwarfish

Eagle of the Estates

Recently the Singapore birding community had a series of heart attacks when a migrant Crested Serpent Eagle arrived in the Japanese Gardens. I, at the time, was not present to see it - I was in the coffee estates of Coorg, a district in Karnataka. From afar, I thumbed my nose at them: here, these… Continue reading Eagle of the Estates

Solitary Spoonbill

An African Spoonbill rests on the banks of Lake Nakuru in Kenya. This lake was formerly famous for its migratory flamingos; however, when heavy rainfall skewed the salinity balance that had been its primary attracting feature, yearly numbers decreased as the pink birds moved north. Nevertheless, the reserve centered on the water body is home… Continue reading Solitary Spoonbill


One of the most endangered birds in the world is the Great Indian Bustard, which also happens to be one of the heaviest flying birds. Found in India and Pakistan, it is critically endangered on the IUCN Red List with a population that could be as low as 250 individuals. Its counterpart in Africa is… Continue reading Bustard