The 17th of March was a landmark birthday for KM…yes, he (I can’t believe it!) turned 60. When I see him, I still see the 28-year-old whom I married, so I keep having to remind myself that 32 years have passed in the blink of an eye…
In our community, a 60th birthday is celebrated as a second wedding, with the husband actually tying a fresh “thAli” for the wife….but since we hardly have any family members nearby, he was rather adamant that he didn’t want a “fuss” made over his birthday; he does not celebrate birthdays in general, and couldn’t see why there should be a departure this time. But I secretly asked my sister-in-law to come over from Chennai. And then, out of the blue, he said, “Shall we go to B R Hills that day?” and, truly delighted, I rushed to comply. I made the booking at JLR, and we were all set to leave at 5am.
At 4.30am, he said he had a sore throat and didn’t want to go! But at 9am, when he got up looking quite OK, I insisted that we should go…and certainly, it turned out into a memorable trip, even though just for a day!
We reached the K.Gudi (Kyathadevararyana Gudi if you want to
twist your poor tongue into knots be precise ) Camp of JLR at about 3pm and this too, turned into a mini NTP meet, with Nahar, R Narayan and G S Narayan all being there…and yours truly of course.) Nahar had organized a lovely tree-planting ceremony for KM, and sampige (champa,magnolia) saplings were planted…I do hope they grow and thrive!
As usual, all lousy pics are to be excused as documentation…
Here’s the sign for our destination, with that wonderfully-well designed Karnataka logo on top:
Here’s Mr Tree-Planter himself:
And here are my sister-in-law,KM, R Narayan, Nahar, and G S Narayan:
Even as we went for lunch, Nahar pointed out the VERNAL HANGING PARROTS feeding on the JACARANDA flowers:
And as we were having lunch, this BLUE-CAPPED ROCK THRUSH came and sat not too far away:
It was already time to go on the jeep safari. And of course, the very first creature that we sighted was a LEOPARD. We were both so absorbed in the sighting,with the leopard twitching its tail and trying to hide behind the trunk of the tree, that I never once thought of my camera!
Some of the jeeps got to see the animal and some not...in the typical random manner of such sightings! But to me, more interesting were the different birds that I managed to spot. Here is the BLUE-TAILED BEE-EATER:
And we were very lucky to see the rufous male ASIAN PARADISE FLYCATCHER, and that too, one with a full-grown tail. The rufous males turn white, apparently, in about 4 years' time. Here are two views, just looooooook at that tail....!
In that snap, it's a branch manager; in this following one, it's on a twig:
I saw this majestic ORIENTAL HONEY BUZZARD on a tree though I could not get a good photograph of it:
This BROWN FISH OWL just would NOT lift its head even to look at us, so intent was it on the water and the fish inside it;it was the brown fish-and-nothing-but-fish owl!
On the jungle road, we saw this HOOPOE having a dust bath and generally scratching and preening itself:
Several ORIENTAL MAGPIE ROBINS were around, and some of them were singing beautifully:
And I was lucky to see this FEMALE STREAK-THROATED WOODPECKER, and to observe its behaviour for quite a while:
I will add this image of the SPOT-BILLED PELICAN that I saw as we were on our way home:
Regarding the mammals,too, it was Great Sightings Day! We saw many GAUR, and this magnificient specimen looked great in the light.
A close shot of his head was possible, so I attempted it!
The poor animal seems to have rather a bad tumour in the you-know-where....wonder if it will tell on its health:
I saw a MOUSE DEER, but it ran off into the undergrowth before I could get a snap; but I got this not-good shot of the BARKING DEER:
I am posting this photo even though it has a lot of clutter, because it perfectly illustrates the phrase, "Piggy-Back Ride"!
And I did say that I was too absorbed by the leopard to get a photo, didn't I? But never fear, dear readers, here's a REAL leopard.... and that, too, in Lalbagh, on my S3....!
COMMON LEOPARD, pic by
Though there were just 2 safaris, and one ended in pouring rain, it was still a most amazing trip!
I close with this picture of the colours that run riot in the hills right now, with the new leaves of spring:
B R Hills...Beautiful, Rapturous Hills! :)