It was a normal afternoon at Rishi Valley. Fairly hot and buzzing with bird activity. The Yellow-billed Babblers were really coming in strong. Around 7-8 appeared, fresh with fervent gossip. They first sat on the lemon tree near the bird-bath and made sure the coast was clear. Then they began bathing and drinking the water and made sure that all the other birds did not have access to the bird-bath while they were at it. They chased away a solitary Oriental Magpie-robin to a branch and made sure that the visitor was kept away until they finished their business. Following their routine refreshment, they migrated to different parts of the large tamarind tree and continued their excited chatter.
The Magpie had limited access to the bird-bath. The next visitor was the Purple-rumped Sunbird, who hopped from branch to branch pecking at the tamarind flowers. It watched the dramatic show between the Babblers and the Magpie and chose to stay amidst the branches of the lemon tree.
A Black-rumped Flameback Woodpecker surreptitiously appeared in the dark parts of the tamarind tree. I had taken a few shots of the other birds, but the woodpecker was a goldmine (almost literally, owing to the dashing golden feathers it sports on its back). I had
never managed to click a decent picture of this bird. Every time I chanced upon it, I never had a camera, and when I did have a camera, it would fly away. But this particular Flameback was going to be around for a while. After a series of frustrating shots with branches and leaves coming in the way, the bird navigated the height and breadth of the tree. It chose a more welcoming spot where I managed to capture some decent stills. It continuously checked and pecked the crevices and openings in the tree and was on a mission. Somehow, it didn’t seem bothered by my presence and nonchalantly went about its endeavour. In the middle of this shoot, a Purple Sunbird (female) hopped onto the pipe of a leaking water tank in order to quench its thirst. It was not easy to capture on the camera owing to its close proximity to me which led to it being rather jittery and cautious.
By now the Woodpecker had found a higher spot on the tree and was nearing the end of its mission. Soon, it flew away to find another tree. I waited a bit longer in the hope that another bird would find its way to the tamarind tree. When I turned back a White-browed Bulbul was perched on the bird-bath. It seemed to be thinking a great deal before bending down to drink from the bird-bath. It seemed a little uncertain, much like Hamlet, but finally got down to it. After it left, a Purple-rumped Sunbird (possibly the one that had appeared earlier) arrived and briefly stooped to take a few sips before taking flight.
A few hours later, the valley was greeted by a pleasant shower of rain accompanied by generous amounts of lightning and thunder. The sun still shone as penurious grey clouds hovered above threateningly.