Rufous Sibias on Rhododendron

April 24, 2020

Infront of my house are fields, lots of them. Interspersed with the crop of wheat, are beautiful yellow coloured flowers of Mustard. In these fields I see butterflies, like 10s of them fluttering over every field. Dancing in tandem, they spiral on to the sky and dispersing come back again to the fields. I have been here for 4 years now, and in all these years, never have I seen so many butterflies.

Lockdown, imposed by the Corona virus has forced almost all of us into our homes, cities and villages. The roads are all but empty, the villages are quiet and every morning is a cacophony of bird songs, right out my door. Fortunately for me, my home borders on a dense Rhododendron and Oak forest. Armed with a binocular and sometimes a camera, I take a very slow and long stroll every day.

This year was bitterly cold, it’s almost the end of April and it’s still cold. Because of it, most of the Rhododendron buds have wilted away and the spectacular scarlet bloom that adorns these mountains slopes is missing. Fortunately that morning, as I was walking, I came across these 3 trees bursting with Rhododendron bloom. Spell bounded by their beauty, I stood mesmerized and enthralled, when a group of Chestnut Crowned Laughing-thrushes landed on the tree from the dense undergrowth below.  Although they disappeared the moment they saw me, immediately a group of Rufous Sibias followed.

Now Rufous Sibias are not such a shy bunch, and though they were scared and sceptical at seeing me at such close quarters (around 15 feet or so), they continued feeding on the nectar. The sun rising behind me, was shining on the flowers and in the early morning light, the flowers looking scarlet red and the Rufuous Sibias with their forehead covered with the pollen looked gorgeous. I very quietly removed my camera and took these shots. Would not consider them to be the best of my shots, but loved how the Rufous Sibias look on these flowers.

Rufous Sibias on a Rhododendron flower
Rufous Sibias on a Rhododendron flower

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