An exotic visitor flies in and out in Bangalore

An exotic visitor flies in and out in Bangalore
Standing in my kitchen one evening, sipping a cup of hot tea, I looked out of the large bay windows at the spreading tamarind tree branches outside. Perched on one of the dead branches, exactly opposite my window was the most exquisite Indian Paradise Flycatcher (Terpsiphone paradisi). My mouth dropped open in shock, because, forget about these rare and exotic species, our city of Bangalore has lost even the Common sparrow and the Turtle Doves we grew up with.

The adult male Asian Paradise Flycatcher has a black-blue, bright metallic glossy head and throat. The top of its head is adorned with a large pointed crest, formed by extended feathers of the same glossy-black colour. The rest of the bird's plumage is pure white,with stunningly beautiful, elongated central tail feathers. His bright metallic glossy head and throat glinted in the morning sunlight. Barely 19 cm in size, his sturdy round black bill was complemented with shiny black eyes.

It was his raucous call that alerted me that evening, as I was familiar with a Rufous beauty that frequented our home in Pilerne, Goa. However this specimen had a startling white plumage and he literally danced among the branches, his ribbon like tail whipping around in circles, like Chinese ribbon dancers do, through the branches.

Indian paradise flycatchers feed on insects, which they capture in the air, often below a densely canopied tree. So it was no dance, he was grabbing at insects in mid-flight being arboreal. I stood entranced watching him flit about the branches of the massive tree, with his 12 inch streamer like tail, doing the ribbon dance for me. It is a male, as the female in the bird species is sadly very plain.

Ever since the bird visits every morning and evening, I have tried to capture it on my phone first, after which my little digi- cam and finally today, I took out my DSLR Canon camera with its huge lens. I needed to capture the bird to show my sister in far away Australia and my sons and grand girls, in the UK and the US. It poses and stops, letting me click and then in a few minutes it disappears for the rest of the day.

Then again in the cooler part of the evening around 4 pm it arrives back, heralding its appearance with it's raucous call. As if to say I am back, come take your pictures of me!Then again, it just zips around, its beauty so mesmerizing, while I frantically try to 'shoot' it on my camera. The camera has found a permanent spot on the sofa so I can get at it quickly now.

I'd like to think the bird is a parent we have lost, coming to assure me in another avataar, that the pushy tenant, who has tried to foist a fake case on me, will get it back seven- fold and honesty and justice will prevail. Cheats will be exposed and all their clout will be in vain.

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