Rheingau, Germany

Rheingau, Germany- hill country in the region of the River Rhine, one of the longest rivers in Europe.

We got a great opportunity to go on a drive along this river.  Enjoyed the terrific views of charming houses on the hillside, castles &…sparrows.

Happy Black Birds of the Alps

They were sweet black birds with yellow beaks against a sheer  snowy white backdrop. I was seeing these birds for the first time & they were close in appearance to crows, but for their beaks. Found them interesting, as they calmly beheld tourists in the midst of the biting cold. And they had no problem being photographed either.    

A bit of Google search indicates they are officially the  Alpine Chough & are also known as the Yellow-Billed Chough.

Presenting the Happy Choughs of Jungfraujoch…

 

 

 

Ranganathittu Bird Sanctuary

Ranganathittu Bird Sanctuary – situated fairly close to Mysore in Karnataka state, is a bunch of small islets on the River Cauvery. Every year the sanctuary becomes an active nesting ground for thousands of migratory birds from various parts of the world. Photos from my visit.

 

Raven-ous

We have a bunch of daily visitors,thanks to my Mother.

They drop in for early breakfast,some for a noon time snack & a few come by for dinner.

No formalities here – they find whichever place they can to plonk themselves – swing on the branches,hang out by the gate or stare from the wall.

The fare is generally served warm (no cold food is a rule of sorts – for example it has to be warm milk, not cold… I of course take the short cut if I ever happen to be on serving duty,which fortunately is rare) & added on is the occasional eggs,fish,meat for the carnivorous friends.

Sometimes, if there is a delay in food arriving, the visitors know how to create one helluva ruckus (special mention goes to the crows) &  it would be fair to say they sound like a thoroughly disgruntled orchestra !

I have personally observed a visitor on few occasions, when food had not yet been laid out on time by Mum . This audacious crow would take the empty plate in its beak & bang it hard on the platform ,while looking towards our house! The word Raven-ous comes to mind! 

Incidentally,this landing platform on the tree happens to be an old upturned table fan tied on a branch & on which a plate is placed- reuse,reuse,reuse!!!

It is a daily raucous party that serves as a sort of natural morning alarm especially for me ,as the tree is in front of my room!

The visitors during the day are of all types & temperaments –

Four stray dogs –
Miki – the arrogant!
Riki – the brooding brother of Miki,has to fight for his bites!
Blackie – the ever grateful & mother of the aforementioned rascals Miki & Riki
Brownie – the dignified (also boyfriend of Blackie)

The winged ones – crows,pigeons ,mynas

Squirrels – the origins of cheek & sheer survival can be traced back to these creatures

Rats – who sneak in from under the tree or the garden for some remaining tidbits

Mia – the kitten,our latest addition,to add more confusion.

Our aquarium is placed outside…amidst all this drama, the fish have a ring side view of the goings on.

The reader may be interested to note that Mia the kitten was originally brought in to catch rats in the garden. The dogs are desperate to catch her . So,she is currently in a special protected zone called the back of the house enjoying a healthy diet of rice & fish,served in private quarters!

Watching all of this has given us a great glimpse into the world of animal behavior – aggression, cunningness, dignity, pretentious power, survival, sneakiness…

For example,who would ever have thought that pigeons are aggressive ? I didn’t for sure.

I figured that crows have sharp beaks but pigeons can easily bulldoze them into submission & have them evicted from the platform!

The silly crows have the ammunition of a sharp beak but have no idea of its power…whereas pigeons just inflate their wee chests, thrust their wings in combat mode & scare the crows. Pigeons as you know have small beaks.

This is daily drama for all who care to watch. I do.